Community standards in Cowgary

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture
Community standards in Cowgary

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Getting+taste+real+life+would+fuel+tra... Transit rejects art poster ad[/url]

Quote:
Here's some friendly advice for the Calgary Transit folks who rejected an art advertisement showing a sculpture of a naked newborn: Get a Real Life!

It's a baby, for goodness sake.

Yet, transit officials deemed the photo "inappropriate material for the side of the bus," said spokesman Ron Collins.

Not to whinge, but surely the Glenbow Museum-- the organization that tried to place the ad--knows a little more about art than Calgary Transit? And surely the Glenbow has the right--and expertise--to use the best photo it sees fit, to promote its new exhibit, Real Life?

As far as I can tell, other than the one generated by Calgary Transit, there's no controversy behind the show, which comes courtesy of the National Gallery of Canada.

Two internationally acclaimed contemporary artists, London-based sculptor Ron Mueck and Berlin-based video artist Guy Ben-Ner, explore the human condition through their respective mediums, illustrating the "blunt reality that from the moment of birth, we are incurably separate from each other."

Judging from Calgary Transit's reaction to the five-metre-long sculpture illustrated in the photo, we are worlds apart. The photo of A Girl, shows traces of blood and blue veins appearing in the translucent skin. The infant is lying stretched out, on her side, with her head looking up.

Of course, Calgary Transit has the right to discern what is and is not suitable advertisement on public transit. However, highly questionable decisions like this one suggest officials need a little more direction from council.

You can see the "offensive" photo [url=http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2009/10/16/calgary-muecl-glenbow-ad-transit...

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

Ah, the Calgary Transit ad police.  I've done battle with them myself and walked away with my tail between my legs.

I work for CUPE and have had the need from time to time to advertise in Calgary. In 2007, I designed a campaign to promote the health and safety issues of the City trash collectors.  The members wanted the City to better enforce bylaws about dangerous and heavy goods.  In essence, the collectors were being asked to handle dangerous goods even though city by-laws forbid putting them out to the curb.

We had some radio and newspaper ads, as well as a website.  I had a bus ad designed to support the campaign and direct people to our website.  You can view the ad here. The full text of the ad is "Waste Collectors are not disposable.  Tell the City to enforce its bylaws.  notdisposable.ca"  It also contained a photo I took of an actual bag of garbage with shards of glass that I saw while doing a drive around with city trash collectors, along with the tag "would you pick this up?"

Anyhoo, the ad cops refused to run the ad, merely saying "the language and intent of this ad is not acceptable, and has been denied, as per our contractual rights."

Legally, we could have challenged Transit's decision and likely won, based on similar decisions in other provinces. But like all things, you have to weigh the cost of the legal challenge against how you want to spend your time and resources so we dropped it. I put out a press release ranting and raving, which got a few paragraphs of ink in the papers.

Other unions have had trouble advertising in Calgary. During the TWU lockout at Telus, a number of radio stations refused to play the TWU ads. Stations in Edmonton and BC had no issue with the very same campaign.

At the time, I assumed Transit would not run our ads because they are owned by the City, and we were taking on the City. That still might be true, but seeing the idiocy above, I have to wonder if something else (stupidity?) is afoot in that department.

skdadl

In my experience, a lot of real human beans live in Calgary.

 

Do you really think that the good folks at the Glenbow would be amused by the title of this thread?

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

I don't really have a problem with the title of the thread, but I have to admit I find posts like #3 pretty annoying.  I can't imagine writing the same thing about any other city in Canada.  But Alberta bashing is usually treated kindly by Canada's left.

Unionist

Why would anyone want to advertise in Calgary, while scientists are still divided as to the existence of intelligent life there? [Deleted in response to skdadl and Lou Arab's correct criticisms.]

It was a stupid joke in poor taste. There are lots of sensitive and progressive Calgarians, and I work with some in the labour movement. They themselves make stupid jokes like this, but that doesn't excuse it. It merely is a tribute to those who work in more difficult circumstances.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Lou: that's because they are jealous that the CCF was founded in Calgary. Laughing

George Victor

Although they did have to retreat to Regina to get the Manifesto right.  :D 

But how about Fort McMordor (McMurray)?  Or, I see the Italian ambassador has reacted to the Globe's headline, Police Probes, Mafia Allegations in The Palermo of Canada - "Perhaps I will live long enough to overhear on the streets of Palermo, in a decade or two, people lamenting: 'My God, this place has become the Montreal of Italy'! "  One could respond by saying that that will depend on Berlusconi's lifespan? 

Is there a cutoff point for geographical humour, or will national/regional enthusiasms always dictate correctness? 

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Unionist wrote:

Why would anyone want to advertise in Calgary, while scientists are still divided as to the existence of intelligent life there? [Deleted in response to skdadl and Lou Arab's correct criticisms.]

It was a stupid joke in poor taste. There are lots of sensitive and progressive Calgarians, and I work with some in the labour movement. They themselves make stupid jokes like this, but that doesn't excuse it. It merely is a tribute to those who work in more difficult circumstances.

Well, a heartfelt thank-you, Unionist, for using the strikeout feature as you did.  It is now archived.Wink

I actually had a good belly laugh from your original comment, and I'm from Calgary. It was also a rare and perfect opportunity to call you a moron, or better yet, some suitable yiddish term, as I doth hereby protest to what thou said.  Then we could have argued about the new babble protocol.  I was ready to propose a Rick Mercer notwithstanding clause, in your defence, should any of the admins blow the whistle on your original comment.

But then you retract the statement! Now what am I supposed to do?  Challenge you to provide proof of a labour movement in Calgary?

Unionist

At least when I insulted Calgary (now retracted), I did it as a stupid joke. When my progressive friends do it, they unfortunately lend a more serious and regretful tone to it. Like the obviously progressive person who wrote the above-linked article in the Calgary Herald, and who says, in all seriousness:

Quote:
... in a city as pro-business as Calgary ...

 

Michelle

I wouldn't reject that ad - censoring that picture is pretty dumb.  But out of context, that picture looks kind of disturbing to me, and not particularly pleasant for the side of a bus.  To me, it looks like a dead baby.

But then again, I've seen other disturbing transit ads (anyone seen that freaky transit ad for the movie "Orphan"? I was afraid that would give my kid nightmares. :D )

One thing I do notice is that people who make transit ads do seem to forget that there are people of all ages taking transit, and that some of the ads really ARE disturbing to young people.  There have been a few times where my son has been freaked out by a transit ad.  There's this one CF ad (I think it's CF) which shows a kid drowning with his eyes open underwater.  I'm more disturbed by that ad than the baby sculpture one, and my kid was, too.

And there are other ones that show children looking like blow-up dolls with all the air let out of them - another disease ad, possibly CF as well, I forget. 

And I think WCB has put out a few nightmarish ones too.  Great for their intended audience, not so great for children.  And children are people too, and use transit.