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The Marriage Market: The View from Tonga
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From Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan, a scene in the Pacific kingdom of Tonga, c. 1978:

The girls who worked in the guesthouse were having their fortunes told. Tupo, a sleepy-eyed, broken-toothed teenager in a striped shirt, dealt the cards. Jacks went across the top. The jacks represented, Tupo explained, the four races of husbands: palagi, Tongan, Japanese, Samoan. Each time Tupo drew a card, she matched it by suit with a jack, tapped it significantly, and declared, “You know!” The other girls, huddled around a kerosene lamp, listened to her with eyes wide and breath bated. …

To me, Tupo explained, “Girls who are fat and lazy will get Tongan husbands, who only allow them to cook and wash. Girls who are thin and beautiful and work hard will get palagis, who will wear watches, and drive them around in cars to moving pictures, and look, look, look at everything. Girls who marry Japanese will go to Japan’s land and live very well, smoking cigarettes and only sometimes mopping, but their husbands will become angry with their laziness and one day come home and carve them up with a knife. Girls who marry Samoans will go to Samoa and live like we Tongans do, except they may see TV.”

One of the girls sighed, “In Pago Pago I see television. Very beautiful!”

By the way, David Pinsen finally nails down the pun that’s been been nagging at me all week:

He must have been tempted to title that book Finnegans Wave.

Indeed, Finnegan mentions that he took a class on Joyce’s Finnegans Wake from Norman O. “Nobby” Brown at UC Santa Cruz. Nobby was a friend of Marcuse and a fellow big deal in Sixties New Left & hippy highbrow circles with his mix of Marx and Freud. Finnegan writes:

On this question [of adulthood], my professors weren’t always a help. I was in awe of Norman O. Brown, a gentle, formidably erudite classical scholar turned social philosopher who took on minor figures like Freud, Marx, Jesus, Nietzsche, Blake, and Joyce and wrestled their work to the ground, declaring victory for “holy madness” and “polymorphous perversity” and Eros over Thanatos, all while living quietly with his family in a ranch-style house near campus. Everybody at UC Santa Cruz called him Nobby. I found the nickname stuck in my throat. Brown did not welcome me back to school. Polite as always, he said he was disappointed to see me. My dropping out to go surfing in Hawaii had evidently represented to him a triumph over repression, a vote for Dyonisus and erotics and against civilization, which after all just mass neurosis. I made a little joke about the return of the repressed, and we went back to work.

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  1. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    He must have been tempted to title that book Finnegan’s Wave.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  2. Anon[177] • Disclaimer says:

    More surfing books for you:

    Several books by Kem Nunn, starting with Tapping the Source. Nunn is a good example of the Raymond Chandler syndrome of being sucked in by the money of Hollywood, but before that he wrote a half dozen or so really good novels.

    The second book by writer/long-form journalist/big-wall rock climber/surfer Daniel Duane was Caught Inside, about his year spent surfing on a Santa Cruz beach (while working towards his Ph.D. in literature, although he neglects to mention that in the book).

    L.A. surfing icon Mike Doyle’s great autobiography, Morning Glass. What a story of being there at the creation of Southern California surf culture, including the later commercialization! At one point he visits his wealthy friend, the surfer guy who founded the Chart House chain of restaurants, who talks him into swimming around the island of Kauai, something you can’t do in a day. In one scene they walk out of the sea on the Na Pali coast wilderness to an amazed crowd of tourists who have been boated in, and are recognized by a friend, who lets them eat the buffet set up for the tourists, after a hilarious “How did you get here?,” “We swam” exchange. Along the way Doyle invents and patents the snow board, but neglects to turn the boot position sideways, a key detail in its later success.

