kitchen table math, the sequel: way off-topic: ALERTS TO TERROR THREATS IN 2011 EUROPE

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Ed and I are sitting here guffawing, reading this.

Starts slow, then hits warp speed in paragraph 4, with the Scots.

Of course, I love anything to do with the Scots and their bloody-mindedness.*

Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America

Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America

* I'm probably using that term incorrectly. Good thing it's not likely to appear on the SAT.


Catherine Johnson said...

No idea what that site is, btw. A friend sent around the Alert piece & I Googled it.

Came up with "Sniper's Hide."

Catherine Johnson said...

One of these days I'll finish actually reading Born Fighting...

John said...

No-one else need worry about the Scots for the moment. They're too busy fighting amongst themselves whenever Celtic and Rangers play football against each other!
In an interview with a police officer yesterday, it was reported that whenever the two teams meet, every police cell within a radius of fifty miles is full of arrested 'fans'.

Catherine Johnson said...

oh my gosh --- thanks for posting!

Have I ever told my 'ethnic confusion' story?? ('Cuz it's so directly related to math....)

I was raised to consider myself essentially English. My ancestors came from Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, and Germany, but somehow I got the message that all of this boiled down to: one-fourth German, three-fourths English. ("War is God's way of teaching Americans about geography"...)

The problem was that I never, **ever,** felt comfortable with British reserve, British stoicism, and all of that - you know, with the kind of persona Colin Firth projects.

I admired British reserve and stoicism, and liked people who had them, but I always kinda felt like the loud person at the party.

My first visit to Britain confirmed that impression. Everywhere I went, it seemed, I heard my mother's voice telling me to improve my attitude and mind my manners. I seemed to elicit admonishments from British folk sitting behind me in movie theaters, e.g.

Years later, listening to a P.R. pitch for the autism organization I was involved with, I had a stunning revelation: I'M NOT BRITISH.



(Wasn't 'til years after that that I discovered I'm Scots-Irish.)

The head of the firm, who had red hair and was Irish, started talking about how she 'fights' for clients; then someone made a joke about being Irish and having a naturally combative personality or some such --- and I had a blinding moment of Total Recognition.

I'm not Colin Firth!

I'm Mel Gibson!

Hainish said...

Catherine, that's hilarious!

Catherine Johnson said...

Thank you!

One of my favorite passages in Born Fighting is the section where Webb says that the Scots Irish have no ethnic identity; a lot of times they'll write "native American" on their Census forms.

That was me.

I'd never even heard of the Scots-Irish even though I was one.

momof4 said...

Large numbers of the Scots and Scots-Irish settled in Appalachia - many Scots after Culloden (1767) and the Clearances (Scots-Irish via Northern Ireland, at later dates) and I understand that they have been disproportionately represented in our military ever since. The Scots, the Scots-Irish and the Irish all have centuries-long histories of fighting the English.