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Culture War Roundup for the week of October 16, 2023

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Much has been written in this space about inassimilable minorities, but no one talks about the one I've been Noticing. They were mostly brought to my town by large-scale economic forces which are beyond their control or ours. They send their children to particular schools. They tend to mix with each other rather than with us natives.

I'm talking, of course, about Californians.

I live in a midsize Southern port city. Into the twenty-first century, we maintain a surprisingly high nativity rate. People spend their lives here from cradle to grave. It is not unusual for college-educated adults’ closest friends to be their K-12 classmates. When people ask, “Where did you go to school?”, they often mean high school. The most-played bounce song at sock hops and weddings includes a long call-and-response section where DJ Jubilee asks, “What’s the name of your school?” and prompts you with a list of local high schools. You are to scream, “No!” until he hits bingo.

My own best friend dates back to kindergarten. I didn’t spend much time with transplants until I married one. Then I found myself at dinner tables full of them. That’s when I started Noticing.

For a while, it felt like Angelenos were moving here specifically to seek me out and personally offend me. Eventually I realized that most simply operated on a different etiquette, for which I learned to make allowances:

  • Even those with very expensive wardrobes refuse to dress more formally than business casual. This is not deliberate disrespect to the specialness or seriousness of your occasion. Rather, it seems to be a moral precept that formality is inegalitarian. They believe they’re doing you a favor and putting you at ease by criticizing your clothing with, “You're too dressed up for us!”
  • Their privacy settings are toggled differently. Within a couple hours’ acquaintance, they will volunteer family matters such as, “My sister never should have married that asshole.” They expect the same in return and will ask questions like, “How are you and your fiance splitting the cost of your new house?” They perceive refusals to answer as evidence that you dislike them.
  • They describe every friend as “close.” Some describe a surprising number of people as their best friend. It is prudent not to read too much into this.
  • When discussing a restaurant, a concert, or even an acquaintance, they give you not a description of their experience, but a review. It often sounds recited straight from a magazine. Their primary mode of interaction with the world is assessment and critique.
  • Conversations are competitions. Are you chit chatting to an acquaintance about gardening? This is not a low-stakes collaboration to pass the time at your kids’ baseball game. It is instead an opportunity to display your knowledge of local flora and best practices for this growing zone.
  • They are very interested in authenticity. They might discuss which punk bands are sellouts. They might curate knowledge of local breweries or the best restaurants for gumbo. (Trick question, Angelenos. The best gumbo is at my mama’s house.)

There are some aspects of the etiquette for which I cannot make allowances:

  • They overestimate others’ comfort with teasing and put-downs. Often, they are trying to countersignal intimacy. Unfortunately, they’re doing it in a relationship that isn’t close enough (in my culture) to justify taking the liberty. Occasionally their “jokes” are obvious passive aggression.
  • As new arrivals to a setting, they will criticize how things are done with an air of amused superiority. New hires at work will roll their eyes at management. New parents at school will casually declare the principal a bitch. Southerners have slightly more regard for authority, even in my famously lax town.
  • Californians’ sense of superiority is often moral superiority. They are eager to condemn the -isms in their new home, and often profoundly ignorant of the history of their old one. One woman told me, verbatim, “Growing up in L.A., I never saw racism. Except for that whole Rodney King thing.”

And finally, there is an aspect of West Coast culture that I cannot sum up in a bullet point: they seem to have a different model of conflict resolution than the surrounding Southerners.

One former business partner of my husband’s tried to settle an argument by committing a financial crime. He then spent months telling dog-ate-my-homework lies about it. Another former friend went on an online harassment campaign to ruin my husband’s professional reputation. This man pretended to our faces that he was not responsible and had no idea what we were talking about. Another was a frizz-blonde neighbor whom my cameras recorded stealing potted plants from my front yard at two in the morning. When I recognized my own rosemary on her porch, she claimed to have bought it from a garage sale given by a black man around the corner.

All of these wrongdoers, when caught red-handed, continued to smile, front it out, and pay friendly compliments. Their instinct was to compensate us, not with an admission and apology, but with assurances of their personal admiration. For most, I believe the desire to compensate us was quite genuine. A couple of them seemed baffled and even insulted that we no longer wished to be friendly afterwards.

People of all extractions can behave in these ways. Mendacity and social fictions are not unique to Californians. Perhaps I've just been exceedingly unlucky in my acquaintances, and I'm suffering a Chinese Robber effect. But this pattern has repeated with enough frequency that I’ll tentatively call it a cultural difference. Southerners are famous for our “bless your heart” fake niceness, but our lingering honor culture demands explicit apologies for insults. It would appear that Californians consider it more polite to smooth over transgressions in this other way.

These frictions tend to subtly drive transplants and natives into different social circles. So, too, do larger forces.

The transplants tend to have different priorities when it comes to housing. Locals will buy starter homes in the less fashionable suburbs. Gentrifying neighborhoods, however, brim with recent arrivals who have no memory of past traumas (like for instance that time in the 1990s that a man got set on fire in front of dozens of witnesses right around the corner). The safest neighborhoods in the metro area were mostly developed during white flight, and they are primarily populated by locals whose parents and grandparents could afford to flee the crime wave of the 60’s - 90s. I’ve heard transplants - even those with kids - express horror at the idea of living in these well-kept, leafy areas.

