Monday 20 September 2010

More Mysterious Deleted Messages

We know how distorted a fact can become, even when passed through the mouths of a generation of fairly well educated people; how much more, then, must truths be twisted into myths at the hands of savages and barbarians through the ages. Sometimes it seems to me that there might be a blind spot in our conception of history and prehistory a whole undiscovered continent of facts, lying beyond our horizon; a vast, forgotten reservoir of knowledge, of which our modern sciences are but seepings, trickles from the greater store. I do not, of course, even put this forward as a supposition, but merely as a thought.
- Robert E. Howard, letter to Clark Ashton Smith, March 1934

I don't know how or why these messages keep getting deleted, but it's starting to concern me.  I'm presuming there's some moderator at Blogger that does this, or perhaps some automated system.  Who knows.  I'll have to look into it.  Let it be known that I do not delete any of my comments, no matter how much I disagree or am offended by them.

Another deleted comment came in my inbox today, this time involving my discussion of rampant Afrocentrism.  So I've been accused of sexism, now it only follows I be accused of racism as well.  I was afraid something like this would happen: fringe theories always bring the crazies, but there's an extra element to Afrocentrism that adds a level of racial discussion to proceedings, i.e. that this is a result of The Man keeping down the brothers by reducing the role of black people in history.  No doubt there are possibly incidents of this happening, but I seriously doubt it's to the extent that an entire nation of black people was "whitewashed."  Such a thing would be impossible to cover up or ignore.

And, of course, one cannot make the argument against, say, Ancient Egypt as being black without being branded a racist by that particular section.  I have little time for such arguments, since there's simply no arguing with them.  Being a white chap, there's no way to convince someone who's convinced that I'm racist that I'm not.  I can talk about my love of the many colourful cultures of Africa till the ngombe come home, but all that is naught to the mind of the crazed.

I can sympathize.  I too have suffered from fixation on the negative aspects of something, such as the less savoury comments in ... And Their Memory Was A Bitter Tree, and the other otherwise glowing introductions to books on or relating to Howard.  However, I also endeavour to point out the good elements in such cases, where present.  Unfortunately, the latest "Message Deleted" case doesn't appear to have that courtesy.

So here comes Black Truth.  I'm going to refrain from making direct judgements or assumptions about this Black Truth, no matter how easy it would be to assume that he's less interested in black history and more interested in grinding his axe against The Man, because making such assumptions would be improper of me.  Besides, Black Truth makes enough assumptions (most of them baseless) for the both of us.

Hi there, Black Truth!


Cute. Is that a play on Taranaich that gets itself confused with Hungarian? You'd think that if you really want to destroy my argument you wouldn't resort to such silliness.

I don't know what's more laughable, your arrogant denials of history and common sense or your colossal patronizing tone. Allow me to acquaint you with the facts.

For a guy complaining about my patronizing tone (if I was patronizing I do apologise, but nobody's complained thus far) you're coming off as a tad condescending yourself. Not a good start, chief. That said, if you do acquaint me with the facts, I'll be happy to concede.

FACT: Egypt is not "technically" in Africa anymore than Scotland is "technically" in Britain. Egypt is there and has never been anywhere else. If you believe it's in another continent, PLEASE tell us what map you're looking at!

Where do I say that Egypt isn't in Africa? Egypt is technically in Africa. What is wrong with that statement? Where do you get the implication that I'm saying Egypt is in some other continent? Seriously, where?

What I meant by that statement is that just because Egypt is in Africa, it doesn't mean there's some monolithic "African people." It would, in fact, be like saying the Scots are the English, just because Scotland and England are beside each other. I kinda thought that would've been clear from context, but since you're more interested in disproving my points than asserting the truth, I can see you're stretching even from the beginning. The fact that you suppose it was more likely that I was saying Egypt wasn't in Africa - somehow - than the more likely explanation suggests that you're either incredibly dense, or incredibly disingenuous. Or both.  But I'm not going to judge.

FACT: Cleoatra had a black mother

Now in your dream-o-rama having a black mother makes someone "white" but since we're talking about phenotypical traits here in the real world a black parent on either side of the family means the child will look like the BLACK parent, since black genes are DOMINANT genes and white genes are recessive.
That's science and common sense. So again, you are wrong.

Except your own link disproves your argument.

Cleopatra and Arsinoe were half-sisters that shared a father, not a mother. Look up your history books again. This is well known. The ancestry of Arsinoe's mother is thus irrelevent in a discussion with Cleopatra's mother. Ergo, no, Cleopatra did not have a black mother. You are incorrect.

Secondly, the article itself doesn't say anything of the sort. All it says is:

“That Arsinoe had an African mother is a real sensation which leads to a new insight on Cleopatra’s family and the relationship of the sisters Cleopatra and Arsinoe.”

