My pitch: Why we can't have nice things - Denny Scott editorial
For years I’ve wanted to be involved in more creative endeavours in my downtime like writing a book (likely in the fantasy or sci-fi genres), working on a play or writing for a television show. I think I’ve finally figured out my pitch: a TV show called This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.
Undoubtedly, it would be so popular it would be shortened to its initials, TIWWCHNT, as the kids are wont to do nowadays, or just Nice Things, and then I’d be able to say I wrote a television show. (I mean, sure, television writers get paid a bit more than small-town journalists, but I love what I do, so I’d do it more for the experience.)
The premise of the show would be to focus on both the people who ruin things for the rest of the world and the people who try to clean up the mess. There are plenty of examples of very bad situations ruining things for everyone else, like the “All Lives Matter” crowds (not that all lives don’t matter, but they’re kind of missing the point of the rallying cry they’re trying to subvert), the Brexit campaigners and, even here in Canada, the both new and long-time anti-vaxxers keeping the rest of us and our health system at risk.
However, the show wouldn’t always have to focus on the big issues, sometimes it could just focus on other problems, like penises.
Boy, there’s a phrase I’d never thought I’d type for print, but, thanks to what I recently read about the Tour de France, I know now that giant, graffiti penises (alongside other imagery) are a huge problem for the race.
It’s such an issue that the company responsible for the advertising initiatives that follow the race around (and often outside) the country has had to hire its own superhero team, The Eraser Men, to tackle the issue.
The Eraser Men, better known as Patrick Dancoisne and Joël Gautriand, have a hallowed duty every morning of the race: driving the route and cleaning up any kind of graffiti that may be found, which includes a large number of phalluses.
Early in the morning, the duo find themselves in a vehicle driving from “tagged” spot to spot, transforming everything from needles (mocking some racers for following Lance Armstrong’s shortcut to winning: steroids) to political slogans into more palatable images.
Penises, for example, apparently become very convincing butterflies.
The duo travel the route in a van twice: once backwards from the end of the race to the beginning, transforming political slogans into gibberish, syringes into ladders and penises into butterflies, owls or cycles. Then they go from the beginning of the race to the end to catch any graffiti that may have popped up since they started their run.
Their record is pretty good, if you consider the number of people with spray paint and too much time on their hands, as there has rarely been a penis show up during the televised race, which is supposed to be a family-friendly event.
Carrying nothing but buckets of paint in their vehicle, Dancoisne and Gautriand do their best to protect the eyes of the world from portrayals of penises and, if I ever do get my show off the ground, I’d make them the pilot episode. Why? Because I’ll wait a few episodes before I get into the heavier topics I mentioned earlier.
Another reason The Eraser Men would be the first episode would be because of the pair’s pithy moniker and the fact that their very existence proves that, as a race, humans really can’t have nice things.
We have this wonderful bicycle race, even if it has been marred by allegations of steroid use, that people can’t see without thinking, “You know what would make this really interesting? An anatomically-incorrect penis in bright yellow spray paint.”
Okay, seriously, that’s the last time I’m referring to male genitals in this piece. I promise.
The point here is, however, that no one can have anything in this world without people trying to tear it down, often just because they don’t want someone else to have something.
That’s why the idea for the show is so solid. We can all point to an example where a couple of bad apples ruined everything for everyone else. You could point to these graffiti artists defacing a race people work years to compete in, or the people burning the brush pile here in Blyth (which led to it being closed until a security system was put in place) or even the near-universal experience that parents have of uttering the phrase, “this is why we can’t have nice things” when a child inevitably wrecks/ruins/stains something by not listening. (Not that we parents have anyone to blame but ourselves in that situation.)
Maybe the show would mainly be depressing looks at how racists, bigots and science deniers tend to make things all about themselves and how poorly their privileged behinds have been treated, but every once in awhile we’d get to focus on people like The Eraser Men and their endless quest to rid the world-famous race of drawn penises.