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September 25, 2013 9:04 AM   Subscribe

The most Irish island in the world. Booker Prize winning author Anne Enright travels to the edge of Newfoundland. (single page version, may trigger printer).
posted by rollick (66 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cod as big as a grown child.

A grown child? You mean an adult?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:12 AM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


What about Craggy Island?
posted by w0mbat at 9:16 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Soundtrack in my head to this article.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:17 AM on September 25, 2013


(and it now occurs to me that it was Sing Fool Sing here on metafilter who introduced me to Finest Kind, so yay for that!)
posted by Wretch729 at 9:21 AM on September 25, 2013


A grown child? You mean an adult?

Perhaps a uniquely Irish way of looking at the world. You have to roll with it. I recall a friend of mine staying at his relatives place in the west country in Ireland - I think it was 2001. He rolled down to the local and asked one of the patrons at the bar if there was somewhere he could get the internet.

"Internet?"

"Yeah, you know, computers."

"Ahhh. Computers. They've come and gone."
posted by jimmythefish at 9:25 AM on September 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm one of those annoying USians who wouldn't really have had Newfoundland on their personal radar if it hadn't been for Great Big Sea. But now I'm all up the idea of visiting. I sent my Irish friend (whose music tastes definitely run to the traditional) a copy of their recent greatest-hits album, and you would not BELIEVE how eager and lengthy her praise was. (Although, granted, some of it maybe came from "oh my god wait the lead singer is that guy who played Allan A'Dale in that ROBIN HOOD movie WOW").

Relatedly, I saw a clip of this talk show interview in which they poked fun at Newfoundland slang and how "odd" it was - but I was thinking, "what? That makes perfect sense," until I realized that maybe having heard my friend speak herself is maybe why it made sense to me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:30 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reading the story and the comments is tugging at my heart. I know it's not true, but I find myself often feeling like "America is just a name, but my ancestors were Irish--that's a real thing!". Fake nostalgia.. But it feels good.
posted by hanoixan at 9:30 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, I was just thinking that we needed another ambiguously racist ethnic bloc obsessed with history that its current members never fucking experienced themselves. As a Canadian you have no idea how AWESOME that sounds--and of course, Ireland would be the BEST possible model for such a thing.
posted by mobunited at 9:36 AM on September 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


I have ancestors from Newfoundland - from a town so small and remote that the government said "eh, fuckit. you're not worth spending resouces on" and closed out the town and turned it into a park.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:41 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


mobunited--could you sort out those comments. I really have no idea if you are being sarcastic, hopeful or ironic. And I am not sure how the Irish bring a special energy to it.
posted by rmhsinc at 9:45 AM on September 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


These wistful articles by summer tourists to my island show up all the time. And honestly, this one isn't terrible, just a bit reductive.

If you really want to get a sense of Newfoundland, I'd invite you to read some of the amazingly talented novelists who call this place home. Start with Michael Crummey's Galore for a haunting introduction to the local mythology. Wayne Johnston's The Colony of Unrequited Dreams is a rollicking jaunt through recent history and politics. For a more contemporary sense of the place, try Lisa Moore, Michael Winter or Jessica Grant. And don't forget Labrador.

Or just come and visit!
posted by oulipian at 9:51 AM on September 25, 2013 [16 favorites]


I interpreted mobunited's comment as being that Canada doesn't need another nationalist ethnic group like the separatist Quebecquois - and that Ireland is maybe not the best model for peace between ethnicities and religions.

I have no problem with Newfoundland pride - the place has a lot to be proud of. But I would put the emphasis on place: all Newfoundlanders are in it together, whether their ancestors are Irish or English (like the famous Bowrings, who started the Bowring store), or Chinese or Jamaican or Ethiopian.
posted by jb at 9:52 AM on September 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think Americans really have no concept of how bound up in place Canadian identity is because of the population disparity. Also, Newfoundlanders outside of Newfoundland don't mind being called Newfies because that lets them know who's an asshole.

