Saturday, July 17, 2004

Some observations on the Fils, Canadians, and Mormons

Had a good Saturday. Got up early and rode my bike far out into the corn and soy fields where you can hear the birds singing, pretty yellow birds with black; also there was a variety of corn out there with some very eyecatching corn flowers. The smell of pig shit recedes as you head south from the campus, passing by the gigantic pill that serves as an athletic coliseum. I've been thinking about Canada lately. I have a crush on Canada. I think Canadians are swell. They're the bees knees -- that is the Canadians I know, not the fascist Canadians like Steven Harper. He's their version of George Bush. The Canadians were quite upset about the Ben Johnson thing although it was no surprise that Ben as a Jamaican-Canadian track and fielder was the fall guy for the steroid Olympic scandal. As his coach Charlie Francis observed: "It is a level playing field. It's just not the playing field that you thought it was." He was still the world's fastest man. Part of my shine to Canadians these days has to do with 1) meeting some cool Canadians here in grad school, S of course and D and C from physics 2) Michael Moore's propaganda 3) the realization that Americans are deliberately not taught much of anything of our close neighbor because then they might create an impetus for more enlightened social policies like nationalized health care and education that is not based on zip code cachet. Another interesting development is that some of my relatives from the Philippines will soon be emigrating to Saskatchewan. Apparently, as my mother put it, "things are getting tough for even the good families," I swear she sometimes sounds like the Filipino Scarlet O'Hara (one of her favorite films by the way). So it'll be a lot cheaper to visit my new filipino-canadian relatives. About those Filipinos, I love it that they have decided to withdraw their troops (a whopping 50 in total) in order to save the truck driver. Our graduate student president expressed concern about the impact of that decision but I ventured the opinion that such a move on the part of the Philippine government reflects the extent to which they are aware that their international workforce supports the Philippine economy. Also, the Catholic sentiment of the country will be reinforced to help maintain a shaky rule that pretty much sits in the pocket of American interests and lets the US military conduct anti-"terrorist" campaigns in the south ... But I go on and on. I really have a lot more to say about the mormons, i'm reading a fascinating history by wallace stegner on their contribution to opening up the American west and their participation in the opening of the Pacific empire. They have always been "suspect Americans" because of their communitarian values and their differing interpretations about marriage (not unlike the current gay rights movement). stegner makes a very good observation about their ability to work together and compares their activities to those of ants and bees engaged in a massive endeavor or public project. the mormons really built the trail for more than simply traversing over once in a lifetime; they created two way traffic due to missionary movements and completed much of the public works such as clearing the rocks from the difficult mountainous passes in Wyoming and builiding bridges. I visited the Mormon website that gives you your mormonised name and my patriarchal version came out: Alexavier Golden Noble. The other thing about the stegner book is his documentation of the remarkableness of mormon women and what badass pioneers they were. I knew there'd be a lot to admire about any group that has been characterized by normative American identity as deviant.


Blogger LilySea said...

here's the location of the
Mormon name generator.But it's not really a Mormon site.
Just to clear that up and not get the Mormons in a snit.
I too am a secret admirer of Mormons if only because their communal habits raised the ire of the federal government to such an extent that they were attacked by the National Guard.
Guns and everything!
Plus, you get a whole planet when you die. And all I really need is an island.

8:57 PM  

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