Finally!

by Jonathan Sterne on September 12, 2004

The blog begins. I\’ve been waiting to do this because I\’ve been so busy with other things. Startup at any school is a pain in the butt, and McGill has its (ahem) own \”unique bureaucratic conditions.\” That aside, I\’m in love with the school, the town, and my new life.

Let me start by apologizing for the next six months to a year of postings. I\’m afraid they\’re going to be a little reminiscent of this stretch of dialogue from Pulp Fiction

VINCENT
You\’ll dig it the most. But you
know what the funniest thing about
Europe is?

JULES
What?

VINCENT
It\’s the little differences. A
lotta the same shit we got here,
they got there, but there they\’re a
little different.

JULES
Examples?

VINCENT
Well, in Amsterdam, you can buy
beer in a movie theatre. And I
don\’t mean in a paper cup either.
They give you a glass of beer, like
in a bar. In Paris, you can buy
beer at MacDonald\’s. Also, you
know what they call a Quarter
Pounder with Cheese in Paris?

JULES
They don\’t call it a Quarter
Pounder with Cheese?

VINCENT
No, they got the metric system
there, they wouldn\’t know what the
fuck a Quarter Pounder is.

JULES
What\’d they call it?

VINCENT
Royale with Cheese.

JULES
(repeating)
Royale with Cheese. What\’d they
call a Big Mac?

VINCENT
Big Mac\’s a Big Mac, but they call
it Le Big Mac.

JULES
What do they call a Whopper?

VINCENT
I dunno, I didn\’t go into a Burger
King. But you know what they put
on french fries in Holland instead
of ketchup?

JULES
What?

VINCENT
Mayonnaise.

JULES
Goddamn!

VINCENT
I seen \’em do it. And I don\’t mean
a little bit on the side of the
plate, they fuckin\’ drown \’em in
it.

JULES
Uuccch!

FWIW, I\’ve already noticed how cool the metric system is, though Canada has their weird inbetween thing. Also, I cheat on the weather by looking up farenheit readings on weather.com. Gotta get over that vice. I am still very much in that \”wow, the Metro trains sure are a cool color of blue\” stage, so there\’s going to be a fair amount of naive \”gee whiz\” commentary. But I know of at least one reader who likes that stuff.

I\’ve got lots of rants and raves, and in part wish I had this set up for some of August\’s exploring, but I\’ll just refer back to that as necessary. Some highlights, though:

–not having to drive everywhere

–awesome colleagues and students at McGill

–The Globe and Mail

Okay, I should stop and ruminate on my love affair with the Globe and Mail. Canadians will make fun of me for it, especially left wing Canadians who will poo-poo it as a centrist, mainstream paper. But it is so delightfully left of US mainstream news, and extremely literate to boot. Sure, they spent like two weeks on MP Carolyn Parrish, who called U.S. supporters of missile defense \”idiots.\” Though in their defence (love the \”c\” in \”defence\” and the \”u\” in \”labour\”), CNN did notice for about 5 minutes. That aside, though, the Globe and Mail is more international than the New York Times, and pleasingly left now that they\’ve got the National Post competing with them to their right.

(Side note on that: they ARE idiots, aren\’t they? Missile defense is the stupidest idea I\’ve ever heard. It can be 99.99% perfect in its functioning and the population of your country will still be annihilated. Stupid, right? So then the problem becomes about deference to the US and Canadian standards of civility, which are, admittedly, surprisingly high).

Okay, so now that I\’ve started, onto the next entry.

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