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God help us: What Joel Thomas Hynes loves about Newfoundland

Tilting, Newfoundland.

Gord Parker/Gord Parker

Newfoundland actor and author Joel Thomas Hynes's God Help Thee: A Manifesto - a profanity laced anti-tourism brochure of sorts in which he raises the middle finger to all the things he hates (and somehow loves) about Newfoundland and its place in Canada - was launched this month as a pocket-size booklet. It was first performed for the annual RCA April Fool's Fundraiser in St. John's in 2006, to both a flood of complaints and raucous applause. We asked Hynes to share with us what part of Newfoundland he really does love. His response:

"Lookit here, considering I belong to [the town of]Calvert and have a house in Trinity South, I'm a hard sell when it comes to rocks and water. Seen pretty much the whole of Newfoundland (and a lot of Labrador) by truck, plane, motorcycle, quad and boat, and admittedly take for granted much of the cultural and geographical qualities that make the Island such a hot spot for summer tourists.

"But I have to give a nod out to a few places that've left an impression - Fogo Island (the town of Tilting in particular), Grates Cove, way up on the tip of Conception Bay, Hopedale (Labrador) and Shallow Bay (Gros Morne). Maybe it was the mood I was in, or the company, I don't know, but I think I'll always feel a profound personal connection to these places. They each made me believe in an aspect of Newfoundland I'd long since stopped believing in - birthrights and your 'lot,' that something still runs in the blood that makes it okay to be here and to be from here, a sense of being right at home far from home.

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