Isolated, “pure blood” Celts are the new Flat Earth: people want to believe it.
When you start manipulating facts to fit your biased agenda, it should be a red flag for delusion and madness. Just saying.
Again, I won’t name names, or cite articles — because if I do, people might just dismiss my own article as outdated or “about a specific incident”. No, guys. If you read this article in 2050, I bet you any money, it will still be relevant. This is a timeless problem. So much so, that it’s been happening since the very start of the Colonial period. If we don’t address it, it will keep happening. White supremacism isn’t just about skin colour. It’s a very, very, very specific kind of “white” that always gets the admiration of the biased — and it’s often an internalised kind of prejudice, not “in-your-face” and hard to detect, but make no mistakes, it exists. You could be accidentally enabling it. That’s why we need to talk about it.
Even within Europe, you’ll find a lot of stigma against certain regions. Coincidentally (or not!), these are the same regions everybody seems to overlook when studying “the Celts”. Never mind that these regions were literally in the middle of Gaul. All people care about is Britain and Ireland. Western European, richer countries. Hmmmm, I wonder why? It’s almost as though there used to be an empire in Britain which once invaded and controlled places all over the globe. Haha, how silly, I must have a fertile imagination. No, wait… #Sarcasm
At first sight, you might think I’m crazy for linking these two apparently unrelated topics: everyone’s obsession with British Celts over other kinds of Celts VS the fact British imperialism was a thing until very recently. But bear with me for a second: don’t you think it’s convenient for the Anglo-Saxon crowd (especially people in Academic and entertainment industries) to promote and spread the fake news that only British Celts were “real” Celts, as a way to racially separate themselves from the rest of Europe? When you keep repeating the fallacy that your ancestors are the specialest snowflakes, the purest bred culture, the most isolated and quaint and intriguing… Whilst completely denying the archaeological evidence that links these British Isles forefathers to other cultures all over Europe… What could possibly be the agenda behind that? Huh? Any guesses? It’s almost as if you guys’ grandparents didn’t defeat someone who had strikingly similar (and similarly unfounded) biases about his own people. Who was that again? Name starting with H…
Some might say, “well, Meron, that’s untrue, we all know British Celts weren’t isolated, they have a lot of influence from Scandi-” Hush! Shut up. Stop right there.
Are you sure it’s really Scandinavian? Or do we have a chicken-and-egg problem here? Perhaps certain traditions travelled TO Scandinavia FROM other places that are today… How do I put it in a politically correct manner? Ah, yes. Darker-skinned and more economically challenged than your beloved blond and blue-eyed Scandinavians.
Don’t take it from me, I didn’t make this up. I’ll let Celtic art (way older than your “Scandinavian” treasures) found in Spain speak for itself:
Where else do you see such symbols? I’ll tell you where: Scotland. More precisely, in stone. Definitely made in Scotland and left where they were originally made. I mean… Ever tried lifting anything similar in size and weight, over a long distance, with Iron Age tools only?
If you take a second look at the lunula necklace, top left-hand corner, you might be able to recognise a “Pictish beastie”, aka sea spirit. It’s not in the other photo, but we all know it’s common in Pictish art, and here we’re linking it to Spain. Coincidentally, or not, this symbol relates to the whole idea that the sea was important to the Celts. Why would that be? Any guesses?
It’s funny that we keep seeing undeniable proof of a strong relationship with the sea in Celtic art from the Isles (and beyond; but especially common in the Isles), and yet a lot of people turn a blind eye to the fact they might have travelled or come from overseas. Even among the scholars, and entertainers, (and the whole biased crowd, non-exhaustive list) who DO admit that British Celts were never isolated, the theory that these Celts only travelled sporadically when strictly necessary lives on. Is there evidence to support that kind of theory? No. There’s just stubbornness. Wishful thinking. Delusion. Self-centeredness. And, yes, white supremacism. Don’t sugarcoat it! Yes it IS white supremacism. If that makes you ashamed, then IMPROVE. DO BETTER. Don’t just pretend it isn’t happening.
That level of denial is hilarious. It’s like looking at someone’s house by the sea, where the decor is entirely in a nautical theme, there’s literally a boat anchored by, and saying “ah, well, this person sure loves staying in land. They only sail when strictly necessary”.
Of course. Pretend you fool me, and I’ll pretend to believe it. Cheers.
I’m having some tea as I write. I invite you to join me in this ritual invented in China, now also adopted by the Irish and the British. Delicious and relaxing. It goes especially well with scones, which are made of flour, milk, sugar, and butter. The dairy (milk, butter) were pretty common among the Celts in Gaul, and probably also adopted by the Brits because scientifically speaking, there’s no such thing as “cows native to Britain”. They were brought to the Isles, and evolved to the local weather.
