Wednesday 4 December 2019

Different Attitudes in Foreign Lands

Perhaps not as foreign as all that - just the USA and the Netherlands.  It can be refreshing to hear views expressed in ways that you won't encounter in this country very much.

I've lauded Adolph Reed here before; he's a black American professor of political philosophy, and despite his avowed marxism he sees clearly, thinks coherently, writes trenchantly - and extremely well.  (He's self-evidently a nice chap, too.)   In this Current Affairs interview, he opines on the Obama phenomenon and - his customary thesis - the baleful effect of the present-day US politics of race on what he reckons should be the class-oriented struggle for the betterment of people.  A couple of extracts:
and then Barack popped up. Nobody knew anything about him, nobody in the activist world had ever heard of him, had no connection to him, and it was just fascinating watching the liberal and foundational world get kind of wet-pantied over him. And it actually split the left ... in the summer of ’08 after he had all but officially sewn up the nomination, he made an immediate sharp-right turn over the span of four, five days ... Obama seemed to burnish, if not to establish, his bona fides with the black political elite by giving the “tough love” speech, that “we” have to tell our broke people to do better ... why did so many people who should have known better get swept up in the hype? ... what’s happened to the left that even led serious, longtime veteran activists to delude themselves, and to delude themselves as militants. It’s not just that they liked Obama, and supported Obama, but they were sort of like, the Gestapo for Obama during the campaign.
... this is another marker of the decline of the left, ultimately… that a society can be just if 1 percent of the population controls more than 90 percent of the good stuff, provided that 1 percent is like 12 percent black, 14 percent hispanic, half women, and whatever the appropriate percentage is gay ... Is it a model of a just society that most of us want to sign up for? Probably not.
Closer to home: I've been in the Netherlands on business recently, with a Dutch colleague who is of Turkish heritage, and visibly so (whilst having a Dutch name and accent).  When we walked into a meeting with another company, one of the folk we were meeting for the first time cheerily greeted him with: well you're not a native - where are you from?  Nobody froze, or tutted - everyone was getting along just fine.  As we broke up at the end of the day, someone said he was dashing off to the toyshop to prepare for his forthcoming duties as Santa - in Dutch, Sinterklaas - to which one of his colleagues of Indonesian heritage said:  "I'll be Black Pete"; and another, of Chinese antecedents, offered: "I'll be Yellow Pete!

Nobody in the room took amiss at any of this.  But here's the Graun giving a platform for hyper-ventilation on the subject.

As they say: travel and reading broaden the mind.  Until it all gets proscribed, that is.



dearieme said...

Christ, the ugly voice of the woman you hear when you click on the youtube! Why do they hire them?

Graeme said...

Sinterklaas was originally helped by Black Pete - a bloke in blackface. When I started working there in 1998, there were Petes of all conceivable shades of make-up but still referred to as Black Pete. Only in the last few years have they been called by the colour they wear and this development did upset many traditional cloggies. It seems as if the fuss has died down now

Graeme said...

To my understanding, the article is dead wrong on this

"Originally Black Pete was to Sint what Luca Brasi was to Don Corleone: his muscle man, his enforcer"

In the parades, it is Pete who throws out the sweets and cheap gifts. He is the children's friend against the rather stern Sinterklaas

andrew said...

In austria and germany there is the krampus.
And after spending 29eur on a rather good glass krampus tree decoration, do feel i have done something naughty.

Raedwald said...

Ah Krampus, and Perchten - today the two have become somewhat merged, and Perchtennacht is a raucus, drunken folk happening hated by the authorities during which disliked village members are 'accidentally a purpose' rapped with sticks, buffed, elbowed and ankle-kicked. It's a crude anonymous check on local tyranny in a nation in which serfdom was not abolished until 1868.

The costumes are amazing, and all home-made. Google images for Perchtennacht for a flavour.

The burka-banning law here, which actually bans all complete headcoverings, has a specific exemption for these folk costumes. Authorities keep trying to ban or exclude drunken Perchten which is a bit like trying to ban fireworks from November 5th events. Getting drunk and wild is the whole point.