It says nothing about Cleopatra's mother being black (or African for that matter), simply that Arsinoe's mother may have been. An all-too-common case of media distortion by histrionic journalists.  And, of course, the little fact that this might not be the tomb of Arsinoe anyway doesn't get in the way, does it?

Thirdly, you're actually using a BBC article as a source? The Beeb, who are infamous for being obsessed with political correctness and terrified of coming off biased against ethnic minorities? Come back to me when you have a reputable scholarly source.

Fourthly, I'm not even going to get into the genetics, since it isn't my forte.  Again, not that the geneticism matters considering Arsinoe's mother was not Cleopatra's mother to begin with.

FACT: Amanerinas never "defied" Alexander. That's another of the Kandake's you're NOT thinking about.

You are correct, I accidentally put Alexander when I meant to put the Romans. I shall amend it accordingly.

It's important to point this out, since it's the only time you bring up an actual fact in your entire screed.

So your pathetic attempt to essentially say "why don't you people claim your own history," is a lie. You are the one re-writing history. I've NEVER heard anyone dumb enough to say Egypt isn't in Africa until this blog, PLEASE lay off the sci-fi movies, it's ruining the two braincells you HAD!!!!

Do you really think that's what I meant? Really? After all my talking about black history, you seriously think I'm arguing that Egypt isn't in Africa?  I love how my celebration of black culture is now "why don't you people claim your own history."  As if I wasn't encouraging everybody to learn more about it.

FACT: Nubia is not sub-saharan, nor is half of Mali, so the only place where black and sub-saharan is synonymous is in your imagination.

No, the actual geographical position of Nubia and half of Mali is not sub-saharan, as in it is not below the Saharan desert. But the civilization was founded by sub-Saharan Africans, aka black people. Black and Sub-Saharan Africans are not synonymous in terms of talking ethnic groups, in that not all black people are Sub-Saharan Africans, but Sub-Saharan Africans are a subgroup of black people. And I can't believe I have to explain this, since I would've thought a scholar of black history such as yourself would know this already.

Egypt was a black civilization, get over it.

Until it is accepted and approved by the major accademic circles, no, Egypt was not a black civilization. If and when the day comes when there is irrefutable evidence, I'll be happy to say "awesome, looks like there's more to history than I thought." Until then, I'd rather stick with what the historical consensus is, thanks.

Greece was populated by large numbers of blacks. I know you get your information about Greece from 300 and Troy and Alexander

Strawmen, the last refuge of the desperate.

but I get my information from my numerous trips to the Greeks isles where you see dozens of Greek statues and vases and wine jars and libation bowls (to say nothing of the literature such as Herodotus' and Homer's works) displaying black residents of Greece.

OK, I'll get my information about Greece from Hollywood movies and the History Channel, while you get your information based purely on your own insane fringe theories based upon taking visits to the Greek Isles. Fair?

Honestly, that's you're argument?  What makes your assessment on your numerous trips trump decades - centuries - of historical research, and thousands of historians?  Who are you to say that they are all wrong?

Black residents of Greece is not something I'm arguing about anyway. I don't see where I said anything like that, anyway. What I am saying is that the royalty of Greece - who wouldn't even mix with other Greeks, let alone other ethnicities - were not black.

Again, the only place where a pure-white Greece independent of black influence exists is in your empty head.

I despair of the Academic world, for they are truly lacking without your insight and genius. Especially considering you somehow divined that I envisioned a "pure-white Greece independent of black influence" based on... absolutely nothing I wrote. Truly, a visionary is you.

Finally, until 2500 years ago there were no non-blacks in Africa.

... You're seriously saying there were no non-blacks in Africa prior to 500 B.C.? That there were no Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Semites or Berbers until 500 B.C.? Oh, wait, no, I get it - you're going to say the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Berbers were black, and that the Greeks and Semites which did come to Africa prior to that time didn't actually come there. Or maybe they were black too.

And only 12,000 years ago ALL of humanity was black, because the caucasoidal mutation hadn't occurred.

No. All the myriad tribes of humanity evolved down different paths. Modern white people did not "mutate" from modern black people, they evolved from a mutual ancestor who - in all likelihood - had dark skin. Saying white people mutated from black people is like saying humans evolved from chimps: we both came from a common ancestor. Black people and white people have a common ancestor.

Now I know these facts hurt but facts don't care what you think or if it shatters the lies you used to uphold you fragile ego.

Oh no, my ego! It has shattered in the face of pseudoscience and misrepresentation! Whatever shall I do?

And given your arrogant and ignorant post I think it's safe to say that the term African American "infuriates" you because you resent blackness. That's your problem, not anyone else's.

Considering I spend a good portion of my post about how awesome black history is, I fail to see how one could construe that I "resent blackness" as a result. Way to read into things that aren't there. I hate "African American" because it's politically correct, but I especially hate it when it's used incorrectly. But then, nearly all your arguments are based upon grave misreadings of my own arguments, so I guess this is perfectly logical to you.

