Friday, 24 February 2012

How Important is a "Home Town"?

My last blog post "inspired" a Guardian journalist. I sincerely hope this current topic (my 50th on Intercultural Musings) won't be similarly picked up in tomorrow's paper!

When President Obama burst into an impromptu deliverance of "Sweet Home Alabama" recently, he felt obliged to change the lyrics to "Sweet Home Chicago" - obviously to emphasize that THAT was where his heart lay. Well, good for him, I say, at least he can be sure about his home.

Many people are not so lucky. I for one would be hard pressed to name anthing as a home town. Facebook, being American, takes it for granted that anybody has indeed got one...

But is it really that important? Does it really reflect on who you are just because you were born in X? One gets a bit bored with people saying "Well, I'm originally from Chortleworth, but am now living in Telford. Mind you, you can take the girl out of Chortleworth..." Yawn. There's a veritable cult about what is ultimately an arbitrary birth place. Fuelled recently even more by the indeed very "homely" Adele.

Even worse, I find, when people start imbibing the genius loci and say they're "proud" to be from XYZ. It really beats me how you can be proud of having been born (or gone to school) in an arbitrary location.
Maybe you could say "I'm proud to have lived through the shelling of Sarajevo and to have survived." But even here, gratetful would probably be a better word. But proud to be from Telford, Gelsenkirchen, Lille? Why? You didn't do anything to be proud of. It's just something that happened.

Most people would object to one saying "I'm proud to be blonde" - equally arbitrary. But a "proud" Lancastrian, Glaswegian, Bavarian is always welcome. People nod sagely and say yeah they're special those Lancastrians. They wouldn't say "yeah they're special those people with wonky noses", would they?

Sorry, after my latest experience, I have to be a bit cautious. Comment function is therefore disabled (this post only).

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