Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rants and GFOMM

I Rant on Your Grave

Hey Guelph! Thanks for voting!

Or at least that’s I would say if more than one-third of you actually gave a damn and voted.

But seriously, thanks to the 33.9 per cent of Guelph that did give a damn and got out and voted. You are the real heroes, and that’s maybe the saddest thing I’ve ever typed. Not that you voted is sad, but the fact that so few of you couldn’t get yourselves to a polling station and fill in four little boxes with a pen is an epic tragedy worthy of Sophocles. Where was the anger? The outrage? The pettiness? Nothing. Sense of civic pride and responsibility? Crickets. Okay.

But seriously, what’s the deal? Are people in Guelph any less frustrated with the economy, taxes and services as compared to, let’s say, Toronto? In the T-Dot, 53.2 per cent came out to vote for *sigh* Rob Ford. Perhaps voter dissatisfaction was higher in Toronto, while the number of people in Guelph who were either content with city leadership, or discontent with the choices offered, was stratospherically high. Considering that there are people in the world that brave bullets – or worse – to vote, what’s our excuse?

Ed The Sock did a bit during the 2006 Municipal Election saying that 36 per cent of people voted in the 2003 election, so majority rules: no more municipal elections. We’re not there yet are we? Surely, the 66 per cent that didn’t vote in Guelph last week  will agree that this reaction is extreme, yet still one wonders why we can’t hoist more people off the couch and into a voting booth.

Of course, people can’t get over their ignorance either. A woman named Jeri Scheffer wrote a letter to the Guelph Mercury on Election Day decrying the fact that her child’s school was being used as a polling place, like every other school has been since at least when my mom was a kid. But if this woman’s misalignment with, you know, how society works was messed up, there was the other side of the coin that was slipped in to her letter so surreptitiously that you you’d almost miss it.

Yep, Ms. Scheffer doesn’t vote, and she said so right in black and white before taking the school board, the school, the trustees and everyone to task for not keeping her informed about the fact that the school’s gym – far from where the kids sit in class – serves as a polling station and probably has since time and memoriam. A better metaphor for this election I can’t think of: A person mad at the system that they can’t even be bothered to participate in. Oh well.

Fill Your Brain

This weekend is the annual Guelph Festival for Moving Media, or what used to be called the Guelph International Film Festival, if your memory goes back that far. The one thing that GFOMM does best, if it can only do one thing, is inspire you and invest you in some unique documentaries, shining a light on people and issues in small towns and big cities across the globe. This year’s program looks to be no exception with environmentally-minded flicks, compelling docs about the arts, and some short animated films for adults only (not like that).

Let me include a few recommendations. First, and this is no particular order, is The So-Called Movie. Savvy Canadian music lovers will be able to name check So Called, a musician and artist based out of Montreal who gave one of the most rockin’ performances from this year’s Hillside Inside. The NFB doc about this madcap man of music is a definitely a fun watch if nothing else. Another neat movie, albeit with a more advocate bend is A Different Path, which follows activists from across North America as they try to overcome the tyranny of the single-occupant automobile. Along similar lines, check out the Friday night performance of Polydactyl Hearts who will be performing their new show Hello Adventure, as well as their now classic show Le Cyc.

For information and the full program and schedule, go to

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