October 22, 2013

An Oscar-nominated look at life in a Roma village

With the culture of the Roma much in the news, it's worth recalling that the famous opening scenes of a critically acclaimed, Oscar-nominated film were shot in the Roma (a.k.a. Gypsy) section of the Romanian village of Glod:
From the Associated Press:
GLOD, Romania (AP) — The name of this remote Romanian village means "mud," and that's exactly what angry locals are throwing at comedian Sacha Baron Cohen
Cohen used Glod's Gypsies as stand-ins for Kazakhs in his runaway hit movie, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Now offended villagers are threatening to sue the film's producers for paying them a pittance to put farm animals in their homes and perform other crude antics. 
Residents and local officials in the hardscrabble hamlet 85 miles northwest of Bucharest said Tuesday they were horrified and humiliated to learn their abject poverty and simple ways were ridiculed for a movie now raking in millions at box offices worldwide. 
"We thought they came here to help us — not mock us," said Dana Luca, 40, sweeping a manure-stained street lined with shabby homes of crumbling brick and corrugated iron sheeting.

34 comments:

stari_momak said...

One of the coolest things I did during my time in the Navy was a 'Black Sea run". Every year the Nav sends a cruiser up into that sea -- which really is darker than the normal ocean -- to maintain 'freedom of navigation'. It's also an opportunity to collect different and exotic intel.

I was involved in that last thing, but the really cool part of the trip were the port visits. And probably the coolest was in Romania. I signed up for what was basically a 24 hour bus tour of the country. Bucharest -- where our guide 'George' told us the problem with the Romanian Revolution was that they needed to take out and shoot maybe 2000 more people.

But getting back to ethnicity. We want to Transylvania, and of course to the reputed castle that inspired Bram Stoker. It was indeed quite lovely in its stark beauty. But what was a surprise is that Transylvania was traditionally home to Saxons, and for something like 700 years these folks maintained villages that were distinct from their Romanian neighbors. But, unlike some other groups--no doubt added to the actual wealth of the country.

Anononymous said...

"simple ways were ridiculed for a movie"

Can Southerners complain about bigoted portrayal too?

Etiquette Coach to Teach "Borat" A Lesson?
At this point, the Borat movie flashes to the following road name: "Secession, Private Drive." The road on which the dinner facility was located does not bear this name, ...
He asked the dinner guests whether they owned slaves.

Anonymous said...

"We thought they came here to help us — not mock us," said Dana Luca, 40, sweeping a manure-stained street lined with shabby homes of crumbling brick and corrugated iron sheeting.

In other words, they thought they'd be the ones pulling off a scam and getting some money. They didn't realize that they were the marks being scammed.

Penny Al Arrabbiata said...

The funny thing about funny men is that they're quite often some of the meanest people around.

Anonymous said...

You'll be hard pressed to find someone more appreciative of Steve than myself, even if we don't always see eye to eye.

One of the unfortunate sides however in having an interest in human biodivrtsity (or perhaps in anything involving humans) is focusing all too much on the negatives rather than their positives. I expect that Steve would agree with me even if one of my inspirations for this thought come from the ridiculousnes of this post - amidst a witchunt for nefarious Gypsies, we get a post implying that really, when youy think about it, as bad as Gypsies are, they too can victimes... of the JEW!

Again, not Steve's fault and not something I'd condemn in any case. My whole point is that I come not to bury but to praise.

So let me praise:

I've travelled in all sorts of dangerous locations and among people with dangerous reputations and have usually had a fine ole time (there having been obvious exceptions) but this bland milk of human kindness bit won't do. So let's talk about individual ethnicities.

To srat with I guess I could point out that a Gypsy woman once insisted that I was a Gypsy. This happens to me a lot among "exotic" folk (I'm fairly fair but was told by a Nigerian woman that, as a part-African, I needn't worry about my safety in Nigeria, and I've been assumed to be Arab, South American, German, English, etc) but later reflection has had me consider the possibility that she was preying on my assumed prejudices to get me off my guard (like a gay man calling a presumed-homophobic a closeted gay) so that might not make my point clearest.

