The Big Game

Later this afternoon millions will be staring at their huge television screens to watch the National Football League Super Bowl. The little I know of the event is that it occurs early in the New Year and is renowned for its commercial television advertisements which have the celebrity of a Hollywood performance.  When I bicycled earlier today along the beach from Coligny Beach Park to Sea Pines Beach Club there was a noticeable dearth of people though for some reason there was a proliferation of dogs gambolling about the shore and back and forth in and out of the sea. The parking lot at the golf club was similarly void of its usual collection of Mercedes, Porches, Audis and glistening trucks with huge tires. And the bike paths were limited to people my age who betrayed a lack of interest in public sport by their devotion to courtesy and friendliness.

Everything about the Super Bowl is superlative not the least of which is the stadium itself in Los Angeles.

Built in Inglewood on the site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack, the $5 billion stadium opened in 2020 as home to both the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers. It can seat up to 100,000 people. The Rams are playing in the Super Bowl, on their home field, against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The only thing I am doing in keeping with the Super Bowl hype is listening to John Williams: Berlin Philharmonic. The extraordinarily stirring music is among the best of American musical artwork I know. It attracts me in no small measure because it is a production of Deutsche Grammophon. While I may have nothing other than a passing interest in the football game and whatever entertainment surrounds it, I quickly grasp the enthusiasm of the audience by listening to this stimulating classic American music which pointedly begins with “Olympic Fanfare and Theme”.

Two legends shared the stage this autumn – in a glorious debut, John Williams conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker for the very first time. John Williams – The Berlin Concert, captured live by Deutsche Grammophon during a series of sold-out concerts, presents some of the world’s best-known film music performed by one of the world’s greatest orchestras. The DG album is set for release on 4 February 2022, in time for the renowned composer’s 90th birthday just four days later.

That spirit flows throughout his Berlin concert, magnified by stunning performances of the “Superman March”, the Theme from Jurassic Park, and a generous selection of excerpts from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the Star Wars, Harry Potter and Indiana Jones films. The tracklist also features a dazzling trio of encores including “The Flying Theme” from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and “The Imperial March” from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.

For years I have maintained a belief that Americans generally tend to overplay the paramountcy of themselves, for example calling things like a baseball game the “World Series“.  But apart from that unfortunate appellation I am quickly discovering why Americans are confined to their own worth. Though Americans overall haven’t a genealogy which extends much beyond 1763 they like Canadians are proud of their beginnings on this continent whether Samuel de Champlain or Paul Revere.

The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution that occurred in British America between 1765 and 1791. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies formed independent states that defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), gaining independence from the British Crown, establishing the constitution that created the United States of America, the first modern constitutional liberal democracy.

American colonists objected to being taxed by the British Parliament, a body in which they had no direct representation. Before the 1760s, Britain’s American colonies had enjoyed a high level of autonomy in their internal affairs, which were locally governed by colonial legislatures. The passage of the Stamp Act of 1765 imposed internal taxes on the colonies, which led to colonial protest, and the meeting of representatives of several colonies in the Stamp Act Congress. Tensions relaxed with the British repeal of the Stamp Act, but flared again with the passage of the Townshend Acts in 1767. The British government deployed troops to Boston in 1768 to quell unrest, leading to the Boston Massacre in 1770. The British government repealed most of the Townshend duties in 1770, but retained the tax on tea in order to symbolically assert Parliament’s right to tax the colonies. The burning of the Gaspee in Rhode Island in 1772, the passage of the Tea Act of 1773 and the Boston Tea Party in December 1773 led to a new escalation in tensions. The British responded by closing Boston Harbor and enacting a series of punitive laws which effectively rescinded Massachusetts Bay Colony’s privileges of self-government. The other colonies rallied behind Massachusetts, and twelve of the thirteen colonies sent delegates in late 1774 to form a Continental Congress for the coordination of their resistance to Britain. Opponents of Britain were known as Patriots or Whigs, while colonists who retained their allegiance to the Crown were known as Loyalists or Tories.

My own family ancestry goes back about the same length of time; and, significantly, coheres with people from New England, Plymouth, Massachusetts whence my maternal grandfather in more recent times emigrated to Canada as well. To this day I have immediate family (niece and cousins once and twice removed) who live in the United States of America.

