The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Culture Clash …
September 6, 2010, 6:41 am
Filed under: Comment

What the fuck is an Irish Italian bar?

Guinness bolognaise?

Four leaf cheese pizza?

I must admit, I’m one of those people who gets the absolute shits when I hear American’s say they’re “Irish American” just because their great, great, great, great, great Grandfather once ate a spud in Dublin.

I get particularly annoyed when they try and claim St Patrick’s day has some deep cultural meaning to them when we all know they just want an excuse to get pissed like the rest of the World.

But then nothing gets under my skin than hearing someone blame their [tenuous] heritage for their bad behaviour like this stupid bitch from the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Jesus, I have an Italian Mother and an English Father and yet I don’t demand I get time off because it’s my Saints Day’s birthday or something.

I am sure that the people who make a very big deal of their very small mulitcultural heritage do it because it makes them feel ‘special’ against the masses … which is quite interesting given in many other walks of life, the ‘pure’ are more highly regarded than the mutts.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of my dual heritage, but because I grew up in England, I feel a much closer connection to Blighty culture than Italian [as my dress sense proves] so whilst I think everyone should embrace their roots, I believe there’s a point where the ‘link’ is no longer worthy of being articulated because apart from it making you look a twat, it keeps grudges and conflicts alive and we could all do without that.

And no, I don’t know how I went from a crappy restaurant in Singapore to this either …

43 Comments so far
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if this ranty fucking post is any indication, this might be a good week for your blog bollocks. pointlessly aggressive, devisive, alienating: this is the campbell i know and sometimes find agreeable to be in the company of.

even using a clip from the shit “fame whores of new jersey” is acceptable but owning the whole fucking series is not but im guessing you do because youre a sad fuck that thinks this shit is high art.

you started your week well campbell, keep it up. oh who the fuck am i kidding tomorrow will be some shite where you link it to planning even though scientists wont be able to work out how. or why.

Comment by andy@cynic

It won’t last but then you have labour day weekend or something to get over it. Of course it’ll be just as bad on Tuesday, so if I were you, I’d stay in bed – you’ve already had enough upset this weekend with the report I sent you courtesy of Mr Happiness Vampire, John Dodds.


Comment by Rob

Fuck you Rob, I’m 1/265th Irish and I’m proud of it.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Well there’s nothing else for you to latch on to is there!

Comment by Rob

he is campbell, but then so would anyone when the other 264 bits are made up of cultural trailer trash of every fucking description including 263 that arent even fucking human.

Comment by andy@cynic

Excellent point, well made.

Comment by Rob

Someone got out of bed this morning on the wrong side. I agree that’s it’s painful to watch people blame their stupidity on their heritage, but I also think it’s quite nice to see people still embrace their cultural roots even if over the years it’s become diluted but I guess I shouldn’t argue with you in the mood you’re in.

Comment by Pete

dont worry pete, he might be feisty but hes an iti so hell run at the first sign of trouble.

Comment by andy@cynic

just teasing mrs c.

Comment by andy@cynic

You think a pithy apology will stop my Mum beating the crap out of you for that comment? You obviously don’t know her as well as you think and your charm offensive won’t work either.

Well it might. Bugger.

Comment by Rob

No … especially when you have a holiday and I don’t, that’s very advisable indeed.

Comment by Rob

Everytime I watch any of those “Real Housewives” shows I feel like flipping my coffee table.

But I’m scared my Italian dad will beat me with his belt.

*see what I did there?!*

Comment by Age

I managed 34 secs of that video. Terrible. I’m still utterly confused by this post, but that wouldn’t be the first time on that happened to me on this blog and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Comment by The Kaiser

Am I right in thinking Americans are the worst for this behavior or am I letting my personal prejudices show?

That video clip is vulgarity, do you really own the series Robert?

Comment by Lee Hill

I think you’ve spent too much time with Andy’s wives then Lee.

And yes, sadly I do have the series … infact I have all 3 series and the multiple show extensions, namely Orange County, NYC and Atlanta.

The good news – for me – is Washington and Beverly Hills is also coming out soon so I hope to confuse you with other unrelated video clips soon.

