Sunday, June 20, 2004

Kulturkampf

Obviously, by far most of what Antonia Zerbisias says is chock full of crazy at any point, but I have a real bone to pick over some of her recent claims about Canadian content. It's also heartening to see the success Showcase's Trailer Park Boys [sic], yet another show which proves that, when we stop trying to imitate Hollywood and go our own way (Degrassi, The Newsroom, Made In Canada), we can carve out something fresh and different and wholly Canadian. I have a sneaking suspicion Zerb has never seen any of these shows, but feels the need to cheerlead for them nonetheless, simply because they're Canadian. And, possibly, because all the right people similarly heap praise upon them. If she'd seen any of the productions in question, she might realize that to varying degrees, none of these shows are so uniquely Canadian that they couldn't effectively be transposed to a similar American setting. Trailer Park Boys would work just as well in rural Florida or Georgia as rural Nova Scotia. Degrassi could take place in any medium-to-large urban centre; Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, what have you. The Newsroom and Made In Canada, admittedly, she might have a bit of a point on; the basic plots wouldn't be out of place set in Washington, New York or LA, but a lot of the jokes do rely heavily on the unhealthily corporately incestuous and Liberal-backed Canadian entertainment industry. Even that's terrible; what does it say about the proclaimed best of Cancon that the shows are only uniquely Canadian in joking about shallowly hating Americans and jockeying for federal largesse in production grants? The truth is, since the late '70s, when independent production began in earnest thanks to taxpayer support, a huge business has grown up where once there was CBC and little else. Some of us think the taxpayers shouldn't be forced to fund any television or film production at all. On the contrary, conditions should be created that interfere with neither the creation of entertaining content nor prosperity - and then the industry should be left alone. Government has no place subsidizing sitcoms.

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