Thursday, April 23, 2009


When I was in high school, when studying a piece of literature, one of my favourite elements to discuss in an essay was juxtaposition. I just liked the word mostly, and you can usually find a way to use it, because good writers, like good musicians (or maybe even photographers), realize that disparity creates messages. The difference between two notes, not either of the notes on its own, tells a story. The contrast between the smooth lull of one line of poetry and the stuttered cacophony of the next is a beauty all its own. So there was usually always some way to work some meaningful juxtaposition of disparate ideas or images into an essay, or even a short paragraph answer. And I think the teachers gave extra points for using the word correctly.

As I've transitioned into tertiary studies, however, I've found that they're much less impressed by it. Still, it's remained something I look for. Not just in literature, but in life. I find (completely accidental) poetic uses of juxtaposition in the world around me all the time.

And then sometimes, like today, I find something that makes me say, "What were they thinking? Do they give no consideration to juxtaposition?!?!"

Such was the case when I was driving home from Toronto today, and upon approaching Ontario Place, I saw this:

(C) Copyright Amanda Stratton, 2009.

I will say nothing of the fact that the logo for Ontario Place makes it look like some kind of tobacco commission or racetrack or something (doesn't it? it does to me). But then they go and stick this billboard there underneath it. The man seems angry, or possibly just fatally disappointed with life in general.

And the thing is that as traffic crept along the Gardner, for several minutes, this was all I could see of Ontario Place. It's tobacco/racetrack logo and this angry man staring me down. I gotta say, it didn't make me want to go to Ontario Place.

So maybe it's my unusual hyper-awareness of odd juxtapositions in life, but I couldn't help but think that maybe Ontario Place should have held out for a different advertiser for this, one of only two such billboards visible from the expressway. Surely, some company dealing in fun or puppies or rainbows could use the prime advertising space.

On a "Yay! Ontario!!" note, the Cosmetic Pesticide Ban - one of the strictest in the world - came into effect yesterday, on Earth Day. Yay, Ontario!!


Anonymous said...

I love it... both the article, and the ban. One small step....

Dodie said...

Love the article!!! The Ontario Place logo has always made me think of beer for some reason .... not a beer drinker at all, but the logo just looks like something you would see on a beer can.