Comment by Rob

Celebrity culture ethnography. Sample bias?

Comment by John

In what way do camouglage Birkenstocks represent a UK style aesthetic?

Comment by northern

They’re like the horror of shellsuits. Just for feet.

Comment by Rob

Funnily enough, I was born in Liverpool, yet never developed a penchant for shellsuits or stealing

Comment by northern

The how come you’re a planner?

Comment by John


How come you’re not in jail then? Then it could be said you are given you live oop North. [Hey, this is the cultural cliche post afterall!]

Comment by Rob

i lay claim to 6 nationalities. I have 3 passports. All in all I am so much the fucking poster child of cosmopolitan nuanced living, I should be featured in Monocle magazine on a double spread sucking the boobs of Angelina, draped in the flag of the UN.

Yet during most convo’s eventually I will be confronted with the joke “did you know your last name sounds like Milosevic”.

the masses are as bad as the “special ones” when using heritage.

as for the series. Altanta is the one I am most intruiged by. as it is one of the few cities i know with a growing african american middle class.

So from that pov it is very great to watch how that city is coping with suburban life and it’s clashes with the “keeping it real” culture of the streets (very much part of the psyche as well), most interesting indeed.

inspired post Robert..

Comment by niko

It’s as much, if not more, about distancing oneself from the perceived shortcomings of the mass group as it is of highlighting one’s own merits.

Comment by John

no one had any influence (karma concept aside) what they were born into. its all chance (or a divine decision). but unfortunately, some people like to put the (national/cultural) heritage corsets someone handed them over on and tie it up until its hard to breath and their brains and hearts start suffering from hypoxemia. surely, thats nothing to be proud of.

Comment by peggy

Where have you been? I mean – hello, lovely to hear from you again – but where have you been???

Oh, and nice point too.

Comment by Rob

hello again. i made a vow of silence to reconnect with my self. kidding. just busy with the stuff life has in store for me. too much useless rubbish in the shops nowadays, i reckon lol
lovely to be here.

Comment by peggy

Lovely to be here? Oh my god, have you been in hospital and had multiple painful and lifesaving surgeries because surely that is the only reason you would say such a thing.

However I – on the other hand – can say it’s lovely to have you back and not need any reason other than to say I am [sort-of] perfectly normal.

Comment by Rob

im also perfectly normal. whatever that is lol its my normal and its good. so yeah, lovely to be back. no horrendous surgeries needed. btw, i once went to a fortune teller at a festival. it was free for staff and i was curious. amongst other stuff, she told me i would not have to physically suffer much in life. im inclined to believe her 😉

Comment by peggy

I will not rise to the Northen prison jibe, mostly because you’ll be experiencing genuine incarceration when the rulers of your new home get around to reading this blog

Comment by northern

What is even more amazing is that a Scouser is the owner of the only planning blog that isn’t banned in China. Guess you thieving bastards stick together don’t you.

[That was a joke Mr China Communist Soldier monitoring my site]

Comment by Rob

I think it’s positive to embrace your heritage, but in a way that reflects the direct relevance to you.

I think is always an interesting question for 3rd/4th generation immigrants.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

What do you think they would say and at what generation do you think “holding on” becomes a bit ridiculous – especially if there is no element of that original heritage that you embrace or practice?

Comment by Rob

I think the gap between 3rd and 4th gen is where it moves from practice to understanding. It’s different for everyone though, and religious based culture has a much stronger half life (you would expect 4th gen Muslim immigrants to hold a stronger sense of religious heritage than cultural heritage).

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Rob M.. would be interesting to take into account geographical distance, mediaconsumption and living arrangements..amongst many diff factors..

I always had the idea, that european immigrants when compared to USA ones, were more heritage bound because of the simple ability to travel to land of heritage. Where as US and AUS dont enjoy that luxury, (money, lack of holidays) there the shading of identity occurs perhaps quicker..

Though in AUS the isolation (at least amongst the Balkan ppl i know) has led to a strong romanticized idea of Homeland, which can be as powerfull as visiting every year..

