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Kiwirider

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Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
« Reply #180 on: September 29, 2019, 13:26 »
Is *mq a good enough approximation? ;)

I have to say that, each time I want the flag, I come really close to posting that one ...  :shh :shh :shh

 :D
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  • M Gee

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #181 on: October 08, 2019, 21:22 »
    What? :slow

    My own, annual, experiences in Quebec were mostly in  the early to mid 1970s, and French was very much the dominant language. In fact, as a very young kid, native adults would usually address me in French before I would clumsily inform them that I only spoke English.  . . .
    As a Quebec resident, I can unequivocally say that you aren't misunderstanding anything.

    French in Quebec is not and never has truly been under threat. It is still the majority language by a country mile - without the need for Bill 101.

    Francophones are by far the largest linguistic group - followed by allophones (ie., non-franco and non-anglo native language speakers).

    The biggest "threat" to French since WW2 was immigration - which saw a proportionally larger influx of non-French (and non-English) speakers than the natural population growth.

     . . .
    So, to finish on the original topic ... no, French has never been under threat in Quebec in the lifetime of any of the members of this forum. . . .

    Hmmm. Ok, then, seems like there is more to the story than I knew! My experiences in Quebec were more limited. Visited Quebec a couple of times as a result of my father's work - and spent a couple of summers in the Lac Megantic area as for the same reason. I don't recall anyone ever addressing me in French - but obviously there could have been another reason - I was rarely about without my dad. During college years - early 70's - I was in Michigan's U.P., and took road trips crossing through Quebec province to N.H., where I had finished high school. Both of you sound like you have greater experience than I, so, I must defer!

    My experiences in LA were a little more comprehensive - we lived in TX for a spell - near the state line - and my sisters would cross the state line to LA to get drunk. A few years later, due to my work, I would be spending small bits of time in Baton Rouge, along with Shreveport and Monroe. Several earlier school years were spent in coastal Florida, where for some reason I recall discussing Cajuns with relatives. We knew people who worked in the oil industry - who would have had contact with the locals in LA.
    It was during the career where I was traveling through the previously mentioned towns that I spent some holiday time in NO. I remember going out, with my date, and chancing on Bruce Daigrepont playing at some club. We two-stepped and swung the night through - dripping sweat - but I was in great shape from riding. We danced pretty much every number. I didn't even know what zydeco was then. But I knew I'd found something I liked. We just danced and danced.
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    Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #182 on: October 09, 2019, 00:50 »
    It was during the career where I was traveling through the previously mentioned towns that I spent some holiday time in NO.

    That reminds of my own trip to New Orleans in 2004—one year before Hurricane Katrina—for the Jazz Fest. A drummer friend of mine had moved down there from Massachusetts, probably ten years prior, but I hadn't had any contact with him in the interim. I had asked some other drummer friends down there about him but they weren't familiar with him.

    The first night I arrived I made my way straight to the French Quarter, and the legendary Bourbon Street. Lo and behold, the very first club I walk into, and there he is, on stage, behind the drums. Now again, we hadn't seen each other in many years, and I had just recently gone from my typical (at the time)  very long hair to very short, bleached-blonde. He would have had no reason to even expect my appearance, but without even a moment's hesitation, he looked up from his drums and says, "Hey, man" as if we were just passing on the street back home.

    The next thing you know, I'm on stage performing with him, like I was regular.  :D

    So the was my first ten minutes in New Orleans. I could go on and on, but the rest of the week-long adventure proved to be just as memorable, for many reasons. Had a great time, and, of course, lots of great food.
     :cool


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  • M Gee

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #183 on: October 10, 2019, 14:20 »
    Oh - one addition to the "French language existence threatened in Quebec" topic. As I recall, the public rhetoric/discourse on the topic was very much along the lines of "the existence of spoken French is under threat" - from the Francophone side, of course.

    Other than my direct experience, which you guys trumped, that would have been a source of my knowledge/opinions.

    Oddly, perhaps, the bill 101 controversy seemed to me to churn the "English as an official language" pot in the US. Even though most Americans were hardly aware of the Canadian controversy.
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  • Kiwirider

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #184 on: October 12, 2019, 07:32 »
    Oh - one addition to the "French language existence threatened in Quebec" topic. As I recall, the public rhetoric/discourse on the topic was very much along the lines of "the existence of spoken French is under threat" - from the Francophone side, of course.

    That is an on-going piece of emotional rhetoric that gets put out almost constantly ... even though there is no statistical or social evidence to support it - but I can understand why you'd think that it is true if you were told it.
    It is hard enough to decode what is true and false in the language debate living here, let alone for someone "passing through", as you'd have done!!!

