Sometimes you have to put away your past. You don’t forget it but you just need to move on to the next stage in your life. Sort of like when you finished high school football or university — you remember the good times but realize that there is a different future ahead.
The English language is complex with words carrying different meanings based on their use. These words are called “homographs.” The spelling is the same but the meaning is different. Examples would be “lie” or “tear.”
Speaking of homographs and moving on, this month, the Saskatchewan town of Tisdale decided to change its 60 year town slogan from the “Land of Rape and Honey” to “Where Opportunity Grows.”
For almost 100% of the population of Canada, rape is a terrible criminal offence. For a small sliver of the agriculture population in Western Canada, rape is (keeping this simple) a cousin of canola.
I went to Google (which has the answer for everything, according my ten year old) and searched the phrase, “what is rape?” There was not an agricultural definition on the first ten pages of search terms. (See for yourself)
Even when words have certain meanings that a certain bubble of people identify with, the remaining people outside of the bubble are left scratching their head.
Florida is known as the “sunshine state” but also is proud of the Daytona 500 at the Daytona Speedway and has the most dog racing tracks of any state in the United States.
Let’s say Florida’s slogan was “Florida – Fast Cars and Bitches”.
Would you be offended? All of the gamblers at the dog track would say, “yeah, but a bitch is a female dog, so why don’t you try and understand me?” But any reasonable person would think this fake slogan should be changed and is ridiculous based on common sense, no matter the history of the dog racing industry in Florida.
Is canola important to the Tisdale area? Of course. No one can dispute this.
Do we even grow rape anymore? Nope. If you asked farmers they would say canola 100% of the time.
Does anyone remember a city slogan unless it becomes a bad joke? Not really. Think about Edmonton removing “City of Champions” after feeling it was jinxing the Edmonton Oilers efforts to even make the playoffs.
I asked some Tisdale residents what they think about the slogan change and a cloak of indifference crossed my screen as we texted. In one case a positive spin was put on the change.
“I was surprised how much media attention [the name change] has gotten. Maybe a good play by our town to get noticed”
Respected agriculture advocate and rancher Adrienne Ivey, who grew up on a farm near Tisdale, feels frustrated with the name change, saying it takes away the uniqueness of Tisdale and diminishes the proud heritage of agriculture in the area.
In truth, I am not sure why Tisdale didn’t just change the slogan to “the land of canola and honey,” which would of been more accurate and a little less bland than “where opportunity grows.” But, I am still going to stick to my rule that no one remembers a city slogan unless it’s a bad joke.
Agriculture is still a big deal in Tisdale. Canola still floods the landscape with its unique yellow bloom, and for the rest of the Canadian population, Tisdale might no longer be the brunt end of a bad joke that’s not even remotely funny.