Suffix Major
Born Abt 1756 Hawnby, Ryedale, North Yorkshire, England

Died 5 Nov 1837 Fort Lawrence, Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada
Buried Point de Bute, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada

Family Abigail CAIN, b. Abt 1754, Hingham, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States d. 5 Apr 1836, Fort Lawrence, Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada (Age ~ 82 years) Married 4 Nov 1779 Fort Lawrence, Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada

Father Arthur CAIN, d. Date Unknown, , , New England, United States
Mother Lydia TOWNSEND, d. Date Unknown
Married 13 Dec 1749 Hingham, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States

Father William CHAPMAN, c. 12 Oct 1729, Hawnby, Ryedale, North Yorkshire, England d. Bef 1805 …. (Age ~ 75 years)

Mother Mary IBBITSON, b. 26 Jun 1732, Helmsley, Ryedale, North Yorkshire, England d. Bef 1788, Point de Bute, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada (Age < 55 years)
Married 21 Jan 1755 Hawnby, Ryedale, North Yorkshire, England

Born 3 Apr 1785 Fort Lawrence, Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada

Robert Dickie CHAPMAN
Born Abt 1812 Coverdale, Albert, New Brunswick, Canada

Born 13 Mar 1841 Coverdale, Albert, New Brunswick, Canada

William F. CHAPMAN
Born 28 Sep 1869 Salisbury, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada

George William CHAPMAN
Born 30 Jul 1895 Salisbury, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada

Cecil George William CHAPMAN
Born 17 Aug, 1918 Hillsborough, Albert, New Brunswick, Canada

Lawrence George William CHAPMAN
Born 11 Dec 1948 Montréal, Quebec, Canada

My family was however among the bad guys from the American perspective; viz., we were the Loyalists who defied the Patriots and remained loyal to the Crown. The little I know about our family heritage from England (specifically Crathes Castle) succeeds to keep alive my native connection with the Crown though I would never label myself a monarchist for any other reason whatsoever since I see it entirely as more of that “opium of the people” so disparaged by Karl Marx in his now famous aphorism against religion. I tolerate both the Crown and religion with the same inclination I have for Maldon salt, a bit is good but not too much.  Both are cosmetic; neither has any legitimacy to the superstitions surrounding them.

Recent events arising from the pandemic have reacquainted Canadians with Americans in an unwelcome manner as so-called Freedom Convoys percolate in Canada with similar “Canadian” style obstructions spreading worldwide from Paris and Brussels to New Zealand. The Canadian protests are poisoned by toxic elements (dark money and conspiracy theories) from the United States of America. The outcome of these protests is a warning to Canadians concerning the possible further infiltration of highly undesirable American threats within our own democracy.  Already Canadians are likening its Conservative Party to “Trumpian” vagaries as indicative of an alleged worldwide return to conservatism (which is invariably associated with racism of some description and dislike of any religion other than Christianity) and indirectly to oligarchy (not surprisingly connected to military alliance).

It is now generally considered that the “first modern constitutional liberal democracy” is at risk of being contaminated by the venal and mercenary interests of members of the Republican party and the so-called “Patriots” whom they purport to represent. In a nutshell the abuse spearheaded by the Republicans (who are notoriously “conservative” and backers of unfettered capitalism) has perhaps unwittingly – fomented by their own political greed – become the Party of White Supremacy and Evangelical Christianity, all reflective of a step backwards to the good ‘ole days of slavery and dominance. It is by any assessment a dead-end street but it appears that until Trump is wrestled to a jail house yard and his cronies are put in their place, the battle is not over. Because democracy is so delicate and because we’ve become accustomed to expecting high standards even when none exists, the pathway to glory is likely fraught with a great deal of muck before we’re collectively back on the right track. I am also quick to add that the misgivings of the reputed anarchists no doubt have foundation is something quite legitimate and removed from the superficial appearance, much the way distrust grows from childhood difficulties that graduate into uncommon acts of vengeance. This is not to dismiss every allegation of the “other side” as psychological but rather to acknowledge that everyone comes to the beliefs they have through a larger process than instant anarchy. The problem of understanding between people depends too upon reliable leadership.  Whether we like to say it or not, some people think more clearly than others; leadership matters.  We have learned to entrust our personal affairs to others; we must certainly be able to do it on a more abstract scale. That is the Big Game at hand.