Having grown up mostly in Canada, I have a somewhat skewed perspective on national fervor—which is to say, I don’t have any. I lost the “God Bless America” vibe after 11 years of hearing “Oh Canada” every morning in school, not to mention snippy history teachers mentioning the various slights the US inflicts on Canada, history-wise.
(For example, don’t even get them started on the War of 1812 . Just let the record show that “When the war had finished, 1,600 British and 2,260 American troops had died.” Oh, and the Brits burned down the White House.)
Since I’m a sort of double-immigrant (away and back again), I know my view is unusual. But that still doesn’t account for what’s happening to my sons.
They go to a French-American school, where they’re immersed in French language and culture. A good thing, I think, to counter yahoos like W, and his nutty “shop to defeat terrorism” initiatives and whatnot.
But it has some bizarre side-effects. My older son now loves all things French, but being pretty young still, goes mostly off the moniker. So, he wants to learn how to play the French Horn, he’s big on the Tour de France, and today, when I took him for ice cream, he asked for French Vanilla.
They were sold out. How about regular vanilla?
No, French or nothing. Le Francais ou rien. Actually, he settled for the next-best Anglo equivalent, chocofudgesomethingorother.
I find it amusing, but then I noticed my younger son is catching on, too. As we listened to a French song—ironically titled “L’Amerique,” about wanting to visit Les Etats—younger said to older, “I like the French horn in this song.”
Oh la la!