Another Monday in Nova Anglia

Storm’s a-coming. Going to be a wet, white, wild storm. THEY SAY. I don’t put much stock in the weathermen. Nevertheless, prep pays for itself. so the checklist goes.

Are your portals of entry secure or locked? Wind can upset weak hardware, where locks are often stronger than normal closers.

Have you made your heating fuel accessible and under dry cover?

Have you prepared your snow removal equipment in advance? Check gas and oil levels on a blower, tested starter, etc… Are your shitty shovels you bought last winter still useable or have the Chinese parts given out?

Do you have enough gas to fill your generator and other gas-powered equipment at least once over?

Are your clearance paths clear?

Have you set aside adequate cold weather gear? Gloves, hat, appropriate heat retaining layers? Appropriate doesn’t necessarily mean forty coats. Thermal underwear (tights, really) or a union suit with flannel lined pants, a good button-down or sweater and a top jacket or coat will do you surprisingly well. Normal sock and wool sock, if anticipating slosh, wrap your outer sock in a waterfast bag. Wet feet in winter work suck and are a fast track to sadness. Good boots, preferably boots that go halfway or more up your shin. Overalls optional.

Have you made plans to crush the urbanite? It’s not hard. They’ll still be sleeping by the time your plans for world domination pan out. They’re the perfect natural enemy of the ruralite.

Just kidding. #notallurbanites

#justmost

Whatever. I have dusted off my Danish fatigues jacket and buffalo bomber hat with the Totenkopf, Maine Cross and Runes and am ready to wage war eternal against both Monday and Wet Snow. Jack Frost? Prepare to be iced. By me. Again. Like every winter. If all goes according to plan I will be in my Dane coat singing loudly at the snow as I destroy it, by the time this airs. If you don’t hear from me by Wednesday it means we had a humdinger, or that I have successfully weaponised my autism so brutally that nobody responds at all.

… …

.. … …

Speaking of Danish things. I can full circle this and ramble on about things which most find painfully meaningless. Like the intricacies of vernacular and regional affectation factored into colonial genetic drift!!!!!! FUN. Last year I read a book. Well, I read a stack of books. However among the more obscure was “East Anglian Grammar.” As one might expect, it’s a book. About grammar. Ergo, I’m sure, the inclusion of “grammar” in the name. Maybe it wasn’t grammar at all. I’ll have to check during Oven Time.

It takes a long time for the author to accomplish anything grammatical. Wordical, if you like. The first part is a long-winded defense of the East-Anglian dialect against the machinations of Englishmen with the unmitigated gall to call themselves posh. Evidently the rest of England frowned on the Anglian and his economical use of English.

I make this comparison because, in all things there is a chain. New England in great pains, was settled by expats from East Anglia. The case can and has been made that the assignment of New England culture to East Anglian antecedent is overblown. And this is true. Puritan Culture, which acted as an export predominantly from East Anglia went far to inform all of New England, as in some ways, Puritan Boston viewed all of New England as her colony as New England was colony to Old England.

But it is true, different Englands made different New Englands. Maine was originally peopled with Somerset English. Rhode Island, I forget which English but they were often Loyalist, which East Anglian English rarely were. I think Connecticut too remained sympathetic to the Motherland.

But! The syntax of New England diction most certainly follows an East Anglian bent. At least according to Albion’s Seed – which you should read, if you are Yankee, or at least descended from Original Founding Stock. The East Anglian Grammar seems wholesale to corroborate this theory. And, as one hopes, takes it further. The character of East Anglian English is more Germanic, the book asserts, due in large part to the heavy influence of the Danes. The Danes are also famous for having an economical language. Like Danish, East Anglian English and her offshoots contain large portions of syntax which are considered entirely vestigial. Newcomers to the Danish language find themselves perplexed to see that words spelled out often omit entire syllables when announced aloud. So it went for the Anglians, and so it goes for the Old Stock Yankee. The letter R, for example, is vestigial. Like your appendix or your medulla oblongata.

