• As someone who has been resistant to the omni-tentacled powers of social media, I am pleased with myself for noticing something that social media does with more audience consideration than mainstream media.

    As with all topics, this one can be best understood by travelling far, far away and backwards in time to the Star Wars galaxy. I recently watched a documentary, Rogue 1: A Star Wars Story, which examines the events just before the historical time period of Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope.

    20161126_205558

    Worry not, I am aware that these characters are living in a fictional galaxy, but I jest because I am obsessed. I adore my Star Wars, so when new episodes arrive to fill in gaps in my favourite patch of fictional history, I am as excited as a Sith lord finding a new apprentice.

    But there is one tiny chink in my Darth Vader armour: the movie reviewers that I observe in mainstream media are often disrespectful of movies, such as these, that are meant to entertain.

    First, as I’ve discussed before, many reviewers are only capable of appreciating films that match their deep and dark genre sensibilities. If you’re not depressed or confused by the end of a screening, they’re not loving it. Consequently, they fail their movie reviewing duties because not all of us go to the cinema solely to cry and deconstruct opaque symbolism. There are other genres we like to imbibe, and many reviewers are unwilling to examine those movies’ abilities to live up to their genre requirements. For instance, if I’m looking to see an action film, and my reviewer treats Die Hard (an obviously brilliant offering in its category) and The Matrix (not so much) as equally “brainless collections of violence, stunts, and special effects,” then they will not have aided me in selecting between the two.

    Second, and more importantly in this case (since I do not need a critic’s help to inspire me to see Star Wars), many of the mainstream reviewers, with whom I have a begrudging one-sided relationship, have an annoying a penchant for spoiling the movies they discuss by giving away too much plot in their critiques. As in my first criticism, I think the leading causes of this aggravating habit are that the reviewers are arrogant and inconsiderate. Notice that, as they babble freely about the plots they’re exposing, they enunciate their unwelcome delivery with a patronizing tone of voice that implies, “Come on, in a movie like this, obviously that character was going to turn out to be that character’s dad. And, then obviously…”

    This condescending inconsideration is amplified by the reviewers’ distance from their audience. When my Friday afternoon movie reviewer, Katherine Monk, gives away too much of a movie in her Friday afternoon reviews on CBC Radio, she is not aware of me yanking my head phones out of my ears to protect myself.

    In contrast, then, after a trilogy of viewings of Rogue 1—which is a fantastic companion to A New Hope, and a superior installment, in my opinion, to its most recent rival, the pleasing, but troubled Episode VII: The Force Awakens—I craved more contemplations than my own about the new addition to the family. And, while I no longer had to fear the spoiling tendencies of the mainstream media, I was also aware that they were not going to consider my hobby with the nuance I was seeking. Therefore, I cranked up my internet, and dove into the wild space of Youtube, where I was greeted by individual and group conversations, featuring humour, intelligence, and appreciation for the subject. These youtubers were reviewing this Rogue 1 movie because they loved the Star Wars franchise, and even if they didn’t positively perceive this Star Wars story and collection of characters as much as I did, they had gone into the film—quite in contrast with our mainstream movie rebukers—hoping to like it. As a result, where it failed to delight them, I was open to their critiques because they hadn’t treated the movie as intrinsically irredeemable before they’d starting watching it.

    Now, I had visited in Youtube before, so I should acknowledge that I reviewed these reviews anticipating this level of respect. However, what I wasn’t expecting was that every Youtube reviewer that I surfed upon expressed concern about spoiling the movie for their audience, and so offered both a “non-spoiler” and a “spoiler” analysis of the film. In the latter service, every youtuber that I encountered reminded their audience at least twice that they were about to unleash vital plot details, so, if the viewer hadn’t yet seen the movie, they were invited to leave then or forever hold their complaints.

