Good Savages

Here’s a very good article on the ways in which fancy people like to pretend they are working class.

Speaking about coal miners, I had a bunch of them in my family. We’d go stay with them in the summer. I knew even as a small child that I was very different from them. My sensibilities, the way I spoke, everything about me was different. There was a lot of violence. My miner uncle would get drunk and beat his wife regularly. When we were around, he’d be on his best behavior and get drunk sullenly and silently alone because he knew we were fancy.

Romanticizing working class life and posing as working class is deeply stupid. There’s nothing superior about manual labor. There’s no virtue to it because workers aren’t “good savages.”

Russell Kirk speaks about the enormous – and profoundly negative – impact that Rousseau’s theories about “the natural state” has had on liberalism, and he’s right. In last week’s episode of Top Chef, a bunch of rich foodies invited Native American shamans to a meal. The shaman started to do an incantation about how “the food you have eaten now knows you and you have come in touch with our ancestral wisdom.” The rich foodies stood there, frozen in abject respect for the “ancestral wisdom.” For them, the shaman is “a good savage” who hasn’t been spoiled by civilization.

I wrote before about how I had to fight to preserve the word “civilization” in a course title. This is straight out of Rousseau. Civilization = bad, savages = good. We don’t call them savages any more, but the approach is the same.

16 thoughts on “Good Savages

    1. I loved that one. And also the part about the lesbians who were so butch they looked ready to donate to a sperm bank.

      Curiously, the woke crowd is markedly incapable of making a funny joke. Or a meme that’s not embarrassing.


      1. “the woke crowd is markedly incapable of making a funny joke”

        I’m haunted by your story of students who didn’t understand the importance of verbal roughhousing in creating and maintaining friendships between men… (the cabrón incident) it’s not a universal maybe but it’s extremely widespread….
        Were they all female students? It might make a little sense for them to not get it (although most women figure that out by 20 or so, earlier if they have brothers especially older brothers).


        1. The worst part was that it was crucial for the understanding of the novel that we were reading to get the mirrored parts in which members of a guerrilla cell and then a military police group were engaging in this verbal roughhousing as a way of bonding in a dangerous situation. The students – with the exception of the two Mexican students – just didn’t get it. “I though they were supposed to be friends but they are calling each other bad names. Is there a conflict between them that I’m not getting?” they kept asking. I tried to answer with, “No, they are simply men.” But it wasn’t getting through. The two Mexican students tried to explain but there was this gigantic cultural gap. It’s a weird feeling to see it so clearly.

          I can just imagine the two guerrillas saying to each other instead of “no jodas, pinche cabron de mierda,” “excuse me, honey, you know I love you and I don’t mean to overstep but the way you aimed that shot wasn’t really the greatest.”


          1. It’s so bizarre. I didn’t grow up in the US and in my culture, verbal jousting is very much a thing among women. After I moved to the US, a big cultural thing I had to learn was that you have to always absolutely agree with everything a woman says. Any minor disagreement is considered lack of support. So weird.


            1. “in my culture, verbal jousting is very much a thing among women”

              Verbal… competition among women is common in the US too (especially in the white South) but it’s mostly…. indirect (ie, passive aggressive). There’s (at least used to be) some roughhousing among women. That might be a casualty of wokeness or millenialism or some damned thing or other.

              What kind of jousting happens between women in your culture?


              1. My Argentinean friend who died called me “la puta rusa vieja de mierda.” And I called her “la concha podrida de la lora.” For non-Spanish speakers, old shitty Russian whore and a rotting vagina of a parrot. That’s how we expressed our love.


  1. // My Argentinean friend who died called me … That’s how we expressed our love.

    Have never heard of such neither in FSU nor in Israel.
    I left FSU as a young teen, so who knows what I and my relatives missed …. It’s definitely not a thing in Israel.


  2. “It exists among women in the US, but only in subcultures”

    I’ve heard a cousin (Florida cowgirl) engage in it with close female friends but it was more sporadic and something that happened only between established friends – for men it seems more like one of the building blocks that the friendship is based on, a very different dynamic.


  3. Interesting… I grew up in a very mixed town. We had a decent university (~300th in the world ranking) and various research facilities, a huge air force base, as well as some industrial plants, so there were a lot of working class kids too.
    As far as I can remember, male bonding did involve a lot of swearing, with Russian swearwords being mostly sex-based, but somehow this swearing was not supposed to be directed straight at the supposed friend. One would not call a friend something on the level of “la puta rusa” and remain friends. There was also very complicated code of what swearwords could be used in what context, I guess this code originated from the prison culture. There could be some sexual teasing between boys, alluding to one’s masturbation habits, or one’s sexual experience or lack thereof… But anything “heavier” than that was used to actually insult people one did not like, not as friendly banter.
    Not sure how far this banter could go between girls, but I doubt it went further than between the boys.


    1. It’s like the n-word. If you come up to a black guy you’ve never met and use it, it’s terribly offensive. But among friends it’s a term of endearment.

      The Hispanic culture is direct like that. Cabrón is like the Russian козел. It can he very offensive. But among friends it’s used instead of the first name.

      It’s really ironic that the woke crowd that polices language speaks in the name of the communities that are very playful with language.


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