As in other places, affordability affects this pattern. To a local, a half-million dollar house is staggeringly expensive. To Californians, apparently it’s a steal. The most historic and expensive real estate in the city is disproportionately owned by out-of-state part-timers. These people are waited upon by locals who commute into the area.

There are also different priorities when it comes to schooling. For ugly historical reasons that would require a bookshelf to explicate, my city has a school system that is a) mostly low-achieving b) often de facto racially segregated and c) studded with more charter schools than any other American city. Many locals grew up assuming that a quality education in a safe setting meant moving to a suburb, paying manageable amounts for parochial school, or paying obscene amounts for non-Catholic private school. This situation persisted long enough that sending your son to be educated by e.g. the Jesuits is often something of a family tradition. So is single-sex education; most parochial schools are all boys or all girls. Black Catholic education also has a long history here. These institutions all have a relatively recent history of racial segregation (like most things in the South) and remain barely-to-imperfectly integrated. To the natives, who have family loyalties to these schools, this is often considered unfortunate but not a dealbreaker.

The first magnet schools were opened in the 1970s to draw whites back into the city center from the suburbs, and these became popular and high-status among locals. That’s because, though they were public schools, they were carefully curated. They had entrance exams or neighborhood preference for admissions. One partnered with a local private university and gave preferential admission to the children of faculty. These schools are better integrated than private schools, but have never reflected the demographics of the city at large. Since the mid-2000s reforms, they have become charters rather than magnets, but to this day they are often criticized (with some justice) as private education on the public dime. More charters have popped up, offering French immersion or audition-only arts programs.

The Californians overwhelmingly send their kids to the competitive charters. They consider private school morally impermissible, and they seem to think that all boys' schools are particularly suspect as hotbeds of patriarchal indoctrination. As a transplant mom who earns six figures once told a part-Mexican homemaker whose family scrimps for Catholic school: “Oh, I want my kids exposed to diversity, not just a bunch of rich white boys.”

As with the schools, so with the hobby groups. Californians love our traditions and adopt them with gusto, but they do not typically join longstanding existing organizations. Instead, they establish new organizations with mostly other transplants. Or they might join, but then quit when they find out that Chick-Fil-A is one of six sponsors of a massive event. The result of all these values-differences is surprisingly strong social sorting based on a completely invisible demographic marker.

In many ways these transplants resemble previous waves of energetic, progress-minded New Yorkers and Texans who flooded our city in the early 19th century. In those days, these groups brought a distinctly American energy to this strange port town, which was then best understood as the northernmost outpost of the French Caribbean. Two hundred years later, in the wake of a devastating natural disaster, we got another wave of transplants. Then, I heard grumbles about “carpetbagging hipsters," but we were also grateful for the infusion of capital and youthful energy. In all fairness, in some ways their values are more admirable than our established patterns here. (Chick-Fil-A supports some dumb causes, and their chicken isn't as good as Popeye's.) The transplants see injustices or inefficiencies to which custom blinds us natives. They put pressure on local government to fund health care initiatives, protect minority rights, and for the love of God fill in the goddamn pot holes. I must admit they are often accustomed to higher standards, and it's sometimes helpful when they demand their institution here.

They often love this place fiercely. But no matter how many local slogan bumper stickers they put on their Toyotas, they aren't tied to this place in the way that I am. Most of these Californians would jump at the chance to return to their birthplace, which they openly consider superior. It's the cost of living that is prohibitive. More than one has told me, “We could never afford a house in [a neighborhood we consider acceptable].”

They're like the younger sons of European nobility who colonized the New World. As gentry without an inheritance, they must go abroad. They chose my town because of its cultural cachet. David Simon made a series set here. Insufferable journalists write insufferable paeans to the “soul” of this place. The transplants’ adventurousness in living among all this authenticity is a source of pride, but they never forget the superiority of the civilized in the land of barbarians.

The barbarians, in our turn, know they'll be buried in the soil of the metropole, not here. Maybe we forget to invite them to the next crawfish boil. They stage their own crawfish boil (and do bizarre things like pour seasoning on the unpeeled bugs after they come out of the water - what is that about?). Our worlds drift farther apart. And this is how couples like me and my husband, in our tragic mixed marriage, end up at such challenging dinner parties.

I've seen the same but with

Coming from the Southwest, my mother was complaining about Californians with their pushy driving and their big houses fifteen years ago.

But, still, my home culture is closer to LA than it is to Luisiana, not only geographically, but more deeply. The same Spanish Colonial influences, of course. No influential schools specifically for boys, or Blacks, or Catholics. Sprawling cities that expanded in the era of the automobile, with huge grids and wide lanes.

I'm unsure how to classify the apology and trust issue, but I'm not sure "California" is the right category. We don't like our new neighbor, who has been building a house next to ours, because he does things like helping himself to other people's stuff without asking, and embedding it in his fence. When confronted with this, he always deflects, never apologizes. He seems to have learned everyone's names and has been occasionally using them as a kind of weapon. We always feel extra angry with him after he uses especially our children's names. My husband is considering installing a camera just for him, because he seems untrustworthy. He has painted his new house primer gray over stucco, in a land of clay colored pinks and tans, with matching grey stonework (suggesting this isn't an oversight, it really will stay that color), and bulldozed all the shrubs in his yard. We call this behavior "car salesman," but it's not exactly that, either. I don't know if he's from California, but if so, it was a long time ago. I would like it if there were an accepted term for this, like "premium mediocre" for many things also popular in California.