    Finally, the other M. D. in Southern California surf history, Miki Dora, was the subject of a David Rensin biography, as well as an earlier California magazine profile. The magazine profile was written in the addictive solving-a-mystery format used in the infamous Grantland story “Dr. V’s Magical Putter.” Rensin’s son Emmett is a talented writer and an ex-Voxer who was excommunicated on a flimsy excuse by Ezra Klein after Rensin’s story on “The Smug Style in American Liberalism,” highly recommended.

    I read both surfing and mountaineering books, and I would question your assertion that surfing literature is dwarfed by mountaineering literature. There is much more surfing literature than I listed here. It’s true however that mountaineering book sales and marketing are more formalized and organized, with scholarlyesque bibliographies, specialist booksellers, dedicated publishers, and the like. I put that at the feet of the obsessive English, who historically have been at the center of much mountaineering.

  3. @Anon

    who talks him into swimming around the island of Kauai, something you can’t do in a day. In one scene they walk out of the sea on the Na Pali coast wilderness

    I hiked a few miles along the Na Pali coast (there’s no road for about 17 miles or so) to a beach and went bodysurfing. But after awhile I saw a huge wave coming. I dove under it and wound up outside the breaks as one vast wave after another rolled through. I dog paddled around with a few other bodysurfers trapped outside for about 45 minutes before the waves got a little smaller and I made it ashore without getting smashed. The big waves, though, had come up so far on the beach that they soaked my Olympus camera and it was ruined.

  4. @Anon

    Okay, so the Brits and their offshoots were pretty much at the center of mountaineering from, say, Whymper climbing the Matterhorn in 1865 to Everest in 1953, and every public schoolboy grows up thinking he might write a book someday.

    Surfers, in contrast, tended to be American or Australian and they think more about, say, making a movie, like the low budget 16mm no record sound Endless Summer documentary from 1964 or so, which is extremely entertaining.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    , @CJ
  5. @Anon

    “The Smug Style …” was a good essay, but Rensin was sacked for encouraging riots against Trump.

    • Replies: @Anon
  6. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    The Chart House across from Manhattan on the Hudson in New Jersey used to have a great photo of two surfers standing on a snow covered pier facing a churning ocean. I asked the hostess where it was taken. She said the founder was from Colorado, so maybe Colorado.

    • LOL: Harry Baldwin
  7. Hail says: • Website

    Girls who are thin and beautiful and work hard will get palagis, who will wear watches, and drive them around in cars to moving pictures, and look, look, look at everything.

    Palagi refers to Whites, I presumed upon reading it, which can be Wiki-confirmed. Tonga has had limited contact with the West, afaik, but their racial stereotyping conforms roughly to what it seems to be everywhere else.

    A note on East Asians in Tonga [from Wiki]:

    In 2001 there were approximately 3,000 or 4,000 Chinese in Tonga, comprising 3 or 4% of the total Tongan population. In 2006, Nukuʻalofa riots mainly targeted Chinese-owned businesses, leading to the emigration of several hundred Chinese so that only about 300 remain.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  8. Always nice to learn a new word–palagi.

    Sounds kinda cool. Palagi Pride!

    • Replies: @duncsbaby
  9. JMcG says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I broke my OM2-S by casually tossing it (in a case!) onto the back seat of a van while on a climbing trip in Wyoming. It went through a set of batteries every few hours after that. I always like Olympus better than Nikon.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  10. Anon[177] • Disclaimer says:

    Rensin was sacked for encouraging riots against Trump.

    That was Klein’s disingenuous reason.

    I wouldn’t say that Rensin is a Trump supporter, but he is not a seething anti-Trump progressive. The tweets in question were his gedanken experiment to show the hypocrisy of anti-Trump rhetoric. He was saying that anti-Trumpers were comparing Trump to Hitler.

    Thus, Rensin’s logic goes, Trump should be … I won’t go there, but he should be strongly opposed to the maximum wherever he appears.

    Remember, Trump is Hitler, says the Twitter mob. There will be euthanasia of his political enemies, and there will be death camps filled with millions of Mexicans and Democrats.