The particular identity politics of Canadians isn't limited to Newfoundland. All of the Maritimes feel much more loyal to place than to Canada. Look at Cape Breton (vacation there if you can, you can get a cottage on the beach for a week cheap).
posted by syncope at 9:53 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the book recommendations, oulipian!
posted by rmd1023 at 10:01 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


A grown child? You mean an adult?

Perhaps a uniquely Irish way of looking at the world. You have to roll with it.


I get it. As a Canadian, I am not unfamiliar with idiosyncratic takes on things which seems perfectly sensible to me and my peers, but may baffle outsiders. Years ago I had a couple of Australian workmates who were among those invited round to some co-worker's home for a party in December. First, they thought it was hi-LAR-ious that people would put beer on the back porch to cool down. Then later I warned them that because everyone doffs boots in the front hall and pads around the party in sock feet, you need to be careful when leaving and donning your boots again that you do not step in the melted snow and wind up with drenched socks.

"'Melted snow'? You mean water?"

"Er... yeah, I suppose."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:03 AM on September 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


obsessed with history that its current members never fucking experienced themselves.

The cod moratorium happened in 1992, what are you on about?
posted by Space Coyote at 10:04 AM on September 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think Americans really have no concept of how bound up in place Canadian identity is because of the population disparity.

Mmm, we may have our own variety of "place pride," albeit for very different reasons. (Exhibit A - any time anyone makes a crack about Texas, "the red states", "flyover country," etc.) I've also noticed I and a lot of New Yorkers I know feel way more patriotism towards New York City itself than we do towards the country as a whole (and with me, that's turning even more granular - I'm starting to self-identify as "a Brooklynite" rather than "a New Yorker").

A former boss of mine had a really good theory as to why "yay Ireland" nostalgia may be so prevelant in North America, especially now - he had a theory that immigrants to a new country, and their next five generations, go through some distinct phases of assimilation: the actual person to emigrate is just trying to figure out which end is up. The next generation or two after that - the first- and second-born [North Americans] try to consciously assimilate themselves into the new home nation - "No, I'm not [schmeh,] I'm Canadian (or American or whatever). Then the next generation or two after that, they've pretty much assimilated - they may intellectually know that "yeah, I'm of [schmeh] descent, but whatever." They don't really know anything about the customs or history or whatever outside of what the average joe on the street knows. And then at about the fourth or fifth generation after that, you finally get the people who say "Okay, we're of [schmeh] descent - but wait, I wonder what that means?" And then they're the ones who get all ancestry.com and researching-their-roots about it.

If you buy that, then consider what impact that could have on the fact that we are now at about the fifth generation after the greatest period of emigration from Ireland to North America by far. And so there's a whole generation of Irish-famine descendants all going through the same kind of "wait, Ireland, what's that about" stuff at the same time. Which also happened to coincide with and overlap with a period of huge economic growth in Ireland itself, which no doubt fueled that as well.

Heh. Dunno where I'm really going with this, but it's an interesting demographic thought experiment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:12 AM on September 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Grown not grown up.
posted by Segundus at 10:15 AM on September 25, 2013


(single page version, may trigger printer)

Does something bad happen to a printer?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:18 AM on September 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


The particular identity politics of Canadians isn't limited to Newfoundland. All of the Maritimes feel much more loyal to place than to Canada.

Given that the federal government has actively sought to depopulate the Maritimes you would expect that those who remained would be the ones who are loyal to place over nation.
posted by srboisvert at 10:20 AM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Newfoundland is not part of The Maritimes. You can say "Atlantic Canada."
posted by oulipian at 10:22 AM on September 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


noo-fn-LAND.

Not NOO-fn-lnd.

Not noo-FOUND-lnd.

noo-fn-LAND. noo-fn-LAND-n-la-bra-DOR.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:52 AM on September 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


It wasn't a terrible read, but did come across like someone describing an ever present sensation with an expectation that everyone inherently understands that sensation and the topic. Rough, I suppose? It's written as if it had already been written, then was re-written by memory sometime later with a fondness for what was written, but in the process, there are parts that have been forgotten. Odd description, I know.

