Renaming in the Interests of Political Correctness: My Emily from the Back; An Email Thread Concerning New Man

I awoke to an email from a friend,

She: Incidentally, what do you think of the AGO renaming an Emily Carr, from Indian Church to Church in Yuquot Village to avoid “hurt and pain”? Has there been any reaction from VAG?

Me: Who knows about VAG, they have lots of other things on their mind.

But I did write more about the situation.

Me: I find AGO’s act of renaming rather offensive and a stupid attempt to remake history. All of these meaningless gestures which attempt to forget the reality of the horrible treatment of the native people in this country.

Then the friend came up with an even more clever response (I do hate it when people are smarter than I am)

Re: AGO. I agree, most definitely misguided – was there an artist more sympathetic to Aboriginals than Emily Carr? Almost ranks with rewriting or removing books like Little Black Sambo or Mary Poppins from library shelves. Or even worse, the removal of Japanese atrocities or Stalin’s purges from the history books in Japan and Russia. But are these title changes not just symbolic?

I am a good loser and sent friend an email that acknowledged that she was smarter than I am. Email subject line: You Are So Smart.

Me: Your comments about AGO’s actions are most astute. You are so right – that Emily Carr was so mindful of the plight of Indians – well before it became fashionable. I am thinking of talking about this on my blog – would you mind if I ‘borrow” your thinking? I can say a friend pointed this out. It is handy that I have a photograph of Emily’s self portrait in my camera that I can attach to the blog. So sometimes it is handy to have the blog as it is an issue that should be raised in some forum, not just in an email between friends.

But not all of my emails are so high minded and intellectual. I sent friend Coco a picture of the new man in my life and she hysterically responded:

She: Please Ali, go for “new man”

Me: Am I ever going for it! (then some detail not to be revealed on blog)

She: Please continue

Me: There is no stopping me!

The photograph attached to this blog is a self portrait of Emily found on the walls of VAG. It is fascinating as it shows her at work, the back of her head as she paints. What an incredible woman she was. She gave up men to dedicate her life to her art. Its too late for me to do that. If you people think you are getting a picture of new man gracing this blog, you are crazy. I am keeping that man to myself.

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