Open Thread

Here is the basic idea of an open thread. This is where a comment, idea, link, or whatever can be posted when it doesn’t necessarily fit the subject matter of any available post. This also can be where people can lodge their complaints or make suggestions, including possibilities for future posts.

Plus, this would be a good place for rants, as I’ll be less discerning in my moderation of comments here. I encourage open discussion. But there are limits. If your comment creates a negative atmosphere or simply lessens my happiness, then it will not be approved. I will use my discretion. Make sure your comment is worthy of your time and my own.

11,684 thoughts on “Open Thread

    • It was a bit hard for me to identify with that description of whiteness: “The white people around me laughed at anybody who bought clothes from thrift stores and excluded people who were fat. They publicly shamed women who didn’t want to marry or have children. They relentlessly policed the way barely-teenaged girls would dress, yet sexualized their underage bodies. Extremely insecure, they lashed out at anybody who was more successful than they were. I hated the isolating, sedentary, repetitive, consumerist lifestyle.”

      Apparently, I socialize with an entirely different kind of white people. But I do get what was said about white settler societies, as a general pattern I’m familiar with and have written about. Even then, I can’t say I feel a racial identity crisis exactly. Nor do I feel any compulsion toward others assimilating. If anything, I take my status as mutt to be a way of embracing diversity. It’s hard for me to generalize about ‘whiteness’, as I’m not entirely sure what such a thing means, despite my admission that I couldn’t begin to imagine not being ‘white’. So, I don’t know.

    • None of that seems new to me. For many years now, I’ve been readng and writiing about backlash, reaction, and counterrevolution. It’s a major frame for my own understanding. But it’s good that a major publiication put out a piece like that. I sometimes forget how little such things get discussed in the mainstream.

    • I have a hard time caring about the fates of global superpowers. Both China and the US want to be the most powerful militarized government and industrialized economy in the world. But no matter which side wins that competition, the average person is unlikely to benefit from all the military spending, buildup, and conflicts.

      As for the USSR, Stalin was not a nice person in the slightest. But the fact of the matter is it was the Western countries pushing the Cold War. They were planning on attacking even before WWII was over. And Western politicians kept lying about the Soviets, even though the CIA knew Stalin had no capacity or desire to attack the West, much less invade.

    • Yeah. He is as or more white-looking than many whites I’ve known. His being a Muslim was an important part of the news reporting. But it shouldn’t have been the frame of the entire story. Putting his foreign-sounding name in the title was intended to bias the audience even before reading the article. When white Christians do crazy violence and even speak in religious language, the corporate media rarely narratizes Christianity as central.

  1. “Reasons–The media reporting COVID originated in China. Trump calling it China Virus and Kung Flu. Political and trade tensions between the US and China increasing.

    If China’s population was white, I don’t think we’d have this reaction. So, the final reason is not being white.

    There is always a flare up of racism and violence against whichever non-white American ethnicity, when the US’ politics go south with countries of that ethnicity.

    As an Asian American high schooler watching 9/11 I hoped that whoever was responsible wasnt Asian because I knew what racism would follow. This is the shit white people don’t have to think about. Most be nice

    • When white people commit some mass atrocity against Americans on US soil, no matter how great the violence and death count (e.g., World Trade Center bombing), there will never be random aggression and retribution directed at the rest of the white population. Or if the coronavirus had originated in Texas or Canada or Europe, there would’ve been no xenophobic prejudice and hate crimes directed at innocent whites.

      That is because every white person is a unique snow flake, whereas every non-white person must answer for the shared sins of every wrongdoing, real and perceived, that anyone ever did who resembles them even slightly. That is the white privilege that whites don’t even have to acknowledge because it is almost never mentioned in mainstream education, news, and politics. As I like to repeat, the greatest of privileges is in being oblvious to one’s privilege.

    • Representation politics is obviously inadequate and problematic. Even so, I think it’s a stage we have to go through as a society. There is no way to get past it but through it. It’s part of our collectively coming to terms with normalizing even the concept of diversity.

  2. “This illustration by Nast depicts the personification of lady justice shielding a Chinese immigrant from a white mob. Written behind them are the pervasive sentiments of the time (1870s). Nast’s intention with this illustration was to criticize the prevailing idea of the “Chinese invasion”.

    I see a lot of parallels with what was happening in the 1800s and whats still plaguing us today. And I think in order to understand the racial tensions, class division, and the violence we’ve been seeing in the news everyday we need to confront the ugliness of American history.

    Racial tensions between Black folks and Asians can be traced back to the mid 19th century. After slavery was abolished in the United States, Chinese laborers were imported to the South as cheap labor to replace freed Blacks on plantations. Cheap immigrant labor became the new labor supply and they were positioned societally at the same level as African American. This put Chinese and African Americans in competition with each other in the labor market. Fast forward some hundred years and we see that those tensions have grown into silent resentment and are manifesting in violent behavior.

