July 17, 2023

Waterfalls as a uniquely American feature of geo-identity, including portrayals of paradise, here and abroad

In the comments starting here I mentioned America's distinctive focus on illustration as its main static -- and later, animated -- visual portrayal medium, and then went on to look at how the portrayal of landscapes changes over the lifespan of an empire's culture. First it's Edenic, then much later as stagnation is nearing, that vision becomes problematized, and finally it just gets plain ol' drab and ugly and boring as imperial collapse approaches and arrives. There's a survey in the comments on the history of French imperial visual art, from the Late Medieval era up through the early 20th-C collapse of their empire.

This all began in my search for the origins of the Edenic landscapes of the classical era of video games -- the '80s and most of the '90s, when they were 2D and took their cues from the history of illustration and cartoons, rather than trying to imitate photography or cinematography (with the fatal switch to 3D rendering).

The blue skies, verdant vegetation, and warm colors on the ground -- yellow, orange, tan, beige, something other than just brown or gray -- are all part of the Edenic landscapes of earlier empires in other parts of the world, albeit when they were still expanding or plateau-ing, not yet in the final crisis and then collapse stages.

And yet there's something uniquely American about our vision of paradise, aside from technical aspects of composition, line, lighting, and so on. Just on the level of content, what is being portrayed, we have a unique geomorphic feature that no one else does, as part of our defining collective identity -- waterfalls!

I never really noticed it before, because it's hard to notice an absence of something. But surveying tons of Euro landscape paintings or miniature illustrations, there's nary a waterfall to be found. Whereas in the American cultural sphere, which later included some of our client states like Japan, it's hard to avoid the presence of waterfalls.

The only major exceptions I found in European painting are those of Jacob van Ruisdael, the greatest landscape painter of the Dutch Golden Age (mid-1600s), such as this one. Still, his waterfalls are pretty small compared to those of the American tradition, usually under 10 feet in drop. And however much he influenced later painters, the inclusion (let alone ubiquity) of waterfalls did not make it into the Euro tradition.

Then there is the single location, portrayed by numerous painters, of the cascades at Tivoli, near Rome. See this gallery of images. However, most of these painters are not Italian, let alone Roman -- they are mainly by French and Germans. So it does not contribute to their national identity, and they did not bring back their fascination with these particular waterfalls to their homeland, where they could have gone out trekking for local ones in order to bolster their Romantic nationalist sense of place. Also, they appear far too late in the imperial lifespan -- mainly from the mid-1700s to the mid-1800s -- to be fundamental to their nation's identities, which began forming in the Late Medieval and Renaissance eras, several centuries earlier.

Also during that period, and also by a German traveling outside his homeland, Goethe wrote a poem where a waterfall is central to the symbolism, "Gesang der Geister uber den Wassern", inspired by a trip to Switzerland where he beheld the Staubbach Falls. Although it is an impressive waterfall, with a nearly 1,000-foot drop, he seems to be the only major figure to write about them, and does not seem to have started a trend for writing about waterfalls, either as part of a naturalistic portrayal of country settings or as a figurative symbol for the human condition. For some reason, waterfalls just cannot catch on within the broader group of creators or the audience, in the history of European empires.

In fact, the Staubbach Falls were first memorialized in oil on canvas by an American painter, Albert Bierstadt of the Hudson River School, around 1865. (He was born in Germany, but moved to America at 1 year old, and spent almost his entire life in America.) He was the premier landscape painter of the American West in the mid-to-late 1800s, as American ethnogenesis began to really hit its stride, in the wake of our integrative civil war.

He portrayed Nevada Falls, Multnomah Falls, Yellowstone Falls, the Falls of St. Anthony, Minnehaha Falls, Vernal Falls, a Rocky Mountain waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite, whose valley he referred to as the Garden of Eden... you get the idea (image search "albert bierstadt waterfall" for a longer list of examples). He must have painted every waterfall he came across during his westward trek across the frontier. More than any other single individual, he is responsible for placing the waterfall in our visual tradition of what the American landscape looks like, and for making waterfalls a necessary element of unspoiled paradise for Americans.

As an aside, I avoid using terms like "Elysian" or "Arcadian" in the American context, as those are too specific to the Euro empires of the Early Modern era, as part of their imagined Ancient Greek origins. "Eden" and "paradise" are both Near / Middle Eastern, which America looks to more than Greece or Rome for its imagined origins. Using "Elysian" or "Arcadian" in America would be a fatal Euro-LARP, unmasking the not-so-American nature of back-Easterners.

Here is another, later example from the Hudson River School, by Thomas Moran:

One of America's greatest illustrators, Maxfield Parrish, included a major waterfall in his famous 1930 work of the same name, and as part of a 1959 work during his landscape period.

On the popular painting side, Bob Ross painted a number of waterfalls over the years on The Joy of Painting, including "Waterfall Wonder" in 1988. Thomas Kinkade painted many as well, including "Mountain Paradise" in 2006.

In television, the end of the opening credits for Twin Peaks (from the early 1990s) features an iconic aerial shot of the roaring Snoqualmie Falls, near Seattle, but standing in for the entire all-American landscape.

Adding to the pre-historic Edenic feel of the landscape of Jurassic Park, which was filmed on location in Hawaii, are several shots of the Manawaiopuna Falls. Hiding behind a waterfall is a key plot point in Last of the Mohicans (set 100 years before the Hudson River School's vistas, but still placing waterfalls as part of America's original and defining landscape). Both of these movies are also from the early '90s.

In the early talkie film era, Tarzan Finds a Son (1939) features waterfalls as part of its pre-historic present landscape. Perhaps earlier entries in the series include them as well, but this was the easiest example I found. The Disney portrayal from 1999 also has a major waterfall. Tarzan was created by the highly influential American myth-maker Edgar Rice Burroughs, also a major figure in the obsession with Mars and outer-space adventures.

Although Tarzan is a British orphan growing up in Africa, he's more of a stand-in for America -- an off-shoot of the British Empire, finding its own way in a more primitive world, while still in the present day. And much like the vogue for the Tivoli cascades from 1750-1850, there was a vogue for the noble savage in Europe during that time, by the same crowd -- but they never created their own national alter ego out of one, like America did with Tarzan. By the time the Euros became enamored of noble savages, their national identities had already been constructed over several centuries, whereas American ethnogenesis was just getting kickstarted around the turn of the 20th century.

In the medium of video games, waterfalls are so common in games of the classical period that it's easier to name those that do not have one somewhere. Even those that are not meant to evoke Eden or fantastical paradises, such as Contra and Double Dragon II, have prominent waterfall levels. Others set in fantasy worlds feature them as part of their landscape, such as Super Mario Bros. 2, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Castlevania IV, Secret of Mana, and the pre-historic "dinosaurs and cavemen and volcanoes" world of Bonk's Adventure (a perfect example of the American genesis myth).

In other games, the waterfall conceals a secret object or new location on the other side of it. See the video game section of this page at TV Tropes. It began with the original Legend of Zelda, and has been used repeatedly throughout that series, as well as its latter-day imitators like Tunic from 2022.

A Twitter account, @VGWaterfalls, has cataloged examples as well, although in typical fashion, he claims in this article that the trope goes back to Beowulf and Tolkien. I'll give him credit for at least not committing the gravest of LARP sins -- claiming Ancient Greek or Roman origins (which never materialize) -- but no, there is no waterfall, let alone one with a hidden secret on the other side of it, in Beowulf. Grendel's lair lies in a cavern deep beneath a lake -- and a lake is not the same as a waterfall. It's still, not flowing, horizontal, not vertical, expansive, not concentrated, low to the ground rather than high up in the air... they're not even close.

I don't know what Tolkien reference he has in mind, but he was writing in the mid-20th C, when Britain had come under American cultural influence. There is no British or other European tradition of making waterfalls special and central and mythological. He did get inspiration for Rivendell after a 1911 trip to Switzerland -- the same location that inspired Goethe, in the Bernese Oberland. But by that point, waterfalls -- and the specific waterfall of Staubbach -- had already been memorialized by an American, namely Bierstadt. Let alone by the time he fleshed out that teenage inspiration into a mature work several decades later.

Water slides are an outgrowth of our fondness for waterfalls, a stream of water rushing over a high ledge and plunging into a pool below. Maybe for safety reasons, we need a little solid course underneath us as we take that plunge, but still, it's hard not to see the comparison. Water slides and water parks are, naturally, an American invention from after our integrative civil war -- a topic I've been meaning to explore in-depth (along with amusement parks, carnivals, playgrounds, and other recreational spaces), but I'll just leave it there for now.

The American preference for taking showers over baths is also an outgrowth of our waterfall culture. This practice began in the 1920s in America, and took decades to catch on in Europe, where taking baths is still more popular than in America. Naturally -- their visions of Arcadia, from Claude Lorrain to Henri Matisse, have always featured bathers. To fit our distinct national culture, Americans require our own private waterfall.

A quick image search for "vintage ad waterfall" gives a range of examples from over the years: a 1970s campaign by Kool cigarettes, one from the 2000s by Gillette Venus Divine, another from the '50s by Early Times Kentucky Bourbon, another from the '40s by Coca-Cola, not to mention the tourism ads for Yosemite et al.

International tourism among Americans is heavy on waterfalls as well, especially as we're more focused on the Pacific region, as the end-point of our westward expansion. By the turn of the 3rd millennium, the dream vacation for Americans was going to a tropical paradise like Bali, with its ubiquitous waterfalls -- or, if not internationally, at least to Hawaii, home to the same landscapes. I'm not sure when this craze for visiting foreign waterfalls began, perhaps during the Tiki / South Pacific craze of the 1930s and after.

There are tons more examples within each of these areas of culture, I'm sure, but the point here is not to be comprehensive at that fine-grained level. It's to show how, in a very broad way, waterfalls are a distinct and unique feature of the American collective identity, in contrast to our European predecessors (and their contemporary descendants). Their physical world has falls of lesser and greater sizes, just like ours, but they never treated them in a special ethnos-defining way like we have.

Indeed, Wikipedia's article on waterfalls notes that they have received little attention for study, especially among Europeans, and that most of the entries in the online catalog of global waterfalls are in North America (due to greater interest in them by North Americans, not because we are the only place to have them). Americans: the Waterfall People...


  1. I forgot about architecture! I was mainly thinking of them in their natural habitat, not as part of the built environment.

    I'll see if I can find an earlier example, but the first appears to be -- none other than Frank Lloyd Wright! I keep saying, American (and therefore, global) architecture is just footnotes to Frank Lloyd Wright. Fallingwater, from the late 1930s, is built over and incorporates a decent-size waterfall, as well as using the cantilevered concrete slabs to echo the cascading water.

    Fort Worth Water Gardens by Philip Johnson, 1974, waterfalls coming down the sides.

    National Gallery of Art East Wing by I.M. Pei, 1978, the cascading waterfall visible in the underground level.

    May be more, just had to get out some major (and hopefully, the earliest) examples before I forget about it again.

  2. The 9/11 memorial pool from 2011 also has a waterfall pouring down the sides, so this element of American architecture goes right up to the present, even as our creative peak has long passed, and open desecration and Euro-LARP-ing has begun.

    These examples all go to show that waterfalls are crucial to the blocky / geometric / minimalist / Romanesque massing type that defines American architecture. Waterfalls are the primitive side, balancing the futuristic side.

    But even including waterfalls is in its own way avant-garde and wave-of-the-future -- Europeans never made them architectural elements! They used fountains, pools / ponds, and maybe a brook or stream or creek running its course through somewhere. But waterfalls? Ha! They're a 20th-century and beyond kind of feature.

  3. Speaking of J. Lo, what's the history of sexy ladies by waterfalls? More recently, the video for "Roar" by Katy Perry (2013) has waterfalls galore, where she's the queen of the jungle type.

    In the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the 1988 edition has two waterfall shots with Elle Macpherson and Estelle Lefebure, and the 1983 edition even has a waterfall on the cover with Cheryl Tiegs.

    There are some topless postcards of a Polynesian babe in a sarong holding a lei, standing near a waterfall, from either the '60s or '70s. Common enough to be present on various sites like ebay (although not the one where the full breasts can be seen).

    The earliest examples I could find, though, are even more American, of a stylized Native American babe in a landscape with a waterfall. One by F.R. Harper, another by an unknown artist, another by one Fetterman, another by L. Goddard, and another by an unknown artist. Dates are not exact, but seem to be from the '20s or '30s, ahead of the Tiki / South Pacific craze.






    Again, contrast with the Euro tradition of showing foxy babes bathing in rivers or ponds. Ours is a totally different type of water, and it makes for a more dangerous / sublime atmosphere surrounding the beautiful human form.

  4. Waterfalls are another example of paradise not being totally tame, safe, mellow, etc. There's always some element of danger, instability, turbulence, etc.

    The American Eden myth has volcanoes ready to blow at any moment and wipe out most of a settlement.

    Poussin's idyllic Landscape with Orpheus and Eurydice has the Castel Sant'Angelo catching on fire and spewing smoke in the background.

    Waterfalls are treacherous to navigate, could swell during flooding, and some are normally gushing forth tons of water like Niagara Falls. One false move, and you're a goner (unless literal Superman is there to save you).

    This does not mean that myth-makers are satirizing or otherwise problematizing paradise -- only if the believers in paradise thought that there's absolutely nothing challenging about it. But they don't believe that -- they believe that it's a tempting trade-off compared to the oppressive diseases of civilization that we're subjected to here and now.

    Superior, more noble, more dignified, etc., does not mean heavenly immaculate insulated perfection.

    Sure, you could make a wrong turn in your canoe and plunge over a waterfall to your death -- but it beats dying of cholera at age 25 after having to smell piss and shit throughout your city during your entire short life, and having painfully misformed teeth and bad skin and bowed legs cuz your nutrition only came from grains and other starch.

  5. I guess I didn't speak of J. Lo in the main post like I intended (or Blogger ate that paragraph). Just to note that a central video of the y2k era is "Waiting For Tonight" (1999), which features her dancing around in a bikini in a Hawaiian river with a prominent waterfall in the background, at nighttime.

  6. Even in flatter lands, concrete dam spillways create their own waterfalls, with the potential for a dam break in flood season providing the primitive disaster potential and the restoration of the primeval order. Often enough the area surrounding a dam is turned into parkland.

    One of the surprises of this year was learning that even in boring New England, can overwhelmed by flooding to remind the eurolarpers that the Northeast is also part of America. The sensationalist weather coverage in the media reinforces the mythic narrative that the euro pseudomorphosis is but a thin delicate crust over an untameable Eden.

    Perhaps the eurolarping craze is a maintenance response to the busted southern border, in order to maintain the the contact line with the Indians. What are Hispanics but the return of the Indian? If the injuns are back, what resources are there to draw on in response?

  7. Back-Easterners have been Euro-LARPers forever, it has nothing to do with the southern border currently being non-existent. They were LARP-ing as Euros even when the border was totally shut and the percent of the population being foreign-born was at an all-time low.

    It has to do with the lack of being shaped by the meta-ethnic frontier, which in America has always been out West, mainly against the Indians, but later the Mexicans in the Southwest. East Coasters were insulated from those threats, so they could not claim to be the real Americans leading the way.

    Only those out West, on the frontier, could make the rest of the nation follow their lead, to some extent. Not totally -- but East Coasters adopting aspects of the out-West accent is far more prevalent than vice versa.

  8. You can't miss the waterfall obsession once you see it. Wondering through the framed picture section of the thrift store last night, there were only 5 or so pictures -- but one was a photo print of a large waterfall as the subject, and another was a painting print with a low waterfall in the background.

    Opened up a "tour the world through color photos" coffee table book from the '70s, and BOOM -- a whole page on Iguazu Falls in Brazil.

    If it were catering to a Euro audience from the early colonial era, the pictures wouldn't be so focused on waterfalls. But if they're for a mainly American audience, that part of the landscape *has* to be there, to cater to our particular obsession.

  9. Scud Race by SEGA (1996) has plenty of blue skies and even a circuit based in a ancient civilization with plenty of...waterfalls! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gz2cs_XkAyI
    Daytona USA (1993) also had blue skies and the middle circuit featured dinosaur fossils in the mountains.

  10. I wanted to post pics of a memorable "sexy babes by a waterfall" photo shoot from y2k, but it seems like the internet has actively erased all photos that came from lad mags, or the former audience doesn't care about them enough to scan and upload images of them.

    My memory is slightly unclear, but it was from sophomore year of college (fall 2000 to spring '01), and a shared men's bathroom on our dorm floor had a small selection of lad mags to peruse.

    I distinctly remember the landscape being a river or pool with a waterfall behind it, shot at night, and it featured Brazilian supermodels Ana Beatriz Barros and Adriana Lima, both of whom were in their late teens at the time. In bikinis, of course. Possibly in the same photo, near each other, or maybe in two separate shots that were part of the same shoot.

    Looking all seductive and vaguely menacing in that smoky plum eyeshadow echo of the heroin chic '90s. Evoking more of a sublime mood, than a purely beautiful / blissful one. Paradise isn't totally safe, but neither is our mundane drab nose-to-the-grindstone world -- and our mundane world doesn't have two supermodels in it! Worth the risk to go on the adventure!

    It's not specifically the gay cabal that controls Silicon Valley / Google Images -- Yandex came up with nothing either.

    I tried adding "porn" to the search terms, in case it was being censored for showing skin or coming from a lad mag, but that didn't help either. Like I said, most of those iconic impressions from Maxim, FHM, and Stuff have been lost to time, online anyway. And I doubt anyone kept the physical media as a collectible.

    Like tears in rain...

  11. Well, I'm totally certain that the landscape was a pool or river, at night, with the girls standing in it. About 95% sure there was a waterfall behind it -- was definitely an exotic jungle location, though. Maybe a blurb about "introducing Brazilian girls" to the audience, since this was just before the Brazilian supermodel trend really took off.

    Could've been Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue or GQ or something, but those didn't turn up results either. Sadge.

  12. A little One Direction thing for the Goobinator, as a tribute to her new fixation on being a "slime girl". (The things we're taught about by this ADHD shark-child... hehe.)

    * * *

    Your legs envelop mine, like quicksand at the beach
    And if someone threw a rope, I'd keep it out of reach
    Your insides showing through, like jello with nectarines
    You are such a dessert to me

    You're scared they'll run away, from the trail of your slime
    And you're hoping we'll see through, to your heart of pink inside
    Can't strut a runway walk, but you're always moisturized
    Your touch is all my skin-care needs

    I can't let these sticky things
    Slip away when we hug
    'Cause it's goo, and it's blue
    And it's the glue that binds me to you
    Save the residue
    From all your sticky things

  13. Sorry for the O/T but do you follow the news about China?

  14. Not really, I try not to follow "the news" about anything, unless it's related to the big picture (objective big picture, not "media reactions", which is what most of the media is about).

  15. Popcorn, like all Americana, was created in Chicago in the 1890s! After our integrative civil war, along the meta-ethnic frontier (out West).

    Three of the Holo honies were playing IRL board games and sharing snacks from their countries last night, and Mumei (a North American) brought goldfish crackers, Sour Patch Kids (the biggest hit), and Rice Krispie treats (another hit).

    She said she had trouble coming up with ideas because for every North American treat, there's a better version of it in Japan or Europe. Always a weeb at heart. ^_^

    But it made me think that, because American culture has become so global in reach, as only America and Russia were non-collapsed empires during the mid-to-late 20th century, a lot of our distinctive food doesn't even strike us -- or the world -- as American anymore.

    Something as simple as popcorn, though -- everyone loves it, on the right occasion, with the right stuff added to it (like in the good ol' days, when movie theaters popped it in coconut oil, the richest, most saturated-fatty oil in existence). But who thinks of it as American as burgers?

    And yet it is!

    It got its start being hand-popped on the East Coast of the US in the mid-1800s, but it did not become a widespread staple until specialized popcorn machines were invented -- by Charles Cretors in 1885, in the industrial belt (Chicago). These old-timey machines:


    After that, during the 1890s, its popularity skyrocketed, and it became a staple of American snacks.

    Corn is a New World grain, so obviously there are no Euro or other Old World predecessors. And although corn "is known to be popped" in Peru thousands of years ago, it did not become a staple in any pre-Columbian culture. It did not define any of their cultures the way that it defines American culture.

    But if you brought popcorn to a meeting where the theme is "represent your culture in food," popcorn would seem to global to pick for America. That's only because our influence is so vast by now that many of our staples are taken for granted as global foods, rather than distinctly American. And yet, we did create them. :)

  16. Reminder that nachos & corn tortilla chips in general are American, invented in the 1940s in SoCal. See this comment, part of a long post on pizza being American, Midwestern, from the early 1900s (not Italian, not East Coast, not centuries old):


    If an American wanted to bring corn tortilla chips to a meeting about "represent your culture in food," it would be totally legitimate. But everyone would think, "Oh that's too global, and isn't it Mexican anyway?" Global, yes, because of American cultural imperial influence. Mexican, no way -- neither are tacos and most "Mexican" food in America.

    "Real Mexican food", or other Latin American food, is not very popular in America. We use some of the same New World ingredients, since we are here rather than in Europe. But these are all our creations, from the 20th century, not ancient pre-Columbian creations.

    There's another comment in that post about chicken nuggets being invented in America around 1980, in the Midwest (by McDonalds). And burgers are the same story -- even further out West.

    Burgers, pizza, nuggies, and corn chips -- so all-American despite being taken for granted as global foods. Only burgers are acknowledged as distinctly American, though the rest are as well.

  17. Maybe not a coincidence that going over Niagara Falls in a barrel only became a thing around the turn of the 20th century, along with daredevilism in general, another American speciality.

  18. If Moom wanted to share a shocking American snack, peanut butter would be it -- she could follow up with the girls for a peanut butter snack tasting, off-camera if they want, just for fun.

    I did not realize this until I lived in Barcelona, where a whole bunch of other Europeans lived as well (including our close cousins, the Brits). They are absolutely *disgusted* by peanut butter! It's one of those things where you have to be exposed to it during childhood development, or else it tastes like foreign polluting garbage when you're "mature" (i.e. your late teens or 20s).

    Maybe if your non-American culture includes some other kind of paste made from beans or pulses or legumes...? I dunno. Do Levantines, who grew up in the Levant, like peanut butter? They have tahini, hummus, etc., made from ground-up sesame seeds and chickpeas. Or some East Asians, where bean pastes are common? I dunno. I just know Euros, at least, find peanut butter YUCKY.

    For an even more American snack, combine peanut butter with chocolate! Mmmmm, Americans are salivating just hearing of that combination. Just peanuts (not peanut butter) and chocolate are uniquely Americans, cuz Euros hate peanuts so much -- they prefer almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts.

    The best ever peanut butter and chocolate bar was the PB Max, only available in the early '90s. I bought one anywhere I could find one, they combined so many different flavors and textures all in one over-sized bar. What (American) kid could resist? ^_^

    If non-Americans don't like PB + chocolate, they could try PB + honey, PB + bananas, PB + honey + bananas, or good ol' PB + jelly / jam, on bread.

    If Moom really wants to torture Kiara (as a German-speaker, she probably likes getting tortured), she could have her try ants on a log! A celery stick with peanut butter and raisins. Muahaha...

    Most Americans don't like ants on a log, of course. Just to give her a little sample of what the full American spectrum includes. ^_^

  19. Ah, so *that's* why so many American candy makers are from back East -- they're based on chocolate, and chocolate is a European invention. It's mainly from Switzerland, though, which was not an empire of its own, and did not belong to another empire -- so we don't mind importing some of their culture, as they were not an imperial rival.

    And it's also not ancient or Medieval -- from the mid-1800s. So, not as solidly European to an American audience of circa 1900.

    Back East is the home of Euro influence in America, so if it involved chocolate, it would find a more receptive audience back East. Hershey's, primarily (and Reese's was founded by a former associate of Hershey's).

    The American spin on European chocolate was to make it a "combination bar" -- chocolate with some other ingredient, or two or three more. Chocolate, caramel, nougat, and nuts, for example. Kind of like toppings on a pizza.

    And peanuts have always been the most popular ingredient to add in these combination bars:


    These go back to the 1910s, '20s, and somewhat into the '30s -- and are still the most popular today. Reese's peanut butter cups were created in 1928!

    In a strange twist of fate, the main non-Eastern candy company is Mars, which was based in Minneapolis during its foundational years. It did end up moving -- eastward to Virginia, rather than the usual westward migration for cultural domains. Similar to wrestling, another topic I covered before (mainly back-East).

    Even strangerer --

    "Mars does not make chocolate bars with peanut butter. Why? Because the children were raised in England where, Brenner sweepingly asserts, peanut butter is, apparently, ‘despised. The Mars siblings prefer hazelnuts and have constantly pushed the testing of hazelnut-based products over peanut butter ones, despite the fact that peanut butter chocolate always outsells hazelnut chocolate in the States. It is one reason why Hershey is winning the chocolate war."


    Euro-LARPers? In my American candy giant? It's more common than you think.

    Of course the PB Max was made by Mars, and that's probably why it was killed off so quickly despite doing $50 million in sales.

  20. I don't know who turned Gura off and back on again a week ago, but she was in top form last night in karaoke. Jazzy / Western numbers from the '40s? Contempo TikTok hits? Disco? Showtunes? Y2k? Early Taylor Swift? Yes, yes, yes!

    I happen to know this was the first time she sang "You Belong To Me," cuz awhile back I looked up who else had sung that besides Towlor Civt. I think it was only Irys, but not Goob. "Love Story" she sang before, but not this one. Very welcome addition to the repertoire. ^_^

    Lots of Moom-fluence last night, in fact! I still don't see how anyone mixes up their voices, though, or thinks they're twins.

    Goob is such a ham, Moom has to be coaxed to take off her limiters. Goob is a no-filter East Coaster ('ey, I'm streamin' 'eah...), Moom is a bottle-it-all-up Midwesterner. Goob loves hide & seek simulators cuz she's super-tiny, Moom doesn't get scared from being chased in horror games (I assume cuz she's tall for a girl). Goob likes dressing super-girly and going to fashion boutiques, Moom keeps it simple and girl-next-door.

    Other than a generational similarity, the only thing that stands out as being shared is their WASPy frugality. Not in that Protestant work ethic / nose to the grindstone way. Just being frugal, not blowing through money, not flaunting it, etc. -- not even knowing what they would spend it on, if they did happen into a huge amount (as Moom said last night during truth or dare, about how she'd spend a million dollars).

    Most ADHD Zoomers in their 20s who became overnight celebs would blow through their newfound earnings so quickly, and on such ridiculous junk. It's heartwarming to see them being above that -- setting a good role model example for the audience in the same or younger age range. Not that they plan that out, it's just who they are, but those are the best kind of role models -- ones who don't have to try, the naturals that others have to deliberately emulate.

  21. Forgot the history of peanut butter. It was invented in the 1890s, mainly by John Harvey Kellogg -- as in, the origin of breakfast cereal, another American staple -- in Michigan. Someone with no Wikipedia page of their own sold peanut butter in St. Louis around the same time, also in the Midwest. A Quebequois received a U.S. patent for something like peanut butter (more of a paste) in the mid-1880s, though it doesn't say that he produced it or founded a business for distributing it. So we'll go with Kellogg as the pioneer.

    The next big development was adding hydrogenated vegetable oil to keep it from separating, which is the way it's been done ever since, aside from recent yuppie trends toward "nuts only" kinds that require stirring. (The only type I get -- almonds-only almond butter, assuming it's on sale.) That was for the Peter Pan brand, which was begun in the 1920s (under an earlier name) for Swift & Company, which was based in Chicago (where else?).

