As I have progressed down the continuum of Canadianness, I have developed a special feeling for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. As a matter of fact, I used to really like it and appreciate the programming, even if I didn’t necessarily like all of it or agree with what was being said. But I recall waiting for an appointment about a decade ago where a spoke (person) for the CBC talked about shifting the focus and looking to appeal to a different, younger, demographic, and thinking at the time that this was a silly move because what they were after was a transient phenomenon that was already the prey to commercial broadcasting, and that the privateers had broader budgets and answered to no one in terms of standards of veracity or quality of content. So we got Ghomeshi and Strombo and perhaps some young ‘uns did either move to or stick with the mothership, but slowly the overall aspect of the place came to resemble a cheesy facsimile of the same dross that populates most segments of the broadcast spectrum. No longer is there a non-commercial entity out there to call bullshit when the odoriferous hits the circulating blades: the Mothership is beholden to some of the same revenues as the commercial idiot image generator, and gets the rest of its financing through an ideological and pathological entity called the Harper Government. The last real source of advertising revenue pretty much got nuked this week when the National Hockey League sold exclusive rights to all broadcasts in Canada to the Rogers conglomerate, and you could almost hear the double thud as the oysters of what was left of the CBC fell into the tray for surgical detritus. Insufficient taxpayer funding combined with the end of any vestige of real clout in attracting private advertising spells a death knell for any meaningful existence for the public broadcaster, something that has become increasingly clear with the preponderance of business bafflegab and pop nonsense on the programming sheet. The National, which was once a serious newscast, has become a bully pulpit for panels of programmed apologists for spoliation and any catastrophe, no matter how minor, is the occasion for immense expenditure of resources and broadcast time until the story loses its legs, along the same lines as the same coverage from the privateers: there is only a story to tell as long as it sells advertising, and for every typhoon there is a helicopter in a Scottish pub, for every invasion of Kuwait, there is a Swissair crash off Peggy’s Cove. Peter Mansbridge once had gravitas, a standing that came with substantive reporting. He’s become a doddering, self-promoting figurehead, and I suspect he knows it, but can’t live without he media presence, or perhaps he’s worried that Mr. Harper has ransacked his pension. It’s a symptom of what’s happened all through the network. There is hardly a more useless news site than cbc.ca, slow to update, riddled with double entries, devoid of serious content and totally missing any whiff of context. Blackberry, once the darling of the tech world, has taken a similar tumble and seems the perfect reflection, as an advertiser, of the woes of the CBC. They may have a wonderful product, but who will ever know if they spend their ad money on CBC, and I can’t imagine that CBC will be generating enough funds from their association with Blackberry to stave off the totality of rump status as a megaphone for Mr. Harper. Perhaps the execs of the two organizations can plan a sort of suicidal synchronized swimming routine where they hold up first one, then two, then three fingers, as their respective organizations slip down the whirlpool of the drain of oblivion.
Might as well choose our distractions. Here’s Rory Gallagher:
Master of finger style guitar and patter with a particular twist, Leo Kottke:
Toronto used to have better exports than the Ford Brothers. Here’s the Walsh brothers and some friends dba Downchild Blues Band.
Hope everyone had a great Buy Nothing Day. I did. I spent the day mulching artichoke plants, cooking lamb shanks, playing my Godin Fifth Avenue, reading and quietly fuming about the future and the potential lack thereof.