Friday, May 19, 2006

Disappearing Newfoun..... and Labrad..

I was sipping an afternoon coffee, battling the 2:30 dragon, when a heavy thud brought me abruptly back to time and place. My co-worker holds a thick stack; "New phone book", he says, then continues his delivery of what two months ago must have been a small forest. ...but that's a blog for another time.

Looking at the sparkly new cover absent of dog ears and coffee stains I had a passing glance at the photo mosaic that has the new Aliant symbol emblazened across it. I remember a time when the new phone book would have a calendar-esque photo of some beautiful part of the island or Labrador. Whatever happened to those great Newfoundland and Labrador photos? It occurred to me that they disappeared around the same time as the tagline "The Home Team" was dropped... Which was also around the same time that Newfoundland Telephone became NewTel and then Aliant. No sign of Newfoundland and Labrador to be found.

WalMart stores are popping up like piss-the-beds. We have Home Depot, McDonald's, Pier 1, Old Navy... all the stores we have looked at with wide-eyed wonder for years on our diet of American media. One day on the way home from picking up the latest Dan Brown, Steven King or JK Rowlings book we pass a little store where we used to buy The Independent, Them Days and The Newfoundland Quarterly and wonder to ourselves "Gee when did that close?"

I know that our little phone company has spread it's wings and left the nest, picking up companies, making new friends. I guess it's not fair to expect it to retain it's Newfoundland and Labrador identity. But I still can't help but lament the loss of another little piece of our culture. I'm picking on Aliant a bit, I'll blame the thud of the phone book and the resulting coffee drool on my shirt for that. Truthfully though the phone company represents a greater trend. The degrading of a way of life. Years ago when I saw fences being made with railroad ties and sheds being made from fishing boats I knew there was something amise. A change in the air of the kind that makes Bob Dylan take pen to paper.

In our desire to fit into the Canadian family have we lost something of ourselves? I lament the loss as I finish my remaining Starbuck's Guatemala Antigua.

32 comments:

WJM said...

I wonder... how many times have you protested the Newfoundland and Newfoundland Department of Tourism's complete lack of any Labrador imagery in their promotional materials for Newfoundland and Newfoundland?

BNB said...

I recall some very nice photos of Battle Harbour and Red Bay - not sure if the government uses them anymore. I only recall the TV spot mentioning Newfoundland and Labrador placenames... was there no mention of Labrador in those ads? My memory tells me there were.

Funny that you read this piece as a protest about anything. It's just lamenting by-gone days.

I put a little reference in there to the Them Days magazine that I used to read years ago, doing my little bit for Labrador inclusion.

Looks like "Them Days" is still around by the way. I asked you for some info on that and requested some photos... but it appears your function is limited to complaining and not promoting labrador in any useful way.

WJM said...

I recall some very nice photos of Battle Harbour and Red Bay - not sure if the government uses them anymore.

Labrador has never been featured in a TV ad.

I only recall the TV spot mentioning Newfoundland and Labrador placenames... was there no mention of Labrador in those ads? My memory tells me there were.

One Labrador place name was used. The image wasn't of Labrador, though. There wasn't a single Labrador image in that ad.

Funny that you read this piece as a protest about anything. It's just lamenting by-gone days.

Doesn't read that way to me.

Looks like "Them Days" is still around by the way. I asked you for some info on that

I provided it.

NL-ExPatriate said...

I went to that Them Days web site and read it through and through. Great site sad to say I never had the opportunity to read the paper version.
http://www.themdays.com/

Wally J Maclean only knows how to Bash NL and promote Ottawa. I guess it comes with the pay check.

WJM said...

What do you mean when you type "NL", expatriate?

BNB said...

The magazine is a small format sort of like the new downhome. Good articles about trapping, hunting etc. Good honest stories without an ounce of pretention.

WJM are you a born and bred Labradorian?

kodak said...

I liked your article bnb, nicely put. The new phone book cover could be anywhere. The only NL reference is on the binding side.