Now I'm sure these facts are predictably lost on you, but I offer these facts nonetheless so that you can no longer deny having been acquainted with the facts. Enjoy your ignorance.

Will do.

Just let it be known that if I am wrong on something, I'll be perfectly happy to concede my inaccuracy. Case in point: my mix up with the Kandakes. That was a mistake, and I admit to it readily.

The thing that bugs me is, I'm talking all about how interesting black history is, and how more people need to learn about its mythology, culture and events. It truly is rich and fascinating. So instead of even acknowledging that, I'm attacked with pseudohistorical nonsense that makes a mockery of true history.  I despair of it, because in something like history, we can't really know the whole truth.  This means that the craziest nonsense out there has a foothold that simply wouldn't have a place in the other sciences.

The fact that I - and the Egyptology community at large - don't see evidence that the Ancient Egyptians were black has nothing whatsoever to do with a perceived bias against black people.  Were the Egyptians influenced by blacks?  Undoubtedly, considering they had a dynasty of Nubian pharaohs that lasted a near century.  The story of Piye and the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty is fascinating.  A film about them would be pretty damn interesting.  In a way, suggesting that the Egyptians were black to begin with kind of dilutes the impact of the Dynasty, at least from a sensationalist point of view.

As ever, if I'm incorrect in any of my above assertions, I implore my readers to correct me.  I'm not interested in furthering whatever school of unscientific nonsense afflicts the world at present.  Just the facts, and where facts are cloudy and difficult to discern, then simply the strongest theories.  I don't think that's too much to ask.

These are simple statements of fact, and when I’ve made them, my responsibility ends. It’s up to you whether you accept them and recognize the true facts of the matter, or prefer to cling to a misconception. It can’t affect me one way or the other, for facts are not dependent either upon acceptance or rejection.
- Robert E. Howard, Letter to H.P. Lovecraft, July 1934


  1. how does that quote go " if you never had any enemies in life it simply means you never stood up for anything" ? i forgot who said it but there's ignorance and hate in all races and groups.which is why you can only judge people on individual merit, which this guy lacks. good for you taranaich.

  2. Cheers, anon. That's a Winston Churchill quote, I belive: "You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life." I don't generally look upon people I disagree with as "enemies," as such, more misguided than anything else, but I've certainly stood up for things when I felt strongly enough about them. I rarely have enemies for long: either they become my friends, or they are out of my life.

  3. I can only assume that Black Truth got as far as your statement that Cleopatra was not black then stopped reading crtically. When one reads or looks or listens only through their bias they read/see/hear only what they want to.

  4. Love the new background! Blogger recently instituted a comment spam blocker, which throws assumed comment spam into a folder that can be accessed... somewhere or another.

  5. Love the new background! Blogger recently instituted a comment spam blocker, which throws assumed comment spam into a folder that can be accessed... somewhere or another.

    Yeah, it's been causing problems for me too. If you go to your Blogger dashboard, there's a section entitled "Comments" that will indicate if you comments that have been flagged as spam by the automated system. You can then check and see if any of them are actually real comments and give them permission to be posted. I think the filter is just over-zealous and often treats comments as spam that it ought not to.

  6. M.D., too true. Everyone's guilty of it at some point, so I can't be too mad at Black Truth. He must be an angry young man/woman. I can remember being like that.

    Both Jameseses: thanks very much! I'll look into the comment folder. It'll be easier addressing things in the comments section rather than using a blog post instead.

  7. Are you telling me that the movie "Cleopatra" starring Liz Taylor is inaccurate as well? I don't know if I can take anymore of my bubbles being burst! :)

  8. There is, actually a "religious" group in the US, based on the Afrocentric view of Egypt.. along with a lot of other hooey.

    I wish I had had the money to buy their compound from the Putnam County government.. it would have made a fantastic Miniature golf course..

  9. I was heartbroken when I found out that despite there being one in the background, no, there were no airplanes in Ptolemaic Egypt.

    Still, the fact that Liz Taylor was in it made me feel better.

  10. pseudohistory is a constant for some people, sometimes by misinformation, for instance a guy I know says that the origin of Romania, we have a lot of romanian inmigrants in Spain, is a lost roman legion... not knowing that in fact Romania was a roman province, Dacia... very accurate for that kind of people the letter by Howard to Lovecraft...

  11. I thought that was one of the Ancient Astronauts space craft. After all they were the ones who built the pyramids.

  12. Heh, well at least your acquaintance was "sort-of" correct, in that it's linked to the Romans!

  13. Zounds, of course! Ancient Astronauts!

    That also explains the "wristwatch" in Ben-Hur: it was a communication device worn by an alien in human form!

  14. I think the name Romania not comes from Rome or the romans instead is from romani, a language speak by a tribe of gypsies... in any case I'm not very sure...;...