support our troops

Establishing a "Yokel Index"

Earlier this week, over at we move to canada, there was some debate over which Canadian community a gay couple from Boston(?) should move to, when they finally get their act together enough to actually do it.

Factors important to the couple included proximity to New England, population size, nearness to nature, and most importantly a local Roman Catholic church with a relaxed attitude. (And good luck with the last one, by the way...)

What I think was unaddressed in that discussion is what I refer to as the "Yokel Index".

Canada may very well have the reputation of being a tolerant, progressive society. However, taking a Saturday night stroll along the promenade of, say, Bowmanville Ontario will quickly challenge this presumption.

A town might have everything Steve and his husband say they are looking for: scenic, near the New York border, within easy driving distance of Toronto and with lots of jobs.

At the same time, this idyll's population could be largely composed of knuckle-dragging, gay-hating neanderthals.

There are lots of places I could harangue gay immigrants about avoiding: any place where agriculture is still an important part of the local economy; any place there are factories; communities with lots of bearded men (aside from Cabbagetown).

Being an immigrant anywhere is hard enough. In lots of places in 'tolerant' Canada, being a gay AND an immigrant would probably push locals into the "angry crowd carrying torches" demographic.

How to determine this "Yokel Index"? One quick way would be to rule out moving to any ridings that voted Conservative in the last federal election. In this scenario, places like Guelph or Kitchener-Waterloo would be acceptable, while Cambridge, Peterborough or Barrie would not.

The other possibility, which I favour, is making note of how many "support the troops" bumper stickers you see whilst driving around.

For example, where I live in downtown Toronto, it is exceptional to see a troops bumpersticker. Inevitably the driver will be some old coot, presumably visiting from Barrie, Maple, or Sutton. Not even worth the energy it would take to despise them.

In Peterborough, just 120 minutes away from Toronto, it is much different. I would say that 1 in 10 vehicles have war magnets on their cars, all of them one of the three displayed at the top of this post.

If you go to Orono, which I frequently do because its LCBO is handy when I am on the way to visit my mother for the weekend, you see that Orono's main street has yellow ribbons wrapped around the telephone poles.

If we are creating a "Yokel Index" for people like Steve and his husband, I think each wrapped tree spotted should count as the same as a spotted bumper magnet. By the same token, a vehicle with three war magnets should count as 3 spottings, not one. (No joke I saw one like this on the 401 today!)

The "Yokel Index" will be a hard instrument to calibrate [that's what she said-ed] but I think it is possible.

Just because I saw more yellow ribbons in Orono than I did war magnets in Peterborough doesn't mean there are more yokels in Orono than Peterborough. Orono has an old-timey vibe, a couple of antiques stores for example. Orono would be OK for Steve and co.

On the other hand: Peterborough, where young guys with bad haircuts actually still drive hotrods around? Almost by definition locals have war magnets on the back of their pickups.

Steve and his husband deserve a useful set of metrics before they make their decision. Noting car badges is decidedly a non-scientific way of collecting data, but it is obvious, and cheap.



Ronbo said...

Jeez...Ain't we Politically Correct! You are to LEFT of Hillary Clinton. I suppose you're so stupid that you think Socialized Medicine in Canada actually works! Do you have a job, or do you leave off welfare?

PALGOLAK said...


How to answer? Actually, I AM unemployed, in a practical sense. But since I was laid off in late November I still get my normal pay til June.

Not that I worry, because I do think socialised medicine works. Canadians have a greater longevity than Americans, or for that matter Britons, I believe...

Anonymous said...

Re: ronbo said...

I'm sure you're let down but somewhat amused when you get these types of comments. I mean, why are the white trash... er, I mean right wing, comments always ignorant and insulting at the same time? Why is it that the majority of the these people resort to name-calling? On the surface I realize that it's their only recourse, but there must be a few of them out there with active brain cells...

PALGOLAK said...

Kind words, anonymous.

However, I did post a comment on Lionheart's blog (a brit neo-BNP blog) about his poor spelling, in a 'tongue in cheek' way.

I was actually hoping to get a response. In fact I welcomed it! The fact that one of those boneheads actually clicked on my link, read something, and then took the time to comment brightened my day.

It means my metaphorical 'ejaculating into the aether' has at least hit *someone*.