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A Cultural Life
by Joseph Sherman

CBC Culture: If the CBC lockout has been resolved before this appears, these remarks will seem less urgent. I stand by them. Given the number of anti-network management articles I’ve read, it’d be an interesting exercise were I to make management’s case. From the top down, CBC execs have been demonized when they haven’t been flipped the bird (by those who foolishly undervalue radio and some of CBC television). I could make a case, too, if I shared management’s desire to obliterate CBC culture as I’ve known it since the 1960s. (If I’d a better idea, as a tender-aged university grad, of what I really wanted to do with my creative potential, I might have worked there myself.)

But I’ll not be defending the lockout perps. In fact, skipping subtlety, I not only oppose every angle of management’s stand, but I consider those directly responsible for the lockout decision to be: misguided, malicious, incompetent, ignorant. Or choose your combination.

CBC culture—and I’m a radio maven—is Canadian culture, personality and character-driven (consider the wonderful minds and voices that have long defined Canadian radio): voices of distinction, with grammatical exactitude (many current announcers, contract or full-time, make mistakes regularly; I blame the schools). Contract players alone, bright and keen, won’t provide my values in depth and continuity. Uncertainty infects a labourer. To economize, management would replace the better part of a broadly aware and committed staff with professionals who have no long-term loyalties and a penchant for the expedient. I don’t want this.

I have no patience with those who care nothing for the CBC’s future. They may expectorate an opinion, but it’s the wrong opinion. If they own their own brain, they should know better and care more.

Sadly, I hear there may have been some goose-hissing directed at their own from within the numbers of the locked-out; if true, I say cut it out.

Television’s inanities harrow me, particularly the ads. View the same one three times during one interminable break and too many times over a broadcast day and ask me if I’m inclined to patronize said flogged product or service. I’ve a swelling list of stuff unwelcome in my orbit because of such aggravation. It insults me.

CBC TV, with its few good original programs, needs revolutionary rethinking and certainly more imagination; it can still do what other networks won’t, with some exceptions. This isn’t the moment to reinvent, but I’ve been steaming about the lockout for too long already, inclusive of that “labour dispute” term, implying that those locked out walked out.

If this is now for the record, I hope those on the outside got most of what they wanted. Were there justice, there’d be far fewer apparatchiks, and those captaining this sorry campaign in particular would be on the pavement, signless.

Gambling Culture: Any government that profits from the addictions of its citizenry is practicing a form of cynical business-mixed-with-politics that ought to shame its advocates deeply. Sure, we need public money, but look who’s paying. And paying again.

Book Culture: Eleven literary publications due soon from Island writers. Judy Gaudet, Untitled (The Acorn Press); David Helwig, The Names of Things (Porcupine’s Quill); Deirdre Kessler, Subtracting by Seventeen (Saturday Morning Chapbooks); Jane Ledwell, Last Tomato (Acorn); Hugh MacDonald, Murder at Mussel Cove (Loon in Balloon), and Letting Go: An Anthology of Loss and Survival (Black Moss Press); Shauna McCabe, Ancient Motel Landscape (Broken Jaw Press); Dianne Morrow, Kindred Spirits: Conversations on Relationships that Spark the Soul (Acorn); Lee Ellen Pottie, From Pushthrough to Madagascar (SMC); Charlie Greg Sark, kitpu apteket (SMC); Joseph Sherman, Worried Into Being: An Unfinished Alphabet (Oberon Press). Reason to exult.

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