....full grown child...

Is not an adult. It's a kid, who's about as big as a kid can get, before that kid becomes a teenager or adult.

The descriptions reminded me of a thousand small towns across America which refuse to simply quit despite losing their sole economic basis for existing. The children vanish away for opportunities that can only be found elsewhere, and all that remains are those who are trapped either by circumstance or desire. This isn't a bad thing, but you usually can spot them, places with immaculate and well-kept lawns and homes, but businesses that appear just on the side of tired.
posted by Atreides at 11:06 AM on September 25, 2013


“Canada”, in this context, is not just a euphemism for “boring”, “law-abiding” or “flat”

Second sentence. Yup, this'll be nuanced and carefully reported and devoid of bias and antiquated stereotype, eh, b'y. I'm way out here on the other side of the flat Cape Breton Highlands and boring Montreal and law-abiding Toronto City Hall, where the boring prairie badlands meet the flat Rocky Mountains, and I can't wait to hear some definitive observations about Newfoundland.

Seconding oulipian's recommendation of Johnston's Colony of Unrequited Dreams. A brilliant, gripping read and a handy little primer on Newfoundland's history.
posted by gompa at 11:18 AM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


newfie-land and labradoodle.

My brother-in-law lived there once. True story. The maritimes are Canada's southern states.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:19 AM on September 25, 2013


The maritimes are Canada's southern states

This is something only a person who's never been to either place could say.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:26 AM on September 25, 2013 [21 favorites]


It wasn't a terrible read, but did come across like someone describing an ever present sensation with an expectation that everyone inherently understands that sensation and the topic.

Well this is an Irish writer writing in an Irish paper for an Irish audience, so different assumptions would definitely be being made about the makeup, experiences and sentiments of the audience.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:28 AM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Newfoundland once being an independent country of its own (albeit as independent a Dominion would be) still blows my mind. What if it had never voted for Confederation? There would be a second world economic status (until oil is discovered) island of European immigrants with a seat at the U.N. just hanging off the coast of North America. Would they be part of NAFTA, I wonder. Would they have been diplomatically closer to the U.S. as a reaction against Ottawa? Would they have enough of a population to have their own intelligence agency that would be implicated as working with the NSA? Would they vie with Canada, Russia, and the U.S. for control of the Northwest Passage?
posted by Apocryphon at 11:58 AM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


For the weirdest little bit of Newfoundland film, please see The Adventures of Faustus Bidgood. You may recognize many names from Codco from their pre Codco and 22 Minutes fame.

The film cannot be explained but if you like the quirkiest of Canadian comedy, I promise yo ua good laugh.
posted by chapps at 12:12 PM on September 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Newfoundland is actually one of the only examples of a country voluntarily giving up responsible government (in the non-colloquial form of "responsible"). Enough that I looked into it while working on some law school research, but couldn't find much about it because hey, obscure subject.

So you can’t call them “Newfies”, and you can’t call them Canadians, but they will let you call them Irish.

Fuck that shit. I am a second-generation Newfoundlander (my parents moved there from Ottawa/Vancouver, I grew up in Corner Brook). I count myself as a Newfoundlander, but don't mind being called a Newfie, I count myself as a Canadian, and if you call me Irish I'm going to start laughing - my background is all Eastern European Jewish, I can't stand the stereotyping of us Newfies as all old Irish stock.

Also I'm not even a Newfoundlander, that would lump me in with the St. John's townies. Yikes.

And don't forget Labrador.

And Lab has a new UNESCO site! Come see Red Bay.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:27 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


The maritimes are Canada's southern states.

NEWFOUNDLAND IS NOT IN THE MARITIMES

(Really. This fact was a huge surprise to me as an Albertan transplant to Halifax. I may have started an argument with my Social Studies teacher about it...)

