akashiver: (blown away!)
As a Canadian, I am often think of Margaret Atwood as the literary equivalent of Celine Dion - a chest-thumping national export who has talent, yes, but who is also vaguely embarassing. Whenever Atwood disses sci-fi, or Celine's drools over her husband, I wonder whether we couldn't just vote them off the island, or sell them like hockey players to the Las Vegas team, never to be heard from again.

But then I get back to reading Atwood, and am reminded of moments like this:

"In Canadian literature, one such story is the Franklin expedition... for Canadians [the word Franklin] means a disaster. Canadians are fond of a good disaster, especially if it has ice, or water, or snow in it. You thought the national flag was about a leaf, didn't you? Look harder. It's where someone got axed in the snow."

...which I suspect is very true, and is probably one of the reasons Atwood's book is on my exam list. I may claim I want to discuss British literary formations in the nineteenth century, but really I want to discuss the perils of wendigos, Halifax explosions and the Mad Axemen of the Klondike.

While I'm on the subject of Franklin, I feel obliged to point out the "Appropriate Name" disaster rule. People should always call their ships something positive, like "Happiness," "Endurance," or "We're All Going to Live." No matter how successful and foolproof you think a mission is going to be, if you name your ships "Erebus" and "Terror" something will go wrong.


Apollo 13 isn't such a hot name either.


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December 2015

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