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Post "Wrong Side of the Blanket"
Created by John Eipper on 05/01/17 4:41 AM

Previous posts in this discussion:


"Wrong Side of the Blanket" (John Heelan, -UK, 05/01/17 4:41 am)

JE asked on April 30th: "Here's a euphemism I've never heard before: 'from the wrong side of the blanket,' as in illegitimate. Is this a common expression in the UK?"

Yes. Further I seem to remember that the surnames of illegitimate children of royalty were appended with the word "Fitz."

Wiki tells us:

"From the Stuart era (1603-1714) and later, a pseudo-Anglo-Norman usage of Fitz was adopted for younger sons of the British royal family who lacked a legal surname, and particularly for illegitimate children of kings, princes, or general upper-class men, for example Fitzroy, (meaning "son of the king," from the French fils du roy); Fitzjames, son of king James II (1685-1688); and FitzClarence, son of the Duke of Clarence, later King William IV (1830-1837)."

Given the sexual mores of some past UK monarchs and their consorts, one suspects that the ranks of UK MPs and peers in Westminster would be depleted should all those with the family surname prefix "Fitz" were banned.

JE comments:  How about the late Duchess of Alba, aka María del Rosario Cayetana Paloma Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Fernanda Teresa Francisca de Paula Lourdes Antonia Josefa Fausta Rita Castor Dorotea Santa Esperanza Fitz-James Stuart, Silva, Falcó y Gurtubay?  This thanks to Ronald Hilton, 2001:


Euphemisms are always fascinating, but for argument's sake, aren't the Fitzy "love babies" the result of being on the right side of the blanket?

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  • More "Wrong Side of the Blanket": Rt Rev Justin Welby (David Duggan, USA 05/01/17 8:44 AM)
    The Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, had claimed that his grandfather was a German-Jewish immigrant to England: Bernard Weiler, who had changed his name to counter anti-German sentiment during WWI.

    It was therefore assumed that his father, Gavin Welby, was Jewish. DNA testing of a year ago however disclosed that his biological father was Sir Anthony Montague Browne, with whom his mother, Jane Portal, Winston Churchill's personal secretary, had had an affair shortly before marrying Gavin. Oh, the English.

    JE comments:  When learning of his paternity, Archbishop Welby remarked, "I know that I find who I am in Jesus Christ, not in genetics, and my identity in him never changes."

    Just to clarify:  Montague Browne, not Jane Portal, was Churchill's personal secretary.

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    • Churchill's Private vs Personal Secretaries (Timothy Ashby, -Spain 05/02/17 5:10 AM)
      A minor correction to the Archbishop of Canterbury's colourful ancestry.

      His actual sire, Sir Anthony Montague Browne, was in fact Churchill's last private secretary. Sir Anthony's paramour Jane Portal, mother of the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, was one of WSC's personal secretaries.

      JE comments:  David Duggan also wrote in with the same correction.  Mea culpa; I had conflated the private and the personal.

      Now, I surmise, we know how Portal and Montague Browne met.


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  • Royal Bastards, or, Fun with the Fitzes (John Heelan, -UK 05/03/17 4:18 AM)
    I found this on the Fitzes:

    Henry I

    Henry I had 21 to 25 bastards, including Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester, Maud FitzRoy (wife of Conan III, Duke of Brittany), Constance or Maud FitzRoy, Mabel FitzRoy, Alice FitzRoy, Gilbert FitzRoy, Emma. "It might be permissible to wonder how it was that Henry I managed to keep track of all his illegitimate children, but there is no doubt that he did so," wrote historian Given-Wilson.

    Henry VIII

    Henry VIII had one acknowledged royal bastard, Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset. As he had many mistresses, six other people are also put forward by historians as possibly being Henry's illegitimate children, including the mercenary Thomas Stukley, the poet Richard Edwardes and two of Mary Boleyn's children.

    Charles II

    Charles II fathered at least 20 illegitimate children, of which he acknowledged 14. The most famous of these was the Duke of Monmouth, his son by Lucy Walter. After Charles' death, Monmouth led a rebellion against his uncle James II.

