Wed | Feb 1, 2023

Pretendians in goblin mode

Published:Saturday | December 10, 2022 | 12:13 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

After drawing up a shortlist of three words or phrases, Oxford Dictionaries asked the public to choose the one they thought most fitting to be 2022’s “word of the year”, and of more than 340,000 votes cast, 93 per cent of participants chose “goblin mode”. The term is defined as “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”.

Apparently, the term became popular in the Twittersphere some time ago, but being a technological Luddite, who has very little to do with cellphones and social media, it was completely new to me. However, an excellent example of its usage had been on a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation stream radio programme broadcast on December 1. The show was called ‘The Current with Matt Galloway’, whose guests were an indigenous rights lawyer Jean Teillet and professor of native studies at the University of Alberta, Kim TallBear. The discussion was about Canadians in academia who falsely claim to be indigenous when they are not. The interview is easy to access online, and was really enlightening for me. There were some other quite intriguing words used in the interview, too, such as “pretendians” “indigeneity” and “race-shifting”, for example.

It turns out that, since the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau chose to put a heavy emphasis on truth and reconciliation for indigenous Canadians when first elected in 2015, there has been a great expansion of programmes in many universities and other similar institutions.

However, according to the two experts interviewed, maybe as many as 20 per cent of the academic posts across these institutions of higher learning are filled by impostors claiming to be something that they are not. Several prominent phonies have already been exposed at high levels, who have been lying for decades about academic credentials, invented indigenous parentage and family traumas, all to gain access to a job opportunity with prestige and money.

The experts referred to a “social justice DNA” to do something by becoming a victim, and somehow gain relief from complicity of colonisation. How Oxford Dictionaries have defined their ‘word of the year’, just maybe these pretendians with their race-shifting are really in the goblin mode.

BERNIE SMITH

Parksville, BC

Canada