howard zinn says...

"What the [US civil rights] movement proved, however, is that even if people lack the customary attributes of power -- money, political authority, physical force -- as did the black people of the Deep South, there is a power that can be created out of pent-up indignation, courage, and the inspiration of a common cause, and that if enough people put their minds and bodies into that cause, they can win. It is a phenomenon recorded again and again in the history of the popular movements against injustice all over the world.
. . .
When that might happen is uncertain. If that can happen is also uncertain. But not to believe in the possibility of dramatic change is to forget that things have changed, not enough, of course, but enough to show what is possible. We have been surprised before in history. We can be surprised again. Indeed, we can do the surprising."

Howard Zinn, from You Can't Be Neutral On A Moving Train, A Personal History Of Our Times


Anonymous said...


I've been following your blog after I came across it doing a Google search.

Just a few tips on how to fit in like a local in Toronto:
- Saying Tor-On-To brands you as an outsider. Torontonians pronounce it closer to "Terono" and other Canadians often call it "Terana"
- Toronto is universally villfied by other Canadians (actually, sort of like New York is).
- If you drink coffee, nothing is more Canadian than having a "double-double" at Tim Hortons.
- We Canadians have an obsession with complaining about the weather. Complain bitterly every time it snows.
- Also remember that Toronto is considered relatively warm by Canadian standards (with only the near "tropical" BC coast considered warmer)
- Whole Milk is called Homo milk (as in Homogenized, and nobody makes fun of that)
- All Canadians complain about all other regions in Canada (the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, the West, and BC). We complain about Quebec the most though.
- Oddly enough, though Canadians tend to be centre left, most newspapers are center-right.
- We have really zero respect for whatever party is in power. There isn't that same kind of aura of prestige that whoever lives in the White House has (present occupent excluded).

laura k said...

We noticed the pronunciation right away. Sounds like Tronto to me.

Hooray for being villified by the rest of Canada. I've always loved that about NYC, so I'll feel right at home.

Also thanks for calling W the "occupant". I also like calling him the Resident. That initial P is a big mistake.

Thanks for the advice - and for reading! Did it really come up in a Google search? 'Cause it shouldn't, and doesn't for me. Maybe Yahoo?

Anonymous said...

It might have been Yahoo, I can't quite remember. I had read an article about Americans moving to Canada, and I was curious if people were actually seriously moving or it was just post-election depression.

I've actually never lived in Toronto (though I've been there often), though I've lived across Canada and for a few short years in St. Louis. My father was military, so we moved around a lot.

laura k said...

Oh yeah, must have been Yahoo. They pick up word-searches, so this shows up. I can only show up in Google if people link to me.

So you're Canadian? How did you like living in St Louis, as compared to Canada? (Though you might have been young at the time.)

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I was glad when we moved back to Canada. Although, that has a lot to do with the city itself. People I know who were posted to places like Denver absolutely loved it.

I was in junior high at the time and it was around the the first Gulf war. What I liked about it was things like large portions and big box stores that we didn't have at home (although eventually things like Denny's, WalMart and Best Buy made their way up here). The people were generally friendly, and the winters were mild.

There were several I hated though:
Racial tension: There's this "I'm in the wrong neighborhood" feeling that I never experienced in any city in Canada, especially travelling from white to black areas. It feels like there's an animosity in the air.

Ignorance: I didn't really expect people to rhyme off Canadian Prime ministers or anything, but geez I don't live in an igloo, nor am I a lumberjack, nor do I speak a language called "Canadian".

Excessive Patriotism: Every country thinks it's special, but Americans have turned patriotism into some kind of religion. I mean, here on Canada day people paint there faces red and white, get drunk, and sing O'Canada. The rest of the time, things are fairly muted (with the exception of our somewhat petty need to think of ourselves as superior to our southern neighbors).But I noticed (more than I though I would) how Americans never seem to miss an opportunity for national vanity. Why do the words "freedom" and "liberty" seem to require people to get misty eyed, look up at the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance? When we talk of WWII, we think of how things were in a stalemate until the Americans came in and tipped the scales heavily in the Allies favour. But when we hear Americans talk about it, it seems as though they're saying things were hopeless until the American soldiers (surrounded by clouds of glory) came in and singlehandedly defeated the Nazi war machine, and our contribution to D-Day is barely acknowledged at all.

laura k said...

Very well said! Excessive patriotism, patriotism as a religion; it makes me SICK. You might want to check out my essay here.

Your views as a Canadian who lived in the US are really interesting to me. The racism, the ignorance, the nationalism.

Re Americans' views on WWII, most Americans are wholly ignorant of history, at most they only know a handful of myths they've been taught. No idea if Canadians are any better in that regard.

I was an office temp during the first Gulf War. Every desk I sat at had a little American flag and a yellow ribbon. I always put them in a drawer the minute I sat down. There wasn't a very visible anti-war movement that time around (though we did what we could). Being against the war and working in a very conservative environment, I felt like, Are there antenna coming out of my head? Cause I must be from another planet.

Anonymous said...

Being a kid at the time, I didn't have much of an opinion on the war.

Personally, I tend to think that war is a sign of failure. War only becomes necessary because of stupidity or short sightedness of people earlier. For example, Hitler never would have come to power in Germany if the other European countries didn't try so hard to punish Germany economically for the WWI.

Still, I wouldn't be particularly opposed to the first Gulf war since all the previous short sighted events had been performed by all involved. We had reached the point where war seemed necessary.

I can forgive Afghanistan too, after all New York had just been attacked and Afghanistan was Bin Laden's base of operations.

But Bush's war seemed out of the blue. I don't understand how Americans could have thought Iraq posed any threat. The fact that Iraq doesn't have any WMDs only seems to have shocked the Fox News crowd.

Most Canadians I know (but I'm an engineer, and thus my friends are also highly educated)share similar view s to my own.

Of the conservatives I know, most of them fall into the "give me a tax break so I can buy a new plasma TV" crowd. I don't know anyone at all whose views could be considered "Gods, Gays, and Guns" except maybe the local cranky talk radio host.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that most Canadians are Catholics (well, in name not practice. Only 20% of Canadians go to church regularly, compared to 46% in the states) instead of born again weirdos like Jerry Falwell.