Some of my politically correct friends and even family members have referred to me as a Neanderthal. I think they used that word because calling me a savage is sort of unrefined. I checked with my online dictionary and find that savage means untamed, unpolished, rude, an uncivilized human being. I would have to admit that I am definitely untamed and unpolished and occasionally rude. By politically correct standards, I’m probably an uncivilized human being, so I know that savage can be used as a description.
Now if I cared, I might consider calling me a neanderthal a little mean spirited as it means “primitive, culturally or intellectually backward; an unenlightened or ignorant person; a barbarian; a person with very old-fashioned ideas.” As I pondered this concept, I checked Wikipedia and found that Political Correctness is a term used to describe language which is intended to provide a minimum of offense, particularly to racial, cultural, or other identity groups. Now given that neanderthals were a different species with their own distinct value systems, it has to be disparaging to call someone a neanderthal.
Since I’m not terribly politically correct, I was curious to determine if there were any accuracy to the charge. I checked and found that neanderthals invented the flute before their human counterparts and also had art equal to humans of the same time period. They were also skilled hunters to the point that food surpluses allowed them to take care of the old and infirm. This is very unlike their human counterparts who have a rich history of letting infirm and poor babies die and of euthanizing the old.
All in all, I must admit that based on my analysis of neanderthals, I’m not terribly insulted and the next time I am called a neanderthal for my views on the world, religion and life I can smugly smile as I have the knowledge to understand that this branch of the evolutionary tree had some commendable attributes and even calling me one is indicative of a lack of knowledge and political correctness by the very person charging me with being politically incorrect.
Now what provoked me to thing about this at all was that I read an article about primitive Indians cultivating spices and hot pepper to improve the flavor of their food over 6500 years ago. Since I am a self proclaimed Fat Savage and don’t mind the implication of being untamed or unpolished, I’ll stick with the name because Fat Neanderthal is harder to spell.