Monday, February 1, 2010

Two personifications of Vancouver, one from the Globe and Mail’s Ian Brown (“Vancouver suddenly buttons down its shirts and irons its ties” January 30), the other from Vancouver Magazine editor Gary Stephen Ross, writing in The Walrus (“A Tail of Two Cities” March 2010).

Brown, whose recent memoir concerning his genetically challenged son had the author asking, "What is he trying to show me?" (amongst other things), describes Vancouver in a way he will not pander to, for he writes:

"Please do not misunderstand me: I am not about to do the eastern-Canadian, passive-aggressive, Toronto thing that Vancouverites hate, which is to decry Vancouver as a beautiful but empty-headed woman you long to sleep with and then can't wait to ditch so that you can talk about something other than the muscle tone of her thighs."

In other words, don’t think of a purple pony.

As for Ross, we have to wait until the last four paragraphs.

From the fourth-to-last paragraph, first sentence:

"One night at the Blue Boy [a Robson Street hotel], a union pal of my father’s drunkenly informed me that he just might have found a cure for my virginity.”

The third-to-last paragraph:

"I spotted her at once, as would anyone with a Y chromosome. She was stunningly endowed, effortlessly lovely; notepad in hand, she was absorbed in the task of taking an order. I sat at the counter, trembling and dry mouthed. Only when she came over and handed me a menu, brushing aside a tendril of blond hair, did I realize she was not a young woman at all. She was a girl, scarcely older than I. Her name was Lila; her name tag said so.”

From the second-to-last paragraph, first sentence:

"Ever since that day at the Blue Boy…I’ve associated Lila with Vancouver – younger than she seems, less sophisticated than she might like, undeniably radiant, proud to be attracting attention but not quite sure how to deal with it, a little self conscious as the first complications of maturity settle upon her.”

And then the final paragraph/indentation:

"You wonder what she’ll become."

Really Gary? Do you think there's room?

I know Lila. Not well, but well enough to know that she was married to my mother's mother's sister's son. Should I share with you what she "became", or ask instead if you want to know what she might think of your piece?

1 comment:

  1. thanks for putting those personifications side by side michael... but i'm not about to do the self-reflexive west coast thing, which is to point out that these guys should reread shakespeare and write out the verb "plunder" 20,000 times. or acquire a female editor. yes, acquire. usually followed by plunder.