4.19.2007

odds and ends, eh

When asked about Canada's largest city, how long will it take the average Canadian to utter the phrase "Toronto sucks"? Canadian filmmaker David Nerenberg wanted to find out. The results: "Let's All Hate Toronto," screening this week at the Hot Docs, the International Documentary Film Festival.
The 73-minute film, which premieres at Toronto's Hot Docs documentary festival next week, follows a character called Mister Toronto, who embarks on a cross-Canada trip brandishing a sign that reads "Toronto Appreciation Day" and steels himself for the onslaught.

His tour leads from Newfoundland on the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific city of Vancouver, where feelings against Toronto — usually acknowledged as the country's financial centre and the cultural capital of English Canada — run deepest of all.

"There is something different (about hating Toronto). People are more passionate about it," filmmaker and co-director Albert Nerenberg said in an interview.

"People have a grudging respect for New York outside of the city, and have a grudging respect for London. But people outside of Toronto don't have that for Toronto, they really don't."

Grudging respect? I don't know, Albert. When I travel in the US, and people ask me where I'm from, that sour look on their face doesn't resemble respect.

Toronto needs to take a page from New York's book. Be proud that the rest of the Canada hates you! Stop trying to earn their love. Make them earn you. Embrace the dark side. You've got to learn to love the hate.

* * * *

A University of Toronto sociolinguist finds that fewer Canadians are using a certain monosyllabic Canadian codeword these days. Although I don't doubt her findings - her research is extensive - I personally see no evidence that "eh" is an endangered species.

I've picked it the word from my co-workers, who say it frequently, and I find it very useful. Where previously I sometimes used "you know?" or "huh?" or "yeah?" at the end of a sentence, in that asking-for-confirmation kind of way, I find myself using "eh" now, and I like it. I'm very prone to picking up speech patterns from the people around me - not consciously, it just happens - so I'm not surprised that "eh" has crept into my speech.

According to this article, this might make me a proud Canadian.
Elaine Gold, another linguist at the University of Toronto, agrees that "eh" is a "marker" of Canadian English. But she isn't so sure that our national shibboleth is endangered, not after surveying University of Toronto students in 2004.

The students told her that they definitely do use "eh," and in new ways Gold wasn't accustomed to. Such as: "I know, eh."

She also found that some students whose native tongue isn't English grasp onto "eh" as an anchor in their new home. "One of them commented, 'I was very proud the first time I said "eh."' It made her feel Canadian."

Gold also found that people are using the word consciously – in two ways. Some cultivate "eh" as an expression of their Canadian-ness, "sort of like putting in the "u" when you spell "colour" ... I've had students say, 'When I go to the States I say "eh" more so they'll know I'm Canadian."

And then there are the people who employ the "narrative eh" – I got trashed, eh, and then I fell down, eh – frequently and ironically in a parody of the "hoser-speak" popularized by Bob and Doug McKenzie.

* * * *

Our week at Skydome is going well so far.

Tuesday night, for Daisuke Matsuzaka's first game in Canada, the place was packed, and it was a rowdy crowd (for Blue Jays fans). We sat next to a man who had just returned to Canada after 18 years in Japan. He was a high school teacher and followed Dice-K's high school baseball career!

Both Matsuzaka and the Jays' Gustavo Chacin (one scary-looking man) were great; Dice-K had one bad inning and that was the difference in the game. The Jays won 2-1, and by some of the fans' reaction, you would have thought they just clinched the division. Calm down, guys: it's April.

Last night we saw another pitching duel. Jays pitcher Toma Okha was baffling Sox hitters for a while, but once they got his number, they tagged him for three solo home runs. The Sox won by a score of 4-1, but more importantly, I got to see my boy Jonathan Papelbon close the game. I love that man. Love. That. Man.

Wmtc night was great. Four people (two couples) cancelled day-of, including Nick and Mason, who were supposed to help us cheer for the Red Sox. Oh well. The rest of us had a good time.

For me, it's a wonderful feeling to be at the ballpark with friends. It's something I had in my old life that I wasn't sure would exist in my new life - something I didn't dare hope for. That might sound silly. Of course I'd make friends, right? But it didn't feel obvious on my end. I knew we'd find a nice place to live, I knew we'd find work, I knew we'd like Canada, and Toronto, and even Mississauga. But how and when I'd meet people I felt happy and comfortable with, people around whom I could relax and be myself - that I didn't know. And here we are. I never take it for granted.

Today we have a day game, and I'm hoping the dome will be open. It's probably a little too brisk for most people, but it would feel like springtime to me.

* * * *

And lastly, but not leastly, it's Cody Day!

Eight years ago today, we took Cody home from the overcrowded Queens apartment where she was tied to a doorknob. Sounds cruel, but it's not - she had been living on the street, and her rescuer already had more dogs than she could reasonably care for.

Cody's come a long way since surviving on the mean streets of Jackson Heights. She's been through a lot with us, taking it all in stride, in her calm, low-key way. Now she's enjoying her mellow older age in the suburbs. None of our other dogs ever had it so easy. We love her a lot.

fork of the credit 09

7 comments:

James said...

Be proud that the rest of the Canada hates you! Stop trying to earn their love. Make them earn you. Embrace the dark side. You've got to learn to love the hate.

That's always been my approach. :)

the Jays' Gustavo Chacin (one scary-looking man)

He kinda looks like a Bond villain's henchman, doesn't he?

"You have interfered for the last time, Mr. Bond. So I have strapped you to this backstop so that my assistant, Oddball, can practice his fastball on you before we conquer the World Series!"

M@ said...

Just took a look at the scoreboard, saw it was 3-3 going into the 9th, and started watching on MLB. Surprise surprise, Boston rallies for two! And -- could it get any better for Laura!? -- Papelbon brought in to pitch the 9th!

If he's on like last night, they should be able to salt this away pretty quickly I imagine...

Hope you guys are enjoying yourselves -- unless there's some inexplicable Jays rally, you'll probably be pretty happy tonight.

M@ said...

Realized after I posted that I could well have jinxed it, by the way. Very glad to find out that I hadn't. :)

L-girl said...

Nope, no jinx!

could it get any better for Laura!? -- Papelbon brought in to pitch the 9th!

And Manny hit his first home run of the season to put us ahead! We were sitting near an obnoxious Jays "fan" (obviously his only game of the year) who was ragging on Manny, so we were pretty happy to shut him up. :)

We had a great time, even with the dome closed. :)

L-girl said...

"You have interfered for the last time, Mr. Bond. So I have strapped you to this backstop so that my assistant, Oddball, can practice his fastball on you before we conquer the World Series!"

LMAO :)

I think I just found my nickname for Chacin.

L-girl said...

If anyone wants to see pictures from our night at Skydome, they are here. Our friend Jere is collecting game photos from Sox fans around the country and will be posting them all season.

These are ballpark and player pictures, not pictures of the wmtc crew.

L-girl said...

Doug: Twice you've been a part of this blog, and twice you've had a meltdown and left in a huff. Instead of going for the hat trick, why not just stay away this time. Thanks.