    I assume that this sort of consideration was motivated initially by the democratic nature of Youtube, wherein one starts with a tiny audience, which one can diminish or increase rapidly with every right or wrong turn of phrase. Regardless, the result is that such respect-for-audience has for now become a feature of Youtube culture: even the large, popular Youtube channels that I took in offer this same spoiler protection service.

    While Youtube has its vices (never read the comments: the many anti-social creatures who ply their crassness there will leave your belief in humanity scarred), this fantastic, spoil-resistant result has me pleased with the You-niverse. They have achieved a compassion for their audience that many mainstream reviewers have not even sought. In short, they have gone Rogue, and I like it.

  • This week, the world gets to witness for the first time, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

    I was in grade 1 when the prior entry in this galactic log, Episode VI, Return of the Jedi first visited our movie screens. At the time, I was afraid of watching movies in theatres. I don’t remember why I was scared, but I know that I must have been quite anxious because I recall my dad having a serious chat with me, trying to persuade me that this movie would be worth overcoming my fears for.

    When he mentioned the movie, though, I was already aware of it. That very morning in “show and tell,” one of my classmates had told us about having seen Jedi the night before. He described a compelling story of a heroic Lifesaver guy dueling various evil forces (I can still remember the image I produced in my mind of a cylindrical lifesaver candy man wearing a rainbow of colours battling bad guys).

    So, halfway through my dad’s description of Return of the Jedi, I told him that I had heard of that movie, and that, actually, I was interested to see what would happen to the colourful hero. No further persuasion was required: I would deign to take in a film that evening.

    I don’t recall whether I realized, during that first viewing that the “Lifesaver man” I’d been daydreaming of was, in fact, the lightsaber-wielding Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. There probably wasn’t room in my brain for such contemplations: it was already occupied by a thousand thoughts and emotions, as my new heroes and friends, Luke, Han, and Leia battled the evil yet mesmerizing villains, Darth Vader and The Emperor.

    There was now a force permeating my imagination that would never go away.

    I tell this candy-flavoured story of my first meeting with the greatest saga of my movie-going life not because I think it is especially unique, but because I suspect all those who love George Lucas’s galaxy far far away have their own story of complacent expectation turned to wide eyed, ‘What have we here?’ discovery.

    The fact that I was lucky enough to meet Star Wars for the first time in childhood probably intensified its effect on me. As did their unprecedented offering of action figures. All huge movie franchises have toys, but the Star Wars empire sold figures of every minor character who stumbled into frame long enough to wave “Hi” to their moms. And my brother, one of my sisters, and I wanted them all. Not just for the sake of completing a collection, but because each character seemed to be a true resident of that wonderful galaxy. They weren’t just cogs in in the wheels of Jabba the Hutt’s tomb, they were the keeper of the Rancor (i.e. the guy who trained the monster who was paid, in food, to eat unwelcome visitors). That shirt-less Rancor-keeper, who cried when his drooling, building-sized creature was killed by Luke Skywalker, was an important person to us. Rancors needed someone to take care of them just like our own pets did.

    Each character and location in the Star Wars galaxy existed independently of what would eventually happen to them: in our minds, they were significant people and places that housed communities and hierarchies and bureaucracies. To posses an action figure who worked on the Death Star was to have, in our Star Wars carrying case, access to that terrifying place.

    My parents and relatives supported my siblings’ and my Star Wars figure obsessions with birthday and Christmas gifts. My bother and sister’s unwrapping moments were consequently just as important to me as my own. (And my other sisters joined in, too: collecting Star Wars figures, which they could then use in trade to extort their Star Wars-addicted siblings to help them with their particular household tasks.)

    I am sure that every generation has their childhood-earned kinship with particular adventures and characters. (The Harry Potter generation, I imagine, feels Ron and Hermione are better companions than Han and Leia, while generation Oz probably thinks The Tinman, Lion, and Scarecrow are the best friends a person could ever have.) And so my hope here is not  to persuade anyone that Star Wars is the best adventure ever put to screen.

