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CBC's Canada Reads is a bit of a horrorshow

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6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

No.  I do get your point, Catchfire. To disagree is not the same thing as to misunderstand - as if by understanding I would have no option other than to agree with you

I don't think that we are looking at a broken structure. I disagree that spectacle is by definition kryptonite to culture or that having a book forum featuring the laity is by definition "spectacle". What does that judgment say about the other panelists, or in fact the whole process last year when someone didn't decide to say something offensive?

The presenter I mentioned... he was actually the featured artist. Sometimes the spectacle isn't a custom option; it comes built-in with the culture.

 

 


Slumberjack
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Joined: Aug 8 2005

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I disagree that spectacle is by definition kryptonite to culture or that having a book forum featuring the laity is by definition "spectacle". 

It's like when they bulldoze affordable housing units and send the community residents scattering, and subsequently a lucrative commercial enterprise of sorts is thrown up, maybe condos, but spiffy facades are put on everything to try and capture the feel of what had previously existed, a commodified tribute to heritiage and such, complete with cameras and manicured green spaces to resemble the great outdoors that might have existed before everything.  Fake wood post and beam, concrete made to look like granite, or perhaps granite dug up from somewhere and shipped in, GM trees, shrubs and grass...you know?...spectacle.  Same applies to a show about books that more resembles a Dragon's Den stage.  It's not about the books.


bagkitty
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Joined: Aug 27 2008

Maysie wrote:

Sorry, some of these are Toronto-centric. Tongue out

*waves+ to Maysie, oh and oldgoat too*

 

-------

+ I have recently discovered that is it significantly more energy efficient to streamline my waving hand my only extending a single digit.

Surprised


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Perhaps I have a bit more faith in the durability of culture than you do, SJ. 

And in the fact that it is something that is ultimately open and available to everyone, whether we try to build walls around it or not.

And sorry if I see the objections (though I sympathize with some of the intent) as building walls rather than bulldozing them.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0608/1224298573383.html

 

 


Farmpunk
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Joined: Jul 25 2006

I've been listening to Canada Reads since it was a segment on the show that preceeded Q... Sounds Like Canada.  A show, which, incidentally, used to be all about Canada: voices and stories from across the country.  I used to think Shelagh Rogers was a bit too sugary and soft but then Q popped up and went in a completely different direction.

Canada Reads draws viewers and comments.  It's devolved a bit since the beginning, but blaming the show producers for bringing on potentially controversial personalities is a bit much.  Anyone regularly listen to Judy Rebick on Q's media panel?  The Ceeb is at the point where it has to count every website click, every BBM or PPM listener, and pay attention to its TV ratings... because it's about the only way to measure public consumption of its programming.  Rabble isn't that much different, as it has ads that are based on similar numbers.  

This year's Canada Reads "controversy"?  I listened carefully and didn't find anything that stopped me in my tracks... beyond Stacey McKenzie's inability to remember her final vote.  It's a debate and should be kinda fun.  Controversy or conflict is kinda fun. Look at some of the most posted upon threads on babble, for instance.   

There's a cadre of people on this board who regularly bitch and complain about the CBC and its programming.  I often agree with them and I have my own laundry list of complaints.  But complaining about Canada Reads because of one panelist who, oooh, said something to get some undies in a knot is stretching things perhaps a bit too far.  Maybe?

And for those who don't enjoy the yearly competition\debate, there's always The Next Chapter and Writers and Company.  Shows that are less overtly about having fun on the radio whist chatting about some good Canadian reading. 


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Winston, the main reason I don't think you understand is because you post baffling articles about Ulysses's copyright and about complaining about having Judge Judy carictures on a literature program is "building up a wall." As if the only way to have a non-egghead conversation about reading is to have Gordon Ramsay-type figure on it. I haven't said anything about this, and yet you keep harping on this canard. You have a habit of wrestling with shadows, so its quite frustrating to see you joust with herrings while I'm trying to tell you what I actually wrote.

And Slumberjack: Debordist, am I? At least I don't have corpses in my mouth.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Come on CF,

I didn't say anything about O'Leary, Ramsay or anyone else, but I didn't cry foul over your bit of hyperbolae.

And if you're confused about my Ulysses comment I am doubly so about how this has anything to do with tearing down buildings and putting up closed circuit cameras.

