It's Time To Harpoon A Whale Of A Cliché In Dana Point
SparkyLeigh / Flickr / Creative Commons

It's Time To Harpoon A Whale Of A Cliché In Dana Point

Brighten up your baleen and brush your blowhole, because for the next two weekends, Dana Point hosts its 38th annual Festival of Whales. Despite the fact that I've lived in that silly little seaport for some two decades, I have exactly zero memories of this event ever taking place (My parents claim to have taken me for whale-shaped pancakes when I was three, but I don't believe it. How could you ever forget whale pancakes?). But that should change this year, according to the Dana Point Times, because 2009's festival is supposed to be bigger, better and more blubbery.

Joining the traditional array of too-early-in-the-morning parade and art-walk-type things, there'll be a movie in the harbor, a 5k run, some music, some classic cars and some food. But I say that if you really want to revitalize this thing, just watch your language. "Whale Of A Time." That's what is says on city banners, in this week's DP Times (pdf) and in LA Times articles about Dana Point dating back to the nineties. Not only is it the go-to phrase for anyone who wants to write an aquatic-mammal-themed headline, it's also the grammatical construction used for just about every single effing amenity at this year's festival. Witness:

  • Whale of a Pancake Breakfast  (Alright, my folks may not have been lying.)
  • Whale of a Concert (It is unclear what elevates a Jimmy Buffett cover-band's performance to the same genus of the largest creature on earth.)
  • Whale of a View (The "view" is of a documentary about Mark Richard Hillburn. Just kidding. It's about whales.)
  • Whale of a Deal (This year only, it's $8 per person on whale-watching excursions. Actually is a pretty good deal).
  • Ocean Institute Whale of a Tale (A book-reading performance thing, for only $36 per adult! Cancels out Whale of a Deal.)
  • "Whale of a Shoe" Horseshoe Tournament (Legitimately makes no sense; not a single person has ever worn a whale for a shoe. Oh wait, never mind.)

Not too long ago, the city rebranded itself with the pun-tastic city motto, "Harboring the Good Life." So it's not that Dana Point isn't creative. Why no seminars on the "Porpoise-Driven Life?" Why no "Whale-Meat-Again Barbecue and Kissing Booth?" Ok, those are horrible, but not as horrible if we were to try a similar exercise with the nearby Swallows Parade.


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