    But let’s face it: it probably is:

    You see, Star Wars isn’t just about space ships, it’s about the most textured space ships you’ve ever seen. Not just because they’re big, but because they have fascinating shapes and sounds (for instance, the iconic screech of the tie-fighter was created from an elephant roar). And George Lucas realized that not all space ships are new, and so he outfitted them with wear and tear in both their look and sound.

    Nor is Star Wars just about grand CGI-generated settings; in fact, the best of the Star Wars universe was built using models. (Unfortunately, Lucas tried to outdo himself with CGI in the prequels: but, to quote Yoda, while he tried, he “did not do.”) As Lucas said of his original achievement, he created those worlds by zooming in on the parts that made up the story, and so letting the backgrounds speak for themselves without the filmmaker announcing, “Look what I have created!” The results provoke the feeling that we are guests in a galaxy of stories that are happening simultaneous to our particular viewing.

    And Star Wars doesn’t just have great characters, it has more iconic characters per minute of story time than a Charles Dickens novel.

    Star Wars villains aren’t just dark and deep voiced. They have a whole dark spiritual side of the force to themselves, and they’re the most deep voiced of bad guys you’ll ever wanna hear (CNN even hired Darth Vader to introduce their network). Plus they’ve got personality. The Emperor doesn’t just mock his enemies, he mimics them. And he doesn’t just have a maniacal laugh, he has a maniacal chuckle when he sees Luke starting to succumb to his taunting.

    And the humour! Well, let’s just acknowledge that Jar Jar Binks is the worst character in the history of cinema (partly, I suppose, by relativity, because he is living in a saga that produced many of the best-ever characters); regardless, you can feel free to fast forward through his parts. (George Lucas, himself, acknowledged in the making of Episode I: The Phantom Menace that Jar Jar was either going to make or break the film. He was half right: although Jar Jar ruined every scene he was in, the story is still worth watching if you make sure to get pop corn during Mr. Binks’s scenes.)

    And the romance in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back isn’t just sweet, it’s entertaining and genuinely-earned. (Plus the love triangle has an accidental moment of innocent incest. Beat that, Hunger Games!)

    Star Wars doesn’t just have pure-veined heroes, it has champions who could turn to the dark side (like their dads did before them); it has reluctant heroes who only rescue princesses because they can imagine a hearty reward; and other heroes who betray their friends, only to try to rescue them from the chilling results.

    Star Wars doesn’t just have a good side and a dark side, it has a corpus callosum in every brain that puts its owners at risk of being pulled to the other side.

    And Star Wars doesn’t just possess catch phrases (“May the force be with you,” “Search your feelings,” “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”), it has echoes of language across all six films that is operatic in its placement and repetition. (This is something Lucas acknowledges was his intention.)

    And Star Wars doesn’t just have the most exciting music, it has the heart-starting scores of John Williams. Try humming the theme to Star Wars without smiling. But, equally as important, consider Williams’s melancholy yet hopeful music in Episode IV: A New Hope, as he serenades Luke Skywalker’s longing to escape his Uncle’s claustrophobia-provoking farm. Whenever I hear that somber tune, the force awakens in me.

    But again, my appeal here is not to argue that my Star Wars figures are more worthy than your Buck Rogers figures or your Catniss Everdeen posters, but instead just to say that there is room for one more on the Millennium Falcon if you’d like to join us.

    As the sequel to the Star Wars film that first triggered my imagination comes to screen this week, I would like to invite anyone who could use a boost to join us on this quest to see what happens next.

    And, if you’re afraid to get caught up in an imperial world of modern cinematic warfare, don’t worry, it’s not as overbearing as all that. It’s just a little movie about a little Livesaver-candy Man standing up to some bullies.

    (P.S. It’s now January 31st, and I’m on the other side of having seen this movie three times now. My thoughts on it are here.)

