[Lounge #456] »« [Thunderdome]

Do you have to shove your awful little holy book in everything?

I had thought that Minnesota had a state fossil: it was the giant beaver, Castoroides ohioensis. But then I discovered that it wasn’t on the official list of Minnesota State Symbols, but was on the list of proposed symbols. So it never made it into law, although we do have a state photo (it’s awful) and a state muffin (blueberry).

I wonder if the same thing happened to the giant beaver that happened to South Carolina’s state fossil proposal. Olivia McConnell, an eight year old girl, had the bright idea to propose that the Woolly Mammoth ought to be the South Carolina state fossil, and she wrote a letter to the legislature suggesting it, and even giving good reasons for it.

1. One of the first discoveries of a vertebrae fossil in North America was on an S.C. plantation when slaves dug up wooly mammoth teeth from a swamp in 1725.

2. All but seven states have an official state fossil.

3. “Fossils tell us about our past.”

“Please work on this for me,” McConnell wrote to Ridgeway, signing her letter, “Your friend, Olivia.”

Nice idea. Good rationale. But then, along come the sanctimonious bible-floggers.

Sen. Kevin Bryant, a pharmacist and self-described born-again Christian who has compared President Obama with Osama bin Laden, voted to sustain a veto by Governor Nikki Haley of funding for a rape crisis center, and called climate change a “hoax,” proposed amending the bill to include three verses from the Book of Genesis detailing God’s creation of the Earth and its living inhabitants—including mammoths.

Bryant told The Daily Beast that the intent was never to hijack the bill. I think it’s a good idea to designate the mammoth as the state fossil, I don’t have a problem with that. I just felt like it’d be a good thing to acknowledge the creator of the fossils.

Bryant’s proposed amendment was originally ruled out of order by Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell (no relation to Olivia) because it introduced a new subject. Bryant has since submitted a more on-topic amendment, describing the Columbian Mammoth as created on the Sixth Day with the beasts of the field.

The bill is now on hold. Olivia has apparently been following the legislative process as it moves along, and now has first-hand experience with stupidity, and has learned a valuable lesson in cynicism. Jeez, I’m a cynical old guy, and I’m pissed off.

I hope Olivia can retain some enthusiasm for science, even if she has lost faith in politics.

Comments

  1. says

    I can offer two things to console you. 1) Blueberry muffins are good. 2) You don’t have Rick Perry for a governor.

  2. U Frood says

    If selecting a piece of state art, I would consult with the art appreciation community and use quotes from them for any embellishing text the bill would need. So, when selecting a state fossil, I would talk to the scientific community for such text. The religious community has no place adding text to such a bill.

  3. says

    Is it an intelligent, psychic blueberry muffin?

    This Bryant fellow should just strap a bible to his face; that way he won’t see anything that upsets him and we won’t be able to hear him talk anyway. Everyone wins.

  4. skeptico says

    Sen. Kevin Bryant, a pharmacist and self-described born-again Christian who has compared President Obama with Osama bin Laden…

    Does no one know the difference between ‘compare with’ and ‘compare to’?

  5. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    So Washington’s is the Columbian Mammoth? It would have to be something that recent, I guess. My initial reaction was “How could we have a state fossil? What isn’t basalt is glacial till.”

  6. raven says

    Hitchens Rule: Religion poisons everything!!!

    Says it all.

    You would think that legislator could find someone more his own size than an 8 year old girl to use to grind his ideological and superstition axes on.

  7. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    I thought that Washington, like parts of Oregon and Northern California, had multiple microplates incorporated into the mountains which included seafloor scrapes made up of cherts composed of massive numbers of microfossils.

  8. bcmystery says

    The Okanogan Highlands, in northeast Washington state, has formations dating to Precambrian times. More recent formations can be found in central Washington and the Olympic Peninsula, including formations from the period in which the Columbia Mammoth might be found. FWIW.

    Fun interactive(ish) map of Washington fossil sites can be found here.

  9. dgallan says

    I am not an American, but wouldn’t the mention of Biblical passages in the bill violate the 1st amendment of your constitution?

  10. says

    dgallan:

    I am not an American, but wouldn’t the mention of Biblical passages in the bill violate the 1st amendment of your constitution?

    Supposedly. Things haven’t been going so well here.

  11. says

    [quibble] The proper preposition would be “into”, as it is describing a change of position, not a static position. [/quibble]

    Otherwise… Bryant should be thumped with his own Bible. Repeatedly.