I'll say it again; I have no problem with the format; I think Canada Reads is a good thing. I don't think it is so "reality tv" that it poses the threat of being extremely damaging to Canadian Literature. I don't blame the CBC for the out-of-line comments of one of its panelists, and I don't think they have to adopt any different criteria to try and make sure it doesn't happen in the future. 

I don't see it as lowbrow or highbrow; I just don't agree with the criticism of Canada Reads; I don't think it needs to change at all. And I am astonished that anyone should see a casual and less-than-serious look at Canadian literature as such a great threat. 

You want to know what my Ulysses reference was about? Not trying to equate you with Stephen Joyce (you and I are not the only parties in this, after all)  but pointing out an absurd example of the attitude that free, open, and perhaps irreverent enjoyment is a threat to literature.

(edit)

And if I may, it's clear to me that we disagree. I accept that, and I have not questioned your ability to understand what it is I am saying (my "confused" comment above notwithstanding). Please afford me the same credit.

 

 

 

 

 


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Some interesting comments by members of the playwrights' guild on this and on the rejection of Michael Healey's play:

http://playwrightsguild.ca/news/playwrights-speak-out 

 


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Quote:
And I am astonished that anyone should see a casual and less-than-serious look at Canadian literature as such a great threat.

This is what I am talking about, Winston, about you and your shadows again. Nothing here has any bearing on my actual criticisms of Canada Reads (which, I hope is clear, I do not want to eliminate -- same goes for its patron, the CBC). I don't object to a casual reading show. I don't object to a less-than-serious look at Canadian literature. I don't consider anything here a "great threat." That is all in your own mind, which again, makes me wonder if you actually read a word I write.

The Ulysses copyright reference--yet another non-sequitur--is so misapplied, both in reference to the topic and to the subject behind my keyboard--I rather don't know where to begin.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

As I said CF, this is not all about me criticising you. In fact, none of it is, really. Other than saying we disagree (and I think that is a safe assumption, based on some of the opinions of others you have posted) I don't think I have made much in the way of direct reference to your opinions on this, whatever they are. 

You don't want to eliminate the show and don't consider it a threat? Fine. The fact is, my comments were in reference to the opinion of the person I actually named and quoted, who does seem to see it as a threat - extremely damaging was the actual phrase.

"This year, Canada Reads decided to bring attention to non-fiction titles, problematizing their “game” further. I’m sure the CBC wasn’t expecting accusations – toward the authors – of terrorism and lying, but they didn’t surprise me. Such attacks mean only more attention. It doesn’t matter to the CBC which book is best because this format seeks only to promote itself. And in this endeavour, the CBC is bottom-feeding on culture, a type of consumption that is extremely damaging to the future success of writing and reading in this country."

I was also refering to the opinion of the author of the article linked to at the top of the page, who does blame the show's producers for part of what happened. He also calls for a more stringent jury system to choose panelists. I am not sure if that bit was serious or not, but if it was I think it would be pointless overkill in more ways than one.

Hopefully that clears up the misconception that I was just talking about shadows.

Now I have some TV to watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfRkcJ0BLS0&feature=related


Slumberjack
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Joined: Aug 8 2005

Catchfire wrote:
And Slumberjack: Debordist, am I? At least I don't have corpses in my mouth. 

And here I thought everyone did until now, regardless of the particular brands of ineffective mouthwash which appear as placements in everyday life.


Gaian
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Joined: Aug 5 2011
Farmpunk wrote:

I've been listening to Canada Reads since it was a segment on the show that preceeded Q... Sounds Like Canada.  A show, which, incidentally, used to be all about Canada: voices and stories from across the country.  I used to think Shelagh Rogers was a bit too sugary and soft but then Q popped up and went in a completely different direction.

Canada Reads draws viewers and comments.  It's devolved a bit since the beginning, but blaming the show producers for bringing on potentially controversial personalities is a bit much.  Anyone regularly listen to Judy Rebick on Q's media panel?  The Ceeb is at the point where it has to count every website click, every BBM or PPM listener, and pay attention to its TV ratings... because it's about the only way to measure public consumption of its programming.  Rabble isn't that much different, as it has ads that are based on similar numbers.  

This year's Canada Reads "controversy"?  I listened carefully and didn't find anything that stopped me in my tracks... beyond Stacey McKenzie's inability to remember her final vote.  It's a debate and should be kinda fun.  Controversy or conflict is kinda fun. Look at some of the most posted upon threads on babble, for instance.   

