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  1. #31
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    Exactly true, my friend.

    ...and thanks for that!
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Sinclair.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    From where I am sat and with the greatest of respect, I cannot for the life of me understand it. Yes of course celebrate your roots in passing...
    It raises a very interesting and possibly significant question as to why such things are common in the USA.

    Just guessing (I'm sure there's a Masters Thesis somewhere that has all the data) but I think it's a combination of the large number of people in each community combined with the length of time they've spent separated from the homeland.

    There are communities here in the USA that are still German-speaking- and they've been here for centuries!

    In our Civil War there were large units that were entirely German-speaking, or Italian-speaking, or Irish-speaking.

    By the early 20th century each of our major cities had a Polish-speaking section, a Yiddish-speaking section, an Italian-speaking section, and so forth.

    The Andrews Sisters' first hit, Bei Mir Bist Du Schon (to me, you are beautiful) tells the story of a young Yiddish-speaking girl smitten by a handsome young man, but at a loss to know in what language to tell him of her adoration. Is Italian his language? Is German? She has no way of knowing. English isn't one of the options she considers!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGveTSQbH30

    Thing is, the USA was mostly settled by relatively brief mass migrations. Albion's Seed gives

    1) East Anglia to Massachusetts 1629-1641
    2) South Of England to Virginia 1642-1675
    3) North Midlands to the Delaware 1675-1725
    4) North Britain to the Backcountry 1717-1775

    Thus before our Revolution the regional differences (accents, politics, etc) one sees to today in the USA were already firmly established.

    Number 4 above was from Scotland, Ulster, and the northernmost counties of England. Two-thirds of the migration occurred in the decade 1765-1775.

    Then between 1841 and 1910 over 4 million Irish came, the peak period being 1841 to 1860 when 1.7 million Irish came (out of an Irish population that was 8 million in 1841).

    Between 1870 and 1914 1.5 million Poles arrived.

    Between 1880 and 1924 4 million Italians.

    All of these migrations were episodic rather than a continuous trickle.

    That's crucial, I think. It's the descendants of these long-ago mass migrations that celebrate their -ishness.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 17th October 19 at 03:06 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    I don't think we Scots in Scotland would ever discuss another person's tartan. They feature in our lives socially from time to time and are just what some people wear. Do you discuss someone's suit? Someone's shoes? And so on? Well I certainly would not with someone that I didn't know and frankly I/we have better things to chat about than clothes!
    Jock, you're conflating two very different concepts. You're thinking that people talk about tartans/kilts/clothes, because those topics are specifically fascinating to them. In rare instances, that may be the case. If one person wants to strike up a conversation with a second person, because that second person seems particularly interesting, then the kilt provides a convenient excuse to strike up the conversation.

    My snarky t-shirts aren't considered an ethnically important piece of clothing, but people have been using them as conversation starters for the last few decades. (They helped me meet my wife, so I'm standing by my sartorial decisions.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    I might take note in passing, of an interesting tartan/tie/combination of colours and so on, but I would not consider all that worth talking about, particularly to strangers. Do you chaps across the Atlantic really have so little to chat about?
    Let me put it onto your side of the Atlantic, then.

    Let's say you walk into a pub in a large, multi-cultural city. (To put it on my terms, let's make it Edinburgh or London ... your choice.) You're not surrounded by your friends (where you know where the conversational landmines are). You're not sure where the people around you stand on politics, sports, etc. But you're bored out of your mind, so you'd like an entertaining conversation on some topic.

    What's a safe topic to choose?

    Sports? About a month ago, I was in a bar and glanced up at the TV. I commented to two gentlemen that I was disappointed that my home team (1,200 miles away) had lost to the local team. One of the two men I was chatting with (he was born and raised in the Middle East) looked shocked, because he thought I might be attacked by the locals for expressing my support for my home team.

    I didn't see the issue. At least 2/3 of the local population was born in another city. 1/4 or 1/3 of the population was born in another country. I would assume that London and Edinburgh experience similar demographic shifts (if to a slightly lesser degree). Can you walk into a pub in Edinburgh or London and assume that all the gents support the same teams you do?

    Should I talk about politics? I'm in Houston, Texas. The majority of Texas rabidly supports Trump. The majority of Houston rabidly opposes him. Would you (as a stranger) be able to negotiate the conversational landmines to civilly discuss politics here? Placing it into Edinburgh and London, where are the safe spots to support Brexit, or oppose it? Would you know?

