Chicken, Dinosaurs and Black People

A new kind of dinosaur has been found, one with feathers. I am not a paleontologist, so cannot contribute to the discussion on the significance of this find. I was however, tickled to discover that some scientists have come to the conclusion that dinosaurs became chickens.

According to Scientific Blogging,

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have captured and sequenced tiny pieces of collagen protein from a 68 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex. The protein fragments—seven in all—appear to most closely match amino acid sequences found in collagen of present day chickens.

Picking over the bones of modern culture is a pastime I enjoy, but I am quite depressed about the culture of offense we have drifted into. Hardly a day goes by, it seems, when one c-list celebrity or another gets into hot water over an off-the-cuff remark that became a bad remark the Tuesday before. What I am saying here is that a new, Newspeak dictionary is being published every week now, and you have to be pretty sharp to keep up with the banned words and phrases. Words like "cunt" seem to be ok now, even on television. I can still remember when Kenneth Tynan said "Fuck" on the BBC and the papers talked about it for weeks. Recently, I would say, no longer than a twelvemonth, it has become de rigeur to blank out the words "Nigger" and "Paki", as if these words in themselves are so terrible, so beyond the pale, that even mention of them in parenthesis is a bridge too far.

Who decides these things I am not sure. You have to ask an anthropologist. All I know is, that in certain quarters, you had better have up to date information on which words you can use and then make sure that you are entitled to use them, for nowadays linguistic hegemony has fragmented into minority usage and you can only use certain words if you belong to that minority.

Someone coming from, let's say Retford, let us say, an average bloke (can I still use "bloke" or "average"?) who has an average job and is of average intelligence, is still going to use words that would call for resignations and perhaps, a meeting with the law, had they not been from Retford, and had the disadvantage of being ordinary. I am not sure why celebrities are singled out. They have a rough ride; one day they are censured for alluding to racial stereotypes by perhaps mentioning "curries", the next they are being told that, because they directed a movie, they are entitled to rape at least one 13 year old.

If these were children, who need clear boundaries, we would be confusing the hell out of them. I must conclude that the arbitrary nature of celebrity censure is the result of a society that does not know right from wrong.

I recently got a new chicken, a black frizzle. I call her Mahalia, after the wonderful Gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson. To hear Jackson, you are witnessing liberation, of the soul, the spirit and the body - an almost paranormal experience mediated by this woman of unremarkable origins who to me, represents all that is great about the Civil Rights Movement. It is difficult to listen to her rendition of "We shall overcome" without being, well, overcome. You cannot secularise the Southern Freedom Movement, it was steeped in the knowledge of the Word of God and the deep, unshakeable understanding that, all men are born equal under God.

Well, Mahalia, the chicken is unwell. We inherited her with a disease called scaly leg. Sufficient to say it is very unpleasant and would in time mean that she would lose her limbs. The only time to catch a chicken, without a great hoo-ha, is at night. And so it was that, after dark, we gently tried to extract Mahalia from her perch to begin her treatment. The trouble is, she is black and her feathers are curly. In the dark I am afraid that, not only could I not see her, I could not tell her one end from the other. It wouldn't surprise me to find that black people are harder to see in the dark, given the logic of the situation.

Am I a racist?


Great Big Billygoat Gruff said...

Tut tut WriWe

Black are reflectively challenged.

Get with it, oldie.

I'll get my coat.

Great Big Billygoat Gruff said...

Talking about constipationally PC, I have always wondered what were my origins.

Did we arrive in Scotland up The River Clyde on a Banana Boat, over the North Sea on a Viking Longship, over from Ireland in a dugout canoe, as a hanger-on with a lost Roman Legion or as a servant to an British Empire Soldier.

Of course we know who and what were my Dad, Grandad and Uncles etc but as my Dad left the Family Bible in the old flat in Plantation when it was about to be demolished the forebears beyond the above are really unknown or ill defined.

My own Father used to joke that we were wandering Jews who had alighted on Scotland as our own personal Promised Land. I think he was just schooled too much in the Old Testament at the Mission Sunday School.

Anyway I invested in a DNA tests specifically to trace back my male and female evolutionary line.

Apparently there are snippets of DNA which remain relatively stable and are passed on intact to offspring, in particular one on the male side and another on the female side.

From comparing these markers throughout the World it is possible to follow the migrations of the peoples of the human race. Variations in these markers tend to be associated with changes in human appearance and their probability of the the variations tend to be concentrated within various sub sets of population; Nordic, Celtic, Slavic etc etc .