On wjm's comments:
I just visited the NL Dept. of Tourism site, and my impression is that there aren't enough image attractions on their site. This is my suggestion on their feedback page:
"I just had a quick look at the site. I think the overall design is nice, however, there really ought to be more pictorial attractions with the name of where that place is. While there is generally good information on businesses that offer tourist type services, there should be more actual images to draw tourists. I am just an interested citizen of the province, and would like to see more attractions of Labrador & Newfoundland. Thank you."

However, from the Gov. Tourism links, there were a couple of Labrador links. The Labrador Straits one is not bad, offers more visual attractions.
http://www.labradorstraits.net/home/

Can't comment on HNL or Gov. Tourism print material since I haven't seen any yet. However, my impression is that past images were too much of the same, i.e., shots of Cape Spear, Quidi Vidi, Bonavista lighthouse, whales & icebergs. That's fine but when there are 1000's of appealing places in NL why not diversify the imagery. I hope wjm has sent his suggestions to the tourism people. I would love to see more of Labrador.

WJM said...

I hope wjm has sent his suggestions to the tourism people.

Myself and many others have been beating our heads against that wall for many years. It is pointless. The Newfoundland-centric government and HNL people simply don't want to get it.

Maybe if they start hearing complaints from Newfoundlanders, that there isn't enough Labrador content in supposedly Newfoundland AND LABRADOR marketing materials, they will get the message.

But they don't listen to Labradorians. Never have and never will.

WJM said...

WJM are you a born and bred Labradorian?

Yes, very much so.

BNB said...

Thanks WJM. I ask because I often get the feeling from your writing that you are anti-Newfoundland (island) and Pro-Ottawa. Being Pro-Labrador I can respect.

I have a good group of friends who live, have lived and are born and bred Labradorians, Red Bay, Goose Bay and Lab City more specifically.

I would like to see Labrador context in everything Newfoundland and Labrador, government policy, promotion, education and in these silly blogs too. Unfortunately I can only write what I know and that is in the context of Central and Avalon.

I'll make the effort...


I'd still appreciate photos if you can find something for newfoundlandandlabrador.blogspot.com

WJM said...

Newfoundland (island)

That's redundant. You wouldn't write "Labrador (mainland)" after all.

Patriot said...

Great piece BNB, you are right, we are slowing losing who we are.

As for WJM, I have mentioned to several people in the past that Labrador needs more exposure in our advertising. (Though I'm sure WJM will pick that simple sentence apart).

I've visited the Big Land and seen some beautiful sights. It's too bad they aren't promoted more.

By the way WJM, do you realize you are continually nit picking comments and article from people who fully support Labrador and have never tried to run it down? If you really want people on the island to support Lab and help promote it with government or whatever then you have a funny way of doing it. Instead you just tear apart anything anyone who is not actually living in Labrador has to say.

WJM said...

By the way WJM, do you realize you are continually nit picking comments and article from people who fully support Labrador and have never tried to run it down?

Full support is irrelevent; if there's a nit to pick, I'm going to pick it.

If you really want people on the island

What island?

to support Lab and help promote it with government or whatever then you have a funny way of doing it. Instead you just tear apart anything anyone who is not actually living in Labrador has to say.

Some things need to be torn apart.

Patriot said...

WJM Said:

Full support is irrelevent; if there's a nit to pick, I'm going to pick it.

What Nit and what are you going to pick it with?

WJM Said:

What island?

THE Island.

WJM Said:

Some things need to be torn apart.

What things? Why do you need to tear them apart and what do you plan to do with the pieces? Are you just going to "tear" or will you "cut" as well? If you cut, what kind of knife will you use and how big will the pieces be in the end?

BNB said...

:) There's something oddly familiar about the style of that response Patriot. Can't quite put my finger on it...

WJM said...

What Nit and what are you going to pick it with?

Whatever nit -- point of misinformation, myth, logical fallacy, etc. -- there is to pick, with words.

THE Island.

There is more than one island in the world. Does "THE Island" have a name? (Or is it the Island of the Thes?)

What things?

