Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Toronto is Godless

Today I joined hundreds of my city sharers to watch Obama's inauguration at the Bloor Cinema, because I've always heard the only way to see a Presidential assassination is on the big screen. Okay, I know it's an extremely off – colour joke, but the ceremony's over, it didn't happen, and we're all going to live happily ever after. And don't blame me for my sensibilities, I'm just a product of my environment. I was brought up on movies like 'JFK' and 'In the Line of Fire' in fact, the very theatre I watched the inauguration in today is playing one of my childhood favourites later tonight, 'Air Force One.' If you haven't seen it, the whole movie can be summed up in three lines that were in every trailer for the film.

Vice President Glen Close: How the hell did this happen? How the hell did they get Air Force One?

Military Guy: He knows how to fight.

President Harrison Ford: Get off my plane!

Suffice to say, assassination has been a bit of a preoccupation of mine since this whole Obama business started. I often wondered if there was going to be a section of the population that wouldn't vote for Obama out of fear for his safety. During the inauguration, I kept waiting for an overzealous secret service agent to dive for his moment of glory after seeing an umbrella brought out on a clear, dry day.

So sorry if my mind drifts to assassination, a taboo word at the moment, but I'm sure it's on many minds. Not only am I influenced by films and music, but I'm also from Toronto, where I heard the most cheers for the final group mentioned when Obama said “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers.” This made me smile, as there were the obvious audience jeers anytime Bush was on screen, applause for anything Obama, and shushes from those intent on catching every word, but I didn't anticipate such a big response from our city's, apparently plentiful, 'non-believers.' As CNN showed similar gatherings all over North America, I knew I was joining the world in watching history unfold, but wondered how many other places cheered at this particular part of Obama's 19 minute speech. Perhaps more than I think, as the popularity of science and atheism continues to grow with increasing momentum. After over two centuries of God playing an integral role in Presidential speeches, this was a refreshing shout-out.

I also wondered how many places had a projector set up next to the monitor to display messages from the audience. Anyone that's been to an outdoor music festival in recent years has witnessed this phenomenon, as crowds are treated to live scrolling comments from teen cell phones like 'where u at megs lolz.' I wanted to test my 'assassination on the big screen' joke on this platform, but figured these messages must be censored in some way, at least for obscenity, probably not stupidity though, as I was still able to read things like 'look at Aretha Franklin's bow.' How could I not? It was covering half her face. I tell ya, bunch of godless (small 'g') heathens in this town, but at least that guy in the theatre with a laser pointer was funny again for the first time in 10 years.

Anyway, it's looking like they've got the right guy for the job this time, you probably all watched his amazing speech already, so here's a Dandy Warhols video instead.

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