    When Nell Gwynn brought her first child to Charles, she told it, "Come hither you little Bastard and speak to your father!"

    "Nay, Nellie, do not call the child such a name," said the king.

    "Your majesty has given me no other name by which I may call him."

    Charles then named the child "Beauclerk" and bestowed the title "Earl of Burford."

    Both James and his older brother Charles II were known for their numerous bastards.

    Illegitimate children of Charles II

    by Lucy Walter (c. 1630-1658)

    James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth (1649-1685). Ancestor of Sarah, Duchess of York.

    by Elizabeth Boyle, Viscountess Shannon (1622-1680)

    Charlotte FitzRoy, Countess of Yarmouth (1650-1684),

    by Catherine Pegge

    Charles FitzCharles, 1st Earl of Plymouth (1657-1680), known as "Don Carlo," created Earl of Plymouth (1675)

    Catherine FitzCharles (born 1658; she either died young or became a nun at Dunkirk)

    by Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland (1641-1709)

    Anne Lennard, Countess of Sussex (1661-1722). She may have been the daughter of Roger Palmer, but Charles accepted her.

    Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland (1662-1730).

    Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton (1663-1690). The 7-greats-grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales

    Charlotte Lee, Countess of Lichfield (1664-1717).

    George FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Northumberland (1665-1716).

    Lady Barbara FitzRoy (1672-1737). She was probably the child of the Duke of Marlborough. She was never acknowledged by Charles.

    by Nell Gwyn (1650-1687)

    Charles Beauclerk, 1st Duke of St Albans (1670-1726)

    James, Lord Beauclerk (1671-1680)

    by Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth (1649-1734)

    Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond and Lennox (1672-1723). Ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales;

    Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; and Sarah, Duchess of York.

    by Moll Davis, courtesan and actress of repute

    Lady Mary Tudor (1673-1726).

    James II had 13 bastards.

    William IV had 11 bastards. They used the surname "FitzClarence," because he was duke of Clarence.

    (Nowadays it seems such Fitzes are kept concealed under the blanket.)

    JE comments:  "Come hither you little Bastard."  That's a quote for the ages.

    Recently we saw the calculation that every European can trace his/her ancestry to Charlemagne.  Given Henry I's prodigious "issue," aren't all Britons of royal lineage?  (Aren't we all bastards in a sense?)  Here's another one of Hank the First's children:  Fulk FitzRoy, who became a monk.  The Incredible Fulk:  I presume the better names were taken.

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    • "Come Hither, You Little Bastard" (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 05/04/17 4:06 AM)
      JE asked on May 3rd: "Aren't we all bastards in a sense?"

      Answer: Not really. We may have bastards in our lineage, but that doesn't make us bastards. A bastard is a person born out of wedlock. The son or daughter of a bastard, himself or herself born in wedlock, is not any kind of a bastard, much less the grandson or great-grandson or distant descendant.

      JE comments:  How about bastard DNA?  (Looks like my genealogical joke fell flat.  Or was I trying to "reclaim" the term for bastards everywhere?)

      Next with his thoughts on bastardry, Gary Moore.

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      • Namibia's "Basters" (Jose Manuel de Prada, -Spain 05/04/17 3:30 PM)
        It may be of interest here to point out that in Afrikaans the term Baster (from Dutch bastaard) can mean "bastard," but is also the word for "hybrid."

        In the 18th century it began to be applied to the offspring of Khoikhoi and slaves, who commonly were called Bastaard-Hottentots.

        Later in the 18th century and well into the 19th, Bastaard/Baster was applied to people who had Khoisan (Khoikhoi or Bushman) blood, most often the offspring of Khoikhoi or Bushman women and white farmers.

        Thus a social and racial group emerged, people who had many of the trappings of European culture and lifestyle, yet were rejected by settlers of Dutch descent.

        When the British occupied for good the Cape Colony in 1805, they were appalled by the fact that there were people who called themselves "bastards."

