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Letter: Closed captioning of city meetings offers some interesting interpretations

Letter writer Virginia McDonald got quite the laugh with the way things get presented on the closed captioning option of Guelph City Council meeting live stream

GuelphToday received the following letter from Virginia McDonald regarding some fun with the city's closed captioning option on its council meeting live stream

It's good to know that the “Madonna” vaccine comes to Guelph next week, and the quicker we get “Maxine” the better.

Viewers who rely on captioning, for clarity of listening or note-taking, whenever they stream live city hall meetings via learned the Madonna breaking news Jan. 11, thanks to the city's C.C.C.C - Closed Captioning To Create Civic Confusion.

The “Madonna” (Moderna) vaccine will no doubt inoculate us against the pop star's music, now and in future, and Maxine must be head nurse because “the quicker we get Maxine (vaccine). . .” the quicker the roll-out a public health presenter told city officials at the Committee Of The Whole meeting.

Viewers yet to tune in to the city's live meetings on the city website are missing an entertainment treat. It beats a lot of reality show offerings on Netflix right now.

Take it from the top: Mayor Cam Guthrie's stage name was “Miss Samira” (Mr. Mayor) but, as they say in show biz, that won't play in Peoria, so it was changed to Mr. Merritt (with double letter Rs and Ts, mind you, Mr. Mayor.)

There's some cast changes. Long-running stars Phil Allt, Leanne Caron and June Hofland are replaced by “Alton, Quaran and Hoffman.” Newcomer Councillor Rodrigo Goller has been replaced by “Count Collar,” an intriguing character, part aristocracy, part clergy. There's a debut by “Counsellor Bevin Gibson” (replacing a duo act of counsellors Bell and Gibson).

This season's programming includes a new espionage thriller, in which the city's “CEO” (CAO) outlines Guelph's 2021 Performance Objectives for the city's future operations, touching on the clandestine “covert 19 updates.” (Covid-19 updates).

There might have been a carnival side show too, if the mayor had not been warned by Councillor Allt about contravening Guelph's exotic animal bylaw.

“You're breaking off of having snakes,” (“Oh for heaven's sakes”) said Councillor Allt to his microphone, in response to the mayor's alerting Allt to faulty audio feed by saying, “You're breaking up.”

Indigenous delegate Bruce Weaver's greeting to council members in his mother tongue apparently informed them, “There is a yacht.” If this caption is correct, it can't be The Love Boat, following the heritage plan's omission of indigenous cultural heritage. And a yacht will surely mean more parking problems near city hall.

There's an axe murder movie “Chop” (CHAP, for Cultural Heritage Action Plan) as well as a heart-warming sports drama “The Champ” (CHAP, again). You can dance with the municipal stars on “CHA” (a half step cha-cha, and a CHAP sequel) or join their talk show “CHAT.” When you've had enough cheap thrills, you can get financial forecasts from “Heritage Wealth” (Heritage Guelph).

Religious programming is alive and well with “Catholic Kill” and “Lord West” (Catholic Hill and Ward West) all spin-offs from “Chop” (Cultural Heritage Action Plan). There's the stylists' show “Hair Assets” (Heritage Assets) and a financial report from the “Hamden Business Park,” which has been mystically transported here from Hambden, Ohio, thanks to the good Lord West, to replace Guelph's Hanlon Business Park.

All the above spin-offs from “Chop” (CHAP) have been edging out the city's expert advisory committee's tournament “Heritage Golf” (Heritage Guelph). Bet they're teed off.

The dozens of spoken words simply eliminated from captions suggest that when it comes to informing the public, many things are better left unsaid and unheard.

In our continuing Guelph Live series, will “Miss Samira” perform with snakes? Will the “Madonna” vaccine roll-out mean we can celebrate at a city yacht party, hosted by nurse “Maxine?” Will Heritage Golf make it to the world championships? Or will city hall fix its captioning service?

Stay tuned for coming attractions. You'll laugh, you'll cry. Grab some tissues. And crank up that volume so you won't miss a thing.

VIrginia McDonald, Guelph