Thursday, September 20, 2007

You Say EC, I Say Belgium

Or: Diversity Trumps Homogeneity.
John, at Archy, muses about the efficacy of doing away with Gallant Little Belgium.

I threw my plugged nickel into his comments and then sucked up the vainglory far enough to send it scuttling out here...

Amalgamation is always a forced fit. Like Procrustes' bed, it is used to lop something off or add something unwanted. The worst thing about McDonald's is that it is the same everywhere you go. That's bad if you want cevapcici (A Croatian ground meat sandwich I probably misspelled) rather than a big mac. It's a godsend if you can't take another serving of pig's brains on toast. and need a touch of home before plunging back into your year abroad.
In the Navy in Japan in the sixties we lived in an idealized United States transplanted to the Yamato plain rather like the holodeck's recreation of San Francisco on Star Trek. There was some adulterated Japanese culture just because the locals were hired to clean the barracks and staff the various chow halls and geduncks. But too many sailors never left the base and so never really set foot in Japan.
The experience left me with a profound disinterest in homogeneity. And a delight in diversity while clinging tenaciously to those cultural markers which identify me to myself, if to no other.
Not only should Belgium continue (with whatever blessings it may secure from the EC, but, if they so desire, Flanders and the Walloons may part their affairs OR keep them together as they wish.
And 'bad cess' say I to any neighbor who asks me to be just like them.

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