        Possibly then the alternative "coloured" began to emerge, which in South Africa is still used to refer only to people of mixed descent, most of them Afrikaans-speakers.

        (In Afrikaans kleuring, although a lot of people prefer to speak about bruine mense, "brown people.")

        Rev. Campbell, of the London Missionary Society, managed in the 1820s to persuade a group of Basters living near the Great River to find another way of calling themselves, and thus the Griqua (or Griekwa) emerged.

        This happened beyond the colony's boundary as it existed then, because Basters, fleeing discrimination in the colony, where it wasn't easy for them to own land, began in the 1760s to go in the Karoo areas south of the Orange river.

        There many of them participated quite actively in the genocidal campaigns against the Bushmen, the original inhabitants of the area.

        They did this often as accomplices of white farmers, only to be dispossessed by them after the area became "pacified."

        In 1868 a group of them left the colony and settled in what today is Namibia.

        They are still there, at Rehoboth, quite proud to be Basters.

        Here is their website:


        To my knowledge, no community in South Africa identifies with the name.

        JE comments:  Fascinating.  José Manuel:  did the mixed-race Basters occupy a relatively privileged position under the German colonizers of Namibia, or were they persecuted as ruthlessly as the other native peoples?

        Non-Spanish speakers might be intrigued to know the term for italic script:  letra bastardilla.

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        • Bastardo, Batard, Dog-Brother (Edward Jajko, USA 05/05/17 2:00 PM)
          All this talk on mamzerut brings to mind food like zuppa bastarda and the Italian bastarda and French batard loaves. There is an Italian restaurant in Chelsea, New York City, called Il Bastardo.

          Antonio Francisco Bastardo Rafael, of the Dominican Republic, is a relief pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and formerly for the Mets and Phillies. He is known as Antonio Bastardo. I wonder what his teammates call him.

          On my phone I have a Polish dictionary app which shows a rich array of choices of words for English "bastard," available for suitable occasions. There are the literal "nie'slubne dziecko" and "nie'slubny" for "illegitimate," i.e., "unwedded child" and "unwedded." There is also "falszywy." These terms are no doubt for legal use. There is the loan word "bastard," as well as "bekart." There are "mieszany," "mixed, cross-breed," and the extreme "nienormalny," "abnormal." My favorites are "dra'n," which seems to be just plain "bastid," and "psubrat," which is literally "dog-brother," and "skurwysyn," "whoreson." These last three words are imprecations, cusses, not expressions of legal status.

          JE comments:  My Polish dictionary (Aldona) says that "psubrat" has a 19th-century ring, like "knave" or "blackguard" in English.  On the other hand, "skurwysyn" still gets plenty of air time in today's Poland--and occasionally at WAIS HQ.

          After zuppa bastarda, we should inquire about "puttanesca" (prostitute) sauce.  What's the deal with those Italians?

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          • Bastards Again; from Ric Mauricio (John Eipper, USA 05/06/17 4:50 AM)
            Ric Mauricio writes:

            I would like to put forth that we desist in labeling a person a "bastard" in a negative tone when that person has been born out of wedlock. After all, it wasn't the child's doing that he or she was born out of wedlock. And yet, he is stuck with such a negative label. However, utilizing the term to denounce a jerk or an a**hole is perfectly fine.

            In response to Ed Jajko (5 May), I often wondered why Antonio Bastardo didn't go by Antonio Rafael. Those with surnames of Butt have to endure being the butt of all jokes. I believe there is a football player with that name.

            JE comments:  Didn't we desist from that a century or two ago?  The jerk/a**hole meaning of "bastard" has now fully taken over in popular parlance.

            Regarding butts, I had this experience recently at a local diner.  One of the featured pies was butterscotch.  A wise-guy patron had erased the "erscotch" from the whiteboard, to leave "today's special:  butt     pie."


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            • Jake Butt, Football Superstar (Patrick Mears, -Germany 05/06/17 9:54 AM)
              In response to Ric Mauricio's recent musing: Yes, there is a football player named Butt, and a great one at that.

