Canada’s Cultural Prosaic

For those who don’t know, prosaic means boring.

Canada has long been smug about its cultural mosaic. This differs from the American melting pot. Instead of people from different cultures changing to fit in, the official line in Canada is that they don’t have to. They can keep those parts of their culture that doesn’t restrict the rights of others to do the same. Or parts that do not go against the laws of the land.

A mosaic is of course different coloured pieces fit together to make something unique.

Although this sounds very fine and is possibly an improvement on the American system, in practice it ends up being not quite true. Because of bragging rights, most cultures promote their sanitized versions. You know, mention the good parts but just don’t mention the bad parts of your culture.

Of course other cultural differences abound. We just don’t dwell on the nasty parts. So each diaspora has different clothes, different dances and different holidays. This is the stuff we present. Like Oktoberfest (German) in my city of Kitchener, Caribbana in Toronto (Caribbean peoples festival), and St. Patrick’s day for the Irish, specific cultures are celebrated. There are many other celebrations at cultural clubs and theatres and anywhere different cultures can be found. But it is all the good stuff and thus can be bland.

Anyone who knows anything about writing knows that at least half of writing fiction is when things go wrong. Things have definitely gone wrong in many cultures. That can make things more interesting. I’ve heard it said that no one will be entertained by a perfect Utopia. Canada could light up its cultural prosaic if we talked more about the bad things.

Bad things like genocide (Germans, Turkish people, Rwandans, Serbs), the hundred years war (really Britain and France?), the nuclear powers all thinking they’re big shots (USA, Russia, Britain, France, India, China, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea), the Spanish Inquisition, etc. It sure is interesting but there is just one problem. There are so many bad things that if you looked at them all at the same time it’s so depressing that you seize up – but your mind continues to go to scary places.

So maybe a cultural prosaic is the way to go. Just so we don’t terrify ourselves. Fear motivates but I still believe that the things that motivate the most are positive. Fine, I can handle a little blandness. Just so we keep our positivity.

About Larry Russwurm

Just another ranter on the Internet. Now in the Fediverse as
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