laupäev, november 27, 2010

how very european

Been back in Eesti for few weeks, but so busy, busy, busy with finishing my book that I haven't had time to write anything.

Being back in Viljandi, I was struck by how European it is. My first impression was of a cartoon when I saw was younger, where Charlie Brown goes to France and winds up sleeping in an abandoned chateau (and plenty of Viljandi still has that "abandoned chateau" look). And Snoopy, dressed as the World War I Flying Ace, goes to the pub every night and has a root beer.

Here's the film, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) (1980) I guess I am dating myself!

In Kuressaare, too, I kept having that itchy, "Where am I? Europe?" feeling. Something about the crooked lanes, colorful facades. This was driven home by the fact that the hotel in which we stayed was largely designed for Russian tourists. I wonder how they even get to Kuressaare. By private plane to Arnold Rüütel International Airport? The first 10 or so channels on the TV were Russian channels, loud boisterous, lots of snappy dance numbers and game shows with flashing lights and masses of people. Very interesting to watch, especially when you stepped outside into the quiet order of Kuressaare in November. Maybe it was the lengthy Danish rule. Dunno.

Besides the Russians, the city is dense with Swedish and Finnish pensioners. In fact, my impression of Russians is now based on sexy pop groups and chaotic game shows, and my impression of Finns and Swedes is now based on old people who enjoy mud treatments. I know it isn't so, but seeing is believing!

Now to the maps. There's been some persistent chatter on this blog and others about to whom Estonians are most related to genetically, as if this has some bearing on politics, preference in soft drink, fondness for repetitive accordion numbers. Here is a review of a study from a year ago. In it you can see that the Finns (and the southern Italians) truly are the genetic weirdos of Europe.

When it comes to relatives in Europe, the Finns' closest cousins really are the Estonians and the Swedes. Enlarge the map above, and you will see the Swedes and Estonians drifting away from the genetic arch of Europe towards the Finnish oddballs. However, they have different starting points. The Estonians starting position is closer to the Russians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Poles, while the Swedes are closer to the Germans and Austrians. But here you can see that the Estonians are not as closely related to the Baltic and Slavic populations as those populations are to one another. I am not sure why this should interest us. Geneticists make these maps to trace the heritability of human disease, not to make political arguments or comment on emotional disposition. But, anyway, look at all those shapes, blue circles, red triangles. Eye candy!

9 kommentaari:

Joshua ütles ...

Look at them estonians fly.

I find it very symbolic. All the other indo-germanic folk stick together (and hungarians too, I guess they're lost to us now) by some unholy indo-germanicness, then estonians also try to stick onto the indo-germanic train. They're holding onto it for their lives. But alas, they just can't resist the call of finnuit and it pulls them away from it. And thus they just fly towards the magic land of finnuits.

And swedes find it hard to resist the call of finnuit. Good to know.

It's like the thing with homosexuals and leading homophobes. Swedes called finns mongols, because they're finnmongols themselves. They're secret asians too!

It was on this secret meeting between germanic folk, where germans said to swedes, that in this light they could swear, that they saw a hint of ephicantic fold, and then the swedes just panicked.

You know, that's actually the reason why swedes and estonians kill themselves so much. They feel like they're being torn apart. And they are. And that's why I propose an humanitarian project "Cut The Indo-Germanic Chains And Fly", in where we help the estonians and swedes to overcome the indo-germanic trauma that so violates their psyche and let them fly towards the finnuitic asian paradise of Freedom.

And Love.

Thom ütles ...

The chart would be more interesting if it related Estonian memes (Finno-Ugric language, blood sausage, funny folk hats, crooked Euro-lanes, BMW's) to their counterparts in the rest of Europe. Genes are mostly the biological side effect of who used to live here and who stopped by. The interesting questions are about who had virally contagious ideas, what they did with them, and why some persist and others don't. How competitive are Estonian cultural memes in the 21st century ?

Giustino ütles ...

From what I understand, the Estonian Genome Project has collected a wealth of information about its donors. Perhaps the surveys also incluide questions about blood sausage consumption and the like.

Piimapukk ütles ...

It is not the genes. It's being open-minded or plain old time, perhaps. I would have never thought that I'd ever eat, not to mention love, half-shell oysters or peanut butter. Yet, here I am, doing both. Lovin life.

Stay in Estonia long enought and you get the true idea of head-cheese, hot mustard, cold vodka and blood sausage with cranberry jelly.


Love the whole spectrum of life. Treat it as a special gift to you. Many many people never even get a chance to try or love so much. ever.

Is this what Thanksgiving is all about.

Pene ütles ...

I'm looking forward to reading Part 2 soon. Keep at it & you'll get there! The end is in sight!

Indrek ütles ...

Very interesting map. The Finno-Ugric substratum is clearly visible in the Russian and Latvian-Lithuanian "coordinates".

The Swedes, if my sense of color is right, actually seem to be closer to the Hungarians than the Austrians.

lohekala ütles ...

There's a very interesting map shown during the latter part of this presentation by a Russian official, given at the recent FIFA event (where WC 2018 was decided). Mixed emotions, I would say...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcbxFJjvfTQ&feature=player_embedded

Estonie Tallinn ütles ...

The map is very interesting and particularly the position of the blue dots reprensenting Estonia.

saare-snowqueen ütles ...

Just for your information. Meie Maa reported last autumn; That hotel built primarily for the Russians is going into receivership. The next time you come to Saaremaa, stay in the GO Spa, which was built by and for Estonians...and Finns and Swedes (yes, them) and Germans and Americans, English and so on......