That title is mostly for my American readers, and any of the rest of you who have not been afflicted with the French language. I studied Parisian French in high school for five years; therefore I pronounce that second word as Cleek, not Click. I also pronounce the word ‘niche’ as Neesh, rather than Nish, or Nitch, the way most Americans do.
Jim Wheeler’s most recent comment about ‘Tribalism’ made me think back to life in my small home town. I have previously written about how just about everybody got along with just about everybody. Some people have complained about moving/retiring to a small town, and not being accepted, ‘Yea, verily unto the third generation.’
The reason for all the comity was the (lack of) size of the population. There just weren’t enough people to form ‘us’ and ’them’ groups. The old couple who owned and ran the local movie theater finally retired and sold it to a businessman from Toronto. He and his wife moved during the summer school vacation. They brought their son, another “Bob”, a year younger than me, who started Grade 11 that September. It was a Hell of a culture shock.
Bob had played High School football in Toronto. Bob was good! Bob thought he would just come north and play football on our high school’s football team, and be a star. Bob was absolutely astounded that our school didn’t have a football team, or a hockey team, or a track team….or a track!
There were more students in his Toronto high school (3500), than there were people in our entire (2000) town. Our Regional high school, located in another nearby (2000) small town, didn’t have jocks, or dweebs, or keeners, or Goths. If we had, there’d only have been enough for one of each. At a tenth the size of Bob’s school, our little 350-body school just had students, most of them poor, dumb and untalented. Somebody gotta pump gas fer them tourists.
Canada and the United States are the two largest diversely acceptant countries on earth, although, some subtle, unexpected, unanticipated tipping point seems to be looming. I have ranted about exclusion vs. inclusion, and questioned why ‘we all’ can’t just get along together.
Psychologists and sociologists have done studies on that thought, and the answer seems to be on a sliding scale. Individually, and as part of the hive-mind of a group, there seems to be a cumulative limit as to just how far we can stretch our acceptance.
It seems to be related to the strength of belief and faith; the stronger it is, the smaller the groups get. The Republican Party begot The Tea Party. Christians split into Catholics and Protestants. The Muslims split into Shiite and Sunni. Christians started to get funny with Mormon and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Muslims responded with al Qaeda and Boko Haram. With the Christians, the strong belief/small groups have come down to Westboro Baptists and Duck Dynasty. I’m probably fortunate not to know what the Muslim equivalents are.
As with everything else, there is a fine line between not believing in anything, and believing too strongly in the wrong things. The apathetic would vote for a guy who might be Superman – if he were smart enough to find his way out of the phone booth after changing. The faithful believe in bringing on ‘End Of Days’, so that they, and only they, may ascend to Heaven. Me?? I believe I’ll have another beer. 🙄