    Statements about French being under threat these days are largely the preserve of:
    - the ultra-conservative rural areas (you know the places - the one's where folks never travel out of their little bubble ... but still "know" enough about the wide world to "know" that they don't want to go there!)
    - the St Jean Baptiste Society - an ultra separatist group, whose (largely geriatric) membership is literally dying off at a rate of knots!
    - school teachers' unions - which is more about job security
    - the CAQ - the provincial government - in a cynical approach to scalp votes off the PQ (separatist party). I wont go into the whys of the strategy - as that'd involve much too much explanation of provincial politics.

    Most Francophones in the province want their children to learn English. (Actually, most Franco kids want to learn English too - they've effectively brought their parents to the same position in the time that I've lived here.) They see the value that being bilingual gives them in Canada and as a strong part of Canada's international focus (business and government). They also see absolutely no threat to their culture or native language from that happening. Politicians generally lack the courage to act on this desire as it goes against an ostensible (if not actual) foundation of Quebec society.
    (BTW - interesting fact, a disappointingly large number of Anglo parents have no desire for their kids to learn French. They are actually more threatened by bilingualism than the average Franco ...)

    Language as a marker of social identity is an interesting topic, ay?!   :D
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  • Echoes

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #185 on: October 13, 2019, 12:38 »
    Cajun is/was the appellation for the mixed race population of Louisiana, and typically rural and/or lower class. Creoles were the city French, the high-falutin' cream of the crop class. Those definitions were loose, and have even changed somewhat over my lifetime. Today, Creole seems to refer more to the mixed-race parentage, and Cajun more to the Acadian ancestry, but both can be mixed-race. But all this is just to say that African heritage, and voodoo, was a significant factor in the evolution of that culture.

    Just what I thought, yes. Wiki page says there had been ethnic mixing over centuries since the Acadian migration. They are referring to people with Irish and Spanish heritage and to a lesser extent German or Italian heritage. Then also there had been intermarriages with Amerindians and African Americans. "Historian Carl A. Brasseaux asserted that this process of intermarriage created the Cajuns in the first place". Wikipedia is not always reliable, so I don't know how accurate this is. I've also read that the famous Cajun accordions were partly imported from Germany. And more recently, many Vietnamese Catholics settled in Louisiana after the Fall of Saigon in 1975. That makes me think of the "True Detective" series. The series is very well done but just like "Southern Comfort", the Cajuns are despised. It's all set in Louisiana, in the Cajun heartland and the villain has a French last name "Ledoux". However you see nothing of Cajun culture and cuisine. However in one episode, I think you would see the detectives eating Vietnamese food! If I remember correctly!

    The Creoles were the French people who had settled in Louisiana before the Acadian migration. They were the slave-owning people. Slavery was extremely rare among the Cajuns, actually it only started a few generations after the migration. A small Cajun elite would get rich enough to buy slaves but they usually would be deny their own low-class Cajun identity as though they were ashamed of it. They would rather consider themselves Creoles. Then of course, what can be confusing is that next to this "Creole population", you also had the Louisiana Creole language which was spoken by the slaves and the Free African American (during the slavery era) but not by the so-called Creole. So the two shouldn't be confused. However after the abolition of slavery, the former free Black people, also tried to identify themselves as Creole to distinguish themselves from the former slaves. I guess all of that led to a mixed culture.

    [I believe it's Rollin' as in a contraction of "rolling."]

    I'm pretty sure "Rollin' with a Cajun Queen" is just a reference to a romantic encounter with a beautiful Cajun woman.

    The whole premise for the song was a fabrication though, as John Fogerty had no such upbringing, nor was he raised anywhere near a Bayou.

    Thanks for the correction! In my defence, it's not always easy to get the Fogerty accent as in "Proud Mary keep on boyning/burning" :D

    What makes me think it's a story about an African American family is the line "My Poppa said "son, don't let the man get you do what he done to me"". I was told that "the man" among the African American community refers to the "White" man exploiting their labour. Just like that line from "Proud Mary": "Working for the Man every night and day". Then also you have an occurence of the phrase "Cajun Queen" in the Rolling Stone's "Brown Sugar", which is all about slavery in the US (lyrics). It really makes me think that "Cajun Queen" doesn't refer to a Cajun woman but to an African American woman.

    But it's true that John Fogerty wrote all those songs without ever having been to Louisiana before. CCR guys are from California, around San Francisco, if I'm not mistaken?

    we lived in TX for a spell - near the state line - and my sisters would cross the state line to LA to get drunk.


    You couldn't get drunk in Texas?  :D
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    M Gee

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #186 on: October 13, 2019, 17:29 »
    . . .

