Friday, July 07, 2006

Nasty, Brutish, and Short ... and Modern

identity n. The condition or fact of a person or thing being that specified unique person or thing, esp. as a continuous unchanging property throughout existence.
More unashamed meaninglessness from the Toronto Star ... A particularly unruly sampling:
Canada, because of its short modern history and the accepting nature of aboriginals, has escaped the shackles of identity and has allowed its identity to be fluid. As the make-up of Canadians changes, so will our collective "Canadian identity" and that is the very thing we must treasure and protect from all its enemies.
Where to begin? I guess: what great mind produced this Canada's "short modern history" thesis? Is this as distinct from its long pre-modern history? (NOTE: there are echoes here of the simpering credulity that accepts Canada's Centennial as the year the country magically materialized on planet Earth, but I don't think that is what Rayan Rafay is getting at. Indeed, the rather evident problem to me in all Mr. Rafay's pious musings, is that I don't think even he is entirely certain what he is getting at, but that it all just kinda sounded good at the time.) And I wonder if anyone can explain either the relevance or, more challengingly perhaps, just the meaning of this reference to "the accepting nature of aboriginals." I confess, the usage is so strange that I begin to doubt my own understanding of the term. Does he mean Native Indians? Far be it from me to suggest that Canada's aboriginals aren't as a rule accepting, but I think Mr. Rafay might be under a slight misconception as to the degree of influence they have had on Canada's "short modern" psyche.

It is perhaps important to note that I take none of Mr. Rafay's (well-meaning, no doubt) flatulence as a personal affront to my Canadian identity. I am not a patriot; any identity I have comes in spite of short modern Canada. Rather, it's the glaring insult to my intelligence that I cannot abide. The man dares to disguise his inability to argue in terms of anything but hollow and unintelligent sentimentality, with a thin veneer of pseudo-academic newspeak. I mean, the idea that identity comes with a set of shackles is so ludicrously nonsensical it doesn't bear two seconds' thinking. That it (identity) might then be considered in terms of its being "fluid"--and that this apparent fluidity must, in defiance of reason (and physics), be "treasured" and "protected"--takes the giddy biscuit! It all sounds a little too uncannily like General Jack D. Ripper.