Until I Saw the Seal

Creativity is a blessed thing. Fuelled by imagination, it can take you to fantastic new worlds where mermaids take their lunch breaks on the Hayjers Rock or six foot dandelions form wildflower forests as both shelters and food for giant bees. 

As I write this, I am concocting a story about the gentleman in front of us on the plane being a 12th century knight who has been magically transformed into a Canadian tax auditor. What will he do with his swords and breastplate when we land in Halifax? Fuelled by real life events, creativity can allow the most important stories to be told......of wars and oppression, of marvels and discoveries. The writer, the painter, the musician, the designer, the graffiti artist, the knitter; they create daily, delivering work that changes lives, very often for the better. But when creativity is fuelled by ignorance and misinformation, the joy that marks a creative life seems absent, if not superficial. And such was the creative effort made by the writers of the Simpsons this week. Everyone has seen it. The show’s writers developed a short scene, representing a misinformed view of what it means to be a Newfoundlander. Tacky. Boring. It’s been done. With my generally peaceful persona intact, magnified by three weeks of beautiful holidays, I could handle it. Kind of. Until I saw the seal. The Newfoundland sealer has endured an awful lot. From bombshell celebrities gallivanting on the ice to misinformed activists musing on their perception of the loss of the seal population, they have been unfairly represented. Unlike most professions, these hard working men and women have had to endure countless attacks on their way of life, attacks like the one we saw in cartoon colour, which have significantly impacted their ability to earn a living. And now they have had their honourable profession vilified on an American cartoon for a three second laugh. Regardless of your views on the seal hunt, such an inaccurate and unkind representation of the Newfoundland sealer is disappointing. The discussion on this will fade in a few days. There will be many who will say “I’m proud to be a Newfie!” Good for you. What I hope we’re not proud of, though, is anything that belittles another, that purposely oppresses and hurts. Because if there is one thing that does not define us, it’s that. Here’s to creators everywhere using their gifts authentically and positively. And of course, here’s to a safe and prosperous year on the ice.

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