Heck, after this lengthy a session of train of consciousness I fear there's no well-written point coming. The non well written point however is that there are plentiful charms and praises to be accorded the many ethnicities and cultures of the world and wouldn't it be pleasant to enjoy the sweetness of these examples of biodiveristy?

Surely such a project could go wrong in numerous ways, including evoking enough critics to drown the original song or, as we all know, being intended more toward propoganda than education. But I still maintain it's worth a try.

In my second attempt to get the ball rolling. Here are some of my own observations:

Americans of the sort who aren't living betwixt 400 kinsfolk - These are usually either city folk, middwestern farm... oh heck, let's just say it, Americans of non-major African descent who aren't Southerners: They're among the most open and friendly people in the world. There's a civil society among these people of pretty divergent backgrounds that would be the envy of civil societies everywhere. There's a religionless honesty, helping of thy neighbor and general non-hostility to strangers that would make anyone from anywhere feel at home. At least through the first "Hello!", Americans aren;t however likely to invite a stranger into their homes to live with them through the winter.


Americans who are living betwixt 400 kinsfolk - White Southerners and other occassional kin-dwellers:

Well, as you can see, I'm not the best man for the job. Not because i don;t have anything nice to say about the aforementioned category - I do, and about many more with whom I've personally interacted or have some information on good authority regarding them, but because my prose obviously isn;t up to the task at this hour.

It would be great though, no? Praise and compliments and appreciations and pleasant dreams based on the exotically sweet customs of foreign peoples?



Steve Sailer said...

"The funny thing about funny men is that they're quite often some of the meanest people around."

For example, I'd be funnier if I wasn't so nice.

sunbeam said...

Anonymous wrote:

"You'll be hard pressed to find someone more appreciative of Steve than myself, even if we don't always see eye to eye.

One of the unfortunate sides however in having an interest in human biodivrtsity (or perhaps in anything involving humans) is focusing all too much on the negatives rather than their positives. I expect that Steve would agree with me even if one of my inspirations for this thought come from the ridiculousnes of this post - amidst a witchunt for nefarious Gypsies, we get a post implying that really, when youy think about it, as bad as Gypsies are, they too can victimes... of the JEW!"

Okay, but can you tell me anything positive about having Gypsies in this country? In any country?

As for the rest of what you wrote I gather your appearance has inspired a diverse assortment of peoples to think they have some kind of kinship for you.

I understand that. But what did the rest of what you wrote mean? I really didn't get it.

Funny most Southerners have the impression that Northerners, Midwesterners, and Left Coasters aren't friendly.

Cail Corishev said...

Sunbeam, I'm glad I'm not the only one who had no clue what that comment was getting at. Maybe it wasn't just me reading too early in the morning after all.

gloria said...

"To start with I guess I could point out that a Gypsy woman once insisted that I was a Gypsy. This happens to me a lot among "exotic" folk (I'm fairly fair but was told by a Nigerian woman that, as a part-African, I needn't worry about my safety in Nigeria, and I've been assumed to be Arab, South American, German, English, etc) but later reflection has had me consider the possibility that she was preying on my assumed prejudices to get me off my guard..."

Smart of you. Full blood black Africans don't think of vaguely "ethnic" looking non-black people as "part African." They think of them as white, or whitish.
\ I will never forget how when Richard Pryor was asking some Africans which tribe they thought he belonged to, they opined, "Italian."

A Kenyan lady told me that not only I, but also probably our Chinese friend, would be known by a term that means "white lady", or little white lady. Not derogatory, but black Africans definitely feel a deep distinction between themselves and EVERYONE else.

Anonymous said...

1) The reason the blonde girl drew attention is because blonde kids are rare in Gypsy camps so there cannot be many examples of this stereotype situation.

2) The are some very poor blonde people type countries near by like Moldova and Romania where the kid may have been given to the Gypsies.

3) Anyone remember when Christian Evangelical Gov of Texas Rick Perry tried to steal like 100 Mormon kids?

4) It is possible the kid came from Northern European 'travelers' types.

