Saturday, February 03, 2007

I Say Regina, But You Say....?

There was a horror feature shot out here in Saskatchewan about a year and a half ago. At the time it was called 'Harvest', then 'Untitled Pang Brothers Project', and is now being released as 'The Messengers' (in theatres yesterday).

Here's an excerpt from an interview in MovieWeb News with the teenage star Kristen Stewart...

Is this a genre you want to continue in?

Kristen Stewart: I would love to do more suspense and horror; I would kill to do a slasher movie, cause I like watching movies like that.

Where was the film shot?

Kristen Stewart: Regina, Saskatchewan; I call it 'Reggie,' I can't bring myself to say that name too much.

Was it a real farm?

Kristen Stewart: Yeah, I think they built a house for another movie, Tideland, Terry Gilliam's movie; but we took that, and altered it.

I'm not here to promote the film as much as to comment on her statement about the name of this provinces' capital city...Regina (pronounced Ruh-jahy-nuh).

Several years ago, a good friend of mine took a trip over to London. He returned raving about this new tv show he'd seen there...something called 'The Office'. He tells me the concept, and says it is set in Slough, which, in his words "...was perfect because it's like the armpit of England." He proposed developing a simlar show and setting it here because, his words again, "...Regina is so the armpit of Canada."

Then a couple weeks ago, this article appeared in MacLeans magazine naming North Central Regina the worst neighbourhood in the country..., yes, the worst in the country. Everyone around town got their tits in a knot about the story, and it is subjective, but it's also hard to argue with a lot of the facts.

Back on point. All of the above is tough to overcome, but to top it off, there's the name. Regina. (again, pronounced Ruh-jahy-nuh)

If you grew up here, the city's name just was what it was. Nobody questioned it. Or made fun of it. It never crossed anyone's mind. When we moved to Toronto, there was some ribbing...but more to do with the place in general. As in: "You're from where? Regina? Oh, I'm sorry." But when we moved to Los Angeles, holy crap.

"Regina? Ruh-gina??!! Like Vagina?" Seriously. I heard from my older daughters that they were getting a lot of teasing from their peers... "Hey Vagina girl!"... or..."You know where she was born? Vagina!!" Much pointing and peels of laughter apparently ensued. At first I thought they were exaggerating, but not after witnessing it for myself one day picking them up from school. Pretty astonishing.

It got so my kids stopped telling people where they were born and raised, resorting to just saying Canada (Saskatchewan tended to get a confused look and the inevitable...Huh? or Where?). Mentioning Regina became a "no no". And that's probably a good thing...Ms. Kristen Stewart's comment in the interview above tells me there would still be grief endured today.

Not sure of my point here, other than it was annoying. And also confusing. If you happened to be from Luck, Wisconsin...would American's gasp and say: "Huh? Yer from F*ck?!" Or if your name was Delores, would you ever hear "What? Like Clitoris?!" (okay, post-Seinfeld maybe).

And it wasn't just me...I've heard many a similar story from numerous Reginians when I decided to share my little tale. And I've been told it's probably as simple as 'you say to-may-to', and I say to-mah-to' - but I'm starting to think there's something deeper and more sinister afoot.

I need a cutesy punny line to close this me out here. All I got is...

Nevertheless, it's tough to defend your hometown as a tiger when everyone else sees it as a pussy.

SONG&ARTIST? - "All my friends are so small town
My parents live in the same small town
My job is so small town
Provides little opportunity..."


jimhenshaw said...


When I was working in Australia, we were using a writer based in LA who went to work on a show in Regina. One night the Oz Produer was trying to find him and wasn't getting a response at the guy's LA number.

He: Do you know where he is?

Me: He's in Regina.

He: (pause) Where's she?

Followed by endless peels of laughter.

DMc said...

I see a multimillion dollar campaign built around "Reggie."

That's so macho it's sick.

PS - Americans are 12.

CAROLINE said...

I see your dilemma. I know it's your hometown and there are lovely parts of the city, but there are certain areas that are pretty skank. And Lake Wascana (sp?)? Questionable. Possibly toxic. Good pulp fodder - the creature born of lake wascana? I am afraid to offer further comment lest I be seen to be part of the problem.

Webs said...

When I went to university in Texas, I had a biology TA who's name was Regina.

(No surprises follow, but I'm here to play out the string.)

I saw her name written, and I knew who she was, but when I met her I used the Canadian pronunciation. The people around us were flabbergasted that I would pronounce it like that.

Callaghan said...

At least people aren't calling it Re-Jay-Jay.

wcdixon said...

Just's more my kids hometown than mine. And one backup has been pronouncing it Ruh-jean-ah...Brit version?

bstockton said...

I once met a woman in Toronto named Regina. And she pronounced like the city. Being from Regina I was fascinated why it wasn't pronounced 'Ruh Geena', which would be the normal pronounciation for a name. She said when her parents came to Canada from Europe, the first place they went was Saskatachewan. When she was born her hair was the colour of the golden wheatfields of the prairies, so they named her after the city, Regina.

I could tell she had told the story many times and was a little tired of it, but I thought it was a very sweet story and told her so.

This was a while ago, before the whole continent became 'Beavis and Butthead' silly. I hope she hasn't had to resort to changing the pronounciation of her own name.


Grand Tuma said...

Reh-gee-na is the proper way to pronounce Regina, which is the latin word for Queen (The Queen City?). I have no idea why we(I'm a Reggie ex-pat living in Toronto) began rhyming it with fun but we're paying the price in global mocking.

musicmanregina said...

Ya "Regeena" is a hellavalot better-I'm watching a movie with Betty Davis-and her name is Regina-but they call her "Regeena", I can't imagine the annoyance if they kept calling her Regina-
its such a simple idea-pronounce it Regeena- (or Rejeana) its much prettier too-more like the city-Wascana anyway-but its like providing proper housing for all first nation people -a simple solution and our treaty obligation- but it aint happening-
Caucasians are just too selfish-
(I'm English-French myself)
John Cougar-Small Town