No Speaky The English

Longshot Comics: The Failed Promise of Bradley Gethers has sold out. You can blame a fan in Iqaluit who snatched up the final remaining copies, apparently in a bid to preserve this piece of Canadian culture by burying it in the permafrost up there. Future generations of Arctic explorers may one day unearth my contribution to minimalist comic art and, like the invaluable discovery of a frozen woolly mammoth corpse some decades earlier, eat it to stay alive.

I received confirmation that the Iqaluit package arrived safe and sound, which I was grateful to hear because that’s hardy a given these days when dealing with the bureaucratic oafs at Canada Post.

My displeasure with Canada Post seems to increase by the day. In an age of electronic mail, faxes, and couriers, they seem determined to usher themselves into obsolescence even faster than the market would dictate. Corruption scandals aside, they’ve been redirecting my packages all over the place lately. One big parcel on its way to stock Strange Adventures in Halifax bounced back with a note saying the address doesn’t even exist. Well, actually it does exist if you deliver it to the store as addressed clearly and legibly. It doesn’t exist if you try to deliver it to a completely unrelated library on the other end of town as some lost and confused civil servant attempted. Not only did I lose the postage I spent to send the package, my local mailman charged me an additional twenty bucks for returning it to my doorstep undelivered. Yeah, I didn’t know they could do that either. I briefly — very briefly — considered going another round of delivery interruptus with Canada Post, but decided that I, at least, should put customer service first. So when the package went off again later that day, it went with someone else. It was FedEx got that got that piece of business done in the end.

Oh? You think I should have put up more of a fuss? Fought the man? Demanded a refund and a proper, prompt delivery? Better to bang your head against a brick wall when it comes to those nimrods. Witness my more recent (but not only) fiasco involving a package coming in from Hong Kong. Through the miracle of tracking numbers, I can confirm it entered the Hong Kong postal system last month and arrived in Mississauga, Ontario a few days later. Of course, as soon as Canada Post laid their butter fingers on it, my mail dropped off the radar. Now I have three agencies pointing their fingers at each other, trying to pass the buck. Canada Post says Customs Canada must have it. Customs Canada says they either never got it or long-since released it to Purolator (who are in charge to delivering any packages coming in from Hong Kong). Purolator, for their part, has run two searches for me and says they never received it. Them I believe because they’re the only one of the three whose customer service branch seems interested in serving customers. And they know how a tracking number works. Not so Canada Post (who can’t confirm the package ever left their hands), nor Customs Canada (who don’t bother to swipe any shipping information on all those millions of packages they delay under the wise assumption that each and every one of them is brimming with kiddie porn and must therefore be picked over by bomb-sniffing dogs and trainees in charge¬†of interpreting Canada’s obscenity laws). I continue to point my accusing finger at Canada Post, since all evidence says they were the last ones to touch my property. But their stubborn refusal to offer more help than to redirect my call to agencies that can help me even less urges me to offer my business to more couriers who, while often incompetent in their own right, at least charge so much that holding them accountable for a timely delivery is at least feasible. In the meantime, all I can do is carry a grudge against Canada Post, and think about all the horrible things I’d like to do to them. It’s not healthy, but it’s not legally actionable either, so I indulge myself.

So what’s in this missing package that has me all in a tizzy? More Asian DVDs, as you should well know by now. I could grow very old waiting for all the Japanese, Chinese and Korean films I want to see get a release here, so I have to import these discs and muddle my way through subtitles that are in an English so broken, they’re more like shattered English. Yet as bad and hilarious as some of the subtitles can get, the text on the back of the boxes can be far worse. Read, if you can, this word-for-word, punctuation-for-punctuation transcript of the copy on the back of the film Swallowtail if you don’t believe me. I’m not making this up. I couldn’t if I tried.

Quote:

The beautiful (love letter) go place.Circle that headquarter, that the skill figment that this however and completely changeses style, out with the frenzy a Tokyo outskirts is all, there that day this illegal mmigran resided to come from five lakes are the whole world black to help the member with wander about the, public can in order to cheat the secret magnetic tape of the ATM circuit for the sake of the digital data of an inside but your my. Whole slice form for control for diversification for intentionally then inside, Japanese dialogue leaving, with role body coming bring into reliefing the Japanese slice international intention of alignment, it is a pity thatting on the plot handle excessive concept, rhythm feeling as well lack the ability to do then to having much adopting many. The Hong Kong singer allows the ambition peaceful.

End quote.

I’m sure when you’re browsing the video boxes at Blockbuster, this is the sort of descriptive text that would ensure a rental. Frankly, however, I find it does a better job of pitching the movie than most trailers and ads for Canadian movies. At least this piques my curiosity. The promotional material for Canadian films — when they even get some — fails to do anything of the sort. It was with abject disgust that I noted Vincenzo Natali’s new film, Nothing, opened and closed in Montreal inside of a week. I’d been waiting for this movie to come out for over a year, and had I not been paying strict attention to the Cinema Montreal site, I would have missed out on it like everyone else in town. How hard is it to say somewhere, in big letters, “From the director of Cube“? Sure, they did a worthless job of promoting Cube as well, and the average joe has no clue what that movie is either, but at least it’s built up a cult reputation that warrants a mention despite the best efforts to ban it to complete obscurity.

I’ll stop there with a promise. One of these days I swear I’ll write an entire blog entry that contains no bitching about the state of the Canadian film industry. Or Canadian crown corporations.

One thought on “No Speaky The English

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