              And thank God he is a Wolverine. http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/jake_butt_843340.html .

              Among many other honors he amassed during his college career, he was an All-American tight end at Michigan and in his senior year was named Co-Captain of the team. Jake was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2017 and hopefully will be healthy enough to start this season, notwithstanding a fairly serious injury suffered in the Orange Bowl. http://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/wolverines/2017/04/27/michigan-football-jake-butt/100976186/ .

              Go Blue!

              JE comments:  Fortunately, the Butts resisted the temptation to name their son Seymour, or Fillmore.

              I fear we're destined to go down the road of funny human and place names.  This happens once a year or so on WAIS.  For his part, John Heelan has reminded us of the village of Apse Heath, Isle of Wight, which is frequently having to fix its signs when someone converts the "P" to an "R."

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              • Ric Mauricio on the Michigan Wolverines (John Eipper, USA 05/07/17 4:59 AM)

                Ric Mauricio writes:

                Yay! Go Michigan! Go Wolverines!

                Ever since the San Francisco 49ers unceremoniously fired Jim Harbaugh and he got his new head coaching position at Michigan, I've been rooting for them. Especially since we 'Niner fans hate, and I mean hate in capital letters, the Yorks and now-fired General Manager Trent Baalke. Hopefully, things are changing due to the hiring of GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. The way the draft went this year gives us great hope. But we sure miss Harbaugh.

                Did you know that Harbaugh is the highest-paid college head coach at $9 million? Yup, higher than Nick Saban.

                John, do you root for Michigan or Michigan State?

                JE comments:  My diploma's on the wall and I'm a Wolverine through and through, although the $9 million salary is one reason I direct my college donations elsewhere.  Having the world's highest-paid college coach is a twisted sort of prestige in and of itself, but couldn't a perfectly competent football guy be found, say, for one million?

                By way of comparison, Stanford's David Shaw makes a "mere" $4 million.  Given the rent in Palo Alto, that's almost middle class.  See below:


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          • Etymology of Puttanesca Sauce (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 05/22/17 10:27 AM)
            John Eipper (5 May) asked about puttanesca sauce.

            In the good old days when officially state-regulated brothels were lawful, until 20 September 1958, nothing was more mannerly and friendly than these clean, medically checked and strictly controlled places.

            Pasta alla puttanesca, however, according to one legend, is said to come from the dinners that were arranged in some places in the countryside around Naples. Customers would bring in any kind of stuff and the young ladies would cook.

            The recipes, therefore, are varied. However, "puttanesca" will always be a sauce made with capers, olives, anchovies, garlic, tomatoes, hot pepper, marjoram and whatever you still want to add, such as parsley.

            It is also said that late one evening, a restaurant had run out of food when a group of customers came in and asked for anything, even for a "Puttanata" of pasta. The cook mixed what was left and it was highly appreciated.

            JE comments:  I like the first explanation better, but either one is convincing.  Folk etymologies are endlessly fascinating, and over the years, with enough reinforcement, they become "true."

            Eugenio:  what led to the closing of the legal brothels in 1958?

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            • Buonismo and the End of the (Legal) Italian Brothel (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 05/23/17 9:56 AM)
              John Eipper asked about Italy's proscription of legal and regulated prostitution in 1958. It was a result of the arrival of a democracy, "buonismo" (goodism?), one determined socialist lady, and perhaps some UN declaration against prostitution.

              So now all the principal streets around Italy have open brothels with no checks at all and every possible type of crime, illness, and drugs.

              JE comments:  It's hard to argue against goodism in theory, but in practice?

              WAIS doesn't shy away from frank discussions, but with a few exceptions we've never addressed comparative prostitution law.  Some nations with legal or institutionalized prostitution surprise me:  Turkey and Bangladesh are examples.  (This is according to Wikipedia...not personal experience.)


              From the above, it's clear that policies towards prostitution cannot be generalized along a left-right or liberal-conservative divide.