    Should I talk about my job? 90% (or more) of the population barely grasps what I do for a living. I prefer to chat about my job with lawyers. 95% of them aren't potential clients ... but they know other lawyers ... including the 5% who are potential clients. I suspect that you're retired ... but was your occupation so engaging (and so easy to understand) that you could discuss it with the majority of pub-goers in Edinburgh or London?

    My hobbies? Dancing, photography.... if you meet me while I'm engaged in them, those are obvious and easy topics of conversation. If I'm randomly hanging out in a pub (or at a festival), perhaps not so obvious. Are your hobbies that apparently obvious if you walk into a pub in Edinburgh or London? Or would someone have to strike up a conversation (based on another topic) before learning them?

    I realize you have a few decades of experience on me, but you give the impression (and perhaps I'm mistaken in this) that you've spent the bulk of them in small, homogeneous communities. I've spent most of my life in large, heterogeneous communities. And in the rare circumstances where I've ended up in homogeneous communities, I've been an outsider.

    Walk into a pub, city, country where you are the outsider. What are the safe topics of conversation? Odds are, the person you speak to likes their own clothes. Complimenting them on their attire (if it looks like they dressed up a little) is probably fairly safe. It will probably be well received. If someone went out of their way to cross cultural norms with their attire (whether it's a kilt, a kimono or a hijab), then they probably put a non-zero amount of thought into their outfit before they walked out the door of their domicile.

    If you walk into a bar or dance hall in Wichita Falls, Texas (where Cameron from Texas is from) would they be discussing cowboy boots? Of course not. (It's only about 400 miles from Houston, but I've visited similar cities in between.) Either someone owns four, five or more pairs of boots, like my wife does (I don't feel like hunting around the house to count them, and I doubt she knows the exact number either), or they own zero pairs, for their own reasons, like I do. But in either case, it's not really an exciting topic of conversation. You don't discuss cowboy boots in Wichita Falls, Texas for the same reasons you wouldn't discuss kilts in the highlands of Scotland. In both situations, that item of clothing is perfectly normal. But if my wife wore one of her two nicest pairs of cowboy boots in your local pub, do you think she might elicit a few comments?

    (And just to divert a potential distracting line of conversation that anyone might bring up ... a good pair of cowboy boots costs at least 75% or more of the cost of a good kilt. And a cheap pair of cowboy boots costs about 200% of the cost of a cheap kilt. My wife's best boots cost about 50% more than my (current) best kilt.)

    Jock, I realize that I'm probably reading more into your comments than you intended ... but you really give the strong impression that you're sneering at those of us on the far side of the pond. So before you respond, you might want to put a little thought into how your words will be received by those you have lived their lives in communities that are vastly different than any you have ever visited.

    If Cameron had addressed his question specifically towards you, your response (and tone) may have been completely warranted. But he addressed his question towards the X-Marks community at large. Many of us were born, lived the bulk of our lives, and will die, without ever have lived in a highland community like yours (perhaps without even have visited one, depending on our personal financial means). For most of us, our experience runs a little closer towards his than yours ever will.

    You could have expressed your personal experience (with a slightly different choice of words) without including the derogatory tone. Seriously. Reread your own comments to see which sentences (or even phrases) you could have edited out to have kept your response as informative, rather than insulting. It's one thing to say that some topics aren't discussed in the highlands. It's another thing, entirely, to ask the rest of us whether we have "so little to chat about."
    Trying to look good on a budget.

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  6. #34
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    Karl R and others.

    I have read and reread my post and can’t see for the life of me that I am sneering at any one, but if you think I am, then you are wrong.

    Whilst these days I do indeed spend my time in small communities, I do still travel fairly extensively throughout the UK on the shooting, fishing and hunting( horses and hounds) scene though.There was a time, in my youth, when I spent a lot of my time in London and the establishment there that I worked for had very definite ideas what could be discussed when at dinner for example.The mention of politics, shop(work), religion and a mention of a woman’s name, were four absolute no no’s and could cost a very expensive bottle of port if one strayed and believe me on my salary that hurt! Well alright what else was there to talk about? Well quite a lot, but funnily enough I cannot remember clothing being discussed.

    I was also brought up not to wear the kilt outwith Scotland and generally I don’t. My greater family don’t either. So what happens at a fairly major daytime social event in my part of the world? There are kilts to be seen in a goodly number being worn by people that I know and people that I don’t know. I doubt that anyone will mention kilts or tartan.In fact I could almost bet the farm on not discussing kilt attire with anyone during the event. I might note a strangers tartan and I might note the tie that he is wearing both of which give fairly accurate clues of who he is and a clue of his past (school/university/regiment etc) for example. Should I engage in conversation with this gentleman I would certainly never discuss his kilt attire for the simple reason that the thought never occurs to me and it’s the same for every one else.