    Call it white supremacy or manufactured racism or whatever. Whats clear is that the economic system this country is built on is made possible by the exploitation of the poor and the bottom half. I fear that if we continue down this path where we focus on cosmetic policy improvements that address the symptom (racism) and don’t make any fundamental or structural changes to address the root of the problem, we’re going to see more and more of this unrest and violence. And Asians are an easy scapegoat.

    I was thinking about this after seeing yet another Asian store owner get assaulted today. I don’t want to be pessimistic but its really hard to see an end to this unless things fundamentally change. Outside of maybe Bernie and Yang, I don’t see a lot of courageous leaders willing to depart from the status quo. I have a lot of faith in community organizers and what they do. I just don’t know how that can become something big enough to challenge the establishment.”

    • That has long been the left-wing, particularly Marxist, complaint about liberal identity politics. Even intersectionality doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. The real problems are so much more basic in an oppressive society of capitalist realism and police statism. The poor and powerless have a lot in common, no matter their skin color.

      Successful social democracies do so by making social services and other government benefits to be equally applied, such that even the wealthy get baby boxes and free college education. The same approach could be used in relationship to American racism. It will be harder for social dominators to elicit reactionary backlash if social programs have no racial component.

  3. Let’s try using Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing as an example for discussion.

    Sonny, the Korean store owner, is prejudiced against black people. He’s prejudiced against other people too (he goes anti-Semitic in one rant), but being as he operated in a primarily black community, that’s what comes out the most.

    Sal’s (the white pizza shop owner) racism is similar but different. Sal’s racism draws more directly from the systemic racism present in the US, even though it is largely reified as individual prejudice. Sal’s whiteness itself alters the equation.

    The real problematic racism, of course, is what results in Raheem’s death at the hands of the police.

    Singling out the Asian community for instances, however widespread, of prejudice against black people, or vice versa, without addressing the contexts and systems established by systemic racism smacks of an agenda. Yes, it does need to be addressed, but I’ll be damned if people aren’t coming out of the woodwork to pit one minority community against the other.

    • I’ve written about that before. Many Europeans (Southern, Eastern, Alsatian, etc) can be fairly dark-skinned and with features quite distinct from the British. Many early WASPs would’ve been shocked to learn these non-WASPs were ‘white’.

    • A lot of race and racism interestingly has nothing to do with skin color. That is why populations perceived as non-white can later be perceived as white, even though it’s the same population. It has to do with cultural beliefs about various external factors where skin color is merely one possible indicator. I think I may have previously mentioned the American black, maybe Henry Louis Gates jr or someone like that, who visited another country where there was an African-descended population and he was shocked when they denied being black. Culture in some ways is more important to race than skin color, but obviously what factors matter is determined by who has the power to enforce their mattering.

    • It’s a sad situation, even moreso because it was likely preventable. But, knowing the statistics, it was also to some degree predictable. That kind of thing happens too often. And it’s hard to not see it as racism, in one way or another.

    • It’s visually interesting and does give one a overall sense of dietary differences.

      But I’d like to see the photos combined with a macronutrient and micronutrient breakdown. Along with the content and quantity of specfic ingredents and contaminants such as seed oils, hgh fructose corn syrup, preservatives, flavor enhancers, pesticides, heavy metal toxins, etc.

      Also, it could be combined with photographs similar to those of Weston A. Price to show stark differences in bone development and dental health. Actually, someone should do a new and improved verson of Price’s book, as there still are traditional communities to compare against.

    • We live in a society where obvious facts are questioned and the legal system pretends that the charade is honest debate. Truth is secondary, at best. Moral consequences, for those holding power and privilege, are even less relevant.

    • It’s sad. That is all. We live in a police state. The civil rights activists had to face down racst cops and Klan. But they never had to deal with armed soldiers pointing guns at them.

      In fact, the only time the National Guard were sent out during the civil rights era was to protect black children going to desegregated schools. Could you imagine the National Guard right now being sent out to protect BLM protesters?

    • That is something I’d never heard of before. It didn’t occur to me that pregnant women would be treated differently by doctors. But given the patriarchal and paternalistic history of American society, that maybe shouldn’t be surprising. And that is particularly true of healthcare.

      It’s similar to laws that banned and restricted abortions in the past. They were designed to focus on the doctors, not the women, since to punish women would be to acknowledge they had agency. Instead, women were treated like children who needed to be controlled and protected.

      Denying the Agency of the Subordinate Class

    • Not many years later, there was the Tulsa Race Riot or War. Not actually a riot or a war, as it was mostly a one-sided violent attack. It probably should be more accurately described as mass terrorism. It included military-style firebombing. This destroyed Black Wall Street, the wealthiest black community in the US.

      So, Sarah Rector and Black Wall Street represents two possible ways for racist whites to respond to black success. Since Rector was only a girl and an isolated individual, she was less of a threat in the way was the existence of Black Wall Street. It was easier to simply declare her white. Racists would’ve lost public support if they firebombed a tween girl.