    Peanuts may come from the South and the Southwest (Texas), but peanut butter is Midwestern -- and because that's where America begins, it became all-American over time, as did the dialect, jungle gyms, coin-operated games, blocky architecture, chrome + woodgrain furniture and design, and the rest of it.

  22. This puts the whole peanut allergy hysteria in context, as part of the collapse of the American Empire. Imagine a widespread movement against wheat in the Roman Empire...

    They could've targeted a foreign food, to emphasize Us vs. Them. But they chose to wage a crusade against one of the most uniquely American foods in existence, the peanut -- and in all forms! Other tropical / subtropical cultures have peanuts, but not peanut butter. And what form are American children going to come into contact with peanuts? -- in peanut butter. Kids have never been big consumers of whole peanuts.

    This creates unintended spillover effects, whereby the libtards threaten the livelihoods of Thai restaurant owners. Let this be a lesson to foreigners about who really matters in the libtard agenda -- affluent white Democrats, period.

    It's not that Thai restaurants were deliberately targeted -- the main target is peanut butter, as part of the broader anti-American iconoclasm of the 21st century.

    Fortunately, peanut butter has become too much of a staple in the American diet to be totally shut down by these crusaders, but it has desecrated the public space, where public meals glue together the people who break bread there together. No longer can American children become enculturated culinarily by having peanut butter during their school lunch, on the playground, etc.

    When I become dictator, peanut butter will become one of the few REQUIRED foods in public schools, and those whose anti-American parents deprived them of contact with peanuts as babies can have their allergic kids go somewhere else for lunch. There is simply no such thing as an American school lunch where peanut butter has been banned.

  23. One nice thing about New World crops is that we are finally spared the fake & gay attempts by LARP-ers to locate our culture's origins in Ancient Greece and Rome, or even Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Nope, sorry, Julius Caesar and Napoleon never tasted peanut butter, nachos, or pumpkin pie.

  24. Italian beef is another food which despite its name comes from America. First developed in Chicago in the 1930s.

  25. Waterfall spotting updates: stack of waterfall calendars in the thrift store (one waterfall for every month), watch an old stream by Okayu and Subaru, and there's a waterfall in the Eco Fighters arcade game, as well as several waterfalls in the overworld for Super Wagyan Land 2 (old stream by Korone). They're everywhere!

  26. Irys' and Moom's recent spaces remind me of the good ol' days when people made audio diaries, using a microphone to record onto a cassette tape, and mail the tape to the recipient. It's not like a stream -- no visual component, let alone one that is animated in real time. Not much interaction either, as in reading / reacting to chat during a stream.

    Just a girl and her mic, letting her friend / darling / relative know what's been going on in her life, to let the recipient know that they matter enough to have these daily goings-on shared with them by the girl. She doesn't share these deets with any ol' random stranger -- she only opens her diary to someone she values and trusts and appreciates.

    Since Musk nuked his audience with the "sign up or else" stunt, I have to listen to these after the fact, but the good anons at /vt/ upload them pretty quickly. Musk's stunt makes me double down on never ever signing up for a Tw*tt*r account.

    And for these "spaces as audio diary entries," it's totally fine to hear them after they're recorded -- just like in the good ol' days, when you listened to a recording, not a live broadcast. I think it actually sounds a bit strange to listen to someone record their diary-like thoughts in real time, without being able to interact as in a phone conversation. You wouldn't want to stare over their shoulder as they were writing a letter with pen and paper -- you'd want to read the final letter, after it was done.

    It felt more real listening to da gurlz after they were already done speaking. :)

    Is it against the fake & gay company policies to upload these spaces to their YouTube channels, under the videos section? That way it's easier to catch after the livecast, for those without Tw*tt*r access, for those who prefer YouTube's features (like playing at 1.25x or something), leaving comments, or whatever else.

    Just a thought. The thumbnail could be a stock image of the girl's PNG or whatever, not a new one every time apropos of the convo. Maybe jokingly title them, "Dear Diary (Twitter space on [date])". Hehe.

  27. Marshmallows are another American creation -- early 1900s, looks to be in the Great Lakes area. The oldest continuing brand is Campfire, originally from Milwaukee, WI. There were others from the Chicago area (Bunte), another from Rochester, etc. Not back East, though.

    Someone started a risible "history" of marshmallows going back to Ancient Egypt -- hey, at least it wasn't Greece or Rome this time -- and a whole bunch of online sources circle-jerkingly refer to each other to this effect. Marsh-mallow plant sap mixed with honey is nothing like what we call marshmallows. Also, the ridiculous notion that France invented them in the 1800s, when they were making medicinal lozenges with marsh-mallow plant sap / extract and egg whites.

    Marshmallows, despite the misleading name, have nothing to do with the marsh-mallow plant. They're made from sugar, gelatin, water, and maybe some corn starch and added flavoring. And they're fluffy, squishy, etc. -- not a medicinal lozenge.

    Image search "vintage marshmallow," and you will find zero items from outside America, whether France, Egypt, or wherever else. The circle-jerk "sources" never refer to a single French person, company, brand, etc., who made marshmallows. You will find dozens of old marshmallow tins from the early 1900s in America, though. America remains the main producer and consumer of marshmallows, not France or Nestle from Switzerland or whoever else.

    The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, from Ghostbusters -- how much more American can you get? He's not a giant croissant or bar of baklava.

    Roasting marshmallows on a campfire -- as American as apple pie, in fact more so. S'mores were created sometime during the 1910s or early '20s, when they begin to be remarked on in print / with recipes / etc. S'mores are so popular that Hershey makes a S'mores bar, Pop Tarts makes a S'mores version, there was one of the best cereals of all time in the '80s, from General Mills, called S'mores Crunch (later, S'mores Grahams). Even today, Kellogg's has a brand called Smorz, and Honey Maid has one called S'mores.

    Then there's Rocky Road ice cream, which has marshmallows as a key ingredient. Invented circa 1930, in Oakland, CA (not back East). Another amazing '80s cereal that Millennials and Zoomers will never get to appreciate -- simply called Rocky Road. I used to bring a bag of that to the daycare center every day.

    Marshmallows in hot cocoa -- an American twist on a European creation.

    Marshmallow candy bars, like the Mallow Cup, also American from the early 1900s, as part of the broader "combination bar" phenomenon of American confections.

    All the way up to the uber-American treat that Mumei brought to share with the non-Americans -- Rice Krispie treats, which have melted marshmallows as one of the few simple ingredients.

    Thank you Mooms for unintentionally inspiring another mini case study in American ethnogenesis. ^_^

  28. Speaking of ice cream, Rocky Road shows that the "combination bar" phenomenon in candy has a counterpart in ice cream -- a bunch of things thrown into the ice cream, in this case marshmallows.

    The British Empire invented ice cream in the Early Modern era (1700s), but it was what we'd call plain or solid ice cream today. America took it in a new direction, by mixing a bunch of other ingredients into it, beginning with the ice cream sundae in the 1890s. Multiple claims exist for its geographic origins, but I'll buy the one about Ithaca, NY. Ice cream, like chocolate, is European to begin with, so it'll be from further back East, where Euro-ness is highest.

    (A uniquely American thing like marshmallows? Out West.)

    Then there was the banana split, first made around 1904 in Western Pennsylvania -- fairly back East, although like Ithaca, NY (or Lancaster, PA, where Hershey chocolate comes from), not along the East Coast itself. By this point the toppings / additions start to overwhelm the ice cream itself!

    Not sure if there were new developments after this initial burst of creativity, but in the 1980s, two major things hit that would solidify the "combination ice cream dish" as uniquely American. Namely, the Blizzard from Dairy Queen, and Ben & Jerry's wacky combo flavors like Cherry Garcia (instead of solid flavors at their outset, like maple walnut).

    Europeans would never think to pack gobs of raw cookie dough into already-made ice cream. Or bits of Heath bars, or all the other kitchen-sink things that Blizzards and Ben & Jerry's have done over the past nearly 40 years. Very similar to taking European chocolate bars, which were plain, and packing them with caramel, nougat, and peanuts, for an ensemble of overloaded flavors.

    My fave B&J's flavor was and will always be Coffee Heath Bar Crunch... y'know, it's not just that American ice cream has a bunch of toppings or additions, it's that they are finished confections in their own right.

    Like, putting chopped nuts on ice cream -- that's just a topping. Something American, not what the Euros did, but chopped nuts are not really a dessert unto themselves. They're dependent on being included in something else.

    But cookie dough, even uncooked, is a dessert unto itself (as well as when it's cooked, of course). So are brownies, Heath bars, chocolate-covered pretzels, peanut butter cups, Oreos, and all the other familiar faves from American combo ice cream. We take two desserts that could stand alone, and combine them into a super-duper dessert!

    We also put a zillion toppings on our pizza, then stuff the crust to boot!

    We invent the hamburger, but don't stop there and put a mini-salad on top, and then bacon and cheese and fried eggs, which could stand on their own, but in America want to be combined into a mega-meal!

    All the crazy shit we pile onto a plate of nacho chips...

    All the ingredients in a Cobb salad...

    We're not in Europe anymore! We like our dishes to be complex, not minimalist (unlike most of our aesthetic styles). And the Euros, despite their highly ornate aesthetics overall, went for more simple dishes (although they might serve many courses, each one was not like a mega-combo American-style dish). Why does food go the other way? I dunno, may think about it, may not.

  29. So there's another place Moom could take Kiara and Reine, or other non-Americans, to sample the unique American approach to snacks and desserts -- Ben & Jerry's! It looks like they have a presence in Japan, both a dedicated store and pre-packaged pints in grocery stores. Possibly at the konbini?

    It's something that we, er, North Americans take for granted, but Europeans and Asians may not have had ice cream with chunks of cookie dough, brownies, cheesecake, Heath bars, Oreos, etc. inside. Two great tastes that taste great together!

    I wonder what Bae would think about it? Canada imitates America, so they're used to the "two desserts in one" approach. But are Australians? Time for a little moom-vestigating, hee hee hee... ^_^

  30. "We like our dishes to be complex, not minimalist (unlike most of our aesthetic styles)."

    I wonder if that is true of other empires, like the Soviet Union and the Byzantine empire, which didn't have a lot of competing empires.

  31. Goobert Chumbleshrimp. ^_^ Also, based Gura for shitting on vocal fry in Fallout: New Vegas, after one character had that horrendo typical Millennial 2010s speech pattern -- vocal fry, flat intonation, low pitch (for a girl), snarky / sassy / world-weary despite being a sheltered online shut-in with no talents, bla bla bla.

    She also immediately said she no longer liked the robot server once his flamingly and creepily gay voice came out. Even creepier cuz it had that metallic hiss in the sibilants. Obviously she can't say "Wow, that thing sounds like it gets too close to little boys who wander close..." It's just a natural gut reaction -- and most gay male voices are further in the serial-killer direction than straight guys.

    That's why I don't mind the kayfabe bi / lesbian pandering ("yuri-baiting") in Hololive. We live in a woke or post-woke world, where there's going to be some background level of gayness in all media and entertainment. It's better that it involve girls, since bi girls and lesbians aren't creepy molesters. And it's better that it be obvious kayfabe during a performance / while playing a character, which still leaves a safe space for wholesome normal natural sexuality outside of that character and that performance stage.

    It's the straightest and most wholesome way for performers to adapt to the current climate -- hoops they would not have to jump through back in the good ol' '60s (when the Summer of Love was all about Adam & Eve / noble savage / flower child / return to nature heterosexuality). But we live in the world we live in, not an Edenic utopia (not anymore, anyway).

  32. Speaking of Eden, more random waterfalls -- I was checking out the first 15 or so minutes of Okayu & Subaru's second Capcom Arcade stream, and they play Mega Man: The Power Battle (a fighting game with Mega Man characters). In the Wood Man stage, there's a huge waterfall dead-center in the background -- as well as dinosaurs (robotic ones, an example of primitive futurism), and a volcano (at least on the stage select map).

    It's crazy how standardized the American vision of Eden had become by the late 20th century, that it randomly appears in a fighting game based on robot characters -- neither of which suggests Eden. But that kind of landscape has to be there *somewhere*, or it won't feel like a special video game world -- might as well use it for Wood Man, who suggests back-to-nature and primeval forests.

    Very cool!

  33. The video game Super Mario Sunshine (released in 2002) takes place in a resort with a volcano in the background. One of the levels in the game, Noki Bay, has a waterfall.

  34. Japan also has a tradition of waterfall landscape painting! Going back to the end of the ukiyo-e era, with Hokusai in the 1830s. So, a part of their modernizing identity, not ancient or Medieval -- even though the subject matter is not modern at all, but primeval. Same with America.

    Hokusai's A Tour of the Waterfalls of the Provinces, in 8 woodblock prints:


    Without linking to the others (you can image search their name and "waterfall"), the following made several waterfall landscapes apiece: Hiroshige, Eisen, Kuniyoshi, Kunisada, Yoshitoshi, Kiyochika, Chikanobu, and the 20th-C artist Tokuriki.

    So Hokusai's waterfalls are not like van Ruisdael's idiosyncratic obsession which lead nowhere after his death. He began a tradition that was transmitted through several generations of those who followed him, each of them making several such landscapes.

    That apparently continued right up through the present in Japan, so although they began taking their cues from America around the turn the of the 20th C, landscapes with waterfalls were not something they had to learn from us -- it was a happy case of convergent evolution.

    Hokusai also focused on Mount Fuji, an active volcano -- not just any ol' mountain -- which had erupted within 125 years (not ancient history). Another point of similarity with the later American primitive genesis myth. (Volcanic catastrophe also shows up in Mermaids: The Body Found documentary, where they're portraying the initial split between purely land and increasingly sea-bound apes. See how educational hanging out with the Holo honies can be!)


    The widespread use of Prussian Blue for the skies during this late ukiyo-e period contrast heavily with Euro landscape art of the time -- but are more like American art. They also have green vegetation and warm colors on the ground, in typical Edenic fashion.

    This was while Japan was still unifying, consolidating, and expanding territorially -- before getting occupied by America after WWII. But even then, they fell within our sphere of influence, and we were still expanding at that time, so they could borrow our good vibes and continue to portray these Edenic landscapes in video games of the '80s and '90s.

  35. Japan's focus on waterfalls is similar to ours in another way, of distinguishing ourselves from our imperial rivals / predecessors. In Japan's case, that would be China and their long history of landscape painting.

    There are some waterfall landscapes made in China before 1800, but they don't seem to be a genre or trope like they would become in Japan in the 1800s (or America). Also, as in van Ruisdael, the waterfall doesn't totally dominate the landscape like it does in Japan and America. The Chinese are not fixated on waterfalls as part of their geo-identity; Americans and Japanese are.

    Anyway, a couple examples from the Ming Dynasty:



    Chinese painting has lots of mountain landscapes, but they're not volcanoes as in the Japanese focus on Mount Fuji specifically.

    Japan has never been an empire, and even their status as a great power was very recent, in the late 19th / early 20th C. Whereas China has spawned numerous empires going back thousands of years. But Japan had good luck in becoming a great power when everyone around them was collapsing internally, so they could just waltz in and take over the whole place (Korea, China, Southeast Asia -- not Hawaii or America, though, their only mistake).

    America was a young nation and a late-comer empire, compared to numerous empires being spawned within Europe going back thousands of years.

    Japan and America were both underdogs and noble savages compared to their historical overlords in China and Europe. Somehow this made us both appreciate and identify with waterfalls in our landscape art. Waterfalls are even more primitive than other kinds of geo features? I guess so. Ditto for volcanoes.

    We didn't imitate Japan, BTW. Euro artists only saw Hokusai and other ukiyo-e prints in the 1850s and '60s, and in America probably later than that. And it was mainly the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, not the more realistic or Academic artists.

    The Hudson River School that cemented the role of waterfalls in our landscape art were more like the Academics than the Impressionists, and they first made a waterfall the dominant element of a landscape in 1857 (Niagara Falls by Frederic Edwin Church).

    As illustration and mass-media prints became our national visual medium (before movies), our style looked even more like the Japanese style from ukiyo-e, whose woodblock prints were also suited to mass production in an increasingly industrialized economy. As opposed to single works done in oil or watercolor, in Europe or China, during the pre-industrial era.

    More happy convergent evolution of Japan and America. You don't even have to be an art-fag or a weeb to be into those ukiyo-e prints -- they've been mega-sellers at Barnes & Noble stores in the most normie areas of America for decades by now. It's not hard to understand why -- in so many ways, they are the Americans of Asia. ^_^

  36. The Willow arcade game by Capcom (1989) also starts in a sort of edenic level with blue skies and green fields, which I don't remember at all being like that in the movie. Of course, a giant waterfall appears in the middle of the level!:

  37. Yeah that's a classic one, really showing off how great the "video games as illustrations" aesthetic had gotten by the late '80s and early '90s. Before the great Fall into 3D, "video games as photography" aesthetic, all-encompassing cringe narratives, cringe dialog / voice acting, and trying to imitate movies rather than illustrations and cartoons. Sadge.

  38. Mumei and Bae IRL duet karaoke! Please, for the love of the Holo gods, do not miss this opportunity to do karaoke together. Please, do not reject your calling just cuz I'm suggesting it -- it's not backseating or trying to be your sub-manager. I'm merely the vessel through which the Holo deities are making their wishes known! Hehe. ^_^

    Both of you love musical theatre -- duets gallore. Something from Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, something you already both know.

    Same with classic pop music -- "Islands in the Stream", or "Lucky" (Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat, which Gura & Ame did during their off-collab karaoke last year). Or any other number (just google "famous duets"!).

    Or songs that involve harmonizing -- you can't pull that off on your own, without overdubbing for a pre-recorded rendition. But you can't pre-record it if you don't have the rights. If you're live, you can finally harmonize!

    All those classics from the Midcentury up through the '70s. Doo wop, the Beach Boys, "California Dreamin", Simon & Garfunkel, the Bee Gees, ABBA... right up through "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips from 1990.

    You could even sing songs that don't involve two parts or harmonizing, but trade back and forth between lines or between verses, or one takes the verses and the other takes the chorus.

    This would involve some minimal preparation, deciding who will take which part, maybe rehearsing -- for fun to kill some time! -- to get the feel of each other's voices in real time. At most learning a new song or two. But it would not be a huge daunting project! You're both TOTALLY capable of doing it already!

    Two great voices, sharing space for a limited time only -- you can't let this chance slip right through your fingertips!

    Maybe it only takes up 30, 45, 60 minutes of a longer Moom karaoke stream, where Bae is a guest star, like the off-collab last night. Whatever it takes, heed the call of the Holo gods, and make history together! :)))

  39. Oooh, "Take a Chance On Me" by ABBA -- if you girls are up for a little challenge / want to show off your diva-licious vocal chops. That two-part intro is killer!

    And it's in Karafun!

    You could even put your own little spin on the title, depending on who's singing it --

    Take a chance on Mei

    Take a chance on Bae

    Great build up of tension in that one, and swinging from pining & yearning chorus to the chipper upbeat verse. Much like the tension must feel between two mutual sub-managers who know they'll only be sharing space for a limited time only...

    Such a great song for Mubae fanservice and yuri kayfabe! ^_^

  40. I think the Great Makna Falls in Xenoblade is my favorite modern-day waterfall


  41. More waterfalls by pioneering American illustrators, this time by N.C. Wyeth from the early 1900s:




    These show both the dangerous / sublime aspect, as well as the beautiful / rejuvenating aspect of waterfalls in our culture. Much like water body types in other traditions ("the sea"), there's a duality to their nature -- making us love and appreciate them, but also fear and respect them.

  42. Oh no, another rabbit hole -- cavemen in art! Obviously American, but who and when was the first? Like "Spring" by Wyeth, I stumbled upon this one in a big fat vintage book on American illustrators that I scored for a few books at the thrift store. This is just after the Tarzan craze, but he was technically a contempo figure who had been orphaned and adopted by jungle animals, not a depiction (scientific or mythological) of mankind at the dawn of our species' existence.

    Maxfield Parrish, "Primitive Man" (1921):


    This was for a calendar series sponsored by Edison Mazda lightbulbs (Mazda being a reference to Zoroastrianism, which despite being Indo-Euro is still very Middle Eastern, hence fitting for Americans who are distinguishing themselves from Europeans, whose imagined roots lie in Greece and Rome, whereas Americans' imagined roots lie in the Near & Middle East, heh).

    Others in the series include Egypt, and the Lampseller of Bagdad, but also Euro figures and places like Prometheus and Venice.

    Anyways, the European "primitive man" is the Old World Biblical story about Adam & Eve -- whereas America's "primitive man" is a bit more naturalistically grounded, being cavemen. It's mythological, since they cohabit a world with dinosaurs, other hominids, and active volcanoes. But still, closer to reality than Adam & Eve living a few thousand years ago.

    And here, mankind is discovering fire on their own, not being taught it by a god as in Ancient Greek myth. Cavemen are not dumb knuckle-dragging mutes -- they're curious, ingenious tool-users and tool-makers, akin to homo habilis. Very fitting for the Industrial and Machine Age, to project that ingenuity back to the first homo sapiens.

    Also notice the lack of booba coverage on the girl -- this is how primitive people are, innocent noble savages who have not been corrupted by civilization into developing fetishes like "omg tits". They only cover the parts where dirty / contaminating substances come out of (anus and genitals). Only milk comes out of the breasts, and that is clean and nutritious, not a contaminating waste product.

    See these earlier review posts:



    It's further into the lifespan of civilization than merely adopting agriculture and settling down on the land. It's about developing introspection -- awareness of your own internal mental states -- which then allowed us to manipulate them artificially to stimulate our brain as we pleased, such as masturbation (which hunter-gatherers don't even know how to do, let alone actually do it).

    Then instead of a holistic / gestalt appreciation of the opposite sex's anatomy, we started zero-ing in on particular parts to maximally stimulate our brain's pleasure centers, and outside the context of actually having sex with that person -- just to leer in a perverted way, to get aroused without it being a prelude to procreative sex. Thus was the curse of boob men brought into this fallen world.

  43. To finish that thought, cavemen are unique figures or tropes in American art because of our primitive futurism -- we have to skip over the Old World civilizations, including the Medieval and Early Modern era, cuz that's our imperial rivals. In our imagination, we go *way* further back than that, further back than / as an alternative to Adam & Eve -- cavemen!

    We're also a very young nation, having only settled it for a couple hundred years by circa 1900, so we had a greater need to imagine deep primeval roots to compensate.

    Euros have no such motives, so they don't imagine themselves as a "modern stone age family" a la the Flintstones, or Tim the Tool Man Taylor's ape grunting.

    We are cavemen who flew themselves to the moon -- unga bunga!

  44. Cavemen in film go back a bit earlier, to the shorts "Man's Genesis" and "Primitive Man" by another American pioneer, D.W. Griffith (from 1912 and '14). Covered in the post on the American primitive genesis myth:


    I was thinking more about static and purely visual art. Maybe some book or magazine covers from the 1910s or 1900s? I dunno, will look into it later. Just wanted to note that Parrish was an early force in constructing the American myth of the world of cavemen.

  45. What about likening a girl's hair to a waterfall? It's a common trope by now, at least in America. Every sensitive American boy will come up with this metaphor on his own, without having been exposed to an existing example of the trope, since we're so primed to think about waterfalls.

    Also in that big fat book of American illustrators is "The Mermaid" by Howard Pyle from 1910 (left unfinished at his death the next year):


    Sidenote: is this the original "slime girl"? -- we'll have to get Goora to weigh in on this. ^_^ That's some pretty briny, slimey seawater! And doesn't she also have a fascination with gingers? Mythical sea-creature, inhabiting the coastal waters... hmmm, was this mermaid the charismatic vtuber princess of her day? (You have to consider! -- right Moom? Hehe.)

    Her hair cascades just like a waterfall over the sculpted cliffside of her body, and pours right into the sea, indistinguishable from it in form -- and only slightly distinguishable in color (dark blue toward the ends of the hair, vs. the medium-dark blue of the sea).

    I thought Munch's Madonna from the 1890s did the same thing, but it did not. Her hair is wavy, but not likened to a body of water, let alone a falling one.

    Maybe something from Art Nouveau, like Beardsley? But I mean one where the comparison to falling water is explicit -- not just long in length, and sinuous in shape. I'm not finding anything from an image search.

    If Euros didn't think much of waterfalls in their landscape art, I doubt they made this metaphor in their visual art or verbal art for that matter. Another American first... unless the Japanese did so as well -- they very well might have! Time to scour the galleries of Hokusai and after, in the ukiyo-e tradition...

  46. If you want contemporary waterfall hair, you could do well with akairiot's Kelda:


    On TV right now is playing the primitive futuristic I Dream of Jeannie, with the titular genie a being from the distant preislamic middle east, paired and contrasted with an Astronaut as the male lead.

  47. Gooba is slowly slipping away toward the dark side (appreciating boobs rather than butts). I knew this day would come, and said so several times over the years -- once I discovered the correlation of falling crime / cocooning and butt focus, vs. rising crime / outgoing and boob focus, I was thankful for once to be living in a cocooning environment.

    The butt focus took off from nowhere in the early '90s, especially with the 1992 song "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-lot (still famous). J.Lo, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, thongs and "The Thong Song", Brazilian butt lifts, Juicy Couture and Pink sweatpants with words written across the butt, skin-tight leggings / yoga pants, twerking, right up through the current vogue for very cheeky shorts. It's been an assman's paradise for the past 30 years.

    However, all good things come to an end. It won't happen 100% overnight, but there's already the beginning of the shift toward the boobs. The no-bra trend I keep remarking about seeing IRL, the return of girls flashing a public crowd while standing through the roof of a car, and the related armpit trend -- that's not just some degen anime coomer fetish, girls are consciously showing off their waki these days (sounds so much better than "pits"). And it's very close to the boob / side-boob.

    Even I, as a boob-blind person, notice the waki a lot more these days. I'll never forget either summer of 2021 or '22, Saturday evening during some major party atmosphere, there was a pair of girls walking down the sidewalk along the main drag, and one of them, a total babe, lifted one of her arms, turned her head to the side, took a deep quick wiff, and then kept on strutting along, reassured of how hot her armpit scent was... damn!

    It's not a part of the boob or chest area itself, but my eyes normally don't wander anywhere near that entire zone -- it's always on the fertility zone of the belly, hips, ass, and thighs. These days, though, I do occasionally check out the upper chest area, just not the boobs themselves.

  48. Goob & Ame brainstorming ideas for new vtuber personas made me think of "cave girl", when they brought up Sasquatch. Maybe she could get that for herself as another alternate outfit, a la Dino Gura? Cave Gura!

    "ungura bungura!" (stress on the 1st syllable for both, like "unga bunga").

    Flowers in her hair going around in a ring at forehead level, and an animal skin one-piece that covers her torso from the chest to the hips. Like Dino Gura, it wouldn't have to match the original look, theme, or color palette that much -- it's an alter ego, not the same Gura wearing a different outfit.

  49. Moom, if have trouble with B12 levels from taking supplements, you should try eating more red meat, the best source for it. And if they've been low for awhile, you should dive right into eating liver, where B12 is stored (for other animals, too, not just us). It's a treasure trove of B12, as well as vitamin A in its most bioavailable form (retinol -- yes, like the stuff they put in skin-care, liver works wonders for your epithelial cells, including your skin).

    Don't eat plain liver by itself, you won't like it if you weren't raised on it. But it's more common in other forms anyway, like pate, liverwurst, braunschweiger, etc.

    I checked to make sure, and there are tons of liver pate products sold in everyday Japanese supermarkets. They mix liver with some other meat, various herbs and spices, and it turns out somewhere between a lunchmeat and a spread. The safest bet to start is one made with pork liver, although chicken liver works fine too (beef liver will be too strong for a beginner).

