America’s Melting Pot

I never ate pizza until the summer of 1980, when I was 14 and we were eating out. I loved it. It was regarded as a naughty dish by my parents because it was too rich. We never had pizza at home.

Comments at Steve Sailer:

* Well, they had to re-make “Roots” since OJ was in the original; he did a predictably bad job but at one point he had to show off his running, and he did that. It sort of reminded me of “Dirty Dozen” which had Jim Brown in it, he got to do his thing at the very end of the movie where he did a bunch of juke moves running down the top of the bunker tossing grenades into the air shafts. Maybe they should try that at the NFL Combine.

Actually, the snark implied in the comment,”that we may never stop needing reminders of whose lives matter,” is somewhat surprising to see in the NY Times. Is the author a transperson of some kind with a wild hair up somewhere?

* Along with all other European-American groups, Italians were accepted into American everyday life before WWII. (In late 1920′s, talkie cinema Chico Marx’s introduced millions to his delightfully fractured faux-Italian accent.) Until the Second World War, U.S. urban neighborhoods, and even rural regions, remained intensively mono-ethnic.

Until the Second World War endogamy within one’s ethnic parish or neighborhood was the rule. Intermarriage among second generation European-American ethnic groups didn’t take off until during, but mostly after, the Second World War, whose labor demands and mass-conscription/enlistment military transfers were marked by unprecedented domestic travel & relocation, which served as a giant continental mixer of European-American ethnic groups and their various cuisines, musical traditions & styles, religious & social customs.

(The one thing the Irish lacked utterly was a cuisine, any cuisine at all – the ancient joke being:

Q. What’s a seven course Irish dinner?)

A. A boiled potato and a six-pack.)

The melting pot vision, encouraged until 1965 from the top down by and in every institution, was an enormous success in acclimating all sorts of European-American ethnic groups to one another and blending second and third generation European-Americans into unique and successful Americanism – unlike today’s identity politics-based, fractious nonsense of multiculturalism rejected and scorned the old, successful wisdom and turned away from, to use an apt term, the overarching Protestant-secular-Enlightenment ethic that had prevailed from the time of the Revolutionary War.

* My parents made me watch Roots when it came out in 1977 and I was 8. I lived in Arcadia, CA at the time where I quite literally never once saw a black person. I believed EVERYTHING I saw in the show.

Having lived in less idyllic places since then, I’m definitely not going to let me kids watch Roots, even if they somehow wanted to (my oldest is 6 so it’s not an issue yet).

BTW, Derbyshire’s famous “The Talk” isn’t that practical when you factor in the potential trouble your kids can get into for saying the wrong thing. I haven’t figured out what the heck to say about black issues, just to steer my kids as much as possible into the right crowd and interests.

* Is there any authoritative place where one can easily determine if there has been a single year in the last 40 or so in which there wasn’t some slavery or civil-rights themed TV or film(or I guess musical album, like Beyonce’s newest flaming bag of dog poop) that got hyped by the cultural elites so that we didn’t actually forget about this stuff in the previous 12 months?

Every now and then there is something like The Color Purple or Precious that isn’t ham-fistedly pounding audiences with the standard “whites=bad oppressors, blacks=noble people who would have done great things absent Euro colonialism and slavery”, but overall it’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer.

* Still, they were fascists and they did some not very nice things during the war

but for some reason nobody blamed them. In any WWII movie, the Italians always come off as incompetent rather than evil like the Germans.

A lot of this had to do with the Cold War and keeping the Italian Communist Party out of power – after the war the Americans had no interest in pursuing fascist war crimes.

* Kevin MacDonald would point out that Jews have historically tried to make tactical alliances with other minority groups against the majority. The very heavy Jewish manipulation and promotion of the Sacco and Vanzetti case would be an excellent example.

The Sacco and Vanzetti was an attempt to stir up anti establishment sentiments among Italian immigrants. It was largely a failure.

However, the Sacco and Vanzetti saga was a major landmark in the founding of both the ACLU and the American Communist Party. Actually through numerous nationwide Sacco and Vanzetti defence clubs and rallies the ACP was able to recruit lots of members and dupes. However, Sacco and Vanzetti was manly highly successful in radicalizing lots of Eastern European Jews and making in roads among the liberal WASP establishment, not Italian immigrants.

A notable example, Alger Hiss was a protege’ of Felix Frankfurter, himself a true believer in Sacco and Vanzetti, and one among many Communist recruits who was a member of a Sacco and Vanzetti defence organization.

Instead of joining the left, remember by the mid 1920s many Italian Immigrants were at least a bit sympathetic towards Mussolini if for no other reason than Il Duce’s tough stance against the Mafia.

As far as pizza and Italian food in general is concerned it was popular among urban college kids as early as the 1920s. Remember Warren Beatty’s character in “Splendor in the Grass” is introduced to pizza while at college. My Sicilian grandparents were friends with a family that started pizzerias serving students from the University of Cincinnati and Xavier in the 1920s before the depression hit. The pizza craze took off from where it started once the economy improved in the 1940s.

In general Italian assimilation was largely a function of them joining trade unions along with dominating many small business like restaurants, barber shops, beauty salons, produce, convenience stores, dry cleaning, plumbing…. Other Americans had a hard time not knowing, or doing business with, them.

* I experience this phenomena with a lot of ethnic food that I have tried. Authentic Mexican food is quite plain, thin plain bread with meat or beans. A lot of authentic Chinese food is quite plain as well, such as items with meat which have been boiled in water to the point where they lose all the meat’s original taste. Or food which has been spiced to the point where it tastes like you’re eating battery acid.

The city I was living in until a few years ago, I noticed that there was a Chinese restaurant that seemed to be getting most of the Chinese food business in town- it was packed every time I went there, while the other Chinese restaurants were sparsely populated when I went to them. Turns out that my Chinese friends were avoiding the popular one, but liked some of the others, because the popular one had “Americanized” Chinese food, not authentic Chinese food. The same probably holds for Mexican food as well. Look at the sheer amount of business done by Taco Bell, Chipotle, and Moes vs. the authentic Mexican restaurant on the edge of your town.

It may surprise you, but hang out with some Chinese people enough, and you’ll come to find that a number of Chinese restaurants in the US actually have separate menus in Chinese for dishes that Chinese like but aren’t popular enough with Americans to be on a regular menu.

I get a chuckle out of thinking about how the liberal yuppie with his nose held high in the air, flaunting his superiority through his great love of the superior exotic food from the far reaches of the earth he gets at his favorite restaurant, almost certainly has been chowing down on an artificial version of his dish specially concocted to appeal to his American palate.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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