    20151212_14063720151212_140815

  • Hello Sethblogs Curious:

    I think I overheard that one of you has been requesting more information about the person behind Sethblogs. Well, in addition to being a ranter, I also work in canine colossus astrophysics. Utilizing my special expertise in duct tape application, I am helping to build “AirPug,” which will be competing in Portland Flugtag (Flying Day) on August 1st, 2015. My brother Calum will be riding our giant pug, while my sibling-in-law Trevor, my sisters Tarrin and Sorrel, and I will then skillfully push him (and then ourselves) into the water from the Flugtag deck in the sky (approximately 26 feet up!). Following our motto, “When pugs fly, anything can happen,” our goal is to break the world giant pug flying record of one foot.

    Skeptical? I refer you to the following two videos which will verify my scientific claims.

    You can also follow our puggy exploits on your favourite social media:

    Twitter at https://twitter.com/AirPugFlugtag. #TeamAirPug #WhenPugsFly

    Instagram at http://Instagram.com/airpug_flugtag.

    And FacePug at: https://www.facebook.com/airpugflugtag?fref=ts

    Fly Airpug, fly!
    Seth

    P.S. Air Pug flew well (click this pic for motion):

    17_air_pug_gif

    And we did break the world pug flying record! However, we haven’t yet gotten credit for it, as certain members of the media have suggested that I might have been on steroids at the time of pug flight. So we’re awaiting the results of that investigation before we get our membership in the Pugness Book of World Records.

    20150801_130516

    Red Bull Flugtag 2015. Portland, Oregon. August 1, 2015. http://www.aflitt.com #aflitt #flugtag #redbullpdx

    Red Bull Flugtag 2015. Portland, Oregon. August 1, 2015. http://www.aflitt.com #aflitt #flugtag #redbullpdx

  • I just watched a documentary of one of Canada’s greatest ever musical minds, Glenn Gould, The Genius Within. While my musical discernment is not sophisticated enough to understand why all the commenters thought Gould a genius, I nevertheless found evidence for his big brain in the following Goulden nugget:

    “I tend to follow a very nocturnal sort of existence,” he said, “mainly because I don’t much care for sunlight. Bright colours of any kind depress me. And my moods are more or less inversely related to the clarity of the sky on any given day. Matter of fact, my private motto has always been, ‘Behind every silver lining is a cloud.’ So I schedule my errands for as late an hour as possible, and I tend to emerge along with the bats and the raccoons.”

    Even though I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between Gould’s piano interpretations and Fraggle Rock’s greatest hits, I suspect we would have been sun-resisting brothers had we met during our small window of overlapping time on the planet.

    This rant’s for you, brother Glenn. (My own brother mocks me for my anti-sun position, so I’m happy to trade you in to his spot.)

    NOTE: Mr. Gould apparently believed in such acquired family as he one day suggested to his beloved audio engineer, Lorne Tulk, that they become brothers, and that they go down to City Hall to make the bond legal.

  • You may recall my revolutionary rant against sun-biased weather journalism. I’m delighted to report that some of my leading fans (two of my sisters) bought me a t-shirt of support (derived from a noble t-shirt performance artist on the IT Crowd. Resistance may not be futile, after all.

    May the clouds be with us all!

  • 20160328_131307

    Dear Man on the Skytrain with the Little Bag:

    We were on the same busy train yesterday and I feel that I wronged you. I’m sorry. I was being insensitive. The train was busy, and there wasn’t much room for you to house your little bag, and so, per the symptoms of your condition, you placed your wee friend on one of the few seats available. But I was selfish. I wanted to read my book, so I approached what I honestly thought was an unspoken-for chair so that I could indulge my pastime.

    When I arrived and spotted that the seat already had an owner, I didn’t veer away as any decent person would have done out of respect for your disorder. Instead, I asked with my annoyingly nonchalant voice, “Can I sit here?”