5) Lots of blonde white people being killed in the controlled collapse of nearby Syria. Any chance the kid was abandoned by refugees?

So my guess is that the child will not match any middle class Europeans.

Anonymous said...

"Smart of you. Full blood black Africans don't think of vaguely "ethnic" looking non-black people as "part African." They think of them as white, or whitish."

A relative of mine is Italian with darkish skin and she works at an inner city school with Blacks.

They really think that she is at least part Black. I think it's because the criteria for Black is have darkish skin, no matter what your other features, that she gets a pass from them.

eah said...

GLOD, Romania

No google street view. Shame about that.

Anonymous said...

Tyler Cowen says, "Let them eat beans!"

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2013/10/11/twitter-and-the-real-economy-of-jobs/

"The economist Tyler Cowen suggests that the 85% of the population without the proper cognitive pedigree will need to adopt the survival strategies of the poor in Latin America, including a diet heavy in beans."

http://stream.wsj.com/story/latest-headlines/SS-2-63399/SS-2-343190/

"Then there will be everyone else, slouching into an underfunded future of lower economic expectations, shantytowns and an endless diet of beans. I’m not kidding about the beans.

Poor Americans, writes Mr. Cowen, will have to “reshape their tastes” and live more like Mexicans. “Don’t scoff at the beans,” he says. “With an income above the national average, I receive more pleasure from the beans, which I cook with freshly ground cumin and rehydrated, pureed chilies. Good tacos and quesadillas and tamales are cheap too, and that is one reason why they are eaten so frequently in low-income countries.”

So what am I to do to save my sons from this bean-filled future? The first thing, it seems, is to have them play more chess."

Penny Al Arrabbiata said...

"Anyone remember when Christian Evangelical Gov of Texas Rick Perry tried to steal like 100 Mormon kids?"

You mean the 15-year-old girls who were being married off to their grand-uncles? Yeah, I remember that. It was one of the few reasons to like Rick Perry. It showed 'he had a heart.'

If you've ever lived in Utah you'd understand. Polygamists are a bit like Gypsies. They game the system. Their Medicaid and food stamp rates are stratospheric. They force their girls into marrying old men and, even worse, dump their surplus boys onto the mercy of the surrounding society, which foolishly cooperates by taking care of them. I don't know what polygamy was like in the 1800s (I suspect it was a lot more like it is today than the Mormon Church would have you believe), but as time goes on the religious masquerade comes off and the sexual motivation becomes more blatant. An increasing number of polygamists don't identify with any religion at all.

gloria said...

"A relative of mine is Italian with darkish skin and she works at an inner city school with Blacks.

They really think that she is at least part Black. I think it's because the criteria for Black is have darkish skin, no matter what your other features, that she gets a pass from them."

I meant Africans in Africa. But as far as "darkish" people here, I haven't noticed any overriding tendency to give olive skinned people a pass. Maybe they do in friendlier situations, but my Armenian friend has not noticed too much of a "pass" in the black neighborhood he decided to buy a house. He recently had his jaw wired after an attack by a gange. Some of the neighbors are nice to him though.

Anonymous said...

"They really think that she is at least part Black. I think it's because the criteria for Black is have darkish skin, no matter what your other features, that she gets a pass from them.f"

Actually I don't think that is true, though in the case you're talking about maybe so. I have a friend of Jewish and Asian (her grandparents, as she describes them, had "slitty" eyes--her words) and she is always bitching about blacks who diss her because they think she's white. She identifies with Jewish, white, and American Indian (don't ask). She's written to public transportation officials when a bunch of black girls pushed her out of the way and called her a "white bitch." I'm sure there people of color who call her sister, but by and large they aren't among blacks.
And it's not the color--it's the features that people make assessments about. Many racial types in the U.S., nowadays, are dark skinned.
Your Italian friend is benefitting from the fact her charges are young kids and one's judgment in such matters is pretty, well, black and white at that age. They don't know any better or worse.

gloria said...

"He recently had his jaw wired after an attack by a [gange].:

correction: gang. of course.

