Random Access Memories
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We all have these memories, many of them fragments, that tend to stick around in our brains. Sometimes they mean something important. Other times they don't.
Also: some of you may have missed the weekend Substack which was posted late - https://niccolo.substack.com/p/saturday-commentary-and-review-121
I, too, grew up in a first generation family. Everyone worked literally 16 hours a day. Every time someone brings up "white privilege" I am galled. Idiots, all.
I love slice of life articles like this and the umarell article. Politics are important but they create anger and tension
These articles help us empathize with you as well as each other (as we share our own stories in the comments). They also remind us of what we are fighting for
"White privilege." Bullshit. It is an ideological and political weapon. I know what my parents and their families went through. I could tell my own "worm picking" stories. I know the facts and the history. I know how two kind, smart, Catholic, charitable Christians and teachers dealt with Black people, to pick one item. If they and we are to be dismissed categorically, vilified, due to our skin color, now, that only confirms that this sick, vicious regime is founded on lies.
People don't get that accusations of "privilege" means someone hates you more than you ever theoretically hated them.
Your essay has provided objective evidence that there can be delight in melancholy... What an absolutely heart felt stroll down memory lane... On a related note, a friend of mine was of the opinion that our memories were the mechanism by which we could time travel... And I agree!
“…hipsterism was the Millennials’ way of tacitly accepting downward social and economic mobility.”
I became aware of hipsterism in high school (early ‘10s). Near its end, I believe? It was accepted as “cool but bizarre”; the trendsetter kids started wearing flannels and listening to Bon Iver.
It was just an aesthetic to us, but your friend’s quote makes it far more understandable in retrospect. Adaptation to decline. I’m not sure what has replaced it, but some elements like gentrification and food fetishism have simply folded into mainstream liberal culture.
This was just nice to read. Thanks for sharing.
Made me want to write down some of my RAM too.
I grew up later and in a different, American context but lots of things felt very similar, reading what you wrote. Small, semi-rural town, experience with the big city and hipster bullshit later in life. Seemed exciting, but looking back it does seem like settling, and so many were/are so unhappy. Now I am reminiscent about my mother and father too, who were good, god-fearing people, with actual values, a work ethic and were just, well, male and female. Serbian immigrant family, 2nd/3rd generation. Very healthy. Wondering about the kids I grew up with, our collective joy/trauma and the affect it had on our future. 30 years does go by very fast.
Seems like a good exercise for all of us. Nice change of pace too.
On a separate and not so nostalgic minded topic... The entire idea of "White Privilege" is nothing more than the renewal of racial discrimination stated in modern day terms, equating to the judgement of an individual or group of individuals based upon their skin color. The not so amazing amazing thing about it is the government support that it garners, both then and now... the surprising thing about it is the difference in the reason(s) why.
I started a worm farm when I was like 10. Me and the neighborhood kids built a huge mulch pile, watered it, threw in old eggs, watermelon rinds, and whatever else we thought worms liked.
It kinda worked. Within months we had a pile of worms, that we then put into old Dixie cups to try and sell to fishermen down at the docks.
I think we netted $5s in two days of pitching worms. We gave up, and switched to collecting aluminum cans. Which netted us another $10 in a month of work.
I hope your mom did better than that
Excellent article, can relate on several levels: Italian immigrant family wife; a Welsh friend who raves (-ed?) about the opportunity in Canada; and have also watched my childhood paved over, not for the better.
The Italians did sowing, and meat packing on "Sanglaro" Avenue.
Toronto is even more pretentious and self-absorbed now.
“The way we were raised was wrong and evil, so say you to your bemused euro pals contemplating North America’s insanity.
Adrian Vermeule, Post Liberal Substack
“ the common theory central to liberalism, and it’s associated political movements is that liberty requires the throwing off of all unchosen constraints, which the Liberal counts as coercion an arbitrary oppression.”
“ CRT teaches that the heart of all educational, moral and artistic endeavour must be the battling of differentials.”
Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media,1964
“ the mark of our time is it’s revulsion against imposed patterns”
NS Lyons, Upheaval substack
“ The gathering darkness of the totalitarianism we face seems to be nothing less than a Faustian effort to deconstruct everything it means to be human”
Clever Pseudonym, Substack reader
“ The left has captured the means of cultural production, they repudiate but do not replace. “
Loved this - brought back some of my own memories for which I’m grateful
Nostalgia...when you first start to feel it you know the clock is ticking and you are getting older. The visible passage of time affronts assumptions of our permanence.
Some of my fondest memories are of the apartment block my parents made their first home in, the neighbour's little dog (Minnie-poo the maltese terrier), and the common laundry which had a copper (a big vat made of pure copper in which you placed dirty clothes which you left in water heated to boiling, perfect for my cloth nappies). Today most people have never even heard of coppers and are often disgusted at the idea of cloth nappies.
The white privilege narrative is central to the emerging social order. The period of peak economic privilege for the upper middle class began with the petrodollar in the 70s and is now rapidly winding down. Cheap credit meant debt peonage for the masses, but it also gave many in the class above them access to the great asset bubbles of real estate and the stock market. These created a whole strata of people with an extraordinary sense of entitlement and aspirations to match. The deindustrialised West cannot afford to fulfill these aspirations anymore. Since 2008 the West has had to adjust to a permanent state of economic uncertainty. The West now needs to legitimise capitalism by diversifying both the elite and near-elite classes, shrink the number of managers and professionals, reduce the expectations of these for autonomy and recognition and manage downwardly mobile white collar whites displaced by diversity and immigration by Third World elites. 'White privilege' fits the bill perfectly. It both demoralises and delegitimises some, while justifying the redistribution of opportunity and inclusion to others.
The unfairness is irrelevant. The danger to the existing order is that the narrative fosters identity politics amongst whites. Judging by twitter, I suspect that is happening at warp-speed.
That was an insightful and moving piece. I especially resonate with "I think about my mother the worm picker whenever I come across the term 'white privilege'. I think about my father the steelworker working six double-shifts a week. I think about how the two of them arrived in Canada with 500 Deutschmarks given to them by my mother’s father, and with me in tow, unable to speak a word of English. I was privileged, but not in the way that those who carelessly toss around the charge of 'white privilege' assume. The privilege was in how I was brought up and who brought me up. It had absolutely nothing to do with our racial attributes. We came from nothing, and nothing was handed to us." People born in North America who throw the term "white privilege" around so nonchalantly and pigeonhole everyone with the same skin color need to read and listen to more stories of immigrants, their tribulations and triumphs, often coming with nothing but hope in safety, freedom, and prosperity.
Thanks for sharing all this.
There might be a tiny typo here (there, I assume):
“the culture over their insists that not only the way that we were raised was wrong, but that it was also evil”