  4. I can’t deal with how hyper-partisan shit has become online that it’s almost become a caricature or makes me wonder if it has to be grifting rather than genuine. While I am a bit biased, right-wingers who can’t even acknowledge that was Chauvin did was wrong and have to twist it into something evul leftists political etc etc, that’s just so far gone it blows my mind.

    • It’s an interesting situation. It puts many right-wingers in a position they aren’t used to. I’ve had a front row seat because my parents are strong conservatives who have been heavily exposed to right-wing media. It’s been a struggle for them to come to terms with being on the wrong side of history.

      They both were born in the 1940s. White supremacy was unquestioned within mainstream society back then. My father grew up in a sundown town and didn’t even know it. In the decade before he was born, there had still been a black community in that town before it was driven out. But no one talked about it and so people like him could grow up pretending it never happened, even though during his childhood there was a documented sundown sign outside of his town.

      It wasn’t merely that my parents were part of a white majority but part of a majority of white supremacists. But it was a largely unconscious white supremacy. As I like to repeat, the greatest of privileges is being oblivious of one’s privilege, to take it for granted as the default, just the way the world is, without having to think about how it became that way and what is done to maintain it.

      Basically, this dominant white supremacy still ruled without much question into this new century. Then, all of a sudden, the shift in generational demographics combined with new media unleashed a new perception. The public was bombarded with video footage of violent racism in a way they never saw before. The violent racism always existed, but most Americans could pretend it didn’t exist. Or if they intellectually knew it existed, it wasn’t viscerally real to them and so not politically compelling.

      All of that has changed, almost over night. Right now, a supermajority of Americans agree with the main message of Black Lives Matters, that racism is systemic within police departments and that the police need to be reformed. That strong anti-racist consensus did not exist even a few years ago. He has never existed before, even though most Americans have for a long time denied racism. It’s just most were reluctant to give much support to active anti-racism.

      Think about it. That BLM support would be the equivalent of the majority of Americans agreeing with the Black Panthers in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Or heck, if the majority had simply stated agreement with MLK. When MLK died, he was the most hated person in the US, according to a poll. We now consider him a moral paragon and great leader, but back then he was public enemy #1. He was a pacifist and yet considered the greatest danger. WTF!

      The whole world has shifted on its axis. It’s amazing that the BLM movement has captured the public imagination. Trump as a cartoon villain and authoritarian figure helped. That might be Trump’s greatest accomplishment, guaranteeing the success and popularity of the BLM movement as a rebirth of MLK’s civil rights movement. But this is really blowing the minds of those on the political right, particularly among the older generations.

      This is to be expected. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. The response is a typical example of the reactionary mind in its most reactionary mode. It will take a while for many right-wingers to come to terms with the new normal, but most of them will come around eventually. A similar change happened over the past decade or so with same sex marriage, another civil rights issue that finally gained majority support. We are in a pivotal moment and nothing will be the same again. That is what scares the right shitless.

    • My parents are coming to a breaking point. And they don’t know where to turn. They are suddenly forced to confront the reality that they are a small minority, although my father is still struggling against this realization. But the fact of the matter is that they likely always were in the minority on many, maybe most, major issues.

      In their childhood, young adulthood, and early marriage, the majority of Americans supported pro-choice, including the majority of Republicans and Evangelicals. I actually have never come across any data where most Americans have ever supported abortion bans or overturning the Roe v. Wade decision.

      That isn’t to say the culture wars had no validity. But it is true they were largely invented. The early religious right leader Paul Weyrich admitted that he could never get people organized around abortion and similar issues. It was only with a Supreme Court case deciding against racial segregation in Bible colleges that the culture wars finally took off. It was always about racism.

      The thing is the culture wars was one massive dog whistle. But it was a powerful dog whistle and created a convncing narrative where the defenders and beneficiaries of racism and white supremacy didn’t have to admit to what they actually believed and supported. They got all the benefits while keeping their conscience clean, by letting others do the dirty work of maintaining the oppressive order. They just wanted to be told a nice story to feel better.

      That ideological narrative has now entirely disintegrated. All that is left is the raw bigotry and oppression. After living with that narrative one’s entire life, about three-quarters of a century for my parents, it is extremely uncomfortable to be faced with the dark reality of what was always true. My parents have no capacity to deal with this, as they’ve spent their entire life successfully denying it and purging it from their consciousness.

      Immersing themselves in a right-wing media echo chamber these past several decades helped. But even that echo chamber is breaking down. The new media that created that echo chamber is now, because of social media, slowly eroding it again. It’s getting harder and harder to isolate oneself in an alternative reality separate from everyone else. Simply being on Facebook would force one to deal with family members who hold different political views.

      It’s worse than that, though. The whole society is lurching far left. This can feel like it is happening rapidly and out of nowhere. But the reality is that it’s been building up over decades, actually generations. It’s been a slow and steady shift left. Yet it was kept hidden by right-wing corporate media and right-wing corporatist politicians in both parties. The Overton window was shoved far right even as the American public was going left.