    Oh, wait, they don’t literally mean that? So then he’s not Hitler? He is Hitler? Which is it? It was hard to pin them down.

    Rensin was teasing people on Twitter that they were exaggerating and caricaturing Trump, and if they really believed what they were saying, they would do what they would do against Hitler, which is to riot and … I won’t go there.

    This was 140 character Twitter days. Rensin couldn’t footnote every tweet. If you read the whole thread it was obvious what he was doing. Klein wanted Rensin out, he knew that right after “Smug Style” he could fire him, but wait … there’s this Twitter dustup that could be an excuse. Bye bye Emmitt.

  11. Anonym says:

    Polynesian marital advice pro tip: if your husband advises you to cook the man some eggs, follow his instructions.

  12. Flip says:

    If the Palagis take Tongan wives, there won’t be any more Palagis.

  13. Anonymous[391] • Disclaimer says:

    When I was very young, my first trip to the third world showed me one evening an entire village gathered together, watching television through a store window. They couldn’t even hear any sound yet they were mesmerized.

    I knew right there and then that the world was toast.

  14. Anon[217] • Disclaimer says:

    Palagi is pronounced palangi. Like Pago Pago is Pango Pango. So you have heard it before, just not writen.

  15. @Steve Sailer

    I hope that Olympus was a cheapie. The good ones rival Nikon and Canon.

    • Replies: @Anon
  16. Anon[420] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Now Brits and Australians are better actors, and writers, while America has taken over mountain climbing. The ongoing dominance of Cool Britannia when it comes to acting and other high verbal IQ professions is a source of fascination though. The genetics between Brits and Yanks are close enough that their dominance must be due to nurture somehow, not nature.

  17. Regarding this type of materialistic expectation, “To me, Tupo explained, “Girls who are fat and lazy will get Tongan husbands, who only allow them to cook and wash. Girls who are thin and beautiful and work hard will get palagis, who will wear watches, and drive them around in cars to moving pictures, and look, look, look at everything.”

    Here is partly where this expectation originated in the South Seas:

    “…the cargo cults in the South Pacific, and where there are still Aboriginal people who worship the cargo gods, they developed a religion, because during World War II so many big airplanes landed on their islands, they were the first exposure they ever had to modern technology and they thought they were gods who were flying in and delivering all of this cargo and they developed religions out of this, and today they have little temples made out of bamboo and other kinds of woven material. Temples that look like control towers, cargo planes and airplane hangars and they worship the cargo gods.

    A materialistic kind of religion; they want the cargo gods to come back and deliver them some more Zippo lighters and radios and nuts and bolts and tools, and all the things that were landing there in Word War II. I suggested to you that the modern health wealth gospel is nothing but another kind of a cargo cult where people are looking for a god who delivers all the goodies that they want. That the essence of the cargo cult was that God is there to provide what we want, the essence of the health wealth gospel is the same, that God is there to provide what we want and frankly what we demand.”

    Last Real Calvinist would understand.

  18. @Steve Sailer

    Worldwide release was in 1966. It was a very good film for its time, the color photography is amazing. A fifty grand film that grossed over 5 milion (20 million worldwide) is pretty good. Interesting that the two main surfers surf in South Africa and gloss over the fact of Aparteid, though they sort of allude to it in a subtle sort of way. A bit surprised that the producers of The Endless Summer didn’t ask Brian Wilson to pen a song for the film. That would’ve been a no-brainer.

    Ironically, as you mentioned in a previous post about Finnegan’s father Bill, a producer for Hawaii Five-O, one of the episodes that he produced dealt with two brothers who are trying to make their own low budget surfing film. “The Banzai Pipeline” (1974), and chaos ensues. The two bros had hopped to make a film that would surpass The Endless Summer.

