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  • Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    The New Xenophobia

    The Putin View
    even fly fishing

    .. The schisms of humankind are legion.
    .. Fly fishers, (un-admittidly,) participate wholeheartedly and with the exuberance of a toddler denied a most desirous object.
    .. Covens of fly flingers cluster around objects, feather merchant aisles, ideas, rivers, gear, techniques, flies, etc. Each is best and, each is best because it's "My Own."
    .. Of course it is not possible to appreciate the xenophobic perspective from within the "community."  It is not , in fact, a concept that darkens the neurons of fly fishers. Nor is it a concept that can be addressed by feather merchants, conservation groups, social clubs, mercantile hucksters, or any of the crowded societal structure surrounding the pastime.
    Best Trout Food
    ..  Brexit is a foreign topic, (no pun,) on the river. Putin is far off. Trump is only a passing fancy.
    .. Dry flies and BWO's and other stuff rule and, the other sods can take the hindmost.
    .. Read the literature if you don't believe it. An author reveals the correct and sanctified approach within a paragraph or two.
    .. Beetles seldom appear in the list of recommended flies for the Firehole River. Yet, indeed, there are many beetles on the banks of that little creek. And, despite feather merchant prejudice, fish do eat them.
    .. Hoards of grasshopper nymphs flop into the Madison River and Nez Perce Creek each year about this time. Who in the xenophobic class of "fly tiers" has created a hopper nymph? Fish eat them too.
    Future Fly Fishers Of America
    .. The exclusionary attitudes of each little fly flinger coven does nothing to improve the pastime.
    .. It does nothing to encourage or recruit new participants - despite the lip service given to the trials and tribulations of "younger generation" recruitment.
    .. Fly fishing is not the only escapist pastime that suffers from the new xenophobia. Photography, religion, car culture, drone driving, party politics, and blogging all are caught in the web of "Me Best-ism."
    .. Xenophobia does nothing to unite a sundered humanity that is increasingly fragmented as the days pass. Big wars have become little wars, (not that that's any better.) Big countries become split along xenophobic lines. Hobbies are sundered into bits of minutia that are important only to a few. We, (all of us and each of us,) have become nations unto ourselves.
    Ed Payne Did It
    .. This is not a new observation. It is, however, becoming more pertinent as we observe the growth of such things as science in Africa, economy in China, re-creation of "Classic Old Taper" bamboo rods, technology in Australia, etc.
    .. No longer can our culture hide behind the concept of "The West Is Best." As if it ever was.
    .. The weltanschauung of each and every comitted group in this little blue globe is a statement of the diversity of our species. A simple and fundamental choice comes to the fore: embrace it or deny it. Heads in sand and elsewhere seems to be the preferred human response.
    .. The current perspective about the world from Russia is different from that of Great Britain - DUH! The perception of the United States of America is manifold and dependent on where the viewer is viewing from. The world view of Donald Trump is different than the others.

    .. The same is true of fly fishing. Long range party boats from San Diego carry fishers into international waters in search of tuna, wahoo, dorado, and other such fish. How do they perceive the fly fisher?
    .. Rural citizens of Oklahoma, Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia, catch bass with spinning gear and bait casters. How do they perceive fly fishers? How do fly fishers perceive them? Alas never the 'twain shall meet.
    .. Dry fly fishers scoff at the nymphomaniac. Streamer folk eschew the San Juan Worm. Two handed rod fishers invent new terms for the old time roll cast. And, on it goes. Bless the worm.
    ..  We've borrowed some maps from The Atlas Of Prejudice to illustrate this note. It's an exemplary work by Yanko Tsvetkov.
    .. It's probably not a work on the shelves of most fly fishers. It is one of several works that could only be written by the author.
    .. The novelty of the "New Xenophobia" is that it has become so widespread and so widely embraced.
    .. Not just embraced by philosophers, Sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, politicians, priests, rabbis, police, and every other imaginable named segment of world society.
    .. The novelty is that individuals grab their xenophobic banner and use it as justification for right thinking and right acting. It's part of the cultural debris that makes us human. The inhuman aspect is also a bit of cultural detritus that allows the unthinking actions.
    .. Thanks to Socrates:  "ὁ ... ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ."*  Sadly, the cultural filter that we each live with makes this nearly impossible.
    .. Now, marketing and merchandising of either trinkets or xenophobic mentalities runs the risk of isolationism: in fly fishing or in world politics.
    .. The sun is up. The coffee is gone. The rivers beckon. There may be a day or two left for a beetle on the Firehole River.

    * "The unexamined life is not worth living. 
    A famous dictum apparently uttered by Socrates at his trial for impiety and corrupting youth.