Tuesday 16 October 2018

See there springs an Indian maid

Did you know that the author of Vanity Fair wrote a poem about Pocahontas? It ends:
In the woods of Powhattan,
    Still ‘tis told by Indian fires,
  How a daughter of their sires
    Saved the captive Englishman.

So (especially for those of you who follow US politics) it turns out that Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren may be between 1/64 and 1/1024 'Native American' (though whether South, Central or North American native, it's not clear) in that DNA testing suggests she has one such ancestor somewhere between six generations and ten generations ago. 

If so, that puts her as being between (at best) 1.56% and (at worst) 0.1% Native American (i.e between 98.44% and 99.9% not Native American).

Donald Trump has longed mocked her as "Pocahontas" for her longstanding claims of American Indian ancestry (Cherokee and Delaware heritage), and it looks from his comments today as if he's feeling vindicated - especially after the Cherokees rejected her claim that the DNA test constituted "strong evidence" of Native American ancestry. 

Of course, the BBC has gone with Ms Warren's take (and, yes, comments could be going better):

...with Sir Anthony of Zurcher giving us his 'analysis' and going so far as to say that, "with positive DNA test results in hand, she's pushing back".

Are they "positive" DNA test results? Don't they actually make a nonsense of her claims to have a significant American Indian ancestry? After all, the tests don't even prove that this single ancestor came from North America. 

Anthony continues:
That probably won't stop Mr Trump's attacks [he wasn't wrong there!], but it will allow her to deflect the barbs and move on to what could be the top issues of an increasingly less hypothetical run - income inequality and government ethics reform.
Will it? Hasn't she actually made it worse for herself?

Well, not if the media has anything to do with it. After all, most of the media - like the BBC - will want to take her side and pretend (against all sense) that the DNA suggestion of between 1/64 and 1/1024 'Native American' ancestry amounts to 'proof' in her favour (which it doesn't). 

And proof that the BBC will do that is provided by Anthony Zurcher having already done so here!

Of course, some US politicians calling each other names and slinging mud at each other isn't exactly of earth-shattering importance (or particularly edifying), but this is another sign of just how partisan the BBC is, in that they'll even try and spin this against President Donald J. Trump.

Can't they just pause, take a step back, breathe in deeply, and just start reporting the news again? Is that really too much to ask?

Meanwhile, back to William Makepeacepipe Thackeray:
 Who will shield the fearless heart?
    Who avert the murderous blade?
  From the throng, with sudden start,
    See there springs an Indian maid,
 And. no, that Indian maid most certainly isn't Senator Elizabeth Warren.

P.S. Someone agrees!


  1. All this stuff is playing right into the hands of the GOP in November. I've been listening to Ben Shapiro giggling about this while I was working today. Tim Pool is claiming he's Japanese based on the new standards of progressive heritage acceptance.
    TDS has ensured that the liberal media has dug a grave so deep that they'll find it tricky to get out.

  2. Zurcher the Berserker seems to be under the impression that Stormy writes her own tweets...


  3. Churchill claimed Native American descent and was very proud of it.

  4. Warren is a little joke; a mini haha

    1. Lol. I laughed so much my feather nearly fell out. Those HIGNFY comedians haven't got Apache on you!

  5. Thanks Craig. I enjoyed the poem. This claiming of Native or Indian blood happens a lot in America and has thrown up some notorious cases and feuds in academia. One of them is a woman called Andrea Smith. Monkey Brains mentioned Churchill. There's a notorious Churchill Indian activist and academic in America who was accused of falsely claiming Indian blood, as well as academic fraud, for which he was sacked. And there's more: it's quite a saga. The strangest one I know of is a man called John Smelcher. I stumbled across this online some months ago. He's a poet, novelist, literary journal proprietor and editor, linguist, former body builder and wrestler, alleged false claimer of academic qualifications from Oxford (did a summer course there, rather than a PhD) and Cambridge (says he studied Shakespeare at the same college as Stephen Hawking!), and of being the only fluent speaker and writer of the language of a tribe he claims to be from, although it appears he was adopted and his father allegedly stated he wasn't an Indian, but some time later, possibly stated he was. The strange ins and outs of his saga are all there in excruciating detail on his website and on a blog by an Indian activist and academic called Debbie Reese who spent ten years trying to prove that he wasn't Indian. Another character involved in denouncing Smelcher, invoking retaliatory accusations of racism, is a well-known Indian writer, novelist, poet, and film maker called Sherman Alexie who has written much about the troubling and even lurid details of his family and early life but found himself caught up in a deluge of MeToo claims against him going back over a period of 20 years, to which he admitted guilt and withdrew from acceptance of a literary prize. This was in keeping with his practice in his writing of disclosing things about his life which don't reflect well on him. This seething feuding world was a complete surprise to me and it does make our domestic academic spats and feuds seem quite mild. I can't even remember what led me into all this. It wasn't the BBC anyway.

    1. The Me Too world of Hollywood has nothing on the Me Too world of academia. There are only probably a couple of hundred of successful directors in Hollywood. There are tens of thousands of successful academics...


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