Blame Canada! Blame Canada!
March 10, 2003 5:11 AM   Subscribe

"Toronto flings garbage at Michigan" no no!... - US Courts Canadian Crud!...Eh?, well, OK: Toronto trucks it's tons 'o trash across the border to dump in Michigan landfills, and some Yanks are eager to buy, although others..."It's so disgusting we don't even talk about it...Why can't they keep their garbage over there?" .....[''We need to put an end to this desecration of our beautiful state,'' fumed Representative Candice S. Miller, Republican of Michigan who also warned that terrorists or weapons of mass destruction could be concealed amidst the rotting food and used diapers.] ......"Relations between the United States and Canada have been souring for two years....Canada's wishy-washy stance on the Iraq crisis...has irked Washington" chides the Boston Globe, clearly piqued that Boston is not in a position to catapult cannisters of it's garbage and toxic waste northward at Canada, towards the "Great Concavity" of David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest". [other shades of "....Jest" loom as "...a reputed haven for terror groups." whispers the Globe...just like in Wallace's book!] .....Toronto can't find any Canadian communities willing to furnish an immense garbage pit, while "Michigan's underused landfills are famous for courting crud from outside the state's borders.": They approached Toronto with the deal. ["Ontario, meanwhile, accepts imports of toxic industrial sludge, low-level radioactive waste, and other dangerous refuse from Michigan and other US states."] Garbage is a protected "free trade" commodity under NAFTA and Michigan may need the 'trash jobs': NAFTA has spurred automakers to shift production away from the US and build new factories in Canada and Mexico. Canada's auto factories are 7% more productive than US ones and have lower health care costs. ["The growth of imports to the U.S. from these factories has contributed substantially to the growing U.S. trade deficit and the related job losses."]. So: Canada sends garbage and shiny new autos south: the US sends radioactive sludge, spittle, jobs and curses north.

Meanwhile, walk across the border and the murder rate per 100,000 (per year) drops from 42.6 (Detroit, USA) to 2.2 (Windsor, Canada): "Are Canadians somehow flinging all their fear and murderous rage into the US along with the garbage?" (asks the Daily Tabloid)
posted by troutfishing (42 comments total)
AAAAAARGH! Ugly post! Kill it! KILL IT!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:12 AM on March 10, 2003

troutfishing: a [more inside] arrangement for most of the body of this post would certainly make it easier on the eyes. My initial reaction was the same as Pretty_Generic's and I'm afraid the size and complexity of your first paragraph just makes my eyeballs slide off the actual content. Also, the overuse of bolded text makes the tone appear strident to me.

You've dug up a mine of info there, by the look of it. Pity if no-one reads it because of the formatting.
posted by walrus at 5:19 AM on March 10, 2003

In other words, the state of Michagan is buying trash from Toronto, and people there don't like it? Fine, STOP BUYING IT!
posted by CrazyJub at 5:33 AM on March 10, 2003

argh. detroit does NOT michigan make. it's like this huge money-sucking vortex out on the rim of the galaxy, a place most michigan residents would like to see annexed to andromeda. yeah, they murder a lot of people over there. and they consume a lot of budget the rest of the state could sorely use. as for garbage, not much of it gets buried near detroit. detroit sucks. can't we sell it to canada? trade garbage for garbage, maybe?
posted by quonsar at 5:34 AM on March 10, 2003

Wow, the manner that the poster tried to make me aware of a situation was craptastic!
posted by Dagobert at 5:36 AM on March 10, 2003

I've no idea what this post is rambling all about. I got three lines in and gave up.
posted by metaxa at 5:36 AM on March 10, 2003

I think he's complaining about people from Canada dumping fonts on Metafilter...
posted by brettski at 5:40 AM on March 10, 2003

Holy Crap Trout!!
That is just too much for a Monday morning. Did you get enough sleep last night?
posted by a3matrix at 5:47 AM on March 10, 2003

