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CELTIC-L  October 1995

CELTIC-L October 1995

Subject:

Re: More fun with Celtic Identity (long)

From:

ANGELA PICCINI <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Mon, 23 Oct 1995 11:27:33 GMT0BST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (106 lines)

Right, to attempt to set the matter straight as I too, am rather
tired of having to explain my position again and again (and to the
person who thinks my postings are not informative my only suggestion
is to delete them without reading them)---
 
I didn't argue that all people's definitions of celticity are the
same.  Nor did i argue that contemporary self-definitions of
celticity are invalid--quite the contrary.  Furthermore, it has
always been my assertion that it is precisely because so much of what
is described as celtic was originally defined by outsiders that i am
interested in the ways in which those who now call themselves celts
take pride in many of the characteristics originally imposed on them,
thus in some way validating the original cultural labelling.  I'm
thinking here of things like celtic 'emotions' and the inability to
be 'coldly logical'.  These vague notions completely overwrite and
mask difference and set up the argument that if you're of Welsh
ancestry but don't like the arts or music then you can't be truly
welsh or celtic.
 
Also, there seem to be alot of assumptions about where I cast my lot--
simply because I asked a question.  I am not defining anybody--i
wished only to find out the mechanisms by which individuals define
themselves as a practical excercise.  I do not think that these
mechanisms are fictions--however, much of what is taken as accurate
history is questionable--like anything else.  My use of 'fictions'
is not negative--assertions of anything called authenticity
are far more dangerous.
 
 
To say this yet again, I do not have a problem with people, American
or otherwise, calling themselves Celts.  I would never tell someone
that she or he couldn't define themselves in which ever way she or he
wished.  However, this does not invalidate my questioning how that
definition was arrived at.  And I have never argued that my being
Canadian has anything to do with knowledge.  I mentioned my own
affiliation simply because it seemed everyone assumed I was English--
even though I live in Wales and have an Italian name.
 
As to the historical aspect of your post--I will still argue that it
is not closed.  There are problems with translation and intention.
What did Classical writers mean when they wrote keltoi and then
galatae and celtae.  Who were they referring to really and to what
end?  Who recognised the Galatians as, specifically a Celtic people?
How can we assume that celtic meant the same thing then as now?
Isn't our understanding of social groupings forever changing through
history as you hinted at?  If so, history doesn't 'prove' anything as
such although it can be used to explain and to create meaning.
 
Although I myself don't want to go private with this discussion,
it is obvious that what i've been saying has irritated
alot of people who don't want to 'waste time' talking about issues
of race and culture.  So if anyone responds to this on-line, i
will respond to them directly.
 
yours,
Angela
 
ps  all of you, go over your postings--i have not labelled anyone,
nor called anyone names (other than, perhaps, defensive).  i on the
other hand am condescending, smug, patronising, etc.  i have
no problem with any of your opinions although i do think it's a bit
of a cop-out to resort to name-calling which doesn't have anything to
do with what i'm saying.
 
(extracts from previous posting)
>  As far as Angela Piccini's and others' views go,we are committing the
> same mistakes that many authors of flawed histories make:some people are
> viewing the whole matter through an all-too convenient 20th Century
> lens.Are we Celtic for reasons of ancestry?In an 'umbrella'sense,yes.Does
> that make Americans of the United States variety the same as the
> inhabitants of modern Ireland/Scotland/Wales/Brittany/Cornwall/Man?Of
> course not.The answer lies somewhere beyond the reductionist theories of
> anthropology and the pessimism of others who can only view this from the
> outside.
>        Celts or Irish,Scots,et.al.have always been defined from
> the outside,rarely from the group in question at all.Once corporate
> identity is attempted from *inside* any of these groups,it is branded as
> "nationalism",an attempt at "identity",or worse.
>
>        Another point: The mechanisms by which we reinforce our
> identity,the pride we have in it,and the ways we pass this on are not
> "..fictions..".>        Some members of this list seem to have a problem seeing how the
> rest of us can identify with being "Celtic" in any way,especially if we
> have the temerity to be born in the United States.This assumes that
> someone from,say, Canada fully understands what ethnic identity
> means.The assumption is made that Americans just don't get it,
>In other > words,the opinions of smug, arrogant  Canadians and
others who > condescendingly
> judge the identity of racial groups in the United States from the outside
> are not only misinformed,but wouldn't 'get it' anyway.
>
>      Still having problems seeing how modern Americans and others can
> define themselves as Celtic?Try reaching back into Antiquity.
>     Lastly,we hold onto our heritage because it is ours and because we
> can.The same can not be said for those that came before us,and were
> punished for cultural expression.We do because we can,and because we
> are.We know this because it is a very real and cherished part of
> ourselves,that we share a common bond with other Celtic folks,and because
> we were raised that way,regardless of our address.Let the naysayers make
> their ignorant little attempts at classifying us.It's a Celtic
> 'thing';they wouldn't understand.
>
>
>                        Patrick R. Egan
>

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