[lit-ideas] Re: Long Live the Evolution

  • From: Michael Chase <goya@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2004 09:29:02 +0100

Le mardi, 4 mai 2004, =E0 20:06 Europe/Paris, Judith Evans a =E9crit :

>  Perhaps this is the difference between the
> U.S. and Canada.  For the U.S., the dominant metaphor is that of the
> melting pot whereas in Canada it is the mosaic.
> The UK is more "mosaic" -- there are some worrying assimilationist=20
> trends
> like the citizenship ceremony, which makes people do what we "born=20
> citizens"
> never have to do, i.e. swear allegiance -- but perhaps less so than=20
> Canada.

M.C. Why, those of us who take Candian citizenship have to swear=20
allegiance too, and to the same august personage. If Her Majesty gets=20
into a barroom brawl in some Brixton pub, I had to swear to hop the=20
next plane and go help her out. My wife swore the same oath, but she=20
had her fingers crossed behind her back (I kid you not).

        In Canada, many if not most of my friends are immigrants. And =
there has indeed been a shift in attitudes : I have friends of Polish=20
and Chinese descent in their 40's and 50's who were regularly smacked=20
in their youth when they spoke anything but English : their parents=20
wanted them to assimilate, and quick. They now have bitter regrets that=20=

they don't speak their ancestral language.

        The new generation of immigrants are rather different. The ones =
I know=20
are mainly Latin Americans=A0: they organize Latin American cultural=20
circles and film clubs, celebrate their National holidays with gusto,=20
get together to cook their national cuisines and speak their languages,=20=

and make damn sure their children grow up speaking *both* Spanish and=20
English, and often French as well.

        In this group, there are a number of Latin American women who =
married Canadian men and come back to Canada with them. We often get=20
together at parties and dinners=A0: the men - mainly monolingual=20
anglo-saxons - congregate in one corner of the room and occasionally=20
mutter some comments about hockey, trucks or politics; mainly, however,=20=

we just stare at our shoes. In the other part of the room the Latin=20
American women congregate : they shriek with laughter, embrace one=20
another, slap each other on the back, sing, throw food at one another,=20=

and shout jokes at the top of their voices, making fun of their own and=20=

each others' dialects, politics, and culture.

        I get the feeling Andy would feel more at home with the=20
footwear-scrutinizing males.  I'd rather be with the ladies. Besides,=20
they're the ones who bring the food (thank God!)

Michael Chase=09
l'Annee Philologique

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