    You looked at me as though I’d shot your friend with bag-piercing bullets. How dare I? With the sulk of an innocent child told not to pull his sister’s hair, you rescued your pet from my invasion, and pulled him close to you. I should have known then that you were afflicted with a painful case of etiquette impairment and left you to suffer with your malady in peace. But no, with the compassion of a fruit fly, I sat myself down in your friend’s chair and read my book.

    Please forgive me. And please ask Mr. Bag for my forgiveness, too. You both deserve better.

    Sincerely,
    Guilty on Skytrain

  • When I was growing up, Halloween seemed magical. (Not just because it was a time that ghosts and witches were imagined to be real, and not just because as kids we could knock on the doors of neighbours and strangers, who subsequently gave us candy that we were allowed to eat.) Every Halloween, during our trick-or-treating years, my mother was able to conjure costumes for my siblings and me out of thin fabric.

    I remember (sometimes on Halloween itself) my mom coming home from work and asking us what we’d like to be as though anything was possible. If we couldn’t think of something, she would suggest some options from her magic workshop, and then upon our making our selections from the future, she would set about creating them. I think that may have been my favourite part: watching my mom create something out of nothing recognizable was both exciting and, in retrospect, inspiring.

    For the Halloween in which I was seven years old, the small town we were living in was feeling rather rainy. So, after work, my mom asked my dad to go to the store to buy a collection of as many coloured garbage bags as he could find, and then, as always, she turned to those of her children still of trick-or-treating age and asked what we’d like to be.

    A few hours later, we travelled into the damp night wearing costumes that were intricately-detailed as always, but also shiny in the dark, and perfectly rain proof because they were made out of plastic bags. The next day, at school, all students in the elementary school were taken in our costumes on a parade of the city. It was still raining, and so while some of my classmates moaned about moist limbs, I remember smiling around every sparkling puddle.

    Perhaps in part due to my warm mood, I won the costume contest (I think it was for the whole school, but my memory might be exaggerating for effect), and I was given a decent prize for it, too. If I may boast for a moment, I was aware that it was unjust for me to win an award for my mother’s talent, and I told her, at the time, that I thought she should get the proceeds, but she insisted that I’d earned it by wearing the costume so well. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t convinced. (In retrospect, I now like to think I learned something that day about how the world sometimes rewards the wrong people.)

    Growing up, my siblings and I knew that my mom could create anything because the evidence was always around us. Instead of buying a Barbie camper or hot wheels race track, my mom built them for us, and they were better than the ones on TV. I think as a result I see creativity not merely as one’s expression of one’s individuality, but more significantly, as a means by which to solve a problem.

    It seems to me that some want to instill creativity in youngsters by telling them they can create anything and then praising whatever they produce. Perhaps this works for some, but it certainly wouldn’t have worked on me. I have never had a natural talent for putting things together, and I was smart enough as a kid to recognize that my four talented siblings could produce results much more impressive than my own. But that doesn’t mean I’m not creative. When I see a problem now, I am able to imagine plenty of possible solutions (and then to choose from them the option that could actually fit my particular limitations).

    For instance, when I was in university, I was invited to a costume party with the theme of “white trash.” I was offended by the idea, and yet I wanted to attend the gathering, so I found a white garbage bag, and with a few incisions, turned it into a shirt. It was the least impressive costume at the event, but it may have been the most creative. I’d learned from the best.

  • Since publishing the transcript of my delightful (yet oddly, not-yet-gone-viral) rant against biased weather journalists, which was first uttered approximately a decade ago on my pre-podcasting-era “radio” show, Life and Seth (on SETH/FM), I have received a request from my former producer (also named Seth) to publish the video of that original rant here. I am happy to do so in honour of the recently retired CKNW comedic grouch, Neil Macrae, after whom ranting Seth was patterned.

    But I should warn you, before I leave you to your enjoyment and agreement, that I was “broadcasting” for radio, not television, which means that, while the rant was on videotape, my attention was focussed on my voice instead of any special eye contact with the audience. In fact, the only reason the footage is on video is because my video camera possessed the best audio recorder at SETH/FM headquarters.