      Now that propaganda system has failed and collapsed. Even the corporate media has suddenly awakened to the reality of the situation and one can see major media figures scrambling to make sense of it. These major media figures had also been trapped in that echo chamber. But it’s much more challenging for those like my parents because for a couple of decades during the rise of right-wing media they were living in the Deep South.

      My parents ad no clue how far left the world had gone. Then they come back to the socially and politically moderate Midwest, that is moderate compared to the Deep South. It’s not only the local mainstream media that regularly contradicts their beliefs and biases. Even the mainstream Christian Church they attend is far to the left of them. This is true of churches all across the country. My parents now find themselves a minority even among Christians.

      My mother gets irritated about it, but she is more conventional and so more easily inluenced by the shift happening. She takes it more in stride with falling back into hardcore ideology. But for my father, he is an intellectual who is very capable of self-rationalization. And so he has driven himself into some dark corners of the right-wing media and Intellectual Dark Web, such as Jordan Peterson where he picked up belief in the anti-semitic conspiracy theory cultural Marxism.

      It’s been hard to deal with for me. I have to deal with my parents on a personal level and on a regular basis. My brother in a nearby town only sees them maybe a couple times a month. And my other brother further away visits a few times a year at most. But I see my parents all the time because I have no spouse or kids. I like visiting my parents, but watching them descend into ideological darkness has been painful.

      I’d like to think it’s temporary as I do sense my parents gradually, if grudgingly, accepting the reality. In general, even those on the political right are shfting left. Going by the polls, a large number of Republicans are to the left of the DNC elite on some major issues. So, the change has already dramatically begun, but it will take a long while for it to seep out into the larger mainstream culture dominated by much more conservative-minded elites. This left-wing shift is a trickle-up phenomenon.

    • It can be easy to forget how much massive change has happened in recent history. Not just the past few decades or generations but centuries. I like the metaphor of a vehicle. Our society has been like an old clunker that we inherited from some ancient relative. It was partly sunk into mud, covered with rust, gummed up with old oil, and barely was working at all. During past eras, from the English Peasants’ Revolt to the American Revolution, the key was turned in the initation, the engine revved up with a high-pitched whir, the vehicle lurched forward a short distance, and then it ground back to a halt. This was repeated multiple times.

      No one knew what to do initially. Then it was cleaned up a bit, the engine was rebuilt, and the oil replaced. The vehicle began to run a bit more smoothly, but it otherwise was a mess and wouldn’t get far because so much remained left to repair. The tires kept going flat and the clutch was burned out, among many other undetermined problems. So, a few more fixes were made. The vehicle was put into drive, finally the gears could be felt to click into place, and everything shifted more smoothly. The engine began rumbling, but we still couldn’t see out of the dirty shattered windshield, the shock absorbers were broken, and the muffler had fallen off.

      We could sort of get somewhere, if we could only see, not that it was yet a pleasant drive. The last of the repairs were finally made. Looking out the new clear windshield, everything seemed to be in decent working order and so there was some hope. Not only was the vehicle moving but in a direction we could see, instead of constantly running over people or off the road into trees. The problem is we never had a fully functioning vehicle before. No one actually knows how to drive it. And those who claim to be skilled drivers or those who simply grab the wheel turn out to be lunatics or blind.

      That is the moment we find ourselves. But at least we now have a sense of where we should be going, we theoretically know how to get there, and we have the means to do so. That has been my sense of where we’ve come to this past decade. I particularly remember during the early years of Obama’s administration of feeling gears click into place without knowing what would happen next, only that as a society we’d be heading somewhere. The world was bound to change. And now here we are finally seeing some of the results of long-term shifts that began before we were born.

    • The funniest part is that, according to the data, racists have on average lower IQs than non-racists. So, according to the arguments of hereditarianism and genetic determinism made by race realists, we are forced to conclude that people making such arguments are inherently and genetically inferior and can’t help themselves.

      I think I have a book by Jay Joseph. It seems it was one of the books I was reading and referring to when I was writing a lot about racism and race realism. Or maybe I just came across articles by him. Ah, yeah, here is a post where I quote him:

      Red Flag of Twin Studies

  5. When I went through a period of drinking a lot to deal with the stress of moving to a new city (and as someone from a rural area) it put me in a funk that antidepressants did quickly pull me out of. Besides that though, it’s not so much as I don’t like them/have adverse reactions as much as they never ever ever really did anything long run. What actually worked, truly worked, was dealing with and healing the original wounds and trauma that made me hurt in the first place

    • I agree with Williamson on this issue because she is right and the science supports her position. As you know, I too have dealt with depression. And I’ve been on antidepressants multiple times. Some people do get benefit from them, whether temporarily or long term. But I never noticed any positive effect. And that fact is, according to studies, antidepressants are useless or worse to most people being prescribed them. They are known, in some cases, to actually increase suicidal ideation and attempts. This is an open secret.