Myths and fallacies.

Why do you need to tear them apart

Because that is the best way of dealing with them.

and what do you plan to do with the pieces?

Let them rot on the scrap heap of history.

Patriot said...

WJM said...

Whatever nit -- point of misinformation, myth, logical fallacy, etc. -- there is to pick, with words.

Pick with words? How do you pick something with a word? Also, if you don't know what it is (misinformation, myth, logical fallacy, etc.) how can you possibly hope to pick it?

WJM Said: There is more than one island in the world. Does "THE Island" have a name? (Or is it the Island of the Thes?)

Yes, it does have a name but since you didn't ask for it in this context I won't supply it.

WJM Said: Myths and fallacies.

What myths and fallacies?

WJM Said: (regarding tearing them apart) Because that is the best way of dealing with them.

Why is that? Do you have a mental problem and this is the only way you can cope? If so, I'd suggest professional help.

WJM Said:

Let them rot on the scrap heap of history.

Do ideas or words actuall rot? Hmmmm, what do they smell like when they rot?

Seriously Wallace, I couldn't resist showing you just how imbecilic your input really is. Do you really think anyone takes you seriously?

WJM said...

Pick with words? How do you pick something with a word?

Evidently, you already know the answer to that question, having said:

(Though I'm sure WJM will pick that simple sentence apart). ... do you realize you are continually nit picking comments

Yes, it does have a name but since you didn't ask for it in this context I won't supply it.

Still wondering why you can't call that island by its name, whatever it is, instead of calling it "The Island"...

What myths and fallacies?

All sorts of them. Newfoundland nationalism is built on a foundation of myths and fallacies.

Why is that?

Because myths and fallacies have no place in public discourse. Someone should make it their business to debunk such BS, and whenever "someone" should do something, that means you (me).

Do ideas or words actuall rot? Hmmmm, what do they smell like when they rot?

Did they not teach you about metaphor in the school you went to? Did you go to school?

Do you really think anyone takes you seriously?

A better question would be, do I care?

But to answer the question you asked: yes.

BNB said...

Holy Sweet Honourable hahahaha it's like Blogger Purgatory!

Patriot said...

Hey, if you can't beat them join them right?

Just curious Wallace, what did you do during your time in Ottawa, University? Also, when exactly did move back home dragging your Ottawa mentality with you? Was it as soon as you graduated?

I say this because you read like someone who has a great deal of education but very little sense. Like I heard someone say before, you come across like a person "educated beyond his intelligence".

Sorry BNB, I didn't mean to hijack your great article but I'm having a slow day and WJM is always good for a chuckle or two. From this point on (no matter what he comes back with) I'll be silent. (Hey, there you go Wallace, the door is wide open)

BNB said...

No sweat Patriot. Door is always open for a bit of back-and-forth.
(You too WJM, though you bug me like a nipper sometimes)

WJM said...

Just curious Wallace, what did you do during your time in Ottawa, University?

In part.

Also, when exactly did move back home dragging your Ottawa mentality with you?

Haven't done so!

I say this because you read like someone who has a great deal of education but very little sense.

In that case, you read like someone who has neither.

WJM said...

(You too WJM, though you bug me like a nipper sometimes)

Don't make me blush! That means I'm doing something right.

NL-ExPatriate said...

Newfoundland / Labrador

Why would you even ask that is the meaning of NL since the feds implemented it in such and such a year.

NF was Newfoundland

NFLD is Newfoundland

Lab is Labrador

WJM said...

Because some people obviously think NL stands for "Newfoundland". Just clarifying.

"NFLD" shouldn't be in all caps; it's "Nfld".

NL-ExPatriate said...

I actually like NfLb

meaning Newfoundland Labrador

the slight difference between
Nfld and NfLb
would probably be mistook as the old Nfld

That reminds me the 1-800 number for NL tourism should be
1-800-NFL-DLAB or 1-800-LAB-NFLD

Or something along those lines where the letters are used to spell out something connected and simple for ease.

BNB said...