Also, no, Atlantic Canada is not the South. It's more complicated than that. Cape Breton is very much our Appalachia what with the coal mining and fiddle music, but PEI is our Idaho, mainland Nova Scotia our Massachusetts, New Brunswick our ... let's say Wisconsin?, Labrador our Alaska, and Newfoundland our... well, our Massachusetts again, but more specifically the most Irish neighbourhood in south Boston.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:32 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also I'm a little surprised by their assertion of NL not being essential to the Allies' effort. Like I get that we're not essential essential. But the vast majority of military planes that went to Britain flew through NL, what with us being closest to them. U-boat patrols flew from St. John's, and escort ships sailed from it. Not to mention that a lot of the transatlantic cables went through SJ (I think they still did), or actual regiments.

Here's a neat article about contributions to the war effort.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:33 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Also, yeah, all the Newfies I ever met -- which is a lot -- are very, very, proud to call themselves Newfies. But that's probably because I met every one of them outside of Newfoundland.)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:34 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yay, Newfoundland. while I no longer live there I grew up there, both in St Johns and a >tiny< place south west of Bonavista. Went back for a visit a few years ago, toured around the Avalon and up to Bonavista way. Great place to grow up, difficult place to live. 28 years after I left I still get told I have a slight NFLD accent, and have the flag tattooed on my arm
posted by edgeways at 12:37 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq, from what I've seen working class types embrace the term "Newfie", but the more education you have (especially if you're from Town), the more likely you are to prefer to be called a "Newfoundlander" instead.

Take for example "The Islander" which has been wildly popular back home for at least a decade.
posted by peppermind at 12:50 PM on September 25, 2013


Proud Newfoundlander and longtime Metafilter lurker here. I finally registered because, not for the first time, I've seen "Newfie" used on metafilter like it's OK. It isn't. A substantial portion of Newfoundlanders consider it a slur. While the situation is much better today than it was in my parents' time, Newfoundlanders still occupy a subaltern (if usually subtly so, now) position in Canada. The word "Newfie" is bound up in this. "I've got friends from [group x], and they use [problematic term used to refer to group x], so my use of [problematic term used to refer to group x] is fine" shouldn't stand. Please, please, unless you are a Newfoundlander who self-identifies as a Newfie, don't use the word. It makes some of us cringe like you wouldn't believe.

OK. So that's off my chest.

The supposed Irishness of Newfoundland is more or less factual, but it's a different kind of Irishness than what people in mainland North America might be used to. Anne Enright, in this article, seemed to sense that Newfoundland's claim to Irishness is bound up in its claim to being Different Than The Rest of Canada, but she didn't push that very far. It's a knotty subject and the piece like this can only be so long and so complicated, so that's OK.

It wasn't only the isolation of Newfoundland that allowed Irish cultural practices and dialect to persist. It was the fact that most Irish communities were on the southern Avalon peninsula, isolated from English communities (the only other major contributor to colonial Newfoundland was the Devon/Dorset/Somerset area of England), combined with the fact that, by the latter 19th century, Irish Catholics held the balance of politic power in the capital of St. John's. Newfoundland's drive towards self-government and eventual nationhood, in the 19th century, was spearheaded by the Archbishops in St. John's. The resistance to confederation with Canada in the late 1940s was, similarly, concentrated in the Irish parts of the island; voting "no" to Canada was explicitly supported by the Catholic Church in St. John's (because of the dual founder populations, Catholic reliably means Irish and Protestant reliably means English within a Newfoundland context). If you look at a map of the referenda results, they map almost perfectly onto where the Irish aspect of Newfoundland culture is dominant.

So it very much makes sense that a claim to "Irishness" is tied up with a claim to newfoundland's cultural (if not political) sovereignty.

Tilting (which is beautiful and very worth visiting), on Fogo Island, is actually kind of an exception to all of this. It is an Irish community on an otherwise overwhelmingly English stretch of shore. None of the other communities on Fogo Island (haunting, desolate, severe, wonderful place) have substantial Irish heritage, and Tilting is one of the smaller communities on the island.

Because this is going waaaaaaay longer than I intended it to, here is a paper I wrote on perceptions of Irish identity and ideas of cultural authenticity within Newfoundland English: They do be anxious about their speech.