Anonymous said...

gloria said...

"A relative of mine is Italian with darkish skin and she works at an inner city school with Blacks.

They really think that she is at least part Black. I think it's because the criteria for Black is have darkish skin, no matter what your other features, that she gets a pass from them."

What do you make of THIS couple?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/23/booming/starting-out-us-against-the-world-but-still-together.html

I think the wife would be treated like any other white if she got into a racially tense situation.

Anonymous said...

I meant Africans in Africa. But as far as "darkish" people here, I haven't noticed any overriding tendency to give olive skinned people a pass. Maybe they do in friendlier situations, but my Armenian friend has not noticed too much of a "pass" in the black neighborhood he decided to buy a house.

It may be possible that Africa-Americans hate and fear oliver-skinned ethnic whites more than Nordic WASPs. After all, OSEWs such as Armenians, Italians, Greeks are less burdened by political correctness and white guilt.

Anonymous said...

She identifies with Jewish, white, and American Indian (don't ask).

I won't ask, just comment. I have noticed no bond between NE Asians and American Indians. These two groups may be racially similar, but culturally, they might as well be from different planets.

sunbeam said...

Anonymous wrote:

"So what am I to do to save my sons from this bean-filled future? The first thing, it seems, is to have them play more chess."

What gets me after reading this HBD stuff is what room is there for the average?

It's a pretty common accusation to accuse people who frequent sites like this to be believers in genetic determinism, genetic elitism or superiority or whatever.

But what makes it wrong? I'm not talking morality here, just nuts and bolts, facts on the ground, abilities versus the needs to be fulfilled.

To compare this to sports, no amount of training will enable you to play in the NFL as a cornerback if you don't have the genetics to run a 4.5 forty or so.

It can't be done. (let's not quibble too much about guys who played in the past with 4.6's and whatnot).

I don't think steroids would help you either if you don't have the genes for it.

To me the world is getting to be a place where the only need is for that NFL cornerback. Being capable of playing the position in high school or college doesn't mean anything. The only need is for the top end, and short of that is useless.

Now if you want to obfuscate the point and talk about other positions or what have you in an effort to dismiss my post that's fine I guess.

But I'm making an analogy of course. I'm really talking about intelligence and being able to be gainfully employed and make a real contribution to society, the economy, or whatever concept means something to you.

Perhaps I'm not a genius, but I've thought about this for a while.

And I have not seen anything, or thought of anything, that makes me think that not the way the world is going.

So what stops it? What stops the cognitive elite from pretty much being the whole ball of wax?

If you know something I wish you would share it.

Let's be blunt: If the population of Detroit disappeared tomorrow science, art, literature, any form of progress wouldn't be affected one bit. If you are honest about it, these people are essentially meaningless, with no upside to having them in your immediate vicinity, and a lot of down.

Of course they have company. West Virginia, Fishtown, most of the prairie towns, lots of other places, are all in the same category.

The Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals are going to go to the usual suspects, with the only other contenders coming from a few odd places like China and Asia that are coming online as it were.

New technologies and industries are going to be generated in the places I mention above.

And what's going to come out of Detroit or West Virginia? Not much.

It just seems to me that things are pretty much going to be such that if you are not elite, you aren't anything.

ysv_rao said...

Saxons, and for something like 700 years these folks maintained villages that were distinct from their Romanian neighbors. But, unlike some other groups--no doubt added to the actual wealth of the country."

Umm no...Saxons were viewed as leeches and parasites who took advantage of the peasantry with their penchant for trade and usury. They would also ally with whomsoever was the most powerful(the corrupt boyars) to protect their business interests.
Remind you of some other ethnic group similarly maligned?

David M. said...

"Okay, but can you tell me anything positive about having Gypsies in this country? In any country?"

They are good musicians. They often provide the music for weddings and other festivities. They play good music in the Metros and other public transportation, but ruin your enjoyment by sending some poor little barefoot girl who should be in school around the compartment to beg for tips.

Anonymous said...

Regarding my typo-heavy, stream of consciousness comment yesterday, I guess I have some obligation to attempt a day time explanation of what I meant there.