    When first eating it, you can put mustard on it, or tomatoes or carrots or sweet peppers, to take away from the liver flavor. But it really doesn't taste bad, it's just an acquired taste. Some kinds of pate, you may find it perfectly flavorful as is!

    The best part? You don't need to eat much, because it's so packed with A and B12. Just a little slice is enough for more than a day's worth.

    No excuses about being a picky eater either -- you're not a widdle bahby anymore! :) You have to start making a good habit while your brain is still somewhat plastic. I started eating liver around 30, and I wish someone had told me about it earlier!

    And if you want to have a good source of animal food around the house for when you don't have time to cook -- canned sardines! The kind with the skin and bones (which also have the organs -- including the liver!). They can sit on a shelf forever, so you can buy a bunch at once and not have to make more trips, they take no time to prepare or cook, and they go with all sorts of other things if you want to make them into a proper meal. Pretty cheap, too.

    What better opportunity to get hooked on seafood than visiting Japan?! ^_^

    PS -- I still think you should bring in Bae for a guest appearance on your next karaoke, even if it's literally just 3 songs. That's standard for a concert, like when Taylor Swift brings out Bryan Adams, Avril Lavigne, etc. for a little IRL collab.

    Two-part duet, two-part harmony, adapting a single voice song to be either of those two -- whatever you're comfortable with. If it's only for a few songs, it'll at least be baby steps! And with a trusted friend who you've already shared a living space with before -- you have absolutely nothing to fear with her right there by your side. :)

  50. And on that note, Gooba deserves some serious headpats for switching out those Ensure drinks for electrolyte drinks instead.

    pat pat pat pat, who's a good shark? *you* are, you're *such* a good shark...

    I know you're forever young at heart, but it really is a sign of maturity to listen to suggestions like that instead of being stubborn about it -- and your body and brain must be thanking you, too!

    Soy and sugar? Blech! Vitamins, minerals, and fruity flavor? Yum!

    That was another real life-changer for me in my late 20s / early 30s, when I started to not only go out dancing, but go all-out in motion for nearly 4 hours straight. Takes a lot of sweat out of you, and I needed an entire packet of those things mixed with water to replenish at the end of the night before bed.

    Also prevents a hangover if you've had alcohol, assuming you have the electrolyte drink before going to sleep! And I did usually have one shot while going out -- not a binge, but yet another source of dehydration when you're vigorously sweating for hours on end, heheh.

    Wanna know something cursed but cool about dancing? If you really go at it for awhile, your internal organs start moving around and hit up against your ribcage -- similar to your brain hitting your skull during a concussion, although nowhere as serious as that, obviously.

    But it does lead to your bladder getting a little bruised, so that when you take a wiz at the end of the night, it's rust-colored from the tiny trace amount of blood caused by the bladder bruising. It doesn't hurt before, during, or after, and the effect is totally gone by the morning, not to return until the next intense dance session.

    I freaked out the first time that happened, but after googling around, found out it was pretty common in dancers if it's intense activity (and gymnasts, too? I forget). And that it was no big deal if it was only once a week.

    Dancing gives you battle scars, too.

    TMI? Oh please, I heard WAY more cursed discussions during those SNOT slumber parties last year! ^_^

  51. Moom coming out of her shell more! ^_^ Baby wing-flaps, until our beloved owl can soar out of the nest on her own -- imagine the views!


    pat pat pat pat, hoo's going to be a good owl? Is it Moom? I think it is! Such a silly and luuuvable lil owl...

    Oh nyo nyo nyo, I bet Mumei is SUPER ticklish! The thought of petting her sweet owl head made me realize that would be her reaction. Like when she was ASMR'd by Irys, Fauna, and Reine simultaneously during the last off-collab, turning red as a tomato! ^_^

    Just when Moom thinks Bae is only giving her a gentle goodnight hug to wind her down before bedtime -- she feels a sudden and aggressive arpeggio of rat fingertips along her sides!

    "Who's the senior of us two sub-managers, Mumei? Who's the senior one? Is it me? Say it's me, Mumei, and I'll stop. All you have to do is say it. What's the matter? Laughing too hard to speak? Just say it, Mumei..."

    Moom breaks down giggling uncontrollably, unable to form actual English words to answer Bae's question, which only draws out her tickle torture even longer!

    "It's -- it's, heeheeheeheehee! -- it's you! It's you, Bae, it's, heeheehee, it's always been you!"

    "Yis, yis it is. There there, sweet little owl of mine," Bae says as she brushes Mumei's bangs away from her sweating forehead. Bae holds her close, taking slow breaths to set the pace for Mumei's breathing to return to normal, which it does in sympathy, and the two fall asleep in each other's arms.

  52. MuBae duet for "A Whole New World," with Bae in Aladdin's role, and Moom as princess Jasmine. It's too fitting! Yes yes yes, we know, you can't sing that on stream without the DMCA-fags at Disney bonking you -- but you could always sing it off-stream, just two friendly gremlin colleagues without a care in the world. Total slumber party vibes! No better way to shake off some of those limiters! ^_^

  53. Hey Goooob, want an untapped font of content that would also push the "living history" pleasure centers of your bwain, and without being so long it would max out your ADHD Zoomer attention span? ^_^

    The Woodwright's Shop, made by PBS. It's a woodworker, who was the first master housewright at the Colonial Williamsburg reconstruction. He makes all sorts of things using only old-timey tools, materials, and techniques. And he's a real East Coast ham, just like you -- he was a theatre major in college -- so it's more of an entertainment production than similar shows.

    You'd get to hang out with an ojisan, doing guy stuff, like in Grand Tour but when you need a less turbo-charged adrenaline level. And the set is perfect for your "imagine the smell" needs, all sorts of dried wood species, metal tools, fresh sawdust being thrown into the air.

    PBS' website has episodes here:


    Looks like whole seasons begin with Season 26 -- might remind you of your 2000s childhood. :)

    Earlier episodes are on YouTube, but not sure of the quality (some are VHS recordings, but that's nostalgic in a way as well).

  54. What's you opinion about the viking image as a huge tough guy with horn in their helmets? Is it an american thing? I don't know much about the subject.
    Btw, here's Megaman 8 from Capcom having an edenic start level with a dead robot dinosaur and animals:
    Later in the game you get a huge waterfall too.

  55. Back to Japanese waterfall art, here's the closest I could find to a ukiyo-e print with a girl's hair resembling a waterfall. "Hatsuhana Doing Penance Under the Tonosawa Waterfall" by Kuniyoshi (early 1840s):


    The colors are different between the hair and the water, but the water does arc down in lines that are pretty parallel to those of her hair. The waterfall has a part in it, and the opening is like the opening in the front of the hair that allows us to see her face.

    The bottom of her clothes are more curvilinear, as are the ripples in the river below where both of them meet. So there's a bit of a likeness between her hair arcing straight down like the waterfall, in the top area, and then in the bottom area there's more curvy languid lines where the water is not as violent (end of the robe, river water).

    Sorta, kinda. Not nearly as explicitly waterfall-y as Pyle's mermaid, though.

    Some more 20th-C. waterfalls by Japanese printmakers, from the "shin hanga" movement ("new prints", i.e. reviving the earlier ukiyo-e style):





    Not having watched much anime ever in my life, it's striking how similar the style of the shin hanga movement looks to the high production value anime movies, e.g. by Studio Ghibli. Pretty clear evolution from one to the other, in a standardized national style.

    Speaking of which, are there any weebs who can provide examples of famous waterfalls in anime? I tried image searching "studio ghibli waterfall," but a lot of the results appear to be AI done in the style of Studio Ghibli, rather than screenshots of their actual work, or earlier DeviantArt originals done in their style.

    But I did find this example of the enduring IRL fascination with magical mystical waterfalls in Japan, where they liken it to something from a Ghibli movie:


    That would make an excellent place for a Hololive corporate retreat! ^_^ Only one hour by train from Tokyo, but requiring a car or van once you're in Kimitsu City.

    Maybe some place where a long-term JP resident like Irys could go, when there's a lull in her recording schedule, with one of her JP friends like Flare. Time to unplug from splatoon-athons for a day, and rejuvenate the mind and body in wild unspoiled nature. :)

  56. Yet another random Korone stream I clicked on, after YT algo recommended it -- Legend of the Mystical Ninja for Super Nintendo. Skip around at random to see what the game looks like, and there it is -- a waterfall level!

    She and Okayu are the main source of hope for the classical era of video games being passed on to the Zoomers and future generations. :)

  57. CouncilRys group trip to a ukiyo-e museum! Or however many of you can meet up at the same time. ^_^

    I know it's trendy these days to avoid tourist-y activities while traveling, and instead live like an authentic resident -- which in Tokyo means being overworked by your corporate office and struggling to catch two hours of zzz's in a rental sleeping tube, or living like a hikiko NEET otherwise.

    But you are really missing out, and will regret it for life, if you don't get to enjoy the higher accomplishments of Japanese culture, while you're literally surrounded by them. Carpe diem!

    Speaking of the aesthetic roots of anime, manga, and bideo gamebz, why not visit a museum that curates woodblock prints? That's where it all begins -- and like American illustration, they were made for mass-media production, so there were a TON of examples created. It's hard to get a good feel for it online because a Wikipedia is going to have at most a couple dozen examples, out of tens or hundreds of thousands to choose from.

    But not a museum! Especially one dedicated to woodblock prints, or the ukiyo-e movement specifically. Naturally, they'll look far more captivating in person, especially if they're on the larger size -- nobody has a computer monitor that's 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide! ^_^

    You girls are part of the culture that stretches back to those origins, with your "beautiful young woman" avatar and being an actress in the theatre -- of sorts. Your music videos, animes, fan art, etc., all stem to some degree from those roots. You owe it to those who carved out this aesthetic niche to honor them by seeing their creations in person. :)

    Plus it'll make for a great workplace retreat, bonding experience, and educational opportunity.

    Bae and Irys can translate with museum staff, the info placards on the walls, etc.

    In faaact, you could even hit up Sana before or after, and ask for her insights -- I know she was really into composition (how the various elements of a work are arranged within the frame, and relative to one another). One of the best streams I've seen was her, Calli, and Moom doing an anatomy review through analysis of fan art -- you could tell not only how well she understood composition herself, but how effortlessly she could convey that to other people.

    In the period from 1830 onward, the prints skewed more toward landscapes instead of portraits, which makes composition even more central -- it's not about how to show proper facial expressions, folds of cloth, etc., but how to put a massive obstacle in the foreground, teasing something in the mid-ground, carving out negative space somewhere, weaving intriguing paths throughout -- it's more spatial. Sana would have fun chiming in on what you guys are looking at, either to prep your minds ahead of time, or to compare notes afterward.

    Here's a list of museums in Tokyo that curate ukiyo-e prints:


    The Ota museum is going to start a large exhibit on Hiroshige, lasting all of August (closed on Mondays). That would be perfect -- Japanese art fans would be so jealous! You can't let these fleeting opportunities to commune with something grander than yourself slip right through your fingertips...

  58. I don't mean that as a stream idea, BTW, just something you girls should do while you have the rare opportunity.

    But there are ways to work your trip into a stream afterward -- talking about it, what you saw, what your impressions were, how familiar did it feel from your exposure to Japanese visual art mainly coming from anime / manga / bideo gamebz growing up, etc.

    You could take it further if you wanted, maybe an artist like Ina as well, in drawing streams. Something accurate yet clickbait-y -- "Bob Ross for weebs: drawing magical anime landscapes". Just make sure to occasionally include a waterfall or a volcano, hehe. ^_^

    It wouldn't have to be you as a master teacher -- it could be about you as a student learning how to draw them. That's just as fun for us to watch, as you acquire a skill and have something cool to show for it.

    Those ukiyo-e landscapes are not very intense on detail, zillions of shades of colors, or finely graded lighting transitions. So it wouldn't take multiple streams to complete a single picture.

    You could personalize it by putting yourself, in small scale, somewhere in the setting. Or linking it to your favorite vidya -- a location from Skyrim, Animal Crossing, etc. (actual or as you imagine it), in a ukiyo-e style. Could be fun!

    Also, perms would not be an issue to show prints from 100 years ago or more, right? So it would be easier to organize.

    (When I said there are 10s or 100s of thousands of examples of prints, I meant originals, not counting all the numerous copies or printings made from a single one of them. It's like trying to take in the whole of American illustration, when it was shown in so many different magazines, book covers, posters, advertisements, you name it.)

  59. If you are looking for retro game streamers, the anons of the /vrt/ thread have made a helpful compilation of chuubas. Of them, the names that pop out are Onolumi, and Amiya Aranha, as well as Unou Watasashi (notLulu).


    Speaking of cavemen, have some unga Phase girls:

  60. Getting put to the test by Goob and Moom at the same time, in the same room... oh nyo, anything but *that*! ^_^

    Hit me with your best shot...

  61. Re-upping this One Direction parody I wrote for them last fall. Luv you two gurls 4eva. :)


  62. Nerissa saying she drives but doesn't like it reminded me that Moom is the only other Holo girl who drives. I don't know how much Nerissa's lore of being 5'9 matches her IRL, but it sounded plausible.

    Makes me suspect that being a regular driver is a hint that a girl is on the tall side of the girl spectrum -- easier to reach the pedals, see over the steering wheel, don't have to sit right against the dashboard, etc.

    That's why Goob and Fauna are so allergic to driving, both being tiny lil' things that get a rush out of those hide-and-seek / being-chased simulators, as only a tiny defenseless girl would resonate with from her IRL experiences.

    That was the first thing that made me think Moom is on the tall side -- playing that hide-and-seek sim with the giant chicken, she was never afraid or frazzled or startled or anything. Not like she's a martial artist or whatever, but being tall means she doesn't get as frightened b/c she isn't being towered over by the guy (or mutant chicken).

    Then on the hand-cam collab, she appeared to have large-for-a-girl hands -- but the proportions were very dainty and super feminine, with small palms and long spindly fingers. That's for fine motor stuff that girls are specialized at, not the brute-force stuff guys are good at (like opening a jar, which requires a large palm to fit around the entire perimeter). So, the largish size just means she's tall and a girl, not that she has masculine hands.

    The singer she resonates with the most as a performer is Taylor Swift, who is 5'10. I know, girls of all heights like her, but they would not necessarily choose her as their role model if they performed on their own.

    I think that's where most of Moom's tomboy streak, such as it is, comes from. She's not a tomboy per se, with distinctly masculine traits -- she just didn't have to go through the same experiences that teeny tiny girls do, and didn't have to develop those girly traits that adapt girls (as the shorter sex) to their world.

    But she wasn't put through the experiences that typical guys have to go through, like fighting with each other, etc., so she didn't develop distinctly masculine traits either.

    So she remained pretty feminine, just not as super-duper feminine as the tiny girls. When she's talking, especially when she's rambling, she sounds like a normal girl. And your reaction to her streams is more likely to be "woman moment" than "tomboy moment". :)

  63. Really the only masculine traits she has are being on the tall side, having terrible eyesight, and an inclination toward paranoia / conspiracy / schizo-cluster mindset (instead of the female inclination toward hysteria and depression-cluster mindset).

    There was some moment in last night's zatsu where she was asking who switched one of her settings, or messed with something, and I shouted out from the kitchen -- "aliens!" xD

    Hoo else could suspect "actual alien interference" when something goes wrong? ^_^

    Anyways, from my observations, tall girls tend to get marginalized socially cuz the other girls think the tall girl will try to assume the role of Queen Bee merely on account of her height. So they "cut down the tallest poppy" and exclude her from their reindeer games.

    That certainly matches what Moom has shared about growing up -- but not among the girls in Hololive, since they're not interacting IRL, and the other girls are not so threatened by, or sensitive to, Moom's height. She gets fairer treatment online in that way -- she's not a power-tripping or bossy girl (quite the opposite!), but the other girls never gave her a fair chance growing up, solely because of her height.

    IRL, tall girls usually form cliques with each other, where none of them will feel threatened by the other's height, especially if they're athletes. Very typical to see during my club days, a circle of only tall girls, and less likely to see mixed-height groups of girls hanging out.

    One of the few cases where the nature of online liberates someone from unfounded discrimination IRL. :)

    "On the internet, no one knows you're a tall girl..."

  64. Forgot the other thing that proves Moom is feminine deep down, not a tomboy -- she says her legs tend to bend inward around the knees, and that this hurts her knees and hips. That's something only a girl with wide hips would experience. And we know she's in good shape otherwise -- so her waist is on the small side. Meaning she has an hourglass waist-to-hip ratio, very feminine.

    A tomboy would have more tubular hips, and her legs would have no room to bend inwards.

    A tall girl with an hourglass figure -- in another timeline, where we had a functioning society, she could've been a model. In our disintegrating society, she incarnates as a cute anime girl who plays bideo gamebz with you. Maybe not the worst timeline after all. ^_^

    And besides, she still has fan art that treats her character as a muse and model. Maybe they could take a few cues from her IRL, and make her tall and hourglassy -- not in a dominating or Amazon way, but like Taylor Swift's early persona of the girl-next-door whose tallness makes guys find her a bit more relatable than an ordinary girl.

    Not quite so frilly, more plain-dressed, not activating your "must protecc my helpless daughter" instinct but feeling more like she's a peer or equal (without being masculine and "just one of da guyz", however).

    I don't have a "thing" for tall girls, or short girls, or any height girls. Most guys don't. But still, tall girls have an intriguing nature to them, and it's neat to find one of them (maybe two now?) in Hololive. :)

  65. Some more great classic gaming waterfalls:

    Mega Man 2 - Bubble Man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q63NliWIc9g

    FF6 - Baren Falls: https://finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Baren_Falls

    Joe N Mac - Stage 5: https://youtu.be/NRaDNAGds5s?t=890

  66. Yeah, Joe & Mac and J&M 2 are both games I want to recommend to the retro-friendly Holo girls, since they've got all elements of the American Eden world -- dinosaurs and cavemen together, waterfalls, and volcanoes. Nice Super Nintendo colors, too, and a decent amount of vertical scrolling, not just horizontal.

    Irys would dig it, and so would the new twins Fuwamoco.

    It was made by Data East, and the current rights are owned by G-Mode -- don't know how easy it is to get permissions from them. At least it didn't get acquired by Konami, who are hell-bent on destroying everything their company ever created.

  67. Speaking of Konami, Super Castlevania IV has a great waterfall level in Stage 3, which is vertical scrolling. Right after the cavern section... is that another unique part of our geo-identity? Caves and caverns? Harking back to our caveman roots, not being as civilized as the Old World, skipping right from caves to the cosmos.

    I can't say I remember too much Euro visual art that is set in caves, or verbal art for that matter. You'd think Gothic novels would be into it, or Romantic painting, but nothing comes to mind.

    Europeans (both Ancient Greeks & Romans, and Early Modern empires) were into grottos -- smaller cave-like spaces, perhaps artificially made, and where the water body is more horizontal (a sea cove) than vertical like a waterfall. But I'm talking about caves or caverns -- much larger-scaled spaces, more labyrinthine, and not artificially made.

    Pretty sure that's an American fixation -- tied into waterfalls, of course, where they lead into each other. Ubituitous in Japanese video games as well, although I'm not sure how far back they go in landscape art, woodblock prints, etc.

    A repository of hidden treasure, secret passageways through an otherwise path-blocking mountain, a secluded hide-out for villains, the lair of a monster (usually a single large one, not a bunch of small ones -- a triceratops rather than a bunch of bats).

    Stalactites hanging like a prehistoric Sword of Damocles. In fact, knowing the different terms for stalactites and stalagmites sounds like one of those uniquely American fixations -- I don't think schools in other countries try to drill that into their students like American schools or pop culture do.

    In another strange coincidence of American and Scandinavian culture, the term "stalactite" was coined by a Dane (Ole Worm, 17th C). Not part of our Euro imperial rivals. Not sure who coined "stalagmite," but it was probably later anyway.

    There's the possibility of a beautiful pool somewhere inside the cavern, but for the most part it's a location for the dangerous and sublime.

    Isn't it strange how familiar with are with all these aspects of "the cave", and yet we can't immediately say exactly where or when they came from? Time to do some more investigating...

  68. One famous example of a cave being a monster's lair in the Euro tradition is Polyphemus, the cyclops from the Odyssey, although this legend goes back further and broader (my guess is the Ancestral North Eurasians, based on its range, including Indo-Euro, Caucasus, and Korea).


    And yet, most of the action is not set in the cave itself, but in the open area outside of it. And visual portrayals focus on this outer area and Odysseus' men escaping off into the sea. The one that shows an interior of the cave (by Eckersberg, 1812) makes it look like a small grotto, not a cave or cavern in the American sense.

    The American version would place a lot more of the action inside of the cave -- having to find an ingenious way to get through the boulder doorway, sneaking stealthily around the inside so as to not wake the giant (made more difficult by the echo-friendly accoustics), finding his hidden treasure, facing various lesser monsters along the way, winding a complex path into and out of it, etc.

    The closest to an American mythological vision of caverns is the Labyrinth -- which has a pre-Greek etymology, not Indo-European. It's located on Crete, center of the Minoan civ (not Greek or other Indo-Euro). The Minotaur is a later Greek creation, as is the Theseus myth. But Minoan religion made use of many sacred caves, and less so large temples as in contemporaneous civs:


    So the Theseus & the Minotaur myth being set so much within the Labyrinth, rather than outside, and rather than it being a small cozy beautiful grotto, owes to the pre-Indo-Euro culture of the Minoans. To maintain plausibility to its location, it had to be set the kinds of spaces that were most important on Crete, rather than in Athens or elsewhere on mainland Greece.

    Sacred caves are not a huge part of Indo-Euro cultures, only in this case where they contacted a non-Indo-Euro culture where they *were* important.

  69. What about current importance? The UNESCO World Heritage Sites include show caves, two of which are in America -- Carlsbad Caverns and Mammoth Cave. Australia also has two, Jenolan and Mole Creek Karst. Western Africa has two, Ogbunike in Nigeria and the Caves of Hercules in Morocco. Two in South Africa, Big Hole and Wonder Cave near Muldersdrift. Malaysia has one, Gunung Mulu.

    The ones in Europe are all connected to the cave paintings of the very pre-Indo-Euro people, at Rouffignac, France; Hohle Fels, Germany; and the closed to the public Lascaux in France.

    These, however, are not central to the ethnogenesis of French or German people. Their importance came much later, after the decline / collapse of their empires, and their incorporation into the American sphere of influnce, during WWI and WWII. In fact, the Lascaux caves weren't even discovered until 1940, and opened to the public in '48!

    Europeans, especially imperial people like the French and Germans, never viewed themselves as "the descendants of the cavemen who painted the walls of Rouffignac and Hohle Fels". They still do not. But to the extent that they do factor in these cave paintings at all, it's a very late addition to their cultural identity, after the League of Nations / United Nations era, when America took them over.

    Cavemen and cave paintings are *very* important to American identity, so other people who came into our orbit adopted these ethnic markers as well -- to some extent, anyway.

  70. It's a sign of our cultural implosion and new dark age that most Americans couldn't care less about visiting places like Carlsbad Caverns or Mammoth Cave. I visited the latter as a kid with my family, and it still gets tourists today, but not as broadly as in the good ol' pre-collapse days.

    And who these days wants to fly or go on a road trip to Carlsbad, New Mexico? Hiking in mountains is still popular, including with yuppie strivers. But exploring magical caves is not -- it's seen as too Romantic, sentimental, and widespread in its appeal, not a niche thing that strivers can compete over in fake & gay status contests (hiking, rock-climbing, "van living," etc.).

    Same fate has befallen Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and everywhere else that used to be a universal destination for Americans in search of communing with something greater than themselves -- both the non-human part of our environment, and the sacred spaces of our American culture. The Disney Worlds of the great outdoors.

    I haven't been to Carlsbad or Yosemite, though I'm pretty sure my Boomer dad did (like everyone back then). But I have been to Mammoth Cave, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone. Not Niagara Falls, unforch, though again I'm pretty sure my Boomer parents went there (like everyone back then).

    Most of the key places are out West, along our meta-ethnic frontier. But that didn't stop people in the good ol' days -- they set off in a car, like in Vacation, and saw all sorts of iconic American places. Distance is no excuse -- it's a pilgrimage, you have to trek out there and commune with it, or else you're not really American.

    I'm through with the whole concept and practice of "traveling", and hope to never get on a plane again for the rest of my life. But I'd make an exception to visit Yosemite or Carlsbad...

  71. Trump got indicted today. RIP whatever is left of stability and legitimacy in the American political system.

  72. OK, the distinction of American caves seems to be the focus on stalactites, secondarily on stalagmites, and perhaps columns where they run from ceiling to floor.

    This is why we focus on huge open labyrinthine caverns instead of cute little grottos -- in order for stalactites to stand out as a feature, there needs to be a lot of negative space for them to plunge into. If the open space is small and compact, stalactites don't intrude enough into the frame, so to speak.

    Europeans do have some pretty large and open caverns in their imagination, especially the Blue Grotto in Capri, painted by many Euros -- and a few Americans -- during the Romantic heyday circa 1830. That could be like the cascades at Tivoli, where it's only one location that everyone pays attention to, and where most of the painters are foreign (German) instead of natives of Italy, and where they don't portray these caverns from their homeland in order to strengthen their ethnogenetic ties to their land, as part of Romantic nationalism.

    At any rate, the Blue Grotto doesn't have cascades of stalactites threatening the wanderers underneath. It's not perfectly smooth -- IRL or in paintings -- and there are cones forming here and there around the ceiling, but overall its ceiling is more of a smooth vaulted dome familiar to the architecture of the Romans and Gothic France and the Early Modern empires.

    The uneven cones are more like little ornamental details, not main features -- and they don't appear to be pouring down, or menacing like the Sword of Damocles. So, they do not contribute to the sense of danger and sublime, vs. those of American portrayals and real caves.

    The connection to waterfalls is easy to see -- stalactites are like stony waterfalls within an interior space, complimenting the fluid waterfalls of exterior spaces in our idealized Romantic landscape. And of course stalactites are formed by water dripping from above.

    That's also why we're obsessed with icicle formations -- they're both watery and exterior, but hard and crystalline like stalactites from interior spaces. They hang like a Sword of Damocles, and we feel like we're tempting fate by walking near them, or knocking them down -- which feels almost like sacrilege. You're supposed to let them stay up there and look cool!

    These formations are ubiquitous in video game landscapes, all the way up to them falling down like the thread being cut from the Sword of Damocles.

    I'll try to write all this up into a separate standalone post, with images, since there's something here, and it's a bit far from the OP.

    Just a little update for now.

  73. A few images, too. Contrast the portrayal of the same Blue Grotto location, by a German (1830s) and by an American (late 1850s):



    In the Euro / German mind, the Blue Grotto is a cathedral with arches, vaults, and domes. Fairly smooth curves and ceilings -- just a bit more rugged of a surface, since they were carved by crude natural processes instead of deliberate human hands and tools.

    In the American mind, there are stalactites pouring down everywhere, threatening the wanderers down below. If you check a realistic photo, you can see that this is an embellishment that was made in order to fit it into the American style, where caverns must be encrusted with stalactites, in order to NOT resemble Roman or Gothic architecture.

    Distinguishing our buildings from those of our imperial rivals was absolutely crucial, and arches, vaults, and domes were one of the first things to go. Our ceilings are flatter, and we like seeing that in our caverns as well. We can't control that, of course, but we'll be more attracted to caverns where there's less of a feel of domed cathedrals, which commits the cardinal sin of Euro LARP-ing. And in our portrayals, we'll try to embellish them into having flatter ceilings, or portray them from an angle where their natural dome shape is not apparent.

