bad name. Timoleon (a contemporary of Aristoxenus, who wasrnhimself a South Itahan Greek) tried to restore the greatness ofrnSyracuse and the other Greek cities of Sicily by defending themrnfrom the child-murdering Carthaginians, suppressing thernt)Tants, and replacing the multiethnic mob with authenticrnGreek settlers, but the task was too much even for Timoleon,rnand Sicily gradually dehellenized.rnThe problem of the Sicilian Greeks was moral as well asrnmulticultural. Plato had dreamed of drafting a constitution forrnSyracuse, but he gave up in disgust, saying that nothing couldrnbe done with people who thought of nothing but food and sex.rnSyracuse or Santa Barbara?rnNorth Americans, like the ancient people of Paestum, haverna hard time remembering who they are. Torn up physicallyrnfrom the roots of our civilization, we run from one extremernto the other; weary from telling anyone who will listenrnthat he belongs to an exceptional race that has transcended thernold Adam and the Old World, the American lurches into uncriticalrnadmiration of all things foreign and becomes W.S.rnGilbert’s idiot “who praises with enthusiastic tone, all centuriesrnbut this and every country but his own.” The chauvinist MarkrnTwain and the expatriate Henry James were equally Americanrnin repudiating and embracing Europe, almost simultaneously.rnThe people of Paestum, however, did have one advantage:rnthey knew what they had lost and lamented the change. We,rnon the other hand, are doing everything we can to change thernnature of our culture and our people. Through the massive importationrnof aliens from the Third World, we are transformingrnour old European stock into an ethnic jumble that would astonishrnthe Syracusans, who were mainly Greek and Italic, andrnthrough “diversity” requirements and so-called multiculturalism,rnwe are systematically cutting all our links with the civilizationsrnthat have formed our character; Greeks and Romans, OldrnTestament Jews and Medieval Christians, the British and otherrnEuropean peoples who settled the continent. When PeterrnBrimelow asks why we should do this, he is called a bigot. Selfdestruction,rnsav the liberals, is a moral duty.rnThose of us in the “Anglo” community—the people whomrnthe Cajuns call americains— no excuse. We still speak arnkind of English, our political and legal institutions are modeledrn(at least in theory) on those of Great Britain, and phrases fromrnShakespeare and the King James Bible are still proverbial in everydavrnspeech—though we know Shakespeare only from thernfilms of Kenneth Branagh and Leonardo DiCaprio and hearrnGood News for Modem Man in our post-Christian churches.rnThe fact remains that ours is still a predominantiy British culture,rnfor the time being.rnIt is harder for other European communities to hold ontorntheir historical memories. I am thinking not so much of thernvarious immigrant communities who send their kids to Greekrnschool or establish Polish cultural centers and Italian newspapers.rnThese groups are, for the most part, fragments of a diasporarnthat have failed to create an enduring regional culture.rnFrench and Spanish communities have a different story torntell. In many cases, their ancestors arrived in North Americarnbefore the ancestors of most Anglos, and the Quebecois and thernAcadians, in particular, formed linguistic and culturalrnstrongholds, where they preserved some memory of who theyrnare (or were) down to the present generation. The Quebecoisrnare, for the present at least, experiencing a patriotic upsurge.rnThe Creoles and Cajuns of Louisiana, however, have had torndeal with the more powerfril assimilative engines of Americanrnmass culture and the nationalizing project of the publicrnschools.rnLike most americains, I know very little of the LouisianarnFrench, and that little comes from recordings of Cajun dancernmusic and from the cuisine touted by Justin Wilson and thernoversold (and overrated) Paul Prudhomme. On my way to giverna lecture in central Louisiana, I took a detour of several daysrnthrough New Orleans and parts of “Cajun Countr)-,” and whilernthe trip provided more food for the belly than food for thought,rnI came away with a few impressions that both confirm andrnamplify Jean Raspail’s observations on the barbarization ofrnAmerica.rnArriving in New Orleans, my wife and I checked into a smallrnhotel on the edge of the vieux carre. They were filming a moviernscene, and from the looks of the actresses we spotted the nextrnday walking poodles in Jackson Square, our hotel was probablyrnplaying the part of a bordello—a fitting symbol for a city that isrnnow best remembered for cathouse piano players and the animalrnacts on Bourbon Street. We had lunch a block away. Thernlow prices attracted people from the neighborhood, and therntourists were lured by a lavish display of praline candies, hotrnsauces, and authentic Creole/Cajun cookbooks. From a marketingrnstandpoint, it’s all the same.rnI thought that after everyone in America had eaten blackenedrnredfish and listened to Beausoleil on Prairie Home Companion,rnthey had some idea of the Cajuns, if only as a mythicalrnrace invented by a Yankee poet trying to sell a love stor’. I hadrnalso thought that anyone who had been to college knew thatrn”Creole” meant something like a European (especiallyrnFrench) born in the New World, and not a French-speakingrnmulatto, but I underestimated the invincible ignorance of thernNew York Times. Last fall (November 23) one B. DrummondrnAyres, Jr., described Creoles as “the often light-skinnedrnLouisianans of mixed African and other blood” and as “generallyrnblacks with some white blood,” which would include halfrnthe state of Louisiana. This definition might surprise CreolernGeneral Pierre Beauregard, whose attack on Fort Sumter signaledrnthe start of the War Between the States.rnI did not run into anvone in Louisiana who did not actuallyrnknow the difference between Creole and Cajun, but New Orleansrnis doing its best to shed the finery of its French heritage inrnexchange for the dime-store fashion of multiculhiralism. Thernmuseum housed in the Cabildo on Jackson Square does payrnttibute to the Acadians, exiled by the British from Nova Scotia,rn6 6 A PO’*^^'”^”‘ appeal tornx V historical memory.”rn—^Thomas FlemingrnMarshland Trinityrnby Chris SegurarnAll three award-winningrnnovels now available in onernvolume for $29.95 fromrnWin or Lose, InkrnP.O. Box 638rn111 Concord St., Suite BrnAbbeville, LA 70511-0638rnTelephone: (318) 893-0030rnFax:(318)893-5066rnAPRIL 1998/11rnrnrn