But it’s more than that. East Anglian education was characterised by an intense hatred of institutional things, and seemed to rebel not only against the King so long suspected of wicked Popery, but also against the very loanwords from Greek, Latin and French that have English her cosmopolitan flair and allowed English to become the universal solvent first of Whites, and then for good or mostly ill, all the world. A certain mockery of Latinate things was intrinsic to Anglian diction and such words were steadily crushed. Or as one Danish spoof video has it, degenerated into meaningless grunts.

This leeriness of the foreign was imbedded in classical grassroots Yankee diction. Words were and are often purposefully mangled to offend the sensibilities of those who treasure their loftiness. It’s all very iconoclastic. Other times, the force with which the Yankee might utter contrivances slammed words together and created new words from the resulting vacuum. Famous stereotype words like “ayuh,” “ain’t” and so forth are relatable examples.

It’s funny to think of it, when the popular image of the WASP is the imperious Massachusetts overlord whose education and training eventually makes him the king of self-hating shabbos. But it wasn’t always that way. In some ways the WASP is a natural response to the Virginia Aristocrat who formed the backbone of early American Government. The Puritans would have feared a return to monarchy, and with good reason, the American-English sincerely considered crowning Washington King. So, the Yankee had to develop an overclass to compete. There had always been an upper class of educated Yankee who looked down his nose at the peasant, but this New World was business.

Anyway. I chuckle, because the historical parallels are funny. Yankees today who wish to hang on to the shreds of their inherited patrimony have got to defend against allegations from all sides. From the South are anri-Yankee attitudes with their own historical truths and confirmation biases alike. And these themselves are nothing more than sublimated attitudes from Old England, the East Anglians who would become the solvent for Yankeedom weren’t well liked in the Motherland either. At home, the Yankee finds his native diction spat on and called improper by imperious textbooks. Don’t say ain’t, kiddo. Just like the old East Anglians had to do.

Not a revolutionary thought, just something to laugh at as I go through my morning Danish, before throwing on my Dansk-jakke to symbolically go a-viking against the snowstorm. A bit of full-circle, given that my genealogical research turned up the probability that my family might have come to East Anglian not as Saxons but as Danes before ethnogenesis turned us into Anglos many hundreds of years in passing. Oh, the ironies.

Here’s a poem I liked from the pages. Follows are some photographed excerpts. Enjoy.

The Political Weathercock

When opticians a sunbeam dissect,

Pure and white as it comes from the sun,

hat plain folks would never suspect,

hey can show seven tints mixed in one,

“There’s red, yellow, green, orange and blue,

For Tories or Whigs, both or neither,

Each to choose his appropriate hue,

And then change, if they please, like the weather,

But such emblems, so stale and deceiving,

Philosophical Windham derides,

Demonstrates that he’s on all sides.”

I love the chart of mangled words left in East Anglia’s wake. This pleases my inner iconoclast. It also validates a recurring theme in my life in which an Urbanite expressed horror at my unwillingness to incorporate ridiculous foreign sounding words into my everyday speech, which go through what some have taken to calling the Anglo Filter. Anglicisation is real. I apologise for nothing. Incomprehensible Spanish delicacy where the j is somehow a z? More like Xerox, amirite? I mean, sure, can I pronounce the flimflam, gobbledygook and goofiness? Yeah. Am I going to? No. This is why we fixed the Welsh at Ellis Island and renamed them all Jones. And believe me, the modern Anglo has much worse than the intimidatingly vowel-less Welsh language to deal with. Xerox rice is more than just a lifestyle choice, it’s a wave of indigenes from Away brought here by people who eat Xerox rice.

Anyway. A fun game I’m going to play is, if you’re an Anglophone living in New England or the Canada (Anglo-Canadia) we could have had, let me know in the comments if where you’re at you can see a peculiarity of English that’s traceable to your Ancestral Lands. Could be fun. Or, if like me, you may have just considered choking small, compact sized Vermont Francos for mocking your diction and suggesting you get with the times. I’ll take that too.

You know who you are.

Nah, we cool bruh. I’ll take that to summer complaints asking if my accent is Texan. That kind of stupidity hurts two countries, man. If you know who you are, go back to Portlandistan.

3 thoughts on “Another Monday in Nova Anglia

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