  19. CJ says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Endless Summer came out in 1966, a detail I remember because I saw it as a 13-year-old (an extremely impressionable age) and then saw it again a couple of years ago. As a kid I didn’t realize it was going to be a documentary; I was expecting the type of flick American International Pictures used to make, something like Beach Blanket Bingo. The second viewing brought back to me how a lot of social mores persisted through the 1960s and didn’t actually change among most people until the 1970s. The surfers in Endless Summer are clean-cut guys who don’t do drugs and dress up to go on airplanes. They also travelled to South Africa to surf and film and nobody then made a big deal of it.

  20. res says:

    I just started reading the book based on your review and am enjoying it. Thanks!

  21. Danindc says:

    I’m listening to the book on audible bc F reading. Enjoyable but lags in stretches. It really was a violent world for kids growing up in Cali and esp Hawaii in the mid 60’s. Seemed like a fist fight a day for Finnegan. Steve, did you find that to be the case?

    Hate to have grown up a white boy in Hawaii in that time period.

    I do envy the passion of surfers though. I think fishing/hunting and golf come close but nobody is as fanatical as surfers.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  22. Pat Boyle says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I and my wife hiked the Kalalau trail along the Na Pali coast. Quite a contrast to the Waimea Canyon hike on the other side of the island. Learn what the term ‘rain shadow’ means. It was a very wet jungle. We couldn’t go all the way because some stream had become a torrent and we had to go back.

    But I collected the memory of my lifetime’s greatest athletic achievement. Unlike my wife and every other hiker we met I didn’t slip in the pervasive mud and fall on my ass. Me, I did it! I stayed upright while everyone else humiliated themselves and had to walk around covered in mud.

    OK, my story isn’t as heroic as Steve’s.

  23. Logan says:

    Back in the 80s I lived in a small town in northern NM, which was at the time about 50% Hispanic, but most of the Hispanics were proudly (and loudly) Spanish, resident in the area from before the Pilgrims arrived in New England, not mestizo Mexicans, who they despised.

    My wife became quite friendly with many of the Spanish ladies, and the unanimously told her how much they hoped their daughters would marry an Anglo (which meant white non-Hispanic) rather than a Spanish man. They universally assumed an Anglo man would treat her much better than a Spanish (or, God forbid, a Mexican) husband would.

    Haven’t been back in a long time. I have no idea if the same general attitudes towards race/ethnicity still apply.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  24. SND says:

    This item brings back fond remembrances. I graduated college in ’67 & as a philosophy major was glad to receive graduate support from Governor Reagan & Mrs. Hearst. That is, I became a Regents’ Fellow in the first class of graduate students at UCSC. UCSC wanted to be a university but had been trailers in the redwoods at its founding two years previous & hadn’t enough teachers for actual graduate programs. A psychology professor had the bright idea of taking the few professors they had from psychology, philosophy, history & literature and putting them together in a graduate program they would call “The History of Consciousness.”

    I had seen a catalog announcing prospective courses and they looked very interesting. Unfortunately I was too stoned (or whatever) at the time to notice the little asterisk after each course description denoting “course not available year ’67-’68,” i.e., they made up all these courses. There were none.

    It was lovely living in Santa Cruz. That there was no real graduate program was a concern but the rumor soon began to circulate that “the program would be saved” by the coming of (the Messiah) Norman O. Brown to take it over next year.

    I was already a big fan of Brown as I had avidly read his “Life Against Death” in ’65 when it came out. The “Freud/Marx synthesis” that he & Marcuse (in Santa Barbara) were espousing was all the rage. He visited campus & greeted me, “I hear you’re crazy, too,” in reference to my interest in Freud.

    Brown turned out to be a charismatic person, but not a very engaging teacher. He was sensitive to criticism as only a controversial person can be. And we were temperamentally unsuited for one another. To put it astrologically (also all the rage in Santa Cruz), he was into the Jupiter side of Freud; I was into the Saturn side. That is, he was an old man espousing ecstasy & I was a young man constantly throwing Schopenhauer at him. He didn’t care for it & basically threw me out of grad school by the end of the year. But I fondly remember Nobby Brown!

