Maxed Out 

The Whistler Standard

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Yikes! Those are some ugly signs.

How ugly are those signs, you ask? Well, if they’d been erected by anyone other than VANOC or whatever arm of VANOC is in charge of ugly signage, Whistler’s bylaw officers would have had them chainsawed to the ground and carted off to wherever a community without a landfill carts things off to by now.

You’ve seen the signs, haven’t you? I don’t know if that was a rhetorical question or simply a dumb one. OF COURSE YOU’VE SEEN THE SIGNS. Blind men could see the signs. I half suspect blind men designed the signs. Certainly no sighted man with any designs on designing would have and no woman of any visual persuasion would ever be responsibility for anything that garish.

But if you generally travel to the village by way of single-track bike trails you might have missed them. They’re big, they’re blue, they’re bellicose, they’re visually polluting, they’re obviously not in step with Whistler’s tastefully draconian sign bylaw, they’re ugly as sin and they’re self-congratulatory in much the same way an adolescent boy is when he gets his first unexpected hard-on. Wow! Look at the size of this baby!

Is the size and complete lack of visual appeal of the signs somehow meant to compensate for the fact you can’t really see any of the Olympic venues as you drive along the highway? Would they have been more tasteful if the white elephants were close against traffic like Canada Olympic Park outside Calgary? Isn’t it enough we’re going to get stuck with the Olympic Sliding Centre when the circus leaves town? Do we really have to put up with these abominations for the next three years?

Ohmigod. I just had a chilling thought. Are these devil-spawn signs meant to stay up after the Olympics? Told you that was a chilling thought.

Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang — a book that’s taken over 30 years to be made into a movie, assuming it finally gets made this summer — opens with a whacked-out, enviroactivist surgeon and his assistant chainsawing monster billboards to the ground along the interstate north of my old home town, Albuquerque, New Mexico. In a dilettantish sort of way, it’s the character’s own contribution to monkeywrenching.

Hmmm….

But I digress.

Maybe the smoke and mirrors reports released by VANOC on what a bright, rosy future awaits Whistler after 2010 are in some way supposed to compensate for — or perhaps distract from — the signage erections. Now, as Mr. Barnett illuminated at the other end of Pique last week, if they’d just explain how CODA, the Calgary Olympic Development Association, is going to roll over and play dead while the centre of Olympic gravity shifts west, those reports may have some greater relevance to our own post-2010 future.

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