    Some other iconic caverns from the Euro tradition, for comparison. The basilica cistern in Constantinople -- originally Byzantine, then Ottoman, then immortalized on film in the British classic From Russia With Love (1960s):


    The cover of the Ocean Rain album by Echo and the Bunnymen (1980s), shot in Carnglaze Caverns, Cornwall England:


    Exact same look and feel as Jakob Alt's painting of the Blue Grotto from the 1830s -- and nary a stalactite to be found (or similar threatening projection within the basilica cistern).

  74. Albert Bierstadt painted the American take on the Blue Grotto, BTW. The same who made waterfalls a standard geo-feature of American landscape art. This was painted in the late 1850s, so perhaps I've stumbled upon the first major example of "stalactite-encrusted cavern" in American art -- wasn't hard to do, though, just go with the Hudson River School, and if it's distinctly American, it'll be there somewhere.

    In fairness, he may not have embellished his portrayal -- there may be some spot and angle from which there are tons of stalactites in view, but I couldn't easily find a real photo that reproduced Bierstadt's depiction.

    So if it is real, he deliberately chose that unusual location within the grotto in order to emphasize the stalactites and the rocky column, which are in the fore and mid-ground and dominate the upper section of the frame. The smoother vaulted / domed space is relegated to the background, obscured by the stalactites and column, which are more important for the American mind.

    Back in the 1850s, though, he wasn't fitting this into a long tradition -- he was pioneering it, just as he was with waterfalls.

    Another member of the Hudson River School, Thomas Moran, made some drawings and prints of Luray Cave in the 1880s that emphasized the stalactites, columns, and stalagmites:




  75. Looking at the print of Luray Cave by Moran, maybe it's more like the American vision is "caverns as wild untamed forests, made out of rock within a mountain / under the ground". Not so much a waterfall.

    Stalactites are like the canopy, columns are the tree trunks, and stalagmites are the bushes and shrubs along the ground.

    It goes along with our obsession with petrified wood -- we even have a dedicated Petrified Forest National Park out West (Arizona). My dad took a piece of petrified wood as a souvenir from one of those Western parks when he was young, and he passed it on to me a few years ago while he was cleaning out his garage.

    Another video game cavern with stalactites, from the PC this time. King's Quest V (1990), from a series that largely follows Euro fairytale traditions, but does put American twists on them here and there (including using Saharo-Arabian stories, which Americans are more fascinated by). Like this elves' cavern, with prominent stalactites instead of a smooth dome:


  76. Japanese art does not use stalactites etc when portraying caves, so this "wild forest of rock" view of caverns seems uniquely American. I thought maybe since they also emphasize waterfalls and volcanoes in landscape art, they would join us here as well, but they don't.

    Here is the only example I could find with prominent stalactites, by Kuniyoshi (1844) of Nitta Tadatsune encountering the goddess of Mount Fuji and her dragon in a cavern:


    All the others look like the Euro style, with fairly smooth walls and ceilings, arches and domes, cozy little grottos near the entrance, and the connection to a sea just outside. Usually portrayed from the exterior, not of an expansive interior.






    This approach goes from the 1830s through the 1920s and perhaps further, until the '80s and '90s when Japanese video games made extensive use of cave interiors with stalactites or large icicles on the ceiling. And even adapting the American approach to strange new alien landscapes, like Metroid, whose H.R. Geiger-esque environment has stalactites or icicles made out of resin or goo that is dripping yet hardened into place:


    So maybe they adopted our style once we occupied them after WWII? As opposed to Frank Lloyd Wright personally missionizing them in the early 1900s for our blocky architectural style, well before then.

  77. Actually, it's probably exposure to our movies that made Japan aware of our focus on stalactite-encrusted caverns. The sources would be the cavemen / dinosaur / Lost World genre, showing primitive landscapes (whether in the present or past), or the Midcentury monster movies, where the monster's lair was often a cave.

    Or maybe book / magazine / poster illustrations that accompanied narratives of the same genre.

    That fits with the timeline -- sometime after the '20s but before the '80s.

  78. Revenge of Shinobi and Shinobi III, both made in Japan by SEGA, show one of the best examples of ninja as a cool superhero, which is another unforgettable american/japanese creation. Both games have a waterfall level and, in the case of III, even in the interior of a cave:

  79. I really should make an old school fuckyeah tumblr just for this topic, which is what the whole site used to be for.


    Pic after pic after pic, updated whenever.

  80. Yeah, it's crazy how central ninjas and Medieval Japan are in American culture -- anything to distinguish ourselves from Europe! Not that we don't have European knights in our culture as well, but Japanese ninjas and especially horse-mounted samurai, are a clear marker of America, absorbing figures from those we have contacted / conquered along our westward expansion. Europe did not conquer Japan, so they never absorbed Japanese influences, aside from Post-Impressionist painters and ukiyo-e prints.

    That's why the American obsession with Buddhism has to be Zen -- we didn't conquer China or Korea or Southeast Asia or India. It's a natural part of being a good winner in conquest, to elevate those you have conquered, or else you won't manage to hang onto their territory and political compliance for very long, as they'll grow resentful and chafe under a poor winner.

    Ditto for East Asian martial arts still being about karate in the American imagination, to the point of naming American heroes with that term -- The Karate Kid, not The Tae Kwon Do Kid.

    And flip-flops -- way more American than European, which we adopted from the zori sandals used in Japan, after WWII. Euros never used these slip-on types of sandals -- the closest were Ancient Greek and Roman sandals, but those were the strappy type that fasten around your ankle and calf, not comfy slip-on / slip-off types.

    Japan was the furthest place we managed to subdue -- that's why we'll never make Vietnam or China or Korea as important of a source for adopting things into American culture. They're bad reminders of our failures to keep expanding. Might as well dwell on the good ol' days, then, when we could still incorporate a foreign place into our sphere of influence.

  81. And wouldn't you know it?! Zen Buddhism in America traces to Chicago in the 1890s -- like everything else that's distinctly American!

    The inaugural World Parliament of Religions was held in 1893, in Chicago, and a Japanese monk, Soyen Shaku, represented Zen Buddhism. It was piggybacking on the huge success of the World's Fair that same year, where so many other American cultural practices began (such as the amusement park, carnivals, and arcades with games -- not video games yet, of course).

    That's why we know it in the Japanese (Romanized) spelling and pronunciation, even if the school has roots elsewhere and is practiced elsewhere. It came to us via Japan, so they get the credit. Same for the Japanese rendering "koan" instead of the original Chinese "gong-an".

    Then there are the distinctly Japanese Zen practices like the rock garden or dry garden -- for Americans, those are a crucial element of Zen Buddhism, because we learned about it from the Japanese, not Chinese et al., who do not make these dry gardens.

  82. Get set to :pet pet:!
    Duets with Moomette!
    Wet yet? Bet, bet!
    Cold threat? No sweat!

    Have yourself a silly little birthday, Moom! If it makes you feel any better, a lot of us are under the weather this week...

    But you hosting a party so we can hang out with our favorite owl-girl and her fwens lets us know how much you really care about us. ^_^

    We'll both show up, in sickness and in health, for baseder or cringer, till actual alien interference do us part. :)

  83. That was such a fun stream, bday girl! :pat pat pat pat:

    I really like that you not only took this chance to sing a bunch of duets, but worked it into the bday format in order to replace the call-ins, which are more of a technical nightmare and tend to stress you out. This way there were still lots of cameos, but it was more controlled -- and better content from them, to boot! Duet song vs. small talk.

    My faves were the ones with Mel, Zeta, and Goooooba. That last one really showcased the range of both of your personas -- from chaotic and cursed topics in the collab earlier this week, to focused and angelic in the karaoke. The duality of gurl-kind. ^_^

    Goob couldn't stop talking about your bday on stream last night either! Very good hype woman to have in your corner, hehe.

    Speeeeeaking of which, you mentioned infomercials today, and played into the "Mumei can't shill" role once more -- maybe you could develop that into a bit, where you're in an infomercial as the pitch woman, but monotone and checked-out. Maybe you have a co-host as a comedic foil -- uber-charismatic Gooba, professional voice talent Kronii or Nerissa, etc.

    That commercial that Goob worked into the Big Brain Academy game show, where Kronii did the voiceover like a total pro, but for a cursed product (toothpaste so strong you only have to brush once a year!), was an instant classic. Could've come from SNL in its heyday.

    Maybe there's not enough to draw it out into a full infomercial parody -- but could be enough for a YT short! Just a thought...

    Face to face ASMR from Fauna *and* Noel at the same time -- someone's quite the lucky gal! (:Fauna Southern belle voice: "Why, luck's got nothin' to do with it, sugah...")

  84. Then there was that "make Moom turn tomato-red" group ASMR last Japan trip. What makes a bunch of girls want to gang up on Moom at the same time?

    I think this is more evidence of her being a tall girl -- and the other girls are turning what girls usually do, i.e. cut her down to size through shame etc., and giving it a cute and friendly inversion -- overwhelming her with lovey-dovey stuff, that she can't take it and has to beg for mercy. That's another form of ganging up to make her submit to them, lest the tall girl think she's going to rule as Queen Bee on account of her height.

    We know she makes quite the impression on people IRL, and tall girls do that. Teeny-tiny ones do too, like Goob (who was mistaken for a child by airport staff, and triggered their must-protecc instincts, hehe).

    That's also behind Moom's joint pain -- one of the downsides of being tall.

    And related, why she doesn't like doing exercise or dancing on camera. Tall people are less coordinated, and have extra joint pain to deal on top of that.

    Others who don't like exercise or dancing -- Kronii and Ina. They must be on the tall side for girls, too. That explains the Kronii + Mumei friendship -- a tall girl clique, where they don't have to worry about being treated unfairly just cuz they're tall. Awwww...

    Gooba, Bae, and hips don't lie-rys, bounce around a lot when dancing, making wider movements, and they like exercise / Ring Fit / Switch Sports streams. Easy to do with less joint pain, and when your center of gravity is closer to the ground. Goob we already know is tiny, but the other two must be on the shorter side as well. Laplus is also teeny and a dancer. The way Ame was bouncing and skanking around the stage to her new song, makes me think she's on the short side as well.

    In evolution, this goes under the matter of "maintenance of variation" -- why isn't everyone the same, lying at or near the optimum? Why aren't all girls 5'10 hourglass havers? Why can't all guys deadlift 500 lbs? There must be some downsides that counteract the upsides, so it's more of a trade-off spectrum, rather than there being an optimum.

    Fascinating stuff. ^_^

  85. Duet karaoke with the twins! Most of the harmonizing groups from the good ol' days were family members, at least some of the group, often all of them.

    The Andrews Sisters, the McGuire Sisters, the Chordettes, the Beach Boys, the Bee Gees, right up through Wilson Phillips.

    It's about being socially close enough to the other person, to not feel awkward, and more importantly to be in an egalitarian relationship, as with siblings in a household. Beyond the household, there's the local community, like members of a church singing in unison -- socially close because they meet often (outside of church as well), and egalitarian because they're not church officials or God himself. Just as the harmonizing groups did not include a parent-child relationship, only siblings or cousins.

    Harmonizing is about *not* being a stand-out diva.

    They sound good already, due to years of practice. But they're in a unique position to ramp up the harmonizing level, being twins, so they could tackle more intricate ways of harmonizing with some coaching. It'd be neat!

  86. Goob pronouncing "scallop" like a New Englander (where the 1st syllable rhymes with "call" rather than "shall") makes me wonder about non-standard accent havers and comedy. She's easily the top comedic / memelord type within vtubers, perhaps among streamers of all types. Pippa is another example of that type, and she's another East Coaster. Midwesterners Fauna and Mumei, not so full-steam-ahead and over-the-top. West Coasters Ame and Kronii -- even more chill and laid back.

    I was reading on Japanese dialects, and they associate the non-standard Kansai dialects with comedy, and a brusque / no-filter / over-the-top attitude. These are spoken in the region around the former capital, Kyoto, before it moved east to Edo / Tokyo, where the standard is from today.

    These dialects are used even in formats where standard Japanese is normally used, as long as it's for comedic effect -- like "eyyy, I'm streamin' ova heaaaah".

    So is that like how the cultural capital used to be along the East Coast when we first got to America, but it steadily migrated out West as we pursued westward expansion in a political and military fashion?

    Not that I understand them, but apparently quite a few of the Hololive Japan girls come from a place with a non-standard dialect, including one of the most over-the-top characters, Subaru, who hails from a Kansai-speaking region. Although they may switch to a more Tokyo-friendly standard dialect when performing for their audience.

    And unlike in the West, vtubers in Japan really lean into being performers who are playing a role, sometimes subtly and sometimes in a caricature. Not as though it's reality TV in the streaming format. They're more like Gura, Pippa, and Fuwamoco.

  87. Stand-up comedy is a back-East thing in America, perhaps because caricatured comedy and biting wit assumes you're willing to shred the social fabric a little bit? And you can't do that on the meta-ethnic frontier where it's Us vs. Them, hang together or hang separately -- you have to get along, and not even joke about certain things that could upset the social harmony.

    Far from that frontier, where you don't live in an existential battle against the Other? Ah, fuck it -- say whatever's on your mind, what's the worst that could happen from a little shredding of the social fabric?

    This goes into the "fake politeness" phenomenon -- that deserves a post unto itself, but I think that's most common along the meta-ethnic frontier, to make sure that where cohesion is most important, nothing threatens it. And where cohesion is not so crucial, away from that frontier, there is less need for fake politeness.

    Midwest and out West, within America -- "Midwestern nice" and being a happy-go-lucky Pacific Coaster.

    Fake politeness is most common in the South / Southeast of England, not in Scotland or Ireland or the Norf. Britain's meta-ethnic frontier is in the South, against the French.

    Italians have a rhyme about the people from Turin, where the modern Italian national unification began, on the border with the French Empire: "Piemontesi, falsi e cortesi" -- Piedmontese, fake and polite. Unlike Southerners who will tell it like it is, and if you don't like it, eyyy, not my problem you can't handle the truth, pal.

    Ancient Romans, i.e. from Rome itself, thought of themselves as virtuous, humble, stoic, etc. -- whereas the Campanians to their south were braggadocious. I'm sure if we could've asked it the other way around, people from Naples would've said the Romans had fake politeness.

    It seems to be more common in Tokyo than in Kyoto. Japan never became an empire, only a great power, but their expansion internally was to the east and north. Frontier with the Ainu? Not much of a threat, hence why they never got super-cohesive to keep expanding for centuries.

    The most chill and laid-back JP Holo girl I've watched so far is Okayu, and she's from pretty far up north -- not from Hokkaido, but just across the Tsugaru Strait from it. Those northern dialects may not be the Tokyo standard, but they are still Eastern dialects, rather than Western, and therefore they are closer to being standard than are the various Western dialects. She seems like the West Coast type from America, and sure enough, Japanese migration has been in an eastward and northward direction, so she's from a frontier zone (Hokkaido was only settled in large numbers in the 19th century).

  88. Stand-up comedy is a back-East thing in America, perhaps because caricatured comedy and biting wit assumes you're willing to shred the social fabric a little bit? And you can't do that on the meta-ethnic frontier where it's Us vs. Them, hang together or hang separately -- you have to get along, and not even joke about certain things that could upset the social harmony.

    Far from that frontier, where you don't live in an existential battle against the Other? Ah, fuck it -- say whatever's on your mind, what's the worst that could happen from a little shredding of the social fabric?

    This goes into the "fake politeness" phenomenon -- that deserves a post unto itself, but I think that's most common along the meta-ethnic frontier, to make sure that where cohesion is most important, nothing threatens it. And where cohesion is not so crucial, away from that frontier, there is less need for fake politeness.

    Midwest and out West, within America -- "Midwestern nice" and being a happy-go-lucky Pacific Coaster.

    Fake politeness is most common in the South / Southeast of England, not in Scotland or Ireland or the Norf. Britain's meta-ethnic frontier is in the South, against the French.

    Italians have a rhyme about the people from Turin, where the modern Italian national unification began, on the border with the French Empire: "Piemontesi, falsi e cortesi" -- Piedmontese, fake and polite. Unlike Southerners who will tell it like it is, and if you don't like it, eyyy, not my problem you can't handle the truth, pal.

    Ancient Romans, i.e. from Rome itself, thought of themselves as virtuous, humble, stoic, etc. -- whereas the Campanians to their south were braggadocious. I'm sure if we could've asked it the other way around, people from Naples would've said the Romans had fake politeness.

    It seems to be more common in Tokyo than in Kyoto. Japan never became an empire, only a great power, but their expansion internally was to the east and north. Frontier with the Ainu? Not much of a threat, hence why they never got super-cohesive to keep expanding for centuries.

    The most chill and laid-back JP Holo girl I've watched so far is Okayu, and she's from pretty far up north -- not from Hokkaido, but just across the Tsugaru Strait from it. Those northern dialects may not be the Tokyo standard, but they are still Eastern dialects, rather than Western, and therefore they are closer to being standard than are the various Western dialects. She seems like the West Coast type from America, and sure enough, Japanese migration has been in an eastward and northward direction, so she's from a frontier zone (Hokkaido was only settled in large numbers in the 19th century).

  89. Mafia / mob / yakuza are more common far from the meta-ethnic frontier, where cohesion is much weaker than along the frontier. They only have a role to play in a low-trust environment.

    Southern Italy, not Northern.

    Eastern America, not the Midwest or West Coast.

    The Kansai region of Japan, out west to Kyushu, not the Tokyo region and northward to Hokkaido.

    The mafia, mob, and yakuza are all known for more flashy and provocative clothing and appearance -- something more typical of a place with lower cohesion, rather than a place where the norm is on blending in / going along to get along. Far from the frontier, not close to the frontier.

    So my rough cultural map of Japan, to make it intelligible to Americans, is that Tokyo is like Chicago and the Midwest, the north of Honshu is like the Plains and Mountain states, and Hokkaido is like the West Coast (although not so heavily settled yet -- but California used to be less populated than Illinois once upon a time in our expansion's history). The Kansai region is like the core of the East Coast, e.g. the Bos-Wash Corridor. Kyushu is even further from the cultural standard, so it's like rural New England or the Deep South.

    The main difference is that America has its cultural capital and political capital on opposite sides of a continent! (Due to our westward migration.) Most countries have them nearby, or in the same place. Japan is one of these normal cases, where Tokyo is the political, military, imperial, and cultural capital.

    Bringing it all back to Moom's birthday, although she is staying in Tokyo, she was lucky to meet someone all the way from Kyushu -- Noel! (Moom probably felt lucky to meet her in another way...) I forget if she's met Okayu, but if so, she's covered pretty much the entire map of Japan. That lucky owl! ^_^

  90. Kyushu is supposed to be more patriarchal, so it's like the Deep South rather than rural New England. Does that make Noel a Southern belle? Put Fauna on the case for that investigation.

    Also, a reminder of what your culture turns into when it hasn't been tested by Indians, Mexicans, and Japanese, rendering social cohesion and politeness obsolete:


    That's a great example of non-standard accents and being a key urban center. Standard vs. non-standard has nothing to do with economic class or rural vs. urban. Those are too generic and universal.

    Standard vs. non-standard is about specific geographic contingencies -- namely, where the meta-ethnic frontier lies for a given society. Close to the frontier, the accent becomes the standard. Far from the frontier, the accent becomes a shibboleth for non-standard. All classes, rural and urban alike.

    An article on the fake politeness of the Piedmontese, and their role as unifiers and being near the border with major Euro empires, unlike the South:


  91. It's not just the demolition of politeness on display in that vignette of life in Boston. It's the over-the-top voice levels and the caricatured facial expression of the guy cutting in with "Obey yuh muthuh!" And the guy at the end, with his head craning back to stare up at the sky while cackling with his mouth open 180 degrees wide.

    Exaggerated, grotesque, kabuki mask, pro wrestling heel cutting a promo.

    People just don't make those kinds of faces, or use those kinds of voices (accent aside) out West.

    But as I wrote about earlier, it does give us the pro wrestling kind of culture that our cultural capital cannot, whether it's Donald Trump, the Angry Nintendo Nerd, or Gawr Gura. ^_^

  92. That Boston vid is just Deliverance set in Yankee country. The Deep South is hardly more hospitable toward strangers -- "You don't look like you're from around these parts, now do ya, boy?" You'd never hear a veiled threat like that in Utah or California.

    Deep Southerners are just as moody and neurotic as Massholes and Noo Yawkahz, hence all the Southern Gothic intrigue, clan feuding, and hootin' 'n' hollerin' when the blood gets worked up.

    Just cuz they're slightly more hospitable than Bos-Wash people, doesn't put them in the same league as the Midwestern nice people, or the always saying "sorry" phenomenon in Midwestern-to-Western Canada.

  93. This is why The Wicker Man had to be set in the Norfest of the Norf -- the Hebrides islands in Scotland. They're not actually hospitable, they're just leading you on.

    Scotland never faced off against the French, and were often their allies against England -- meaning Southern / Southeastern England. Ditto for Ireland. And both remain way more pro-EU and anti-Brexit than England.

    Scots only needed enough cohesion to resist the English -- but that's not a huge difference in ethnic distance, compared to the French vs. the English. It's not a meta-ethnic frontier with starkly different languages, religions, subsistence modes, customs, architecture, etc.

    French culture, especially once it begins transforming under the Capetians, away from the Normans and Angevins, becomes far more different than English culture, even accounting for the Norman royalty and nobility in England. French ethnogenesis has its epicenter in Paris and the Northeast of France (against the Viking raiders), not Normandy, Anjou, or other parts of Western France.

    That's why the British version of fake politeness -- the stiff upper lip -- took root in the South / Southeast, whereas the Norf (of England, Scotland, Ireland, wherever) is known for blunt honesty and treating neighbors with suspicion.

    The perfect setting for Deliverance Goes To the UK.

  94. Needless to say, the standard accent in Britain is Southeast England, not the Norf, Scotland, or Ireland, which are non-standard. The main division being the Great Vowel Shift, from the first half of the 2nd millennium AD, as the rivalry against France heated up.

  95. Related to non-standard dialect havers in the streaming medium, it goes even further in North America -- there are so many Canadians, despite only making up 12% of the population in (America + Canada).

    In fact, 3 of the 5 new Holo girls are Canadian. I swear I heard one of the doggo twins say "sorry" to rhyme with "story" in their DKC stream today, toward the end. And Nerissa talked about a "bag of milk" -- something only Canadians consume -- and spelled "favourite" in her debut slideshow with an "ou".

    Council has 1 out-of-the-closet Canadian, and one stealth Canadian who I no longer rib about being a Leaf cuz she won me over with it being part of her paranoid persona and its entertainment value. ^_^ And there's one in Myth. That's 6 out of 16 girls hired, or 38% -- that's 3 times their share of the overall population for (America + Canada).

    Then there are other giants like xQc, Pokimane, and the list goes on and on. They're everywhere!

    This is not so much about non-standard dialects, as it is about the collapse of the American empire, society, economy, and culture. One consequence is that we can't produce the individuals to fill the roles of global institutions like entertainment media.

    Our songwriting got taken up by Swedes and other Scandis decades ago...

    1. In the 1960s, the Italians took over Westerns and the British took over Rock n Roll. The American High (lacking what Strauss and Howe would call a "prophet" generation) ironically saw a falling behind regarding pop culture:


  96. Modelo, a Mexican beer, is now the number 1 beer in America, overtaking Bud Light.

  97. Waterfalls in Japanese art & poetry go back to Basho, possibly earlier.

    I'm trying to figure out the meta-ethnic frontier in Japan, their integrative civil war (Sengoku), etc., to make sense of the Eastern vs. Western divide, and why the Eastern culture came to be the national standard. Looks like the frontier was in the North / Northeast, contrasting the Yamato (precursors to what we simply consider "the Japanese" today) against the Emishi (barbarians of various types, including the Ainu or their precursors, but others as well).

    That's why no comments the past couple days.

    Annnnyway, the master of haiku poetry, Matsuo Basho, wrote quite a few haiku about waterfalls. Just google "basho haiku taki" (the Japanese word for waterfall, since it's translated various ways -- falls, cascades, rapids, waterfall, etc.). He certainly had a fondness for them. I don't know enough about his followers to say whether they also took up this trope.

    But in addition to writing about them, he or his painting mentor also painted a waterfall to accompany a poem of his about waterfalls:



    These two sites disagree about who painted the painting, but either way the importance of waterfalls in Japanese art is clear. It's not in the background or small in scale -- it's a huge-ass waterfall smack-dab in the middle of the frame.

    Again, I can't say whether his followers painted waterfalls into the 18th century, but we've already seen Hokusai making them a standard in the ukiyo-e landscape period of 1830 onward. And this painting by Basho or Morikawa Kyoriku is from the 1690s.

    So, not hard to imagine other examples during the 1700s. I'm just not looking into that right now, since I'm more interested in establishing earlier dates rather than filling in every interval between examples I've already found.

    I have yet to see examples of waterfall art in Chinese or Korean painting, especially where they're the focus like the above one. Probably part of Japanese ethnogenesis, to distinguish themselves from mainland Asians -- imagining themselves as more in touch with nature's spirits, one of which was the waterfall.

    More animistic and pointing toward the revival / construction of the Shinto cult in the 19th C., and gradual minimizing of mainland influences like Buddhism and Chinese culture in general (can't be totally erased, but diminishing its influence and trying to do something more distinctively Japanese, like the woodblock prints instead of ink-wash painting).

    Time to find a new geo-feature to elevate into sacred status, which the Chinese have not done, and will make us uniquely Japanese -- the taki!

  98. Nice to see some things come full-circle, since the URL for this blog and its former title is from a Basho haiku:

    Kono michi ya
    Yuku hito nashi ni
    Aki no kure

    This road
    No one walks along it
    Dusk in autumn

    That resonated with me during my semi-emo teenage years, and will probably resonate more as I get old.

  99. In America, the cardinal cultural sin is Euro-LARPing. In Japan, it is Sino-LARPing.

  100. Apropos of video game waterfalls with hiding spots behind them, another haiku by Basho and a later related print by Kobayashi from the 1890s, about looking out from a cozy spot behind a waterfall:

    Shibaraku wa
    Taki ni komoru ya
    Ge no hajime

    For awhile
    I'm hidden behind the waterfall
    Start of summer


    These are not about hidden treasure behind the waterfall, but even venturing behind one, and treating it as a special space, is close enough to the video game trope.

  101. Speaking of Japanese dialects, I wonder what kind Irys has? She grew up speaking it in America, rather than somewhere in Japan itself. Do the JP girls -- or Japanese people in general -- hear her accent as being from the diaspora, or from the Eastern dialects, or Western dialects, etc.?

    And what does she think of the dialects she's heard IRL after moving there?

    I just watched the end of Okayu's Metroid stream, and as fate would have it, her guest / co-host was Subaru. It's a good thing I waited for the end part until now, because I swear I heard "kansai-ben" out of nowhere! Checked the timestamps, and sure enough, one says "Subaru uses Kansai-ben with her family".

    I didn't understand anything else about that little exchange, but my ears did perk up hearing about a topic I've just started to read about. ^_^

    They make a great comedic duo, with Subaru being the more intense, loud, over-the-top Kansai-ben speaker, and Okayu being a chill, reserved, happy-go-lucky Northerner.

    Very much like Goob and Moom! Or Goob and Fauna. Or Goob and Kronii. Goob is the only no-filter, pedal to the metal Back Easterner, and the rest are Midwesterners or West Coasters (polite, nice, chill, mellow). One reason why her participation is so crucial in collabs -- someone has to play that intense theatrical role!

