The last week has been one of those times where I've meant to sit down and write, something massive would happen, I'd want some time to digest what had happened and then something else would happen. The first thing would fall to the backburner while I tried to digest the new thing. By the time that happened, something else would pop up...and it just never seemed to stop.
Last week got off to a perfectly good start. There was a bowhead whale hunt up here, hunters managed to get one in about 12 hours, which made people in Iqaluit very happy. Seriously, it's the happiest I've seen people here in ages. So I held off a bit on posting that, just because I wanted to get some of the pictures from the hunt and I wanted to properly articulate what killing that whale meant to people. I'd read a lot of genuinely stupid comments on the CBC and Globe and Mail websites and wanted to get the arguments just right.
Then, of course, we had the horrible tragedy in Resolute with the First Air plane crash. I'm still trying to process that, as a lot of people are. That was a particularly weird experience. The first we heard something might be going on was when we were buying groceries. One of the cashiers ran out of the store, and all people knew was something about a crash in another community. People thought it must have been a car crash or an ATV.
Then, when we got home, I read as the whole thing unfolded on Twitter. If there is a more surreal way to learn information about a terrible accident, I haven't encountered it yet. But yeah, that crash hit me harder than I expected. I didn't know anyone on the plane, but I guess because we fly so much in the north, especially on First Air. Because of the little girls...
Yeah, that was a rough couple of days.
Monday morning I found to be particularly hard. Part of my job responsibilities include putting together a media monitor of stories in the north. So my Monday morning was compiling all the coverage of the accident, which is a bit more concentrated a dose of horror than I usually like to start my week with.
There was a point in the morning where I had a crash, which meant I lost most of the work I'd already put into the monitor, meaning I'd have to start over again. It was at that moment when news broke about Jack Layton's death. Let's just say there's a sizeable dent in my filing cabinet. At that moment, it was just a bit too much to process...
There's been an awful lot written about Layton, and a lot more will be over the next few days. His letter to Canadians is going to be one of those things that's going to have an impact, I think, for many years to come.
And, stupidly, I had a quote from, of all bloody things, "Batman Begins" stuck in my head. After watching the outpouring of grief from the news of Layton's death and the reaction to his letter. I just couldn't get it out of my mind. And perhaps it's stupid, but here's the quote:
Henri Ducard: But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, then you become something else entirely.
Bruce Wayne: Which is?
Henri Ducard: A legend, Mr. Wayne.
We'll see how things happen, of course. And obviously I'm not comparing Layton to Batman (although a moustache and the cape and cowl would be kind of awesome). But the way Layton lead his party to its greatest achievement, quite possibly sacrificing his health to do so, then passing away before getting to really enjoy the fruits of what he achieved is the stuff of legend. I think Layton may well become not only a rallying point for those on the left in Canada, but also for those sick with cancer. Time will tell, but I suspect Layton will not fade quietly in the myths of political obscurity.
So yes, quite a busy week. I mean, when you're getting laughs from people's reaction to an earthquake, you're into dark humour territory.
And as I was writing this, Steve Jobs announced he's stepping down as CEO of Apple. As he's been ill with cancer for awhile, it's probably not good news on that front either.
You know, reporters often lament how August is the duldrums and there's no news. I think I need to smack the next one I hear say that. Frankly, I'm giving reasonably decent odds of the world ending before the end of August at the rate things are going.
So if you'll pardon me, I'm going to crawl underneath the desk and hide for a bit.
All from "Learn and Burn" by The Sheepdogs