||[Jun. 7th, 2007|05:45 pm]
The American Caliban
I heard a Canadian Tourism Ad on the radio in my car yesterday. The ad tried to put me in a sound picture in which I was on an amazing golf course playing the game of my life while sweet birds sang etc and an elk walked on to the course. And the tag was something like "and you don't mind an interruption in your game, because an ELK IS ON THE COURSE!" Followed by the call your travel agent spiel.
I'm not sure what your reaction might be, but were I on a golf course and an elk appeared, I would run like hell. Who wants to get kicked to death? Is there a baby elk over there? Wow these things are pretty fast OH GOD THE ANTLERS
There was another ad right afterwards in which I was instructed to picture myself paddling a kayak or canoe on Lake Louise having a peak experience. That didn't sound so bad except for the Implied Insects, which are universal in traveling anyhow.
But no elk for me, please.
Norman McLaren's 1961 short film New York Lightboard Record, documenting the reactions of people seeing an avant-garde Canadian tourism ad in Times Square. http://youtube.com/watch?v=uDdblpYK21k
Some years back, on a misty Manitoba morning early October, I was out for a walk in a fallow pasture bordered by forests on all sides. Crashing out of the bush a giant and graceful moose walked out into the field. It was close enough I could've hit it with a hockey puck. I slowly continued to walk as we watched each other. It was a mystical moment, and I felt honored to be in its presence. We both sauntered on in opposite directions.
When I returned to the home of the place I was staying, I reported this marvelous experience. Jaws dropped all around me: "the moose could've charged you and killed you!" I shrugged my shoulders, content that my blissful ignorance probably saved my hide.
I was driving in Canada and almost ran over a moose once. Well, I say "I"; he almost ran over me.
1) Damn Straight. Elk can be very dangerous, especially during the calving and rutting seasons (i.e. when there's no snow on the ground).
2) Actually, the only place where there aren't any bugs is in the middle of a lake. Which is why the definition of a Canadian is someone who knows how to make love in a canoe.
...a moose once bit my sister
OH GOD THE ANTLERS
Made me laugh out loud. I do so enjoy your writing style.
Snorkeling in Laguna, I found myself very near a sea lion. And, as mystical and honored and all as I felt, I also found myself thinking, "Christ, that's one big, wild mammal. Don't piss it off."
"Run run run! It's an elk!"
Pft. I can see you now, on a seashell-strewn beach in Fiji:
"Run run run! It's a whelk!"
An elk on a golf course is probably more scared of the golf course than you should be of the elk.
Though I admit, the ad was quite probably very stupid. Our governments are like that. Here they are telling you to go off to some shitty golf-course-ridden suburb like Stouffville, where the poor damn elk is on the course cos his home got bulldozed by Mattamy to build more shitty overpriced McMansions with paper walls and no insulation in the roofs. At the end of the day, perhaps you go out for dinner at a Pizza Pizza located in a suburban strip mall? Or one of our shitty suburban restaurant-pubs where the food is expensive yet pathetically boring?
And who benefits? Not Canada. The suburbs got enough money as it is; we should be starving those suburban bastards out. Exterminate the shits, the last thing we need is more suburbanites.
And you don't benefit, cos you've got much nicer golf courses down there, especially someplace that looks pretty like Kentucky or West Virginia.
"Come to Canada and ride in a canoe"; "come to Canada and play golf"; "come to Canada and fish". Every one of these outdoorsy pitches seems to forget to tell you that all our lakes and rivers are toxic (fecal coliform, factory effluent, PCBs - take your pick), and that we're coated in extreme smog originating in the USA which not only rots your lungs and causes heart damage but also even makes it impossible for you to see the sky.
(This probably doesn't apply to BC. But if you were looking to vacation in BC, you might also wish to consider the lower-cost option of visiting Japan.)
If I vacation in BC I stay with friends and eat until I pop.
My only other Canadian experience has been a lengthy Edward Hopper experience with a broken airline in Winnipeg when I was a small child.
Elk arrives, I leave. I'll let the locals figure out whether it's a nice elk!