    Speaking of the New England pronunciation of "scallop" -- I wonder if Goob watched Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network growing up, or maybe heard it while one of her parents was watching it. That's the first time I remember doing a double-take over a food term, and it still sounds exotic to this day when Goob says it, hehe.

    Emeril -- talk about a tell-it-like-it-is kick-things-up-a-notch theatrical East Coaster... BAM!

    After hearing her razz the retro doll in Night Security, you just know her dad would shit-talk you like that when you showed up on the doorstep for your first date.

    "Hey honey, why is your date wearing the Scotch tape logo for a sweater?"

    Then her brother passes by just long enough to say, "fat faggiiiiiit..."

  102. Kiara's from the non-standard dialect region of her country, too -- the meta-ethnic frontier in Austria is in the East, around Vienna, as they faced off against the Ottomans. She's from Salzburg, way over in the West in the Bavarian region.

    And sure enough, she is the blunt, get-to-the-point, no-filter, intense theatrical type, much like the Goobinator.

    Whereas people near Vienna are more reserved, quiet, and fixated on etiquette.

    This is for sure a general pattern, I'm convinced. Near the meta-ethnic frontier, you need to dial up the level of social regulation, to maintain order on the Us side of the Us vs. Them frontier, lest They have an easy time of dividing & conquering. You can only conquer those who are already divided amongst themselves.

    Far from that frontier, you can be blunt, let loose, engage in theatrics, and it will not upset the social order -- because there is not existential crisis looming outside your front door. At worst, you will upset the local busybodies -- but generating a bit of gossip is nowhere near as disastrous as weakening the bonds of Team Us when We are at war.

  103. Same pattern in Germany, too (unfortunately, no Holo girls to use as examples). The meta-ethnic frontier is in the East, in Prussia and Brandenburg, as they faced off against the Lithuanian Empire (including its junior partner Poland, who used to be the overlords of the Duchy of Prussia).

    East Germans are famously dour, reserved, bottle up their emotions, and highly focused on etiquette (with a more militaristic / disciplinarian twist, but still etiquette nonetheless).

    The Germans who are boisterous, theatrical, throw fake politeness to the winds -- are in West Germany, at least in the Rhineland, but especially in Bavaria, the last of the country to be conquered and unified into the Prussian Empire. Those are the Oktoberfest Germans, not the rigid disciplined Germans.

    1. Among the greatest resistance to Nazism from within Germany was in Bavaria: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_resistance_to_Nazism

  104. VERY MUCH the same pattern in China, with boisterous and blunter people in the South, and more reserved, quiet, and etiquette-bound people in the North.

  105. The Chinese diaspora are from the South -- imagine if the entire world's exposure to American culture came from Masshole and Noo Yawka immigrants! xD

  106. Main reason why Noo Yawk Chinatown is such a shithole compared to Los Angeles Chinatown. In NYC, they have compounded the low-trust of the Southern Chinese with the low-trust of the East Coast America. Whereas in SoCal, they have those rougher and ruder edges sanded off by the SoCal spirit of everybody trying to get along with each other and being pleasant in public.

  107. Getting back to Japan, people in the Tokyo region are more formal, quiet, reserved, poker face, and etiquette-bound than people in Kansai or further west. People in the North and Hokkaido are not loud, boisterous, hot-headed, etc. -- more similar to Tokyo / Kanto.

    What about the labyrinthine system of honorific speech in Japanese???

    A few honorific morphemes are reconstruted for Old Japanese (-as-, -imas-, -tamap-), but not for Japonic in general before that. So, these first stages seem to coincide with the initial encounters between invaders from mainland Asia coming into contact with indigenous people of Japan (the Yayoi and later Kofun people, vs. the various Jomon peoples).

    Very strong meta-ethnic frontier, although they quickly overwhelmed the Jomon in the West, and the enduring meta-ethnic frontier shifted to the East and North, where the various Emishi people lived.


    But in Modern Japanese, there are waaay more than just a few honorific words -- it's a very elaborate system, from titles and name endings, to different forms of verbs, indirect speech, etc. According to this review, the system became so insanely complex during the Edo / Tokugawa period, even if there was a formal system in the court before then:


    This is when the center of cultural gravity is shifting to the East, away from the imperial court in Kansai, let alone further to the West (whose non-Yayoi people were wiped out or assimilated over a thousand years ago, by the time of the Edo period).

    More powerful meta-ethnic frontier, lying close to the home base of the Emishi = more powerful system of honorific speech, since the presence of an Us vs. Them frontier requires higher regulation of social behavior, lest They easily conquer a divided Us.

    And not just among high-ranking elites as a signal for upper-class education and elevated culture, but spreading into the everyday speech of the common people, which is what the Modern Japanese language is like.

  108. And to be clear, the Emishi vs. Yamato frontier was not strong enough to change the Japanese people into an expansionist empire, as in the Gauls vs. the Italians leading to the formation and expansion of the Roman Empire.

    For most of the period of intense Japanese ethnogenesis, during the Edo period, they preferred to *not* expand outward, nor let outsiders in.

    A true empire, like the Romans, let so many Eastern Mediterraneans into Rome itself. But after the empire collapsed, these people died off and were not replaced by new migrants, since there's no point in migrating to a collapsed shithole like post-Roman-Imperial Italy:


    Still, just cuz the threat of the Jomon and the Emishi was not as severe and as prolonged as the threat of the Gauls against the Romans and other Italians, doesn't mean it had no effect on Japanese ethnogenesis. That is in fact the engine of ethnogenesis, in any land, in any time.

    It's just that, because the threat was not so severe, the Japanese did not cohere so tightly that they formed an expansionist empire, as the Han Chinese have done many times in the face of Northern Barbarian threats.

    And no, the Japanese ransacking of East Asia in the very late 1800s and early 1900s, is not an example of imperial conquest. They lost all those territories after a real empire, America, defeated them in WWII. They barely held them for a few decades, whereas empires hold territory for centuries.

    This ransacking was only possible because all the places they invaded were already in a state of internal collapse -- the Qing Empire being very long in the tooth in China, ditto for the Joseon Dynasty in Korea, and the various Early Modern Euro empires who controlled trade in the Pacific Islands and Oceania.

    The Japanese were merely exploiting a fleeting opportunity. Once the worst of the internal collapse was over, there was no chance Japan could have held onto the territory, let alone expanded even further.

    Even without being defeated and occupied by America, who thinks that Japan could have held onto China into the 21st century? Their collapse began in the 1910s, was still mired in civil war through the '40s, still going through growing pains with the Great Leap Forward circa 1960... but by the '80s and after, with the Deng realignment, those hell days were over.

    China is not an expanding empire anymore, but it's not an anarchic collapsing mess either. Japan had one chance to take advantage of China's fragmentation, and they did -- but when that fragmentation has been patched up, there is no more opportunity to take advantage of.

    The Japanese military was in the right place at the right time -- not an expanding empire that could crush enemies who were equals or even the favorites to win.

  109. As I said before, Japan was like Sweden -- a temporary Great Power, mainly due to the internal fragmentation of its neighbors. In the case of Sweden, the Protestant Reformation, wars of religion, and especially the Thirty Years War. Pretty easy to ransack your neighbors when they're all fighting themselves to begin with! They saw the fleeting opportunity, and took it.

    But once they faced a real empire -- Russia -- they got their asses handed to them in the Great Northern War, lost their conquered territory (also lost it to the rising real empire of Prussia), and have never been heard from since in geopolitics.

    One of my far-off side projects is figuring out Swedish ethnogenesis. It's somewhat like the Japanese case, where it was not very intense, they never became an empire -- but there is still a unified nation, sense of national pride, and regional divide between the cultural leaders and followers. Namely, Svealand vs. Gotaland.

    Sweden's rulers used to be Ostrogoths from Gotaland. Then that shifted northward to Stockholm, Uppsala, and Svealand in general.

    Was there an enduring meta-ethnic frontier in the North of Sweden, that was more powerful than other frontiers in the South? The obvious place to look is the Sami and related people -- similar to the Emishi vs. Yamato in Japan.

    As in Japan, it was not as intense of a frontier as the Gauls vs. the Italians, or the Ottomans vs. the Austrians. But it's a far more stark cultural divide -- Sami vs. Svea, as compared to Goths vs. Germans / Balts / French / Whoever Else.

    Their integrative civil war seems to have happened sometime during the Kalmar Union with Denmark and Norway -- which put Sweden in a subservient position. By the time they break away from the Kalmar Union, they are strong and cohesive enough to become geopolitically independent.

    Certainly some factions within Sweden wanted to stay in the Union, while others wanted to leave. I'm guessing the Svexiteers were more from Svealand, and the Remainers were more from Gotaland (historically closer to the mainland of Europe, including Denmark). As leaders of independence, Svealand's culture became the new national standard, eclipsing whatever cultural cache the Gotalanders used to have.

    Toward that end, I'm guessing people in Stockholm and Uppsala are more reserved, polite, and pleasant in public, compared to the people of Malmo, who I expect to be more blunt, boisterous, loud, rude, theatrical, etc. Just a guess, though.

    But I don't know for sure. Just have looked into it here and there, off and on -- not as interesting as real empires, which have much more intense histories and examples to study.

  110. Some quick confirmation of that hunch about Malmo. "Residents of Malmö, Malmöiter, are known for their love of falafel, their cocky nature and their almost incomprehensible accents."

    Again, showing that divergent accents go along with blunt, brusque, theatrical behavior, whereas the standard accent goes along with the cult of politeness.


  111. PewDiePie is a Gotalander! Not a Svealander. Born & raised in Gothenburg.

    He's more on the comedic and theatrical side of the Swedish spectrum of behavior. (One of the biggest streamers in streaming history, for those who don't follow the medium.)

    This is just like xQc being Quebecois!

    Non-standard accents, lower trust and cohesion, more theatrical personalities.

  112. BTW, when Canadians (whether stealth or out-of-the-closet) make fun of a French accent, they're really making fun of the Quebecois, not those in France.

    And they make fun of the Quebecois for the same reason Americans make fun of East Coasters, from Massholes to Noo Yawkaz to Deep Southerners -- aside from highly theatrical mediums, they're the cultural followers, not the leaders.

    It's the leaders' way of gently rubbing it in, reminding them of their place in the national pecking order, and strengthening the bonds among the leaders' regions. Midwesterners love bonding over a little ribbing of back-East coarseness and low-back vowel rounding ("coo-ah-fee" instead of "kah-fee", hehe).

    But we paid our dues from being frontier people, so we get to enjoy setting the national standard and gently teasing the non-standard people -- who did not pay their dues, choosing to live safely far from the frontier.


    1. What do you think of Disney as being back east coded vs loony tunes being more central to the American character


  113. That's it for now on this whirlwind tour, but I do have a short post coming up on the same topic -- but instead of a purely social / cultural focus, this time with some good ol' fashioned skull-measuring metrics!

    The social-cultural can affect the physical-morphological! It's not just genetics that makes people different...

  114. Agonstic, have you seen this tumblr?
    It shows the massive destruction and abandonment of vintage motels around EEUU. Not surprisingly, the buildings that replaced the classic motels are usually beyond awful.

  115. Mumei karaoke request!!! These will both play the hits (groups / styles / eras you're already good at), but also be shiny new songs in your repertoire -- not learning new songs, I'm sure these were burned onto your widdle owl brain since they came out! ^_^ Just, new to your karaoke catalog.

    And I'm not requesting every single one, these are to cast a wide net -- they ought to be good enough to catch something tonight! ^_^ And they're from a decent range of moods, to fit however you're feeling tonight.

    Please know that these are not selfish personal requests to indulge one random fan -- I wouldn't make this same list for other Holo singers, or for other fanbases. I've gotten to know your style pretty well by now, and what your appeal is among your fans.

    This is only one half of your nature -- the other being the emo / pop-punk side, but that's for more of a downer occasion. Tonight is for celebration and feeling carried away toward the sky! I included some with the tone of "eventually we'll have to come down as well," if you want a bittersweet note mixed in there somewhere.

    I made them almost all from the mid-2010s, so you can channel your own high-school experience of wanting to sing these songs for an audience, but not having one yet, not knowing if you could ever be accepted by a huge fandom. Just a widdle owl with what seemed like a silly dream -- and now look how far you've come!

    From uploading a 15-second web-cam clip of you goofing around with Taylor Swift playing over a laptop speaker on the other side of the room, to live-streaming an entire set to a massive global audience -- and from Tokyo!

    What would that cute lil wallflower from 2015 say to the effortless stage singer from 2023? I'll bet she'd be very proud of how far you've come, not just technically, but socially opening up and embracing the audience, to make everyone feel like it's the funnest party they've ever been to. ^_^

    Luv u, Mooms, and congrats on 900K (and 800K too, you cheeky owl).

    * * *

    One Direction (naturally!) -- "One Thing", "Live While We're Young", "They Don't Know About Us", or "Perfect"

    Taylor Swift (also naturally!) -- "22" (you did it early, but in a meme-y limiters-on way -- they can come off by now! such a carefree celebratory song!), "Style", "Wildest Dreams", or "New Romantics"

    Ellie Goulding -- "Love Me Like You Do"

    Little Mix -- "Black Magic"

    Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen -- "Good Time"

    Walk the Moon -- "Shut Up and Dance"

    Maroon 5 -- "Love Somebody", "Daylight", or "Sugar"

    Tate McRae -- "She's All I Wanna Be" (for something newer, if you know it)

    Irene Cara -- "Fame" (for an oldie, if you know it)

  116. Irene Cara's "What a Feeling" (theme from Flashdance), you probably know better than "Fame". Same vibe, though, and more recognizable for the audience.

    Congrats again, and can't wait for tonight! ^_^

  117. Knee deep in Viking ethnogenesis! I wanted to do Swedish first, but that naturally led to the Viking background -- and the Vikings had much greater asabiya, territorial expansion, and cultural legacy than the Swedes. So they're an easier case to study regarding their meta-ethnic frontier (the Frankish Empire that had expanded up toward the border with Denmark), but also their integrative civil war!

    I'll bet nobody ever thought of the Vikings as having passed through an integrative civil war, a la the Roman civil wars of the 1st century BC. But they did! They all do. And it's only after that, that Viking "high" culture starts to explode.

    These Viking civil wars -- like the civil wars of the Reconquista in Spain -- do not even receive their own Wikipedia entry. But they are still there, spread out around various other entries.

    There is a vast conspiracy, from the time that an empire heals from its integrative civil war, all the way up through the present day, to deny and obscure these integrative civil wars -- they want to let bygones be bygones, heal, get on with the main business of imperial expansion, cohering and creating a whole new wonderful culture, etc.

    Still, later historians and commentators should do their most to expose and highlight this phase of the imperial lifespan, since it is absolutely crucial to understand the whole sweep of its lifespan. They're not *really* a new cohesive culture until after this stage of life.

    That is why I keep looking into all these cases, and highlighting that particular stage of their life, and its impact on later culture. No one else does this systematically!

    Overview histories of the Vikings don't even refer to this stage. I only discovered it by looking at when the real Viking culture began, like the oral poetry that eventually became collected in the Old Norse sagas -- the periods covered by these stories began around 950. Well then, there must have been civil wars in the previous century -- and there were!

    Check this out:


    I just fucking KNEW that one of the parties to the civil war would be allied with the original meta-ethnic nemesis of the empire -- and they were! The Franks were the original nemesis that spawned the Vikings, across the border with Denmark. There's a Danish civil war, and one side (Harald Klak) becomes a refugee within the Frankish Empire, and keeps begging the Frankish emperor for aid in putting him in power in his homeland, during a civil war.

    What a traitorous little whiny bitch!

    It's exactly like the losing side of the Bulgarian integrative civil war retreating to the Byzantine Empire and asking for help, when the Byzantines were the original meta-ethnic nemesis that spawned the Bulgarian Empire in the first place!

    The Bulgarian Empire's "time of troubles" was the mid-late 700s. Eventual winner was Krum and his son Omurtag, who were likely from the Dulo clan, which was the original ruling clan and wanted to expand against the Byzantines. Their rivals and losers were the Vokil clan, who wanted to appease the Byzantines.

  118. Harald even converted to the religion of his land's nemesis -- Christianity! And he was baptized outside his homeland, in the land of his culture's nemesis (Mainz). What kind of proud Viking converts to Christianity in the early 9th century?! Not one who will lead the victorious side of an integrative civil war, that's for sure.

    Cuius regio, eius religio -- converting to another nation's religion is a form of pledging allegiance to a foreign ruler. It's treason. How can traitors expect to win a civil war? GTFO!

    If he were defeated in battle by foreigners and reluctantly accepted their religion as a condition for peace, to not get totally wiped out -- that's one thing. Voluntarily and eagerly siding with hostile foreigners, though, is treason.

    Harald Klak's father was a traitor as well -- Halfdan, who swore allegiance to Charlemagne, whereas his rivals' father, Gudfred, had been expanding against the Franks and their Slavic allies (Obodrites). Guess which side won the dynastic contest?

    The winners were the sons of Gudfred, of whom only Horik I is known by name. He ruled for over 40 years -- like Augustus, the first during / after an integrative civil war, reigning for many decades, ushering in a Golden Age.

    During the Danish / Viking civil war, the eventual winners (Gudfred's sons) sought refuge among the Swedes -- fellow Scandis, fellow Old Norse speakers, fellow Norse pagans, who were not expanding at the Danes' expense. Gee, how did they ever win the civil war against the party that sought refuge with, converted religions to, and brought military aid from the original meta-ethnic nemesis of the nation???

  119. Back to the meta-ethnic frontier that spawned the Vikings, why is it not common knowledge that there's a Great Wall of China on the border between Denmark and Germany?


    In this case, it's as if the early Mongol tribes had built a wall to keep out the advancing Chinese civilization.

    The earliest stages of the Danevirke were built to keep out the Saxons, but was turbo-charged once the Franks began advancing toward Denmark.

    That long-ass wall along most of the Danish southern border tells us where the meta-ethnic frontier was located, when it came into being, and who was on the other side of it from the inchoate Viking culture.

    Everyone acts like the Vikings had always existed from time immemorial way up there in dark Scandinavia, and just swooped into European history as a fully-formed society and culture, pillaging and raiding and conquering.

    But no culture goes back to time immemorial -- they are all created and constructed within finite spatial boundaries, within finite temporal eras, driven by historically contingent forces (an advance toward them by a meta-ethnic nemesis, which itself is bounded in time and space, not an eternal nemesis).

    The various North Germanic tribes would've been happy to be left alone by Continental empires, as they had been during the Celtic expansion and the later Roman expansion. But those Franks felt like moving into Scandinavia, and that was all it took for the only Scandinavian empire to be born.

    The Viking empire has been dead for nearly 1000 years, so the "imperial hangover" / "asabiya hangover" effects have subsided by now, and Scandis are back to normal levels of cohesion. They didn't get sucked into imperial dynamics after the Viking Age.

    Similar to the Moorish / Moroccan Empire of roughly the same period as the Vikings. By now those hangover effects have worn off, nearly 1000 years later, and Morocco is the most cohesive and peaceful and chill place in the entire MENA / Muslim / Arabic-speaking world. They resisted the Ottomans, whereas everyone else got sucked into the Ottoman imperial dynamics, and are still suffering from its hangover effects in the wake of its collapse during WWI.

  120. Sadly there's no legion of Danish babes from my personal or online life who I can dedicate a comprehensive post to, about Viking ethnogenesis, the way I did with the Moorish / Moroccan one.

    But I do have an aunt (by marriage) who is Danish -- actually Danish, born & raised there, who met my uncle when he was stationed there with the army circa 1960. They live far away, although still in America, so I only get to meet them once in a long while.

    I don't think I've ever met anyone else from Denmark, nor are there streamer girls from there either.

    My aunt it is!

  121. Call me a schizo who reads too much into things, if you want, but it feels like the shark has brought a mini-shark into the world. Awwww. ^_^

    Gone for approximately 9 months with no explanation, then comes roaring back to streaming life as if nothing had been wrong in the first place. That seems to rule out having burn-out or depression or a serious traumatic injury.

    Also why there was so little communication etc. -- when you're pregnant, your entire focus goes into that, not comparatively trivial matters like fans wanting to know when the next stream is.

    Also why none of the other Holo girls or management spoke as if something were seriously wrong with her, whether injury or burn-out or whatever -- they knew it was only going to last a finite time, then she would be back, fit as a fiddle. They just had to wait out that time period without causing a stir. Depression, burn-out, and injury would all have caused the other girls to come to her support and aid, try to motivate her back out of a psychological hole or writer's block, etc. They didn't need to, since there was nothing wrong with her.

    Would also explain the medication she sounded like she was on during the occasional streams during the hiatus. Probably simple pain meds to deal with the pain of pregnancy and/or childbirth, not for a serious injury, not for depression, or whatever else.

    Since she's come back, several notable changes. First, mama and papa shark have moved close enough to be able to give her car rides. They've lived apart for years, now suddenly they live close. Not required for the occasional convo, holiday meal, moral support, or financial support. Only something that requires face-to-face, frequent contact. E.g., nursing her back to health, but she was not sick. Providing help with childcare, however, definitely fits. No such thing as long-distance babysitting. As well as mama shark teaching the shark the ins and outs of being a mommy -- very hard to do over the phone or email.

    If so, shark-girl is blessed to have Gen X parents who will move in order to play an active role in raising their grand-kids. :) Boomer parents never did that.

    Second, bringing up lactation out of nowhere, and asking Ame if she had ever lactated -- in a way that seemed to suggest that sharky herself had lactated. Non-judgemental, I have but maybe you haven't, just curious... Ame got defensive when she interpreted it to mean being asked if she'd ever been pregnant / given birth before, whereas a new mommy would not have thought that was a taboo question, being in such a state herself. She just forgot, in her ADHD mind, "Oh yeah, only one of us is a new mommy..."

    And third, frequent urination that's urgent enough to make her take a restroom break mid-stream (vs. not having to do so before). Diet and other activities have not changed. But it's a common after-effect of pregnancy and giving birth, as the body takes time to re-adjust itself back to pre-pregnant status.

    None of these is a smoking gun by itself, in fact I never thought anything of it until the urgent urination break last night, which struck me as more of a medical symptom. But my brain put them all together and said, "Hmmm, I wonder if she was pregnant and is living the life of a new mommy now?"

  122. I don't know for sure, just a strong intuition. It could be something like depression -- taking time off, not wanting to communicate, being on some mild medication for a bit, having parents move close in order to provide a familiar source of belonging and meaning and happiness instead of isolation and alienation and hopelessness. Maybe still on some med that has frequent urination as a side-effect. And maybe bringing up lactation in a non-taboo way cuz her mind goes into all kinds of otherwise taboo topics, not in a gross-out way, just being curious every once in awhile.

    I dunno, she just didn't sound depressed or burned-out on the handful of streams during the hiatus -- more like absent-minded and not used to thinking about, or performing, streamer duties, because something more important demanded her focus. Not that she had nothing to focus on at all and was burned out. Fairly positive tone overall, not a downer tone.

    And having both parents move close by sounds more like babysitting than providing moral support for someone who's depressed. That's such a huge life change to make, just for someone going through a bout of the blues? And staying there after the blues have cleared up? Doubt. It's a more enduring change in their daughter, and being a mommy makes more sense than feeling sad and lonely for awhile.

    But like I said, I don't know, just a feeling I can't shake.

    What I want to emphasize, though, is that we would never stop tuning in, or love her any less, if she were to become a mama shark of her own. We're spellbound by her personality, and the world could certainly use more of it! ^_^ And becoming a mommy is one of the best things that can happen in a girl's life, and we all want what's best for our idol to eventually happen.

    Maybe it could catch some fans off guard if it were to happen now instead of some years later, but they'd get used to it and feel glad for her and want to congratulate her for unlocking a new achievement in life. Hehe. ^_^

    In fact, a good share of her fans are ojisans who feel like she's more of a daughter to them, and what father wouldn't want his daughter to grow up to be a mommy some day? It would definitely not rub those fans the wrong way -- quite the opposite! Bittersweet, maybe. "Awww, my baby girl's all grown up now... *sniff sniff*..."

    And even for those who think of sharky as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, being in a relationship or even getting married doesn't stop them from playing that role. SanDeE* from L.A. Story not only has a current bf, she introduces the male protag to him during a date -- "Oh yeah, he's right over there! Say hi!" LOL. And at the end of 500 Days of Summer, the MPDG gets married to another man, but that doesn't negate their previous relationship and all that she changed in him and brought out in him.

    Maybe it was just a long case of the blues -- but if it was something less usual for an idol, she still has nothing to worry about. Not that she should address the topic one way or another. Stream away as usual. Just sayin', if that were the reason, we would still love you -- maybe even more so, from the added layer of wholesomeness. ^_^

    And I will never discuss this again either.

  123. Goob making a foray into non-standard dialects in a foreign language! (Kansai Japanese dialect for her duet with Shion.) I thought I heard a lot of "au" / "ow" sounds at the end of words in her part...

    She's already got the American Southern accent down pretty well, maybe Nerissa could give her some practice with the Upper Midwestern accent. That would be harder to pull off than Southern b/c Yankees and Southerners are both back Easterners, and so share lots of other personality traits, like colorful blunt talk ("so good, make you wanna slap yo' grandma!" / "so fast, it'll make ya head spin!") Easier for Goob to get into character in that case.

    But with Nerissa's accent, she'd have to get into the "Midwestern nice" persona as well. Passive-aggressive, roundabout talk, bottling up emotions (and occasionally letting them explode in a rage, before bottling them up again, tee hee), apologizing for no reason constantly, etc.

    Or a West Coast accent and personality! She's good at imitating the Mean Girls variety of Valley Girl accent, but that kind of cutting attitude is really more of a back-East thing. Pacific people are too mellow and chill to get that bitchy (or rather, "betchy", hehe). She's gushed over Clueless before -- out-West girls are more mellow, ditzy, easy-going, etc., like Cher and Dionne.

    Irys is the obvious one to teach her how to be so laid-back that you aren't even aware of blurting out something yabai. ^_^ Although Irys' accent, and maybe Hawaii in general, has distinctly East Coast features (like rounding the low-back vowel -- "comment", "contact", etc. all sound like East Coast versions when she says them).

    I noticed that in Bijou's speech -- mellow out-West attitude, and generally Western dialect, but a handful of East Coast-isms. In addition to the rounded low-back vowel, she & Irys both pronounce the "short a" (as in 1st syllable of "animal" or "damage") in a lax way, whereas the American norm (i.e. out West) is to tense it:


    Is Biboo another aloha girl? Her accent is closest to Iwys. ^_^

    I think Hawaii must've been settled by a bunch of East Coasters, in addition to nearby Pacific Coasters. Their accent is not "California, and then some" -- it's "California, with a twist of Queens, Noo Yawk".

  124. Annnnyway, back to Japanese, I've been doing my Studio Ghibli reps and got around to Only Yesterday, which is set in the North -- why the hell was Dev Patel cast in the English dub? He has a posh RP British accent, when the character lives in a place with a thick accent? Not Kansai, not so non-standard, still an Eastern dialect like in Tokyo, but still, not a posh accent!

    Nor should he sound like a Deep Southerner or rural New Englander -- the non-standard accents in Japan are in the Center and West, not in the North. Maybe something like the Okie farmhand from Chinatown, or a Texan -- out West, but rural / agricultural flavor.

    Totally contradicts the point of the protag leaving Tokyo for the countryside, and fall for its charms. That means her love interest should have a rural accent, showing that she has fallen for the local flavor -- not that she found another posh accent haver even out in the sticks. Crazy!

    (Yeah, I know -- "Wait till you find out what kind of contempo slang they're slipping into the subtitled animes these days". I know.)

