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Blood and the land

Kathleen Parker’s syndicated column last week about the “full-blooded American” voter appears to have had an impact. “We love to boast that we are a nation of immigrants — and we are. But there's a different sense of America among those who trace their bloodlines back through generations of sacrifice,” she wrote. *

This has led to quite a stream of denunciation of the column as offensively nativist.

In the interest of framing the discussion within a broad perspective, I offer a sentence from Paul Theroux’s The Old Patagonian Express: “We’re English, say some citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia, referring to the fact that their ancestors abandoned soot-grimed mining towns in Yorkshire and made enough money raising pigs to set up as gentry and keep Jews out of the local hunt clubs.”

If blood and sacrifice and long tenure on the land are indeed the crucial factors that Ms. Parker identifies, then perhaps we should allow Native Americans to choose our political leadership.


* Disclosure: It is possible that I, a native-born white American whose family has owned land in Kentucky continuously since 1862, am just the sort of neglected citizen to which she refers.



Posted by John McIntyre at 11:03 AM | | Comments (5)


Wow. There is no end to the continuation of our country's own xenophobic nature. The more we seem to want to rule the world, the more we do to make other people dislike us. It just baffles me. Thanks for the article, John. It'll make for good pub conversation this week.

I thought that the point of democracy in America was that we _didn't_ want a landed aristocracy calling the shots. :-)

If you wanna talk about blood and sacrifice and closeness to the land, I think black people win.

What struck me in the column was the use of "poser." I've seen this quite a few times in the last year or so, but I always thought the word was spelled "poseur" -- a pretentious spelling for a word referring to pretentiousness.

Is "poser" replacing "poseur" or are both acceptable?

I tend to class "poser" with "cache" (a misspelling of "cachet" in contexts where it is intended to mean prestigious; as opposed to "cache," a hidden supply). When I was editing wire copy, I used to see "cachet" misspelled regularly.

Is poseur just a faux spelling of poser? Is poser the full-blooded American word we should be using?

John, this is shocking. At this rate you're going to end up as a political blogger, and then I'll have to stop offering my inane comments.

Let's have another debate about whether Harry Potter fans are all losers, instead, shall we?

:watches John beat a hasty retreat toward the comforting bosom of partisanship:

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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