A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Friday, May 10, 2013

Unclear on the Concept

Fearless Leader  wants to put us all in our place, tweeting us that

"Unless you're a Native American, you came from someplace else."--tweet, @whitehouse, May 8

Now, to be a native of some place you must have been born in that place, so the tweet is self-contradictory. 

But let us suppose good ol' @whitehouse really meant "unless you're an American Indian (Amerind)" and was merely employing the incoherent vocabulary forced upon devotees of delicate speech.

In that case, it is also an improper proposition.  TOF is not a Native American in that sense, but does "come from" the very place from which he is this very moment blogging; viz., a quondam mill town on the Pennsylvania-Jersey border.  This falsifies the proposition.  (modus tollens)  QED and up your nose. 

But perhaps @whitehouse meant one's ancestors came from somewhere else - save for the Amerinds.  This raises all sorts of worrisome thoughts about Rasenwissenschaft and Blood, soil, and honor.  Why should it matter where from and when one's ancestors came? 

Then the tweet is also historically incorrect.  Because the ancestors of the Amerinds also came from someplace else (i.e. NE Siberia across the Bering Land bridge some 20,000 years ago). 

But perhaps it meant to say that everyone in America has ancestors who came from somewhere else, with magic exemptions given to Amerinds, Athapaskans, and Eskaleuts.  

In that case, it is merely a fatuous tweet - but I repeat myself.  Pretty much everyone everywhere has ancestors who came from elsewhere.  Arabs in the Middle East came from Arabia; Peninsular Arabs claim the Yemen as their origin.  Genetic evidence suggests proto-Australoids canoing out of Africa along the coast as the original Yemenis.  (They also dropped their genes in southern India, Thailand, Indonesia, New Guinea, the Philippines, Japan (Ainu), and likely account for the Pre-Siberian American Aborigines.) 
The C-route is that of the proto-Australoids


  1. How dare you not live in Eastern Africa, the home of your ancestors?

  2. "New archaeological evidence suggests that America was first discovered by Stone Age people from Europe – 10,000 years before the Siberian-originating ancestors of the American Indians set foot in the New World."

  3. I've tried to work out how long you have to be in a place to count as 'native': I have a pet hate for the trend here in Australia of using the word "Australian" to refer to white Australians of English and Irish descent, as opposed to migrants from the Middle East, Asia, or whoever is meant to be 'invading' us this month via leaky boats in the Timor Sea.

    I tend to correct them with "Anglo", and remind them that a) My grandparents moved here from Italy in the 1950s and b) my younger sister is adopted from South Korea and is more 'Aussie' than they are.

    1. As a guy from the multicultural melting pot western Sydney, I tend to find that the term "Aussie" as an ethnic distinction comes more from non-British backgrounders to describe those with British heritage, rather than a term Anglos give themselves (it could be a generational thing though). But I definitely agree with your aversion to using the term to describe Anglo-Australians, as your South Korean sister demonstrates.
      In fact, I find the Australian habit of grouping people into specific ethnic backgrounds strange in itself. My own heritage makes no sense on this model, as my ancestors were: English, Scottish, Irish, German, Swedish, Jamaican, (probably) Chinese, and (possibly) Indigenous Australian - all of which called Australia (or New South Wales) home well over 100 years ago. I'm certainly what one would describe as "white" - but it makes "multicultural" events, where you dress or make food of your heritage, a bit awkward :P.

    2. I wonder whether it would be worth trying to organise a get-together of Sydney-based TOF readers? There are evidently a few of us.

    3. If you want to go Australa-wide sometime, let me know. I'm over in Western Australia, but happy to travel given a decent excuse!


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