  125. Glad to see Studio Ghibli's princess protags are daddy's girls, just as they are required to be in Disney movies. One of the only "minority representation" things that actually matter. ^_^

    I watched the Secret World of Arrietty tonight, and couldn't help but think of Iwys in that role! Irysetty? Arrysetty? Hehe, something that like that.

    Not just the basic fact of preferring her dad over her mom, but the plucky confidence, independence, and overall positive or neutral emotions (no depression or anxiety). That's the pay-off from paternal investment.

    I used to think Goob was a daddy's girl cuz of her obsession with "garage smells" (gasoline, tire rubber, etc.), meaning she liked sharing activities with her dad, but she clearly prefers talking to and hanging out with and sharing activities with mama shark.

    So I think Irys is the only daddy's girl in Hololive EN, unless one of the new girls is. Fuwamoco could be daddy's girls -- as extreme as their personas are, they don't self-deprecate, refer to themselves as dumb (even jokingly), or other signs of having less than high self-esteem. Plus they like retro games, and so does Irys -- if you want to bond with your dad by playing video games, they'd better be old enough that he'll like them!

    But I haven't really seen enough of them to know for sure -- we'll see if someone's dad calls in to their livestream, hehe.

  126. The original voice actor in Only Yesterday is from the North (Akita), so that is a clear cue to the dubbers that this character is supposed to sound like he's from the broad swath of the country that includes the standard accent (Eastern dialects, for Japan), but from the more remote / low-pop / rural section of it (North / Tohoku).

    The female protag is voiced by Daisy Ridley, who has an RP British accent in real life, although it doesn't come across that much in Only Yesterday -- sounds vaguely American too. If they meant her to sound like she's from London, then the male love interest should not have an RP accent as well. He should have a West Country accent -- still within the standard accent swath of the UK (the South), but in a more remote / rural / low-pop region (the Southwest).


    That would be even more fitting for Only Yesterday, since it's not just any ol' rural region -- it's part of the meta-ethnic frontier, which gets romanticized in the national imagination, and becomes the location of fantastical / mystical resorts. Tohoku in Japan, West Country in the UK.

    There are rural parts of the Midlands, but those are not on the meta-ethnic frontier (the South, against the expansion of the French Empire). So they don't get romanticized, do not become dotted with fantastical resorts, etc., like Devon and other places in the Southwest.

    Ditto in Japan -- there are rural areas in the West of Honshu, and in Fukuoka, but those are not on the meta-ethnic frontier (the East / Northeast, against the Emishi and/or Ainu). So they don't get romanticized, do not become the site of pilgrimages to commune with the spirit of the nation. Those resorts are up in the North, including Mount Zao which is featured prominently in Only Yesterday.

    In America, these would be the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast parks -- Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Hawaii's volcanos and waterfalls and beaches, etc. That's where you go to commune with the spirit of the nation, not downtown Los Angeles or San Francisco or Seattle. And *definitely* not anywhere back East, despite the expanse of the Eastern Woodlands, the Appalachian Trail, and so on. Notwithstanding the appeal of "Country Roads" for back-East charm, the real American song is "Rocky Mountain High" -- heading out to the frontier, not taking you back home away from the frontier.

  127. Timely reminder that within the non-standard region of a nation or empire, the low asabiya / trust / cohesion is a fractal phenomenon -- it holds at various levels of complexity. It's not just the standard vs. non-standard regions -- the pieces of the non-standard region are more mutually hostile than the pieces within the standard region. The neighborhoods within a single city in the non-standard region are more mutually hostile than the neighborhoods within a single city in the standard region.

    In America, it's East vs. West (beginning with the Midwest). But even within the East, the Northeast and Southeast hate each other's guts. And even within the Northeast, the DC / Baltimore area, Philadelphia area, New York area, Boston area, and Providence area all hate each other's guts. And even within NYC, Staten Island, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn all hate each other's guts (and the North Shore and South Shore of nearby Long Island hate each other's guts).

    You simply do not see that low level of cohesion, descending into rivalry and hostility, out West. Arizona and Colorado do not hate each other's guts, despite one being more conservative and the other more liberal. Phoenix and Tucson, within Arizona, do not hate each other's guts. And the various neighborhoods of Phoenix do not hate each other's guts.

    At worst, there's SoCal vs. NorCal, but that's nothing compared to Noo Yawk vs. Boston. And it ends with San Francisco -- LA doesn't hate Portland or Seattle. It's really just due to San Francisco being the most back-Eastern, Euro-LARP-ing, and WASP-y part of the West. Take that out of the picture, and the rest of the Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountains all feel pretty neutral, warm, or excited about each other.

    The Southeast is a black hole of asabiya as well, even within itself. The U of Alabama vs. U of Georgia football rivalry is as hostile as the Yankees vs. Red Sox rivalry in the Northeast. That reflects a broader hostility among the entire population of the two states, which is sublimated / ritualized into a combat sport. It's not just the athletes themselves who hate each other, or sports fans -- it's the whole state.

    "Georgia think their shit don't stink -- time for a rude awakening courtsey of Alabama, after we rub their noses in it!"

    "Is Alabama really pretending to be a state on our level again? Time for Georgia to remind them not to get too big for their britches!"

    Even within a state, Research Triangle and Charlotte hate each other's guts in North Carolina, and both hate Asheville. I'm sure three components of Research Triangle hate each other's guts too.

    The Great Lakes are a transition area, but mostly Western. We do have some rivalries between states -- but it's only Ohio vs. Michigan, and Wisconsin vs. Minnesota. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri are not involved. And within those states that do have a neighboring-state rivalry, the cities don't all hate each other's guts -- Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati get along, and so do Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay. And within a city, the neighborhoods of Milwaukee or Des Moines don't all hate each other's guts.

  128. Applying that to the other nations mentioned today, the South of England is united at pretty much every level, and their only rivalry is at the highest one (vs. the Norf).

    However, within the non-standard accent-having Norf, there is an enduring bitter hatred between the Northwest and Northeast, going back at least to the War of the Roses between Lancaster and York. Manchester and York hate each other's guts almost as they hate London, and yet London and Bristol do not hate each other's guts (no Southeast vs. Southwest hatred).

    Even within the Northwest, Manchester and Liverpool hate each other's guts, just like Noo Yawk vs. Boston. I don't know what the neighborhoods of Manchester are, but I'm sure they all hate each other's guts too.

    Glasgow and Edinburgh hate each other's guts, and they're both within the Lowlands near the English border, where you'd think they'd have strong bonds from defending against the various English invaders. But that's not much of a meta-ethnic frontier, compared to the French vs. the English frontier in the South of England. So they never cohered much in Scotland, and remain deeply divided and unable to cooperate.

    Within the single city of Belfast on the island of Ireland, there was a hot civil war raging during the 20th century. Can't say that about any city in the South of England.

  129. In Japan, the urbanites of Tokyo romanticize the Tohoku and Hokkaido ruralites, just as posh Londoners romanticize the clapper bridges of hamlets in Devon. They don't hate each other.

    But in the Western dialect region, the Central area of Kansai speakers look down on Western Honshu and Fukuoka, rather than romanticize them. There is no equivalent of "We Tokyo residents are going for a romantic, rejuvenating journey to Tohoku or Hokkaido!" -- as though Kyoto residents thought about journeying to Fukuoka. Nope.

    In fact, people from Kyoto have a reputation for being snobby, much like people from the Bos-Wash Corridor in America. Snobby people are incapable of romanticizing a people or a place that is outside yet inside. Romanticizing unfamiliar neighbors is only something you see among people from Seattle, L.A., Phoenix, Denver, etc. (Again, the only real snobs out West being in San Francisco, the most Eastern and Euro-LARP-y.)

    I'm sure the neighborhoods within Osaka hate each other's guts more than the neighborhoods within Tokyo.

  130. The low cohesion of the Western dialect speakers in Japan manifested itself politically as well.

    The long-term trend has been for the center of gravity to move to the East / Northeast, on the meta-ethnic frontier with the Emishi and Ainu, beginning with the Kamakura Shogunate of circa 1200 AD, headquartered in Kamakura (and later, during the Tokugawa Shogunate, in Edo / Tokyo). Before, the center of gravity had been in Central Honshu (Nara and Kyoto).

    There was a backlash against the Eastern Tokugawa Shogunate, which restored the Emperor from Kyoto over the Shogun from Edo / Tokyo. That was the Meiji Restoration circa 1870. However, the newly restored imperial elite chose to move to Edo / Tokyo instead of try to move the capital back to Kyoto, let alone anywhere further west.

    The coalition that overthrew the Tokugawa Shogunate included both the old imperial elite from Central Honshu, as well as samurai from Western Honshu and Fukuoka, who provided the military muscle that carried out the coup against the Eastern Shogunate.

    And yet, immediately upon being restored as sole rulers, the Kyoto imperial class threw the Western samurai under the bus. The Kyoto leaders simply wanted to be the new rulers of Edo / Tokyo and its emerging mercantile / industrial economy -- *not* to restore Japan back to a pre-industrial, pre-mercantile economy headquartered in Kyoto.

    The Western samurai were outraged at this betrayal, and rose up in various rebellions, like the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, but it was brutally crushed by their former supposed allies from the Kyoto imperial elite:


    Imagine New York teamed up with Georgia in order to overthrow California, with Georgia providing the military muscle and New York the financial and political leadership. Then the first thing after victory is New York throwing Georgia under the bus, Georgian soldiers rising up, and getting brutally suppressed by New York elites -- who had chosen to re-locate themselves to Los Angeles, on top of it all!

    You would've told the Georgians to know better than to trust New Yorkers. And the samurai of Western Honshu and Fukuoka should've known better than to trust the imperial and mercantile elites of Kyoto and Osaka.

    But that's just how political life is in low-cohesion regions, far from a meta-ethnic frontier that would've forced them into cooperating long-term with each other.

    The elites of Tokyo and the Kanto region have never thrown the local elites of Tohoku / Hokkaido under the bus, the elites of Tohoku / Hokkaido have not risen in rebellion, and Tokyo did not have to brutally crush such a rebellion. Kanto and Tohoku / Hokkaido is a much better team, a more well-oiled machine.

    But then they have to be -- they were both on the meta-ethnic frontier with the Emishi and Ainu!

  131. Luv Iwys in any-number-D, but especially in 3D where her expressiveness really shines. ^_^ She ordinarily talks with her hands, so she's a natural at arm & hand motions -- her dancing is not just in the legs and feet. Very expressive!

    Effortless spins, too. Seems like such a simple motion, but it's not. That's the key motion for conveying that you're no longer in control of your body, that it's been taken over by some spirit or force or something -- potentially getting thrown off-balance, potentially getting dizzy, who would do that to themselves? They must be possessed! ^_^

    Her personality really comes through in her dancing -- she's a "just go with the flow" kind of girl, not one to over-think things or second-guess herself (unless one guy in chat chimes in...). Very fluid and confident motion, with a wide range of movements -- not a shy type who stays still, but the kind of girl who wants her motions to take up a lot of space. ^_^

    She's the one who got me on this Studio Ghibli binge recently. I've heard of them for a long time, saw Spirited Away when it came out, but never saw any others. But, much like how Gura sucked me into the whole vtuber medium with her karaoke, Irys sang one Ghibli theme song after another, so I figured it's worth finally doing my reps. Very glad she unwittingly motivated me to do that!

    In fact, she sang the theme to Castle in the Sky just a couple days after I watched it -- now I finally knew what it felt like to recognize a JP song! "Wait! I just heard that! I must be from one of the Ghibli movies! The mystical one! Castle in the Sky, right?! It is!" Hehe. ^_^

    I don't know if she accepts requests ahead of time for karaoke, but I'd love to hear her do the theme from Only Yesterday, "Ai Wa Hana, Kimi Wa Sono Tane" by Harumi Miyako.


    It's a translation and new arrangement of "The Rose" by Bette Midler:


    The original has only the piano for instrumentation, and the tone of the voice is plaintive, although there's an uplifting feel toward the end when the harmonizing happens. A bit of a downer, though.

    The new rendition has a more serene yet energetic tone, like a blissful awakening or triumphant arrival at peace. I don't know how to say it, hehe. The vocal tone is more controlled, confident, appreciative, celebratory, and yet still reflective -- just not plaintive or bittersweet. And the instrumentation is SO much richer, with zillions of layers of droning and sighing -- quite the ethereal soundscape! And not one that washes over you, lulling you to sleep -- but each layer being another net or blanket under you, lifting you higher and higher until you're soaring by the end.

    It was made in 1991, and sounds very New Age / World Music from that time -- like Enya, but with a Japanese rather than Celtic background. ^_^

    In fact, the movie it accompanies reminds me of another fish out of water rom-com from that same year, with a New Age / Enya soundtrack -- L.A. Story! (There's no Manic Pixie Dream Girl, however, in Only Yesterday...)

    I don't know how the copyright BS works, since it's a Japanese re-interpretation of an American song. But that only affects whether it goes in an archived or unarchived session. Either way, we'd love to hear it -- especially if the backing track has all those cool sounds that chime in on the JP version!

  132. I checked, and no Holo girl (JP or otherwise) has done this song before, although Coco did sing the original EN version several times. Perfect opportunity to blaze a trail!

    Maybe it's more special than just a karaoke song, though... it would make a wonderful recorded cover song, which would allow for all of that rich instrumentation that may or may not be present in the karaoke track.

    And it would play to Irys' unique strength -- being youthful and occasionally bratty, but conveying a perfectly mature tone while singing. She's sung more Carpenters songs than probably the rest of Hololive put together, hehe. And other adult-audience Japanese songs like "Koi Ni Ochite (Fall in Love)" by Akiko Kobayashi.

    Well, a guy can dream anyway, can't he...? ^_^

  133. Another one of those '90s / y2k New Age / World Music songs that formed the soundtrack for the "End of History" period (a topic I've been meaning to cover in depth). The sincere and boundless optimism is a lifeline for the societal collapse we're going through, 20+ years later.

    "A New Day Has Come" by Celine Dion:


  134. Standard dialect regions produce ASMR performers. Along with naturalistic dramatic performances (like movies and TV, not comedic / caricatured roles), the restraint against theatrical personalities that arises in standard dialect regions also makes them naturals at ASMR.

    Bottling up emotions, in order to maintain cohesion on the Us side of the meta-ethnic frontier, is perfectly suited to ASMR. Quiet, subdued, soothing, natural, gentle release of bottled up emotion -- not loud, in yer face, exciting, caricatured, and explosive / cathartic release.

    Midwestern nice Fauna is the main ASMR girl within Hololive EN, although Kronii is good in the role as well -- I'm thinking more of her reading Hans Christian Andersen fairytales last winter, but still very ASMR-y. She's a West Coaster. And of course the Midwestern Moominator's whispering random facts into your ear ASMR.

    It's one of the few formats that Gura doesn't really get into, aside from the collab she did under Fauna's tutleage, and one of her own awhile ago. It just doesn't let her inner theatrical nature come out.

    I can't imagine fellow back-Easterners Pippa or xQc doing ASMR either...

    I've heard lots of good things about Okayu's ASMR, although I haven't listened to any JP girl in this format. But it would make sense -- she's chill and laid-back, not theatrical, and hails from the meta-ethnic frontier in Japan (the northernmost part of Honshu, right across the water from where my grandmother was from, Hakodate, and she was also very calm, stoic, and never agitated).

    I can't imagine a rambunctious, theatrical Kansai personality like Subaru doing ASMR, hehe. ^_^ But it appears she did do one or two -- but in a cursed voice, against the grain for the genre.

    That reminds me of Gura's performance in the Fauna collab, frequently poking a little fun, making light of the situation, introducing cursed themes, saying things that would make you nervous rather than calmed down -- operating a cafe without a health inspector's license and no Yelp reviews, etc. Very soothing indeed! xD

    Maybe if she considers doing another one, she could play up the non-standard accent from her neck of the woods, to heighten the "not your regular ASMR" angle.

    Straight-talking, colorful-speech-using girl with a thick New England accent chits and chats while cutting your hair. It's her 2nd day on the job, or maybe she's in training and you're there for the discount. So she makes the occasional mistake, and blithely blames it on you for not keeping your head still, is a bit forceful with her hands while positioning your head this way or that in order to get the proper angle.

    But despite her rough-around-the-edges surface, she's very charming and charismatic, you hang on her every word, she's bubbly and exciting to be around, and you feel like she's taking you on a fun and exciting rollercoaster by being so forward and direct in moving your head around, caressing around your ears while brushing some of the cut hair away, etc. It's a dizzying rather than calming scenario.

    Gotta get in a heavy pronunciation of "Tom Brady" as "TOO-ahm" like she did one time while imitating the excitement of Pats fans, hehe. It would be playing a character, not speaking off-the-cuff during a stream, so she could really ham it up.

    Just a thought (just a wish...)

  135. I was reminded of this while researching bridges in art, checked to make sure Bob Ross painted something with a prominent bridge (of course he did), and noticed all the YouTube comments about him being a form of ASMR before the internet.

    Sure enough, he's from a meta-ethnic frontier part of the country -- Central-to-Southern Florida, one of the last frontiers against the Indians (during the Seminole Wars). That's why the middle and lower part of Florida is the only truly American part of back East, the only Eastern region where a Disney utopia could be built. (Northern Florida is part of the Deep South, not on a frontier.)

    And as someone born in the early 1940s, he was raised in Central Florida waaaay before the Sun Belt migrations of the '80s and after. It was still pretty wild and untamed back then. Decades before Disney World was built! Maybe that's how Floridians will measure time -- BD and AD -- once they become their own nation after the collapse of the American Empire.

    He was stationed and started painting in Alaska, BTW -- can't get any further out West than that!

  136. Fuwamoco are a bit harder to figure out. In the Zelda stream, they confirmed they were Canadian by calling the last letter of the alphabet "zed" instead of "zee" (one of the biggest shibboleths between Americans and Canadians, which the latter are usually unaware of until they've already stepped on that landmine, hehe).

    Mococo uses a heavy "OO-ah" degree of rounding on the low-back vowel (as in "lot" or "c'mon"). Sounds like she's from the Bos-Wash corridor. But she's also playing a caricatured role, not just being her everyday self, so it's possible that she's imitating this pattern to add color and flavor to her character. "Where do theatrical and colorful personalities come from? I'll talk like them!"

    I checked some dialect maps for the cot-caught merger, and they say that all of Canada uses the unrounded low-back vowel for both -- like the standard (Western) American accent. So perhaps she is borrowing this pattern from TV shows and movies where she heard Noo Yawkaz speaking like that. We know they're good at imitating other accents from their speaking Japanese with a good accent.

    They both dial up the intensity, are theatrical rather than naturalistic, shout and squeal when startled (much like the Scream Queen of Hololive, Gawr Gura). So that would seem to point to a back-East part of Canada, like Quebec (where uber-unhinged xQc is from). We'll have to wait and see if they poke fun at the French language, French people, etc. -- this is a favorite pasttime of standard dialect speakers in Canada, in order to remind the non-standard speakers (Quebecois French) of their lower status on the national totem pole.

    It's complicated by the fact that they're turbo-weebs and are also imitating their favorite Japanese personalities, such as Korone. If their favorite were Okayu, their imitations would be of a more subdued and laid-back nature.

    One thing that is more Western than Eastern about them, though, is they don't really engage in straight-talking, blunt, rough-around-the-edges mannerisms. They get excited and energetic -- but it still has a "trying to be pleasant and nice and considerate" vibe to it, as is required from the Midwest out to the Pacific.

    I can't imagine them naturalistically saying "So good, make you wanna slap yo' grandma" or "Ey, step aside and make room for da Queens, will ya pal?" Hehe.

    So I'm going with Western -- further west than Nerissa, who has an Upper Midwest accent (and is a fellow "bag of milk" consumer). Seriously doubt they're turbo-weebs from the Prairie, so either from Alberta or British Columbia. Weebery would seem to be more West Coast, with its heavy Asian influence.

    And the intense / theatrical performance is from them liking that style of performer from Japan, as opposed to laid-back and naturalistic performers from Japan (Korone over Okayu).

    Also a timeless reminder that Americans do not care if you're Canadian. It's just something we'll give you a little ribbing about, to remind you that your ancestors made the wrong choice of which side to join in the anti-British war a few hundred years ago, and that some of you even collaborated with the Indians afterward. ^_^

  137. Bringing it back to Celine Dion, Canada's only diva is from back East and speaks a non-standard dialect -- she's even recorded a good share of her music using Quebecois French, rather than English.

    You don't get more theatrical than her. (And no, Shania Twain is not a diva -- too down-to-earth and girl-next-door, and fittingly hails from Windsor, right next to Detroit. She's a Great Lakes / Midwestern gal.)

  138. In the South(east), they call it "sassy" -- but it's the exact same straight-talking, blunt, colorful speech that doesn't care if it ruffles a few feathers (the death knell in a cult of politeness region). And it employs various figures of speech for theatrical flair.

    There's even a card game where you can build your own sassy Southern sayings:


    "I'm busier than... Granny's hickory switch on a bus full of convicts"

    I literally LOL'd at that one!

    Aside from the political / material / economic reasons, which were the main motivator, Trump's appeal in the Deep South was also about his style resonating with them. They're both blunt, straight-talking, theatrical flair types. They love a grandstanding showman who can effortlessly deploy alliteration ("fire and fury").

    Trump cleaned up on the West Coast during the primary, but that was more strictly material, not stylistic. West Coasters may not be as uptight as Midwesterners, but they still do have strong norms against theatricality, bluntness, and being rough around the edges. You have to be mellow, chill, happy-go-lucky, everybody's just here to party, man, and feel those good vibrations.

    That's the background of Tai's character in Clueless -- she's a blunt straight-tawkin' gurl from Noo Jerzee, and really stands out amid the SoCal background of chill, mellow, Pleasant Valley Sunday good vibes.

  139. Gura instantly picked up on the Southern sass in Fallout: New Vegas last month. There's a line of dialog about something being "as useless as tits on a" something -- bull, boar, flea, etc.

    Without skipping a beat, she puts on a Southern accent and improvises, "About as useless as tits on a shark girl" (poking some playful fun about part of her persona's appeal being her flat chest).

    As a New Englander, she's right at home with that kind of direct, colorful, feather-ruffling speech. ^_^ And the accent isn't even that much of an adjustment (as much as Yankees and Southerners may be incensed by Americans equating their dialects -- but to us, it's all part of a great big swirl of non-standard back-Easternness, hehe.)

  140. The Red Scare ladies have a good West vs. East complementary dynamic on their podcast. Good cop, bad cop, but by geography.

    Anna is the blunt "someone's gotta say it, and I don't care if it gets me some haters" Easterner (Joyzee). Dasha is the chillaxing Westerner (Vegas and later California), who is the one to step in and pump the brakes on Anna's feather-ruffling speeches.

    "Anna! C'mon... you can't say that... Or at least, you can't say it like that..."

    Just goes to show that, although not as uptight or passive-aggressive as Midwesterners, West Coasters still have a strong norm of "be considerate and pleasant toward others", which they enforce.

    In an interesting wrinkle, Dasha comes from a theatrical household -- both parents are pro acrobats who perform in Vegas. But that's just her household -- the broader community over-rides a single nuclear household. She's just as laid-back and naturalistic in her acting style as any other Westerner.

    Anna imitates accents a lot more than Dasha does, for the same reasons -- as an Easterner, Anna has more of a theatrical flair (she also draws caricatures instead of realistic portraits), and doesn't mind if it's seen as feather-ruffling to imitate someone else's accent. If at all, Dasha tends to mimic her own people's Russian accent, not Indian, Chinese, Spanish, etc. Sometimes she flirts with mimicking foreigners' accents, emboldened by Anna's presence, but her Western nature tends to pull herself back from the edge, with Anna finishing the performance cuz she doesn't care about ruffling feathers.

    Very endearing part of their Odd Couple dynamic. ^_^

  141. About Australia... they say Canada is a fake country, but that seems to apply more to Australia (and New Zealand), as far as ethnogenesis goes.

    They have the most British-sounding accent, instead of innovating one of their own (granted, Canadians are just piggy-backing on American innovation, but still).

    They have minimal phonological variation among themselves, with no one being a standard-bearing leader and others following their lead.


    They're riven by rivalries at multiple levels of complexity -- between states, between cities in the same state, between neighborhoods of the same city.


    This fragmentation and hostility is what happens in the absence of a meta-ethnic nemesis that would have forced the Us side into cohering strongly, and becoming a whole new people on the other side of that struggle for survival against a profoundly different Other.

    Tellingly, no region of Australia is famed for its people being overly polite, passive-aggressive, using indirect speech, bottling up their emotions, and otherwise practicing a cult of niceness / politeness. Quite the opposite! It's an entire country full of straight-talking, blunt, colorful-speech-users.

    None of them have faced off against a meta-ethnic nemesis, so they never had to bottle up their emotions, go out of their way to tiptoe around their neighbors, etc., in order to preserve order and harmony on the Us side of an existential meta-ethnic frontier.

    And they have a flair for the theatrical, rather than the naturalistic. Bae and Sana would be right at home in Kansai, or the East Coast of America, with their theatrical / no-filter style.

  142. Aimee Terese (at least, as far as I know from back when Twitter was still open to the rest of the internet) always says how much she hates indirect speech instead of being frank and forward (and she loves alliteration, a little theatrical flair). No filter, go on a tangent about anything, anytime, no matter if it ruffles a few feathers (or whatever the Australian version of that phrase is).

    Steve Irwin was raised in Queensland, but much like the Deep South in America, it's still part of the back-East region with New South Wales and Victoria. Settled early, not the result of expanding along a frontier. Much like pro wrestling being an Eastern phenomenon in America, especially in the Southeast, so the Crocodile Hunter is a personality that could only be produced in Queensland.

    1. "Aimee Terese (at least, as far as I know from back when Twitter was still open to the rest of the internet)"

      Well, it wouldn't have mattered whether Elon Musk kept Twitter open to the rest of the internet or not, because shortly after Twitter restricted viewing to users only, the Twitter moderators banned Aimee Terese again.

  143. Perth doesn't have a distinctive accent of its own, let alone has it become the standard for the nation, and they sound bitter and resentful toward the East -- not what the standard-bearers do. The West Coast of America doesn't think about the East Coast one way or another, they simply do not matter, and Californians know they've led the way for the whole nation -- for better or worse.

    This is because there's no meta-ethnic nemesis in Western Australia either.

    Adelaide sounds similar to the rest of the back-Eastern region. No nemesis there either.

    Or on Tasmania (who are widely forgotten or ignored -- imagine Western cowboys being ignored or forgotten, in the American context).

    That only leaves Darwin and the Northern Territory. That is far from the origin of settlement, and so on a frontier of sorts. It is close to potential meta-ethnic nemeses in Southast Asia and the Pacific Islands. But so far, Indonesia and China have not launched attacks on the northern coast of Australia. Nor have oceanic nomads from Polynesia terrorized the northern coast with hit-and-run tactics -- they haven't been much of a threat since their golden age of expansion around the Pacific, several hundred years ago, way before white Australians were even in Australia.

    And there are the highest concentrations of Aborigenes in the NT, as well as Ayers Rock (a mystical romanticized geo-structure that is iconic for the entire nation, like you'd find in Western America). But the Aborigenes are far from where most people live, and they're not hostile. That is a meta-ethnic frontier, but not one that poses an existential threat to the settlers.

    So, although Australia and New Zealand remain de facto members of the former British Empire -- culturally, if no de jure politically -- there is a possibility for asabiya to rise around Darwin, far from the internecine rivalries of the early-settled parts in the East and South. That's assuming Indonesia, a resurgent China, or someone else nearby, tries to take over northern Australia. Not economically -- economics are a fake non-cause of ethnogenesis.

