Sunday, 15 March 2015

Has anyone else noticed that not one of the four non-fiction books we've read to date has featured citations, endnotes or a bibliography?
Recognize those words? I wrote them about Massacre 747 last September. You'd think that a book presented as a "definitive work, incisively evidential throughout" would be loaded with references, but you'd be wrong.

You'd think the same about The Green North. Wrong again.

This Rohmer scholar has learned not to expect such things, and try to take the man at his word, even when he serves up contradictory figures:
Canada’s population is expected to grow dramatically in the next 100 years. This country will probably add ten million by 1980 and 100 over the next century. (p. 18) 
Canada itself  is likely to need living space, working space, and playing space for an additional seven million by the early 1980’s [sic], 15 million by the year 2000 and 100 million over the next 90 to 100 years. (p. 136) 
…if we are to believe forecasts that our total population will increase by about 100 million within 100 years of our Centennial Year [sic] – 1967. (p. 136-37)
I don't know that we should really blame Rohmer here; it could be that he didn't make up these figures. How about we say that there were two or three studies - and that they didn't reach the same conclusions, but he presents the data from each so as to maintain impartiality.

One thing we can say, in hindsight, is that those studies were all way off.
  • In 1970, the year The Green North was published, Canada's population was 21 million. We didn't add ten million by 1980; it wasn't a third that number.
  • We've got to pick up the pace if we're to have added a hundred million between 1970 and 2070. We've added only fourteen in the last forty-five years.
Could be that Rohmer's unnamed forecasters were counting Americans fleeing the coming race wars and those tired of soylent green:
The United States is undergoing tremendous upheavals within its own society and we should be prepared for a sharp increase in the number of moderate Americans who decide to move to Canada. The U.S. population will be busting at the seams at close to 400 million in the next 30 years.
The population of the United States in 2000 (thirty years after publication): 282 million.

Could be that they also added a bunch of Brits:
If Britain reaches another economic crisis which she cannot solve and plunges into national bankruptcy thousands of Britons would move to Canada.
Must say, a wave of immigrants that can be counted in the thousands wouldn't make much of a blip. Hardly worth mentioning. Now, ten million, like in Exodus/UK - that would be something!

(What is it with the italics?)

I wonder how long Exodus/UK had been gelling. As long as Ultimatum? About ten years?
About ten years ago, an editorial writer for a Canadian daily newspaper made this comment: "The time may come," he said, "when American carbines will be carried on American shoulders as Americans patrol our streets."
     He reasoned along the following lines:
"Let us suppose that we move into a day in the further - perhaps 20 or 25 years hence. You are president of the United States and you are approached by a group of your most important advisors.  One of them addresses you in this fashion:
     "'Mr. President. It is the conclusion of your study group that the oil reserves of this nation within its continental boundaries are seriously low. As you know, we have had a fairly strict rationing system for natural gas for several years and this situation will become worse very soon.
     "'Our mineral resources, by and large, can no longer be counted in terms of more than two to five, possibly eight, years. If the current situation continues and we foresee no lessening of demand not only by domestic consumers but by our export markets overseas, the standard of living of most of the American people will be reduced significantly and, here and there, dramatically.
     "'We have agreed that the most prolific, the most reliable, the most economic sources of supply of all such minerals and energy resources (including radioactive minerals for nuclear power) in a politically stable and friendly country, can be found to our north in Canada. The conclusions, Mr. President, are obvious. We must take action.'"
(Italics mine.)

Who was this unidentified editorial writer? In which paper was this published? When exactly? Outside of this book I can find no trace, which is a great shame because the influence on Rohmer's themes and style is significant. Recognition is warranted.

Unless he's Arthur Henry Ward.

Or Gator Peters.


  1. And what exactly is the deal with the chapter on The New North of Benny Scapinello? It's written by Jeannine Locke - who isn't given credit in the index nor the copyright page. The whole book is attributed to Rohmer.

    And Brian - thank you for mentioning the italics. Why are the first couple of words italicized for certain lists of points he making? Oh yes - so we realize it's the beginning of a sentence. I do usually have trouble noticing that myself.

    1. I noticed that myself, Stan, then realized that because it was an article in a government publication it's probably public domain. Something to keep in mind when my next deadline approaches and my page count looks thin.

      "The New North of Benny Scapinello" amounts to ten full pages and Ian Reid's Preface adds a further four to what would otherwise amount to a mere one hundred pages of text.

      Q: Who wrote the uncredited Foreword praising Richard Rohmer?

  2. Those populations numbers jumped out at me, too. I think we can pretty safely say that when it comes to developing "mid-Canada," Rohmer is a man with a hammer and everything looks like a nail. Imagine sitting at breakfast with him as he reads the newspaper:

    "Did you see this about Syria? Terrible. They should move those refuges to mid-Canada." (turns page) "Beef prices are up again... they should graze 'em in mid-Canada." (turns page) "Says here Blake Lively's having a baby... they should move to mid-Canada."

    The back cover of Ultimatum 2 suggests it's about using the whole place as a nuclear waste dump.

    1. Am I alone in being a bit uncomfortable with the idea that only the United States and United Kingdom are mentioned in terms of immigration - and this because of imagined crises? Cambodians, Namibians and others fleeing actual conflicts need not apply.

  3. Yes - it's not like the US and UK are used as examples, it's that their impending crises (and seed for future books) are the only things that matter.

  4. But the major-general goes out of his way to say the problem in America isn't one race or the other -- it's race relations. And Viet Nam. Although how that will cause emigration isn't explicitly explained. Rohmer loves America, but he eschews both its ghetto scenes and its war machines.