  12. Pierce R. Butler says

    Can’t you just see Sen. Kevin Bryant reading this thread and realizing, “My God, they’re right – a bill proposing an Official State Fossil is the wrong place to inject Scripture!
    “Ladies and gentlemen, my new bill, which is mine, proposes an Official State Religion for the great state of South Carolina…”

  13. hillaryrettig says

    wonder if he’s one of those pharmacists who thinks he’s got a right to pick and choose which prescriptions he fills, based on his “godly principles”

  14. ShowMetheData says

    “Bryant told The Daily Beast that the intent was never to hijack the bill”

    Liar!
    – He’s the George Costanza of Minnesota – using a child to shield from himself the flames of reality

  15. davidchapman says

    I’m a bit nonplussed by this American thing of having a special everything for each state. But a state fossil is really good, because the fossil is dug out from the ground; so it’s actually literally a bit of the state. Which is kind of cool.

  16. twas brillig (stevem) says

    <Weasley voice>You don’t believe that mammoths were created on the 4th day?</Weasley>

    [Thunderdome too "Deep" for me and TL;DR, gotta snark where I can...]

  17. raven says

    I thought that Washington, like parts of Oregon and Northern California, had multiple microplates incorporated into the mountains which included seafloor scrapes made up of cherts composed of massive numbers of microfossils.

    Sure.

    And even the basalt area on the eastern side has fossils.

    Petrified wood. There are whole forests that were covered by basalt and ash flows in situ and petrified. Some of them are actually agatized and/or opalized and quite dramatic.

  18. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Thanks, everybody. Yeah I knew the Olympic peninsula and points south were microplates accreted by the westward movement of the North American plate, but I thought everything was pretty much covered either by basalt from the Olympic Mountains or till from the glaciers. The Okanagan highlands is new information though—thanks, bcmystery. Over her one tends to think of Eastern Washington (AKA The Land of Mordor, where the shadows lie), as nothing but one big lava flow.

  19. raven says

    Ginkgo Petrified Forest Interpretive Trails — Washington Trails …
    www. wta. org › Find a Hike › Hiking Guide‎

    One of the largest petrified forests on the planet sits in the center of Washington State. The ancient trees were mineralized into rock during the great lava flows …

    FWIW. I know this is almost OT, but it is much more interesting than another fundie with a brain the size of a golf ball.

  20. twas brillig (stevem) says

    erratum@20:

    You don’t believe that mammoths were created on the 4th 6th day?

  21. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Bryant has since submitted a more on-topic amendment, describing the Columbian Mammoth “as created on the Sixth Day with the beasts of the field.”

    I knew Jeebus rode to school on a dinosaur, but now it seems he plowed with a mammoth. You learn something new every day.

  22. 33lp says

    I am disappointed that PZ has not expressed his opinion of blueberry muffins. I will take his omission as tacit approval/endorsement of blueberry muffins, and by the transitive property of inverted ferkins, a celebration of The Great Cosmic Muffin as our most delicious magic overlord.

    Sure, why not? // [Clearly I have nothing substantial to contribute to this discussion.]

  23. Rey Fox says

    You would think that legislator could find someone more his own size than an 8 year old girl to use to grind his ideological and superstition axes on.

    I wouldn’t, actually.

  24. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    but now it seems he plowed with a mammoth.

    I thought the bible kinda frowned on bestiality.

  25. mikeyb says

    Things like this almost make me wish Lincoln had relocated blacks and anyone else who wanted to leave from the South after the Civil War and then let them re-secede into their Ted Nugent bible thumping delusions.

  26. chrisv says

    It does. As did slavery. And lynching. And segregation. As does Citizens United. And waterboarding. And NSA snooping. And genocide.

  27. ganymede says

    @27 and 28, nah, I wouldn’t propose him for state fossil; I’d propose him for state joke.

  28. ganymede says

    Actually, the real problem with people like Bryant isn’t even that they seek to insert religion into everything; it’s their annoying assumption that their particular religion is the only one that matters. So, if I were a member of the South Carolina legislature, I’d propose a compromise. Let’s pass Senator Bryant’s amendment recognizing Genesis. Let’s also pass an amendment recognizing the Hindu story about the earth resting on the shell of a giant tortoise. And the Norse one about All-Father Odin making the world from the body of a dead frost giant. And the Native American one about the great god Manitou. If we’re going to honor religion, let’s not do a half job; let’s honor all of them.

  29. sqlrob says

    You would think that legislator could find someone more his own size than an 8 year old girl to use to grind his ideological and superstition axes on.

    Toddlers seldom present anything in session.

  30. says

    Ganymede:

    Let’s also pass an amendment recognizing the Hindu story about the earth resting on the shell of a giant tortoise.

    The earth is supported by four elephants on the back of a tortoise.

    And the Native American one about the great god Manitou.

    Algonquian tribes.

  31. ganymede says

    Wow, Inaji, Algonquians aren’t Native Americans? I had no idea.

    It also seems to me that if the tortoise supports the elephants that support the earth, then the tortoise is supporting the earth. But thanks anyway.

