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Why do ‘Kevins’ vote for far-right parties?
In Germany and France, having an Anglo-Saxon first name is a good predictor of extreme voting behavior.
- Kevin (1), Cindy and other 'Anglo' first names are especially popular in some areas of France and Germany.
- These also happen to be the regions where far-right parties are very successful.
- The link: working-class whites, inspired by English-language pop culture and disaffected from mainstream politics.
Demonstration in Paris against French president Macron, by the so-called 'Gilets Jaunes' ('Yellow Vests'). According to a prominent French pollster, the fact that many of these have 'Anglo-Saxon' first names is sociologically relevant.
Credit: Stéphane de Sakutin/AFP via Getty Images
We need to talk about Kevin. No, this is not about that book. This is about why areas of Germany and France with a lot of Kevins (and Justins, and other so-called 'Anglo-Saxon' first names, for that matter), tend to vote for extremist right-wing parties.
Take the two maps below. The one on the left shows where in Germany 'Kevin' is a popular first name. Quite clearly, Kevin is more prevalent in the former east, and especially so in Saxony, the southern state of the former GDR.
The map on the right shows the results of the so-called Zweitstimme ('second votes', or party list votes) in the German parliamentary elections of September 24, 2017. The right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) obtains its best score in Saxony, a.k.a. Kevin Country: 27 percent, more than double its national average (12.6 percent).
One caveat: the map on the left shows the popularity of the name Kevin for new-borns since 2006 – those kids were at most 11 years old at the time of the election on the other map. So it's not Kevins voting for AfD, but their parents.
In Germany, Kevin Country (left) is also far-right AfD territory (right).
Credit: Doyen Mandelbrot
Or take the next map pair. The one on the left shows French newborns in 1993 with an 'Anglo-Saxon' name. The highest share of Ambers, Dwaynes, and other newborn 'Anglos' are found in areas colored various shades of red: light (13 percent), medium (14 percent), or dark (15 percent and up). Those areas are predominantly in the north and centre of the country – but excluding Paris and environs.
And now take a look at the map on the right, showing the results of Marine Le Pen at the second round of the 2017 presidential elections, held on May 7. The winner was Emmanuel Macron (66 percent), but Le Pen, candidate for the far-right National Front (2) obtained just shy of 34 percent of the overall vote.
Ms Le Pen obtained her highest scores, up to 60 percent of the total, mainly in the north of the country, in a zone largely contiguous with the 'Anglo-Saxon' one on the other map – both zones perforated by a non-compliant Paris.
According to Jerôme Fourquet, these twin phenomena are an indication of the 'archipelisation' of French culture.
Credit: Guillaume Durocher
In L' Archipel français, Jerôme Fourquet, an executive at IFOP, the famed polling institute, provides some background to the correlation. His sociological portrait of France paints a picture of three related evolutions: the obliteration of the traditional left-right divide in society, the 'archipelisation' of French culture into diverging subcultures, and the deepening alienation of working-class whites from the political mainstream.
Fourquet charts social changes by analysing the first names in French birth registries. Take for example the fate of Marie: its decline as the name of 20 percent of newborn girls in 1900 to no more than 2 percent since the 1970s marks the retreat of conservative Catholicism. In wartime, patriotic first names like France or Jeanne (i.e. Joan of Arc) see their fortunes rise.
One of the most remarkable trends in recent decades is the rise of 'Anglo' first names, from a mere 0.5 percent in the 1960s to 12 percent in 1993 – many of those names are taken from the music and movie stars of English-language pop culture. The phenomenon is mainly restricted to the lower classes. France's metropolitan elites wouldn't dream of naming their offspring Kevin or Justin, Cindy or Britney.
Fourquet notes the prevalence of 'Anglo' first names among the gilets jaunes, the yellow vest-clad protest movement that plagued Macron during his first years in office.
It is from the same source of disaffected lower-class whites that Le Pen draws most of her support, the pollster argues. Hence the overlap between France's 'Anglo' zones and the Le Pen-voting parts of the country – evidence of the 'archipelisation' of French society.
It can be argued that a similar conjuncture between identification with English-language pop culture and disaffection with mainstream politics is at work in Germany.
Strange Maps #1067
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
(1) 'Kevin' is in fact a name of Irish origin - it is the anglicised form of 'caoimhín', which means 'of noble birth'. However, from the perspective of non-Anglophone cultures, it is an 'English' name.
(2) The Front National has since been renamed Rassemblement National, or 'National Rally'.
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A new study finds that dogs fed fresh human-grade food don't need to eat—or do their business—as much.
- Most dogs eat a diet that's primarily kibble.
- When fed a fresh-food diet, however, they don't need to consume as much.
- Dogs on fresh-food diets have healthier gut biomes.
