Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A little bit of hometown pride...?

I had a strange, strange dream last night where I seemed to be consorting with a bunch of rather hoser-like people and we were really hootin' and hollerin' for our general love of all things from Southwestern Ontario.

While I admit that going back to Sarnia, where I (un)fortunately spent my formative years, has over the years become a wee less painful, and while I appreciate the conversations I inevitably overhear about making hats from roadkill and watching folks eat vegetarian sandwiches consisting of white bread and cheesewiz, it is still a somewhat sore spot on the ass known as my life-until-now. I try not to sit on that part of things when going about my daily routines.

And while I'd be kindof into the town's aesthetic if it looked like the black & white photo posted here, (Sarnia circa 1950s-ish) truth be told I grew up around scenic buildings as pictured above (Sarnia circa now). And grew-up with folks like the ones pictured below, (who are indeed from Sarnia) who are likely extremely nice, awesome people, but whose let's-stay-and-raise-a-teenage-family mentality didn't fit with mine so much.

So it was weird to have this dream where the little regionalist in me was quite clearly taking over any parts I have (that are stronger, at least in volume) about not being tied to any place, and seeing all of humanity as my community/home, yadda yadda, barf barf.

It's an interesting thing, that, a sense of identity tied to a place. What if your culture is inherently diasporic? Or you come from people you can't relate to? Or if you do see the real value of imagining yourself as coming from a more general locale? Yet it's also of equal value to have people feel connected to where they're from, to help shape and change cultural practices and art forms based on such, to be committed to certain ways of being, to promote the richness and diversity of human experience through associations with specific structures, geographies, systems.

It's equally important to feel connected to a place as it is to let the ideas that shape that place change if they result in a greater loss of mobility and breathing room than not. But that aside, I do love the sarcasm of southwestern ontario, and the plaid. And the bad Rage Against the Machine cover bands that make the music here in Montreal seem that much more note-worthy.

And the roadkill hats, especially those.


  1. awesome post. i've been reading about this. not sarnia, but art and location and culture. oh yeah, and i really like cheese whiz sandwiches. my neighbor was singing the cheese whiz song the other day and I went to the grocery store and cheese whiz was on special. so guess who got a giant jar of cheese whiz.