    Stay cool, my friends.

  • On the radio stations I listen to (CKNW and CBC), there have been several interviews recently featuring pundits decrying the anti-social nature of my home metro city of Vancouver. Apparently, we metro Vancouverites aren’t very friendly, or at least it’s difficult to make friends here, and many people are feeling disconnected. In each such discussion, callers to the radio shows have boasted of their methods of increasing interactions with their neighbours.

    In one case, a man was so fed up with his friends’ anti-social tendencies that he was now standing up to them. “They want me to text them instead of at least talking to me on the phone,” he complained to the soothing verbal nods of the radio pundits. So he’s started a program in which he bakes cookies, and then takes himself on a mission to visit with his friends at their homes. “About 50% of them didn’t like that I’d arrived unannounced,” he said, “so no cookies for them.” From there, he explained that his goal was to give his friends a break from whatever project they were working on: who didn’t have 15 minutes to talk face to face and maybe share a cup of tea?

    This cookie ferry was lauded by the radio pundits as someone who was showing merry creativity in his efforts to truly reconnect with his world.

    On a rival radio station, meanwhile, a man called in to say that he too is an advocate of increased social interaction and so he tries to talk to people on the bus even though, he acknowledged sadly, in 9 times out of ten he is rebuffed. In this case, the radio pundits were upset that the social hero had been so mistreated by snobby bus travelers, and they hoped he would maintain his good spirits in pursuit of his good fight.

    Such negative results proved, it seemed, that Vancouver was indeed an unfriendly city where making friends is a daunting pursuit. And apparently it’s getting worse! The highest percentage of people who find friendship-making a challenge are in the young demographic of 25-34 year-olds. This was especially sad to the pundits since, after all, within such youth there should be the greatest promise and opportunity.

    But, just a for moment, might we consider the possibility that 25-34 year olds perceive difficulty in making friends because they no longer have the free-friendship-making services of school, and they haven’t yet learned how to acquire friends in other places? Or maybe this particular crop of 25-34 year-olds, compared with previous generations, has been nurtured into assuming that they deserve a lot of friends at all times.

    “And this,” one pundit remarked, “in spite of social networking.” Their implication of course being that social networking is a false form of human connection; indeed, the pundit now had proof that social networkers were ultimately dissatisfied in spite of their lofty technical connections. The pundit did not consider any other alternative such as, say, perhaps social networkers in that age group are spoiled by the ease of virtual interactions and so they mistakenly assume that it will be equally easy out in the face-to-face world, too.

    Perhaps our city would benefit from greater social engagement than we have, and maybe social networking is hindering more than it’s helping. But if we’re not willing to scientifically interpret the evidence beyond simply taking as gospel a particular group’s self-assessment that they’re lonely, then we really have no way of knowing.

    There seems to be an unassailable agreement amongst social interaction pundits that face-to-face meeting with human beings is always better than any other form of communication. Why? Have they never been to a gathering where the conversation is stilted, boring, or overpowered by a narcissist? Do they never wish they were home reading a book, or even watching TV? Moreover, some people are introverts, which I understand means that, unlike extroverts, they are not energized by socializing, so maybe they require less in-person visiting than those who love to be around people. Perhaps, for some people, social media allows them to engage while still possessing an immediate escape route.

    And what about the benefits of engagement provided by digital communication? Each of these unholy media, from phoning, to texting, to e-mail, to Tweeting, has the power to set up plans to meet more efficiently than traditional communication. Imagine how cumbersome it would be to set up a friendly flash mob without the internet.

    Ultimately, I think new forms of communication give us more choice. Maybe today, as the pundits complained, we don’t know our next-door neighbours as well as we used to, but at the same time, instead of acquiring friendships merely based on proximity, we can now interact with people with whom we have something particularly in common, even if they live on another continent. Yes, perhaps these options are too many and are costing us interactions that would be good for us. I too find it often rude and disruptive, for instance, when people are habitually on their texter while officially visiting with someone in person. And maybe some people are addicted to their iBerry to the point that they are harming themselves without being aware of it.

