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#72 Of clansmen and Klansmen

September 25th, 2017

Hi, darlin’

The TV news this morning had a thingy about the SFU football team and some professor wanting the name changed from “Clansmen” because it might ‘offend’ people who confuse it with the KKK Klansmen.

I’m not convinced there are that many stupid people but you never know. There might be. Some of them might even stay in school long enough to become professors.

Part of what ticked me off is the sadly prevelant acceptance that the USofA is the yardstick by which all else must be measured. I’m not suggesting the KKK is unique to the States. Gawd knows, Alberta has an unfortunate chapter or two of hotbed Klan activity. And we’ve all seen the rise of what some morons call “nationalism,” –  or what us mossybacks still consider to be racist bullshyte – and which is often targeted at Moslems these days, although still aimed at Jews too. And Sikhs. And Hindu’s. And First Nations. And… anyone with a degree of melanin.

None of which is going to be remediated by changing the name of a football team; especially not at a time when two overweight men with truly horrible haircuts are exchanging insults and threatening nuclear war.

It’s absurd that at a time when international tensions are high, a professor is more concerned some will confuse “clan” with “klan” and be offended.

There have been clans in Scotland since long before Mel Gibson smeared blue paint on his face and starred in Braveheart, one of the most historically inaccurate pieces of Hollywood fare I’ve sat through in the comfort of my living room, watching the telly.

The Scottish diaspora took the concept of clan to the most far-flung corners of the globe. I’m a member of the Cameron clan and so is Silver Donald and neither of us would support the KKK or anything remotely like it. The rallying cry of my clan is “Sons of the Hounds, arise and eat flesh.” My brother and I used to enrage our grandfather by morphing this into Vancouver Island mockery, calling out at family gatherings, “hey, ya sons-a-bitches, let’s eat!”

The hounds, for those of you who are raising your eyebrows and feeling puzzled, are the hounds of Ceridwen, who are with us Camerons at birth and death. They represent the old pre-christian religion that some of us still more-or-less follow, at least as well as most modern people follow the tenets of the carpenter. Which is to say, not much.

The flesh, obviously, is that of our enemies. It’s not true we actually ate them. Slander, we say, vile slander. We were not cannibals. We merely bathed in their blood.

To confuse any clan, even the damned Campbells with the Klan is an insult. The insanity which re-surfaces from time to time south of the forty-ninth isn’t going to take over the entire world, however much T-Rump blusters. To suggest we get rid of the “clan” because we’re afraid it will be confused with the “klan” is an example of extreme cognitive dissonance. Or as my grandpa Cameron would say “yon biddy is daft.”

If we’re going to waste expensive TV time on any topic, could we please continue to follow the story of the 100,000 Atlantic salmon that escaped from a feedlot pen in Washington state? I’m told three of them have been caught in Esperanza Inlet: two females full of ripe eggs and a male; all with stomachs full of Pacific fingerlings.

Washington State responded by lifting the catch quota on Atlantics. Fishers were encouraged to kill as many as they could. The Lummi nation is freezing the Atlantics they catch, with an eye to selling the frozen fish back to the feedlot company. The company has, so far, not indicated it will buy their fish from the Lummi.

To those of us who are members of a clan, a good alternate idea, should the company not buy the fish, is to give it to them. Dump them in the entrance to the company offices. Hell, dump them in the offices, on the desks , the chairs, the floor, down the hallway, and in the loo.

Did the Washington State fiasco create any noise up here? Mainly cricket chirps. Our new NDP provincial government has been quiet about this most recent threat to our coastal waters. Bad enough that previous governments have allowed fish farm net pens to be situated on the migratory routes of our young salmon leaving rivers and heading out to sea. Bad enough the lice infestation is as good as out of control. Bad enough there are viruses that originated in the pens, which can be found in wild fish. Now we have a provincial government seemingly mute on a swarm of escapees.

But by all means, give TV time to a professor who can’t tell a clan from the Klan. Maybe every Scot in the province should throw leftover haggis in her direction.


Anne Cameron grows pussywillows on the western edge of Vancouver Island. She received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. She has banished herself to Tahsis, a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans called British Columbia all began.

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