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              • "One Determined Socialist Lady": Lina Merlin (Roy Domenico, USA 05/23/17 11:52 AM)
                In answering JE's question on the criminalization of prostitution in Italy, Eugenio Battaglia (23 May) mentioned some factors that may have pushed for it--democracy and buonismo, the UN and "one determined socialist lady." That would have been Lina Merlin--a socialist deputy from the Veneto. She gave her name to the "Merlin Law," ending legal prostitution in 1958. For all her trouble, however, the Socialists purged her from the Party, not supporting her in a 1961 run.

                She then moved over to support the Christian Democrats (DC) in their unsuccessful 1974 referendum to end divorce (which had become legal by 1970 parliamentary votes.) The DC preferred to leave these issues alone in the hope that they'd just go away. It would certainly be awkward for a Catholic party to support prostitution--although it had been legal in the papal states. Maybe better than others, the Holy Mother Church and the Christian Democracy understood weaknesses of the flesh and the sins they lead to--so in the fine Italian tradition: regulate it, turn away and hope for the best.

                JE comments:  I can see the criminalization of prostitution as a measure ostensibly in favor of women, but how could ending divorce be viewed that way?  Wikipedia says nothing more than "La socialista Merlin fu una convinta antidivorzista."  (There's no Wiki bio in English.)  I see no indication that she ever married--perhaps that's why she was against divorce.

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                • Attitudes Towards Divorce in Italy, 1950s and '60s (Roy Domenico, USA 05/24/17 5:11 PM)
                  I am literally writing on this topic--part of my manuscript on Catholic cultural politics in the 1950s and 1960s.  So, if JE forgives me, I can strike here while the iron's hot.

                  As to the reasoning behind women's suspicion of divorce, a few issues. First, this is pre-feminist Italy. Most women were socially conservative.  They followed Church teachings and voted Christian Democrat (DC). The two big arguments from the DC--often fronted by prominent DC women deputies--was that divorce victimized women by allowing the husbands to cut the ties and run; and it harmed the children. Remember, good Catholic wives were--ideally--mothers. All DC propaganda promoted "Mamma." In Italian mythology she's right up there with il Papa, San Francesco and Padre Pio.

                  When divorce went through at least the Catholics got a 5-year waiting period, later, I think, reduced to 3 in the 1980s. But still, divorce remains at pretty low levels in Italy, much lower than the US, and with a big stigma attached to it.

                  JE comments:  Social causes can create unexpected bedfellows.  We take it for granted that legal divorce is an issue of women's rights.  But who are the "we"?  Roy Domenico takes us to another time and place, in which an inviolable marriage was considered a good thing for women.  The situation vis-à-vis divorce it Italy is somewhat parallel to the 19th-century feminist movement in the US, where prohibitionism was a goal almost as important as achieving the vote.

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        • Namibia's Basters under German Colonization (Jose Manuel de Prada, -Spain 05/05/17 2:58 PM)
          According to David Olusoga and Casper W. Erichsen, in their book The Kaiser's Holocaust (London: Faber & Faber 2010), the Rehoboth Basters were forced to fight with the Germans against the Herero under the terms of the treaty they had signed with the former when the colony was established, but refused to wage war against the Nama, who were led by a charismatic and capable leader called Hendrik Witbooi.

          Witbooi, say Olusoga and Erichsen, in spite of having heard about the atrocities committed by the Germans against the Herero, chose to play by "the rules and conventions that were a central part of Nama tradition."

          The Herero had also played by the rules and didn't target civilians, yet the Germans treated both them and Nama as decades later they would treat the Jews and the Slavs.

          As for more recent history, according to this 1998 article published in The Independent, in the years previous to the independence of Nambia, at least some Basters engaged "in an ugly ideological marriage with South African apartheid."


          I don't know how this community deals nowadays with its fraught past, and if they remember at all that before trekking to Namibia in 1868 they had participated in genocidal campaigns against the /xam Bushmen of the Karoo.

