On My Slaveholding Ancestors

Regarding ancestral slave owning (which accusation some complete and utter idiot has attempted to smear Richard Dawkins with — and no, I’m not linking to it, because I don’t link to complete and utter idiots):

Just in case the charge is ever leveled at me:

I’m pretty sure my ancestors had chariots up on blocks in the front yard as far back as Ancient Egypt, and probably lived next to the rutway in Ancient Greece. I’d lay money that my forebears single-handedly carried the White Trash mutation forward into the modern era, and were thus perpetually too poor to own slaves.

My clan’s main contribution to human civilization has been to grace the pages of the Darwin Awards by choking to death on beer can tabs, falling off porches and breaking our necks while taking a drunken piss into the front yard, and accidentally shooting off our testicles during liquored-up midnight poaching runs at our neighbors’ cattle.

Fortunately in my case, the gene didn’t express.

No, really.

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About Hank Fox
  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

    Someone sounds like he’s fishing for marriage proposals in the comments section…

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    accidentally shooting off our testicles

    The folks who do this are unlikely to be ancestors.

    • Hank Fox

      No, this was AFTER they got married at 14 and had 6 kids already.

      • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

        So he was 19?

  • Sideshow Bill

    Just remember the 4 most dangerous words in the English language, I’m sure they have been carried down on a stupid gene somewhere, “Here, hold my beer!”

    “Hic tenent cervisia”

    • Sammus

      “Hic tenent cervisia”

      Sorry, pedant mode on and four years of Latin at school make me scream at pointless Latin translations that are wholly incorrect. A lot of online translators can’t do declensions or conjugations.

      hic means “here” (literally); as far as I know it does not have any meaning of “oi!” for grabbing attention. Ehu! might work.

      tenent means “they hold” or “they are holding”; it is not an imperitve (order) which would look more like a second person subjunctive (is that right?) form, so tena if it’s just one friend you’re asking to hold the beer or tenate if it’s several.

      cerevisia is nominative case, suitable for the subject of the sentence, so the beer is doing the holding. And there’s no indication of whose beer is being referred to.

      So Ehu! Tena cerevisiam meam! would be heading towards a better translation.

      No doubt somebody who learnt their Latin fewer decades ago than me can correct the faults due to my less than adequate memory.

      • http://euroatheist.wordpress.com pelamun

        tenere< belongs to the e conjugation class, and thus the imperative forms are

        tene and tenete

        cervisia should be fine without the epenthetic vowel, at least that’s how they write it in Asterix.

    • ‘Tis Himself, OM

      No, the four most dangerous words in the English language are: “Hey guys, watch this!”

      <I will not try to translate it into Latin, Swahili, or any other furrin’ language.>

      • DaveyGTi

        My friend max has a reputation for saying ‘watch this’ then jumping in other peoples fast cars and doing what could be reasonably referee to as ‘stunt driving.’ it usually doesn’t end well!

  • Makoto

    My clan’s main contribution to human civilization has been to grace the pages of the Darwin Awards by choking to death on beer can tabs, falling off porches and breaking our necks while taking a drunken piss into the front yard, and accidentally shooting off our testicles during liquored-up midnight poaching runs at our neighbors’ cattle.

    Somehow I’m imagining all this happening in one event, not as separate instances…

  • otrame

    I’ll say here what I said in another blog mentioning that person (who is not, contrary ti his claims, a journalist):

    I doubt very seriously that there is a human alive today who does not have both slave owners and slaves in their ancestry. So the fuck what?

  • Phledge

    I have some branches in my ancestral bush (not tree) that would whistle appreciatively at a new double-wide the way the educated would stand agape in the Louvre. Having said that, if you welcome the suggestion, the use of the phrase “white trash” as opposed to just “trash” makes the inference that one has to differentiate between black/brown trash as the standard version and white trash as the variant. People of color have corrected me on this so I pass on the recommendation.

    And, no, Asshole is not passed on genetically. Sigh.

    • Pen

      Etymologically, I think the standard version of trash was white and the term was intended to underline the distinction between black people who had a well defined place in the world, and the poorest class of white people who didn’t. It’s a phrase I don’t like much better than the actual black equivalent, but the people who own it don’t seem to mind it so much.

      • Phledge

        Yeah, it’s hard for me to like calling anyone of any color “trash.” Like so many other epithets, it dehumanizes its target and, in a way, dehumanizes the denouncer. I wonder if namecalling, even from the atheist/progressive side, is ever an okay thing. I have family that I love dearly who cling to what I believe is a ridiculous shared delusion, that folie à tout le monde, religion. When people refer to believers as religiots, christtards, godbags, etc, I know it’s shorthand for people who believe and are therefore behaving in a foolish and dogmatic way; however, there is a certain element of removing the humanity that pains me in my already difficult relationships with my loved ones.

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

    Tch, my ancestors were responsible for the siege of Jamestown. You have to get up early in the morning to beat a girl whose ancestors caused the unecessary deaths and starvation of women and children.

  • Hank Fox

    Looking back on it, my immediate family was probably not White Trash, but that was only because my mother worked so hard to make us not be. When I was a kid, I went to school with jeans starched and ironed to a razor crease. They hurt like hell, but they looked sharp. Likewise, thanks to my father and his forbears, we lived in a house, one that we owned.

    But we KNEW some White Trash. My mom’s best friend, a fat, dirty woman named Lois, lived in an apartment next to the tracks, and I swear I was never there that there weren’t dirty dishes stacked in the sink at least a foot higher than the edge of the sink basin. Plus: Overflowing garbage, flies, roaches healthy enough to try out for the Olympics, stench, sticky floors, even sticky chairs. I asked to use their bathroom ONCE … and then peed outside ever after.

    Fuck, that place was NASTY. You couldn’t have gotten it clean with anything less than flame throwers. And they were COMFORTABLE in it. I’ll bet if I looked up White Trash in the dictionary right now, there would be a picture of Lois, her grease-monkey husband Smitty, and their ragamuffin daughter Deena Marie.

    On the plus side, I found out you could make art by putting pennies and nails on the railroad tracks not 20 feet from their house.