Back when I was in youth group at a California feeling Evangelical church, some church members once recommended a book called TrueFaced (, and talked about how it had been important and meaningful to them, as they realized that they had been living a lie all this time. They did not seem especially disoriented by that realization. My family was intensely puzzled by this (along with the popularity of things like Wild at Heart and The Purpose Driven Life, also out of California). I think this is related to the "privacy settings" issue, and also to pressure from many social groups to perform things like enthusiasm or conversion in order to experience belonging and acceptance. We once went on a youth group outing to a California theme park, where after riding roller coasters all day, we went to hear a sermon about "recommitting our lives to Christ" or some such thing. At one point, the speaker demanded that we should get up and go over to another area, so I did, and then got me to fill something out saying that I had pledged recommitment or something. Afterwards, I felt confused and ashamed. I got up because a leader told me to, and now it was supposed to be something deeply meaningful and personal? People with a deeper need for belonging and greater focus on adherence to social norms probably do bend their entire personalities around the expectation that they be in some constant state of Revival (or, now, of finding themselves, or therapy, of being Out, whatever their social group calls for)

Some years later, I was volunteering for a month at a youth camp in California. This time it was Eastern Orthodox, which even in California is more stately and solemn than frenetic and enthusiastic. And yet. They wore me out with constant demands to be more extroverted, more enthusiastic, to Experience Revival, to sing louder, with more energy, with frenzy, to compete for attention at each meal, for Fun. Californians, and California adjacent youth cultures, I think, do worship a minor deity of Fun, to which they make sacrifices.

Californians, and California adjacent youth cultures, I think, do worship a minor deity of Fun, to which they make sacrifices.

I think there's something to this. Movies and TV used to portray California (or LA specifically) as this little paradise of Cool Times, of good burgers and parties and going down to the mall with friends.

That doesn't sound realistic or like something to take seriously.

Re. the apology thing:

I've noticed that an apology is an admission that doesn't guarantee forgiveness; so forgiveness has to be given before the apology or the apology is pointless.

This is similar to how it was in my small jungle town in the middle of nowhere; where you needed an intermediary to be sure the beef was crushed before anyone tried to do any actual working it out so you didn't eg get beat with some horseshoes on the end of a chain.

Hmm, interesting. I’ll observe that the only time I’ve gotten a sincere apology from an Angeleno, it was because I brought up my complaint with the gentleness of a kindergarten teacher. No anger, no blame, all I-messages, etc. She knew from my tone that I was perfectly willing to forgive. She apologized profusely, repeatedly, and required much hugging and reassurance that she was forgiven.

She subsequently attempted to solicit negative opinions about me from my own cousins at an engagement party she had thrown for me. Perhaps I should have done the horseshoes.

When California sends it's people, they're not sending their best.

You're experiencing blue tribe whites from LA. Native Angelenos are actually 2/3 non-white and 40% immigrant, and have the same complaints you do. They enthusiastically barge into Mexican and Korean neighborhoods with the same smug, passive-aggressive, arrogance they do in your neighborhood. The appropriate Vietnamese culture without any desire to be part of the Vietnamese community.

New Orleans has a greater cultural depth than any other city in this country, as it has been an outpost of one empire after another, wealthy enough to bring adventurers, but humid and distant enough that it doesn't become overwhelmed. Los Angeles isn't the cultureless wasteland you think it is though, due to another quirk: Prop 13. The East Coasters (black and white) that moved to LA for the post-war aerospace boom? They're still there, living in their 50s houses. They're paying $100/year in property tax because of Prop 13, and they'll stay there forever. The Persians, Armenians, and Koreans have been in LA for three generations now, as have the Vietnamese. They're still in their little houses that they can't extend because that would trigger a ruinous property tax increase.

That's real LA - a city built to 1950s row-house density, accidentally multi-generational and thus continuous due to Prop 13 keeping grandparents around, with thriving ethnic neighborhoods. The people that built the hot rods or fled the Shah (and possibly both!) are still there!

The same smug cultural vampires that have floated over to your culture have been sticking their fangs into LA for decades now. I assure you real LA hates them as much as you do.

California's native stock is highly white. Its nonwhite % is increasing more than basically any other state, but California of 1980 was super white.

Prop 13 is also strangling the city and makes it impossible to enter the real estate market if you're not earning huge amounts of money. If you're a middle class Angeleno, resign yourself to living with your parents until they keel over and inherit the house (I hope you don't have siblings!), move out to bumfuck nowhere on the edge of town, or rent forever.

The eldest son inherits the title, and the younger sons go abroad in search of adventure. It has always been like that.

Not always. The Romans did not have a law of primogeniture for property.

In the modern era people usually expect to have their own place before getting married and having children. Good luck getting a wife when you live in your childhood bedroom.