I meant simply that different cultures, ethnicities, races, whathaveyous can be differentiated by their negative/odd characteristics but also by their positive ones and that it might do us all some good to make some attempt to engage in the latter sort of differentiating.

Regarding the fact that my openness to the foreign often makes the foreign assume that I'm one of them* seems to have garnered the most attention but what I'm more interested in doing is defending the point of view that would have become obvious were I to have not fallen asleep in middle of commenting yesterday regarding the cheery welcoming nature of the one group I got around to saying something nice about.

Sunbeam's comment, "Funny most Southerners have the impression that Northerners, Midwesterners, and Left Coasters aren't friendly", is of course true and likely because White Southerners are generally more tribal and therefore have a more tribal view of strangers, one that's less open at the outset but deeper as the stranger is either identified within the context of his tribe or is viewed sufficiently sympatico to be an honorary member of the tribe. We could discuss all that for a while of course but then the entirety of my original point would get lost yet again. (Reminder: We can notice genuinely nice things about exotic peoples without much more effort than it takes to notice genuinely nasty things.)

Moshe Rudner
www.exoticjewishhistory.com **



-----------------------------

* And, more than my looks, that almost certainly is the primary motivating factor in seeing a distant kin in me. No one looking at a photograph of me for example would identify me as having any noticeable recent African ancestry and to the best of my knowledge I do not actually have any, yet the Nigerian bank teller (located in Queens, by the way) wasn't alone in taking me for a landsman, the good folk at The Nation of Islam Mosque in Chicago opened up their campus for me to enter and say my prayers on account of their accepting my claim of being an African American.

** I herein absolve myself of any and all less wholesome observations to be found within my own works. My upbeat sentiments regarding exotic peoples don't blind me to the fact that there is often more to be seen and discussed. I'm open to experience, not pollyannish.

Anonymous said...

Umm no...Saxons were viewed as leeches and parasites who took advantage of the peasantry with their penchant for trade and usury. They would also ally with whomsoever was the most powerful(the corrupt boyars) to protect their business interests.

That's true. The Volga Germans were often resented because they kept to themselves and didn't assimilate among the Slavs they settled.

Anonymous said...

but ruin your enjoyment by sending some poor little barefoot girl who should be in school around the compartment to beg for tips.

No. Schools are bad enough without one more retarded kid to be mollycoddled at the expense of the smart kids.

Anonymous said...

That's true. The Volga Germans were often resented because they kept to themselves and didn't assimilate among the Slavs they settled.

I'll also add that the Jews in Eastern Europe were essentially Germans who followed the religion of Judaism. They spoke German (or some dialect of it like Yiddish), dressed like Germans, ate like educated Germans, etc. The Jews also preferred to pal around with Germans and other "cultured" Western Europeans than with Slavic peasants and Slavic princes.

Joe Schmoe said...

Sunbeam-

What you are missing is that the cognitive elite functions best in a middle-class society.

The residents of Fishtown are badly needed. They are the people who fix the phone system; make the trains run on time; and work as EMT's, insurance claims adjusters, chefs, and plumbers. They are also the people in charge of vital infrastructure like power, water, and sewers.

On a broader level, the residents of Fishtown need to send their kids to school; mow their lawns; and care enough about their menial jobs to perform them with some degree of professionalism.

It is the working and middle classes, rather than the cognitive elite, that separates the US from Mexico and Columbia. Here, the EMT who works in the back of the ambulance that picks you up from the scene of a car accident is generally not a college graduate. But he knows his job and is highly committed professional. When he is the only thing that stands between you and bleeding to death during the 15-minute ride to the hospital, that's a good thing.

The white working and middle classes are what makes this country function. Without them, the US cognitive elite would be in the same position as the elites of Mexico and Colombia -- the elites from those companies are almost always all well-educated and competent, but they also live behind barbed wire and need to fly to the US for medical treatment.

Because US cognitive elites live in a middle-class society, they do not have to worry about things like kidnapping and military coups that are followed by the nationalization of industries and "land reform." This frees our cognitive elites to design iPhones and Boeing Dreamliners.

gloria said...