    You couldn't get drunk in Texas?  :D
    They were underage. The drinking age in LA was 18, but they could get in the bars, and served, when they were 16. The bars were loose. Girls, women, attracted more business. They wouldn't let underage guys in - but guys that age typically look younger and the girls, if they want to, can look older.

    TX was much tougher at the time.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #187 on: October 14, 2019, 01:17 »
    What makes me think it's a story about an African American family is the line "My Poppa said "son, don't let the man get you do what he done to me"". I was told that "the man" among the African American community refers to the "White" man exploiting their labour.
    While that is true, the term is also used by whites when referring generally to any oppressive employer, or any large corporation with mostly anonymous and faceless heads of business who get rich off the work of others.

    Although when used by whites, it's often somewhat lighthearted, or meant to be taken as an exaggeration, but with the understanding of some underlying truths. I hope that makes sense.


    Quote
    Then also you have an occurence of the phrase "Cajun Queen" in the Rolling Stone's "Brown Sugar", which is all about slavery in the US (lyrics). It really makes me think that "Cajun Queen" doesn't refer to a Cajun woman but to an African American woman.

    That's an interesting one for a couple of reasons.
    Depending on your source, the lyrics are either "Cajun Queen," or "Tent show Queen." Actually, in the link you provided, it's "Tent show." So that would mean she was a performer of some sort, and perhaps very popular, hence the "Queen."

    After several listenings of the song (just now) I have hard time hearing the word "Cajun." But even if we were to accept the lyrics as "Cajun Queen" it still wouldn't refer to an African American woman. It would mean that the song was about a black (or "brown") woman who's mother was Cajun and who's father was of African descent. So a mixed marriage that produced an "exotic" daughter—someone with African American roots, but not strictly of African descent. I hope that makes sense as well.
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  • Armchair Cyclist

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #188 on: October 14, 2019, 08:18 »
    Quote
    "Proud Mary's" singer, a low-wage earner, leaves what he considers a "good job," which he might define as steady work, even though for long hours under a dictatorial boss. He decides to follow his impulse and imagination and hitches a ride on a riverboat queen, bidding farewell to the city. Only when the boat pulls out does he see the "good side of the city"—which, for him, is one in the distance, far removed from his life. Down by the river and on the boat, the singer finds protection from "the man" and salvation from his working-class pains in the nurturing spirit and generosity of simple people who "are happy to give" even "if you have no money." The river in Fogerty and traditionally in literature and song is a place holding biblical and epical implications. ... Indeed, the river in "Proud Mary" offers not only escape but also rebirth to the singer.
    John Fogerty: An American Son by Thomas Kitts (via Wikipedia)


    Hank Bordowitz, in (Bad Moon Rising: The Unofficial History of CCR, quotes Fogerty, apparently making the analogy of his army career as the "good job in the city" and going full time into music as the boat ride:
    Quote
    "The Army and Creedence overlapped, so I was 'that hippie with a record on the radio.' I'd been trying to get out of the Army, and on the steps of my apartment house sat a diploma-sized letter from the government. It sat there for a couple of days, right next to my door. One day, I saw the envelope and bent down to look at it, noticing it said 'John Fogerty.' I went into the house, opened the thing up, and saw that it was my honorable discharge from the Army. I was finally out! This was 1968 and people were still dying. I was so happy, I ran out into my little patch of lawn and turned cartwheels. Then I went into my house, picked up my guitar and started strumming. 'Left a good job in the city' and then several good lines came out of me immediately. I had the chord changes, the minor chord where it says, 'Big wheel keep on turnin'/Proud Mary keep on burnin'' (or 'boinin',' using my funky pronunciation I got from Howling' Wolf). By the time I hit 'Rolling, rolling, rolling on the river,' I knew I had written my best song. It vibrated inside me. When we rehearsed it, I felt like Cole Porter."


    Fogerty, quoted in Rolling Stone magazine and in response to the use of the song's title and (adjusted) lyrics for a film, suggests that there is no particular subtle message in the song:
    Quote
    I wrote the song about a mythical riverboat, cruising on a mythical river, in a mythical time. Perhaps, the setting was ‘back in time’ on the Mississippi River. It was obviously a metaphor about leaving painful, stressful things behind for a more tranquil and meaningful life, far from a story about killing people for money.


