2.21.2011

in which another world makes itself known to me, and i wish it would go away

My filter is malfunctioning.

My trusty filter, the one that makes possible my total ignorance of celebrity relationships, reality TV and big-budget science fiction movies, appears to be broken. This filter is the reason I can honestly claim total ignorance of Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Lindsay Lohan. I guess if my mental shield were invincible, I wouldn't even know those names. But come on, this filter blocked out the entire 2008 US presidential election campaign, so you know it has superhero powers.

But clearly, my filter is malfunctioning.

I have become aware that two people from the UK are getting married. Once married, they will Visit Canada, and some Canadians care. Some Canadians care quite a bit.

Luckily, plans for this Visit do not include Toronto, so we in the GTA won't have to deal with traffic and security and other annoyances, such as enthralled co-workers.

But still. The fact that some Canadians care so much about this impending Visit is depressing. I try not to be judgemental. We each have our own distractions, and some of mine are not exactly Mensa material. But for so many people, there's nothing but distraction - distraction and consumption. Work, watch, shop, repeat.

I can't help but think that a fascination with celebrity gossip somehow correlates with widespread cultural apathy and complacency. And if there's a more vacuous pasttime than celebrity worship, it's worshipping people whose fame is based on genetic lineage. I simply cannot understand why some people are thought to be inherently interesting solely because of where and to whom they were born.

I don't buy the "it's cultural" excuse. Plenty of Brits have no use for the monarchy, and plenty of Americans, whose country has no monarchist tradition, flip over anything royal. If you've got a reason we should care about the Visit, you'll have to do better than that.

For my part, I need to get my filter repaired. I don't care how many pictures of the Queen Jason Kenney puts in the Citizenship guide, I just Do. Not. Care.

16 comments:

M@ said...

Growing up with an English immigrant mother, the queen was a much-revered figure in my early life. My mother still watches the Christmas address and so on, although I think time and space has really reduced her feeling of personal connection with the royals.

For me, though, it's dried up completely. I'm just as fed up with the news of the wedding and tour and everything else -- day after day I go to the CBC website, see that the top story is about the prince's boutonniere or some other pointless shit, and fly into a small, internal rage -- this is news!?

It's gonna get worse, and then it'll fall off the radar again for a while. I can't wait.

Stephanie said...

I have caught wind of a wedding (but I'd be hard pressed to name the bride) but I had no idea they were planning a visit to Canada until now.

I suppose it is their duty to whip up some frenzy in the colonies thereby earning their pay.

laura k said...

M@, I was looking forward to your perspective b/c of your mother's background. I share your rage.

Stephanie, your filter is even stronger than mine - very impressive!! :)

I also cannot name the female half of the couple. I'm not even completely sure which one the male is... I think I know, but not 100%.

hhw said...

I made the mistake of listening to the CBC during the period when the fact of no Toronto visit was BIG NEWS AND OMG AN INSULT AND A SLIGHT. I was gratified to hear the snippet of interviews on the street in which almost everyone said some variation of "I couldn't care less".

I've been in Canada for almost 7 months; I've acclimated to red mailboxes and hearing "zed" instead of "zee". Still working on my inner doubletake when university students refer to going to Cuba for vacation. It's going to be a looooooong time before I get over having a monarch. The references to "our future king" were utterly surreal to my USian ears.

laura k said...

Zed is the final frontier. I mean, it's the alphabet - the first thing you learn. I am getting there. Allan is purposely holding out, although I don't understand why.

Can't say I ever thought twice about the colour of mailboxes, but I've never heard anyone say "our Queen" or "our King"! It's only been "the" Queen. "Our Queen" would be VERY weird to my ears.

Pledging an oath to the Queen when we became citizens seemed bizarre, until I realized it was symbolic, just like "pledging allegiance" to a flag (in the US) is symbolic. Whether people who consciously choose a country should be required to demonstrate a loyalty not asked of those whose nationality is an accident of birth... that's another story.

laura k said...

Oh yes, and Cuba! That is still weird!

Steve said...

According to my English co-worker, Canada likes to give hand carved canoes for wedding gifts to the Royals.

allan said...

Z

I can't help it -- zed sounds very silly to me. But I'll be using it long before I say "pop".

(If we say Zed, then we have to say "nay-bour-hood" or "the cuh-lure purple" or "now playing sen-tray field", right?)

allan said...

Damn. As expected, zed is the original. From Cecil @ Straight Dope:

"As usual in most of these matters, it's we the people of the US that changed it, not the other way around. "Zed" comes from the original Greek zeta via Old French zede, and pretty much all English speakers worldwide pronounce it that way. The reason we don't is because we had a pretty major falling out with the people that did, and in the aftermath, seized on dialectical nuances and amplified them. ..."

Great tagline at his site:

"Fighting Ignorance Since 1973
(It's taking longer than we thought)

laura k said...

As expected

It would have to be. American English being rather newer than the other forms...

Does he say when "zee" began use?

laura k said...

Btw Allan, did you know about the upcoming Visit? Your filter is generally in very good condition.

allan said...

I did not know of any Visit, but I do that Justin Bieber was apparently misquoted in Rolling Stone when talking about abortion.

Mike said...

Well it must be a slow news week the CBC is only looking for filler, after all democracy is only sweeping the mid-east nothing to see there.

Funny you should mention Justin Bieber, I just watched Gordon Pinsent read his autobiography online, what a life to have already written an autobiography at 16.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ih-2O_gdYZo

John F said...

I'm oddly fond of Canada's association with the monarchy. I finds ridiculous relics of empire (Prince Philip, for instance) both amusing and comforting.

Perhaps it's because I live in the Maritimes, where people are more likely to hang on to archaisms. For instance, there's a kid's riding club in Halifax called, I'm not kidding, the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers.

Stephanie said...

...Funny story

laura k said...

John F, that's cool, I like that. I totally get enjoying something in that warm, comfortable way because it is part of your heritage.

Stephanie, thanks!! Very cool.

Mike, I am scared of that YouTube link. :)