Woke Up, Kitchener!

I had hoped that all this Woke Society/Cancel Culture, delusional fad-du-jour would remain in the Excited States.  Alas, t’was not to be.  This is the Information Age, which means that it’s on the internet, and spreading faster than COVID.  It has wafted North across the border, and settled on Canada like wildfire smoke, including in my usually staid, sane-thinking Kitchener.

The first symptom developed a couple of years ago, when a local artist donated a bronze statue of Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister and the one in charge of the beginning of Indian residential schools, where thousands of unmarked graves are only now being found.

A huge fuss was raised to prevent the statue from being put in the big, down-town park.  It eventually was shipped to a small town, ten miles west, where there is an historic mini-mansion.  It was doused with red paint twice, and finally knocked off its pedestal.

More recently, the statue of Queen Victoria in her namesake park has been painted red twice.  While she was mostly a figurehead monarch, apparently she’s being blamed for British colonialism.  A brown-skinned immigrant from India has started a petition to rename the city.  Beginning as ‘Sand Hills,’ it became ‘Ebytown,’ and then Berlin, Ontario.

105 years ago, the woke generation of English-speakers demanded that the town change its name, to show loyalty to Britain during WW I.  The local German burghers didn’t really care.  Victoria, the ‘English’ queen, was actually German nobility, from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Anhalt.

British Lord Kitchener’s name was a last-minute addition to a referendum with six names.  The outstanding feature of the plebiscite was the absolute indifference displayed by the ratepayers.  With about 10,000 voters, (All of them men  😯 ) only 892 bothered to cast a ballot, and the name Kitchener got a plurality of 346.

Kitchener (the man) was not excessively colonialist, or racist.  He was just steeped in the unthinking beliefs of the time and place.  White, British males held a Manifest Destiny to own and control the world.  It is a huge mistake to try to retroactively apply 21st Century morals.

In 1973, Waterloo Lutheran University went public, and adopted the name Wilfrid Laurier University, partly to honor the subject of my Where’s Willy post, and partly so that they could retain the same initials – WLU.

Now there is another petition being circulated to have that name also changed.  True, Willy helped administrate the residential Indian school system which damaged so many Indigenous, but, like Lord Kitchener, he did what he did out of an honest belief that it was in their best interests.

I think that we are taking this name change of streets, cities, schools, etc. way too far.  The past is the past, which we cannot, nor ever will be able to, change.  Really people, this needs to stop.  Move on.  We need to learn from it, not bury it.

I ask the woke folk to take a good look in the mirror, and ask themselves two questions.  “Looking back at your very short existence and past behaviors, is there anything that you now regret doing and would do differently if you had the chance?”  Judge not, lest ye be judged.  Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.  “Second, how did Canada become one of the best counties in the world in which to live?  Could it be because of the leaders of the past – the ones whose contributions and reputations you so eagerly want to tarnish?”

Name changes are not only inconvenient, but are also very costly.  Anything that’s associated with a data-base which contains addresses will be affected.  Passports, drivers’ licences, health cards, property and automobile ownerships, Federal, Provincial and municipal taxes, utilities accounts, postal services, road signs, mapping, GPS – the list goes on and on.

Come on, Snowflakes!  Nowhere in the American or Canadian Constitution are you guaranteed the right not to be offended.  😳

I Was Born To….?

Dictionary

Knowing that I’m always desperate for a blog-theme, the daughter sent me a link to a website which lists ‘Words That Were Born The Same Year You Were.’

I am always amused by the ego demonstrated by the Dictionary.com F.A.Q., “How do I get a word into the dictionary?” First you come up with a useful word, and then you convince two million Millennials to bring it up to common usage.  This is not easy with today’s language users.

Canada’s dollar coin had been christened ‘The Loonie’ because of the bird on it. When the two-dollar coin came into existence, I thought that ‘Doubloon’ would be a great name.  I did not get my way.  As you may have noticed, the Lowest-Common-IQ Brigade gave it the interesting and creative (Insert sarcasm here) name of ‘Toonie’ – YAWN!

My manufacturing plant acquired a short, stocky, jolly, but totally useless supervisor, at the height of the ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ craze. I was all for calling him Elmo, but my 25-year-younger friend Tony, gave him the 25-year-older moniker of Boo-Boo, from the earlier Yogi Bear cartoons, and it stuck.

