Skip to main content

The Commonwealth at 60

The Queen today marks the 60th anniversary of The Commonwealth - an affiliation of nations once part of the British Empire, still nominally ruled by Her Majesty. However, as the BBC report notes, most people in the UK could care less about it. As a Canadian, who grew up singing "God Save The Queen", and learning all about British culture, history, and tradition, as a boy, The Commonwealth was a significant link to the mother country, and to a great (and heroic) past. Obviously my childhood education was not informed by post-colonial discourse - and as an Anglophone in a mainly Francophone province (Quebec) all ties to the English Tradition were welcome, and encouraged. Still, despite all I now recognise about the Empire's many faults and crimes, I do respect some of what British Rule bequeathed to Canada - not least a direct link (if one wants it) to some of the greatest poetry and drama ever written. So it is, I have long felt affection for The Commonwealth, its Games - and the sense that it connects various cultures through the original sin of having been conquered, or settled, by the same major power. Through time, the smaller nations that form this body have divested themselves of much of their "Englishness" and moved on, but by retaining their links, also acknowledged a continuity worth considering - a very Eliotic solution. The fact that most British people don't see the value of this Commonwealth is not surprising. Britain is a victim of its media, which has a stranglehold on the hopes and desires of most of its people, and the current media messages tend to downplay any relationships that Britain may have beyond those between America and Australia. Canada, an extraordinarily rich, beautiful and culturally complex nation, rarely gets mentioned in the British press, nor do most of the other smaller Commonwealth countries, except during disasters, test matches, or elections. Something great if sometimes terrible has been lost in the process.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!