" " gloria said...

"A relative of mine is Italian with darkish skin and she works at an inner city school with Blacks.

They really think that she is at least part Black. I think it's because the criteria for Black is have darkish skin, no matter what your other features, that she gets a pass from them."

What do you make of THIS couple?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/23/booming/starting-out-us-against-the-world-but-still-together.html

I think the wife would be treated like any other white if she got into a racially tense situation." "

Actually I am Gloria and I didn't say that. I was responding to one, Anonymous, who claimed his Italian friend got a "pass" from blacks in the school at which she teaches, because she is a bit dark.

I responded that I thought that was somewhat unusual, and if it were true, the ethnic makeup of places like Chicago (circa 60s-70s) would not have changed so drastically. Italians there were driven out of their vast network of neighborhoods by the influx of blacks. They did not flee because of innate hatred. Many tried to stay. They couldn't--didn't get a "pass." In fact, thinking of most of the Italians I know, I can't imagine most want one. Still, from time to time I read of black girls claiming Italians like black girls (or guys). Or Germans like blacks, or Swedes, or whoever. In fact, the only time "minorities" are especially fetished is when they are rare, whoever they are. Once they are more common, their desirability is appraised more objectively.

Anonymous said...

"She identifies with Jewish, white, and American Indian (don't ask).

I won't ask, just comment. I have noticed no bond between NE Asians and American Indians. These two groups may be racially similar, but culturally, they might as well be from different planets."

Anonymous 11:06 here, who wrote the comment you're responding to.

You're right there. I agree. My friend wasn't into Asians much at all, though she takes people as they come. She likes American Indians for personal reasons, and does look a bit "hispanic", though to me she looks like she could be part Romanian gypsy -- hey, that's what this thread was originally about! She's an original. One minute she'll be spouting some Soc 101 PC platitude likes its gospel, the next minute she'll be mercilessly mocking PC platitudes, especially economic ones. Her taxes going to other peoples' many children they decided on their own to have, particularly galls her.

Anonymous said...

You have to be kidding? The gypsies could not outsmart (that is cheat) a Cambridge educated Jew. Wow - what a surprise. I guess their lower IQ makes them a "victime".

Penny Al Arrabbiata said...

"It is the working and middle classes, rather than the cognitive elite, that separates the US from Mexico and Columbia."

Well, yes and no, but mostly, overwhelmingly, yes.

The United States, Canada, United Kingdom, etc., attract more cognitive elites to begin with because we have a larger, more conscientious, and better educated working class.

It can be either a virtuous or a vicious cycle. In a virtuous cycle, the working class benefits from the talent of the elite and the elite benefits from the competence, work ethic, conscientiousness, and law abiding behavior of the working class.

Too many First World billionaires take all of this for granted. They assume they're entitled to a well-behaved working class who don't kidnap their children for ransom and who perform their jobs competently.

For the last decade, at least, we've been hear endlessly about the United States increasing inability to attract the "best and brightest." The implication is always that it's because our immigration laws are too onerous. The reality, though, has more to do with immigration laws that are too generous, but for the wrong people.

Anonymous said...

"It is the working and middle classes, rather than the cognitive elite, that separates the US from Mexico and Columbia."

The basic point here, that it's the IQ distribution of the population as a whole that matters, needs to be repeated over and over until people start to remember it, because it looks to be manifestly at least roughly true, is important, and has many consequences.

The book "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" is not about high-IQ extremes or the IQ of elites, it's about average IQ:

"The book includes the authors' calculation of average IQ scores for 81 countries..."

Whatever the exact details of this, it's worth investigation and one of those things that, to someone with enough experience around the world, is more likely to be roughly correct than not. (Don't believe your lying eyes!)

Anonymous said...

About average IQ and the fate of nations, here's an interesting graph:

"National IQ Lynn Vanhanen 2006 IQ and Global Inequality"

Warning, view at your own risk for crimethink, as crimethink patterns are present. You have been warned.