Sorry for the screed. I have a lot of feels and thinks about Newfoundland. It's a curious place.
posted by erlking at 1:07 PM on September 25, 2013 [28 favorites]


Sys Rq, from what I've seen working class types embrace the term "Newfie", but the more education you have (especially if you're from Town), the more likely you are to prefer to be called a "Newfoundlander" instead.

My friends from Newfoundland say it's alright to call them 'Newfie' as long as it's not 'Newfie, shine my shoes!'.

Canada's n-word, perhaps.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:10 PM on September 25, 2013


A substantial portion of Newfoundlanders consider it a slur.

I posted above before I read erlking's post. I concur - my friends' assertion that it's OK in some contexts (likely because I asked if it was OK to use) was probably just that - OK as long as it was only us and it's not being used negatively. It has indeed historically been used in a negative, derogatory manner and I've consciously avoided using the term regardless of what they said was OK.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:14 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because all things Canadian have a wonderful Kate Beaton comic associated with them: L'Anse Aux Meadows, 1000 AD.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:44 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The resistance to confederation with Canada in the late 1940s was, similarly, concentrated in the Irish parts of the island; voting "no" to Canada was explicitly supported by the Catholic Church in St. John's (because of the dual founder populations, Catholic reliably means Irish and Protestant reliably means English within a Newfoundland context). If you look at a map of the referenda results, they map almost perfectly onto where the Irish aspect of Newfoundland culture is dominant.

Fantastic insights.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:51 PM on September 25, 2013


Whenever nth generation hyphen Americans start talking about their cultural heritage I have a mental flashback to that episode of the Sopranos when they take a trip back to Italy and the Italian mafia makes fun of these idiot rubes from America that cannot even begin to speak Italian, and eat the worst sorts of bastardized dog food with zero sophistication or grace.

We really lose site of that, I think. Our ancestors, for the most part, fled their countries of origin because they were so fucked life couldn't be worse starting over from scratch. A lot of times, the cultural traditions, cuisine and linguistics that they passed on to their lineage are those of the lowest sort of dirt poor peasantry.

As a little kid whenever I would express romanticized nostalgia or patriotism for the old country my grandmother would quickly shoot that idea down. "No, fuck that. Are you crazy? It was a shithole. I would never go back there."
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 1:54 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


A lot of times, the cultural traditions, cuisine and linguistics that they passed on to their lineage are those of the lowest sort of dirt poor peasantry.

If you're suggesting there's something wrong with that, you are exactly the sort of person our ancestors "fled" (read: were forcibly removed by). Fuck sophistication and grace, and fuck the people who stole our respective homelands.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:34 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd invite you to read some of the amazingly talented novelists who call this place home.

He no longer calls it home, but Alistair Macleod's the Lost Salt Gift of Blood is terrific, also.
posted by smoke at 4:27 PM on September 25, 2013


A lot of times, the cultural traditions, cuisine and linguistics that they passed on to their lineage are those of the lowest sort of dirt poor peasantry.

The people who came to Newfoundland to fish and whale were peasants, sure, but they weren't packed into cargo holds of ships hoping to escape desperate poverty. They were just looking for a better spot to fish. All immigrant experiences are not 19th century American immigrant experiences.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:38 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Would anyone else care to speculate as to Newfoundland's fate if it continued in independence? Could they get tourism by appealing to Bostonians and other Irish-Americans to visit, without having to cross the Atlantic?
posted by Apocryphon at 5:17 PM on September 25, 2013


For anyone interested, Anne Enright wrote a marvellous clutch of articles about creative process for the Guardian in 2008/9, here, here (on the importance of failing), here and, my favourite, here, Creative Blockage.
posted by glasseyes at 6:00 PM on September 25, 2013


Could they get tourism by appealing to Bostonians and other Irish-Americans to visit, without having to cross the Atlantic?