LA was a majority white city until fairly recently. Whites were ethnically cleansed from LA by mass 3rd world immigration after WW2. These nonwhite people are a big reason for the way CA is. They certainly aren't voting for any Republicans.

The appropriate Vietnamese culture without any desire to be part of the Vietnamese

This is hilarious . Whites are supposed to integrate into parallel immigrant communities who arrived 2 generations ago?

This is hilarious . Whites are supposed to integrate into parallel immigrant communities who arrived 2 generations ago?

No, but if white liberals are going to go around sticking their nose into these communities and meddling, they ought to treat people in those communities as equals.

In the US "White" includes most Hispanics (besides Arabs). Every branch of my family's been in California since the 1920s, when they came from New Mexico. They spoke English and Spanish for 4 generations before the move, and more since. If you look at the employee roaster for Hughes Aircraft Company's engineers in 1959, half the names are Alvarez, Vasquez etc. The same for a high school marching band in 1942...

While the 80s and 90s saw a massive influx of Mexicans, the "Whites" in the bullet belt aren't who you're thinking of. I have a few generations of family in aerospace and their work photos aren't super white. By the late 70s, you get the children and wives of executed Vietnamese judges, many doctors, electrical engineers etc. coming. Within a few years, they appear on department pictures and cards. Note that LA county is the unclear 25%+.

Native Angelenos are

40% immigrant

Do you even read what you’re typing before posting it?

Everything important and valuable in Los Angeles was built by Americans from other parts of the country. The Tongva Indians who lived there before the Spanish arrived were hunter-gatherers and built no advanced settlements. Once the Spaniards showed up, they established a small mission, which had a few hundred people living in it at its peak. Later under Mexican sovereignty it grew to a small city of less than 2,000 people, which was still the population when Americans conquered it during the Mexican-American War in the 1840s. Even in 1870 its population was only about 5,000. By the year 1900 it was over 100,000 people - the overwhelming majority of them Americans from different parts of the country. It was those people that built Los Angeles as you know it: Anglos from the Midwest, the South, and the East Coast. You are merely a squatter on their patrimony. The “native” brown Angelenos you want to pretend are the “real” founding stock of the country were an afterthought to the people who actually built everything around you.

The “native” brown Angelenos you want to pretend are the “real” founding stock of the country were an afterthought to the people who actually built everything around you.

I know you've got some ideological commitments that cause you to overreact to this topic.

I don't think the brown Angelenos are the founding stock of LA. Without doxxing myself, I'm actually pretty close to white LA. I love that culture, and I alluded to them. They built JPL and the hot rods, they gave us surf culture and fighter jets, they gave American culture everything from astronaut buzzcuts to Hollywood.

They voted for Ronald Reagan and Howard Jarvis. If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world, during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name Southern California in the 80s.

They're also gone. LA county is about 1/4 non-Hispanic white, and that population is overwhelmingly older, almost retired. LAUSD is 10% non-Hispanic white, and they're not the type to vote for Ronald Reagan, to put it mildly.

All the sane white people left LA, and the only people with roots are the ones that stuck around in their ethnic enclaves. Today's LA is immigrant enclaves and white liberals.

You love to talk about patrimony, and America and Southern California does have a culture worth passing down. Based on rates of everything from military service to patriotism to car ownership, the people of the ethnic enclaves are a lot closer to my Red Tribe culture than the white liberals.

All you are saying is that there is no longer a native population of LA. Its all thieves. To make your point a bit more concisely.

Again, the question is “why?” What caused that change?

White (and black) normies could and did flee when California went crazy. Many immigrants in enclaves could not, since they didn't speak the language. Their relatives needed to be near those non-English speakers, and that created a core community that was hard to leave.

The result is all the English-speaking normies left, leaving immigrant enclaves and crazy white liberals.

Do you even read what you’re typing before posting it?

This was unnecessary.

As for your post, I find it funny how everyone from wignat Americans to defenders of Jewish ethnostates to Palestinian sympathizers wants to start history at whatever point is convenient for their argument. Sure, the people who first built the city of Los Angeles were white, but if a fourth-generation Mexican-American isn't a "native Angeleno," then you might as well acknowledge that the Tongva Indians have an equally valid claim to the "patrimony" of their land. Oh, are you actually arguing that the people who built things you value are the ones who get to claim the land? Well, guess you're ready to cede much of California to China, then. (Back in the 80s, it was Japan.)

Right, yes, human history is one long story of one group taking things - usually by force - from another group of people. I am very happy to be a direct descendant of a group which was extremely successful at taking things from other groups, and then using the newly-acquired land and resources to build something vastly better and of more importance to the future than anything the dispossessed group would or could have built using the same land and resources. If, some day, some even more advanced group conquers the territory currently occupied by my group, this will be very bad for my descendants, and it is a fate which obviously I am keen to try and prevent. If it happens, though, at least I can hope that they use their conquered territory and resources to build something glorious and important, as opposed to simply squandering and uglifying it.

The “native” brown Angelenos you want to pretend are the “real” founding stock of the country were an afterthought to the people who actually built everything around you.

Who do you think built El Pueblo de la Reyna de Los Angeles?

Going by Spanish law at the time, white people.

The people who were later replaced by a new group of people who vastly expanded the original settlement into something incalculably larger, more valuable, and more important. AKA nearly every existing structure in the city today, and the infrastructure needed to support those things.

