Wednesday, August 17, 2005

on Canadian identity

BLAIR O'CONNOR a Canadian who lives in Japan writes in today's Globe&Mail:
Japan, despite significant contemporary changes, has a unique and instantly definable culture; you can ask: “What is Japanese food?” “What is Japanese art?” or “What is Japanese music?” and get a simple, pat (yet true) answer. Equally, you can talk about Japanese character and values, individual, family and social expectations, and by-and-large everyone will have the same mores. The answer is relatively dependable, even easy. Answering these same questions as a Canadian?
Countless lines of ink and hours of radio time have been sacrificed on the altar of the Canadian quest for identity, and despite a steady diet of CBC since I was a child, I feel no more certain then ever.

This is candid and I think accurate assessment of the present situation in regard to Canadian indentity. It's a 'дырка от бублика', the donut hole so to speak, with a glaring gap in the place of heart.
But of course, the Canadian expat wouldn’t get published in the Globe if he only wanted to lament the pitiful state of Canadian identity. Of course, after a relatively honest admission of guilt there’s a big But:

On the other hand, it is precisely this amorphous, not-yet-understood quality of which I have become most proud. I've lived for so long with this sense of national identity insecurity, this state of flux (or is it nascence?), that it has become my norm and I don't think I could live without it.

It’s become a common trick to turn things upside down by arguing that a deficiency actually constitutes strength.In fact, I can do it too quite easily:
There are so many talented people out there who excel at various occupations, while I have zero creativity and not good at anything. On the other hand, that’s what makes me so special it’s become my norm and I don’t think I could live without it.
Celebrate yourself even if you really have nothing to celebrate – that’s very Canadian indeed.


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