  32. elementalbrain says

    Did anyone see the latest response from Kent Hovind to PZ? Great read as always, every line made me laugh.

  33. anuran says

    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge, I spent a couple summers in high school in the John Day National Monument digging out oreodont and fossilized plant bits. In fact, I’m one of a very select few to be bitten by an oreodont in the last few million years. Well, at least to get scratched by one of their teeth to the point where I had to put a bandaid on it. There’s a wealth of fossils over there along with the basalt and volcanic ash.

  34. ck says

    If you truly, sincerely believe that your only purpose in life is to glorify their god as some Christians do, then yes, you have to shove that awful little book into everything you do.

  35. chrisdevries says

    Subject matter notwithstanding, the Minnesota state photo is actually quite excellent, in my opinion.

    As to the topic at hand, to the committed Christianists, that awful little holy book IS everything, so it is no surprise they keep thrusting it INTO everything. This is precisely why secularism should be embraced as a principle of governance: as long as nobody is being harmed or forcibly indoctrinated (and I include children in that caveat although most do not), they can believe in their silly little stories to their hearts’ content and not face persecution, just as those who look to different storybooks (or interpretations of storybooks) as the source of the meaning in their lives (or those who embrace reality for their meaning) can. Otherwise it’s a crap-shoot to see which particular peculiar religious sect we ALL have to follow or face persecution; they just happen to be under the delusion that theirs (Baptism maybe…or Methodism…perhaps non-denominational fundamentalism of some flavour…I can’t tell the difference) will win because…God wills it!? Which God? Idiots.

  36. chrisdevries says

    Hehe, looks like ck beat me to that particular point by 5 minutes. Still, it bears repeating – these people are deluded into believing something nutty and commit their entire lives to their delusion (or at least they try to, notwithstanding their patented hypocrisy when their awful little book says something they disagree with).

  37. says

    ganymede #39

    Wow, Inaji, Algonquians aren’t Native Americans? I had no idea.

    You do understand that ‘Native American’ is a much, much broader category than ‘Algonquin’, do you not? This is basic set theory, that Set A containing the whole of Set B does not mean that Set B contains the whole of Set A. There are many, many groups of Native Americans, with widely varying cultures, languages, and belief systems. Thus, talking about what ‘Native Americans’ believe, as though that were a homogeneous and fungible group rather than a catch-all term encompassing the literally hundreds of cultures with roots in the North or South American continents dating back more than five centuries makes you look both ignorant and bigoted. You may wish to watch that sort of thing in the future, if you care about your reputation in those areas.

    It also seems to me that if the tortoise supports the elephants that support the earth, then the tortoise is supporting the earth. But thanks anyway.

    You initially said:’”the earth resting on the shell of a giant tortoise.” The Earth Rests On the Shell of a Giant Tortoise ≠ The Earth Rest on the Backs of Four Enormous Elephants. More specifically, ‘rests on’ ≠ ‘ supported by’

  38. says

    Ganymede:

    Wow, Inaji, Algonquians aren’t Native Americans? I had no idea.

    I’m half Lakota, and one of those Indians who doesn’t care for the term ‘native Americans’, like many thousands of other Indians from various tribes, including many who are not living in the U.S.. Your ignorance is showing, using that term, because it paints us as monolith. We are not. Instead of being an ass about it, perhaps you could have realized that it would’ve taken you 2 seconds to search ‘manitou’, so you could correctly ascribe it to those who held that particular belief.

  39. Larry says

    I thought that Washington, like parts of Oregon and Northern California, had multiple microplates incorporated into the mountains which included seafloor scrapes made up of cherts composed of massive numbers of microfossils.

    The author, John McPhee, wrote about how island arcs, formed in the depths of the ocean at spreading centers on the seafloor, were accreted on to the western shoreline of the proto-North American continent in his excellent book Assembling California. The motions of the tectonic plates caused these arcs to sail across the depths and collide on to the shores, the plates subducting beneath the continental plate, resulting in volcanoes, and the upper crust being scraped off the top. This happened multiple times over millions of years. Its happening today,

    Its a fascinating story of geology and so much more satisfying than saying ‘God done it’.

  40. ganymede says

    Dalillama, I don’t know, without looking it up, if all of the Algonquians believed in Manitou; it may well be that only a subset of Algonquians did, in which case Algonquian is even too broad a set. Regardless, your comments, and Inaji’s, fit under the heading of “being a pedantic asshole.” Even if you and Inaji are technically correct, it has nothing to do with my primary point, which is that there’s no reason this guy should act as if his religion is the only one. That primary point is actually relevant to this thread, unlike the attempted hijacking of the thread into which native Americans did and did not worship Manitou. Plus, I’ve been at this long enough to know that no matter how carefully one’s words are chosen, someone somewhere is going to find a reason to be offended, so at this point I don’t bother; my writing style is my writing style. You might try saving your offense for situations in which offense was actually intended.