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
  25. @Danindc

    Seemed like a fist fight a day for Finnegan. Steve, did you find that to be the case?

    Not as much, but I’m a bookish intellectual, not a death-defying surfer. I can mostly recall getting in a fight every day with Peter M. during a recess basketball game in 7th grade. We fought a lot more than in 6th grade or 8th grade. I can recall feeling a little baffled by why I wanted to punch Peter M so much for stuff I would have laughed off in 6th grade. Probably puberty.

    But as for the general culture unconcern for kids’ safety, our archrival Crespi HS had the Curran dynasty of polevaulters. At least 3 brothers won state titles. This was always attributed to them having a pole vault pit in the back yard. I always assumed they had a huge backyard with a state of the art track and giant airbag to land on, all provided by a wealthy father who had hired a contractor to build it. A few years ago I saw a home movie, though. Instead, the Curran brothers had a small backyard so they ran diagonally across it with their poles and vaulted in the far corner right where the 8 foot walls came together. If they avoided smashing into a wall they landed on what appeared to be a pile of blankets and old couch cushions heaped on the ground.

    The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.

    • Replies: @Danindc
  26. Anon[188] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    What would you have done if the surf had stayed high for days?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @gunner29
  27. @Logan

    My wife’s (white but) Colombian. After our child was born, she was amazed how much I talked and played with him, changed all his diapers (exclusively for the first week or so, and almost exclusively for the hole of my paternity leave – my chance to maximise time bonding with him since newborns perforce spend far more time with mom to nurse anyway). Her mind was blown, the way anyone else’s mind might be blown if he saw a dog riding a horse. She even at one point confided in me she’d half expected me to leave her when the child was born, simply because that’s essentially the accepted practice in Colombia (speaking of famous family values south of the Rio Grande: the statistics for bastardy in South America and Central America, by the by, are astounding to make Africans blush – the Africans at least have the common decency to often achieve their r-strategy by taking on ten wives a piece – the marriages are hardly optimal by European standards but at least they are marriages…).

    Anyhow, it comes to my point: the remarkable difference between the sleazy, spray-and-pray reproduction methods followed by so-called macho males and the relative indifference bothering about the offspring by those males one sees in such cultures vs. the absolute doting affection even the most alpha Lotharios amongst European males typically invest in their own children, whether or not the marriage thrives – indeed, despite any divorces, given how toxic, destructive of paternal bonds, and discouraging to men modern Western family law [sic] is! Donald Trump is a good example: even the horn-doggiest pimp daddy of a European man often, and indeed far more often than not, as in his case, makes his children top priority and makes huge personally involved (not just monetary) investments in raising them. One just doesn’t see that with Mbutu the Big Man or El Guapo the Latin Lover…. I wonder to what extent the r and K statistical results of more or less harsh environs for ice people and sun people not only impacted the fundamental approach (quantity v. quality) but maybe even biochemical predispositions amongst us males of the ice peoples vs. males of the sun peoples. Has any geneticists, anthropologist, biologist, or other such expert ever investigated such possibilities? I’d wager the hormonal and other bonds forged between ice men and their babies are more like those between the mothers and babies than are those such phenomena between sun men and their babies….

    • Replies: @gunner29
    , @E e
  28. @Anon

    What would you have done if the surf had stayed high for days?

    That questioned occurred to me while I was dogpaddling around outside the towering break. I asked some of the others trapped outside with me, but none of us had a good answer. We were three miles from any road or lifeguard. If I had to, I probably could have elementary backstroked a few miles to a safer spot. But I’d have to get to wherever that was before dark. In Finnegan’s book, he recounts a half dozen stories of trying to get one more ride in before dark and then almost dying as night rushes in.

    The ocean, even in as beautiful an environment as Hawaii, is bigger and stronger than any of us.

