What To Save In A Fire

The world is less than a month from flying too close to the sun and burning up. The world is busy hustling to prepare rockets filled with selected members of the human population, along with cargo ships stocked with food, water, machinery and art.

Each nation has its own committees to make lists of people and items to take. We listen in now on the negotiation between the two members of the Canadian National Art Preservation Committee.


John:  We’re not saving any Canadian paintings, there’s no Canadian sculptures, now no Canadian poetry. We’re representing Canadian Preservation Society, yet we haven’t preserved one Canadian thing. I just see this as wrong.

Lucy:  We’re saving the best of what the rest of the world is leaving behind, what’s more Canadian than that? So, we take William Blake over Peter Fulton.

John:  Really, doesn’t matter. It’s not for us to decide who and what gets saved. This is the Apocalypse, this is The Book of Revelations.

Lucy:  Is that what you think this is, Revelations?

 John:  People think they’re flying away from The Rapture, but, I guarantee you, Jesus will be on those rocket ships.

Lucy:  All at the same time?

John:  Ever hear of holographs?

Lucy:  How did you get the other vote on this committee? It must be a real comforter to you to see the destruction of the world as just a natural progression. I am jealous of a person who can go through life and not let such things affect him like they affect me.

John:  Yeah, I’m lucky. I’ve got a friend in Jesus, who do you have a friend in?

Lucy:  Can we just get back to discussing Huckleberry Finn over-

John:  Aren’t the Americans taking Huckleberry Finn?

Lucy:  It got too political and they decided to leave it for the sake of racial harmony in space.

John:  I think the Canadian Preservation Committee should try and preserve at least one piece of Canadian art. I don’t think I should have to argue this point.

Lucy:  What is Canadian is adaptability. If the Tao had a flag, it would have a maple leaf on it. Green, red, brown, golden, it’s still the maple leaf, off the tree or on it. There is no Canadian language, because there is no Canadian culture. Canadian culture has always been taking the best of what’s around and putting a maple leaf on it. Look at the MacDonalds sign. We’re the only country to put our symbol on the golden arches.

John:  Your example of taking the best is MacDonalds?

Lucy:  It’s an easy example of Canadian culture, just by touching it, we make it ours. So, as one half of the preservers on this committee, I’m seeing to it that Canadian culture is preserved by preserving the best of what would otherwise be lost. I respect both books very much, but choosing Duddy Kravitz over Huckleberry Finn just because it’s Canadian is ludicrous.

John:  I do prefer Huck Finn.

Lucy:  So, let’s take it.

John: Ok, if I get to pick the Canadian film we’re taking.

Lucy:  Wait, we’re saving space for Canadian film?

John:  Of course. And-

Lucy:  I didn’t know we were taking a Canadian film. I didn’t-

John:  There’s the list.

Lucy:  I don’t recognize any of these names. Are these Canadian movies? I hate to say it, but the only one I’ve seen on this list, I really didn’t like.

John:  Which one?

LucyMen With Brooms. Terrible.

John:  Well, if you haven’t seen any of these movies, then I think it should be left to me to pick and I say we take The Sweet Hereafter.

Lucy:  Wait, that one sounds familiar. What was that one, again?

John:  It’s by Atom Egoyan. It’s an amazing movie about a town getting over the death of all its children on a school bus that goes through the ice.

Lucy:  What’s it like, Titanic on a school bus?

John:  It’s a beautiful film.

Lucy:  Choose something else.

John:  This is ridiculous. You haven’t even seen it, and you want to cut it.

Lucy:  There’s got to be a better choice then a bunch of dead children on a school bus. Let’s have some sensitivity why we’re choosing these movies in the first place. Enough death.

John:  That’s one of the reasons it’s such a great choice. It’s a movie about hope and recovery. Something we’ll need out there.

Lucy:  I think we could use a good laugh more than cry. Crying will be easy, comedy will be hard to get once the world burns up. Let’s take Some Like It Hot.

John:  It’s American!

Lucy:  It’s a great movie!

John:  We are the Canadian Preservation Society! For the love of God, could we take one thing Canadian?

Lucy:  Jack Lemmon’s mother was Canadian.

John:  Really?