  41. ganymede says

    Inaji, I did not intend to paint all Native Americans as monolithic. As it happens, I’m of African descent; I would not take offense if someone said “Africans did X” even if my particular Africans didn’t; so long as it’s a fair statement and no bigotry was intended. Maybe I just have a thicker skin.

  42. Seize says

    @ ganymede @ 51

    Or perhaps you pay less attention to detail. If you’re going to posit what trait gives rise to a difference, you should at least consider competing hypotheses.

  43. says

    ganymede:

    Inaji, I did not intend to paint all Native Americans as monolithic.

    I’ll take you at your word. This is not a matter of pedantry, it’s a matter of dismissal and bigotry. Most Indians prefer to be named by nation or tribe. This is a simple matter, and it’s not difficult to do.

    As it happens, I’m of African descent; I would not take offense if someone said “Africans did X” even if my particular Africans didn’t; so long as it’s a fair statement and no bigotry was intended. Maybe I just have a thicker skin.

    You should be bothered by “Africans did X”, because it’s a sweeping generalisation which adds to the pool of both ignorance and bigotry. It has nothing at all to do with a thicker skin.

  44. Amphiox says

    Ganymede, would you say that Scandinavians are Europeans? Now if someone made a comment about the “European delicacy of lutefisk” you would dismiss an attempt to correct this as “pedantry”? And this would be an example that does not carry with it the baggage of historical bigotry that has accrued around the term “Native American”.

  45. Bicarbonate is back says

    Why should Minnesota have the beaver from Ohio as its state fossil? Castoroides ohioensis. It should be Ohio’s. Aren’t there any Fossilides Minnesotensis?

  46. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    I just wasted about fifteen minutes struggling over a comment that would try to explain the difference between manitou/Gitche Manitou and how different terms and concepts are used and their variations across cultures. But trying to explain the spiritual traditions of Algonquian peoples would be pointless and off topic.

    Sigh.

    Back on topic, poor Olivia. What a fantastic idea from her, too.

  47. vaiyt says

    As it happens, I’m of African descent; I would not take offense if someone said “Africans did X” even if my particular Africans didn’t; so long as it’s a fair statement and no bigotry was intended.

    Such a statement is necessarily bigoted and not fair if it paints you with the same wide brush.

  48. Bicarbonate is back says

    Well, at least I learned who and what Manitou is. The French use it all the time, “Le grand Manitou”, meaning an important person in some field of activity.

  49. ganymede says

    I think the real issue is we’re talking about different sets. It is true that not all Native Americans worshiped Manitou. It is also true that the people who did worship Manitou were all Native Americans (absent any outlying individual exceptions here or there that might have existed). And that’s the sense in which I meant that Manitou was a Native American god. Under the same logic, I would not feel the need to correct someone who said that lutefisk is a European dish; it is, in the sense that it had its origins in Europe and the people who eat it are by and large European. I wouldn’t anyway, unless it were critical to the issue under discussion, because even when people are sloppy in their use of language, taking the time to correct them usually only accomplishes a derailment of what was actually being discussed.

    Now, is it bigoted to say, “The Africans defeated the British at the Battle of Khartoum”? I don’t think so. I think that on reflection, it would be more precise to say the Sudanese defeated the British, but the people who defeated the British were in fact African. Likewise, “the Africans built the library at Alexandria” may be imprecise, but it’s technically correct.

    However, there’s a larger issue here. At the risk of sounding like a tone troll, there was nothing at all in my original post that even hinted that I have a drop of prejudice toward the indigenous peoples living in North America at the time the Europeans arrived to colonize it. I will concede nothing more than that I could have been more precise than I was, but lack of precision and bigotry are not the same thing. Why, with all the real and unabashed bigotry in the world, would you bother about an innocuous comment that’s technically true and that contributes to the topic being discussed? I’ve experienced enough genuine prejudice in my life to not get offended where no offense was intended.

  50. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    sigh

    Between dumbfuck Sen. Mike Fair, our corrupt Gov. Haley, this moron Bryant and “Owns a confederate uniform and damn proud to wear it” McConnell, it’s hard to argue against us being the laughing stock of the country.

  51. says

    Rev. BDC! *hugs you ferociously* I’ve missed ya, dude.

    /derail.

    MM:

    I just wasted about fifteen minutes struggling over a comment that would try to explain the difference between manitou/Gitche Manitou and how different terms and concepts are used and their variations across cultures. But trying to explain the spiritual traditions of Algonquian peoples would be pointless and off topic.

    In the case of ganymede, it certainly would be pointless. Once again, it’s just fine to be a bigoted asswipe to Indians. I’ll join you in that sigh.