    A real struggle for survival, not simply "rich Chinese are buying up our housing". Those are absentee landholders anyway, and to be a real frontier, the Other has to be next to you, not acting at a great distance.

  144. Yeah I saw the notice about the new ban when I checked Aimee's substack a little while ago. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Twitter really is the worst big site after Musk hijacked it, even if it was already heading downhill for years.

    Hopefully my tangent into (lack of) Australian ethnogenesis will keep her entertained during her latest stay in Twitter jail. :)

    I'm sure it has nothing to do with whatever fake & gay discourse is going on at Twitter du jour, but then that's why you read this blog -- something entirely separate, independent, and above-it-all compared to the toxic vortex that is Twitter. You never know what's going to come up here next. :)

  145. Does melodious speech intonation go with theatrical personalities and non-standard accent regions? Talking about Aimee Terese made me think of how sing-song-y her voice is, and all of Australia (especially the Sydney area) is a straight-talking, colorful-speech-using, no-filter, rivalry-riven low-asabiya colony of a former empire.

    Most melodious speaking voice in Hololive? Easy -- Gobbity Goobity, not even close. Kiara also varies the pitch and tempo of her voice while speaking, and she's from a non-standard dialect region of her country (Bavaria, not Vienna).

    I don't know who has the most melodious speaking voice in JP, but I'll bet she's from a Western dialect region of Japan. The Kansai dialect region has a richer pitch accent system than the East and North (some parts of which don't have tone or downstep at all).


    That also reminds me that the standard dialect in China -- Mandarin (in the North, along the usually hostile meta-ethnic frontier with Turkic / Tungusic / Mongol peoples) -- has far fewer tones than the non-standard dialects further South, like Cantonese (another epicenter for straight-talking, rough-around-the-edges, colorful-speech-using, caricatured / theatrical types -- e.g., Hong Kong acrobatic martial arts movies).

    Most people say Irish accents are more attractive or charming because of the lilting Irish brogue -- more melodious intonation than you'd hear in London.

    Probably the same why people find Southern US accents charming or attractive -- Southern belles using more melody when speaking.

    Where there is no hostile meta-ethnic frontier, cohesion is not as important, and regulation of emotions in the interest of group harmony is not so crucial. So, more theatrical behavior -- including melodious speaking voices, not just in the performing arts!

    I guess that's part of what I'm getting at when I say that back-Easterners are more blunt, rude, direct, etc. -- but make up for it with their theatrical flair, including their speaking voices. That's the flipside of the soothing ASMR voices from the high-trust, cohesive, standard-accent-having regions -- not mumblecore, but melodycore!

  146. Does the politeness and high-trust in an empire's core remain as asabiya collapses with the empire, or do the formerly polite people become as rude and low trust as those far from the empire's core?

    For example, in the United States, would people living in the Midwest maintain their stereotypical Midwestern niceness or people living in California their happy-go-lucky attitude after the American empire collapses, or would they become as rude and blunt as people from the Deep South or New England?

  147. The Twitter moderators banned Malcom Kyeyune today as well.

  148. Nothing on the internet is permanent.

    A court ruled that Internet Archive is breaking copyright and would likely be forced to delete a huge chunk of its archive from the internet:


  149. Turchin, in War and Peace and War, talks about the decline of asabiya in the former Roman Empire -- it was really low in Southern Italy, but relatively high in the North. It wasn't exactly high in Rome or the Papal States -- they were taken over by the Byzantine Empire for a little while.

    And the Iberian peninsula, an early part of the Empire, got overrun like crazy because they were fragmented and low in asabiya.

    Whereas later additions like Gaul and the Rhineland border, and Anatolia, saw the birth of new empires, namely the Franks and Byzantines.

    I think the higher cohesion in Northern Italy is somewhat due to its history as the original meta-ethnic frontier against the Celts, but also due to it being the frontier against other new Empires like the Franks (and then the French, Austrians, and Spanish empires).

    Although Rome was taken over by the Byzantines for a little bit, the Papal States never fared as poorly as Southern Italy. The former was de jure independent, and often de facto -- including the Pope being a major position of influence in the Medieval and Early Modern geopolitical system. He wasn't as powerful as the Roman Emperor, but he was not a vassal of some foreign occupying empire like the various dukes of Southern Italy.

    Northern Italy's independence is also over-rated -- it was controlled by Odoacer (East Germanic) who himself was a client of the Byzantines, then by the Lombards (Germanic), then the Frankish Empire, then the Ottonian off-shoot of the Franks, etc. For the better part of a millennium after the formal end of the Roman Empire, Northern Italy was just as low-trust and controlled by foreign powers as Southern Italy was.

    It's not until the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern period that those more autonomous, wealthy, powerful, culturally innovating city-states start to show up in the North -- on the meta-ethnic frontier with the Germanic empires and kingdoms who'd been involving themselves / outright ruling Northern Italy for 1000 years.

    So it was really the core around Rome that was the most independent, high-trust, able to resist foreign domination, until the Renaissance.

  150. In the American case, that means high trust will continue in the Upper Midwest and Texas -- sites of the latest Indian wars, and the Mexican War, respectively. Most of the Rocky Mountain area will be fairly high trust, too.

    The Pacific Coast will be higher-trust than its counterpart the East Coast -- but that's not a high bar to clear. They've gotten too rich, and too reliant on importing slaves, leading to decadence among the elites, not trying to keep everyone happy. Those factors will weaken trust in California relative to Utah or Iowa, but those factors are also strong on the East Coast -- look how many foreigners are in Atlanta or New York.

    No, California is not the most diverse or most foreign-born place in the country -- that would be Queens, New York, by a longshot. You think the Tower of Babel effect is strong on wearing down cooperation in Cali? -- check out how bad it is when the baseline is even lower, like on the East Coast, and you get Queens. Queens is no longer American, L.A. still is.

    Throwing your own people under the bus in order to get cheap slaves is nowhere near as advanced in the Midwest. Chicago, being a huge city, is really bad -- but not as bad as Queens, Atlanta, DC, etc. If that's as bad as it gets, the Midwest will weather the storm of imperial collapse, and remain part of the American core, and retain fairly high trust levels and cooperation.

    At the furthest expanse, Hawaii could easily get taken over by some Asian power, when American hegemony no longer extends that far away from the mainland. And back-East is a goner -- technically, Central-to-Southern Florida could stay in the American club with the Midwest / Plains and Mountain states, but it's separated by too much distance, so it'll probably just break away into its own bigass state.

    They just need to make sure that Northern Florida separates and joins whatever polity springs up in the Deep South -- or maybe the lower trust of the Deep South would lead each current state to become its own powerless nation, and Northern Florida would be like West Virginia, a breakaway state, now operating as a nation.

  151. An easier case to see this is the former British Empire -- the Norf is way more fragmented and low in trust and cooperation compared to the South, Scotland keeps flirting with independence and is basically a colony of the EU, and Ireland is even worse -- a political colony of the EU (i.e. France and Germany), economic colony of American corporations, broke away from its former polity (in 1916, as the empire was collapsing), and itself has a breakaway state (Northern Ireland) where there was a hot civil war for many decades even after the big bad British boogeyman became a bygone.

    Those are all far from the original meta-ethnic frontier in Britain, which was the South (esp. the Southeast), against the French.

    So the core of the empire remains higher in trust and cooperation than the peripheral regions, whether in the British Isles themselves or in former faraway colonies like South Asia (which splintered into India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and India is deeply fragmented within itself).

  152. There is one social aspect that is worse in the core of an empire during its peak, collapse, and in the wake of collapse -- decadence.

    Think of all the debauchery in fin-de-siecle Europe -- the epicenters were Paris, not Marseille; Vienna, not Salzburg; Berlin, not Munich; and London, not Dublin (as dirty of a town as it may have been). Not just a higher level of joie-de-vivre -- real sick twisted "nuke 'em from orbit" kind of stuff.

    That is clearly worse today on the West Coast rather than the East Coast, with the porn capitals being L.A., San Francisco, Vegas, and Miami (again, part of the higher-trust America).

    Why isn't there a huge porn industry among libtard capitals like Boston and New York? Probably because people are so low-trust that the would-be actresses expect to get taken advantage of, in worse ways, by would-be directors in NYC, compared to what their counterparts in SoCal expect from San Fernando Valley directors.

    Homeless camps are way worse out West, seemingly just like the tramps, beggars, and thieves from the fin-de-siecle period of Euro empires -- in their high-trust capitals (Paris, Vienna, Berlin, London). Maybe the higher trust of the West Coast leads to them tolerating bum-related decadence -- decadence is not only an elite phenomenon. Poor people can indulge in it, too. At the end of an empire, the glue comes undone at all levels of the status hierarchy.

    This decadence did not exist in California in the '50s or '60s (notwithstanding the Summer of Love preview of coming attractions). So it's not as though high trust immediately brings them about. It's more like when the social glue starts to weaken, decadence gets worst in the relatively high-trust regions because the norm is "go along to get along," rather than stand out and rock the boat.

    And many forms of decadence require a threshold of trust in order to be carried out -- like the porn industry. If one or both potential parties is too suspicious of the other (as part of a broader, general suspiciousness), then it won't take place.

  153. Drug use seems to be the same pattern, way worse out West and in Central-to-Southern Florida, and relatively tamer in the Bos-Wash Corridor or the Deep South. Perhaps would-be druggies in low-trust areas fear more that they wouldn't be taken care of by random strangers, friends, etc. while they were impaired.

    Whereas druggies in high-trust areas feel like there's more of a "we're all friends here, having fun at the same great big statewide party", and won't be taken advantage of so badly while impaired.

    The tamer version of drug use is alcohol -- and that's where the Upper Midwest is the leader. Crucially, it's not New York or Boston who are the biggest drinkers. If you're getting drunk in Milwaukee, who around you is possibly going to take real advantage of you? (I.e., more than the proverbial drawing of dicks on your face while you're passed out.) That's not merely due to alcohol being weaker than pot per "dose" -- when Midwesterners party, they drink enough to get shitfaced, not just a friendly beer or two over dinner. But they're in a higher-trust environment, so what's the worst that could happen from getting shitfaced drunk?

    Ditto for gambling -- whose capital has been Vegas for awhile, not Atlantic City. Do potential gamblers trust the house management, the local law enforcement, and the other patrons? If not, no thriving gambling scene. If so, gamble away. Imagine trusting New Jersey sleazebags more than Las Vegas sleazebags. Sleazy is one thing -- crooked and suspicious is another. Whether justified or not (probably justified), Vegas has a superior reputation for trustworthiness than Atlantic City.

    Vices in general are part of this entire gestalt. They take off during the late stages of an empire, but they do require a certain background level of trust in the local social environment, which means it's not such a paradox for why they are the most pronounced in high-trust regions of the empire rather than the alienated and fragmented regions.

  154. Much like the Garden of Earthly Delights triptych -- utopia in the left panel breeds hedonism in the central panel, which breeds disease and destruction in the right panel.

    So, which regions within an empire are the most utopian? The ones on the meta-ethnic frontier, where trust is highest, cooperation is highest, and these forces result in a higher realization of a utopian ideal.

    But the more utopian a place is, the more susceptible it is to whatever forces prey on utopians -- like vices. The downstream consequences of vices are destruction of one kind or another.

    Eventually, though, that decadence and destruction burn out -- no hangover lasts forever. And the system returns to a resting, neutral state. Which in the regions close to a frontier, means a higher baseline level of trust.

    So back East in America, imperial collapse will be more boring regarding vices, decadence, disease, and other blights that are most advanced on the West Coast.

    But organized political violence is not an individual vice, and things could get far more war-torn back East -- just as it was in Ireland, far from the frontier of Southern England (violent war in 1916, breakaway state of its own, hot civil war among residents of their tiny little island, which organized violence did NOT take place around London).

    Same in the former Ottoman Empire -- waaay more fin-de-siecle decadence in Istanbul, and although there were power struggles as the empire collapsed, there were no breakaway states with hot civil wars lasting decades around Istanbul and Western Anatolia (where the original frontier was against the Byzantine Empire).

    Those breakaway states, endless civil wars, etc., took place in the periphery of the Ottoman Empire -- the Balkans, the Levant, Egypt, Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus, and North Africa -- except for good ol' Morocco, which was never conquered by the Ottomans, and therefore did not suffer the same fate as those other regions.

    On balance, if I had to pick my poison, I'd rather go through the decadence and rotting path, rather than the path of endless civil wars and foreign occupation. Plus the former path comes after the utopian route in the earlier stage of empire -- which the latter path was preceded by the "reluctant integration into someone else's sphere of influence".

  155. You said in one of your blog posts that while the cultural elites are out west in California, the financial elites are back east in New York, and the political elites are also back east in DC. However, when the American empire collapses, it is very likely that both New York and DC will leave the American core and become independent. What happens to the financial and political elites in that case? Do they just up and move to California?

  156. And no, there's nothing noble or elevating in the kind of civil wars that endlessly plague the peripheral regions of a collapsed empire. It's just plain old anarchy, wastefulness, and inability to achieve anything larger and more enjoyable than petty tribal societies.

    Southern Italy did not produce anything at all after the collapse of the Roman Empire, and neither has the Balkans or the Levant or Eastern Anatolia after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

    Such regions suffer an enduring curse from the empire.

  157. In the American case, that means back East is cursed, but then so are the latest additions to the empire, in Japan and South Korea. The oblivion that South Korea is already descending into makes that clear, but even Japan's glory days are behind it -- I mean "Japan, the American colony," from the mid-'40s through the '80s or '90s, maybe trickling through the 2000s, but not surviving the real crack-up decade of the 2010s and the open anarchy of the 2020s.

    And if you think civil war can't come to Japan during / in the wake of American imperial collapse, it was already in an uneasy state of tension from the Meiji Restoration right through WWII. The military bases in the West wanted to take over Korea, China, SE Asia, the Pacific Islands, etc. The East, around Tokyo and further North, was not so gung-ho and wanted to focus more on industrialization, and if any further expansion was to be made, then up into Hokkaido and maybe the Kuril Islands, along the usual path of Japanese expansion -- not a backward-looking war against the Asian mainland, when the real meta-ethnic nemesis of Japan has always been the Emishi and the Ainu.

    America put an end to that internal division within Japan, when it dropped atomic bombs on the Western cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, stationed its occupying Air Force in the Western city of Fukuoka (where my dad attended high school for a bit, while his dad was stationed there), and demilitarized the country while elevating it industrially -- benefitting Tokyo and the East, over the military in the West.

    Once American hegemony weakens over Japan, that old internal rivalry will come roaring back to life. The would-be leaders of a resurgent Japanese military, in the West, will want to take on the now resurgent China, or maybe prey on South Korea (which will also be defenseless as American hegemony in the region weakens), or maybe go back to Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, or maybe probe Russian strength in Siberia, since Russia is no longer a mighty empire either (and even when they were, the Japanese defeated them, in the Far East).

    Those military adventures will not enrich the East -- in fact, it could cause the Eastern finance capital (Tokyo) to *really* inflate / debase the currency, to bankroll the military. And what remains of Japanese industry will not benefit from military adventures -- Japanese corpos already exploit Southeast Asian societies for cheap labor / low regulations, by legalistic contracts, they don't need to take them over militarily to achieve those ends.

    There is no reason to expect Japan to remain a relatively cohesive, cultural accomplisher as the American overlords collapse -- Japanese asabiya / collective action potential has already run its course, from its origins in the Tokugawa Shogunate through its peak in the turn of the 20th century, and was already clearly on the decline by WWII, when a very distant empire defeated them and have occupied them ever since.

    The only bright side this time is that the Western Japanese military will be less tempted to pick fights with other Asian nations compared to the turn of the 20th C., because they were all in internal collapse back then, and were easy to invade and conquer. China may not be a rising empire, but it's not in outright collapse and civil war anymore, nor is Southeast Asia or Indonesia or wherever else. So they are not as inviting as targets this time.

    But the internal rivalry in Japan will still come to the fore -- it just won't result in something as massive as their military adventures of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  158. Joining the original topic of waterfalls in art, and Japanese art specifically, with civil war in Japan, I noticed two prominent waterfalls scenes in Seven Samurai. One has huge gushing waterfall that takes up most of the frame:


    Another is more of a thin sheet that acts as a semi-transparent screen over the hollowed-out walking path along the side of the rockface. That means the samurai travel "behind the waterfall" -- one of the earliest instances of that trope (movie released in 1954). Can't find a quick pic of it.

  159. "In the American case, that means back East is cursed, but then so are the latest additions to the empire, in Japan and South Korea."

    We could also add Western Europe to that - France, Germany, Italy, etc

  160. San Francisco has been a finance hub for a long time, so that's the most natural place for the post-imperial American finance industry to be centered.

    New political capital? Who knows, it means little in America -- started in New York, then Philadelphia, and finally in newly built DC.

    Same could happen in post-imperial America -- starts in Austin, moves to Denver, winds up in Phoenix, or some entirely new city in the Southwest.

  161. Now looking into Indonesia's regional differences, based on the few Hololive ID girls I know something about. Looks like the pattern holds there as well.

    Zeta is chill, subdued, soothing voice, does ASMR, with a dark side underneath -- much like the EN girl she loves most, Mumei. Or Okayu or Lui, from JP. She must be from a part of the country that has polite social norms, close to the meta-ethnic frontier, where the accent is closer to the standard.

    Based on regional stereotypes, that seems to point to Central or Western Java.

    I'll bet Kaela is from somewhere around there, too.

    Yes, Indonesia *does* have a part of the country that is famous for being overly polite, like Midwestern nice (polite to your face, but only to maintain harmony in public, while perhaps disliking you or plotting against you in private).

    East Java and places further east are famous for being coarse, rude, blunt / direct, colorful speech, the best insults, etc. AAAANNNNDDD, they are famous for having more musical intonation in their ordinary speech! I was so right about that...

    Who has the most theatrical personality in Holo ID? Probably Ollie, but I don't know where she's from or what accent she has, or if she speaks another language besides standard Indonesian. There's also a place in Northern Sumatra that is famous for loud and direct people, so I suppose she could be from there too -- but probably not wherever Zeta and Kaela are from.

    However, Risu is also on the theatrical side -- wide vocal range in singing, does several voices for herself, can easily imitate other people's voices (like Gooba's flair for accents other than her own), and is more of a prankster. Not the calm, chill Midwestern nice type.

    One of the vtuber fandom sites (virtualyoutuber.fandom.com) says she can speak some Javanese -- and that is spoken more toward the east, not the west. In the YouTube comments to a clip of her and Moona discussing the Javanese language (a separate language from Indonesian), they say that Risu has a perfect Javanese accent, despite her claiming not to know it. Meaning she likely grew up in the region where it's spoken, is familiar with it, but since it's not standard and is seen as more backward and coarse, she does not want to admit where she grew up (but that is belied by her perfect accent in that other language).

    Iofi is not so theatrical, is more upbeat and cheerful, and does lots of ASMR. Not a brash, over-the-top prankster. That vtuber fandom site says she speaks Sundanese as a native, and that's from West Java and further west. So she fits the pattern as well.

  162. Basically, the split in Indonesia is fairly similar to America, where the East is more blunt, coarse, theatrical, and musical in speech, whereas the Central-West and West is more roundabout, polite, subdued, and soothing / even intonation in speech.

    I haven't looked into the Early Modern history of Indonesia to know who their meta-ethnic nemesis was, but it was likely someone from mainland Asia -- and that puts Sumatra and West Java on the frontier, with East Java and further east being more safely removed from a mainland Asian threat.

    Or maybe it was internal to Indonesia -- the Majapahit Empire was based in East Java, so maybe they were the meta-ethnic nemesis of West Java and Sumatra, so that the frontier runs through Central Java between those two groups -- and mainland Asia, Dutch merchants, etc., have nothing to do with it.

    And Jakarta is the cultural capital of Indonesia, and it lies in West Java, not East.

    So, whether it was due to pressure from a mainland Asian society, or from the Majapahit Empire in East Java, modern Indonesian ethnogenesis has been based on the frontier that includes Central and West Java, made them develop intense norms of etiquette and politeness (in the Mataram Sultanate of Central Java), and eventually led to the center of gravity shifting from East Java to West Java. Not just politics, but culture as well.

    And although I don't know where everyone is from in Holo ID, their variation seems to support this as it does in the JP and EN branches.

  163. As fate would have it, Kiara's Japanese is a Kansai dialect, as she spent time learning it in Osaka. Much like how her own native Bavaria is the Kansai region of Austria and Germany (whose standard cultural capitals are much further east, in Vienna and Berlin).

    From one theatrical personality, non-standard-accent-speaking region to another -- across the world! ^_^

    Now all she has to do is get Goobadiba to instruct her into developing a New England accent, and she will have a non-standard American accent as well!

    Standard dialects just don't suit a theatrical personality like Wawa. ^_^

  164. Ollie speaks Javanese!


    I knew she had to be an Easterner, from her theatrical personality. Wikitubia also says she's good at imitating the voices of the other HoloID girls, so this is definitely part of being theatrical, non-standard accent speaking, no-filter, colorful speech, direct / blunt, and musical intonation in ordinary speech.

    Wikitubia also relates a story she told about her older brother being very protective of her, threatening to kill anyone who does wrong to her -- and the stereotype about Eastern Indonesia is that they practice "an eye for an eye" more than Western Indonesia.

    So, similar to the Deep South, Appalachia -- or New Jersey, Long Island, and Staten Island, hehe. Or the Yakuza being headquartered in Kansai! Or the mafia in Southern Italy!

    Low asabiya / low cohesion means there is no strong central institution to enforce norms, so norm enforcement is carried out by smaller-scale institutions -- like the family / clan / tribe, with feuds, vendettas, culture of honor, and so on.

    Where asabiya is high, individuals can agree to delegate authority to a (relatively) neutral, higher-ranking third party, and obey the outcomes of its decisions. So they rely less on kinship to protect them or seek revenge.

  165. Separatism in Indonesia is mostly in the East -- East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and the Moluccas. The only Western separatist group is in Aceh, in the far north of Sumatra -- like I said, the stereotype is that North Sumatra is also a bit rough-around-the-edges, blunt, colorful speech, etc., unlike the rest of Sumatra or West / Central Java.

    Perhaps the meta-ethnic frontier is around Jakarta, where it's close to the tip of the Malay peninsula and mainland Asia, so that North Sumatra is far from this frontier, just as Eastern Indonesia is far from this frontier. But South and Central Sumatra are still pretty close to the frontier.

    Or, if the frontier is against the former Majapahit Empire of East Java, then North Sumatra is too far away from this frontier, whereas South Sumatra is somewhat close to it, and West / Central Java is right on the frontier.

    I still don't know who the nemesis was that caused modern Indonesian ethnogenesis, and the shift of power and cultural creation away from East Java and to West Java.

    But at least for now, we can see how Indonesia fits the pattern regarding regional separatism -- just as all the separatist movements in the former British Empire are in the North, far from the meta-ethnic frontier in the South (against the French), so the regional separatist movements in Indonesia are mostly in the East, far from the frontier around Jakarta (against a nemesis whose identity I currently do not understand).

    You can bet that as the American Empire collapses, there will be a greater number of politites and disintegration back East vs. out West. "America" may simply remain one nation, but with fewer member states than now, and it will begin in the Midwest and extend west to the Pacific Coast. Once that happens, there is ZERO chance that the Northeast and Southeast will ever share a government or culture again, and Florida could break away from both of those, making 3 successor states back East.

  166. Mexico and central America are also low cohesion areas so it isn't surprising that you have the cartels controlling huge parts of Mexico and MS-13 headquartered in El Salvador

  167. Where is "trad culture" most common in Indonesia? In the East! Far from the meta-ethnic frontier, retaining the culture of the "before days" -- before ethnogenesis transformed those on the frontier into a new culture, a new people.

    In Indonesia, "trad" means Hinduism, and to some extent Buddhism, as opposed to Islam, which was introduced much later than the first two.

    The only region with a Hindu majority today is Bali, which lies to the east of Java.

    The last Hindu kingdom / empire was the Majapahit Empire, headquartered in East Java.

    This is a good reminder that "trad" has nothing to do with morality, as in liberal vs. conservative. It has to do with "the old people's culture" vs. "the new people's culture". There are trads all up and down the East Coast and Appalachian region of America, despite some being lib and some being con. And out West, everyone is a new culture practitioner -- whether they are conservative morally, like the Mormons, or liberal morally, like San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest.

    In Indonesia, Islam is a newer culture, regardless of whether it is morally more conservative or liberal. Just like Mormonism out West in America -- the entire religion and culture is new and innovative, not trad -- despite some Mormons being morally liberal (in Salt Lake City) and other Mormons being morally conservative (in Southeast Idaho).

  168. Where are tonal languages spoken in Indonesia? In the East -- yet again! Most Austronesian languages (including Malay / Indonesian, Javanese, etc.) are not tonal. But there are some exceptions, and they are either in the parts of mainland SE Asia with tonal languages (like Chamic and Moklen, surrounded by Thai and Vietnamese), or they are in the far east of the Pacific Islands -- New Caledonian, which is not controlled by Indonesia, but also the South Halmahera-West New Guinea branch.

    Those are spoken in the Indonesian provinces of North Maluku and Papua and West Papua. Not surprisingly, two epicenters for separatism (the Moluccas and Papua).

    Imperial-level ethnogenesis seems to squash the musical intonation of everyday speech, as part of emotional regulation along the meta-ethnic frontier, so that the Us side stays stoic and focused, rather than let their expressiveness get out of control and threaten group unity.

    Most of those tonal languages in SE Asia were not part of imperial ethnogenesis -- kingdoms, regional powers, etc., but not empires.

  169. In fact, the only bona fide empire on mainland SE Asia was the Khmer Empire -- and the Khmer language was the only one within that entire part of the world to never develop a tone system (unlike its neighbors in Vietnam, Thailand, Southern China, etc.).

    But that's a whole 'nother post, on Khmer / Cambodian ethnogenesis -- for now, the important point is that the same conditions that gave rise to tone in neighboring languages were also present in Khmer. But instead of solving the problem by putting different tones on the vowels, Khmer changed some of the vowels into diphthongs.

    They did not not for mechanical / phonetic reasons -- but for reasons of collective ethnic identity, as the only imperial culture of the region. They were on the path to developing into a tonal language, but that would have made them sound like their neighbors -- and as an empire, they would rather die than resemble their political and cultural inferiors -- and it would have made their everyday speech too expressive and musical, which a cohesive imperial people cannot tolerate.

    So they halted tonogenesis dead in its tracks, and used diphthongization instead of tonal contrasts to distinguish vowels in syllables that had become homophonic due to the loss of contrast in neighboring consonants.

    I'll probably write up Cambodian ethnogenesis in a full standalone post, since they're imperial-level. And I have someone to dedicate it to -- my best friend for a little while in middle school was from a Cambodian immigrant family. But I need to understand the history of the Khmer language a little better first. Reading up on it now, and tracking down old articles is laborious due to the academic publishing cartel. But I've gotten around it, yet again, hehe.

    The main thing is, the abortive emergence of tonogenesis, and its being halted in favor of diphthongization, was part of Middle Khmer -- after the collapse of the Khmer Empire. I want to know what made Old Khmer, as part of the imperial cultural innovation, so innovative. Greater diphthongization may have already been happening back then, or maybe it was something else.

    At any rate, the Khmer identity as separate from and superior to their neighbors remained even after their empire collapsed. So they could still halt tonogenesis, in order to not sound like their ching-chong bing-bong neighbors.