  29. @Hail

    Hail, Thank you for the explanation. Unfortunately Susan Goldberg, the new editor at National Geographic ( “I am the first woman and Jew to be editor….”) has apologized and stated that NG will now longer print photos of beautiful Polynesian woman so future readers of NG will have to imagine what South Seas women look like.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    , @Hail
  30. @Buffalo Joe

    Or watch Mel Gibson’s version of Mutiny on the Bounty.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
  31. gunner29 says:

    What would you have done if the surf had stayed high for days?

    Probably drown in the usual manner….or attempt a banzai into the beach, get driven into the bottom like a nail, and then drown in the usual manner.

    I remember being on the North Shore of Oahu in the winter. Just 20 feet off the beach the waves were breaking 10′. Just some sneaker waves that piled in among the 4′ break.

    Not being an ocean going guy, I was in water about 4′ deep, facing the beach, when the water dropped to below my knees. Didn’t know what that meant; found out in a second when the 10 footer drove me into the bottom like a nail.

    There was a germanic looking guy just down the beach, black speedo and all. He got pile driven too, couple of minutes latter he’s back out with a life jacket! I decided it was safer on the beach….

  32. MBlanc46 says:

    I would say that Freud has no place in a graduate philosophy curriculum. A good case can be made for and against Marx, and Schopenhauer gets a look in after a couple of semesters of Kant.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  33. gunner29 says:

    I think the cold versus the sun is 80% of it. Different environments produce different organisms. And one that the weather is trying to snuff everybody half the year is really different from one where it’s always in the 80′s and has something to eat.

  34. Danindc says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Lol that is great. 7th graders are the worst people in the world. Total bastards. That’s probably why you were fighting. 7th graders don’t have the maturity of an 8th grader and are not timid like 6th graders. Bad combo. Terrible, terrible people.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  35. Anon[266] • Disclaimer says:
    @Prester John

    Olympus had a great compact SLR, somewhat like the Nikon FE or FM, which Nikon probably copied from Olympus.

  36. @MBlanc46

    I would say that Freud has no place in a graduate philosophy curriculum.

    Sure. But consider the time and place.

    That’s exactly when, and where, that kind of intellectual lateral thinking and experimentation began to take off in academia. A newly established campus of the UC system, hungry to recruit professors and establish a name, would have been wide open to someone with those kinds of ideas.

    Within a few years, of course, this kind of non-rigorous intellectual mish-mash approach, for its own sake, became fashionable in academia, and curricula in the humanities in universities have suffered ever since.

    But back in 1967-1968, it was a good-faith effort at lateral thinking and intellectual exploration.

  37. Harold says:

    In my NZ childhood there was a skit show which featured a Samoan family, and a white girl who stayed with them. It would always end with them saying, ‘Shut up, paaaalagi!’, usually putting aside their current disagreement to do so.

    Here is the only one I could find on youtube.

    The Samoan father’s catch phrase was ‘Make me a cocoa—or I keeel you!’

  38. Anonymous[135] • Disclaimer says:

    The half frame Olympus Pens were really great cameras for a certain type of candid photography. The OM SLR system, as comprehensive as the Nikon and with some prime optics as good, was the choice of a few working pros who valued their smaller size and lighter weight over Nikons, but they were not as rugged. Real working pros just replaced them at faster intervals.

    Nikon had the edge among 35mm SLR systems for ruggedness, and their optics lines had certain very superior and certain unique niche lenses, but Canon’s pro line was just as good and Pentax nearly so. What made Nikon THE pro camera, which is what made every image conscious hobbyist and celebrity buy them as well, (despite their pointed lack of access to the service) was the service real working pros got from NPS-Nikon Professional Services.