42.6!! Per 100,000! You're kidding? The rate for the uk is about 1.5!
Does that mean a two week holiday in the states doubles my chances of being murdered?
posted by imh at 6:06 AM on March 10, 2003

walk across the border and see for yourself - a very noticeable difference in how we run our country to yours even in general appearance.

now, stop worrying about garbage and continue the iraq obsession.

bah humbug.
posted by mrplab at 6:10 AM on March 10, 2003

Pretty_Generic - Oh, you're probably 'right'.....I suppose you represent the tastes of the majority. It's a perceptual, cognitive difference issue, I guess, and I forget that most prefer simplicity while a few freaks like myself revel in complex, sprawling chaos.....


Walrus - Did you miss the joke?

Metaxa - My sprawling-themed post is diametrically opposed to the "if you can't put your idea on a business card, it's garbage." school of thought. Not to mention current web stylistic conventions.


To sum up my post:

*[Huge "South Park: the movie" joke brackets post. Rousing chorus, from movie, of "Blame Canada!" (South Park movie) song echoes through the text, as US marches to war against the world, and talk of bombing Canada (for reasons unclear) pops up here and there at the extreme end of US national dialogue. Canadians fret - "Will it be us, one day, after Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea...?]*

Michigans are furious about Toronto trucking trash across the border. Michigan legislators fulminate. Souring US/Canadian relations, US media highlights "blame Canada" aspects of story, buries tale of corresponding northward flow of US toxic waste to Canada and whispers of Canada's "aiding or abetting" terrorists [context of Iraq war/"War on Terror"].

NAFTA, in background, stands as massive legal bulwark against Michigan "stop the trash" legislation. Trash is a commodity under NAFTA. "Free Trade" issue rears it's head. Meanwhile......

*[ Huge, ironic "life perverts art" joke-parallels with David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest": "...the 'Great Concavity', a large area of New England that has been ceded to Canada and yet is used as a dumping ground (gigantic catapults near Boston send canisters of trash and toxins arcing thither)." ]*

And the background question: is one reason that some Michigan communities are willing to take Toronto's trash due in some part to a loss of manufacturing jobs to Canada and Mexico? (see this Economic Policy Institute study on the effects of NAFTA

Also in background: the remarkably large, cross border cultural differences evidenced by the fantastic disparity between US and Canadian firearm mortality rates (see below). Remember - Canadians own a lot of guns too. Yet, somehow, they shoot each other far, far, less often than do Americans. Why?

[ *Cut to meeting of the Toronto Gay Curling Leagues: such groups are clearly representative of a violent, even murderous Canadian sports tradition...* ]


Quonsar - Detroit's Danger City USA, but the average US "firearm mortality rate" per 100,000 is about 14.25 vs. 4.25 for Canada. And the comparative murder rate (excluding suicides) is .65 per 100,000 (Canada) vs. 7.15 (US)......I sure wouldn't want to live in Detroit.

imh - Not exactly, but see stats above: avoid the most dangerous US cities

a3matrix - Save it to read for later!
posted by troutfishing at 6:31 AM on March 10, 2003

That summation is longer than the original post.
posted by smackfu at 6:38 AM on March 10, 2003

Ouch. Oops. ( `_ ' )
posted by troutfishing at 6:44 AM on March 10, 2003

no more sunday evening cocaine binges for troutfishing.
posted by quonsar at 6:49 AM on March 10, 2003

troutfishing - you're a star!
posted by brettski at 6:55 AM on March 10, 2003

Then again, they could be smuggling Cuban cigars, cartons of smokes and large quantities of 5.5% beer across the border, too.
And 19-year-olds from Metro Detriot, er, Detroit could import their blood to Windsor to be filled with alcohol. And, of course, now that Michigan has outlawed contact during lap dances at, ahem, gentlemen's clubs, Canada's "ballet" will soon be a giant drain on the Detroit economy.
Then again, Canada does make the finest candy bar EVER: Coffee Crisp.