    Tonal contrasts did develop farther from their meta-ethnic frontier, which ties in the whole thing to the political evolution. Those are the northwestern dialects of Khmer, in what is now northeastern Thailand. They had less cohesion than the Khmer on the frontier, so they couldn't resist tonogenesis, and have ended up sounding halfway like their Thai neighbors, rather than proud Cambodians who have no tonal contrasts in their language.

  170. The Northern Cities Vowel Shift occurred in Midwestern cities because Americans there didn't want to sound like the black Americans who were migrating from the deep south (i.e. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, etc) and the Scots-Irish Americans who were migrating from the upper South (i.e. Kentucky, Tennessee) to the cities in the Midwest during the early 20th century (Great Migration).

  171. And no, Chinese is not the exception to the rule. It's true that even the standard dialect of Chinese, Mandarin, developed tones during the same period as other SE Asian languages did (aside from Khmer). And they were definitely an empire, not a regional power.

    However, exactly like the Khmer, the Northern Chinese have managed to halt tonogenesis and even reverse it. Vietnamese and Cantonese not only took on tonal contrasts in one round, they split each of those tones into two -- doubling from 3 or 4 into 6 to 8.

    Mandarin never reached that "tone splitting" stage, so they were at least that successful and cohesive, at resisting musicality in their everyday speech.

    And by now, everyday speech in Beijing is dropping some of those tones (although they are still preserved in the media speech). They did not add back in the consonants to the final part of the syllable, which was the motivating reason for the tonal contrasts on vowels to begin with. So instead, they are relying more on compounding to distinguish words that are more homophonic with the loss of tone.

    In the next several centuries, spoken Mandarin may not have any tonal contrasts at all.

    But the Southern dialects, far from the meta-ethnic frontier against the Turkic / Mongol / Tungusic peoples, will have rollercoaster intonation until the end of time.

    So, Mandarin took longer to halt and reverse tonogenesis, compared to Khmer. But this is a quantitative, not qualitative difference. As the only empires in the region affected by tonogenesis, both of them halted and reversed tonal contrasts, and employed non-musical alternatives (diphthongization in Khmer, word-compounding in Mandarin).

    Frontier people have to be stoic, can't sound musical! Hehe.

  172. When the Khmer empire was around, Northern China was still ruled by non-Chinese peoples: first the Khitan, then the Jurchen, and then the Mongols. The region wasn't ruled by ethnic Chinese until the Ming dynasty kicked the Mongols out.

  173. Beijing, from where the standard Mandarin Chinese dialect comes from, only became the capital city of China during the Qing dynasty.

  174. Northern China has been the center of Han / Chinese identity, linguistic or otherwise, on the meta-ethnic frontier against non-Chinese barbarians, since at least 206 BC, when Chang'an (near modern Xi'an) was the capital of the Han Empire. That was back when the non-Chinese barbarian nemesis was the Xiongnu.

    Chang'an may not look very northern on a modern map of China, but that's because modern China still includes lots of conquered territory from non-Chinese -- Turkic lands in Central Asia, Inner Mongolia (valuable Mongolia), and Manchuria. It is on the far northern border between Chinese and non-Chinese groups.

    It is in the Northwest, rather than Beijing being in the Northeast, but northern nonetheless. Southern China begins at Shanghai.

    The later capital of the Han dynasty was Luoyang, which is slightly further north than Chang'an.

    The "southernmost" of the 4 ancient capitals is Nanjing, which is still north of Shanghai.

  175. You're making the standard error of genetic determinism when it comes to ethnogenesis. Just because a foreign group leads an empire, doesn't mean they are imposing their foreign culture on the people they conquered. More often than not, they shed the culture of their foreign origins, and adopt the culture of their new subjects, in order to more effectively rule them.

    No matter how many groups of originally Northern barbarians came to rule China, the elite -- let alone the masses -- of Chinese society *never* practiced Tengrism, as opposed to Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, etc., which were native to China or were adopted into Chinese culture long before the Jurchens or Mongols showed up.

    The Chinese people never spoke a non-Sinitic language in their everyday speech, and they never elevated such a language into their national literary arts, even though some of their rulers originally spoke Turkic, Mongol, and Tungusic languages.

    They didn't even borrow distinctive features of those languages, like agglutinative morphology or vowel harmony, if they had wanted to make a halfway compromise. Nor did they adopt a foreign script for their own language's writing. Nope -- it was native Sinitic, all or nothing.

    The Chinese people never adopted nomadic pastoralism based on domesticated horses, did not raid the Steppes using bows & arrows, or anything other than rely on sedentary agrarian subsistence (mainly based on rice).

    And even on the genetic level, the original foreigners married into the native elite, as part of their integration into the society they wanted to rule effectively. Over the generations, that pure bloodline gets diluted. So even putting aside that genetic variants do not produce a specific culture, those genetic variants themselves faded into the background sooner than later.

    There's nothing unique to China about these dynamics. The Bulgars were originally Turkic, but the society, culture, and empire that they united and ruled over became distinctly Slavic and Christian -- not Turkic in language, writing, religion, subsistence mode, or really anything. And again, by marrying into the local masses they ruled over, their pure bloodline itself got diluted by the time of their golden age.

    The only distinctly Turkic thing about the Bulgarian Empire is the given name "Boris", which remains popular among Slavic speakers. It first became popular after the reign of Boris I ("the Baptizer"), a golden age ruler who instituted Christianity in place of Tengrism, and sponsored Cyril & Methodius, key figures in the development of Slavic literature and religion.

  176. The key point, though, is that Southern China has never been the political or cultural center of gravity for an entire empire. They don't lie on an enduring hostile meta-ethnic frontier. So, on the whole, Chinese cultural evolution did not originate in the South but the North -- whether among pureblood Han in the North, or a coalition of pureblood Han and foreigners who intermarried with pureblood Han.

  177. Do you think there could ever be warfare/terrorism between the East and West in America? Like the Basques, Catalans, etc.

  178. Does the meta ethnic frontier extend to the Ohio River Valley? I wonder if the founding fathers' Roman larp will turn to be accurate, with the east bank of the Ohio river defining the western border of the western Roman empire equivalent, while everything west out to the pacific becomes the equivalent to the more cohesive Byzantine Roman empire.

    Thus for the American empire, on cue, the eastern half of the empire east of the Mississippi/Ohio falls apart, while the western half extends from the Pacific to the Mississippi/Ohio. The South will half coalesce into a EUish to Malaysian federation, with Florida acting as a Singapore equivalent.

  179. Yes, the meta-ethnic frontier is America was mainly against the Indians (and later, the Mexicans), and there were full-out wars between Indians and Americans in the Old Northwest (Great Lakes region) well after independence, right up through the War of 1812. There was no equivalent of Tecumseh to the east of the Ohio River.


    America will fracture along East vs. West lines primarily, but the West will not become a new empire in its own right, as the Byzantines did. They had a powerful meta-ethnic nemesis bearing down on them (various raiders arriving at Constantinople via Thrace, not to mention the Persians from the east).

    No region of America has such a continued pressure from a culturally different Other, so the rump state of America, post-imperial collapse, will be more like Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Still cohesive enough to hold together a large-scale society, a regional power that no one wants to fuck with, but not an empire, let alone a global superpower or economic overlord. Those days are done for.

  180. I don't know much about Russian movies, but my sense is that Russians still value their earlier cultural works more than Soviet-era movies, as far as "symbols of Russian identity". Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Tchaikovsky, etc.

    One of the central movies to their culture is the film adaptation of War and Peace (1966-'67), whose narrative and characters come from Tolstoy.

    They were huge in sci-fi, just like their co-imperial power of the Midcentury, America. Movies, novels / short stories, academic theories about life on Mars / ancient aliens / etc. (there's a Soviet academic interviewed in the film version of Chariots of the Gods).

    I don't think any of those movies or novels reached sacrosanct status like Star Wars did in America, but I could be wrong.

    Eisenstein made a war epic about Alexander Nevsky, but that does not have to do with Russian ethnogenesis. Those events took place in Novgorod in the 13th C., with Western / Germanic nemeses invading northern Russia.

    Looking through lists of Russian historical movies, I don't see many about their meta-ethnic nemesis -- Steppe peoples. There was one from 2012, The Golden Horde, but the wiki entry is pretty short, meaning it probably isn't held to be an instant classic and sacrosanct.

    Most of their historical movies are about encounters with the West -- early ones against the Teutonic Knights (again, that was the Novgorod Republic, not Moscow or the Russian Empire), later ones about Napoleon or the Nazis or America. Surprisingly few about the Steppe peoples, though.

  181. That could be a general pattern, since American culture doesn't dwell so heavily on wars against the Indians, which shaped us in the first place.

    We do have a background awareness of battles against the Indians, and some occasional reminders from cultural works, but by and large it's just in the background.

    Most of the powerful "Us vs. Them" American movies are Westerns, where the meta-ethnic nemesis is Mexican rather than Indian (although some do feature the remaining badass Indian tribes out West). And half of the focus of Westerns is the general lawlessness of the Wild West, where your fellow Americans might be bandits and thieves, not just hostile Indian tribes. Or the now tiresome fixation on WWII and the German Empire, which had even less to do with American ethnogenesis.

    Somehow we don't focus on the War in the Pacific, where the Other was far more different than it was in Germany. And where our frontier has always led us -- westward toward the Pacific, not back East to Euruope. Weren't they the ones who bombed Pearl Harbor, "a day that will live in infamy," the place we dropped atomic bombs on, etc.? There's almost no movies about Japan leading up to, during, or just after WWII. Only about the contemporary period, when they were incorporated into the American Empire, or long-ago stories about the samurai.

    And very little Roman literature is about the Gauls, their original meta-ethnic nemesis. Other than the dry factual contempo account of their conquest by Caesar, and the sculpture of The Dying Gaul.

    I don't know of any French major cultural works about their being assaulted by the Vikings / Norsemen, which caused the birth of the French Empire under the Capetians.

    No major German work I know of is set in the times of the Lithuanian Empire, including their alliance with the Kingdom of Poland, who held the Prussians in a vassal state. Being encircled and vassalized by the Lithuanian-Polish Empire was the cause of the Prussian Empire's birth and expansion. And yet, to German culture-creators, it's a great big "who care?" episode of their history.

    The British are more unusual, in that Shakespeare wrote a ton of plays involving their French nemesis, set in the late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years War. Not sure how central these have been to British identity, though -- Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, etc. are far more central, and they don't involve literal French or disguised French villains, do not involve the Hundred Years War, and so on.

  182. The defining works of Spanish culture generally do not have to do with their nemesis, the Moors, other than the Cantar de Mio Cid, which was written very early in the imperial / expansionist phase of Spain's history. Their Golden Age works did not dwell on the Moorish menace.

    Nor are Austrians' major works obsessed with the Ottomans, who caused their empire to solidify around Vienna, Prague, and Budapest. And the few exceptions are light-hearted and comic, like Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio.

    The Byzantines' literary energies were focused on Christianity more than broader literature, but in any case, they did not dwell on the invasions by Goths, Huns, and other nomadic raiders who stormed through Thrace during the twilight era of the Roman Empire, and caused the people around Constantinople to cohere into a whole new empire.

    I'm pretty sure this is a general pattern.

    Is it because focusing on your original meta-ethnic nemesis makes the mythical account of your origins seem less mythical, and too realistic or materialistic?

    It's related to my original theory about the integrative civil war, and its role in ethnogenesis being more powerful than the meta-ethnic frontier that provided the original glue to the society / empire.

    When it is merely Us vs. a very alien Other, that does not resolve the question of who We are -- only that We are not Them. There's too much variation on the Us side that needs to be homogenized into a uniform integral whole, before we can talk about how mighty and awesome We are as a people, empire, culture, etc. And that elimination of variation, and centralizing homogenization, only takes place after the integrative civil war.

    Think about American Western movies -- even those that do involve Indians are set after the Civil War, like The Searchers (set in 1868). The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is set during the Civil War, although away from the main theatre (way out in the Southwest). There are few or none that come to mind that are set before the Civil War.

    Is the future of America going to be the lawless banditry, or the sheriff and his posse, in the Western frontier? That is an entirely American-internal affair, not having to do with Indians or Mexicans.

    The original meta-ethnic nemesis is more about the "mere" birth of an empire, and not about the more fascinating stages of its life as it grows up and matures and peaks, and ultimately undergoes its tragic demise.

    Hazy mystical fantastical eras far earlier than the meta-ethnic frontier, can provide a nice sense of who we used to be, way way way before we were born as an imperial culture. But that birthing event itself is only somewhat interesting, not the stuff of major legends.

  183. As the Russians fantasize about the Novgorod Republic and Alexander Nevsky, so do the British fantasize about their pre-imperial days, namely under King Arthur and Camelot.

    Americans don't really have much of a hazy pre-imperial era to look back on, since the Indian wars heated up almost right after we landed in America.

    Perhaps that's where Medieval Europe comes in for us? We don't think of that as the product of a wholly new people, empire, and culture, since we have no historical connection to Medieval Europe. It might as well be the hazy mystical past of the American people -- before we crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

    And of course due to our recent birth as a nation, let alone empire, we're tempted to compensate by going even further back and bypassing our imperial rivals in Europe -- we originated in the Ancient Near East, including Israel and Egypt! Or we were seeded by Arthurian aliens! Cosmic Camelot!

    Don't even start me on "founded by foreigners" myths... that may require a post of its own.

    But it does relate to the Romans focusing on their deep history with Romulus, or according to later legends, Aeneas and the days of the Trojan War. As long as it's sufficiently earlier than when the Gauls and Carthaginians invaded Italy, it can be mythical, hazy, and fantastical -- not realistic and materialistic.

  184. Haven't written a "Midcentury utopia treasure discovered" report in awhile, although there's plenty to report. But I did recently score two Midcentury office swivel chairs, by All-Steel and interpreting the Charles Pollock chair by Knoll.

    Currently sitting in one almost exactly like this, although mine tilts and raises, whereas this was custom-built for IBM to not have those features (lol), and my plastic back is a bit more beige / taupe than off-white, but still with the great heavy two-tone green weave on the upholstery, from the '70s:


    Only $5 apiece! Yes, you will have to make regular trips to the unglamorous part of town for several months until they pop up, but these things were all over the country not long ago -- they are NOT rare, and should never be paid flipper parasite prices.

    The listing above must be a decade old, when they were still only asking $75 -- it's well into the low hundreds range these days (they never sell, and sit in a Boomer's storage unit until they croak, then go back into the thrift stores / estate sales market). They are not rare, do not pay those crazy prices.

    And even if you did get QE handouts in the 2010s, you are not any longer as of a year ago -- sucks to you. So you will not be paying QE / late 2010s prices out of necessity, like those who never did get dealt into the QE handout parasite feeding fest, like moi. That necessity has made me a much better scavenger of the material culture of the collapsing American Empire, than those who were given shitloads of free money for a little under 10 years, and now have no clue how, where, and when to get stuff.

    The other is like this one, only with a two-tone brown weave in the upholstery (medium and dark brown):


    In case you go out hunting, this model has much more gleaming chrome than the above model -- and it has chrome under the arms, and running in a rim around the seat and backrest, like the Knoll original (although this All-Steel interpretation has a thinner chrome rim, but it's more interesting than the first model above, which has no chrome rim or arms, only on the base).

  185. These are both very comfy, contrary to neolib tech-sector nerds who post on reddit about how such chairs will "break your back" because they don't have lumbar support. Um, ackshually, they do -- the curvature of the back shell does curve outward, but the inner part of the shell, where the cushioning is, and where your body contacts it, is curved in the opposite direction, closer to your lower back and further away at upper back, in order to contour it the whole way.

    But clueless nerds who have never said in a real chair would never know that you can make the inner and outer sides have different curvatures for aesthetic or functional reasons.

    They also have to cope about contemporary people's abysmal posture, during a time when they all sit in those eRGoNoMiC mesh chairs with 37 indepedently changeable components to perfectly customize the chair to your unique body!

    Meanwhile everyone had perfect posture and gait and energy and focus when they were sitting in these Midcentury chairs.

    One was made by a paradise-on-Earth society, the other by a dystopian shithole society -- I wonder which chairs cause more discomfort and crippling posture?!?!

    I will never sit on a neolib tech-sector mesh chair for the rest of my life. Only really did when they were the standard in college campus computer clusters, during grad school circa 2010. Never again!

    Using vintage ones may require some clean-up first, but these things are indestructible. The most I had to do with these two was remove a huge ball / disc of threads that had gotten wrapped around a caster's axel over the decades, rendering it unable to spin.

    Pro-tip: just cut the Gordian Knot, and slice into the mass of tangled fibers with a steak knife or something, cutting from every angle around the circle. Then go in with needle-nose pliers to yank out the somewhat detangled mass. After that is the more laborious stage -- hand tweezers (only with tiny tips, not the large flat tips, which will not fit in tight spaces), to remove the stubborn threads one at a time, which may take several minutes apiece.

    Then if needed, a little Scotch Brite around the axel to grind off any rust that could also be clogging the mechanism.

    But in just one night, you can counteract 50 years of neglect and get these things back to totally functional status!

    They're too good to pass up, too stylish to not decorate your place with, and too American to let vanish as our imperial collapse fills our spaces up with this generic techno-Bauhaus bullshit!

  186. Another amazing chair to BOLO for, which were mass-produced and are all over the place, NOT rare, something that will turn up if you look for it, is the 40/4 chair by David Rowland. I found an original one, not even a later interpretation, with a wonderful figuring on the wood, rich orange-y brown stain, gleaming chrome frame, indestructible, and super comfortable to sit in, with the dip / bend in the wood at the back of the seat. Much like these:


    Except mine was from a nearby thrift store for only $7, whereas the parasite flippers are asking over $100, and even on ebay they end up selling for $75 or so.

    Not rare = no crazy prices. Just wait until they show up in the wild, most people are consumed by The Nothing, the death drive, whatever you want to call it, and will totally overlook such affordable luxuries and American icons. "A chair with no mesh? In 2023, really? Ummm, NO thanks..."

    It's more of a side chair or guest chair, waiting room chair, church basement chair -- not something you'd sit in all day long. Could totally be a gaming chair today, if you don't play all day long. And when not in use, it looks amazing -- wild-figured woodgrain AND chrome in one piece!

    As QE continues to implode and Boomers get desperate, you may put the word out, "Hey does anyone have a storage unit they'd be willing to open and let me look around" -- like American Pickers, but without the QE-fueled inflation in prices.

    For these mass-produced items, it'd be easy to put out a picture and name of the item, for them to easily say whether they do or don't have one in their hoarder unit.

  187. And just like the Pollock chair, the 40/4 chair contours the back, closer at the bottom and bending further away toward the top.

    Do neolib tech-sector nerds really think no one figured out how to bend wood, plastic, or metal before Bill Clinton inaugurated the original Dot-Com Bubble? Or how to make chairs tilt, swivel, move on rotating casters, raise the seat, etc.?

    They're just taking those icons of industry and cheapening them down -- no solid indestructible frame, no cushioning over top of it, no fabric to cover the cushioning. We already had reed caning, jute webbing, or macracme / woven seats -- now it's just cheap plastic mesh.

    I scored a macrame one from a thrift store years ago for a few bucks! -- an old Mission / Arts & Crafts frame in quarter-sawn oak, with a somewhat intricate yellow rope / cord seat woven in place of whatever used to be there, probably when it needed re-upholstering and macrame was the big trend, back in the '70s. Still comfy to sit in, not a single cord has frayed or broken, no indentation in the overall seat, nothing! Pretty cool color contrast, too, between the yellow cord and dark-brown wood.

  188. If you *do* have piles of cash lying around and want a new chair, under no circumstances should you waste it on cheap contempo crap that's more overpriced than anything in world history.

    Splurge on the Pollock chair that had leather instead of the fabric upholstery. Or a knock-off / adaptation of the Eames lounge chair to a task chair / executive chair frame.

    Anything but another dull-black plastic-mesh hammock-on-plastic-wheels!

  189. Just saw three more Steelcase chairs today in a single thrift store, which I did not pick up. Each one only $5-10. One was their Pollock interpretation, with the tufted buttons, but it had a gray fabric that didn't look so cool. (It was from the '80s, when gray started to seep into the color palette).

    Another was a cantilevered side / waiting room chair, but also sadly had a gray enamel over the tubular metal frame, rather than good ol' American chrome.

    And another was their interpretation of the 40/4 chair -- it did have a chrome frame, and the seat & backrest were hard plastic in a beige. Not too bad, but I'd only get another one if it were made of wood, or had a leather upholstery.

    The architecture of the formerly wealthy professional-managerial class is only going to collapse once -- this is the time, as the QE bubble pops, sending them right back to 2008 panic levels, where they're liquidating all their cool stuff (along with later crappy stuff, too, if you want one of those '90s or 21st-century office chairs).

    I've never seen so much high-quality office furniture flooding into the thrift stores, and it won't go on forever. Now is the time to get, while the getting's good!

  190. When the residential real estate bubble burst, you'd see cool home furniture sitting on the curb, as the former residents of the home GTFO when they couldn't afford it anymore, and decided not to bother moving or selling their stuff.

    As the commercial real estate bubble is bursting, suddenly there's amazing office furniture flooding into thrift stores. They can't exactly hold a "Going out of business, everything must go" kind of sale, where customers would go inside the defunct office to scoop up their Midcentury furniture.

    But, just give it a few weeks, and it'll end up in a thrift store!

  191. Aeneas supposedly seeded Britain as well? Via his grandson, Brutus, according to the myths / legends of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain.

    I must have forgotten about that one.

    It's no crazier than the mainstream American view that we were seeded by an advanced civilization from Mars (or elsewhere in outer space).

  192. I think Britain's original meta-ethnic nemesis may have been the Vikings ruling over the Danelaw, with Southern England still on its frontier for most of that time (other than 25 years at the end, when Cnut the Great ruled it as well).

    The French nemesis may have been more of a secondary and later force, similar to the Carthaginians and Roman asabiya, which was originally caused by the Gauls. Or the Swedes being a secondarily force on Muscovy / Russia, after the primary force of the Steppe peoples. Or the Mexicans coming after the Indians writ large, for America.

    That would make the British Empire another one that was spawned by the expansion of the Vikings -- along with France, which is better appreciated.

    A *lot* of things about British history & culture make sense if the original force causing them to cohere and change was the Vikings, rather than the French (who still had an effect, but later and lesser).

    For one thing, sticking with the discovery that imperial cultures obscure their original motivating meta-ethnic nemesis -- Shakespeare, the single most influential creator in British history, did anything but obscure their rivalry and intrigue with the French in his historical plays.

    But he did not say anything about the Viking / Danish control of Britain. Only Macbeth is set in that time period, and it's about internal Scottish politics, not English, and not about Scotland vs. the Vikings. Hamlet is set in Denmark, but in the 14th C, long after the Viking Age was over, and it is also internal politics in Denmark, not England vs. Denmark.

    The entire period of Viking / Danish control of much of England is hardly evident in British culture. In the dry factual historical accounts, it is there, but even avid readers gloss over it as a boring non-English / non-British period. There's the pre-Roman period, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, then bla bla bla about the Danelaw, and then the Norman conquest and everything after it.

  193. In this view, the integrative civil war after the initial turning of the tide against their meta-ethnic nemesis (the Vikings, who were driven from power in Britain in the mid-1000s) was roughly 1100-1150, including the intense period known as The Anarchy from 1138-1153, but beginning with mutual invasions and wars between the sons of the first Norman king, William the Conqueror -- Henry I, ruling over England, and his elder brother Robert Curthose, ruling over Normandy.

    The end result was the rise of the Plantagenet house in England, beginning with Henry II. How was that side of the civil war different from that represented by Stephen? It looks like England was going to be partly ruled by a foreign elite from modern-day France, formerly the unified Francia of Charlemagne's days.

    But circa 1100, there was no unified France -- not until Philip Augustus' conquests of 100 years later. There was Northeastern France, centered in Paris, under the Capetian house, the ones who organized the resistance against the Vikings. Then there was the broad West of France, including Normandy in the Northwest, but also Anjou in the central-ish West.

  194. The Anarchy in England involved one faction behind Stephen of Blois, and another behind Empress Matilda.

    Stephen had parents from both sides of the growing conflict in France -- his mother was Norman (Adela of Normandy, daughter of William the Conqueror), but his father was Northeastern French where the Capetians ruled (Stephen, Count of Blois). During the civil war, Stephen drew heavily on his support base in NE France (where his wife was also from, Matilda of Boulogne).

    Empress Matilda was not tainted by connections to the Northeast of France, Paris, Boulogne, the Capetians, etc. She only had the Norman connection at first (being daughter of Henry I of England). Then she married an Angevin -- Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, and founder of the Plantagenet house. Two foreign connections -- Normandy and Anjou -- but both safely in the West of France, untainted by the growing French empire in the Northeast of France. The Angevins and Parisians were bitter enemies, in fact!

    The faction of Empress Matilda drew support from Anjou, not any part of NE France.

    So to the local elite of England, it was a choice between sharing power with foreigners from Western France or NE France. Some of these foreigners had to be included, because they had a Norman connection, and it was the Normans who liberated Britain from the Vikings / Danes. The only unresolved question was: Normans with a NE French connection, or with a Western French connection?

    Normandy was also part of Western France, and had always been in a state of uneasy tension at best with Paris and the NE -- at the outset of Normandy's existence, it was where the Vikings settled the French mainland, launching attacks toward the NE. The Parisians / Capetians were always eager to subdue it and integrate it into their growing realm. Not to mention, they were intent on subduing / integrating Anjou as well.

    That expansionist project of Paris made the NE of France feel too hostile to English interests, who had been recently liberated from the Vikings by the Normans of Western France. Whereas Anjou was not locked in a longstanding rivalry with Normandy, indeed those two regions merged their fates when Empress Matilda married Geoffrey of Anjou.

    The faction of Stephen of Blois was therefore playing the role of "traitors siding with hostile foreigners" (NE France) in the integrative civil war, whereas Empress Matilda's faction was native or at most allying with friendly foreigners. Those playing the role of Stephen of Blois never win the civil war, and that was true in this case as well.

  195. This explains why British ethnogenesis kicks off closer to 1150 than any time far later or earlier. That's when their integrative civil war wrapped up. They'd already turned the tide against their original meta-ethnic nemesis, the Vikings, in the mid-11th C., but that is only about asabiya and cohering against a shared enemy.

    That still leaves tons of variation left on the Us side -- and that would be fought on in the integrative civil war of 1100-1150, where the NE French-friendly side lost, because NE France were enemies of England's recent liberators from the Vikings (the Normans).

    Middle English is a huge departure from Old English, much more so than Modern vs. Middle English. And Middle English begins around 1150, lasting through around 1500 -- it might as well be called "Plantagenet English", not just for the timing, but indicating that the rise of the Plantagenets was not merely a changing of the ruling house, but the construction and development of a whole new people, society, empire, and culture.

    During this period, the bubbling-in-the-background rivalry against NE France comes to a rolling boil, with the Hundred Years War, which once again pitted a faction from NE France against another one from Western France, albeit now ruling over much of Britain now as well.

    England did not conquer France, nor did France conquer England, but this did exert a large effect on the asabiya of each side. Not as strong as that exerted by the original meta-ethnic nemesis -- ironically enough, the Vikings in both cases! But still, a later and somewhat lesser force.

    Coming after the turning of the tide against their original nemesis, this development into mutual nemeses was preserved much more in their cultural memory. It was not the mere birth of their empires, but part of their maturation. Both of them quietly swept the memories of their original nemesis under the rug -- at least in the culture overall, only having some memories of that reality in the dry factual histories.


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