  52. woozy says

    Wow, Inaji, Algonquians aren’t Native Americans? I had no idea.

    I’m actually a little bit on your side, ganymede, but a defensive pissy response to relevent complaint and valid observation really paints one in a bad light. A simple, “Yes, I was being a bit general but I was hoping it’d go without saying that I was referring to a small subsection and not implying any monolithic belief. I assumed everyone’s basic knowledge would lead them to the same conclusion” (or better yet saying “the tales of Manitou of some Native Americans” in the first place) would have been a far more reasonable response.

    Ganymede, would you say that Scandinavians are Europeans? Now if someone made a comment about the “European delicacy of lutefisk” you would dismiss an attempt to correct this as “pedantry”?

    I would have absolutely no problem with someone saying the “European delicacy of lutefisk”. But if I made such a statement (which is a little unlikely) and someone corrected with “European Scandinavian delicacy of lutefisk”, I would respond with “True, I was being general; perhaps a little too much so” rather than with a sarcastic “Scandinavians aren’t Eurpean?”.

    After all, Native Americans are humans so wouldn’t one simple say “the human stories of Manitou”? There’s a line where generalization are simply too broad. I’m willing to forgive people for being too sloppy with it. But I don’t feel one can demand the high ground after a sloppy abuse. Yes, I’d say “The Africans defeated the British” but I *shouldn’t*.

    Anyway, Inaji, is being nothing but a class act in this case, in my opinion.

    It also seems to me that if the tortoise supports the elephants that support the earth, then the tortoise is supporting the earth. But thanks anyway.

    I believe this was supposed to be a discworld reference. Terry Pratchett is big on this blog and … hey, I forgot to borrow “Raising Steam” from my friend when I visited her this afternoon. Damn!

  53. woozy says

    ganymede

    However, there’s a larger issue here. At the risk of sounding like a tone troll, there was nothing at all in my original post that even hinted that I have a drop of prejudice toward the indigenous peoples living in North America at the time the Europeans arrived to colonize it. I will concede nothing more than that I could have been more precise than I was, but lack of precision and bigotry are not the same thing.

    Perhaps not but it came across that way. And as lack of precision and broadbrushing frequently are tools and first steps to both deliberate and inadvertant acts and attitudes of racism, noting such imprecisions is a valid concern. Dismissing said concerns with rather pissy sarcastic accusations of pedantry (which it really isn’t; at worst it’s concern for accuracy) forfeits all rights to take the high ground.

    Really, just apologize for being imprecise and for any misconceptions it may have caused, state that whatever misconceptions were not your intent, and then resolve to do better in the future. It’s that easy. It really is.

  54. ganymede says

    Woozy, as I’m sure you know, humans have a tendency to see patterns even where they don’t exist. That’s how conspiracy theories get started. In fact, it most certainly should have gone without saying that I was referring to a small subsection and not implying any monolithic belief, because that’s the only reasonable interpretation of what I actually said. The alternative interpretation — that all Native Americans at all times and places worshiped Manitou — is not a reasonable interpretation since nobody with any sense would believe that. However, there is an unfortunate tendency on the part of some to see patterns of racism even where there are none. And so my real objection isn’t even to the pedantry, though that’s part of it; it’s the false accusation of racism as a result of false pattern recognition. Yes, racists do generalize, but that doesn’t mean that every generalization is racist. Maybe you think it’s OK to falsely accuse someone of racism; I don’t. Racism is a horrible thing, and it is slanderous and despicable to falsely accuse someone of it. And calling me a racist asswipe after I’ve articulated a non-racist basis for what I said is not a class act.

    In fact, I would go a step further: I haven’t been here long enough to know if this is the case here or not, but in some circles, calling someone a racist is essentially a variation on Godwin’s law: It’s an emotional argument-stopper designed to tell the speaker to just shut up so no one has to respond to the merits of what he or she is arguing. Well, I don’t just shut up. I call out the false accusation for what it is and don’t back down. As a black man, I’ve experienced enough real racism to know it when I see it. An imprecise use of language isn’t it.

  55. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    @ 22

    Land of Mordor where the shadows lie? It’s not that… bad…

    Sighs and looks out the window.

    Maybe a little.

    I was surprised we didn’t have the ginko or another form of petrified wood as the state fossil, what with the petrified forest at Vantage.

  56. ganymede says

    I was gently corrected at first; it’s when I rejected the correction (on non-racist grounds) that Inaji said I was a bigoted asswipe.

    I’m happy to call people what they wish to be called (within reason; not sure I could bring myself to call the pope the holy father), but that’s not what was presented as the issue. The issue, as it was originally presented, was that I said something that could be interpreted as saying that all Native Americans were a monolith. I don’t think that’s a reasonable interpretation of what I said. And there, I am happy to let the matter drop, since I think the law of diminishing returns kicked in about ten posts ago.