          JE comments:  I read The Kaiser's Holocaust some years ago, at José Manuel de Prada's recommendation.  The historical record often paints Imperial German colonization as (slightly) more benign than that of the French, Belgians and even the British, but this was not the case in the nasty, genocidal campaigns the Germans waged in Namibia.

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    • On Bastardry and Crimes Against Humanity; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 05/04/17 4:24 AM)

      Gary Moore writes:

      Re John Heelan and "Come hither you little bastard" (May 3):
      Too close for comfort! The proverbial genealogical aunt in my
      family (remarkable librarian and archivist Linda Jensen) long ago
      found that we seem to be descended from the scandalously active
      Mary Boleyn, one of the Fitz-progenitors John listed (in our case,
      supposedly, through later Lord De La Warr [Delaware], though
      presumably not when he was in the colonies for scorched earth

      And re that latter theme: Serendipitously, though belatedly,
      I've come across in my notes two sources for our discussion
      of how to classify, jurisprudentially, the transatlantic slave trade
      (and confirming the comment by Timothy Ashby):

      1. “Emerging Challenges for Criminology: Drawing the Margins of Crimes against Humanity,” International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory, Vol. 6, No.2, March 2013, 1150-1160, by Nikos Theodorakis (Harvard Law and University of Cambridge) and David P. Farrington (University of Cambridge).

      Some quotes:
      "The field of international criminal law is a continuously evolving and challenging area of study."

      "The broader notion of crimes against humanity is as old as humanity itself. However the present status has evolved mainly throughout the twentieth century, greatly influenced by the Nuremberg Trials."

      "The latest development was the consensus in defining Crimes against Humanity during the ICC Diplomatic Conference of 1998, which can be considered as a milestone for the international community in the fight against human rights violations (Mettraux, 2002)."

      "Crimes against humanity encompass attacks and violations on a wide range of civilian populations, which can be committed in times of peace and do not result necessarily in the physical extermination of the victims (Olmo, 2006). In contrast, the term 'genocide' is narrower, and 'war crimes' can only be committed during an armed conflict."

      "The expression 'laws' or 'principles of humanity' embodies the idea that some transcendental humanitarian principles exist beyond conventional law that are not subject to any form of violation (Ntoubandi, 2007)."

      "Crimes against humanity are therefore offences against humankind and injuries to humanness. Their gravity qualifies the perpetrators hostis humani generis, offending fundamental values not adequately defended in internal legal systems, urging international intervention (Stahn and van den Herik, 2010)."

      "The very essence of 'humanitas' can be traced to the landmark concept in Greek philosophy of 'philanthropia' and the Roman concept of 'ethos' (Bauman, 1996)."

      "Crimes against humanity are characterized by acts so abhorrent that shock our sense of human dignity (Kastrup, 2000)."

      "The mens rea for crimes against humanity has a cognitive character, with the tribunals requiring that a
      defendant must have actual knowledge that his act is a part of a widespread or systematic attack on a
      civilian population and pursuant to a plan."

      2. The second source is Michel Gurfinkel of the Roussau Institute, as relayed by the Middle East Forum, April 24, 2015. (This one goes controversially farther in narrowing the terms, placing the Holocaust in a unique extreme category
      beyond mere genocide, different even from the Armenian genocide. The logic demands attention, since it speaks
      to the psychopathology underlying fanaticism; key quote, below: "crime was an end unto itself.")

      "For the sake of clarity and decency, one must delineate between (a) genocides (documented attempts to wipe off a race or a nation); (b) non-genocidal mass murders; (c) enslavement of large numbers of people; (d) planned dispossession and expulsion of large numbers of people; and (e) secondary effects of wars and other crises. In that order.  The Holocaust qualifies under point (a). So does the starvation program against the Hereros (in German Southwest Africa shortly before WWI), and the further genocidal operations against the Armenians, the Iraqi Chaldeans, the black minority in the Dominican Republic, the Roma/Sinti in Europe, and the Tutsis in Rwanda."

