Tuesday, December 17, 2013

No... really... no... please, just stop saying stupid things like that... it really isn't helping.

So... Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly recently said, live, and without the slightest shadow of a doubt, that Jesus and Santa were white, that it was proven...

Fox News on air personnel.... PLEASE stop saying such incredibly obviously ridiculously laughably stupid stuff while the little red light is on please? Really, it is NOT helping.

Now, that said I'm not going to jump any further down her through, or tear her up any further. Everyone else on the planet has done that well enough already.

I WOULD like to address those who have come out in the last few days saying Jesus was black, or "dark skinned" or even "Palestinian".

... cuz yeah... no... that's all just as stupidly wrong.

First thing... there were no "Palestinians" before 1947. 

There were Syrians, who had historically lived in the Syrian districts of Palestine and Gaza, and Jordanians, who had lived in the west bank district of the kingdom of Jordan.

These were a mix of ethnic arabs (both christian and muslim), ethnic jews (new settled zionists, as well as syrian jews and those who had been on the land for centuries), armenians and lebanese, and egyptians.

There was a massive "resettlement" (basically a forced "reservation" style resettlement a la native americans in this country) of the muslims, christians, and jews, that the surrounding arab dominated states found "undesirable", into "palestine" from beofore the time Britain took dominion of it as a mandate trust territory in 1922 (with the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 actually, even before the Balfour declaration of 1917), until the official partition in 1947.

This was actually predated by an earlier forced resettlement from 1840 on into the Ottoman Mutasarrifates of Mount Lebanon and Jerusalem.

Basically, for a couple hundred years, the arab dominated states in the region viewed palestine as a dumping ground for their troublemakers, criminals, malcontents, and political enemies.

The historical natives of this region by the by were not ethnic arabs as such. They're ethnically... Levantine would be the best way of putting it. They are certainly semitic, and are closest to what we would think of as Lebanese, caucasian syrian, and Armenian today; along with a racial mix of saharan and horn africans, and south and central asians.

Also, this being a crossroads territory of middleman merchant cultures, there was a lot of racial intermixing going on for thousands of years.

In the time of Christ (whether you believe in Christ or not), the area of Judea and Galilee was most definitely NOT arabic. It was a Roman dominated mix of greeks, syrians, egyptians, and the levantine natives.

So, ethnically, Jesus probably looked a lot like a stereotypical "swarthy mediterranean man".

He was most likely fairly hairy, with a tan or olive complexion, brown eyes, and black or dark brown hair, which was most likely curly.

So... Jesus looked a lot more like this (though this reconstruction has been criticized by many scholars as being too arabic looking and not sufficiently "mediterranean"):

Than like this:

... and absolutely NOTHING like this:

Jesus as most western art depicts him is basically a 16th century spaniard; with a smattering of influence from 4th through 6th century romans, and 6th through 8th century "greeks" (Byzantine christians basically, some of whom were greek but mostly they were literally caucasian, as in from the southern caucasian mountains and the countries around them). 

The "Greeks" and Romans, made him look greek and roman. For the Romans had a short beard, as that was the style for priests of their culture. The greeks added a full beard and long hair to his imagery, because that was the style of priests in their culture. 

Post 1600, the vast majority of European artwork depicting Christ (and thus creating the modern western mental imagery of him) was influenced strongly by Bronzino and most especially El Grecos paintings of Christ from about 1565 on. 

Earlier european artists generally just used the earlier Roman and Greek imagery and style. Shorter hair, short beard, still pale and gaunt, but shorter in height; and with byzantine caucasian or roman caucasian features, dark hair, and dark eyes. 

El Greco painted christ as a tall, pale skinned, gaunt man, with long reddish brown hair, blue eyes, and a full reddish brown beard. He had distinctly Castilian... in fact distinctly hidalgo, features in these paintings.

El Greco basically took the greek imagery, and grafted local spanish nobility into it (flattering his patrons). 

This is probably best typified by Christ Carrying the Cross:

El Grecos style and imagery were then widely copied for the next 200 years; firmly setting Jesus in the western mind, as a 16th century spanish nobleman. 

... of course... the history of how the spanish nobility got their looks is another interesting tale of racial mixing...

And returning to the southern caucuses...

Santa claus...


Ok so... 

Santa is a syncretion of several mythological or semi-mythological characters.

Three of those characters are of northern european ethnicity yes...

... but one is an actual historical person. An ethnically mixed greek and turkish man, (a pre-ottoman Christian bishop) of olive complexion.

... and the last three or four are basically unseleighe fae (dark elves, dwarves or "monsters") with black or dark skin.

So yeah no... not "white" there either. Not Coca-cola santa (which, seriously, is where we get the modern image. Coca Cola ad campaigns from the early 20th century, mostly in the Saturday Evening post and similar magazines).