      The corporate media couldn’t simply state Williamson is correct because big drug is big money and that represents a huge hunk of advertizing money for corporate media. They would never bite the hand that feeds them. We already know much of what helps with depression and other mental illnesses. For most people, many factors by themselves or in combination (plenty of exercise, time spent in nature and sunshine, healthy diet, optimal nutrition, supportive relationsips, quality sleep, low stress, low inequality, etc) will have a thousand times more benefit than drugging people up.

      I really like Williamson. She is my all-time favorite presidential candidate. I know she didn’t have a chance in hell because the establishment would never allow her to be elected. But if she had become president, she would’ve shaken things up. Not because she is all that radical and extremist but because she would’ve been a genuine voice of the people. And as a minister, she has great speaking skills. In one interview, the interviewer was being confrontationally antagonistic and Willliamson handled her like a pro. She never gets ruffled and always comes across as confident.

      Plus, Williamson is a well known minister and author. I’m biased, of course, in my support. She belongs to Unity Church, which I grew up in. That church, by the way, was doing same sex marriages before I was born. Unity doctrine is more liberal than the average atheist. And she has written many books, inclucing on A Course In Miracles (ACIM). I read my grandmother’s copy of the ACIM in high school and read some of Williamson’s books shortly after high school. Unity and ACIM theology is that God, humans, all of Creation is a manifestation of Divine Love. She has also run various organizations to help AIDS victims and much else.

      Could you imagine an extremely liberal and progressive minister as president who preaches love for all of humanity? If anyone could’ve drained the swamp of political corruption, it would’ve been her. Sanders would’ve been better than Biden. But Sanders wouldn’t have been a fraction as transformative as Williamson could’ve been.

  6. I mean, I superficially “felt better” but always felt like something was missing. Like treating the symptom, not to root cause, so to speak. It’s similar to how I felt when I had back pain and a conventional doctor told me to take tylonol or perscribed a painkiller which masked the symptom, but having a chiropractor actually tell me my hip was jammed did the job way better in less time too. That or a message therapist or physical therapist cupping it and telling me there was a lot of lactic acid built up in that area.

  7. First was given prozac when I went to the doctor for stress and trauma in a highly-competitive environment, and while it does blunt those emotions in dealing with that shitty environment, it was nothing compared to actually being validated that that environment sucks and that I don’t have to internalize the negative schemas of it, since my problem as a young adult was that I internalized those unhealthy cultural mores even though they were not good for my emotional well-being. That and I am a naturally type B person and felt the shame for not fitting that highly-competitive mold even though no amount of trying would turn me into that kind of temperament, deep-down. Didn’t feel authentic and is part of why I moved to the laid-back upper midwest.

    • I wasn’t sure that antidepressants like Paxil even helped blunt negative affect. But certainly they didn’t increase my happiness, motivation, or anything else noticeable. I’m probably more type B than you. My capacity for dealing with stress is only sligtly above zero. This is why I’m a parking ramp cashier. Sometimes dealing with humans at all is almost more than I can handle. I do feel much better these days, though.

      By the way, I’m so with you about finding comfort in the laidback Upper Midwest. I’m a Midwesterner by upbringing, culture, and personality. Iowa is a calm, stable, and boring state; and that is why I like it. Low stress and little drama. But we do sometimes get kooky politicians, particularly in far Western Iowa, the highest average age of a population in the US (i.e., a bunch of old people in dying farm communities since most of the young people left).

    • This is one of the rare moments in American society where there was justice in someone with power and privilege being held accountable for obvious criminality and serious moral wrongdoing. It’s sad that the result of such rare justice is those involved are threatened. This is how power and privilege were maintained for so long. Those who stepped out of line in supporting and promoting justice were so often punished, attacked, ostracized, or killed.

    • They partly, if mostly superficially, deal with the dietary issue. The carb problem is touched upon briefly but quickly downplayed and shied away from. They honestly can’t assert that saturated fat has increased in a broad sense, from the long perspective of history and evolution. The data clearly shows that, as a portion of the diet, it’s omega-6s as industrial seed oils that has primarily increased and become the main source of fat. Early humans for hundreds of millennia ate massive amounts of saturated fats. And this continued to be true until quite recently.

      In centuries past, most people in the world ate far more saturated fat than they do now, except when starving or forced on poverty diets because of food shortages, caused by either natural events or authoritarian governments. But certainly, industrial seed oils did not exist prior to industrialization. Increased carbs alone or increased oxidized omega-6s alone would be bad enough, but combined they have been a health epidemic. Still, carbs is the most important. Obesity and the diseases of civilization were on the rise with greater carb intake (from improved agriculture and colonial trade) many generations before the invention and commercialization of industrial seed oils.

      After acknowledging the central role of carbs, they claim that, “evidences to project the positive association between sugar consumption and obesity are inconsistent.” Bullshit! I dare them to try to find a single example of a large population that did not have rising obesity rates when there was an immense increase of calories primarily from carbs, even supposedly ‘healthy’ carbs. No such large population exists and maybe there is a reason for that. Sure, carb intake is not the only factor, but it is undeniably one of the main factors.

