I have been reading (full disclosure: I’ve actually been listening, to the very well-narrated audiobook on my hour-long commute to Pasadena) American Nations, by Colin Woodard. After I had listened to the first half-hour, I had to turn it off for a while – the explanatory power of his premise is so profound, so right, that I needed time to let my thoughts and preconceptions rearrange themselves.
I won’t describe the book, as the author has an excellent page here and does a better job than I could, along with links to purchase. I will say that I understand my cultural heritage and those of my parents much better now! I’m a classic New Netherlander, born and bred, and proud of its open-minded, accepting culture – come one, come all! As long as you can sell stuff, you’re welcome to stay! I’m of two minds about its lukewarm commitment to democracy, though. I mean, democracy = good… right? I guess it depends on who’s voting…
My father was an immigrant to New Netherland from Germany, and my mom was from New France. She immigrated to New Netherland but always retained many New French characteristics, harmonious as they are with New Netherlandish customs.
I now live in El Norte (which I would have thought was really the Left Coast – haven’t got my head around that yet), in a neighborhood that seems largely made up of emigrants from New Netherland, the Midlands, and Yankeedom.
My fantasy is that Colin Woodard will work on something with Nate Silver. Mr. Silver is on an unwelcome – to me – hiatus, and seems to be refocusing his attention on sports instead of politics. I can’t tell one ball game from another (well, they use different size/color balls – I can see that), so that’s a big loss for me.
But I’d love to see Nate Silver use his statistical wizardry to measure political movements according to Colin Woodard’s scheme of American Nations, rather than our 50 states. I have a feeling there would be revelations there.
American Nations is an eye-opener. Read it. I hope the DNCC is…