    An NPS card was both the ultimate status symbol and a great advantage to real working pros who could get one. Frank Sinatra couldn’t buy his way in, and Inge Morath had a hell of a time getting one. The criterion was not that you were a pro under the definition of having been paid for one’s photographic work but that professional photography constituted the entirety or great majority of your income. You had to be working in some relevant field (longroll portrait guys and shopping mall Santa operators needn’t apply) and getting your work published in national publications or be signed to a major publishing house, for the most part, although a couple wedding and society guys managed to get one as did a couple of other assorted scientific or technical photographers.

    NPS membership did not get you any free equipment for the most part. What you got was 24 hour repair and replacement services, loaners for equipment in repair, and occasionally in NY or LA they would rent or loan exotic pieces for specific tasks. Remote controls, high speed motor drives, bulk backs, and the most exotic optics were sometimes made available. Mostly though, they kept your stuff working and in top shape, fast, and occasionally would do repairs to equipment that otherwise would be written off. They charged for this, but the fees were in line with other techs. A repair that might take two weeks or a month at your local camera shop could be done in hours if you were in NY or LA and that plus next day air anywhere else. On occasion, they would dispatch repaired equipment or loaners by hand carry courier, one one occasion at least via Concorde.

    NPS was the decisive trump card in getting the business of the top New York and LA guys, everything else followed. By keeping it very exclusive, they created enormous brand placement and visibility. If you were a trendy on a photo op yourself, you wanted a Nikon camera on a strap around your neck, despite maybe not even being able to use it more effectively than an Instamatic.

    A few pros used other cameras to be sure. M Leicas were indispensable for their small size and quietness, and a few preferred Leitz optics to Nikkors because Leitz optics were designed with slightly different tradeoffs-they tended to be a little more contrasty at the cost of overall field sharpness, which only really mattered in photogrammetry and scientific applications. Canon, Olympus, even Minolta had a few stragglers. But Nikon was as dominant among actual working pros as Snap-On tools were in the tool boxes of working garage auto mechanics or Caterpillar was in bulldozers.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @JMcG
  39. Hail says: • Website
    @Buffalo Joe

    Did Finnegan write these words in the 2010s, recalling scenes from the 1970s from memory and/or journals?

    The passage published by Steve here is pretty non-PC, moreso in some ways than those pictures of Polynesian girls in bikinis.

  40. @Anonymous

    Nikon had the edge among 35mm SLR systems for ruggedness

    I remember a story in a photo magazine in the late 1970s about a mugger demanding a Nikon camera from a pro photographer. The would-be victim instead swung the SLR camera by its strap like a bolo and hit the mugger over the head with his camera. The mugger went down in a heap and the Nikon kept working.

    I liked the Olympus because it was light and small and took good picture, but I never had enough broad experience to have a valid cross-brand opinion.

    The quality of the pictures you could take for a moderate (but not cheap) amount of money in the 1970s was quite high. Compared to today, it was pretty similar to where stereo quality was at at the same point in time compared to today.

    The main difference is that you kind of had to be a stereo hobbyist or a photography hobbyist to get pretty good quality back then, where as today it just comes pretty standard.

  41. @Danindc

    I sometimes wondered why I got into a fight every day as a 7th grader with a kid I kind of liked. “Why am I doing this?” I wondered.

  42. duncsbaby says:

    It’s okay to be Palagi. (Just don’t make the OK sign w/your hand. That’s not okay.)

  43. JMcG says:

    Wow, thanks! I love the commentariat here. Is Nikon still dominant in the digital age?

  44. E e says:

    Once my family had something to go to in Finland, and the cheapest way to fly there that summer was via Italy. We noticed the obvious Italian vs Finn behavior differences among the young men, but also realized we’d not seen any Italian fathers playing with their kids, but almost all the Finnish kids we saw in public were being tended by their fathers… We were also weird enough to be very familiar with the respective demographic data. There might have been a time when the Mediterranean style of fatherhood was useful, but that time isn’t the present day… Those flirtatious Italian men will be lucky if they even have one child, but once the Finn gets around to making eye contact, he might have two or three…

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