Some scones take raisins, and it’s a bit of a debate — some people love them, others hate them. I don’t mind them myself. Raisins also came from the continent. We can’t even grow grapes here, let alone dry them. Now imagine the situation in a distant past, before greenhouses were invented.
Don’t even get me started on sugar. My Pictish friends would sweeten food with berries, honey, or birch syrup, depending on social class. I think birch syrup is still expensive today. It’s the one thing I still wasn’t able to offer Talorc, but one day I will. He’s my helpful royal pal.
You see, tea with scones is a staple of British cuisine today, and there’s no irony at all in that statement. Yes it IS British. I’m not denying that. I’m just talking about origins, and why they matter. Origins are super easy to forget, and easier still to manipulate. Especially so when certain people have the attitude of an entitled brat and the ungratefulness of a narcissist.
Celtic languages are another can of worms.
Once upon a time (nah, I’m kidding, the 1990s it was!), scholars who study the Celts used to say what makes a people “Celtic” is not their blood, but their language. Today this theory (very wise in my opinion) is still accepted, but no longer a consensus. Why? Have we finally found Celtic markers in certain peoples’ DNA? No. What happens is the supremacist crowd didn’t like the facts because they went against their wishful thinking. After all, how would the Brexit crowd justify their uniqueness if they couldn’t even be arsed learning some Cornish or Welsh to begin with, am I right? Oh, nevermind. Cornish and Welsh speakers (and Gaelic, and Breton, and the list goes on) are usually not that interested in far-right ideology anyway. They’re not as insecure. They have their own legs to stand on, culturally speaking.
You see, extremist conservatism and narcissism go hand in hand. It’s a formidable leap from “I have no identity anymore, please help” to “actually, I’ll pretend that yes I do, and I’ll protect it with tooth and nail without even fully understanding it because deep down I’m insecure, but if I pretend the opposite is true, no-one will know”. Freud explains.
So what once was a problem only ever found in journalism and Hollywood and other non-scientist communities (aye, historians are still scientists), now plagues every imaginable circle. It doesn’t take much to find papers that make bold claims such as “the entire Celtic way of life originated in Britain” (something I easily disproved with the tea and scones metaphor, and the real experts will see it between the lines, but sure go on) alongside legit research. Of course the naive crowd is going to see that and think “well, both papers are probably legit”. Well, no, not really. It’s just that fake news has spread beyond the realm of “news” today, because now the far-right crowd is slowly getting back in power and allowing such things to happen.
Any similarities with how the fake “sciences” of the 1920s and 1930s (phrenology, eugenics, etc) also made their way into legit papers at the time? What happened next, dear reader? Take a look at History books and you’ll see.
Even if you disconsider the trolls who come up with fake news, there’s still racial bias in the legit History department now, because we must also account for those who have internalised bias. By internalised bias, I mean a bias you don’t know you have, but you have nonetheless. Think the team that “accidentally” thought Ava was ginger and blue eyed just cause she was found in Britain; the folks who speculate the long-lost Pictish language might have ties with Scandinavian languages but never equally plausible, also Western European and closeby (less white!) languages such as Basque. Ever tried deciphering Pictish ogham in Basque? Bring in a Basque scholar and try that, let’s see what happens.
In truth, I don’t wanna be unfair to the Scandinavian theory. I’m not saying it’s ridiculous. I mean, there’s the Orkney hood (below), and you’d say it was made by the Sámi if it hadn’t been found in Scotland. Perhaps there’s truth to the theory that Celts (and especially Picts) shared cultural traits with Scandinavian tribes. What I’m saying is, if they could travel North, why not also South. But a lot of today’s Brits (yes, I know, not all, but too many) don’t like the idea of being too closely related to the dark-haired dark-eyed Iberic people, aye? They couldn’t even stand staying in the same economic block.
I don’t like denial.
This is what I’ll say in conclusion to this article. This is what I always tell people who “can’t possibly understand” why I left Academia; Why I’m afraid of helping scholars if I’m so good at talking to Picts; Why I’m so uninterested in “proving” my sixth sense to friends in high places.
I don’t like denial.
There’s no use in spoon-feeding people all I’ve been told by the Picts if these people aren’t willing to see what is beyond their bias. I absolutely despise people who cherrypick information according to their ego trips. I’d much rather let my talent go to waste than hand information to the undeserving.
Yes, call me arrogant. I’m no saint, or Christian for that matter.
Chances are, they don’t want it anyway. They’re happy enough with what they “already know”, and only pretend to discover new stuff, when in fact they keep examining new evidence through this lens of “already knowing”, and whatever doesn’t conform to it, is hidden under the carpet for no-one to see.
These so-called experts are in denial. They’re afraid of coming across information that would destroy their carefully constructed sand castle, which consists of “what I wish my ancestors would be”. Who am I to rain on their parade? I don’t like denial. But that’s not to say other people aren’t allowed to like it, and enjoy it, and gorge themselves on it until their last days.