Can you please explain what exactly "patrimony" is and why anyone should care who's "patrimony" something may or may not be part of? As far as I see it used here, it just seems to be a pretty word constantly constantly used to defend extremely anti-egalitarian and anti-meritocratic policies.

A patrimony is any thing of value which is passed down from person or family to the direct descendants of that person or family. Used more broadly, it can mean a thing of value that is passed down within members of a particular society or group of people to those whom they’ve designated as the inheritors of that thing.

If your complaint is that the fact that families can own things of value and that a father can choose to exclusively transfer ownership of that thing to his children, rather than to the stranger whom you deem most “deserving” of it, then I simply say that you and I have wildly different moral foundations. It’s okay for parents to favor their own children, rather than the children who are “objectively the most meritorious”. When my grandfather died, he transferred ownership of his home to his daughter - not to the person whom he thought would “do the best job” of cultivating its value or improving it aesthetically or whatever you think his criteria should have been.

I am simply extending the principle of family inheritance to societies and ethnic groups as a whole. People for most of history did their part to improve their local polity not simply for the benefit of their own individual children and grandchildren, but also the other future inhabitants of that same polity. If that polity were then, say, conquered or abandoned, and then some new group of people were to inhabit the same place and appropriate the existing things of value for themselves, such a state of affairs would obviously be contrary to the wishes of the previous inhabitants. (The new inhabitants would not be morally wrong in having taken something from someone else - the history of humanity is one long story of groups taking things by force from other groups - but it is clearly desirable and of vital importance for one group of people to endeavor to not suffer the fate of having its valuable things taken by another group of people.)

I am simply extending the principle of family inheritance to societies and ethnic groups as a whole.

This is much bigger complaint than your second paragraph. Why is ethnicity the right way to group people and why don't you like extending the principle to groups that share the same values and culture instead? I normally see "patrimony" used here to poetically sneak in this connotation of hereditary descent when it's never justified.

why don't you like extending the principle to groups that share the same values and culture instead?

To some extent, I do! As I laid out in this thread back on Reddit, I see whiteness as a category which is at least partially constructed, despite having a mostly-biological substrate. East Asians, for example, are not even remotely related to Europeans (unless one accepts deeply esoteric theories about the contribution of Tocharian/Indo-European-descended people to the genetic ancestry of the Yamato people from whom modern Japanese are mostly descended - a topic about which I’m totally unqualified to even offer speculation) yet since the end of World War II certain Asian countries have been some of the most productive and important contributors to first-world industrialized society of any peoples on earth. Personally, I’m happy to welcome Japanese and Koreans into the fold of people with whom I see myself as sharing a common destiny and at least some level of common patrimony, as long as they continue to seem willing to behave similarly toward me and mine.

However, the vast majority of people in the world do seem to achieve the highest degree of fulfillment and self-satisfaction when living among people with whom they share a common ancestry and deep history. Now, perhaps that’s simply an incidental consequence of the fact that in such parts of the world, genetic kinship tends to have a nearly one-to-one correspondence with cultural/linguistic/political similarity.

Maybe in a hypothetical world in which “values” were randomly distributed among people, such that it would be impossible to draw any sort of reliable inference about a person’s “values” or personality based on observing that person’s outwardly-apparent racial/ethnic background, it really would make no sense to place any value whatsoever on racial/ethnic similarity when deciding whom to associate with and share political sovereignty and resources with.

All available evidence, though, would seem to indicate that we do not, in fact, live in that hypothetical world. In the world in which we do live, cultures and “values” did not fall from the sky and pick ethnic groups at random. Things like personality are, in fact, heritable to a great degree. Consequently, people who are closely related genetically/ancestrally do in fact have a greater likelihood of having similar “values” than do people who are not related genetically/ancestrally. To the extent that this is true, it actually does make complete sense to see people with whom I share genuine documentable kinship to have a greater claim to my “patrimony” than do those with whom I share no kinship.

the european population is not racially homogenous. iberians, scandinavians, and russians, to take a few examples, can be distinguished on the basis of appearance and behavior.

also race has nothing to do with skin color, nordic people or whomever you are calling white really tend to be some combination of yellow, brown, pink, and red, i would even say that koreans and japanese are paler on average than westerners, and there are plenty of fair-skinned west africans and indians, etc. you really need to start calling races by more fitting terms if you want to be taken seriously.

The average black American has vastly more in common with a random white American than they do a random white African.

As a White South African who lives in America this isn’t true at all lol

Besides stuff like what television shows you grew up watching or sports you enjoy who h are very superficial things in the grand scheme of things, the cultural norms are similar enough between all Western European settler cultures.

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I don’t think he’s talking about simply handing the land over, but instead the right of conquest, which is and always has been how things work without a powerful overseeing government to enforce other rules and rights. Absent a power willing to enforce your right to a patrimony, the only other option is to be strong enough to enforce your claims. I don’t think that’s a moral claim in either direction, it’s simply a statement of fact that there’s not really a way to prevent a stronger group from taking your land, your stuff or anything else they want without someone strong enough to stop them.

Caveat: I don’t share hoffmeister’s ideological commitments. I’d like to take a crack at a charitable reading of this word.