When I plugged my birth year in, I expected to find words like pterodactyl, or Palaeolithic. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, in 1944, near the end of World War II, the war-time scientific research had given birth to some technical terms that many people think did not come into existence until years or decades later.

I would have thought that, in any given year, a dozen, or perhaps two dozen, new words come into existence. I was amazed at the 1944 list.  There are almost 250, ten times what I’d expect.  Some of the science/technology words intrigue me, words like superglue, permanent press, G suit, dishpan hands, carpet bomb, bungee cord, antigravity, and brain cramp.  The word ‘babysit’ was born that year.  I thought that it had been around far earlier.  Click on the link above, visit the site, plug in your birth-year and see what the words say about you.

Faded Fads

Rubik's

Fads seemed to have started in the early 20th century, when improved manufacturing processes finally allowed payment of more than starvation wages, and enough spare time to spend it.

(One of) The first was flagpole sitting. I think it started with one nerd without a girlfriend or a date, who couldn’t sit in his mom’s basement with a Gameboy, because they hadn’t been invented yet.  He nailed a big plank to the top of a municipal flag pole, so that he could sit in a snit.

Actually, the fad was watching flagpole sitters, where entire families would get dressed up, pack a picnic lunch, and stare adoringly for hours at some jerk who raised himself above the rest of the population and did nothing constructive.  I believe the record was 33 days – until Trump came along.

Soon after, the fad among fraternity boys became swallowing live goldfish, usually washed down with copious amounts of bathtub gin. Police suspect that alcohol may have been involved. During the 40s, the only fad was saving the free world from The Axis Powers – and drawing ‘Kilroy was here’.

Kilroy

Fads really came into their own in the 50s, when plastic made things light and cheap. First was the Hula Hoop, a barely disguised anti-obesity and fitness program.  We all know how well that worked.  Then along came the Frisbee.  It was possible to fling garbage can lids a considerable distance, but when Wham-O made them smaller and lighter, the number of broken windows, smashed flower gardens, and homes with brightly-colored, orphaned disks on their roofs, really skyrocketed.

There was the Slinky toy, a coiled spring that was smart enough to walk down a flight of stairs all by itself. It was replaced by contestants on The Bachelor.  We had mood rings.  Mine was always black, and in a bad mood, and I think it rubbed off on me.  Rubik’s Cubes showed us how things were always twisted and turned, and presented a different face.

Etch-A-Sketch came along, and it marked the limits of my technology. I could operate one of them, where I can’t run a Smartphone.  Lava lamps showed up.  I think mine sat on a fault line.  There was an underwater avalanche, and it never rose to the occasion again.

Pet rocks were a thing for a while. Mine got lonely, and ran away from home to join a parking garage.  Here in Canada, we had Ookpiks, an excuse to take the hides off baby seals and ship them to a factory in Calgary, where they were cut up and sewn back together to look like a small owl made by an Eskimo.  Sales peaked at 2 or 3 a week and then slowed down, and the tourist industry had to find new ways to separate gullible American tourists from their money.

Tamagotchis were hot with tween girls for a while. They were supposed to show the amount of time and effort necessary to raise a child, and hopefully reduce teen pregnancies.  After a few of them died of malnutrition, most young females just went back to boyfriends, who were lower maintenance.

Many fads have no staying power, and disappear quickly. I figure that the new electronic game, Pokémon Go won’t last more than a couple of weeks, when players do things like find a dead body, or get kicked out of a Holocaust Museum or a cemetery.

Selfies seems to be a fad which could have been devised by Darwin himself.  Hundreds of self-important fools have removed themselves from the gene pool.  Government agencies have had to put up signs that read effectively, “Not Here, Idiot!” and still many are too spaced-out to notice or heed them.  Tennis elbow and golf elbow have morphed into ‘selfie elbow’, caused by holding up a huge ego cell phone at an awkward angle, to take hundreds of meaningless photos.

Sadly, one fad that doesn’t seem to disappear is, The Kardashians.  We have now come full circle.  Here’s a group that’s lightweight and cheap, made mostly of plastic, and they have raised themselves above the common folk, to be gazed at adoringly for hours, without actually doing anything constructive.  😯

There must be some (lots?) that I’ve missed. What do you remember, that I’ve forgotten?