Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Reader's Diary #19- Leslie Bella: Newfoundlanders Home and Away (end of Ch. 4, p. 148*)

* This may be the last posting regarding this book. All that I have left is the appendix on research methodology and unless there's something that sticks out, I probably won't bother commenting on it.

I've complained about Bella's samples before. And I'll do it again. Why, in a chapter called "Going Home", did she not interview anyone that actually moved back? We get repetitive interviews from people who have decided to move back later, decided not to go back, or were still in the process of deciding. It would have been an interesting and obvious comparison to hear from some people that actually returned. The title is Newfoundlanders: Home and Away, not Newfoundlanders: Away. Geez.

Also, I posed the question before about what Newfoundland would be like if everyone suddenly moved back. Well, I should have read further, because at the end of chapter four Bella feels equipped enough to answer this hypothetical question. According to her, Newfoundland would be most likely be a better place, declaring that "Newfoundlanders who have lived away will want to bring home with them the best of what they have seen 'away'". Am I the only one that finds this condescending? Are we so badly in need of outside expertise to be brought home like some educational souvenir from the mainland? On top of this, Bella says that those from away would boost our economy and -my personal favourite- be likely advocates for health care improvements. Really?! Based on what? Interviews and surveys? Should a professional such as Bella- should anyone- make such baseless predictions about what might happen? How about this for another prediction: all those that left come back and have brought with a thriving economy and an end to dependence on seasonal work. Great. But wait a sec! Our pace of life is suddenly faster. Isn't that what so many people liked about Newfoundland- our slower pace of life? Oh and there's no time to enjoy the ocean, kitchen parties, or scenic berry picking walks. And the picturesque seascapes are cluttered with people, litter, and building construction. Great! Come back everyone! Improve our impoverished lives!...Okay, I've gone off the deep end. Seriously, I'm not saying I want Newfoundland to remain as is, with people exodusing in vast numbers to find employment. What I'm saying is that Leslie Bella has no way of knowing what Newfoundland would be like if everyone came back, and no way of knowing how things would improve- just as I have no way of knowing if things would get any worse. I posed the question myself in an earlier post, but I was expecting intelligent discussions on the topic- not the tripe dished out by Bella in her conclusion.

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