In particular it is said that the European peoples are all descended from 7 females and when these differences occurred can be plotted on a time/ geographical bases.

In my case both my male and female lines can be traced to Galicia where existing European tribes retreated to live during the last ice age. It was that the people we now know as Celtic were formed and then left, after the Ice Age, by foot and boat North to the British Isles and Brittany and inland to France and Germany. Yes, The Galicians share a close genetic ancestry with The Irish, Bretons and Scots (also Icelanders!)

However going further back it appears that both my male and female lines arose in Galicia from lines back to what we know today from what is the Euphrates delta and further north into Palestine. From here these peoples, taking with them their agriculture tools techniques and seeds, they exploded North into Asia, North West in Greece and up into Europe, East to near Asia, the Indian sub continent and beyond.

Feeling unaccountably proud of myself, I copied the reports and the documentations which accompanied them showing the flow of the World peoples from Africa, over the Straits of Hormuz and beyond with approximate dates of the nodes going in different direction.

I telephoned my two PC daughters, as they all are today, thanks to the BBC and Primary School Teachers, especially their Mother.

I related to them all I detailed above and said that in fact we were not descended from Jews who alighted from a boat in Dundee in the 18th Century thinking they had arrived in New York. As I finished that part and paused, there was a howl of PC correctness from both their grown up mouths.

"Dad you cannot be saying that!"
"You are being racist Dad!" said the other one.

I felt hurt and sighed out loud to them.

"We are really Arabs!"

That shut them up and, as yet, they haven't seen the irony.

Great Big Billygoat Gruff said...

I am on a roll.

I was in deepest USA and sitting with a family who produced wine in Arkansas under a pergola at the side of the cellar.

We were sipping some of their wine, which they were proudly allowing me to taste.

The conversation turned to me and where I was from.

"Scotland", I said and they searched in their collective experience about any information about Scotland which was soon exhausted after golf and bagpipes.

The youngest member of the family at the table asked me if we had any "Afro-Americans" in Scotland?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thanks GBBG.

I like to imagine I am from Viking stock. Of course, I really have no idea, except that the "Celts" is a name made up in the 18th Century. The Romans knew us as the Galli or the "Chicken People". I am happy with that.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

BTW Scots Voices is a great idea. Have added it to the blog roll.

subrosa said...

Jings Billygoat,you've been deceiving me all this time by insisting you're from Viking stock and your ancestors arrived to plunder the lovely people of Dundee. Well I never!

Lovely story Billy, much appreciated your effort to type it.

WW, I'm sure Wardog would be delighted if you wanted to post something on Scotsvoices. The intention is to make it a 'group' blog for the arguements about Scotland today, tomorrow and in years to come.

Dave said...

I was born in Cornwall and claim to be Cornish through and through.
One slight problem- my mother is from Wiltshire and my father was born in Devon. Never mind, I'm still Cornish because my father can trace his family back to St Erth in Cornwall.
Howver, my Great great great grandmother on my father's side was a Prussian governess to the Harvey family.
That's OK I'm still Cornish through and through.
That makes me a Celt as well.
Science and DNA who needs it? I am because I believe that I am!

Ed P said...

Yes, you are racist if you spout such marginally-accurate nonsense.
(The test is surely: if you have to ponder if something's racist, then it's probably unacceptable.)

Also, Archaeopteryx showed the link between dinosaurs and birds some long time ago - it's not a new idea.

Wrinkled Weasel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
banned said...

Of course black people are more difficult to see in the dark, you are just not allowed to say so but " people should wear bright or refelective clothing at night" is fine.
As Ed P says Dinosaurs - Birds is far from new having been around for a few dacades.

Anonymous said...

Jesse Jackson once complained about a fried chicken diner in Phoenix, Arizona, as they advertised special deals for Martin Luther King day. God knows what he'll make of you. Should I advise a friend who is ginger to buy factor 50 cream during summer (as I once did)? Ask the rhyming reverend JJ.

Wrinkled Weasel said...


I think Jesse Jackson is a bad example; a thoroughly unlikable man who seems to pop up every time anything black happens in the world, if you know what I mean.

But of course, just for a whitey like me being critical of a black man puts me in the racist bin.

And having a black chicken named after a black Gospel singer is just terrible!. Except that the names I give to chickens are very precious and help me to see them as individuals. What can I say? Do I simply ignore the rich reserve of black culture and names like "Mahalia" when because I is white?