The news story of Michaelle Jean, Canada’s official representative to HRH the Queen, eating a bloody piece of raw heart meat from a freshly slaughtered seal caught my eye yesterday. I’m of two minds on this. On one hand I think way to go, Your Excellency, for not doing what a lot of other people in this day and age would do by reacting with a wince, turn of the head, and a boisterous “yecch, no way”. But on the other hand, I wonder if it’s less about politeness than it is attention seeking activism masquerading as pure self indulgence.
When it comes to cartooning on the subject, I’ll admit to doing exactly what I wonder the GG does with regards to the attention seeking theory. I can sit quite comfortably in the deepest reaches of Canada, far, far away from the Arctic ice floes and pass judgment through a cartoon and attract as many eyes as possible on anything as contentious as the seal hunt. As one person sums it up quite bluntly in reaction to a YouTube version of an anti-Canadian seal hunt cartoon I created with an animator, “Isn’t that nice! And you say you’re Canadian, eh? Hey, look everybody!! It’s Graeme MacKay and Scott Blackett! Two assholes from Ontario taking part in spreading hatred against the fishing families of Atlantic Can.”
He’s right. The future existence of the seal hunt doesn’t exactly keep me awake at night. But it does make for convenient fodder for cartoons. It has made me into an accidental seal hunt advocate.
Take for example, PETA, The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, using the same animated clip mentioned above and making it into an e-card for its website. I gave them permission, (’cause who can resist the attention, right GG Michaelle Jean?) but was kinda taken aback a month or two later to notice their branding of the latest campaign against Canada over the seal hunt shows a familiar blood spattered maple leaf. This time the target is the maple syrup industry:
Perhaps it’s just natural to use a maple leaf to symbolize a maple syrup boycott. I do wonder how much the animated clip may have influenced the initial inspiration of the PETA people. If it did, my apologies to the maple syrup industry whose product I’m a huge fan of. I hope this doesn’t begin a movement supporting the ethical treatment of maple trees.