    The longer I have been on this website the more subtle and not so subtle, differences I detect between one side of the Atlantic and the other. I am not saying either is right or wrong,
    but I am saying that they are different. I see nothing wrong in that.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 17th October 19 at 01:49 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  8. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    Why not just celebrate being an American, Canadian, Australian, ----- Whoever? Yes of course celebrate your roots in passing, but there is a bigger picture, surely? Still, each to their own.
    Jock,

    I know this is a question that is quite baffling, but I think the simple answer is ďwhat exactly would one do to celebrate being an American?Ē While we do have a few common rallying points (July 4, WWII), America is simply too big and heterogenous to have a common culture. Itís as if Europeans got together and celebrated their European-ness- what would they celebrate?

    There isnít a common American culture that is distinctive enough to celebrate. As a result, we default to the culture of those people groups from which we came.

  9. #36
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    Jock, I totally understand your position, and feelings on this matter. You are golden in my book!

    That being said, My attendance at Highland games the last few years has been because the Organizers have hired my Reenactment group(78th Regiment of Foot, Fraser's Highlanders) to set up. So 75% of all my conversations have been about how the Author of Outlander did a real disservice to Clan Fraser and how the story would have been just as good if it had stuck to the real history. On those odd moments that I am "On Break" im most likely to be found trying to find a latrine with a short line, or perhaps to find a whiskey tent to regain my voice. The only time I have sought out another attendee to talk, it was because they actually had on a jacket, waistcoat and tie. I wanted to tell them how much I appreciated their clothing in the sea of PV sport kilts/t shirts/combat boots, and to ask where they had got it from. But I do that on occasion no matter if Im kilted or not, as finding someone out in public dressed properly, not wearing their PJ's while shopping is as rare as bigfoot sightings.

  10. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    Do you discuss someone's suit? Someone's shoes? And so on? Well I certainly would not with someone that I didn't know and frankly I/we have better things to chat about than clothes! I might take note in passing, of an interesting tartan/tie/combination of colours and so on, but I would not consider all that worth talking about, particularly to strangers. Do you chaps across the Atlantic really have so little to chat about?

    I don't take your comments as being contemptuous but I do find them curious, especially on a message board where the focus is on a very particular type of clothing... clothing that reflects our heritage. A garment far less ubiquitous and more personal than a man's suit.
    I do however understand how perspective and context guide your questions.

  11. #38
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    Jock, lets look at the question from a different angle. You stated that you travel to different areas to fish and hunt. If you saw someone doing tying a fly a different way, or had saw someone with a particularly interesting rifle, you wouldn't talk to them about it? I get that more for you than probably anyone else on this forum, seeing people out in the community wearing a kilt is more of a it just is, but we (I) dont have that here in the US, so its different, and an in some way it invites conversation. I think that is all the OP was getting at.

  12. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeC View Post
    Jock, lets look at the question from a different angle. You stated that you travel to different areas to fish and hunt. If you saw someone doing tying a fly a different way, or had saw someone with a particularly interesting rifle, you wouldn't talk to them about it? I get that more for you than probably anyone else on this forum, seeing people out in the community wearing a kilt is more of a it just is, but we (I) dont have that here in the US, so its different, and an in some way it invites conversation. I think that is all the OP was getting at.
    If someone is fishing a fly differently I will quietly observe and with interest. If someone has an interesting rifle then I observe quietly. If a close family member, or close friend has something new and interesting then I will quietly and in private look at it and perhaps enthuse about it. To do all that in public is regarded as rather bad form over here. Lets face it there are only so many ways that anything can be made, including rifles, kilts etc., and frankly, the construction of anything bothers me not. If it does the job, is reliable, lasts and is pleasing to the eye then the construction speaks for itself, one does not need to fuss about these things. Not everything in my experience, including kilts and rifles tick all those particular boxes.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 17th October 19 at 05:47 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  14. #40
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    Cool Kilt Life

    Hello all,
    Iím new to the site and this forum. Call me a late bloomer, in my fortyís. I recently developed a longing to connect with my ancestral past. I once spoke to a gentleman in Florida at a Scottish festival who had a keen eye for various tartans. He picked them out like I can vehicles on the road. I wrongly assumed he played the pipes and found out he was an avid wearer of kilts. Iím learning itís a bit of a lifestyle choice in the States. I welcome any suggestions on occasions I can show off my beloved kilt.
    Best Regards, Intrepidkilter

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