Humans are unusual among mammals in our investment in offspring. We pour time, attention, resources, and instruction into our children during our lifetimes. We labor to build environments in which they can flourish. Upon our deaths, we transfer our worldly goods to them. This is natural, healthy, and loving.

Also unusual among mammals, we have social technologies that allow us to expand our sense of familial duty beyond immediate biological relatives. We do this by identifying shared traits, whether this is membership in a much larger kinship network or commitment to shared ideals. With these people, we form a nation - not a state, but a linguistic, religious, ideological, and often an ethnic in-group with a shared mythos. We pretty much never feel a true duty to those with whom we share neither blood nor values nor stories.

“Patrimony,” in the way these guys keep using it, is the knowledge, infrastructure, customs, and wealth accumulated by a nation and bequeathed to their children, who hold it in usufruct to bequeath to their children.

Obviously, for those relegated to the outgroup, this is going to look pretty heinous.

A “national divorce” just seems entirely unnecessary. Most people spend most of their time getting along.

Also, my ancestors came to the Gulf Coast twelve generations ago with Bienville and Iberville. You can’t make me move to some frozen wasteland up north.

Thanks! Well, it's only that heinous if it's about things like ethnicity that no one gets to choose for themselves---in the previous comment and I think most of the time it's used here, it's seems to just be based on who you're parents were instead of the alternative of which values and culture you choose to follow.

I also did a double take. California is the land of the great white hope, which makes the browning of the imminent horde that much worse.

It was 90+% white as late as the 70s.

This says that California was only 76% non-Hispanic white in 1970. It is wrong?

Duplicating a comment (how do you tag users?):

In the US "White" includes most Hispanics (besides Arabs). Every branch of my family's been in California since the 1920s, when they came from New Mexico. They spoke English and Spanish for 4 generations before the move, and more since. If you look at the employee roaster for Hughes Aircraft Company's engineers in 1959, half the names are Alvarez, Vasquez etc. The same for a high school marching band in 1942...

While the 80s and 90s saw a massive influx of Mexicans, the "Whites" in the bullet belt aren't who you're thinking of. I have a few generations of family in aerospace and their work photos aren't super white. By the late 70s, you get the children and wives of executed Vietnamese judges, many doctors, electrical engineers etc. coming. Within a few years, they appear on department pictures and cards.

how do you tag users?

@veqq (u/veqq points at Reddit)

It is a question for open border advocates. One argument against immigration is that it imports voters who will vote in a way that leads to bad government.

Isn’t California a real world example of that change?

I used the website below, which gets data from the census bureau, to see how much of California was white in 1975. 87.6%--because the 1975 data does not include Hispanic as a category.

One of the major problems of the whole categorization system (as documented by David Bernstein at Volokh Conspiracy) is that Hispanic is basically a non-category. Hispanic just means, "sort of associated with Spanish" in practice, and most "Hispanic" Californians and Texans were European genetically for the vast majority of US history.

Am I going mad? Because it looks like the 2021 data doesn't distinguish hispanic from white either, so in 2021 the state was 71.1% white.

That seems strange, I'd expect the census bureau to want more information than "black, white or other?" But on the other hand, if hispanics are white enough for the census bureau, why do they need to be distinguished?

Try narrowing the years to something like 2010—2023 and Hispanic will populate. I don't know what year the census bureau started asking people if they were Hispanic (I'm pretty sure the US Census is actually where the word "Hispanic" was invented) but the charts on that website will stop showing that data as soon as you include any years where the question wasn't asked.

I hope that makes you feel less crazy—although many people go mad for reasons that have nothing to do with the Census Bureau. I'm not qualified to rule those out for you.

The Census Bureau considered Hispanic to be an ethnicity, not a race. Hence, one can be white and Hispanic (Ted Cruz) as well as black and Hispanic (eg many Cuban-American baseball players).

Hence, the Census Bureau reports that California is currently almost 71% "white alone" but only 34% "white alone, not Hispanic or Latino."

I guess Im from the west coast. I actually live thousands of miles away.

I feel the exact same quirk about small city people but inverted.

They take themselves too seriously cant take a joke. Too submissive to arbitrary authority, etc.

I think the principle components are big city vs small city people. Or somewhere vs anywhere people.

You think people from the outskirts have trouble adapting to city life? IMO that is pretty much the norm. The reverse is almost always the issue.

Or somewhere vs anywhere people.

Yep, I think this hits the nail on the head. One of the defining features of liquid modernity, to me, is a total disregard for place. Physical locations aren't what matters at all. In fact it's seen as uncouth and ridiculous to care about the place you were born and grew up in rather than somewhere else.

I agree that it’s not the size of the city, it’s the replaceability of the people around you.

In a place where official institutions are sclerotic at best and criminally incompetent at worst, your social network tends to be thicker and stronger. You can’t afford to alienate people, because eg when the hurricane comes and your van is in the shop, you want a ride out of town. Or, if you stay, you want the friend who did evacuate to bring you back a generator in the subsequent week without power. You don’t want to rely on the city’s public shelter options and emergency planning.

For context, I'm a Southerner who moved to the Bay Area for school and has stayed here (mostly) since.