There's a cadre of people on this board who regularly bitch and complain about the CBC and its programming.  I often agree with them and I have my own laundry list of complaints.  But complaining about Canada Reads because of one panelist who, oooh, said something to get some undies in a knot is stretching things perhaps a bit too far.  Maybe?

And for those who don't enjoy the yearly competition\debate, there's always The Next Chapter and Writers and Company.  Shows that are less overtly about having fun on the radio whist chatting about some good Canadian reading. 

Thanks for bringing a touch of reality to this thread, Fp. AS you say, those with offended sensibility (or even those privately concerned about the abuse of their taxes) do have choice. At least, until the March budget, after which, much of this becomes just so much esoteric, ego enhancing chatter,to be continued while the Great Misled are brought to face reality by private programmerrs and broadcasters, the latest Peter Kents.

Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Oh Gaian. You keep on being you. Never change.


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Quote:
The CBC has announced that next year’s Canada Reads authors will be sent on a mall tour, part of a strategy to reach a younger demographic. Sporting bikinis and Lucite heels (regardless of gender), the writers will walk a food court catwalk and then stand next to voting boxes where mall patrons can pick their favourites. Shoppers not wanting to take a break between Dynamite and H&M, can text in their preferences. The writer with the most number of votes and facebook friends wins.

In her excoriating article in The Globe and Mail, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer discussed much of what made this year’s Canada Reads so abysmal. The competition, however, is only a symptom of the fact that cultural criticism is no longer considered sexy enough in its own right. Instead it needs to be tarted up with reality-TV-style competitions and propped up by social media campaigns. Beyond the tackiness, it’s dangerous. By conflating the ideas of criticism and celebrity, we’re recasting what it means to be a writer....

Do you have a book coming out? Do you want to? The first piece of advice you’ll be given is to develop a web presence. With reviews and criticism disappearing in traditional venues, publishers need their authors to flog books by whatever means available. Social media is cheap, requires no supervision and when someone does it well, it can sell books. But those successes are as few and far between as Mary Kay ladies driving pink Cadillacs.

Social media was not designed for considered commentary. It succeeds by disseminating the business of ordinary lives in ways previously reserved for celebrities. Our names show up in “newsfeeds”; we get tagged in photos; our friends are tallied. We toss out the crumbs of our daily lives, convinced there is a waiting crowd ready to receive them as pearls. It’s also a fast medium—Twitter, Facebook and blogs are built for snappy, superficial updates. There’s no time for the contemplation that went into a Richler column, and certainly none of the pay.
#faster #shinier #prettier @authors

6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Indeed. A travesty!

Although.....   the competition has been over for a couple of weeks and we're still talking about it. I didn't know that the mob pap-fed by social media could sustain a thought that long. 

Here is another take on it by Jen Sookfong Lee:

http://sookfong.com/

And another (in which Rabble gets some bump) from Mike Spry. I don't agree with his apologism for Goldwater, his take on the rules of engagement, nor some of the things he says about Nemat. But I think he has a good eye for preciousness, while still acknowledging respect for a difficult craft.

http://mikespry.org/2012/02/10/truth-and-pettiness-on-canada-reads/

Sorry. Nobody owns literature. I don't believe CBC is looking to take Elanor Wachtel off the air and replace her approach entirely with a competition format like this. This is a different approach that is going to appeal to different people. I think there is room enough for both ways, and I think some of these commentators don't have a case - either in their predictions of doom, or in what is and is not an allowable format for discussing and promoting the written word.

(edit)

Again, I do understand some of the shocked sensibilities. But I don't see anyone trying to burn down their clubhouse. My objection is  that some of these arguments descend into de-legitimizing, building walls between what is and is not acceptable, and unestablished claims of threat and danger.

Bringing social media into the argument is apt; because I am sure anyone with any understanding of how these new media work  can see the folly in those arguments.

 

 

 


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Quote:
Sorry. Nobody owns literature.

Why do you keep flogging this poor horse? I fail to see how this has anything to do with what's under discussion. It's getting to be insulting. "Sorry." And you wonder why people keep re-explaining their perspective to you.

ETA. And wow. That Mike Spry piece is utter shite. "Sorry." Thanks for posting.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

With respect, Catchfire (seriously, because I DO recognize and acknowledge your position, and some of the objections of these commentators), I have the same opinion of the facebook rant you posted. It is exclusionary, biased, and utter nonsense.

You are entitled to your opinion, but it is no more valid than mine, or that of others who happen to see things from a different perspective.

