A Knowledge Of His Own
Country Is A Matter Of Course.
He has no sympathy with "the essential
provinciality of the mind which knows the Eastern seaboard, and has some
Measure of acquaintance with countries and cities, and with men from
Ireland to Italy, but which is densely ignorant of our own vast domain,
and thinks that all which lies beyond Philadelphia belongs to the West."
Not that provincialism is unknown in California, or that its occasional
exhibition is any less absurd or offensive here than elsewhere. For
example, one may note a tendency to set up local standards for literary
work done in California. Another more harmful idea is to insist that
methods outworn in the schools elsewhere are good because they are
Californian. This is the usual provincialism of ignorance, and it is
found the world over. Especially is it characteristic of centers of
population. When men come into contact with men instead of with the
forces of nature, they mistake their own conventionalities for the facts
of existence. It is not what life is, but what "the singular mess we
agree to call life" is, that interests them. In this fashion they lose
their real understanding of affairs, become the toys of their local
environment, and are marked as provincials or tenderfeet when they stray
away from home.
California is emphatically one of "earth's male lands," to accept
Browning's classification. The first Saxon settlers were men, and in
their rude civilization women had little part. For years women in
California were objects of curiosity or of chivalry, disturbing rather
than cementing influences in society.
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