    But we need more evidence for the inferiority of modern communication as a whole beyond simply that it is not face to face. Not everyone wants to interact directly with other people all the time. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re unfriendly. When I’m on the bus, I like to read or listen to my radio. I’ve met many strangers who have decided that I would be better off talking to them. And rarely in such cases have I found the conversations to be fulfilling. Perhaps that’s because I was enjoying my book or radio program, but it may also be because getting to know someone for the first time is stilted business, and so, if we’re not destined to be great friends, we’re doing the hardest part of socializing without the payoff.

    I find that people on the bus are generally pretty friendly if someone is lost or falls down. We look out for each other if there is a need, but beyond that maybe we’ve decided as a group that we’ll focus our socializing on people with whom we have a relationship, while using our solo bus trips as free time to catch up on the book we’ve been wanting to read or cell phone game we never get to play.

    The truth is it’s not hard to make friends if you’re willing to go to places where stranger-interactions are an assumed part of the activity. Sports, clubs, conferences, volunteer endeavours, and weddings are all fertile contexts for friendship-making. So, instead of imposing oneself on the nearest stranger who already had plans for their transit time, why not go to places where people have chosen to engage with new people?

    And, once people are friends, I applaud those who make the effort to create opportunities to interact, but the the idea that one’s friends should always be ready for a fifteen-minute cup of tea is the most fascist notion in the history of friendship. Dearest cookie-socializer, are there no times when you don’t want to socialize? Maybe you were just getting ready to take a shower after a long bike ride, or were planning to watch a movie with your spouse after a hard day at work; how would you like it if your friends arrived on your door step just then, informing you that it was time to socialize? And let’s be honest: it’s not going to be a “fifteen minute” morsel of time: it’ll be at least an hour before you’ll be allowed to get back to what you had planned for yourself. Perhaps YOU, cookie man, would love such an imposition of impromptu interaction, but can you comprehend the possibility that some people may have chosen their own solitude or company just then? What gives you the right to overrule your friends’ plans with your personal preference to be in their presence at that moment? Next time, just phone (or Tweet) ahead to see if they’re up for a visit, and nobody has to get hurt.

    Perhaps, as the pundits argue, the world would be a better place if we were to visit with each other more often, but those who hold that position would, I submit, have more success in achieving this goal if they were to persuade those of us less inclined by making the socializing inviting instead of obligatory. If we choose it, we will stay.

    P.S. Since typing the above, I forwarded it to the Simi Sara Show on CKNW (whereon some of the SethBlog villains of this piece were originally given their day on radio). As a result, to my delight and nervousness, I was invited onto the Simi Sara show to defend my “anti-social position” (see the below video, “The Simi Sara Show Part 1”). And below that (“The Simi Sara Show Part 2”) is the audience’s reaction to my radical views. Apparently, according to the popular consensus, there is no middle ground between always being social, and being an unfriendly jerk.

  • As summer ominously approaches for another year and I listen as always to weather reporters proclaim its glory, I am reminded of a rant provided by myself during my radio days at SETH/FM. I have just taken an ear peak at it, and I can confirm that my words then are as true now (if not truer, considering global warming) as the day they were born.