One interesting wrinkle is that I increasingly find transplants to California insufferable, despite being one myself. With a native San Franciscan, I can shoot the shit and be genuine; with a transplant, be they from NYC or Des Moines, it's this constant thinly veiled status game, which I'd link with many of the behaviors you'd mention.

I'd be curious if most of the California transplants you encounter were born in CA, or people who made a pit stop there to make bank before colonizing peripheral areas.

Also, Chick-fil-A is infinitely superior to Popeyes and it's one of the things I miss most here, Waffle House edging it out.

Ah, Waffle House. It's Denny's for people who can actually win a bar fight.

As far as I know, the most, ah, emblematic Angelenos of my acquaintance grew up there. I wonder if it’s simply being a transplant that makes people obsessed with authenticity and one-upmanship.

Well have to agree to disagree about Popeye’s. But surely you cannot deny that Raising Cane’s is better than both.

With all due respect, Bojangles is clearly superior, even when i was visiting Kentucky itself, the locals encouraged me to go there and not KFC. Also Popeyes here in the North-East at least is not great. Maybe I'll try it next time I am down New Orleans way and see if it is better down south. Chik-fil-A seems to be reliably good no matter where I get it from though.

I tried going to Raising Cain's in Chicago once, and I don't get it.

It seemed like perfectly acceptable chicken fingers, served in individual or party sized portions only, with no family sized portions on offer, and boring sides. Which seemed like it defeated the purpose of getting fried chicken, from my perspective. We stood there confused for a while, then ordered something, I think, but I don't remember if we actually ate it as a meal or not, and I don't think we ended up with the right amount of food. This is in contrast to, say, Cheddar's, which also has perfectly acceptable chicken tenders (possibly the problem is that I can't tell one acceptable boneless fried chicken item from another) in a bundle with better sides and croissants.

I wonder if it’s simply being a transplant that makes people obsessed with authenticity and one-upmanship.

I suspect it's one part trying to build an connection to the community (which anyone would want to do) and one part the type of person who is willing to move being more grounded in cosmopolitan values than local (including where they grew up) ones.

But surely you cannot deny that Raising Cane’s is better than both.

Wasn't big where I grew up, but there's apparently one in Oakland. I'll have to try it out!

An excellent point: self-selection for rootlessness.

A Cane’s in Oakland! Oh, I had no idea. What a proud moment!

They’re everywhere now!

It was an exciting and terrifying day when the announcement was made that, in the next year, they would be opening one less than twenty minutes away.

I remember when their initial expansion in BR was a big deal. They took over the building of a Fast Track my dad would often take me to. Now it’ll be dangerously within easy reach at an age when I should probably stop eating it.

What are the odds Waffle House lands in California this decade?

Mendacity and social fictions are not unique to Californians. Perhaps I've just been exceedingly unlucky in my acquaintances, and I'm suffering a Chinese Robber effect. But this pattern has repeated with enough frequency that I’ll tentatively call it a cultural difference.

Actually, when I moved to a midsize southern Californian port city in 2018, it was explained to me that the punishment for mendacity and social friction would be a one-way ticket to ... well, let's just say that the VHS tape I was given was of a once-great local news anchor named after a wine explaining that Californians accused of things like financial crimes, harassment, or petty theft might well be offered plea deals that include "a one-way ticket to Cajun country in lieu of jail time."

They're like the younger sons of European nobility who colonized the New World.

Don't forget the workers they brought with them: criminals who chose to labor as their farmhands over the noose; and others, in harder-to-fill positions, filled only after the "no thanks, I'll hang," phase of the recruitment flow was removed.

Also don't forget the religious whackjobs who just refused to let the King tell them who to burn at the stake.

Oh, and don't forget the squatters who broke into William Penn's summer estate.

Who would have ever thought that those three groups had enough in common to actually team up against their Monarch--let alone that they'd get help from Manhattan. You'd think people would be grateful to be liberated from being Dutch!

Oh, and Maine. Have I forgotten why the people in Maine joined the other twelve colonies--or did they keep their reasons to themselves?

Maine was not one the original thirteen colonies as it was part of Massachussetts at the time.

Oh, goodness, I was so busy trying to being clever I forgot to be smart.

I am honestly embarrassed about this. Mea Maxima Culpa.

I live in a midsize Southern port city.

I know you probably meant this faux anonymity as a joke, but it made me feel like I was watching the old SNL skit, Maine Justice while reading this post.

New Orleans is eccentric, even among mid-size Southern port cities. I suspect that many of these habits and mannerisms are widespread throughout upper-middle class rootless American white people.

The curious thing about Maine is that its most popular language after English is French. It makes sense being adjacent to Quebec but it's not a popular fact. (I remember reading this factoid about 10 years ago so maybe Spanish has now edged it out.)

That Walking Dead spin-off Daryl Dixon depicts this actually.

I once knew a very short, fiery Deaf woman who grew up in Maine. Said she could lipread French before English.

“I always know when someone is speaking French,” she told us. “How? The bird.”

Then she lifted her chin, drew her mouth into a beaky shape, and lip-synched nonsense French. Cutest damn thing I ever saw.

That's interesting. I've always thought Quebecois French was a more "open-mouth" dialect that Metropolitain French.

