Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Come Near at Your Peril, Canadian Wolf

Okay, so. I read about the oncoming kerfuffle with the One Great City signs last Friday, thought it would make for a great post, then put it aside to post pictures of stunningly hideous buildings instead. The weekend goes by, everybody gets back from the lake or whatever, and abruptly the story is all but inescapable; I've a coworker who listens almost exclusively to HOT103, for example, and holy hell did they ever just flog this news item to death today.

If you want to play along at home, you can read this aloud to yourself for the full radio-hosting experience:

HEY yerlisteninto HOT ONEOHTHREE we got a CALLER ontheline CALLER whatdya think our signs should say (six second pause) HA HA hey that's great listen whatsyername (one second pause) ALRIGHT yernamehere thanks for the call yerlisteninto HOT ONEOHTHREE

Then scroll up and read it aloud again every ten minutes or so, killing time between readthroughs by playing whatever three songs on your computer are the most popular. See how many times you can repeat it before you're tired of the story and you want to die! Come on, it'll be fun!

(On a completely unrelated note, this tiny correction on the Free Press website made me smile for all the wrong reasons. The signs commemorated the Blue Bombers winning the Grey Cup, and I know it's been a long time since they last won it -- a really long time -- but to miss the answer of 'eighteen years ago' by another eighteen years is a spectacular feat indeed.)

Anyway. So now that the local media, both print and radio, have seized on the story and are busily making a big deal out of it, I'm... still going to pass it over, at least for now. That'll be for later! No, tonight I'm here to talk about an equally important and equally pressing topic; tonight it is time to talk about Newfoundland.

Yes! Newfoundland! I bring this up because of another story from last week that I'd mentally set aside for later, about the latest case of the extremely rare Foreign Accent Syndrome. No doubt the story leaves out a lot of little details, like the awkward conversations with people phoning to check up on her or the one idiot grandson that performed a self-styled rendition of "I's the B'y that Has the Stroke" and was written out of four different wills that same day.

The whole thing is a couple of small changes and minor embellishments away from being the next relentlessly unfunny Mike Myers movie, and the story cheerfully kicks the door open for every joke you've ever heard about Newfoundlanders and brain damage -- but we as a nation have to learn to resist these temptations, overwhelming though they may be! I'm not just saying this because Newfoundland has given us upstanding entertainment like Rick Mercer, Danny Williams or Rrr-ex MURP'Y -- and I'm not just saying this because they have an airport terminal that I'd really like to visit before it gets shut down. No, I'm saying this as a concerned Canadian because we all need to keep one very important thing in mind: Newfoundland doesn't need us, and if we keep this up then one of these days they'll decide that they don't need to put up with our shit.

Don't believe me? Listen for yourself:

Alan Mills and Gilbert 'Buck' Lacombe - Anti-Confederation Song (Classic Canadian Songs: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2006)
[buy | lyrics | alan mills bio | library info]

Ha ha, yeah, I'm still tearing through these library CDs. I'm having a blast with these!

Written in 1869 by Charles James Fox Bennett, a staunch anti-Confederationist who had a Santa beard and apparently collected first names for fun, the Anti-Confederation Song was his wildly successful protest anthem against the potential downfall of integrating the Rock; his propaganda reportedly played a significant role in the subsequent referendum that saw Newfoundland reject union with Canada. (What is it with me and referendum songs lately?)

Nineteenth century songwriting was badass, to the surprise of anybody with a pre-existing mental image of nineteenth-century songwriting. I really can't get over how much I love the line "come near at your peril, Canadian wolf", because it's awesome twice over -- awesome because the emblematic imagery of the 'Canadian Wolf' is so much better than anything we have nowadays (the hell with your beavers) and then awesome again because any given bearded Newfoundlander was ready at any time to go out into the trees and snarl back at the Canadian Wolf (the emblematic one, not the one from Virtua Fighter) until it relented and went away. Don't let it be said that your birthright was sold!

1 comment:

tyler said...

On an unrelated note, were you as amused as I was on the bottom of the front page of the Free Press how they made Sam Katz look like a cackling Saturday morning villain?