"Social media was not designed for considered commentary."

"Social media is cheap, requires no supervision and when someone does it well, it can sell books. But those successes are as few and far between as Mary Kay ladies driving pink Cadillacs."

Excuse me please, but says who? And what sort of medium is worthy of "considered commentary", whatever that is? Fishwrap? The Idiot Box? People shouldn't promote their writing online because it is beneath them? 

If you are wondering what I was refering to it is the elitism, ignorance, and presumption in that piece you posted. 

And as I said, the real issue is not the difference of opinion, but the attempts to invalidate and (as I see it) silence.

 


 



Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Yes, we must struggle not to invalidate the opinion that a respected author is a terrorist. What crap. You need to re-evaluate what counts as free speech.

You disagree that emerging authors are being encouraged, even forced, to forge online profiles? Or do you think that to point that out is also an attempt to "own literature"? Or is that "shocked sensibilities"?


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Catchfire wrote:

Yes, we must struggle not to invalidate the opinion that a respected author is a terrorist. What crap. You need to re-evaluate what counts as free speech.

I have said a number of times that I think the comments of that panelist was out of line, and made the distinction between that and the overall format of the program. 

Do not try to  pull that shit on me, please.

(edit)

And as for your second point, you are free to parse it however you want, but the highest presence of any of the writers I know (except those who I meet more frequently in person) is ONLINE. And that is also where I most often learn about new literature, film and art. And in fact no, I think in most cases people aren't forced into using that medium.

If you know of any cases of abuse like that please, let me know.

 


contrarianna
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Joined: Aug 15 2006

I too heard that display of the CBC's descent to confrontational nuttery.

Yet, I'm not as certain as many here seem to be on the authenticity of the "Prisoner of Iran". The only thing certain to me is that such a book would be a guaranteed a best seller in the West.

Claims by Nemet that her story has been targeted by "Iranian agents" and unidentified others are plausible, but I fail to see how the 25 signators of the letter linked below fit in.  They claim to be former prisoners and do not minimiize Evin's horror while at the same time question the nonfiction status of Nemet's book.



Quote:

PROTEST AGAINST THE PUBLICATION OF THE PRISONER OF
TEHRAN
 
....
 
For us who have spent many dark years in the in prison, th e publication of any
book that would shed light on the unknown  facts of the prisons of the Islamic
Republic, particularly during the 1980’s, is a source of hope. Some of us the
signatories of this letter, have publ ished their memories and what they
witnessed of their time in prison, some  of which have been translated from
Farsi into different languages....

 
Full PDF here:
http://www.utoronto.ca/prisonmemoirs/Protest.pdf

A number of the signators appear to also have signed this letter signed by 116 to the UN and Human rights agencies on Iranian prisons in 2009.

Doc file linked here:

http://www.utoronto.ca/prisonmemoirs/events.htm


Gaian
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Joined: Aug 5 2011
Some have the nerve to accuse others of lying, from what they read coming out of Iran. Gutsy.

contrarianna
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Joined: Aug 15 2006

Huh? You seem to be taking sides on  what you read "coming out of Iran"--though its not entirely clear what side.

Are you saying that the signators are lying about their prison experiences, even though they depict  Evin prison as even worse and more restrictive than the book?   That is certainly possible,  though the motive is not clear to me--perhaps you could explain?

ETA:
This is the site's main page for the documents linked above at the U of Toronto, if it helps with your evaluation:

http://www.utoronto.ca/prisonmemoirs/


contrarianna
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Joined: Aug 15 2006

Quote:
Especially because she has become a figure in Canadian human rights circles, I ask Nemat whether she had any qualms about accepting the invitation to the Jerusalem book fair - as well as a second invite from the Israeli Tourism Ministry to return next month as its guest - given the movement in Canada to impose an economic, cultural and academic boycott on Israel. "No qualms at all," she replies, adding that her decision was even supported by some of her Palestinian friends.

"I cannot say that I understand the situation between the Palestinians and Israel one hundred percent," she says. "And I see this as an opportunity to study the issue more closely." But whatever the nature of the disagreement, Nemat posits, "there is always the possibility to sit down and talk it out....


Yep, annexation, oppression and dispossession is difficult for anyone dedicated to human rights to figure out.
However, another trip to Israel paid for by the Tourism Ministry should sort it all out.  

http://www.haaretz.com/culture/books/interview-discovering-the-night-sky...


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