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CELTIC-L  April 1998

CELTIC-L April 1998

Subject:

Re: The Backlash Begins

From:

"Nestor Santiago Jr." <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Mon, 6 Apr 1998 06:37:23 PDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (130 lines)

Hello,
mmmmmmmmmmm

>From [log in to unmask] Wed Apr  1 12:58:42 1998
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>Date:         Wed, 1 Apr 1998 14:49:35 -0500
>Reply-To: "CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List."
<[log in to unmask]>
>Sender: "CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List."
<[log in to unmask]>
>From: Jennie Murphy <[log in to unmask]>
>Organization: JEM Enterprises
>Subject:      Re: The Backlash Begins
>To: [log in to unmask]
>
>Neil Alasdair McEwan wrote:
>>
>><snips>
>
>>    The host, the aforementioned Ralph, is a typical Canadian
establishment
>> media-type who unfortunately believes that he's a bit of a rebel, so
he
>> made it his job to set up "Celtic culture" as a kind of privileged
>> institution which it was his job, as the fearless reporter, to
deflate.
>> This was complicated by the fact that Benmergui, despite being
entirely
>> European in appearance, was born in Morocco, considers himself
non-white
>> and refers to his ethnicity again and again as proof of his outsider
>> status.
>
>If he's such an outsider, what right does he have to speak for the
Canadian people?
>
>
>>  As a result the discussion quickly degenerated into Benmergui
>> telling everyone that "Celtic" culture was given too high a profile,
>> that the Scots had always run things in Toronto anyway (so why did
their
>> culture need more exposure etc.), and that some Scots guys 30 years
ago
>> hadn't been able to pronounce his Moroccan father's name properly.
>> Rather than pointing out that Ralph was seriously deranged the Celtic
>> Studies people tried to act a bit nonchalant and so didn't really
>> offer an effective defence; they were an odd bunch anyway, one of the
>> women had a sporran around her neck, and another man burbled
incoherently
>> about "Celtic consciousness".
>
>These people were probably chosen for their oddness to strengthen the
point.
>
>
>>     The only person there who cut through the nonsense was Mary Jane
>> Lamond who said the right things: that much of the marketing
phenomenon of
>> "Celtic" music was a fad and had little bearing on the roots of the
>> traditions; that the real culture was, if anything, underexposed and
>> ignored in Canada; and that Ralph had an obvious problem and should
"get
>> over it".  Altogether the show was very depressing and marked by real
>> hostility at times, and although Ralph is a well-known scumbag
generally
>> you have to wonder how much his opinion is shared by others like him.
>> In Canada it's still common to define the Gaelic culture as
>> "Anglo-Canadian", and "Anglo" is a synonym for "privileged".
Requests
>> for government funding for Gaelic have been turned down because the
>> people who speak it are not "oppressed"; presumably the contrast is
with
>> French, which is funded as far as is humanly possible in Canada (but
>> which Benmergui specifically referred to as being *under-exposed*).
>> French has 7 million speakers in this country, while Gaelic has
several
>> hundred and that number is dropping fast -- but because Ashley
MacIsaac
>> plays his fiddle on TV we supposedly have nothing to worry about and
should
>> quit complaining.  The international over-exposure of things really
or
>> allegedly Celtic -- Riverdance, Ewan McGregor movies, PBS specials
about
>> Ireland -- has led to an enormous complacency from some people and
>> evidently, now, resentment from others, and has probably not helped
>> the living traditions at all -- one can only hope that the mania for
>> all things Celtic will soon come to an end and we can go back to our
>> decent obscurity.
>
>I agree that Celt-Mania is out of hand, but I do think that to some
degree it does promote the
>languages. Not with everyone, for sure, but a small percentage pursue
the languages that wouldn't
>have noticed them otherwise. Are these small gains worth losing for the
sake of dignity? Does it
>matter *why* people learn the languages just so long as they do?
>
>Le meas,
>
>Jennie
>


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