FWIW, that trash is shipped to a nice, bucolic budding outer-outer suburb known for it's 600k-1 mil mcmansions. So the NIMBY factor is definitely in effect. If they could find a way to stuff the abandoned salt mines under Detroit with this stuff, I don't doubt for a second the city's administration would rubber stamp it.
trash-for-trash: It's all a wash here in the middle of the giant sucking vortex at the edge of whatever (right, quonsar?)
posted by chandy72 at 6:57 AM on March 10, 2003

Interestingly, reading this post was a lot like reading Infinite Jest, absent a few hundred footnotes. I think troutfishing was making a subtly veiled David Foster Wallace pastiche! All he needs to do to make it complete is to have mathowie add the word "like" as a written voiced pause to every other sentence in the post . . .
posted by vraxoin at 7:09 AM on March 10, 2003

A pretentious, irritating, poorly formatted post.
posted by troutfishing at 7:15 AM on March 10, 2003

"It's a perceptual, cognitive difference issue"

No. It's craptastic.

"Not to mention current web stylistic conventions."

Well, as long as you are pushing the envelope with your arty html formatting, and challenging us all to look beyond the obvious with your edgy creativity, I guess it's alright.

Unfortunately none of that is true and your topic is over-hyped. We've already talked this to death. Next I'll expect rambling, scatter-shot, annoying posts about SUVs.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:25 AM on March 10, 2003

(I actually thought it was a really good post--it's just, how often do you get to make a David Foster Wallace joke?)
posted by vraxoin at 7:27 AM on March 10, 2003

America has been sucking recently.

But it's still way better then Canada.
posted by delmoi at 7:30 AM on March 10, 2003

Thank you, delmoi, for that insightful and well-argued point. I especially like the quality of the evidence you provide to sustain you argument.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 8:02 AM on March 10, 2003

"Your" argument, even.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 8:02 AM on March 10, 2003

As DFW would put it, w/r/t [more inside]
posted by Vidiot at 8:05 AM on March 10, 2003

This post is like Larry King.
posted by four panels at 8:13 AM on March 10, 2003

This post is outsider art.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:43 AM on March 10, 2003

i personally like detroit. high murder rate and all.
posted by wondergirl at 9:03 AM on March 10, 2003

Heh. The town where they send the majority of the trash to is about 2 miles down the street I from where I live.

The town is incredibly small and out of the way, but this is starting to become a major issue around here.
posted by Yossarian at 9:57 AM on March 10, 2003

Trout: the verbal collage of phrases could become a signature for you, and has a neato aesthetic element, but the rational side of my brain gets totally lost on it. It's as bad as oissubke's "vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote" thread -- which also had a ton of good info, but the cues just aren't there to know what the sam hill you're talkin' about. Beware the sea of text.
posted by namespan at 10:56 AM on March 10, 2003

this post is textbook example of the fallacy of imitation.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:07 AM on March 10, 2003

er, a textbook example . . .
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:14 AM on March 10, 2003

[Mandatory "Let's Go Red Wings!" derailment.]
posted by adampsyche at 11:27 AM on March 10, 2003

yeah, they murder a lot of people over there. and they consume a lot of budget the rest of the state could sorely use.

Last I checked, the 2 million or so rich suburbanites don't pay property taxes on any of the city infrastructure they use; consequentially, that infrastructure is falling apart. If anything, Detroit needs more money from state coffers, not less. (That said, it has its nice parts. Just don't miss the turn to Gross Isle and stop at a random gas station on the south side of the city for directions. Yeah. I don't think I'll do that again.)
posted by Tlogmer at 11:43 AM on March 10, 2003

namespan - thanks for the polite criticism. I forget sometimes that I am different in that sense that many things which seem obvious - or intriguing - to me : like juxtaposing the 1) Toronto/Michigan garbage flap with 2) the souring US/Canada relations, 3) David Wallace's "Infinite Jest", 4) South Park's "Blame Canada" meme (implicit), 5) the backdrop of NAFTA - with it's Northward/Mexican suck of US industrial jobs, 6) and the striking difference in US vs. Canadian firearm mortality......are mostly opaque to others.

