I used not to be much of a TV watcher. In fact, I went through the ’80s and half the ’90s without watching TV at all. But last Boxing Day, while La Chelita was visiting, I spent my Christmas gift from my mother to subsidize the purchase of a new TV. I went from a tiny TV with no cable, to a tiny TV with cable two years ago, to finally a big ass TV like this one.
Before heading to the store, we found online a 36-inch screen at the right price, but it couldn’t be had once we got to the store. But, for a mere $30 extra, I was able to buy a 42-inch screen. I couldn’t refuse: an extra 6 inches for only $30! And for the remaining week of her visit, I would occasionally declare loudly out of nowhere, “Chelita! There’s a big ass TV in my living room!!!”
Am I watching more TV as a result? Well, let’s just say I get sucked into the stupidest shows whenever I want to put the brain on tilt — like world’s fattest dad or mom, world’s tallest teenager, or buying a house in Montevideo. However, there are times when I come across stuff that, after watching it, I feel I’ve actually learned something.
For instance, one night on ARTV, there was this documentary about the history of movie censorship in Québec. The most important film distributor (and eventually producer) in Montréal from the 1930s to 1950s was a man by the name of Alexandre de Sève. Turns out he was a big-time enforcer of state censorship in the city’s cinemas, and by the early ’60s, with television taking a bite out of movie-going, he founded Télé Métropole, which is known today as the TVA network. But the reason why I felt I had a mildly edifying moment is that, in the heart of the Village, there’s a street named Rue Alexandre-de-Sève. And, indeed, on that street between De Maisonneuve and Ste-Catherine, is located the headquarters of TVA.
As it happens, the nerd in me loves finding out how city streets got their name. Sometimes, changing the name of a street can cause a lot of hoopla, like when the City of Montréal suggested changing Avenue du Parc to Avenue Robert Bourassa in honour of the late, multi-term Liberal premier of Québec in the ’70s and ’80s. The clamour against the proposed change was such that the city backed down. Yet, Dorchester, one of the main thoroughfares in downtown Montréal, was quite easily changed to Boulevard René Lévesque shortly after that premier’s death, …except for the portion in the tony (anglo) enclave of Westmount, which of course remains Dorchester since its residents and politicians would sooner die than rename a street after a sovereignist premier.
At any rate, it didn’t take me much poking around to find that the city of Montréal has a searchable online directory of street names. The estranged hubbie used to be driven crazy by how so many streets here are named after saints, but that’s just a reflection of how the Catholic church literally controlled Québec society up until La Révolution Tranquille of the 1960s. This irk he felt struck me as odd, coming from someone from the land of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, whom everybody knows must be respected and revered or else be accused of somehow holding deep contempt towards Mexicans. But that’s a whole different ball of wax worthy of an entirely separate post.
For now, I’m just enjoying me some big ass stupidifier that occasionally offers a few nuggets of interesting information, albeit trivial.