    I will admit to being surprised at Inaji’s use of the term “Indian” since I thought that wasn’t the preferred term. Whether “Indian” or “Native American” there does need to be a term when someone is speaking about the tribes collectively, just as “African” or “European” is used to refer to larger-than-tribal groupings.

  57. spacejunkie says

    @65 Of course they would have to entombed Bryant in the right sort of geological strata for a few million years, so no downside there.

  58. woozy says

    The correction was a simple strikethrough with no comment. That could be interpreted many ways. But mainly as in all “I think this is more correct” prevails. And it *is* more correct. So your pissy sarcastic comment wasn’t really appropriate. It was then pointed out your comment could be taken as racism; perhaps by the pretty absurd (although I have met people stupid enough to make such claims) that if one native american tribe believed something they all must have, or by the more innocuous, but equally offensive, broadbrush “one needn’t make such a precise distinction between native american tribes”. But even still no one had accused you of racism yet. These are valid corrections and valid concerns. A simple response of “well, okay I was too general and elided too much for public taste apparently, sorry” would have ended everything. (Well, on this board probably not but it *would* have given you the moral upper hand which you sure as shit don’t have any more.) But instead you accuse this commentators of pedantry. Well, no, their concerns were valid. *Maybe* the concerns were hyper-sensitive and quick to judge. Or maybe you were being a self-righteous prick. Who’s to say? But the concern was valid. By dismissing it as pendantry though you did throw down the gauntlet and set yourself up.

    No, I don’t think you are a racist and no I don’t think you should be called one. But you are defending to too far means ill-conceived statements that were not given full forethought through a “racist filter”. That just conflates your appearance.

    I could have made the same sort of generalization. I think I probably would have said “some native americans” or “north-eastern native americans” (if I were too lazy to research or wasn’t sure I actually knew what level of classification algonquian was [I kind don't actually]). Or maybe I wouldn’t have. I *would* have said “The Africans defeated the British”. And then when someone pointed out “You know, they were the Sudanese. Africa’s a *huge* continent, you know.” I would have responded “Gee, you’re right; I won’t do that again.” (And after today I won’t.) To *insist* that I right and it’s just a generalized subset issue and you are all attacking me, is the heels in entrench myself and to fuck with the rest of the world, that just makes a rational man look like a paranoid entitled loon.

  59. says

    ganymede:

    I will admit to being surprised at Inaji’s use of the term “Indian” since I thought that wasn’t the preferred term.

    Do you know any Indians, ganymede? Have you asked them what their preference is, when it comes to referring to them? Your thought on the matter has nothing to do it, and you’ve left at least two Indians in this thread less than impressed. Most Indians prefer to be addressed by their particular tribe or nation. Stop making excuses for generalizing people.

    Whether “Indian” or “Native American” there does need to be a term when someone is speaking about the tribes

    All Indians are not American. FFS, get that through your head, please. The next time you can’t manage to type something like ‘Manitou’ into a search engine, to see which nations or tribes had a particular belief, try Indigenous Peoples or First Nations.

  60. anuran says

    Rev. BigDumbChimp writes

    Between dumbfuck Sen. Mike Fair, our corrupt Gov. Haley, this moron Bryant and “Owns a confederate uniform and damn proud to wear it” McConnell, it’s hard to argue against us being the laughing stock of the country.

    Nope. There’s still Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama

  61. says

    Do you have to shove your awful little holy book in everything?

    When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Which is to say, the answer to the question is “yes.”

  62. carlie says

    ganymede, it wasn’t just an oversight – it was an oversight born and raised from a culture that doesn’t see Indians as actual people with their own histories. It’s from a culture that has historically seen Indians as an enemy, a culture that made actual laws committing and encouraging actual genocide of Indians from the minute a European foot stepped in this hemisphere. It’s from a culture that stole babies and children from their parents to “re-educate” them into forgetting what tribe they came from, who their families were, who they were. It’s from a culture that still steals babies and children and takes them away from their tribes. The entire history of interactions of Europeans with native tribes on this continent has been one of eradicating them, and, when that failed, trying desperately to eradicate their history and sense of self and family and tribe and lump them all into one monolithic enemy. More in some countries than others, to the greatest extent in what is now the US (which is where the majority of people here are posting from). So falling into calling them one big group? That’s not just pattern recognition. That’s not just being broad. That’s playing into the hands of every colonialist who ever dreamed of the total genocide of the people who were in the way of him taking land he thought was rightfully his. So don’t do it. Maybe you didn’t know that before. Now you do. Now’s when you back down and don’t do it again, not keep trying to say that your ignorance makes your racist comment ok.

  63. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    …a state muffin (blueberry).

    Love it :)

    California’s state fossil is a fucking Smilodon! That’s a cool state fossil.

