“Aki” Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner Thoughts”. (2006)
Thinking tonight about the similarities between events in my own family life and what I observe happening in the world around us. Close held opinions, world views which in some ways reject aspects of material reality which do not fit personal narratives, personal images, personal dreams, personal excuses. Some things seem never to change even in a society where change is the single constant.
I and my lovely wife were once great fans of genealogy, spending many happy hours tracking down all the little facts and details of lives gone by, facts about how our families really lived, what they believed, what they stood for, what they fought for, what they died for.
Using parish documents, census documents, ships passenger lists, church roles for communities in the old and new world, reconstructing the lives of those who went before, weaving a narrative which goes back long before we were born and weaves us into a fabric spanning space and time, a fabric of belonging.
As in the time of my great grand-father, my grand-father and my father, so too now anything worth doing is hard to do. Anything worth making is hard to make. Anything worth expressing is hard to express. Especially, anything worth thinking is hard to think. So too with finding family information and facts when the prevalent meme is “spare me your facts, … “.
People simply don’t want to hear anything that diverges from their fashionable, comfortable and accepted narrative, even within families where digging up the past is at best greeted with “That’s nice dear…” or at worst, hostility and recrimination about “Why do you want to be digging all that up?”, or “That’s just a lie! …”.
One family myth was that my mother’s side were DeVans from Belgium, and Pitts from Boston. The documented findings (facts?) show otherwise including a direct lineage from:
PETITPAS, CLAUDE, schooner captain, interpreter, known particularly for his collaboration with the English. (What? a French traitor, certainly a wanted man in some circles. Ha! I’d guess he didn’t share that narrative).
Claude was the third child of a family of 15, son of Claude Petitpas, Sieur de Lafleur, clerk of the court at Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.), and of Catherine Bugaret; b. c. 1663 at Port-Royal, d. some time between 1731 and 1733.
During his youth Petitpas was closely associated in his voyages and activities with the Micmacs in the neighbourhood of Port-Royal, where he lived in his father’s home until his marriage. Around 1686 he married an Indian girl of that tribe named Marie-Thérèse, born in 1668, by whom he had at least seven children (Metis), according to the 1708 census. (Hey Mom, bet you didn’t know we have Micmac relatives.)
On 7 Jan. 1721, after his first wife’s death, he remarried, again at Port-Royal; his second wife was Françoise Lavergne from that town, daughter of Pierre Lavergne, Father Breslay’s servant, and of Anne Bernon. She was only 17; he was about 57. (Cradle robber anyone? Whatever, but definitely French no matter how you slice it.)
She bore him four children.Absolutely shocking! Not a Pitts from Boston … hmmm. Another myth – DeVan – well actually Devanney, from Sligo, Ireland. OMG people! Not Belgian and Anglo American but a shady hated background of lowlife Frenchies and drunken Irish! Not THOSE people. We don’t talk to Those people. Well, Mum refused to ever talk about it and stuck to her myth, her “narrative” until the day she died.
As in the family so too in the greater world at large. That is just the way things always were, are now, and will continue to be, world without end, Amen.
Our society, our culture, our “civilization” worships the glib, the silly, the foolish, the stupid, the inane, the idiotic, the vacuous, the asinine, the comfortable, and especially the fashionable and/or prestigious, in short, anything which will fit in a twitter post – if it is more of an Opus then you will have to switch to Facebook.
In this dark time, everybody finds themselves burdened under burgeoning behaviour codes on every front, academic, legal, social, political, and family, the Star Chamber of the Politically Correct (known as “human rights tribunals” in Canada), the lawless Dictatorship of Relativism, the Family Cabal, shunning the one who dares to dig up “facts”, or worse yet, Speak Them Aloud! But now THOSE people grab the whip hand and wreak vengeance on anyone who mentions them or disagrees with their point of view.
The sentence of “Pariah” is passed and we are only a short hiccup away from being prosecuted because what we brought up might, potentially, hurt the feelings of unknown members of some vaguely defined, politically or familially favored group.
The dissident pariah loses his familial ties, his relationships, his livelihood, or perhaps, if he hopes to keep them, must submit to public humiliation, apologies all around, and some tightly directed PC course of “counseling,” or “sensitivity training,” or “re-education” on what(ever) constitutes acceptable behaviour and he bloody well better accept this chastisement with good grace and humility or he’s a racist homophobic National Socialist, eh?