Four diets were tested<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTU5ODI1MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjY0NjIxMn0._w0k-qFOC86AqmtPHJBK_i-9F5oVyVYsYtUrdvfUxWQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="1b1e4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="87937436a81c700a8ab3b1d763354843" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="960" />
Credit: AntonioDiaz/Adobe Stock<p>The researchers tested refrigerated and fresh human-grade foods against kibble, the food most dogs live on. The <a href="https://frontierpets.com.au/blogs/news/how-kibble-or-dry-dog-food-is-made" target="_blank">ingredients</a> of kibble are mashed into a dough and then extruded, forced through a die of some kind into the desired shape — think a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_extrusion" target="_blank">pasta maker</a>. The resulting pellets are sprayed with additional flavor and color.</p><p>For four weeks, researchers fed 12 beagles one of four diets:</p><ol><li>a extruded diet — Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe</li><li>a fresh refrigerated diet — Freshpet Roasted Meals Tender Chicken Recipe</li><li>a fresh diet — JustFoodforDogs Beef & Russet Potato Recipe</li><li>another fresh diet — JustFoodforDogs Chicken & White Rice Recipe.</li></ol><p>The two fresh diets contained minimally processed beef, chicken, broccoli, rice, carrots, and various food chunks in a canine casserole of sorts. </p><p>(One can't help but think how hard it would be to get finicky cats to test new diets. As if.)</p><p>Senior author <a href="https://ansc.illinois.edu/directory/ksswanso" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Kelly S. Swanson</a> of U of I's Department of Animal Sciences and the Division of Nutritional Sciences, was a bit surprised at how much better dogs did on people food than even refrigerated dog chow. "Based on past research we've conducted I'm not surprised with the results when feeding human-grade compared to an extruded dry diet," he <a href="https://aces.illinois.edu/news/feed-fido-fresh-human-grade-dog-food-scoop-less-poop" target="_blank">says</a>, adding, "However, I did not expect to see how well the human-grade fresh food performed, even compared to a fresh commercial processed brand."</p>
Tracking the effect of each diet<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTU5ODI1OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3NjY1NTgyOX0.AdyMb8OEcjCD6iWYnXjToDmcnjfTSn-0-dfG96SIpUA/img.jpg?width=980" id="da892" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="880d952420679aeccd1eaf32b5339810" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1440" data-height="960" />
Credit: Patryk Kosmider/Adobe Stock<p>The researchers tracked the dogs' weights and analyzed the microbiota in their fecal matter.</p><p>It turned out that the dogs on kibble had to eat more to maintain their body weight. This resulted in their producing 1.5 to 2.9 times the amount of poop produced by dogs on the fresh diets.</p><p>Says Swanson, "This is consistent with a 2019 National Institute of Health study in humans that found people eating a fresh whole food diet consumed on average 500 less calories per day, and reported being more satisfied, than people eating a more processed diet."</p><p>Maybe even more interesting was the effect of fresh food on the gut biome. Though there remains much we don't yet know about microbiota, it was nonetheless the case that the microbial communities found in fresh-food poo was different.</p><p>"Because a healthy gut means a healthy mutt," says Swanson, "fecal microbial and metabolite profiles are important readouts of diet assessment. As we have shown in <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jas/article/92/9/3781/4702209#110855647" target="_blank">previous studies</a>, the fecal microbial communities of healthy dogs fed fresh diets were different than those fed kibble. These unique microbial profiles were likely due to differences in diet processing, ingredient source, and the concentration and type of dietary fibers, proteins, and fats that are known to influence what is digested by the dog and what reaches the colon for fermentation."</p>
How did kibble take over canine diets?<p>Historically, dogs ate scraps left over by humans. It has only been <a href="https://www.thefarmersdog.com/digest/the-history-of-commercial-pet-food-a-great-american-marketing-story/" target="_blank">since 1870</a>, with the arrival of the luxe Spratt's Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes—made from "the dried unsalted gelatinous parts of Prairie Beef", mmm—that commercial dog food began to take hold. Dog bone-shaped biscuits first appeared in 1907. Ken-L Ration dates from 1922. Kibble was first extruded in 1956. Pet food had become a great way to turn <a href="https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/animal-by-products/" target="_blank">human-food waste</a> into profit.</p><p>Commercial dog food became the norm for most household canines only after a massive marketing campaign led by a group of dog-food industry lobbyists called the Pet Food Institute in 1964. Over time, for most households, dog food was what dogs ate — what else? Human food? These days more than half of U.S. dogs are <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/magazine/who-made-that-dog-biscuit.html" target="_blank">overweight or obese</a>, and certainly their diet is a factor.<span></span></p><p>We're not so special among animals after all. If something's healthy for us to eat—we're <em>not</em> looking at you, chocolate—maybe we should remember to share with our canine compatriots. Not from the table, though.</p>
What makes some people more likely to shiver than others?
Some people just aren't bothered by the cold, no matter how low the temperature dips. And the reason for this may be in a person's genes.
Eating veggies is good for you. Now we can stop debating how much we should eat.
- A massive new study confirms that five servings of fruit and veggies a day can lower the risk of death.
- The maximum benefit is found at two servings of fruit and three of veggies—anything more offers no extra benefit according to the researchers.
- Not all fruits and veggies are equal. Leafy greens are better for you than starchy corn and potatoes.