“Circumstances of birth are nothing more than random, and should never be a source of pride or shame.” – Penn Jillette, Penn and Teller: Bullshit, Season 4 Episode 7: Reparations
I don’t really know why people think their ancestry actually matters. I guess it’s because of this weird obsession some people have with the past.
I’m sure we’ve all heard of the documentary series, Who Do You Think You Are?, which takes celebrities on a tour of their ancestry. And the title is enough to annoy the hell out of me. I’m sure it’s interesting to learn what our ancestors did for a living, but saying that in any way tells us who we are (as implied by the title), is just fucking asinine! But I guess, Who Do You Think Your Ancestors Were? doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.
I’ve said all this before. The only practical thing genealogy teaches us is: What type of genetic predispositions we have to certain illnesses. It’s not really useful to anyone other than medical professionals.
But what about ancestry in a broader sense? I hear you ask! Surely it matters if our ancestors come from Asia or the middle east! It’s our heritage, our culture! If our ancestors were from Africa, shouldn’t we start practising ancient African tribal religions? If our ancestors were Jewish, shouldn’t we start practising Judaism as well? And what about royalty!? Surely if we have pure royal blood, that’s something to be proud of! We should start wearing crowns, and demand to be called lady or lord or whatever!
No! No! No! No! And finally: No!
Whether our parents are Jewish, or African, or the King and Queen of Spain, or anything else, doesn’t matter in the slightest. It’s certainly interesting, don’t get me wrong. But it doesn’t change who we are. I mean, if I found out I descended from Jewish people, I might gain a greater hatred for the events of World War II, but it wouldn’t change who I am, nor what I believe. And I wish this was a message that was told more often. But when they had the perfect opportunity to do so, the writers of Littlest Pet Shop decided to squander it instead. Which I find very fucking irritating. Continue reading