Sunday, June 11, 2006

That's it for kilts

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Generally speaking, kilts and those who wear them always struck me as a bit, well, phony. In his book The Language of Genes, Steve Jones makes the case that the suspicion is well-founded:

"The Scots scarcely existed until they were invented by King George IV, who in 1822 visited Edinburgh and, dressed in a Stuart kilt and a pair of flesh-colored tights, gave the Scots a national identity they never knew they possessed. It took only the imagination of Sir Walter Scott in devising a native culture to produce a new and potent ethnic myth. Much of it was based on the kilt, which, as Macaulay said, 'before the Union, was considered by nine Scotchmen out of ten as the dress of a thief.'"