      Of course, one could healthily follow a 90% carb diet if it was severely calorie-restricted, with OMAD or otherwise time-restricted, maybe also with regular fasting, lacked industrial seed oils, included sufficient wild-caught or pasture-raised animal foods, and involved a strenuous lifestyle out in the sunshine and fresh country air. Indeed, that is how many poor Asians ate earlier last century, specifically prior to WWII that decimated livestock availability and Westernized their diets. But let’s be honest. As calorie-restricted and time-restricted diet with fasting and physical activity, it really wouldn’t be high-carb and would regularly induce ketosis and autophagy used by the body for healing and cellular repair.

      “Diets consumed have increased energy content from fats and simple sugars. Consumption of saturated fat has increased, especially from animal fat.”

      “Li et al. [42] reported a parallel increase of obesity with dietary fat and high energy consumption in Chinese children.”

      “Studies from developed western countries, USA and parts of Western Europe and UK, have estimated that average per capita energy consumption, especially fat consumption has declined in the last 2 decades [27]. On the other hand, it has also been reported that the average consumption of dietary sugars by American population has considerably increased in the recent years and this is regarded as one of the contributory factors for the increased obesity rate. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that the mean intake of added sugars increased significantly from 2001–2004 [43]. However evidences to project the positive association between sugar consumption and obesity are inconsistent [43].”

    • This is one of those non-issues among the American public. Most Americans, including most Republicans, agree that we should have better environmental regulations and stronger enforcement of them. The only disagreement is found among a minority of voters, corporatocratic polticians, and big biz. So, the corporate media and ‘mainstream’ politics treats this as a contentious and divisive issue. But the only divide is between the powerful and powerless, the haves and have nots.

  8. Having lived in Tokyo, for a first-world country the US really is lagging behind. Most notably on public transit. But Minneapolis, as a place with a reputation for a high standard of living, it’s not so much that the city is run-down (it’s less overtly so than the northeast in terms of inequality) but that it’s technologically stuck in the 20th century compared to say, Tokyo and perhaps other first-world countries. Also, Americans are prejudiced against public transit in associating it with sketchiness and poor people and face it, minorities.

    That’s not even talking about other cities like Baltimore, LA, Chicago, DC, etc where soul-crushing poverty and run-downness exists in parts of a city, in a way that’s shameful for a first-world country.

    • Not only lack of well-maintained 21st century infrastructure, some parts of the US have rates of poverty, parasite load, toxicity, mortality, etc higher than most developing countries. That is on top of the US having the highest rate of prisoners and inequality in world history.

      In the past, when countries had high inequality, they were described as banana republics because it was taken as proof that there was no functioning democracy. Yet US inequality is vastly higher than those earlier banana republics. This inequality is also higher than Americans claim is tolerable, but the media and political system have kept them ignorant of how bad it’s gotten.

      Americans used to pride ourselves for low inequality and high economic mobility. A large and growing middle class was taken as a sign of a healthy economy and a free society, but that no longer exists and instead the middle class is precarious and shrinking. Almost no one talks about this, as once again historical amnesia has set in.

      In general, the US seems backwards in so many ways. I’ve long had the thought that future historians will be incredulous about how barbaric our society will seem to them. Our capitalist realism is closer to slavery than a free society, in how severely it constrains and harms people. It has led to what some call ‘shit life syndrome’, an actual phrase used by physicians in the US and UK.

      This regressive state is true in other areas, as well. Ya know, my views on diet and nutrition. That field of science can barely be called science because of the ideological agendas and big money dominating it (not only big biz but also big church; e.g., Seventh Day Adventists) and how its mired in a replication crisis, which is also true of so many other fields.

      I suspect most of our present accepted knowledge and theory will, in the future, be proven false, partial, inadequate, or misleading; with some of it likely to be eventually seen as straight-up propaganda. We are in such a state of ignorance and don’t realize it. A genuine scientific age is barely beginning. And that goes along with technological development.

      It’s not only science that is dominated by ideological agendas, along with dominated by big biz and other big money interests. The same is true of higher education where most research occurs. Universities, like research labs (in and outside of universities), used to get most of their funding from government, but now it comes from private sources like the Koch brothers.

      Bizarrely, the same is true of ‘public’ media. You’d think, similar to ‘state’ colleges, that most of the funding would be coming from government, but you’d be wrong. Even when PBS does its public funding drives, it gives them only a small percentage to cover their budget. Maybe this is why, as studies have shown, NPR now gets most of its guests from right-wing think tanks, not leftist groups.

      This is why there has been so little progress in the US. All the rhetoric about laissez-faire free markets and entrepreneurial competition are mostly bullshit. Our present capitalist realism is some combination of oligarchy, plutocracy, corporatocracy, and inverted totalitarianism where big biz has more power than in Nazi Germany. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and owner of WaPo, having lifelong nepotistic and crony ties to the Pentagon is an example of this.

      Everything is highly manipulated and managed: propaganda model of news media, perception management, etc. Just look at the immense sums of money, mostly dark money, slushing around in the Shadow Network, legalized bribery, money laundering, and on and on. To those in power, maintaining control is more important than innovation, progress, and betterment.

