Over There (in the UK)

June 15, 2001 at 12 PM

To Be Perfectly Frankish

Just read a well-reasoned, historically informative attack by Gail Armstrong on the absurdity of what I might term ‘mono-culture nationalism.’ Namely, this is the insistence by far-right politicos (the piece refers to Le Front National and others in France) that theirs is a people of pure ethnic and linguistic origin, and thus ought to be protected from the mongrel immigrant hordes.

Of course this is nonsense. Armstrong highlights the great linguistic diversity that historically has embodied France — Breton or Basque, anyone? and she also deftly points out that a quick glance from nord blond to sud brun is all one needs to see there is no one ‘French race.’

And? It’s not like people like Jean-Marie Le Pen are widely respected in the world, so all this might just seem banal. But it never hurts to further tear the already onion-paper-thin arguments of those who seek to build exclusionary ‘nations.’ Better still, arguments like this expose nationalism for what it is: a construction. Nationalism is not a natural process. It doesn’t waft through the air. It sure doesn’t spawn from genetic material. Building it requires influence and power over mass media and significant control over education. In a word, propaganda.

Once the foundation is laid, of course, nationalism is pervasive and persistent. And it has this nasty habit of pretending that it is a natural course, that there are hundreds, thousands of years of history behind it. Yes, France was a happy, monotone French paradise until all those rude foreigners showed up. And did I mention that Serbs have always hated Albanians, for all time? Even before they knew what an Albanian was? And let us not forget that Israelis and Palestinians are locked in an ethno-religious battle that stretches back thousands of years?

Garbage! Nationalism exists to serve special interests. It is a terribly effective way of garnering support and the air of righteousness for this cause or that war, of course. But in truth, it’s about as natural as candy flavour. Yes, I can hear Monsieur Le Pen now: “But raspberries have always been blue!”


wow, i’m bowled over again by the force of your writing.

How do you DO that?!!?!!!


-christine =)

p.s. when are you coming to europe?

zuricherin | Jun. 26, 2001 — 9 AM

Previously: What Women Want

Subsequently: The Nerdly Activities Report, June 2001

June 2001
the Archives

In Earshot

I only really read it for Canucks coverage, but even still it’s nice that The Vancouver Sun finally redesigned its hideously awful website to look like it was designed this century.

On pizza box art

Web 2.Origami

Welcome to Obama, Japan

The Toronto Star shows where and how the seats changed in the 2008 election

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