|Go team honkey.
||[Sep. 10th, 2006|10:34 pm]
|||||Armin Van Buren - Transparance 004 (CD 1)||]|
My first assignment for my Canadian Literature class was to write something about what I think it means to be Canadian.
I hate questions like that. Questions about what it means to be black or white or Christian or Islamic or whatever. I hate thinking about categories, about ways that I'm different from people. 'Cause every time it comes up, people are always busy finding ways that they're different from me. I'm a young, white, straight male; that's right, I'm unmarked. I guess I'm the one who isn't "different, just like everyone else." Categories are always exclusive: if you're white, you aren't black, or red, or beige, or anything else. In the end, I just get defensive and ornery. "So, Chris, how do you feel about being a classical pianist?" "I'm not." "Oh. Well, how do you feel about being a jazz pianist?" "I'm not." "Uh. Well, er, how do you feel about being a pianist?" "It's nice."
Ironically, I'd be perfectly happy to answer a similar question, "How do you feel about playing classical piano?" Let's talk about choices not characteristics, eh?
Man, when I started this I was going to post the thing I wrote about what being Canadian means to me, but I got way off track. So I'll post that another time. But I think I know how I'll finish this: with a question nobody else would ever ask me, and the first answer that came to mind when I thought up the question.
"So, Chris, how do you feel about being a white, straight, young man?"
"I fucking hate it. Nobody takes me seriously."
Anyone out there remember how often I swear?
2006-09-11 11:59 am (UTC)
"I fucking hate it. Nobody takes me seriously."
Once you become an older, white, straight man, everyone will take you seriously. Have no fear.
2006-09-12 12:52 am (UTC)
Re: "I fucking hate it. Nobody takes me seriously."
I'm not so sure about that. Whoever these guys are that are getting all the money and running the world, they forgot to invite me into their club.
You know, I took a great deal of satisfaction turning things like this on their head when i took an anthropology course where the only right answer to any question was "because white Americans are evil." I continually challenged the professor's views in that class.
Course, I also flunked the course...
I'm... not going to touch the body of that, as we went over it semi-endlessly when we were together, and most of the things I'd say would likely infuriate you.
As far as the assignment goes, though, why not take an Arrogant Worms perspective? You don't have to reach for the deeper meaning of anything (especially if you, personally, don't ascribe that type of deeper meaning to the category). "Forgive us, we're Canadian!" (or, for that matter, any of the "I am..." mini-pieces)
Being a Canadian means being born north of the US. Being Canadian means counting in the metric system and laughing at politics, the economy, and the woefully inept neighbor below. For you, it seemed to mean taking an outside view on a lot of things while you were here. You can go on and on in that vein, without ever having to touch the Essential Meaning of Canadian-ness, or talk about What My Nationality Means For My Identity.
I don't know what I can say to that. Every time I try to contribute to a conversation about a topic like that, I get told "You wouldn't understand, you aren't a minority," and I have no way to respond to that. And constantly getting told that your beliefs and feelings are wrong, well, it hurts.
I guess, if you want to draw a parallel, it would be like be a Christian at Reed.
Actually, I did see an amusing comic
on this subject not too long ago.
"You wouldn't understand, you aren't a minority."
Is that what you hear me saying (or implying), or what you percieve in general? I certainly didn't mean to say or imply that. I do, actually, think that you are perfectly capable of contributing to and benefiting from such a conversation. I merely meant to observe that the two of us have had similar conversations in the past, and that based on those experiences, I witheld my comments in an effort to avoid further upsetting you.
That's what I've heard in general, as a common theme running through most discussions of this type that I've been involved in. I've heard this often, sometimes in exactly those words, sometimes not. And yes, on some occasions I heard it from you. I don't think that most of the people who say it (or think it) do so out of spite; I guess they mostly just think that you can't understand something unless you see it from the inside, with the same context. Or something.
what I think it means to be Canadian.
"At least I'm not an American!" ;)
Unfortunately, a lot of Canadians do actually think like that. I guess it's like sort of like growing up, comparing yourself to your older sibling.