Thursday, April 10, 2008

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

A few weeks ago, Charles McVety was in the news crowing about his influence with the Con government in getting the controversial section of Bill C-10 pushed forward. He huffed and puffed, (literally) about the immorality of some content in Canadian films. Along with the Globe story , his blathering drew a lot attention. Sadly it wasn't the kind of attention he nor Harper was after.
Following in his socially conservative footsteps, (wow, that's putting it mildly given that he believes if you are gay you can be 'cured'), REAL Women appeared before the Senate Committee last night. I did not see the entire testimony by their rep Diane Watts, but what I saw had me laughing out loud at times. She, like McVety, decried the dangerous amoral section of our society, commonly known as the artistic community, and she was so ill informed, well it was nothing short of astonishing.
Not only is she delighted with C-10, she wanted to go a bit farther. You see, Heritage Minister Verner had said that she would consult with the industry to develop the censorship, (my word) guidelines. Watts didn't particularly like that idea.
But Ms. Watts said she objects to giving the people who make movies and television shows that kind of clout.

She of course thought that REAL Women should be consulted as to what the guidelines should be. Ha, ha ha! Can you imagine what that would look like? Shudder!
Anyway, today sanity prevailed at the same committee. Members of the Television and Film industry appeared and presented compelling and informed arguments against the section in question. One of the witnesses of course was Sarah Polley, but every single presenter was terrific. As the questions came forward and were replied to, it was obvious to me that this thing is dead in the water.
The Con's don't have a hope in hell in getting this through the Senate 'as is' and indeed I'm sure it will go back to the House of Commons where parliamentarians had better get it right this time.
A word to the wise, official opposition members of parliament. Even a seemingly innocuous omnibus, 500 page, Tax Bill has to be thoroughly examined. The world is not as it was with the Con's now in power. They will push their agenda in any way they can.
You know, I often despair on this blog as to the influence of the political right on public policy. This particular issue hasn't been fully addressed yet but today's testimony restored my faith in both the checks and balances that we have in this country and the sanity of the majority.
I predict that the Harper government will completely cave on this. Lukiwski opened a door that was a big reminder to the country of who makes up his government.
Groups like REAL Women and people like McVety may want to restrict artistic expression in this country to only include happily ever after stories but unless Harper gets a majority, their dreams won't come true.
For those who are interested, McVety is apparently appearing before the committee next week. His argument is that extremism and ignorance should not be given a public forum and certainly shouldn't be considered entertainment.
The irony is delicious isn't it?
One last bit of news. The Conservative Chair of this committee forgot that his mic was on. I cannot tell which Senator he was speaking to. It kind of sounded like Tkachuck, a conservative, but I don't know. Anyway, it's positively shocking! ;)
What do you hear as his last word on that vid? Certainly not the F word, lol! McVety and REAL Women are surely shocked!
The ridiculous to the sublime.


Anonymous said...

I am not as optimistic as you are.

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about censorship in the blogging world with the recent actions of RW. While I am not for censorship in any form, what I do see happening with time, is that the din of noise that these targeted bloggers spew, percolates to the mainstream.
One only has to look at the terms and racism directed towards Muslim - this intolerance is mainstream.
I'd go further and say that some lie with total impunity and the populace accepts these lies because it easier to let it pass than fight for the truth.

There has been a slow but steady infiltration of corporatism and socially repressive agenda in the U.S. and Canada.

Bill C-10, no matter how it's sold, is an erosion of freedom because of the fear of censorship. The fact that a Jesus Freak such as McVety is even close to the government is testament enough for me, that freedom of speech and liberty are under attack.

A few years ago, who would of thought that America would be a rogue state, kidnapping and torturing? Who would of thought that the Canadian government would not give a shit about on of it's own accused of being a child soldier and rotting in jail?
Who would of thought that the RCMP would demonstrate themselves to be such boobs and find that they don't even follow the law. We can look at the taser incident as showing that there are underlying problems that the Canadian public is not even aware of.

BIll C-10 politicizes and constrains what such be an issue of Freedom of Expression. Even the fact that we are having a debate over it, shows that the "force" of right-wing nuttery have too much influence in the Canadian fabric.

Now, this does not mean that there should not be control in place to see how and where these tax credits are applied.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your reminder that the opposition parties must remain alert to these kind of back-door erosions of freedom and usurping of power.

As a friend of mine said, they can't trust what the government says is the objective of their bills because they just aren't trustworthy. So why do they keep blithely acting like they are?

To me, C-10 is just like the budget implementation / change immigration process bill.

They are both just vague enough that they can "act" like their intentions are good. But in both cases, they PURPOSELY DO NOT spell out what they will do, they just shift unexplained powers to the ministers.

The opposition parties need to start pointing out the underhanded power grabs dead on instead of dancing around the semantics and playing to the conservative red-herring arguments.

