So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Outliving my Culture
Cultures change and evolve. . . and pretty much disappear. I'm pushing 60, which gives me a good half century of being old enough to really observe the world around me.
I grew up in a mill town. Workers were heavily recruited from rural agricultural Quebec. They lacked the vocabulary for an industrial world, so they made one up. Between the ancient origins of the Quebec French Patois and the new words, it became a unique local language. It's different enough that local people going back to Quebec to visit thought the Quebecois spoke funny.
The Catholic church had a huge influence over the day to day life of people. Not only did they wield spiritual power, they had political power. One priest was annoyed that the trail would blow its whistle during his sermons. The priest had enough pull to get the railroad to reschedule the train.
Only a small part of the mill remains. The language is being spoken by fewer and fewer people. The Catholic church has been greatly reduced in size and power. The culture I grew up in is disappearing.
So what happened? My people learned English to get ahead and adapted to the larger American culture. While I'm proud of my origins, I don't regret that we've changed as a people. Adapt and survive. We'll retain a number of unique features, the stuff that we love and makes our lives better.
A lot of people are worried about immigrants coming in and overwhelming the country with their culture. If that happens it will be because the American culture is less attractive than whatever the new people bring. I'm not too worried about that happening. Historically, the United States was able to absorb huge numbers of immigrants.
Yes, new peoples influence our country, but it's mostly the good and fun things, like new types of food and drink. Also, we get some new holidays to party down to.
I've watched my culture change, but I've seen my people adapt and thrive. It's a trade off that most people are willing to accept. Even if they aren't, it's what usually happens. The transition can be easy or it can be hard, but it's going to happen.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.