The krampus would not find favour with UK child protection experts. A shaggy horned bear-monster in chains, he knocks on childrens' bedroom windows at night, scaring the shit out of them, and leaves a bunch of hazel twigs tied with red ribbon on the doorstep, with which their parents are to beat them if they transgress. It clearly works, as the children here behave immaculately.

Perchten are hell-creatures, zombie goat-witches, though artistic licence and mythical drift has caused the two to borrow elements from eachother. WH Auden, who lived the last part of his life in a quiet Austrian village, was much taken with the tradition.

E-K said...

I went up to a guy dressed as a gollywog in a pub to tell him to be careful. It turned out he really was black.

Great sense of humour !

andrew said...

Seeing the canterville ghost at the volksoper and it does show the austrians do like to dress up

andrew said...

... a lot of furry animals died for the audience.

Elby the Beserk said...

On the matter of "diversity", Nick - we've always been a tolerant and accepting nation. That is, until our Lords and Masters 1) decided to put that to the test as well as b) deciding that we aren't in fact what history shows we are.

Another simple case of a singular disconnect between us proles and our rulers. 71% want a major halt on immigration. So what say our rulers, so what? As my Mother used to say when we asked her what's for supper - "You'll get what yoiu are given and you'll bloody well like it" ;-)

James Higham said...

Sounds trite but it does depend what we read and which tourist zones we go to or avoid them and see the country.

Anonymous said...

OT, Guido comment this morning

"Aside from the economy I am not sure what there is to fear about Corbyn as there is nothing left to defend. We already have uncontrolled immigration, thought control (hate speech laws), a politicised judiciary, endless nightmare laws (keenly added to by that supposedly High Anglican May), abortion imposed on Northern Ireland, gay marriage, Marxist Universities, collection by the state of mass data on its citizenry etc etc. What can Corbyn do that has not already been done apart perhaps from accelerating the already out of control non EU figures?"

It's true, isn't it, that while Blair stopped tracking people leaving at the exit ports, the Tories swore they'd reverse this, so we know who's coming in but not leaving - but they've done nothing?

Nick Drew said...

Not at all OT, anon, in the circumstances

But I still consider those who "don't know what else there is to fear from Corbyn" aren't exercising amy imagination

Matt said...

Indeed, we are not (yet) living in mud huts with no heating/electricity and worthless money.

We could quite easily have the living standards of Venezuela within a short time of a Corbyn government.

Bad as it would be, a part of me wants it to happen to teach everyone a lesson that free stuff doesn't just happen.

Anonymous said...

Guido is very slow this morning, not picked up on the Swinson/Lib Dem kerfuffles

"Wake up to hear Jo Swinson tell @JustinOnWeb that biological sex - the fact there are male and female humans - does not exist. A person who would be Prime Minister denying science. Unbelievable. The odd thing is, about a year ago I wrote a column talking about this gender “flat Earthism”. And I got screamed at on Twitter by left wing Guardian men (who always know best) saying: “you bigot, nobody believes biological sex doesn’t exist!” Well, there you have it, guys!"

"A pharmaceutical firm that markets drugs used in gender-identity clinics to delay puberty has given £100,000 to the Liberal Democrats. Jo Swinson’s party has already upset feminists, who worry that the “extreme trans-ideological” policies in its manifesto will put vulnerable women at risk. According to the Electoral Commission register, the Lib Dems received the payment on November 22 from Ferring Pharmaceuticals.The firm, owned by the Swedish billionaire Frederik Paulsen, markets the drug triptorelin, which is used to block puberty among adolescents. The Lib Dem manifesto pledges “complete reform of the Gender Recognition Act to remove the requirement for medical reports, scrap the fee and recognise non-binary gender identities”."

E-K said...

I heard that story about the pharma firm producing a puberty delaying drug.

They are being sued because the drug doesn't work. An intern messed up in the labs and dropped a bollock apparently.

Anonymous said...

Their other big donor is apparently Spire Healthcare, who've taken over all the formerly BUPA hospitals. Interesting. I'm sure there's no ulterior motive there...

Anonymous said...

Krampus vs Merkel's Millions in South Tyrol, Italy. Apparently someone tried to pull off a Krampus headdress and it didn't go down well.