  64. Nick Gotts says

    California’s state fossil is a fucking Smilodon! – Thumper@83

    Well presumably, two fucking smilodons :-p
    But how remarkable that they actually got fossilised while getting it on!

  65. says

    @carlie:

    +1

    @ganymede:

    Stop digging. Listen to what’s being said. No one is calling you a racist. You’re getting defensive over something that no one is saying. You’re of African descent – so you should be keenly aware of the number of different African cultures and how the Europeans basically put all of them into the same box and drew borders between and through the different tribes because hey, they’re all the same people anyway.

  66. ganymede says

    Kevin, that may be, but then I’m responding to other people being defensive over something I never said. The interpreation being placed on my original post has no relationship to what I actually said. Listening is a two way street.

  67. says

    @ganymede:

    The issue revolves around erasure of cultures. There are a lot of different Native American cultures – Inaji and I are of different tribes, but both Native American. I know your intent wasn’t to erase the difference between our cultures, but it’s one of those little things Native Americans have had to deal with for centuries – lumping all of us into one group as if we’re indistinguishable from each other.

    I don’t want to speak for her, but Inaji’s original post looks like it was just to explain more clearly that Manitou is specifically Algonquin. Instead of snarking back, perhaps the better thing to do would have been to say “thank you?”

  68. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    You might try saving your offense for situations in which offense was actually intended.

    Because intent is magic and you should all grow a thicker skin and stop whining /parody.

  69. la tricoteuse says

    ganymede:

    As it happens, I’m of African descent

    The lesson here apparently being that a member of one oppressed group gets to dictate to members of other oppressed groups precisely how and when they are allowed to be offended by/push back against/attempt to correct and minimise their respective forms of oppression?

    And of course let’s not forget the “victims of oppression can never ever be guilty of oppressing others” angle.

    Because that’s all true. /snark

  70. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Nick Gotts #84

    I believe it was a Pompeii-like eruption… but seeing as it was the male smilodon who told me that, and he also used the phrase “made the earth move”, I would take it with a pinch of salt.

  71. says

    @76 Inaji

    The next time you can’t manage to type something like ‘Manitou’ into a search engine

    Shit, I didn’t even have to do that/i> much. Being unaware of Manitou, i double-clicked-to-highlight on the word (in Chrome), and it quickly popped up the following:

    “man·i·tou
    (among certain Algonquian Indians) a good or evil spirit as an object of reverence.”

  72. woozy says

    The smilodon is a state fossil I’m proud of. Our state archeological relic is a chipped obsidian bear. It’s kind of cool. I had always been under the impression our state vegetable was the artichoke but apparently that’s unofficial.

  73. ganymede says

    All right, let me turn down the volume on my own rhetoric for a minute. I probably was snarkier to Inaji than I needed to be.

    Kevin, except for a few hundred people who are either completely assimilated into modern day Ghana, and a few slave descendants such as myself living in North America, my own tribe no longer exists, so when you talk to me about cultural genocide, you are preaching to the choir. I can travel back to Ghana and see where they used to live, but as a practical matter, there is no more “they”. I absolutely understand how precious your heritage is to you, and the importance of maintaining it. I understand the racism of lumping together people into groups of “us” and “not us” and that that is often a first step toward bad stuff. I get all that, I really do.

    But what kind of lumping together fosters that kind of racial and cultural prejudice? I’ll tell you. It’s lumping together like “Blacks/Indians have higher crime rates” and “higher substance abuse” and “school drop out rates” and “teen pregnancy”. That’s the kind of talk that gives bigots ammunition; that puts them in the frame of mind to think that the entire group of “not us” is inferior, because, after all, they drop out of school and start making babies at 14 and hold up liquor stores. An innocuous throwaway comment about a Native American deity (or, for a perfect analogy, an innocuous comment about the African deity Nyame, which would have been the same thing) doesn’t. No bigot is going to think less of Blacks or Indians because of a general comment about an African or a Native American deity.

    And frankly, it makes us look bad to complain about such things, because every time we do, the predictable reaction is “there goes the left, taking offense about anything and everything.” If you get offended by everything, pretty soon you’re the boy who cried wolf; people just stop paying attention.

    I’ll try to write more precisely going forward. But in the scheme of things, I just don’t see this particular battle as worth picking.

  74. says

    @ganymede:

    The Pamunkey culture is gone.

    There’s a vague possibility that my tribe’s culture was in line with that of the Algonquin, but aside from a series of mass guessing, there’s no actual physical, anthropological, or historical record of my tribe’s culture. We have no remaining language, we have no remaining stories (except for the treaty and Pocahontas meeting with John Smith,) and we have no remaining cultural practices.

  75. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    ganymede @ 94

    I’ll try to write more precisely going forward. But in the scheme of things, I just don’t see this particular battle as worth picking.

