Our Campus

I don’t know if everybody hates these collages but I just learned to make them with photos I take around campus and they make me very happy.

Click on the collage to see the animals better. They are a family!


I’m a Disgrace to My Species. . .

. . . according to the most fashionable “feminist” website:

We love the bump-watches and the ridiculous celebrity baby names and the stories about the impending royal child because we’re human beings, and we’d be in a bad place as a species if most of us weren’t at least a little predisposed to getting excited about the entry of a new human into the world.

I’m so totally not one of those “we” that even the word “bump-watch” makes me want to vomit. And I wouldn’t read a story about “impending royal children” to save my life.

Make sure you do as many bump-watches as you can, folks, to compensate for the traitors to the species such as myself. I will go work on my new article instead.

Ukrainian Diaspora, Part II

My association with the Ukrainian Diaspora broke down completely after a group of young people I knew traveled to Ukraine. We talked a lot before the trip and I helped them prepare, telling them what to expect and how to get around.

When my friends came back from Ukraine, though, it became clear we weren’t going to be friends any longer.

“Why on Earth did you tell us that the situation is bad in Ukraine and that the economy is very problematic?” they asked me. “We bought a lot of great stuff very cheaply. Unlike what you said, life in Ukraine is very cheap. And everybody was super nice to us and very much into Ukrainian culture. We taught several families how to celebrate the traditional Ukrainian holidays correctly.”

Obviously, the deluded and self-congratulatory obliviousness of the tourists who think a country’s economy rocks if they can condescend to people after waving around a wad of dollar bills did not seem attractive to me.

The price of any collective identification, I have found, is always an amputation of a part of one’s cerebral function. You can be very happy as a member of a group if you agree to stupidify yourself to an extent.

Ukrainian Diaspora, Part I

Somebody asked me if I’m in touch with the Ukrainian immigrant community. There is a very large Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada, and I did hang out with with people belonging to it when I first emigrated to Canada.

Ukrainian Diaspora deserves admiration for a variety of things. The way these immigrants – who mostly left Ukraine generations ago – preserve their culture is worthy of every respect. I spent time with a group of young people of my age (this was in 1999-2000) whose great-grandparents had left Ukraine around the time of the October Revolution. These great-grandchildren, however, all spoke and read fluent, albeit somewhat outdated, Ukrainian. How many immigrant communities do you know where this happens?

There were reasons, though, why I parted ways with the Ukrainian Diaspora. The first reason was the pervasive anti-Semitism that sounded very shocking in the environment of the ultra-tolerant Montreal. I felt that, in a way, Diasporans believed that anti-Semitism was an integral part of Ukrainian identity. They didn’t realy have anything against Jews, but simply acted out their Ukrainianness in this way.

Another problem I had with the Diaspora was that its members hadn’t managed to snap out of the “I have been cruelly separated from my Homeland” role that made very little sense after 1991. I was once interviewed by a Ukrainian radio station in Montreal. Unlike everybody else at the station, I was a very recent immigrant.

“You must miss our beautiful Mother Ukraine terribly,” the interviewer said with real tears glistening in her eyes. “It must have been so painful to be forced to leave!”

“No, I chose to emigrate,” I explained. “I hated living there.”

I was approached later by somebody who had heard the interview.

“How could you say you chose to leave Ukraine?” he exclaimed. “Oh, what wouldn’t I give to go back to our lovely country!”

I decided not to inform this kind but somewhat deluded gentleman that since 1991 there was absolutely nothing preventing him from traveling to Ukraine or even moving there if he so wished.

[To be continued. . .]