Saturday, March 21, 2015

Italians in Canada

Italian Canadians preserving their heritage like never before. They're concentrated in Toronto and Montreal and much of the immigration was after World War II. All I know about what's uniquely Italian-Canadian is that they have some of their own slang (mangiacakes for British-Canadians) and that Toronto's British-Canadians have their own putdowns for them; Kathy Shaidle says she hates them. Gino and gina mean guido and guidette. Her story: a convert or revert Catholic writer who turned on the church, now basically a libertarian on an anti-authority kick like liberals with the same slurs against the church, understandable because she fell in love with a divorced man and couldn't marry him in the church while pervert clergy almost got off scot-free. (A reminder: way back under John Paul II and maybe earlier, good conservative Catholics blew the whistle on the pervs; the church liberals were the enablers. Right after the Sixties, the left was almost OK with sex with kids.)
The immigration occurred in two main waves, from 1900 to the First World War and from 1950 to 1970.
A reminder that Canada's British. (God save the Queen and bring back the Red Ensign.) For some reason, after World War II, Italian immigrants went to British countries; in America, Italian immigration largely ended in the '20s with a restrictive new law in place until '65. Anthony LaPaglia grew up in Australia after the war; I think he likes it better in America (he speaks with his own invented American accent) because he says he wasn't welcome in Australia for being Italian. (Canada and Australia: lots of lapsed Methodists and lapsed Presbyterians, and now generationally unchurched in Australia. More secular than here.)

Interesting that at least some Italian-Canadians follow Italian soccer, being like modern Italians. Not so of Italian-Americans, American since the '20s so almost all sports are American (the older generation playing bocce; Wildwood has a court by the boardwalk). As Christian Lander wrote in his smart self-satire Stuff White People Like (hence SWPL to describe liberals), in American culture, pretending to follow soccer (at least at World Cup time) is lefties' way of pretending to be European; fellow liberals vs. heartland Americans they consider clods or even dangerous (America's civil war since the Sixties).

So the question for us is are the third-generation Italian-Canadians identifying with the old Catholic Italy (easygoing, long love-hate relationship with the church and some voodoo-ey devotions but deeply Catholic) or today's secular socialist Italy?
From what I've met of them, it seems more the older, immediate postwar version of Italy they identify with (which is pretty much the same as the Italy of the 1920s that Italian-Americans do).
Right; remembering the country as it was when they left. That makes sense. Glad they still identify with a good version.
I don't think that modern Italy is too off the wall as compared to some other European countries. It's not exactly the same as it was 50 years ago (what is?) but still better than many other places.
Like the recent media row with Dolce & Gabbana: Mamma Italia, where even the homosexuals are still just bad Catholics. Got to love those two: like Camille Paglia (met her; she's fun), they know they can't change nature, society, or the church; they're admitting the church may be right so they're wrong. Italians don't waste their time trying to change the church like the dumb northerners; if they sin or lose their faith, they just lapse.

1 comment:

  1. I just got back from a trip to Italy, and it still feels more like home than almost nowhere else. Local mayors and bishops still join up to play official roles in area festivals---and "LGBT" has nothing to do with them. I spent a week in the central Italian region of Umbria, and the pews I sat in all week had little plaques on them denoting that they were donated by the town's government. A couple of days ago I was at a major train station. In the concourse cafe, I found this above the bar:


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