    This is all that needs to be said: “I’m sorry for lumping people together like that. I’ll try to do better in the future.”

    It’s not worthy of a battle, no, but not because it’s such a minor issue to us Indians. It’s not worthy of a battle because it takes so very little from everyone else to deal with it.

    You’ll try to be more precise going forward? That’s cool. Good deal. Glad that’s over with. No need for “battling” at all.

  76. Toast Museum says

    Speaking of Glenn McConnell, he was recently selected as the next president of the College of Charleston by its board of trustees. Over the objection of 83% of the faculty and a petition by some 2000+ students. Despite not being among the candidates recommended by the independent search company. Despite having no experience in higher education.

    Oh, and he’s a Confederate … enthusiast who made an appearance on a white nationalist radio show: http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2014/03/28/glenn-mcconnell-appeared-on-white-nationalist-radio-show-political-cesspool-in-2007/

  77. ganymede says

    @98, I didn’t say I’m sorry I lumped people together, because I didn’t lump people together. Others may have interpreted it as lumping people together, but I’m not responsible for their misinterpretations of what was actually said. I can’t apologize for something I didn’t do. What I said is that I’ll try to be more precise in the future.

  78. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    The hell you didn’t lump people together. The Algonquin are, indeed, part of the set “indigenous peoples of North America,” but only a small fraction of that set are Algonquin. That is by definition lumping people together.

  79. woozy says

    Geez, are you *still* going on about this, ganymede?

    You made a statement using a broader than necessary category. You referred to “birds” that drink the sugar water in your feeder, beat their wings faster than can be visually followed, and consume hundreds fo times their body weight daily. Okay, so what? You didn’t say anything incorrect. Those creature are birds. fine.

    Inaji comments that those creatures are hummingbirds. Okay, she’s being more specific. For some reason she thinks this distinction is important. Okay, you can do a couple things at this point (– one of which is simply not it go). You could acknowledge that Inari is being more specific. You can ask her why she thinks this increased specification is important. You can explain that you didn’t see it as significant. Or you could insist that the difference is irrelevant and imply she is a jerk for pointing it out. You chose the last option.

    Inaji responds and explains we she thought the distinction was important. Her reason is valid. And she makes a good point that the distinction is important to her. Perhaps her reason is not universally important to all and it might still not be important to your point of view. But it’s utterly clear that her reasons are utterly correct, that the specifications were more accurate and thus better in any practical sense than yours anyway. Her reasons might not be universally important but the are clearly important to a ornithologists (who incidently have been traditionally marginalized in discussions despite being the people most involved in issues of birds) but even to non-ornithologist there is no reason to refuse the distinction.

    And so you point out that her distinction was unnecessary and stupid as only an idiot would assume “birds” means all birds and insisting on a distinction is mere pedantry assholery.

    There’s some more exchanges. The nasty anti-ornithology habit of lumping all birds together comes up. You take great offense at the implication of being accused of anti-ornithologism. Several people pitch in and express concern that you are defending the undefendible, some gently, some bluntly but most commenting on the unseemliness of continuing to lump all birds together. You say you may have erred on your classification being broad but all implications of anti-ornithology bird lumping is bullshit and you will never ever appologize and we’re pendantic assholes and Goodwin-hhodlums all.

    Inaji, who up to now has been a class act, gets tired of wrestling a pig curses “bigoted asswipe” under her breath and leaves.

    So, ganymede. Were you raised in the George W. Bush school of never apologize and never show weakness school? Another explanation makes your behavior utter, utter bizarre. Do you think I or any of the dozen or so commentators of you public train wreck really care that you stated “And the Native American one about the great god Manitou”? I can’t speak for her but I don’t think even Inaji cared about the intial statement that much either. It was the defensive response to gentle and valid criticism that set the world against you.

    Imagine if the whole conversation had gone like this instead:

    And the Native American Algonquian tribes one about the great god Manitou.

    I was being broad for simplification sake. “Algonquian tribes” is a subset of “Native American”.

    I don’t like the term “Native American”. It implies we are monolithic when we are not. Your attributing “Monitou” myths to a broad “Native American” when it is actually the myths of only a specific tribe implies such distinctions are dismissible.”

    Oh, I didn’t see it that way. I didn’t mean to imply you were monolithic. I’m sorry it was interpreted as such

  80. Rey Fox says

    Speaking of Glenn McConnell, he was recently selected as the next president of the College of Charleston by its board of trustees. Over the objection of 83% of the faculty and a petition by some 2000+ students. Despite not being among the candidates recommended by the independent search company. Despite having no experience in higher education.

    Ah, that good ol’ American meritocracy.

  81. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    So it turns out that Senator Fair from SC was also one of the ones who held up this bill at the start.

    Not surprising.