      "The Soviet, Red Chinese, and Khmer Rouge domestic massacres qualify under point (b), as well as the Nazi treatment of European nations (like the Poles), the Japanese atrocities in China, and many further ethnic and religious massacres in the Balkans, South Asia, and Africa."

      "The African slave trade and the slavery regimes in both Islamic countries and the Christian colonies in the Americas and elsewhere qualify under point (c). So do massive slave work programs in the Soviet Union, in Nazi Germany, in Maoist China, and in present-day North Korea."

      "Qualifying under point (d): The US treatment of many Native Americans in the 19th century; the French treatment of Kabyles in Algeria in 1871; the alternate expulsion of Turks, Greeks, and Turks again between 1912 and 1923; the expulsion of Poles and French from areas slated for German colonization during WWII; the expulsion of ethnic Germans from East Prussia, Transoderian Germany, and Czechoslovakia in 1945; the mass anti-Christian pogroms in Turkey in 1955; the expulsion of Christians and Jews from Arab or Islamic countries from 1956 on (Egypt, North Africa, the Middle East); and the expulsion of ethnic Greeks from Northern Cyprus."

      "A lot of tragedies befell civilian populations over the past hundred years, as a result of war, civil war, revolution, or other political or social upheaval. Many were cynically and deliberately engineered by governments or the military; the mass murder of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire paved the way. Many were planned and implemented along near-industrial methods. Still, there was something unique about the Holocaust, as the world realized in 1945, when the Nazi concentration camps were liberated."

      "Crime, including political crime and politically or militarily motivated mass murder, is usually a means to achieve some higher purpose or to bring about some practical benefit. For instance, the Ottoman rationale in 1915 was to 'remove' the Armenian minority from Turkish Anatolia in order to prevent a pro-Russian Armenian uprising and to achieve geostrategic cohesion. They had no further racial or metaphysical concerns. The few Armenians who converted to Islam were spared; many Armenian orphans were adopted by Turkish families and raised as Turks."

      "As far as the Holocaust was concerned, however, crime was an end unto itself. Under the Nazi genocidal project, no Jew was allowed to survive, neither by renouncing Judaism nor even as a pariah or a slave, and in fact very few Jews in the Nazi-controlled areas managed to survive. Moreover, the annihilation of the Jews was to take precedence over Germany's strategic considerations, and did actually divert and waste crucial resources in manpower, energy, and transportation needed by German forces. Finally, the Jews were not just to be murdered: they had to be murdered in the most gruesome and sadistic way, not just with physical cruelty but with moral or mental cruelty as well."

      JE comments:  These are very useful working definitions.  Ultimately, however, "Crimes against Humanity" boil down to the Potter Stewart test of "I know it when I see it."  A case in point is the transatlantic slave trade, which Southern apologists considered a cornerstone of the timeless "natural order."  More importantly, it was legal.

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      • Bastards Poor and Rich (Tor Guimaraes, USA 05/05/17 10:26 AM)
        Most people get quite indignant by the "ghetto" culture, whereby irresponsible young people take advantage of social welfare to freely engage in the creation of bastards. The WAIS discussion about bastard creation by royalty shows that the self-indulgence is universal, with royalty also making taxpayers pay for their promiscuity. Both groups are just like many animal species that do not mate for life and/or neglect their offspring.

        Regarding crimes against humanity (see Gary Moore, 4 May), it seems as if the law is way ahead of its enforcement. The evidence is clear that might makes right, since powerful countries get away with proverbial murder, simply refusing to abide by rulings from international courts. Without enforcement, any law becomes useless. Thus, powerful countries refusing to accept responsibility for their crimes merely point fingers at the crimes committed by their accusers on the other side.

        JE comments:  Traditionally, the bastard was the child of a nobleman.  Here's the 13th-century French definition:  "acknowledged child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife."  Note the operative term acknowledged.  Presumably, legitimacy didn't matter if you were a commoner, as there was no property or inheritance to squabble over.

        Bastardry is proving to be a popular topic for WAISers.  Next up:  Edward Jajko.

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