      My other suspicion is this oppressive form of social control has stunted scientific knowledge and technological development by several generations, at least in the West. It will be interesting to see if China is able to break free from this because their government does heavily fund research and development, as the US did earlier last century.

      Maybe like many others, I’ve never been prejudiced against public transit. It’s simply that I’ve never lived in a place that had great public transit. When public transit is crappy, run down, and deficient, only the poorest and most desperate will be forced to use it. Even in this college town, it’s probably one of the best public transit systems in Iowa but it still isn’t all that useful to most people as the routes and schedules are so limited. But they are in the middle of improvements.

    • In the anthropological literature, there are many examples of non-patriarchal societies. Why would any informed and rational person assume patriarchy is a genetically determined trait built into a universal human nature.

      It’s just another reactionary case of ideological realism, essentialism, and determinism. There is never any evidence equal to the claims made and often a lot of evidence that contradicts it or simply doesn’t match.

      This is why I stopped debating HBDers. Their arguments or rather just-so stories are fundamentally unoriginal and repetitive. And so arguing with HBDers doesn’t go anywhere and quickly becomes boring.

    • He says that he is “not interested in recreating foods from 1491”. That’s too bad. It would be fascinating to see the actual traditional diets re-created because those diets were why they were so healthy.

      But I’d be interested in what many Native Americans were eating merely in 1891 or even the early 1900s when there were still some free tribes and, even among those on reservations, a still living memory of traditional diets.

      I suspect, in making a commercial product to be sold in restaurants, he probably increases the amount of carbs and sugar in meals to make it more palatable to modern diners. Still, I get his purpose. He is simply trying to reintroduce native ingredients and flavors.

  9. Mexican food to me is basically indigenous food with old world add-ons. Plenty of the dishes are what natives ate just with some old world ingredients like cheese and beef/pork/chicken now. But the foundation like corn tamales, tortillas, various sauces, etc is native

    • This is my suspicion about what has changed. Prior to high yields of modern agriculture, indigenous Mexicans probably ate smaller amounts of corn, beans, etc. There would’ve been more wild game available and so animal foods were probably more important and in a larger proportion, not to mention of a higher quality.

      The starchy agricultural goods would’ve been more supplementary, rather than the basis and largest portion of every meal. There also likely would’ve been more balance of a wider variety of wild plant foods, much of it fibrous. And, of course, the diet would’ve been seasonal with carbs eaten more at some times and less at others. This would’ve been combined with small portions, fasting and time restricted eating.

      Even in the Western diet, there weren’t dependable surplus yields of grains, potatoes, etc until the 19th century. And even sugar only became commonly available around then as well. Yet Americans maintained a primarily animal-based diet through that century.

    • That kind of comment makes one wonder how much the Iroquois diet changed over the generations. Is there much detailed and historically accurate knowledge of the recipes, seasonings, and preparation of meals from earlier centuries?

      When was the last time Iroquois ate a fully traditional diet with open access to their original territory and food sources? Maybe their traditional diet simply couldn’t be adapted to the land they were forced onto and so they simply lost the living memory of how to make tasty meals.

  10. TBF, southern natives also grew plants that most of us now take for granted such as chiles, tomatoes and potatoes, and of course fruit trees and avocados were widely available in a way that is less available in northern climates. Northern climates would’ve had to preserve what they found or grew in warm seasons and of course a lot of produce whether wild or cultivated would’ve grown less well in northern climates.

    I know northern natives could be quite clever in how they planted too: it was pretty common for them to plant fruit like berries along the sides of trails they travelled on so people could have food as they travelled along.

    My yield isn’t great for my small garden, definatey not enough to feed myself for the winter or even summer. Maybe it would be different if I planted in more space than a 5 by 5 garden. My corn in particular has low yields. If there really was a food shortage/I couldn’t rely on the stores, I would probably plant more fruit trees, use the entire backyard, etc. Even with that though, I’m not sure if my corn yields would be very good. I would probably be better off hunting animals or gathering wild plants at that point. But with our population, competition for wild food would be intense if we all decided to hunt and gather.

    • At present, our heavily urbanized and concentrated populations couldn’t survive without big ag. Not even everyone with access to land and water gardened, foraged, hunted, trapped, and fished. But we could make our food system more local, from focusing on what grows well in particular environments to using more advanced methods like hydroponics.

      For some places, that could include more plant foods. Yet for most places, it most likely would mean more animal foods. The largest and most population dense cites in the US are in the North. NYC has half the land area as Houston and Phoenix while, respectively, 4 and 7 times the population. Chicago is also more dense than those Southern/Southwestern big cities. Besides, other than cattle, not much is going to grow near Phoenix.

      Consider a comparison. On a small field, a family could feed itself year round with nothing but animal foods (meat, milk, and eggs). A single adult could survive on the meat, organs, brains, connective tissue, fat, and marrow of a single cow while maintaining optimal health and never going hungry. But a family could not survive on the meager harvest of plant foods from a small field without supplementation from other sources.

