dear media people:

I mean many of you (not all, see p.s.) but especially you, dear CBC Radio, because you are the media people I often pay attention to and lately I’ve heard you mention a little too often, a certain store about to open in the Toronto area. Soft openings. Grand openings. Why and when and what and oh golly!— each time I switch off the radio and mutter bad words in frustration.

Worse, I fear there’s more of it to come as soft openings and grand openings approach.

I don’t know much, but I do know this: this [yet another] big American store doesn’t need our help although I’m sure it’s grateful for all the attention it’s getting. Free and regular promos. From our public broadcaster no less. And so, as someone who happily and proudly supports you in many ways, I have a question:

Why are you doing this??

I mean it’s not like big American stores opening up in Canada and selling loads of cheap stuff made under questionable conditions in countries far, far away is news. And if you’re worried that they might open and no one will notice and you feel duty bound to inform us of such goings-on, may you rest assured that word will spread even if you utter not another syllable about it.

Surely a store opening is not news, nor are the stages of its development worthy of monitoring. At least not this kind of store. Unfortunately, this store will do just fine without one bit of media interest.

Who might benefit from your attention, however, are the smaller, local indies that will suffer in the shadow of this most recent behemoth. Why not save your air time for THAT kind of news? News of butchers and bakers and candlestick makers that, despite being largely ignored by the media, and against the odds, continue in their Sisyphean task of slowing the rate of the world’s devolution to soulless Big Box status.

It’s the candlestick makers that keep us human.

Here’s the thing… No one will build communities for us. Builders only build profits. It’s up to us to build communities. And we build them by being informed of what’s out there and then supporting it. And I don’t mean only the new or funky patios in certain neighbourhoods but all manner of businesses across the city, the GTA, the province, the country—stores, restaurants, markets, manufacturers, service providers—real people who make a living despite the Goliaths, and who make those livings in real ways, and deserve real support.

If the Big Store Opening must be mentioned on your airwaves, although I have NO IDEA why it must be… then please leave it for the top of the hour news on the day of the opening. That’s more than enough ‘information’.

There’s worthier out there, and the power you wield is no small potatoes.

Please use that power wisely.

Yours sincerely,

carin makuz.

p.s. Thank you to THIS Magazine for continuing to be you, with *this*… WTF, indeed.


deciphering messages

Funny the domino effect of things.

Or whatever it is.

Yesterday I read Rona Maynard’s musings and reflections on ice cream. Today the stuff is everywhere I go. On CBC this morning with Matt Galloway. On the side of the semi that pulls out in front of me and makes me say bad words as enormous tubs of vanilla, cherry, chocolate, pecan-swirl momentarily tower over me—I can’t remember the brand. 

And, oh look, there it is again on a sign that I’ve probably passed ten or twenty thousand times on my way to the place where I buy happy meat and eggs and the best butter tarts I’ve ever tasted—but I’ve never noticed the great honking strawberry cone before. 

Most bizarrely of all, it’s in my mum’s fridge.

Three individual servings of vanilla and butterscotch, untouched and melting. So instead of making the usual oatmeal or toast for her breakfast, which has been getting little or no reaction recently, I pour the ice cream into her coffee, then pour some more over canned peaches.

She laps it up, asks for seconds. 

She’s almost ninety. What can it hurt?

A recent stroke has left her unable to do much for herself and this gets her down—everyone ‘doing’ for her, helping her dress and wash, preparing meals. She recently stopped enjoying food entirely, so when I see her licking her fingers, everything makes sense, the semi, Matt Galloway, Rona Maynard—it occurs to me there’s a message in all these ice cream sightings—ie. life is too bleeping short for oatmeal every morning—at least give the poor woman a dollop of coffee toffee mocha crunch with it…

And of course it makes complete and perfect sense.

Funny indeed how these things work.