Probably, a bit, but I don't think it really works like that. Irish-Americans who care that they're Irish-Americans have a historical (and romantic and silly and sometimes dangerous; see my ridiculous comment above -- or, say, the Fenian Brotherhood -- for an example of the sort of mentality) attachment to Ireland, the mythical primordial mothership, not just any old branch of the diaspora. Irish-Americans go to Ireland to see where their people come from. They wouldn't get that from Newfoundland, though they'd probably enjoy it, quite possibly more.

It's the scenery that the actual tourism ads play up. And, really, as much as the people of Newfoundland are Irish-ish, the place itself is more Scandinavian than anything, all colourful clapboard houses and fjords and whatnot.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:14 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whenever nth generation hyphen Americans start talking about their cultural heritage I have a mental flashback to that episode of the Sopranos when they take a trip back to Italy and the Italian mafia makes fun of these idiot rubes from America that cannot even begin to speak Italian, and eat the worst sorts of bastardized dog food with zero sophistication or grace.

But this really isn't the case for Newfoundland Irish (who were not refugees and mostly came over voluntarily in the 18th century).

Back in 2005, I had a job in Ireland, in Waterford, at the Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies they have there (they study us in part because certain elements of Irish culture lost or altered in the famine and afterwards are preserved in Newfoundland). My father is 7th generation Newfoundlander, but from a very Irish part of the island. He came to visit me in Waterford. The Irish have a game amongst themselves, where they'll try to guess where in Ireland someone is from, based on their accent. When my dad spoke to locals, they would tilt their heads for a second and guess "Cork. Or maybe Kerry."

Similarly, an older lady in my hometown, whose family had lived in Newfoundland for 200+ years, visited Dublin. Hanging out in a pub, she could not - could not - convince the locals that she wasn't a culchie.

Of course, folks in Ireland all assumed I was American, because Newfoundland accents are non-prestige in Canada and, if you're a smart good kid with ambitions, you try to speak "correctly," and by the time you realize what a crock that is, it's kind of too late. I actually feel robbed of this heritage, somewhat.
posted by erlking at 6:46 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


erlking: the only other major contributor to colonial Newfoundland was the Devon/Dorset/Somerset area of England

Not to mention the French settlements along the west coast.
posted by sneebler at 6:56 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


^ My bad. The French communities on the west coast aren't large enough to be statistically significant, but they are prominent/notable for their difference and vibrancy, and they are under severe threat and shouldn't be forgotten.

I guess we should arrive at the point that "Newfoundlander" isn't any unitary thing. There are different cultures and communities within Newfoundland. Fogo is not the same thing as Ferryland is not the same thing as the Codroy Valley.

It can get frustrating, as within the Rest of Canada (especially east of New Brunswick), many folks barely bother to discern between the various Atlantic provinces, let alone the regional diversity that exists within each of those provinces.
posted by erlking at 7:06 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Geologically there is sort of a connection, Avalonia.
posted by ovvl at 7:40 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


No problem - I just wanted to get a word in. And Nfld accents were prestige in our house!

Maybe this deserves a post of its own, but I feel very lucky to have grown up in Alberta and still be exposed to lots of Newfoundland humour via the CBC. We had all these great radio shows like Codco ("Pardon me for laughing father, but I was just remembering your buttocks", The Great Eastern (previously), and various Codco relations like Uncle Val (Andy Jones).
posted by sneebler at 7:42 PM on September 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm currently writing a dissertation chapter on The Great Eastern, actually! That show was unbelievably inventive and super-smart. Some of the best scripted radio I've ever come across. One of the main writers and creators, Ed Riche, has gone on to write some excellent comic novels.
posted by erlking at 8:05 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Son of a bitch. I've intended to make a Great Eastern FPP on Paul Moth's birthday since I joined but always blanked when April 1st came around. Eight years would merit a repost for one of the very best things to ever come from the CBC, I think.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:32 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq:"(read: were forcibly removed by). Fuck sophistication and grace, and fuck the people who stole our respective homelands.". You crammed a lot of history into that statement. And you certainly like picking and choosing the place to start and stop your historical analysis. Some fled poverty, some came to exploit new lands, some fled oppression/genocide, some came to expand power and privilege and some became exploiters themselves. Not unlike most stories of occupying unexploited lands/migration/etc. But sophistication, and certainly grace, should never be dismissed so cavalierly.
posted by rmhsinc at 12:21 AM on September 26, 2013


It’s not a bad article but it does have that newspaper travel section feel about it. Then again, almost any mention of Newfoundland provokes a reflux of powerful memories for me: my late wife was from St. John’s—and while I can whole-heartedly second the recommendations to visit the Rock, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back: too many funerals & hers the last of them; too many ghosts.

