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My mom on the Anglosphere - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
My mom on the Anglosphere
The school in my town was bad. Oh, not as bad as it might have been outside of New York State, without fairly strict state guidelines, but it was as bad as it could be while still being accredited.

As a result, my mother--between double-shifts at the nursing home--did a lot of supplemental instruction, especially when I was small, and especially in geography. She was horrified at how little plain old fashioned geography we had, and her favorite teaching game was taking our old globe, having me spin it with my finger over it and my eyes closed, and wherever it stopped, I had to say what I knew about the place and/or get out the old kid's encyclopedia we had and learn more.

I got the concept of other countries pretty well for a six year old--different people, doing things differently, with different histories, and all that. Problem? We lived on the Canadian border. Except for the fact that they used what looked like Monopoly money to me over in Fort Erie or Niagara Falls, I couldn't see any significant difference. And their accent was certainly less strange to me than a Texan accent, or even a heavy downeast accent. Toronto and Niagara Falls are a lot more like Buffalo than Albuquerque is.

Also, I'd been playing the globe game and landed in Australia. I saw pictures (didn't hear the accent), and it looked... an awful lot like home.

So my mom sat me down and explained the Anglosphere one day. This may be a sign of where I get my taste for metaphors from.

England, she said, always called itself the "Mother Country" when it had colonies (brief digression, explaining what a colony was). But, she also said, there were different kinds of colonies. Some were places that were pretty much just taken over. Others were what she opted to call "daughter countries."

The U.S., Canada, and Australia, were "daughter countries." (New Zealand, too, she added later, but that wasn't on the original lesson.) We were the oldest, in the U.S. We were rebellious, and had a huge fight when we wanted to leave home. We stormed out and set up housekeeping on our own and thumbed our nose for a long time, but now we were getting along again. Canada was the middle child, well-behaved and trying to please Mother (most of the time). When she came of age, she was given her independence without any fuss, and was never on bad terms with the homeplace. Australia was the youngest--daring and attention-seeking, but too loveable to really get into a major fight with England... and besides that, far enough away to stay under the radar. No intention at all of following the rules, but no particular desire to fight about it.

This little family circle might bicker internally, but G-d help the outside who shook a fist at any member of it. Furthermore, mother and daughters all have a strong family resemblance. (And, like any siblings, hotly deny it when someone else says so.)

Now, I've learned other history since, but for some reason, that metaphor has always stuck with me. Can't seem to shake it.

Oh, well. I like it, as metaphors go.

I have no idea why I felt compelled to share that.

For a story today, this was kind of an odd one that I wrote around my birthday a couple of years ago, after taking myself to the Museum of Fine Arts. AotC was out, and I remembered that Padme's first boyfriend, Palo, had been mentioned as an artist, and I had the idea that he had written something about art ("Art is never accidental, never a byproduct of more useful projects. Art is created by the intention to create it. There may be beauty in the products of the beasts, but it is not intended. Without sentience, there can be no art."). I wrote that passage, and then I found that I just wanted to write about Palo. But what should he be doing?

Well, obviously, there was one person in the galaxy who might still have an extreme interest in an obscure Naboo artist. And heaven knows, it would be nervewracking to be summoned by Darth Vader...

The Smart One

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Moderate
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

I feel a bit...: nostalgic nostalgic

11 comments or Leave a comment
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: March 26th, 2004 09:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love your mother's take on the relationships of the English-speaking world! It's gorgeous. And very true.

"far enough away to stay under the radar" *snigger* Oh yeah!
We Aussies like to think we're in the best position: we get the best that all of you have to offer culture-wise.
myf From: myf Date: March 26th, 2004 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey Leela! Didn't know you had an LJ!

I love your mum's take on it too, Fern. Love that we had no intention of following Mum's rules, but couldn't really be arsed fighting about it. Lol!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 26th, 2004 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I so want to visit around the "family." A cousin spent most of a year down in Australia (working on his marine biology thesis, mostly in Tasmania, though he got around), and he just loved it.

Hey, Leela... did you ever read the story I pimped mentioned up there? I'd love to get an artist's opinion on it.
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: March 28th, 2004 07:19 am (UTC) (Link)
The imagery grabbed me to the point where I sat down and produced this - http://www.freewebs.com/katemac/web.FernTheSmartOne.jpg
(You'll have to cut and paste the URL I'm sorry. Freewebs won't direct link)
When I started, I had intended to have her face filling the pic, but it didn't quite work.
Hope you like the result. :~)

sonetka From: sonetka Date: March 26th, 2004 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Robertson Davies uses this metaphor a couple of times as well, though only in regard to the US and Canada. He refers to Columbia as the Rebellious Daughter, and Canada as the Good Daughter Who Stayed At Home. Britannica, after an initial period of fury when Columbia decided to strike out on her own, eventually warmed to her and became very fond of her once more when seeing what she accomplished on her own, all the while coming to take the Good Daughter a little bit for granted :). Well, it makes an amusing essay. I like your mother's take on Australia.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 26th, 2004 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. I don't know if she cribbed it from him or happened to come up with the same metaphor. But it works. And I can definitely sometimes hear Canada muttering discontentedly about being taken for granted. :)

I always enjoyed living on the Canadian border, walking across it now and then (mostly taking the bus up to Niagara Falls and crossing at the Rainbow Bridge).
ivylore From: ivylore Date: March 27th, 2004 05:57 am (UTC) (Link)
And I can definitely sometimes hear Canada muttering discontentedly about being taken for granted. :)

Heh, heh, heh.... :)
sonetka From: sonetka Date: March 27th, 2004 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know; I can easily see it occurring independently to several people. And of course, she had that spiffy Australian corollary :). I live in Illinois and have only been to Canada once (I was four) but probably know Toronto geography better than a lot of people, thanks to having parents who went there for college and still reminisce about it fondly thirty years later.
myf From: myf Date: March 26th, 2004 11:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
*sigh* Roberston Davies.... How much do I love Robertson Davies! Such a wonderful writer.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: March 27th, 2004 08:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Excellent :). My husband and I are just about to start the Cornish trilogy. (I've read it, he hasn't, but he liked Deptford so we're going ahead with Cornish now).
akilika From: akilika Date: March 26th, 2004 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I very much like the comparison . . . it seems very fitting. :) Made me smile.

I also like the story, but I can't quite put my finger on why. I can't even judge on the normal standards (characterization, faithfulness to original, et cetera), considering I haven't seen anything Star Wars in a while . . . although I can only assume, based on your record, that you've nailed it.

I guess it's that it seems fitting, too. Art is truth. I can't definitively prove this from experience or research--I haven't done much, if any, research on art--but it feels true. (Same with the geography lesson, actually--it just feels true.)

I liked it, in any case.
11 comments or Leave a comment