Oct. 3rd, 2006

rfmcdonald: (Default)

  • I agree with [livejournal.com profile] dsgood on the heavy-handedness of the recent pro-GLBT rights meme that's been making its way throughout Livejournal. If I don't copy the phrase--in full, in part?--onto my Livejournal I'm somehow not supportive of gay rights? Silliness. Yes, "first they came for my neighbour" and all that, but that isn't now, not nearly, certainly not in the circles likely to be influenced by a Livejournal meme.

  • [livejournal.com profile] jrittenhouse's thoughts about the debacle surrounding American Congressman Mark Foley, accused of sexually soliciting (among others) his teenage pages, strike me as right-on. There are psychological costs associated to coming out, but there are most assuredly more costs associated with not coming out. Look at Whitney Houston for confirmation, if you need it.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
I can't speak about the first edition, but the second edition of Kenneth Coates and William Morrison's Land of the Midnight Sun illustrates the history of Canada's Yukon Territory clearly and in detail. Before reading this book, I hadn't considered the extent to which the modern Yukon--and, for that matter, the whole of the Canadian North--has been overdetermined by the policies and priorities of the Canadian state, nearly always without reference to the people who lived there. The First Nations were, as usual, transformed from autonomous peoples who engaged with the fur trade on their own terms into paternalized dependents forced to rely on the guidance of the Canadian state; the gold rush lasted only so long and then the territory was left to languish by its colonial overlord in Ottawa, deprived of the investment that it needed to cop the territory was cut off from its connections to its natural metropole of Alaska via the Yukon River and associated with British Columbia; the Alaska Highway did revive the territory's economy, but it did so at the expense of the older and more established centres in the centre and north of the territory like Dawson City and Mayo, encouraging the concentration of the territory's population in the capital of Whitehorse. Coates and Morrison conclude their revised edition of their history of Yukon by hoping that after a century of tumultuous change and increasing marginalization in a Canada that no longer cares about its frontiers, Yukoners will be able to come to terms with themselves and their northern heritage, but even this hopeful conclusion is undermined by the evidence that they themselves have cited about the transitory nature of much of the territory's population and the patterning of Whitehorse on the model of the average (southern) Canadian city. Land of the Midnight Sun might perhaps best be thought of as at once a touching elegy to the Yukon of old and a meticulous reconstruction of how that Yukon evaporated.
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