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RANT: On mental health, YOLO, rainbows and elections

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
September 11th, 2014

Okay, time to stick my head in the lion’s mouth again.

I posted a photo back on Aug. 26 about the city’s new banners reading , “YOLO” and “XOXO” (neither one of which is as bad – or as funny – as the ones with goofy cartoon faces that read, “A Great Place to Grow”, here in marijuana central. Those still make me giggle every time I see them). After reading the 161 comments (along with many others on friends’ Facebook pages), I began to feel like my recent column discussing my own mental illness was pointless – apparently, EVERYONE’S crazy.

For those who don’t know, YOLO stands for You Only Live Once. It’s an annoying catch phrase that stopped being cool about 15 minutes after it was coined, and it wouldn’t have been my first choice for a banner.  Which begs the question: So what?

I mean seriously, so what? I was truly stunned at the level of vitriol and rage being spewed across the Internet just because of four banners that cost roughly $100 each (this, out of an annual city budget approaching the $20-million mark).

Now, if those banners read, “Get your head out of your butt,” or “Even your mother could never love you”, I could maybe understand the level of outrage, with people calling city councillors names and denigrating them as individuals – but YOLO? Really?!?! It may be an insipid catch-phrase, but it’s harmless and without malice. I actually quite enjoy the XOXO ones, as they dovetail so nicely with the city’s “Do It Outdoors” tagline.

The conversation even devolved into a homophobic free-for-all as commenters likened the banners to the rainbow crosswalk (another source of psychotically overblown outrage), and I would point out once again that the city has spent millions on beautification without a peep from anyone – to freak out over banners and a crosswalk that collectively cost less than $2,000 is completely insane.

It’s worth noting, too, that the city has undertaken so many beautification and improvement projects in recent years that if we all liked every single one of them, this would be one seriously creepy little town. Given how much work like this they’ve done, the law of averages demands they miss the mark on one or two details – not that some residents cut them any slack for that at all.

What’s next? Will you threaten them and call them out because you don’t like the colour of the light fixtures at City Hall? Maybe because you object to the by-law officer’s haircut?

Normally, I would ignore all this lunacy – but people need to wise up, here. We have an election coming up in roughly two months, and voters who choose to focus on this kind of trifling nonsense deserve to get incompetent councillors.

The seven people at that table, mayor included, make multi-million-dollar decisions every year, and our quality of life is very much impacted by those decisions. To vilify and demonize them for making a $400 choice that in no way injures you is complete cause to head to the nearest mental health centre – because you’re not just hurting yourself with it.

There are important issues to discuss this election and I, for one, would prefer you didn’t detract from that by screaming nonsense from the sidelines. Moreover, this community doesn’t deserve the exemplary candidates we get, if we’ll publically verbally abuse them over ANY issue, nevermind one so inconsequential as YOLO.

I hope we meditate, take our meds, shake it off – whatever it takes to ensure we’re behaving sanely enough to get substantive debate between excellent candidates over the important issues that will dictate our city’s (and thus our own) future.

If YOLO is really all you care about, then maybe you should take it more to heart and make better use of the ‘once’ you’ve been given.

Rant over.

Categories: GeneralOp/EdPolitics

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