Oh, thank goodness, the joke landed.

and do bizarre things like pour seasoning on the unpeeled bugs after they come out of the water - what is that about

WTF? People actually do this?

In any case, Californians are annoying, yes, and ‘Texan or Californian’ is a major division in my corner of Texas, it doesn’t seem quite as different- most Californians here are openly critical of California even if they have some difficulty assimilating. I’ve heard in Austin they’re worse than in DFW. Had no idea they were moving to New Orleans in any quantity- then again anyone I talk to from Louisiana is mostly rural(living in a place that can attract migration only from Mississippi).

My guess is, as Frequent_anybody refers to, that there’s both liberal California migrants seeking higher purchasing power, who head to Austin or New Orleans, and conservative Californians seeking less progressive atmospheres who are willing to assimilate and that this latter group tends to head to DFW and Houston.

I am from Chicago and don't know anything about boils. How should I do it if I want to replicate the deliciousness I experienced on the Gulf?

How to explain to a Yankee…

In normal cooking, you season the food and then cook it so that the seasoning on the surface seeps into the food. But crawfish and crabs have shells, so doing that would be like smearing ketchup over the wrapper on your McDonald’s hamburger. I’m sure it’s distinguishable somehow from not doing that, but it probably doesn’t have the effect you’re going for. Instead you season the water, then let the water season the food. To do that, you steep the seasonings in hot water, bring it all the way to a boil, and then add the food- crawfish and corn cobs and potatoes and sausage.

And obviously there’s ‘seafood boil’ mixes at the grocery store, but most people who learned from their grandpas don’t go strictly off of old bay even when it’s the base of the ingredients list. A ham bone, a few slices of lemon, some bay leaves, onion quarters, smashed garlic cloves, jalapeño slices- some things of that nature can go a long way. It seems like northern whites are usually too leery of spice when a bit of kick can really bring it together, and this is probably the root of the ‘white people don’t season their food’ stereotype.

Also, know your seafood. Shrimp cook dead but crawfish cook live, and crawfish that died en route to the water need to be thrown out(their tails are straight- the ones good to eat will have curled tails). Some things cook faster than others, too- alligator needs to be added well ahead of shrimp, for example. Your cooking temperature is 212 degrees(duh, it’s a boil) so times go off of that. The basic crawfish-precooked andouille or kielbasa-corn on the cob-potatoes mix is popular because it’s cheap, but also because the cooking times are similar(and the sausage won’t be damaged by reheating).

So, the theory seems relatively similar to pasta. There you have boiling saltwater that is disgustingly oversalted as your medium for cooking the pasta, and a bit of that penetrates when you cook with the salt water and you end up with properly salted pasta. The boil just takes this a step further by adding more flavors than just salt, because while with a pasta you usually are going to be mixing it into a sauce after its cooked to almost al-dente (and you finish in the sauce) you don't make a sauce at the end. I presume you just add butter?

No, neither sauce nor butter on boiled crawfish. If done well, they'll be tender and juicy on their own. The meat is peeled free of the abdominal somites and eaten straight, then chased with the juice from the cephalothorax. Colloquially: "Pinch the tails, suck the heads." If you get a bug with a particularly huge claw, it's worth teasing out the claw meat, which is amazingly delicate.

You'll also have a massive pile of spicy, flavorful vegetables and other sides. Potatoes soak up the most salt and spice. Entire heads of garlic turn to mushy deliciousness. The corn, if done well, doesn't prune too much. The slices of andouille sausage are incredible on their own.

Boils are done in bulk, usually more than the attendees can reasonably eat. People typically peel all the bugs regardless, reserving the tail meat and the yellow "fat" (actually hepatopancreas, basically crawfish liver) for Crawfish Monica or other dishes. The shells and claws can also be reserved for stock. The veggies can often be repurposed into potato salad, creamed corn, etc.

I have no numbers to substantiate this feeling, but it certainly seems to me like we’ve had a big influx since Katrina. This may be because I just… notice them.

When the rosemary thief turned out to be from L.A.? It was like God was laughing at me. Why does he plague me so?

WTF? People actually do this?

As someone who has done this before, here's the logic: Once they're on your plate, and you realize they're underspiced, pouring seasoning on the outside of the shells is the only thing you can do. The seasoning gets on your fingers and is transferred to the meat as you are peeling them. It's better than nothing.

That logic seems about as suspect as the story of a civil war soldier who was hit in the testicle by a bullet, which kept traveling, impacted a teenaged girl in the uterus, and then they married after she had a baby from it.

I think there are 3 types of California transplants. There's the libs who are leaving because it's too expensive and they try to turn their new place into CA. There's the opposite of this which are conservatives leaving CA who are very critical of CA and happy to be in a Red State. Then there's people like me who moved for a job and don't really care about the local politics because we don't plan on staying long (this is me).

I thing there's also a post apocalyptic Baudrillard type scenario for the libs in these scenarios where they want to be authentic and fit in but they end up creating a simulacra of the tradition without any of the gross and icky historical baggage. It's very off putting for anyone who remembers what it was actually like.

Pretty sure we get types 1 and 3, and Type 2, as @hydroacetylene says, end up in Texas.

Sounds like your city is finally becoming (college) white. Of course, many white people aren't white, which is confusing, but they are easily identified.