“And so with love in their hearts, anxiety in their heads and girding in and around their loins, Vancouver’s coolest and multi/inter-dimensionally-qualified twitbloggers of the interscape take their community building project to the next level. These folks are world changers; and you should use their ideas from everywhere to build community today.”
- Barack Obama, 2009
Okay. So maybe Barack Obama didn’t really endorse the transition of the Weekly to Daily Gumboot. But, hey, embrace the creative world of magical realism, suspend belief and accept the fact that 81.2% of our facts and findings are made up. After all, we embrace it! The trick is figuring out what side of the 19.8% your interpretation of our data, sources and “research” you think is made up. Hey, at least we’re honest about our subjectivity!
Though, we really did get a glowing endorsement about our “employing” Mike Boronowski to backstop a much sexier version of The Gumboot while Kurt Heinrich and I motivate our contributors to provide daily content or suffer the consequences of punishment by catapult. And here it is:
“Kid, just because it comes out every day and because you have your own website – or whatever you just said it was – doesn’t mean it’s not bullshit.”
- My Grandma, Betty, last night on the phone
Well said, Betty. Media consumers need to be mindful of what they take-in. And, hey, there’s a lot of information out there. We here at The Gumboot think it’s important for you, the reader, to know where your information – and our ideas – come from. So, since you might not be 100% familiar with The Gumboot (weekly or daily versions)? Allow me to provide a bit of a synopsis on how we got here:
The Historical Time Line of The Daily Gumboot
5000 BC – Year 0: Egypt and Mesopotamia build communities around beer (a form of currency and central component of many herbal remedies) and either the biggest non-French example of public works projects by employees of the state or, well, slavery.
600 – 1000 AD: Romans combine entrepreneurship, militarism, butter, salt, and ham to create a variety of cheeses and proscuittos that Kurt Heinrich strives to re-create in his kitchen each and every weekend. He also defends himself and his cheese if necessary.
1491 AD: People around the world who aren’t from Europe get this really weird feeling and start to wonder whether or not it’s a good thing that their communities exist in such beautiful places chalked full of delicious natural resources.
1500 – 1650 AD: Shakespeare and some other dudes make writing cool; first blog is published in 1603 to passively-aggressively commemorate/mock King James I’s ascent to the throne.
1650 – 1724 AD: The Golden Age of Piracy provides many ideas and concepts (health, democracy, gender equality, education, environmental stewardship, business, fashion, multi-culturalism) that continue to drive our society today.
1725 AD: University of Glasgow Professor, Francis Hutcheson, creates a mathematical formula for benevolence. The very same formula we here at The Gumboot apply to each and every one of our articles.
1729 AD: Jonathan Swift writes about eating children as an effective way to deal with poor communities and a lot of people take it the wrong way. For the record, people still take it the wrong way.
1812 AD: The British musket-and-cannon their way to a draw with America, yet somehow this “war” is remembered as the one time Canada beat the US at something; our national communities have been dealing with the ramifications ever since.
1848 AD: Soccer (based on supercool Chinese foot-to-ball techniques) as we know it is invented; things get a little ridiculous in all communities but the ones north of Mexico and east/west of everywhere else.
1861: The community of Merville, BC is founded by Sir George “Gumboot” Merville, who, incidentally, got lost with his crew on their way to Cape Horn with a delivery of sheep for the Falkland Islands. Friends of sheep and people who don’t ask questions, they inserted themselves into the landscape quite nicely and built a small, but vibrant, community based on the wild mushrooms that grew in the muddy middle-region of present day Vancouver Island. In the 1920s some re-settled First World War veterans arrived and invented a bit of a different story about Merville. Still, to this day it’s referred to as “the gumboot capital of Canada” for a darn good reason. Somewhere, George is smiling.
1880 – 1987 AD: The fusion of warfare, industry and government makes killing people and destroying things pretty darn efficient. Yet, somehow, the vast majority of people on Earth found time to dance, sing, create, love, give directions to misguided tourists, and not kill each other. In fact, there are a lot of songs, poems and paintings about such things. Technology and human innovation, it turns out, are viciously and beautifully double-edged.
1988 AD: Al Gore collaborates with a Soviet spy named Sputnik, the British Post Office, some nerds at UCLA, and a supercomputer named “Dennis” to invent the Internet. Seriously.
2003 AD: John and Kurt graduate from Bishop’s University with meager writing skills, a penchant for Egyptian beer and a blossoming friendship based on history, pirates and ideas from everywhere. After their proposed Fox sitcom fails spectacularly, they go their separate ways.
2005 AD: The environment – Gaia, I think her name is – demonstrates her/its anger and fury. To quote Paul Hawken on why this might be significant, “When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”
2005 – 2008 AD: Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart coin hilarious phrases like “truthiness” and “twitblogging the interscape,” while Rick Mercer and George Stroumboulopoulos combine razor wit with Canadian humility to lampoon every region of this country from Dildo, Newfoundland to Yak, British Columbia. All master the world of Web 2 before their time (maybe even its time).
December 2008 AD – the present: A descendant of Otto von Bismarck asks John what his family has ever done for the annals of history. John starts on a story of his great, great, great grandmother’s service to soldiers during the Boer War but is quickly interrupted. The question is re-framed and answered and the point is taken. After a few Egyptian beers, a game of soccer and a spirited discussion of whether or not cleeted gumboots would be good for West Coast soccer and/or the First World War, The Weekly Gumboot was born.
So that’s how we arrived at where we are today. Pretty simple. Pretty straightforward. All of it steeped in truthiness and histortical findings. Speaking of honesty, we also have a few values and ideas that define The Daily Gumboot’s mandate:
- Keep it positive: building communities is hard when we throw stones at each other, or when/if you get hit by them (this metaphor works when it’s not a metaphor, too); focusing on what we have in common as well as finding the humour in our differences is a refreshing change from fear-mongering and finger pointing.
- Collect ideas from everywhere: everyone and every idea deserves a voice and a venue; so, we strive to find stories about communities from all around the world – ones that are tucked away into the most obscure and unknown and distant places of this planet…like Calgary!
- Make ideas actionable: it’s one thing to have a good idea, but it’s an entirely different thing to deliver on it; in our Five Ways to Build Community segment – as well as our interviews with community builders from around the world (or the West Coast if our funding falls through) – we will provide useful tips on what you can do to build community in your, um, community.
- Be educational edutaining: recent findings show that people learn more when they’re having fun; we hope you have fun with it as you explore our understatedly educational blog.
- Make it fresh, snappy and sexy: this is where the “publishing witty and provocative ideas every day or almost every day comes in” part comes into play; again, Mike Boronowski gets credit for our new, sexy look.
So there it is. Thanks for taking the time to visit The Daily Gumboot. And, hey, just because we might not post a fresh twitblog each day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop by for a visit each day! Some of my posts might even take you a day or two to consume and digest…
Stay classy. Keep it positive. And, most importantly, have fun with it!