    So there is no suggestion that Fogerty intended it as from a black man's perspective, although in a spoken intro to his 1969 cover, Solomon Burke imbued it with that:
    Quote
    I know a lot of you folks would like to know what the old Proud Mary is all about
    Well, I'd like to tell you about her
    She's nothing but a big old boat
    You see, my forefathers used to ride the bottoms of her as stokers, cooks, and waiters
    And I made a vow that when I grew up, I'd take a ride on the old Proud Mary
    And if you'd let me, I'd like to sing about it
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  • « Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 09:36 by Armchair Cyclist »

    Echoes

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #189 on: October 26, 2019, 11:47 »
    TX was much tougher at the time.

    Eheh much what I thought. I saw a few years ago a TV show about Louisiana on France TV. They interviewed a professor in French literature, Robert Desmarais Sullivan who claimed that authors such as Tennessee Williams or William Faulkner came to Louisiana because the Catholic society in Louisiana was much more tolerant than the Baptist in neighbouring Mississippi (the streetcar in Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" is the New Orleans' streetcar) : "They saw people dancing, singing, drinking while not being low-class mean and cruel people. They were fascinated and liberated. They could go out with girls being forced to create a marriage". :D

    Although when used by whites, it's often somewhat lighthearted, or meant to be taken as an exaggeration, but with the understanding of some underlying truths. I hope that makes sense.

    Then it is much possible that you and Armchair are right. It would be the story of a white man going out with a Cajun girl but then it means that Fogerty was mixing culture (as you suggested above). In the song you have the line "And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin'chasin' down a hoodoo there". Hoodoo is definitely an African belief, pretty un-Cajun. I think I read him saying he took that idea from Muddy Waters.

    That's an interesting one for a couple of reasons.
    Depending on your source, the lyrics are either "Cajun Queen," or "Tent show Queen." Actually, in the link you provided, it's "Tent show." So that would mean she was a performer of some sort, and perhaps very popular, hence the "Queen."

    Wow shame on me for not checking my links. :D When I googled it up, the lyrics that Google automatically provided said "Cajun Queen" and then I opened a link without checking, not realising that there could've been a mistake. :lol Thanks for correcting!

    But really there are numerous song referring to a Cajun Queen. In Jimmy Dean's "Cajun Queen" song, you can have the feeling it's about voodoo and not really Cajun culture. Then you have George Strait's "Adalida", Emmylou Harris' "Amarillo" or The Bellamy Brothers' "Catahoula".



    I also checked up the definition in the Urban Dictionary:
    A cajun queen is a male impersonating a female, especially during "mardi gras". They are proud, statuesque works of art. They carry their respect for the female in an exaggerated form of outlandish dress, make-up, hairstyle, and the seductive qualities of a woman who hones her sexuality either in high society or on the street.
    https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cajun%20queen

    "Mardi Gras" being the last day before Lent, usually with a carnival but in Louisiana, I guess the Carnival lasts for several weeks. It's also the name of CCR's last album.



    So there is no suggestion that Fogerty intended it as from a black man's perspective

    Thank you. It's convincing. I've always loved CCR and loved to know the meaning behind Fogerty's songs, so that's very informative!

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  • M Gee

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    Re: What does it mean to be "American"?
    « Reply #190 on: October 26, 2019, 12:48 »
    . . . Fogerty was mixing culture (as you suggested above). In the song you have the line "And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin'chasin' down a hoodoo there". Hoodoo is definitely an African belief, pretty un-Cajun. I think I read him saying he took that idea from Muddy Waters.

     . . .

    "Cajun" may have originated from "Acadian", but it is and was very much a mixed culture thing, with African and native American roots as well. That mixture was well-established before the American Civil War. From the early days, the French were much more willing to mix with other local peoples.

    However, I do think Fogerty was likely indulging in poetic license, doing things to make a good song, not because they were autobiographical or historically accurate.


     . . .

    I also checked up the definition in the Urban Dictionary:
    A cajun queen is a male impersonating a female, especially during "mardi gras". They are proud, statuesque works of art. They carry their respect for the female in an exaggerated form of outlandish dress, make-up, hairstyle, and the seductive qualities of a woman who hones her sexuality either in high society or on the street.
    https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cajun%20queen
     . . .

     :lol :lol :lol :lol
    Omg. Tears rolling down my face from laughing. That, is a bit of hyperbole. A "queen" is US slang for a gay male who cross-dresses and appears as a female. A "queen" is pretty much as described. Although some queens would probably think the description was a little exaggerated, even just to describe a queen (no cajun). They would probably take issue with this bit: "an exaggerated form of outlandish dress", as many queens, while in public, would pass casual examination and be thought to be female. And I'd bet a tenner that little description was written by a gay person!

    Since Mardi Gras (like Carnival) is associated with sexuality and sex, I would have no problem imagining some queens marching in Mardi Gras parades. So, the author conflated the two, and voila! "Cajun queen."
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