I've been trying to avoid the "information bombardment" urge I have, but this one was just too tempting. The next few posts of mine will be the essence of brevity.

But some things can only be said......or gestured at - a la Wittgenstein - by juxtaposition. I could have said something didactic and tendentious like "observe the contrast...a strengthening Canadian economy, a strong environmental ethic (around Toronto, anyway), a peaceable (relative to the US) society Versus, in the US: an unravelling in the social fabric (especially in Michigan) - much of which is driven by economic decline, a murder rate rivalling (in the industrialized world) only Mexico's and Brazil's, an "anything is for sale" mentality of Michigan landfill operators as they court contracts for foreign and out of state crud.........and all of this - the violence and social decay - in the context of the current foreign policy course of the USA: that of solving international disputes by quick resort to massive violence........and, at the US political fringe, snide calls for various types of punitive military actions against Canada for.....well, I'm not really sure why. For not being American, I suppose...."

But statements like this would have drawn in Metafilter's "thought police" - to whack at such observations with their ideological cudgels. I prefer the mere juxtaposition of phenomenon, even if the result is obscure and confusing for some: and I wonder about the subliminal effect.....
posted by troutfishing at 1:05 PM on March 10, 2003

DrJohnEvans: Your welcome.
posted by delmoi at 3:36 PM on March 10, 2003

quonsar: argh. detroit does NOT michigan make

While this is true, looking at the most dangerous US cities link that troutfishing provided, it would seem that Michigan does hold the lion's share of dangerous cities over it's neighbors.

Michigan is represented 14 times, Ohio has 7, Indiana has 6, Wisconsin has 5, and Illinois is undetermined (but apparently would have about 6).

Not disagreeing, just pointing out...
posted by quin at 5:45 PM on March 10, 2003

I had no problem READING this POSTat all !
posted by hama7 at 8:32 PM on March 10, 2003

Hama - We must have similar perceptual styles...!
posted by troutfishing at 11:04 PM on March 10, 2003

Nice overlap! EXTRA points!

It's been a while, but I hope you didn't miss my apology.
posted by hama7 at 1:15 AM on March 11, 2003

Hama - No, I didn't - I saw it too late to comment. - Thanks. I didn't worry about it too much - Mefi spats are generally low stakes.

But I'm curious - some people seemed to be saying, sincerely, that the text formatted, stylized choppines of my post made it impossible for them to read or understand ("read","understand" - close to analagous in my book, but...) so I'm wondering if I'm onto some basic differences in cognitive/perceptual styles or abilities here. So - can YOU really read this post? Does the style really get in the way (and I'm not advocating that every, or even most, Mefi posts be stylized) Or does the formatting cause a fog to descend over your mind?
posted by troutfishing at 7:15 AM on March 11, 2003

I don't think it's impossible to read or understand, but the formatting makes it difficult, so it's easier to just complain. Personally, I think it's having been trained for years to read text that behaves itself: standing still in regimented lines for my inspection. Text that dances about, falls over itself and waves at me, or seems to be making fun of me while I'm looking at another part of the paragraph, doesn't tend to leave me with a good impression. Sorry for the derailment by the way, although I was trying to be positive at the time. And I think I did spy a joke or two on second reading, in response to your earlier question.
posted by walrus at 9:10 AM on March 11, 2003

Walrus - thanks, though your comment was pretty tame....I wonder about the "choppy text style" effect.......I have a theory! - choppy style=visual clutter/chaos=complex visual stimulae which can hide (as in the jungle)......Predators!! So, the ("reptilian" and sub-liminal parts of the) brain react:...DANGER DANGER - RELEASE ADRENALINE - DANGER - SCAN FOR MOVEMENT - DANGER.........Visual clutter evokes anxiety, supresses thought!
posted by troutfishing at 1:58 PM on March 11, 2003

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