2009-03-14

Conrad Black: the CBC Should be For Snobs

Barbara Amiel must have smuggled in some good toilet paper, as Corad
Black has just penned his opinions about the CBC in the National Post.
Why would the Post publish the ramblings of a British citizen in a
Florida jail is beond me.

However, I'm bed stricken with the flue so I can related to Blacks
boredome. Black has published many books, so presumabily he spends
most of his free time reading. So why he cares about the CBC,
especially since he can't whatch it down south, escapes me.

However, because of the aformentionned flue related boredome, and the
small chance someone might agree with Black, let me offer my counter
arguments.

Although there is some compelling television out there, most of it is
mindless escapism. I don't know about you, but my brain is fried by
the time I get home from work. The Amazing Race, the Simpsons, Big
Love, NASCAR: more please.

I used to pay for the documentary channel, but the thruth is it would
put me to sleep. If I had the brain power to whatch boring
documentaries 5 times a week, I'd go to the library more often.

Actually, I wouldn't even have to, I could simply browse the thousands
of books available on the Internet. I just finished reading a book on
my iPhone. Wasn't a literary classic, mind you, but Ciao, America,
about the impressions of Washington DC on an Italian, was still a good
read.

But the Internet is more than a distribution channel for Italian
authors, jailed Brit columnists and bed ridden Anglo-Acadian
Bloggers. The Internet is also an incredible distribution for video
and sound.

Whether you listen to music like I do via a streaming online radio
station in LA, iTunes, or, shame on you, pirated torrents, the world
is your oyster. Not only is there plenty of choice, but there are
plenty of tools on the Internet to make those choices.

Most people have the Internet at home and at work, with plenty of
bandwidth, so the usefulness of CBC radio two is diminishing quickly.
Many people have satellite radio in their cars or 3G iPhones, so the
number of places where FM radio is the only source of music are few
and far between.

Black laments the BBC's anti-Israel stance. Well, during the recent
Israeli incursion, I watched Aljezera via the Internet (as well as
many other outlets). I realise Black's jail guards may be tormenting
the inmates by leaving the TV on PBS (that carries BBC News), but the
fact is there are plenty of video news sources on the Internet. You
can even whatch the Saint Tropez evening news (which is shot in a
studio, not, unfortunatly, a top optional beach.).

You can watch CBC news via the Internet, so if a Gazan wants video
from the latest snow storm in Toronto, he is well served. So
essentially, Black is rooting for the status quo. Except I think he
wants CBC news on PBS so he can watch it in his Florida jail.

Black also advocates more Discovery and History Channel shows on the
CBC. Once again, the audience for that type of programming is well
served by alternates to the CBC, you guessed it, The Discovery and
History Channel. I guess they don't have cable in jail, which, if
true, is rather cruel.

Advertising bassed TV appeal to lucrative audiences (young males, the
wealthy). Cable channels to people's wallets. If you are a Trailer
Park Boys fan (who isn't?), you will subcribe to Showcase regardless
of the rest of Showcase's line-up.

The CBC, in my humble free man opinion, should cater to the under
served. The border line retarded, for example. Or old people. I'm not
sure what old people want to watch, but according to my dad it isn't
on The Discovery Channel (which he is too cheap to pay for anyway).

Canadians live very close to the American border. The idea that
Canadians have culturally more in common with Torontonians than New
Yorkers or LA ers, or Chicacoans (Opra, and that former mayor's show)
is dubious.

The idea that Radio-Canada was, and no longer is, a vehicle for
separatist propoganda is plain silly. The most popular show ever on
Radio-Canada was a couldn't be more "down market" sitcom: la Petite
Vie. If you have ever seen the Britsh sitcom ironically titled "The
Royal Family", or the American "Married With Children", you get the
idea.

I don't think "La petite vie" contributed to Quebeckers desire to have
a country (the running gag was Popa's obsession with garbage). It kept
Quebeckers entertained, that is all. Despite the popularity of La
petite vie, it was subsidized. You want a show about nothing (it is in
the freaking title) whatch La petite vie (no longer on).

The most popular show on Radio-Canada at the moment is Tout le monde
en parles. A talk show bassed on a French one. Ironically, that show
is a vehicle for Quebec separatist propaganda. Even though, according
to Black, Quebec separatism has collapsed.

Black also advocates more foreign shows on the CBC and less reality
shows. The thing is, foreigners invented reality programs (Survivor,
Big Brother). The fact is, foreign TV kind of sucks. Advocating more
foreign TV (and by default less American) seems laudable, but it is a
bit like Belgium advocating Canadian wine to reduce the French
influence on Belgium's taste buds.

It is perhaps more and more difficult to justify the CBC-Radio Canada
budget. However, if it stops appealing to the masses, and concentrates
on audiences who have news and entertainment alternatives, than
politicians we be forced to end its run. After all, 1 billion dollars
per year is alot of money.


Envoyé depuis mon iPhone / Sent from my iPhone.

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