All the Canadian news that’s fit to mock

Some thoughts for the long weekend:

  • The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney says there’s nothing ‘sinister’ about accepting cash-stuffed envelopes.  In hotel rooms.  Three times.  Fine.  There’s nothing particularly above-board and transparent about it, either.  Next time, insist on cheques delivered via ordinary courier.  When I was a young lad in the late ’80s I bought a 500MB SCSI drive from a friend on a bulletin board system (BBS, the precursor to today’s online communities).  At that time, drives of that size (and in that bus type) cost about $1,500.  The seller wanted cash.  So I went to the bank downtown, withdrew 1500 bucks in cash, and then took the subway to someplace west.  I met the seller at the subway station, and we traded the envelope of cash for a bag with the expensive hardware.  We parted with few words and boarded our respective trains back to points of origin.  It was all perfectly legit, but it felt like a drug deal.  Mainly because the exchange method would have been the same.  Sometimes optics count.
  • The Toronto media savaged Dancap Productions’ latest effort, Anne of Green Gables: The Musical.  I don’t think I have ever been prouder to be a Torontonian.  Maybe the problem isn’t so much the particular cast, staging or direction, but the fact that Anne Shirley never really goes away.  She is kind of like Godzilla to Tokyo, but a Godzilla that refuses to go back into the sea after her rampages.  She just kind of hangs around in one form or another (stage, television or screen) and keeps doing the same schtick over and over again.  If you passed Godzilla on the Gardiner Expressway every morning, pretty soon he’d stop being an unsual and terrifying presence, and would become just another thing to hang ad billboards and condos off of.  Give us something new, then.  Anne Shirley in The Canadian Caper.  Or Anne vs. Predator vs. Alien.  Anne joins the Navy and goes to the Gulf of Aden to cave in pirate heads.  Anne flies CF-18s and intercepts Russian bombers over Nunavut.  Why can’t she be like Tintin and go all around the world and have unlikely but hilarious adventures.  Get off the island once in a while.  If we had a real culture industry we would find new ways to interpret traditional stories and heroes.  I’m tired of getting the same crap shovelled at us year after year.
  • The CRTC has delayed the “one for one” rule, which would require Canadian broadcasters to bore us to death even more quickly than they do now.  Does anyone else find it hilarious that in the 21st century, with the worldwide media at our fingertips, our regulatory bodies are getting more and more desperate to force us to watch stuff we stay away from in droves?   It reminds me of how commercials used to be broadcast at the same volume as the program they were aired in, but then broadcasters realised people were tuning them out, so they cranked up the volume.  Geezus.  If you watch television in Australia, New Zealand and other English-speaking places, you will find that they are not overrun by American content.  Probably because they actually have a distinct culture that drives enough local demand without an enormous, burdensome regulatory bureaucracy.  And they aren’t doing it with billions of dollars to match American production values.  The problem for Canada isn’t that there’s an enormous glut of cheap American stuff ready-made next door.  It’s that Canadian content generally doesn’t tell interesting stories Canadian audiences want to see.  If you talk to people in the industry, they behave as if it is the audience’s fault for not tuning in.  News flash:  if an audience finds a performance boring, it’s not the fault of the audience.  The audience already has a job, that’s how they pay to see the performers.  The performer’s job, on the other hand, is generating and keeping an audience.  If they can’t do that, maybe they should start thinking about a fallback career.
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