The only thing that matters is the legal text of the legislation. And if the legislation gives away power and undermines legitimate processes already in place, THAT is what the argument is about - not whether anyone wants a better immigration system or "gentler" movies.

RuralSandi said...

How many hours of these movies did McVety watch to come to the decision that they were inappropriate?

Many, many, I bet.

Karen said...

You make excellent points cherniak_wtf and I don't disagree.

I was thrilled to see the fight I saw in committee and see sanity prevail. That is where my optimism lies.

Too often, in fact almost always, voices on the side of reason never seem to be heard, so it was a pleasant relief to hear not only sanity, but intellect reintroduced into the public dialogue.

What I found interesting about this is that the opposition has been saying much of what these panels said, yet that has been ignored. The narrative has been to suggest that the Lib's were fear mongering and that the bill is no big deal.

Like you, I do not believe in censorship, but I do despair at the level of discourse that has seeped into the mainstream.
It's apparently become a bad thing to speak intelligently to any topic.

We can look at the taser incident as showing that there are underlying problems that the Canadian public is not even aware of.

The question is, why aren't they aware of it? Furthermore, how do you put all these disparate yet connected issues into a narrative that people will listen to?

As to the tax credits requiring checks, there are many already in place, that is what makes c-10

Karen said...

joseph, yes I think a narrative about the concentration of power would be a good way to go.

Other than immigration and heritage, there was one more recent issue that slips my mind, but there seems to be a bit of a pattern starting.

Karen said...

sandi, lol. In fact though, he hasn't seen any of them. How's that for an objective look at the industry?

Someone shows him clips without context and he decides that the movie is in appropriate.

The man is a buffoon, but a dangerous one as cherniak_wtf points out.

Anonymous said...

The question is, why aren't they aware of it? Furthermore, how do you put all these disparate yet connected issues into a narrative that people will listen to?
It's easier not to think. People are worried more about their own little lives for the most part than the big picture. We certainly are not going to change that.

The "narrative" in politics has to be short and simple. All parties are looking for what will resonate. Feelings will always have the upper hand over intellect.

Today, it was revealed that the video tapes from the Vancouver airport, that cover the time of the incident, were erased. I’m quite sure that the incredulous Canadian public will have no problems believing this amazing coincidence…

Karen said...

cherniak_wtf, why can't we change that? I didn't grow up that way and while I'm not in my 20's anymore, I'm certainly not ancient.

Yes, there was concern about the immediate stuff in my youth, but we also looked at the broader picture because it's impact was explained, articulated. That seems to be a bad thing these days. Why?

I cannot believe how we have been herded, yes like cattle and suddenly all thinking has stopped.

I know 9/11 felled many to their knees in incredulity, myself included, but that seemed to stop many a brain from thinking. Many seem to be frozen in time and willing to buy what the state is selling.

You would think that event would spur the opposite. No? It did in me.

Your point about the taser tapes is well taken. When I heard that today and the pathetic response from the Con's and all those involved frankly, I could not believe it.

I'll be honest and say that I've never watched the original tape. Seeing a man die is not something I can cope with. Knowing it happened has gripped me.

Will Canadians understand the gravity of the tape erasure? Will they draw parallels to the audio tape erasures vis a vis Air India?

No, I doubt they will, but maybe, just maybe if they had someone who told them the truth and was given space in a newspaper, perhaps. Someone on TV who actually reported, delved, rather than depend on what was the line of the day.

The world is not black and white but that is all we get. When did the beauty of grey and grey matter get lost?

I don't know the answer to that but I'm really frustrated and I'm not willing to give up.

I'd love your ideas on how to change this. You are one of the thinkers who can make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there was concern about the immediate stuff in my youth, but we also looked at the broader picture because it's impact was explained, articulated. That seems to be a bad thing these days. Why?

I wish I knew.

Over a year ago, I helped denounce a mayor who was too incompetent to know the difference between right and wrong. It made some headlines around Montreal.
While this was only the tip of stupidity, the backlash was not pleasant:

Now, the origin of the firebombers are know as death threats were also uttered.

You'd think that the population would remember but most seem to have already forgotten and the mayor has been promising "goodies" for the constituents (paid with their own money of course).
The city hired various PR consultants, restricted access to information, changed the format for town hall meetings and even outright lied in the media.

I was a little surprised by the lack of general reaction. This is Canada after all... I did ask a journalist why this seemed so unimportant. He replied that if the incident had happened in Montreal there would likely have been a big scandal. As it was, this had little importance...

The message being that all politics are local. He was right, of course.
Not many care about some guy being murdered in an airport or Afghani children starving.... unless it affect them directly or fear takes over.

Lately, I have been more frustrated. Maybe it's me getting older....