My wife’s father (another of those ghosts), whose family hailed from Elliston originally, was taken to be Irish when he came to visit us in England.

I’ve still got a pack of savory in the cupboard and had a pack each of salt beef, salt cod & fatback in my freezer until a pre-house-move clearout last month…
posted by misteraitch at 3:04 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Alvy, surely there's some reason why your post on Paul Moth's birthday doesn't fall on April 1st?
posted by sneebler at 4:45 AM on September 26, 2013


I know that the reason for "Maritimes" excluding Newfoundland is a historic one but i think it's apt in many ways. When I visited Newfoundland, I thought I'd feel at home in the same way that I feel all over the Maritimes. Instead I felt almost like I stepped into another country.

Such a lovely place. It's out of the way but so worth visiting.

Jam Jams FTW.
posted by beau jackson at 6:34 AM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Atlantic provinces are in no way equivalent to the southern states or any state for that matter. They are very different places. It's reductive, misleading and ultimately unhelpful oversimplification to assert otherwise. And to suggest that 'newfie' is the Canadian n-word, well, what can you say about that? There is no equivalent to that in Canadian culture, despite our own fucked up past.

Growing up in New Brunswick during a time when newfie jokes were flying wild and free, I bought into the stereotypes because I was a dumb kid. Growing older and meeting a bunch of Newfoundlanders, I learned that while Newfoundlanders (and Cape Bretoners and French New Brunswickers) were a lot like me, my friends and my family, they were also generally a lot more lively. Basically my theory is that protestants suck the fun out of everything.
posted by picea at 7:27 AM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here is the tattoo I got after revisiting a few years back.

funny thing is... I was living there as a kid when that flag was adopted, and I remember at the time not liking the design, and even writing someone in government about not liking it. Now? I think it's kind of cool. It's fairly different from most of the Provencal flags.
posted by edgeways at 7:46 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


You crammed a lot of history into that statement. And you certainly like picking and choosing the place to start and stop your historical analysis. Some fled poverty, some came to exploit new lands, some fled oppression/genocide, some came to expand power and privilege and some became exploiters themselves. Not unlike most stories of occupying unexploited lands/migration/etc. But sophistication, and certainly grace, should never be dismissed so cavalierly.

Pretty much everything you listed falls under the category of what he was saying and he was responding to a rather jaundiced "historical analysis" that was a pretty cavalier dismissal in and of itself.
posted by Redgrendel2001 at 5:27 PM on September 26, 2013


But sophistication, and certainly grace, should never be dismissed so cavalierly.

If the people who claim to have them shit all over the people who don't, then I'll dismiss them any which way I like. (And if my manner should threaten Oliver Cromwell, more's the better.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:20 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am very jealous of anyone whose dissertation includes a chapter on the Great Eastern.
posted by chapps at 10:44 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Alvy, surely there's some reason why your post on Paul Moth's birthday doesn't fall on April 1st?

Do you mean it should be March 31st?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:14 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


New Brunswick our ... let's say Wisconsin?
Wisconsin where they speak English and French without bickering about which language they speak.
posted by MILNEWSca at 11:36 AM on September 27, 2013


Well, obviously NB's the Louisiana in that regard, except New Brunswick doesn't have a New Orleans analogue, or gator gumbo. I was thinking more cold and boring and next to some water.

(And, really, PEI = Idaho is really just "that's where potatoes come from"; it's really a lot more like Kansas, but with jellyfish.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:45 AM on September 27, 2013


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