      Plant foods could never compare in calorie intake, nutrient density, and nutritional bioavailability. More people could be fed locally with animal foods than with plant foods. That is because most land is unusable for farming while even deserts, mountains, and forests can be used for grazing. That is why they traditionally relied on pigs in the South because much of Southern soil is not great and pigs can eat almost anything.

      Still, in most cases, a local diet probably would be a mix of plant and animal foods. It’s just that local plant foods are only seasonal and often limited in yield. Traditional systems of local agriculture never produced large yields, much less surpluses to be used year round. Before modern farming, peasants were forced to hunt and forage regularly and mix other things (bark, fiber, chalk, etc) into flour for bread.

      Most animal foods, though, can be produced year round. As long as there is heat and light, even milk and eggs can be had in the winter. But even if not that, humans can easily and healthily survive on fat and meat all winter, maybe mixed with a few preserved plant foods. There are few places on the planet that can’t locally produce foods to survive on. And if that isn’t possible, then humans probably shouldn’t be living there.

    • There are a lot of factors that influence parenting. A major one is ‘culture’, but that can be a vague way of talking around specific factors. Linguistic relativity as proven powerful, and recursion is one interesting example.

      But recently, my mind has returned to the possible connections between high-carb diets (particularly high-calorie without fasting, etc), addictive substances, and obsession with control (both social control and self-control). I think about the keto diet study from around the 1950s or so. An unintended side effect observed was that, in ketosis, children were perceived as more well-behaved and obedient.

      Maybe that has to do with why so many traditional cultures lack such phenomenon as terrible twos and teenage rebellion that modern people take as normal. Maybe it’s simply unhealthy diets and lifestyle making people feel crappy, irritable, depressed, etc and so causes them to act out in anti-social ways. What if it might be that simple? Even language as a factor could be altered over centuries of dietary change.

  11. I asked my mom what the Chinese cooked with. She said that the ideal was corn oil but people were poor so all they could afford was lard. People would save the fat drippings from pigs to cook future meals with

    • Corn oil definitely wouldn’t have been traditional. In general around the world, industrial seed oils weren’t widely used until well into the 20th century. Your mother would’ve been one of the first generations to hold corn oil as an ideal. It probably was perceived as ‘ideal’ initially because it was a rare and expensive foreign commodity. Only wealthy Chinese could afford to regularly use it.

    • My mother has talked about having such dresses when she was a young child. That would’ve been the late ’40s to early ’50s. Her family had more money later on and she got a job in high school.

    • Thanks for posting that! It’s a great piece of info. It was fortuitous as this was exactly on my mind this morning, in a discussion I had with my father when we went out for breakfast. We were talking about low-carb diets.

      In watching Youtube videos (Diet Doctor, Ted Naiman, etc), I once again came across a key debate that has been going on in recent years. Some claim the carb-insulin hypothesis (of metabolic syndrome and diabetes in particular) has been disproven. But there really isn’t clear-cut proof to the contrary. Leading insulin researchers like Ben Bikman still defend the carb-insulin hypothesis.

      The Naiman crowd think a healthy diet prioritizes protein with moderate fat but that really doesn’t fit any traditional diet and so it’s not clear where this idea came from. These contrarians, instead, argue that diabetes is about energy excess. They rely on rodent studies where diabetes is created through a high-fat diet. The problem is this is almost entirely done with rodent lab chow that is high-carb and the fat source is industrial seed oils.

      There is absolutely zero proof that anyone on a traditional whole foods animal-based diet of low-carbs and high-fat for their entire life has ever gotten metabolic syndrome. That is because no one has bothered to study it. And where is a large population of such people to be found, other than the indigenous. Are there any Inuit tribes left on such a diet with no industrial foods? I don’t know.

      Then, even ignoring industrial PUFAs like seed oils, one has to consider natural PUFAs like omega-3s from cold water ocean fish as compared to saturated fats. Some saturated fats will actually make your fat cells release and metabolize fat. Obesity largely has to do with metabolism not operating and stored fat becoming inaccessible, which leads to ever greater hunger. The body has energy but simply can’t get to it in order to use it. This has to do with insulin resistance and the insulin-glucagon ratio, as Bikman and others talk about.

      So, anyway, I brought this up to my dad and, as a conservative businessman and professor, he is a natural skeptic. His immediate response is what is the evidence for blaming industrial seed oils or whatever. It’s a good question. Even if industrial seed oils are problematic with metabolic syndrome (which might be unknown, even as they are generally horrible for health), it might not be because they are PUFAs but because they are oxidized omega-6s.

      The article you linked at least points to something interesting going on. It shows that we can’t generalize about all fats when speaking vaguely of high-fat diets. Well, it depends on high in what kinds of fats and in relationship to what else in the diet, lifestyle, environmental conditions, etc. Many people seem to do great on high-fat diets, including some native people, but it depends on many factors. Not everyone may do well on a high-fat diet or at least not with certain kinds of fats. It’s unknown territory.

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