Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Great North Woods

Update:  Correction in the comments.  I am leaving my post unchanged, but it contains an error, acknowledged.

We are off to the Great North Woods for a couple of days.  We will take time out for covered bridges and historical markers we have not seen, both of which will be plentiful.  We will be staying in the Republic of Indian Stream, which may be an idea whose time has again come.

I have heard grumbling for years about larger conservative sections of states seceding from the biggest city's control of their state - which sounds more like expelling, but you take the point.  I have never taken it seriously. Unless they get to keep the name and kick the other guys out there is just to much emotional weight to tradition for conservatives.  Which is fine, and as it should be.  It should take a lot to overcome a tradition that has generally worked, and most states think their identity has worked. I can't quite say I value being a Newhampshireman over being an American, as some of my ancestors around 1800 might have said, but I think I at least have some understanding of the idea.

Now there are grumblings from liberals about states seceding from the Union, and I don't take that seriously either.  These are merely statements of "Yeah, we've got all the good and important stuff, which you rubes take for granted! You couldn't live without us." They aren't going anywhere, they are just being insulting in order to compliment themselves. They should follow the Tolkien rule of secondary creation though if they are going to fantacise about such stuff. The rules of an alternative world can't be arbitrary, they have to make internal sense.  If the blue states put together a package to leave, their own states are really purple.  They might attract some liberals from Utah or South Dakota to move and join them, but those folks aren't going to bring much in the way of territory.  If everyone is already splitting things up along state lines, a lot of those states will separate from the huge Democratic-majority cities and put the rest into the stay-American pile. The NYC metro area might greatly desire to join California, DC, and Massachusetts.  But they might not even keep much of their own states of NY, NJ, CT, and PA. They might also find that - funny thing - when push comes to shove they retain a certain affection for being American and 90% of them vote against leaving. Even the 20th C immigrants.

They'd get VT and Hawaii. They would get Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and other blue cities. Not those states, though, I don't think. They would carry a 25-mile strip from Boston to DC or even Richmond (well, maybe only Fredricksburg. Dale City, anyway), throwing all those states into disarray if secession was in the air. Well, no matter about the details.  My predictive powers are demonstrably poor, and as I said, it ain't happening anyway. I just got carried away with the game. Returning to my real point, once secession is considered a real alternative, other dominoes fall. You have to play out such scenarios a week or two down the road, don't you? Heck, let's be radical.  You have to think about what people will actually do in response if you even start down this path.  And more meaningfully, once you have even pretended that secession is possible, just putting it out there as a rhetorical device, you are fueling hatred.

It's a funny thing.  Zachriel got the idea that I was saying songs didn't have any effect on things.  Oh, they do, they do, but not always the effects intended.  The songs of the Folk Song Army contributed greatly to increasing hatred in their day, and they may have set in motion some of the violence we see now. Admittedly, things have many causes at that distance and no one gets much blame or credit 50 years later. Most of the earnest people advocating all that good peace 'n love were mostly sincere and decent folk, though rather easily swayed by fashion to follow demagogues.

Others though, knew exactly what they were doing, sneering and deceiving intentionally. Seeger had to hurry back from his tour of Russia, where he asked no questions about the GULAG even though Solzhenitsyn's work was published, in order to sing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" on the Smothers Brothers show. Here's his take on being an American.


RichardJohnson said...

I had always associated north woods, or great north woods, with northern Minnesota, because my flyover grandparents often vacationed there. They gave me a book about the north woods- since lost- though there is a book on Amazon by the author.

That I was never aware of the Great North Woods (In Wikipedia) of NH shows how little I know about Northern New England, though I was born and raised in Southern New England, and my brother has lived in Maine for over a decade. Wikipedia "Great North Woods" also include the Adirondacks, of which I have some acquaintance,as I have visited a cabin there that family friends owned. Also have taken canoe trips in the Adirondacks.

Enjoy your time in the Great North Woods. Better now than in February.

DuckDuckGo Search: North Woods Minnesota

james said...

You're not talking about Chequamegon-Nicolet?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

No, Pittsburg, without the "h", New Hampshire and thereabouts.

RichardJohnson said...

Seeger had to hurry back from his tour of Russia, where he asked no questions about the GULAG even though Solzhenitsyn's work was published, in order to sing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" on the Seeger had to hurry back from his tour of Russia, where he asked no questions about the GULAG even though Solzhenitsyn's work was published, in order to sing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" on the Smothers Brothers show. .

Not sure about that trip to Russia just before the Smothers Brothers show. The Smothers Brothers show ran from 1967-1969. There is documentation for Pete Seeger trips to Russia in 1964 and 1965. peteseeger.net:Soviet Life (April 1966): Pete Seeger's Tour. (October 1965). Following are quotes from Pete Seeger.

Well, I hear somebody saying “Hey, so far you’ve been telling us what you like about the country. What don’t you like?”
It’s true, there are dark sides as well as bright ones. My guess is, though, that whatever the dark sides I see, they’re probably the same the Russians see. For instance, the lack, as yet, of enough money to do all the things one wants to do. Perhaps the lack of freedom to travel abroad one would like to have — many things that are obvious to most people without my naming them.

He states things that he knows Soviet Life would find acceptable to print. For example, while he mentions the lack of freedom to travel abroad, he doesn't mention the decades of punishing Soviets who took the initiative to interact with foreign visitors. The regime was not as draconian in later decades in punishing contact with foreigners as it was in the 1930s. From those who visited the Soviet Union in the 1970s, I know that the organs still cracked down on Soviets who made unauthorized contacts with foreigners. They just didn't give you ten years anymore. It could be that as Pete got the 100% guided tour, he didn't experience any Soviets trying to make any unauthorized contacts with him.
No mention of lack of political freedom, lack of civil rights compared to the US. After all, Russians are already aware of that, so there is no need to mention that.

I was amazed at the number of bookstores everywhere. My gosh, it sure is a book-reading country.
No mention of censorship. Soviet Life wouldn't have permitted it, and I doubt that Pete brought it up.

The average food on their table is not as fancy. So I was happy to note that even though Russia doesn’t have the stores overflowing with different commodities that American cities have, neither does it have the slums.
Once again, Pete spouts the party line that would be acceptable in Soviet Life. Certainly Soviet housing in the 1960s was better than it was in the 1930s, when the norm was that 2-3 families shared a 2-bedroom apartment. Nonetheless, its a pretty good bet that even in the 1960s, a lot of Soviet housing would have been considered a slum by American standards.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Your information is far better than mine. Either I, or someone I read, transformed the actual events to make them more poetically perfect. As that is something I rail against myself, I should have been more suspicious of the story. Thanks.