Friday, March 05, 2010

March is Manitoba Markers Month, or: Apparently Gary Bettman Owns a Cloaking Device

I know what you're thinking, and you're right: March already? When the hell did we get to March, and why is it already behaving like spring outside? It doesn't seem plausible, but sure enough -- it's March, and I have a little project in mind. But I'll get to that in a minute.

As I'd said, it's definitely been spring-like outside lately, and spring is the time when a young man's fancy turns to... completely implausible sports rumours.

Yes, because we literally do not know any better, the locals were restless once again in the past couple of days about the continually slim chances and ephemeral rumours of the NHL returning to the city. Stop me if this sounds familiar: rumours cropped up and swirled feverishly about Gary Bettman sightings in Winnipeg, people got excited about the completely fake reports of an upcoming press conference, and everybody with any credibility shot down the idea of the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg. You know what's funny about that last sentence? I just summarized this Sun Media column from last month.

Of particular interest in the above link:

"“Gary (Bettman) did not visit Winnipeg earlier this week — or even earlier this year for that matter,” Daly said Wednesday."


"Just don’t be disappointed if the rumoured press conference slated for early March to make an official announcement is nothing more than a figment of someone’s hopeful imagination."


Different permutations of the Thrashers-to-Winnipeg story have been bouncing around for about half a year, but the internet frenzy that emerged in the last couple of days was something to behold just by itself. Who knows how these things get started? Maybe it was a subconscious reaction to the collective letdown of this year's NHL Trade Deadline this past Wednesday, which saw a record number of rather meaningless trades recorded but no major league-shaking deals. ("Alert the media! We have acquired... Byron Bitz!") Maybe inventing rumours was how everybody killed time waiting for the power to come back on (again -- ha ha ha ha manitoba hydro how are you so bad at the one thing your company does), and the ones they liked best they agreed to try on their friends.

Or maybe it was 92 CITI FM and their sudden metamorphosis into lying jackals, spreading mistruths and hearsay and falsehood through misleading Facebook pages and completely irresponsible tweets. It's also possible that they were disseminating similar stories on the actual radio broadcasts, but I must admit to not checking because I can't be bothered to listen to Bryan Adams or whoever. (You'll note that a lot of the songs on that playlist stretch the definitions of both 'classic' and 'rock'.)

Policy Frog has already covered this ground pretty well, but I just wanted to add this: you know why 92 CITI FM wasn't talking about the Winnipeg Jets until now? They were too recent. (Rimshot!)

The big payoff to the whole thing, of course, was that everyone got super excited for the 1:00 PM press conference that was totally guaranteed to happen, man, I read about it on the internet -- and then absolutely nothing happened, anywhere, despite literally hundreds of social network reports that Gary Bettman had been spotted at various places around town in the last day or two. He was at the airport! He was at the MTS Centre! He was at the Moxie's in the MTS Centre! Nobody ever explained how he could be in the city for so long and at so many different places without anybody once successfully capturing his image with a cameraphone -- and, remember, we're a city that found video footage of a high school pep rally oral sex simulation from multiple feeds and angles, so this omission was particularly puzzling. Was Bettman's original career in black ops, and he just stays hidden at all times on instinct? Was this actually Bettman speaking to us from the future, having Quantum Leapt into somebody else's body? Or did some ambitious young photojournalist with a heart of gold take pictures of him and then develop her negatives to find him missing from the photos, just as Bettman snuck into the room behind her and plunged his fangs into her neck to feast on her warm blood?

Whatever the case, Bettman ultimately never did hold that rumoured press conference slated for early March, and people acted disappointed even though they really should have known better. But in those heady times just before their dreams were crushed, the internet was abuzz -- apparently to the point that the Mayor himself had to step in and refute the rumours. (Although his own sources are pretty questionable.) And enough people were badgering hockey analyst Bob McKenzie about the idea that he had to get on the ol' Twitter and refute it twice.

For those thrilling few hours, though, the talk of the town was the burning question on everyone's minds, a question that I have ventured to immortalize as such:

I guess this entire post could have just been "I drew a picture and here it is", but hey, I figured I'd try and set the stage first.

For giggles, let's see if you like the image more once we add a background to it:

I'm pretty pleased with the way the drawing turned out, which brings me back to the beginning of the post. A project! Something to keep me on my toes.

I'm a big believer in local content, and this being the year of Manitoba Homecoming 2010 (yeah yeah shut up we have to keep pretending somebody will show up), I've been meaning to poke around a bit in our collective psyche just for the heck of it. I also like to draw, occasionally; I'm not particularly good at it, but it's still fun to do and lets me check every so often to see if my meager art skills are still kickin' around.

Therefore -- I hereby declare March to be Manitoba Markers Month! I already happen to own a few packages of markers, just because markers are cheap to buy and fun to own; I've got a pack of the fat-tipped Mr. Sketch smelly markers, a box of the basic Crayola thin-tipped markers, and those goofy multicultural markers I found three years ago. May as well put 'em to use, right?

So! If you have some quintessentially Winnipeggian or Manitoban image you'd like to see attempted by a mostly talentless hack with markers that smell like watermelon and licorice, post your proposal in the comments section below. I'll give it the ol' college try! I'm not promising any masterpieces, but I think it should be a fun experiment.


Sean said...

I would like to see you draw the average commenter on the Free Press and CBC websites.

I don't know what they look like, but I certainly know their opinions.

James Hope Howard said...

ha ha ha ha ha oh noooooooooo

Yeah, that ought to be pretty funny. Duly noted!

Pat J said...

Speaking as a Brandonite -- we need some wheat. Since our city is deeply in love with it, apparently.

James Hope Howard said...

Yeah, all right, you talked me into it. You crazy wheat-lovers, you.

vidstudent said...

In keeping with the rest of the article, could I have a desperate Winnipeg Jets fan?

James Hope Howard said...

You certainly can!

I blew this weekend on the major fighting game tournament of the season (I did decently for a guy who was out of the scene for a year) and then lots of catch-up sleep, but I'm totally hoping to get some marker-ing done within the next day or two. (Spoiler alert: I am not going to be making any friends in Brandon.)

C. Beresford Tipton said...

Three words: Zombie Steve Juba.

James Hope Howard said...

Two words: hells yes!

Grant Hamilton said...

I like what you did with the Freep commenters, and I'd like to second the motion for someting Brandon-related.

But the notion of zombie Steve Juba just needs to be explored. Perhaps coupled with a Winnipeg subway vs monorail debate?

C. Beresford Tipton said...

Zombie Steve Juba battles the evangelicals?

Just a thought.

Freep commentator cartoon was succinctly awesome, BTW!