Though the question should be, does it matter, when or if it happens? there are no guarantees you will be less of a asshole if you let go vs holding on..or visa versa

Comment by niko

what makes you think it takes 3 generations to understand, rob m? understand what, btw? and what is it with the muslim immigrants? i dont understand.

to nikos point… i know balkan ppl who still call it home, some dont (mostly younger ones), for various reasons. some could go there often, but dont like the memories. some like to go there for holidays, because it is a home, its where they grew up, and they own land and rebuilt their houses… etc…

Comment by peggy

Peggy: What I meant was, for the 1st/2nd generations your heritage is practiced and a regular part of your lives. But somewhere around the 3rd/4th generation it becomes more about understanding and respecting your heritage than actively practicing it.

I was just using Muslims as an example of how religious heritage is likely to stick around longer than cultural heritage because it’s a more active part of everyday life.

Distance is interesting, does being further actually increase strength of heritage because you are too far away to go back to it.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

well, societies/cultures/individuals/whatevs are always evolving. you didnt tell me why you think it takes 3 generations… so far, i think it is not possible to pin down timelines for the cultural/individual development of groups of people, that got nothing more in common than moving to another country, and why it would take a specific (and fairly long) amount of time for people until they understand and respect what their cultural, religious heritage and origin is. and isnt heritage always something new for a new generation.

you probably didnt mean it that way… but in no way would i consider all people, who practice islam / were born into a muslim environment, a homogenous group that sticks to religion come what may. same goes for christians, jews, bahais, maasai etc.pp. you can find conservatives, reformists, agnositcs, atheists, practicioners of every shade, non-practicioners, and whatever else everywhere. on a related note, im quite happy so many people voted for prop 8. not because i supported it. i would have voted against it… but because in my opinion, it shows how much even a (secular) country like the united states, or california to be specific, is very much religiously shaped, and doesnt look so free and liberal. i do think lived religion influences lived culture and vice versa. and to the point of religion… i said it before somewhere… if you believe in a divine energy or whatever you want to call it, or not, you still believe. id argue even an atheist is participating in a concept of religion… anyway…

when it comes to strength/form of cultural heritage… i think it would be interesting to have a closer look on how being distant from your ‘home’ makes you cling to cultural aspects / elements as a means to build your identity, especially if you do not feel very welcome in the environment you live in. its surely nicer to associate yourself with positive and steady thoughts/memories than somewhat negative realities… reasons for emigration probably might have another part in the puzzle… not that i would know what all the others are… i think its very complex and hard to comprehend. after giving some thought to that stuff, i know my brain is a giant cluster fuck now and i need a big dose of coffee, sugar and saying hi to my mum to get back to somewhat normal lol ttyl

Comment by peggy

wow, thats one long comment 😀

Comment by peggy

I think you mis-interpreted my point.

My comment was about how heritage can fade when people emigrate to other cultures.

My point on understanding is this:

1st gen immigrant: Still practice all of the cultural elements from place of birth

2nd gen: Brought up with parents culture as part of everyday life. Practice many cultural elements but not as tightly or devotetly as parents. (Religious practice an exception)

3rd gen/4th: Brought up with heritage as part of everyday life, but practice not enforced. However parents make sure they learn and understand the heritage even if they don’t practice it.

I see this in my family (mother in law from Hong Kong) and in friends of other cultures (Muslim / Australian / Thai)

Comment by Rob Mortimer

1. it’s tv. it’s not real. just reminding you of that 🙂

2. australia is a car crash of cultural heritage and both the good and the bad of grasping at cultural straws exists there.

there are some cultures (and languages) that only exist because of our migrant families laying claim to their dialects and traditions have kept them alive, even to the 3rd and 4th generations (if you wanna be that specific).

and then there are the desperados like billy, who lay geneological claims to english aristocracy if it will get them laid. or pissed. (or both). or maybe blame our terrible art on our convict history. say.

for better of for worse, it reminds me that ideas about holding onto cultural identity are not so binary.

Comment by lauren

Is this the point where somebody says it’s culturally determined?

And Mr.M, I’d suggest it varies depending upon the age of the country you’re talking about.

Comment by John

Indeed, and the age in which you move away.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

[…] it certainly ups the ante on this Italian, Irish restaurant in […]

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