Saturday, February 07, 2015

Ice people vs. sun people

The headline comes from Leonard Jeffries, a black reverse-racist academician, about 25 years ago, basically the party line of the old-school Nation of Islam (of Elijah Muhammad, continued by Louis Farrakhan; it's not really Islam, for what that's worth) hating "the white devils."

"We're not allowed to criticize Jews, blacks, and homosexuals."
That's true. I believe that everyone should be open to constructive criticism regardless of who they are. Nobody should be put on a podium as "untouchable."
The left really hates liberty. A Christian heresy with distortions of charity and justice, banning criticism of historically oppressed groups.
If you grow up Italian or around Italians, you get used to criticism. That's why I was always shocked by the inability of some people to take even the slightest criticism of their actions. They sure didn't grow up the way I did. (Of course being criticized doesn't mean you have to like it or even change your ways, but you're still aware of your faults, both real and perceived.)
The putdowns can go too far but yes. I've been told that in Catholic cultures such as Italian you often say harsh things you don't literally mean. WASPs are more passive-aggressive but when they say hurtful things, they mean them.
That's true. In Latin countries, people don't have the type of self-censorship of feelings that those in Nordic ones are raised to have. That's why it's best not to take everything we say too seriously. It's likely to be just a spur of the moment impulse. With us, look more to actions then words to see how we feel.
Based on the few people from Sweden I've met, Nordic culture is cold to the point of rudeness.
I've heard that. Never actually met a Scandinavian personally though (not counting those of Scandinavian ancestry).
I've never known Scandinavian-Americans well; those I've met in recent years were about as friendly or not as WASPs.
Not too many of them outside of places like Minnesota and the Dakotas. I've meet a few and Swedes tend to be the most likable of them. Norwegians seem colder.

That guy Garrison Keillor used to joke about growing up Norwegian and life in their stronghold of Minnesota in his "Prairie Home Companion" program on NPR. My dad used to listen to it back in the '90s (yet gave up after Keillor started becoming too overtly political in the shows).
I've met people from Denmark; I've heard they're the most outgoing of the Scandinavians. At least they talk to you; Swedes avoid you. A friend was in Norway once talking in a polite American indoor voice and a Norwegian shushed him. Never got into "Prairie Home Companion" but I read Lake Wobegon Days and liked it. Found out later he based it on German upper Midwestern towns he knew. The Norwegian stuff was fictional.
It's out of my league. I think there used to be a Swedish community in Philly a long time ago, but they all assimilated eons ago.
I was going to say that I'm sitting in what used to be a Swedish colony. Before William Penn bought Pennsylvania, it and Delaware were New Sweden. Yes, the Swedes here assimilated shortly after American independence. The only reminders of them are the name of Christiana, Del., Swedesford Road in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, a Swedish log cabin in a little forest near me (they invented the log cabin), and a few colonial churches that became Episcopal in the early 1800s (several nicknamed Old Swedes'). Unlike Minnesota later, they took apostolic succession seriously so they became Episcopal when the last Swedish priests died. And those priests and parishes had already Episcopalianized, having English-designed and built churches and using the Book of Common Prayer when they changed to English.

I understand Garrison Keillor, like his namesake narrator in "Wobegon," grew up neither Catholic nor Lutheran (in Lake Wobegon almost everybody is German Catholic or Norwegian Lutheran) but in an offshoot of the Plymouth Brethren. I don't think he's ethnic Norwegian.
Cold climates create cold people. We Canadians are known for being polite but not particularly friendly.

It's partly why unfortunately so many white women here are seduced by Caribbean men. We need more Mediterranean European men instead.
"Cold climates create cold people. We Canadians are known for being polite but not particularly friendly." My experience knowing a few Canadians. "We're American on the surface but we're really British," cold reserve and all, is the essence of Canadianness.
I've always been curious about why "cold climates create cold people." You would think the opposite would be true, but it's not. Years ago when I first started getting into the subject of eugenics someone posted an interesting tidbit. I don't know how true it is but it's food for thought. It was something written by the late psychologist Arthur Jensen. Social anxiety disorder is much more prevalent among blue-eyed males than brown-eyed ones. I've read elsewhere that when enough people follow a certain pattern of behavior it evolves into a societal norm. This doesn't imply that having blue eyes CAUSES social anxiety disorder but rather there may be a link between the two.
Been thinking about it since we brought it up. If you're in a cold climate you hoard your resources (heat, food) for yourself and your closest kin; you don't share readily with outsiders. Over centuries it was like Darwinism; people with those traits survived and the culture encouraged them, so northern Europeans are cold.

And yet northern peoples created our high-trust American culture, based on rule of law, not on who you know. Southern peoples (Italians, Middle Easterners) are low-trust; clannish, not universalist, in their ethics, but their clans are bigger than northerners' (Italians with many cousins, etc.).


  1. You might be interested in "The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia" by Michael Booth. Here is an interview with him at

    1. Thanks; I've read and blogged a link to some of this or something similar.

      Space-age American liberals (that is, lots of people) had a whole myth about Sweden as a swinging socialist (but not Communist) paradise: "free love" not necessarily with hippie trappings, more like a Nordic version of the Playboy Mansion. Hilarious if you meet Swedes. About as likely as hell freezing over. Their approach to that stuff has been described as matter-of-fact: hardly anything happens but they're libertine about what little there is.

      I knew that the other Scandinavians think Norwegians are hicks, rather like how the American North looks at the South.

      A lot of outsiders don't know that the Finns strictly speaking aren't Scandinavian; ethnically not Germanic and their language isn't even Indo-European. Culturally, sure, they're cold/reserved (ruled by Sweden for centuries) but they can cut loose too (drinking, etc.); maybe why so many of them are badass hockey players.

  2. The famed Canadian "politeness" always struck me as very superficial, too. They keep a friendly tone, say "please" and "thank you", and avoid overt criticism, but dealing with Canadians in a business setting, it seems they rarely respect one's time. The vibe I get is, "Hey, I have a pleasant and agreeable tone, so it's OK that I'm wasting your time because of my own laziness, and making totally unreasonable requests- you have no right to get annoyed".

    On the other hand, Germans are supposedly cold and harsh and authoritarian, but I generally find dealing with them quite painless. They're not excessively cheerful or effusive, but they're usually well-prepared, attentive, and direct. They may not smile and joke around much, but they certainly don't disrespect you by wasting your time, either.


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