Lucy:  Sure, so, there’s your Canadian content, Jack Lemmon’s mom.

John:  I need more than that. How bout a Jim Carrey movie? How about Dumb and Dumber?

Lucy:  We are not saving Dumb and Dumber at the expense of Some Like It Hot!

John:  Jim Carrey’s Canadian. Jack Lemmon’s only half Canadian, so full Canadian trumps half.

Lucy:  But the movie’s still American!

John:  With a full Canadian star. I can live with that.

Lucy:  You don’t pick art based on nationality!

John:  You do when you’re the Canadian-

Lucy:  I know who we are!

They eventually settled on Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa.


20 thoughts on “What To Save In A Fire

  1. namelessneed

    funny, but John should have stepped up his campaign for “The Sweet Hereafter”
    (Always will be One of the Deathbed’s,”Finally, truely, My favorite 100 films”) (Egoyan’s
    in there more than once, Canadian films forever!)

    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I am happy to read that the mention of Canadian film inspires passion, not laughter. I am a fan of The Sweet Hereafter as well. There are many Canadian movies that get overlooked. My personal favorite is, The Saddest Music In The World. I understand why this movie is not popular. I saw it in a theater in Toronto and some of the audience were walking out at my favorite part. Art is ultimately so subjective, sure, but, it was like I was watching a different movie than the rest of the audience.

  2. Steven Myers

    i like how it starts out discussing art, sculpture, books
    which i never feel comfortable discussing. makes me feel like a pompous ass
    and then it gets into movies which most people love discussing.
    this is a great tribute to canadian humility and humor
    because it is humble and very humorous….
    distinctions more interesting than molson over budweiser and du maurier over marlboro.

    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I had fun with this. Originally I set out to give shout outs to some of my favorite Canadian artists, like Moredcai Richler (ever read Solomon Gursky Was Here)? Wonderful. But, I soon realized it would be funnier is the Canadian Preservation Committee preserved no Canadian art. Seemed more Canadian to me.

      1. Steven Myers

        i thought pascal the boxer and that iron chef champion were the giants of montreal.
        maybe I spent too much time at olympic stadium when i arrived in montreal, but i did pick up a tourist brochure last week at the bus station.

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        You must have been the only one to spend too much time at Olympic Stadium. I went there once to see the Expos and there were more beer guys selling beer than fans.

      1. Steven Myers

        certainly not a classic to be dissected at the ivory tower,
        but when girls do some shit kicking rather than
        those long, boring love scenes,
        it’s good if not great in my professional movie critic hat.

  3. adurnablue

    ROFLMAOAFOMPLUIAPOG….. and because you don’t have a clue…….rolling on the floor laughing, my arsenica off after falling off my pretty little unicorn into a pile of glitter..:) Ten wrinkly noses!!!!

      1. adurnablue

        NO DOUBT! I might just have to use a pair of Cottonbombs, which for some delightful reason sound like they might be a really good pair of headphones..

      2. cottonbombs Post author

        Absolutely, cottonbombs make awesome superwoofers that go way past 11. I’ve heard some cottonbombs that reached, 1006. Only dogs and I heard it, but to me it sounded like the harmony of destruction with a driving pop beat.

  4. granbee

    Peter, why oh why cannot I not stop laughing at my very worthy literary preservers to the north? You really do help us deal with foreseen Apocalypse with laughing at ourselves, don’t you? Such a gift you have for laughing at yourself as a Canadian! I mean, even Jack London’s Call of the Wild was staged in Alaska,wasn’t it? Hmmm……..What about that old T.V. series about the Canadian Mounties?

    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Rose! I hope this dialogue rings funny because it’s true. We Canadians are almost embarrassed to step up and stare down the rest of the world in terms of art and war. It makes us cute, but, cute can only get you so far. What Tv series do you mean? Due South? I never saw an episode, but, I know it starred the same guy who directed Men With Brooms, which is the terrible Canadian movie mentioned in this. The world does spin in circles.

    2. Steven Myers

      great reference on the canadian mounties tv series.
      maybe you’re thinking of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon and his dog King which was some sort of husky.
      it used to run in conjunction with The Lone Ranger.
      That was my first exposure to Canada,
      even before the expos.


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