NL is the two digit postal abbreviation for Newfoundland and Labrador. Years ago people wrote Nfld. then NF and when the province's name changed officially to Newfoundland and Labrador the postal abbrev. changed also to NL. I don't recall seeing NL in any other context. I use NL or N&L to abbreviate in casual writing.

I would think it is clear what is meant by that.

WJM said...

I don't recall seeing NL in any other context.

You're simply not aware of it, then. I too frequently see abominations like "NL and Labrador", in which the ignorant obviously think "NL" stands for "Newfoundland".

I guess it's one of those Labrador things, like it's only people from Labrador who notice when a map of Newfoundland is purported to be a map of the province, or when St. Anthony is described as "the northern tip of the province", or "this island province of ours", blah blah blah.

NL-ExPatriate said...

I just got this years tourist map of NL. It appears to be exactly the same as last years.

With Labrador on one side and Nfld on the other. I actually receied a response back from my email about Labrador being on one side and Nf on the other. Their explanation was that there wasn't enough space on only one side of the map to put both Nf and Lab. Crap is all I can say more people need to speak up about this. I have to have two maps on my wall here just to see the entire province.

SkylarKD said...

"I still can't help but lament the loss of another little piece of our culture."

The latest bee in my bonnet (and I know not everyone agrees with me on this one), is the removal of "Newfoundland" from MUN's new logo. It just seems like our culture is being removed, piece by piece; like stripping old wallpaper off a wall. :(

http://skylarkd.blogspot.com/2006/06/memorial-university-no-longer-of.html

Sophie said...

I'm from northern Labradaor (yes, we have people! and internet!shocking!) about three hours up the coast from Goose Bay. It's really, really annoying thta they keep forgetting our existence. I mean, we have amazing cultural diversity- we have metis, francophones, anglophone, the Innu and the Inuit. We have a beautiful landscape (it's kind of intimidating, but very nice) and, though fewpeople, those who are here are very friendly. As to your big box store rant, we don't have any! But that may be because we don't really have, you know, stores? Well, slight exaggeration, but it can be slightly frustrating to this teenage girl in a town of 400. All the same, we retain a very strung identity and very strong independent businesses (you don't really have much otherchoice) At this very moment, I'm in Victoria BC taking a summer course at UVic (yay! scholarship!yay!) and the second I open my mouth, they look at me and say 1) Are you Scottish?
A:No,I'm Canadian
Q2: Oh! So you're a Newfie?
A2:No. I'm a Labradorian.
Q3:Where's that?
A2: Never mind.
What I don't undersatnd is I don'tsound like I'm from Newfoundland (and I wish my fellow students would stop calling it newFOUNDland). Labradorian accents have much more french and scottish in them, while (as I am told by an Irish girl I know) Newfoundlanders sound Irish.)Either way, any good Newfoundlander/Labradorian knows that we sound completely different. Okay, it's only 10:56 here,but I'm still jet lagged- back home it's 3:00AM, so I'm going to bed. Time zonesare a bitch.

BNB said...

Thanks for the comment Sophie.
Wally likes to imply that I am ignorant of Labrador which I assure you is not the case. I do have the Newfoundland perspective though simply because this is where I presently live. As a matter of fact I am transplanted to St. John's so that is my present perspective, but not my life.

Recognize that just as you have multiple cultures and languages in Labrador so do we here. Newfoundland doesn't have an Irish-like accent, but much of the Avalon does. My accent would probably be most like old-English. Americans think I'm Australian, so I get where you are coming from.

Labrador is distinct from Newfoundland and God Bless you for it. Don't let Wally's account though make you belief that I have no affinity for Labrador. I have many friends from Coastal, West and South Labrador. My Godson whom I cherish is Labradorian of Metis decent.

My only hope for you as a teenager in Northern Labrador and now studying in other parts of the country is that you never dismiss your home. That you always understand and appreciate the value and worth that you have defended in the reply to this article.

Nothing in the "Disappearing" article was against Labrador and you never will read anything by me that is not in defense of Labrador.

All the best,
BNB