Last splash - The Orca

Last splash

Maclean Kay

A fond farewell to my fish. Plus the F word.

Since this is the end, I’ll share some things.

Four years ago, my thinking went like this: BC has always been at the forefront of alternative and online media…but there was a gap.

I felt like there was space for different viewpoints and perspectives – and crucially, this had to come from a place of discussion, good faith, and civility.

Anyway, that’s what I was going for: bringing something new and hopefully valuable to the landscape. And despite one unfortunate incident with ad copy, the idea was never to replace mainstream or alternative media, but add to it.

I think we did that.

(It’s funny, I had to be convinced on the name. I didn’t love it at first, but couldn’t think of anything better. It grew on me.)

In the four years since, I have worked harder than I thought possible. I have spent more than a few nights and weekends plugging holes. I have put out fires in places I didn’t know existed. (Likely, I started some of them.) But it never occurred to me to complain, because it was always an honour, a privilege, and most importantly, it was fun.

One of the things I’ll miss most is the actual building. I’ve had the privilege of working in the provincial legislature both in government and media – two very different roles. This gave me a unique perspective, and the opportunity to do and see a LOT. Some great, some shitty, all memorable. But I never once grew tired of coming through the doors. A big part of me still doesn’t quite grasp that I can’t just walk in anytime.

The thing I’ll miss most of all is working with our talent. The Orca became a credible platform only because of our roster of contributors. I thought about thanking each of them here – I even wrote something out – but it’s impossible to mention everyone, and I can’t bear the thought of hurting someone’s feelings on the way out. I was proud to publish each and every one of them. I can never thank them enough for the honour of trusting me with their bylines and voices. I am excited to see what they all do next. If I can help, I will. Not just because I’m in their debt, but because they’re all amazing, and working with them was fun.

There’s that word again. “Fun” is hugely important to me. I can’t imagine doing something that isn’t fun. If you thought you noticed obscure in-jokes in my own pieces, you’re right. I can never resist amusing myself.

To keep having fun, The Orca relied on donations. I will never stop being grateful to those whose generosity allowed me to keep pushing. If you’re reading this: from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

To answer the obvious question, I don’t know what the immediate future holds for the site. There are a number of possibilities, and I wish I could say more than that right now. To whoever steps up, I wish you great success. Nothing would make me happier than to see someone take my little fish – make that their little fish – to the next level.

And before I end with a(nother) bad and obscure joke, let me leave you with one final thought.

The Orca meant something to me. It represented my firm and stubborn belief that reasonable people can disagree. That you can criticize ideas and policy while still treating people like people. I have published many things I didn’t and don’t agree with – and that’s a good thing. In fact, several pieces changed my thinking. That’s an even better thing.

Shun the cold comfortable sterility of an ideological cocoon. Find people who see things another way. Hear them out. Assume they mean well. They may well be wrong! But so might you.

This approach makes the world more interesting. Understanding opposing views makes you better armed to defang and win arguments.

And more than anything else, it’s fun.

Please keep having fun.

In the words of the greatest American philosopher – take care of yourselves…and each other.

Maclean Kay has left the building.