    Since first publishing that rant, I have received many threats (from the sun), and I have feared for my skin’s life. And so I have long resisted re-releasing my resistance material on the internet. However, I recently heard a caller into The Bill Good Show (CKNW) who brilliantly and entertainingly made her own complaints about weather reporters who insist upon decrying rain as though it is a catastrophe. In this age of natural disasters, she asked, “Does it have to be scorching hot for people to be satisfied?” I was delighted by this rare expression of sun resistance in our sun-obsessed culture. Bill, however – who is ordinarily a reasonable man – merely chuckled and called her “grumpy”. Really, would you refer to Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and other oppression opposers as simply being in a bad mood? 😉

    Thus, in defense of my sun-resister-sister, for the first time on the internet, I offer you now the transcript of Seth’s Editorial Rant, “The Sun Burns”:

    I’ve been doing a little bit of research on journalism and what I’ve learned is that journalists are expected, nay, obligated to be impartial in their journaling.  You’ll notice, for instance, when Bob Newsanchor reads the news, he says, “Today Jean Chrétien was named Prime Minister of Canada.  He does not, however, say, “Yippee, I’m glad to see that my favourite guy, J.C., got the job!”

    It is, therefore, with great confusion that I notice that one species of journalist – the weather journalist – seems to believe that they are immune to the rules of journalism; you will notice, that is, that the weather journalist believes he or she has the right to tell us whether the weather news is good or bad.  When the day is to be rain-shining, we are told that it is to be “a miserable day,” while when the day is to be sun-pouring, “it will be beautiful.”  Now I for one hate the sun, always have, and so when I hear that the weather is to be, quote, “nice,” I immediately get both my rain jacket and my singing voice on so that I can get out and do some singing in the rain.*  For 24 years, that has been my habit, and for 24 years I have been disappointed as I discover that, instead of some lovely rain, that ugly yellow disc, that I like to call the burning ball of fire, is out to play.

    *Now, of course, I am being facetious: I know that all weather people revere the sun like we can’t live without it, but I wonder what gives the weather people the right to expect me to worship that same weather that they do?

    As someone who likes overcast best, I feel persecuted for my beliefs.  Sometimes a passing stranger will comment to me, “What nice weather we’re having.” To which I sometimes reply, “What nice weather?! All I can see is a burning ball of fire which is giving me cancer, is causing me to squint, and is making you, kind stranger, sweat like an ice cube in an oven convention!”  To which the stranger will reply, “Oh, come now, we can’t complain about the heat; after all, when it was raining, we all wished for the sun to come out.”  To which I reply, “But I didn’t complain about the rain; in fact I was out there singing in it.”  To which the stranger will reply, “How dare you prefer the rain to the sun! You have no right to live!”

    Needless to say, being a rain fan is not an easy life to live in this country of sun-o-centrics.  Indeed, I often find myself hiding my rain preferences just to protect myself from an anti-rain lecture.  But, on the rainy side, or as the sun-o-files would say, on “the bright side,” by pretending to be a sun-o-file to avoid being discriminated against, I have been able to infiltrate some conversations of sunners, and what I’ve discovered is that many sunners have latent feelings of sun hating.  “What a beautiful day,” they’ll say out loud for the sun to hear, but then they’ll mutter under their breath, “Gosh it sure is hot,” “I’m exhausted,” “I need some water,” and so on.

    Such words are calls for help.  The fact is, most people are terrified to come out of the rain closet.  You see, when it comes to weather, Canada is much more a cult than a country.  We have, that is, been brainwashed to believe that we must love and adore the sun.  Who is to blame for the brainwashing?  Why, the aforementioned weather reporters, of course.  Those quirky folks with wacky ties who stand in front of weather maps pretending to know how to interpret the weather.  Yes, it is they who tell us that sun is good, rain is bad.  It is they who have forced upon our society this one-dimensional image of weather beauty.  And it is they who must be stopped.

    We must stand up and tell the weather reporters that we will no longer allow them to tell us what weather we should like and what weather we should dislike.  I’m not asking the weathermen and women to enjoy a good overcast day, I’m just asking they that don’t infringe upon my right to enjoy it.  I’m just asking that, like all other journalists, they report what they see, not what they think.

    Well put, previous Seth! Well put, indeed.

    Portal to my update on this rant.

Subscribe to Sethblogs

Enter your favourite email address here and sethblogs will alert you whenever Seth blogs.