Playing telephone with Yertle the Turtle in Prince Rupert

When I was young and a member of the Beavers (the youngest group of Scouts), we used to play a game called telephone.

When I was young and a member of the Beavers (the youngest group of Scouts to give you an idea of how young I was), we used to play a game called telephone.

If you’re not familiar with it, a big group of people sit around a circle. The first person whispers something to the next one and it gets passed along the circle to the final person who then says what they heard. Chances are by that time what the final person has heard is significantly different from what the first person said. Sometimes it’s almost absurd how different the message is.

In the last week, Prince Rupert was involved in a bit of a game of telephone in the national and, indeed, international media. When I first heard about a teacher being told the quote from Yertle the Turtle couldn’t be displayed due to the political nature of it, it was just that – don’t display this quote in association with the current labour relations dispute.

By the time it reached other media, it was amazing how the story had taken on a life of its own. I read, from legit media sources and independent bloggers, that the Prince Rupert School District had banned the physical book from the classroom or that teachers were being told not to read the story to students. I even read one account where a poster had been taken off the classroom wall – where this poster thing came from I truly have no idea.

It’s unfortunate that a) something like this went viral and exploded onto the Internet in such a massive way and b) that a lot of people will take whatever they read about this in their media outlet of choice as the absolute truth. Really, it is a reminder that it’s important to question what you see and what you hear in the news and on TV, especially if it seems a little out there. Also remember there are always two sides to every story, and both should be told.

As for Prince Rupert, they say that any press is good press as long as they spell your name right. Not too sure I can agree with that one in this case. Yeah, it got the name out there and has people talking about Prince Rupert, but certainly not in the way people around town had hoped or wanted.

Let’s face it, there is a lot going on in Prince Rupert that could warrant attention like this (Fairview Terminal, expansion at Ridley Island, bear and whale watching etc…) but this really isn’t the best way to have the city make the headlines.