Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why C10 is scarier than C4.

No, this is not a post about explosives. Well, note entirely about explosives. I just finished watching the new Rambo, which came out on Tuesday - ( and I am thinking about giant explosions and ridiculous body counts and C4. Where Rambo fails completely as a movie, it succeeds remarkably in sheer over-the-top blootletting. Bonkers stuff, and a movie I think many people could easily find offensive. And this is what I'm really writing about. People finding movies offensive. People finding art offensive. And the desire of our current Conservative government to regulate that taste and these endeavours based on their own perceptions. The idea that perhaps they should be the arbiters of taste when it comes to art, and dole out grants accordingly. And thus to ensure that the federal Heritage Department has final say in which films and art get tax credits and which don't.

Here's the thing. They can't have it both ways. Currently, radio stations must play 35 percent Canadian content because the government believes it is the only way to ensure Canadadian musicians have a chance to make it. I could go on at length about this, but briefly, it doesn't work. It creates an environment where the bigger artists get way too much airplay, at the expense of up-and-coming Canadian talent. It actually makes it tougher for good artists. Anyway, this is what the government has always sought to do, whether it works or not. Force Canadiana down the throats of Canadians, regardless of the quality, because everything Canadian must get priority over everything else. And yet now...they want to decide for themselves what "quality" actually means. They want to become the censorship department, the group that will protect us Canadians from ourselves. They would deny funding to projects deemed "offensive", or "not in the public interest". I'll tell you what's not in the public interest. Nickelback. And yet, they are not offensive (to the government). So what does it mean? It really means "offensive", and that's it.

When something artistic is "not in the public interest" due to it's offensive nature, what, really, are the chances the public actually saw it? How many people out there watched Shortbus? Which, while incredibly pornographic, certainly qualified as artistic and worthwhile. But this is the kind of movie they want to sweep away, under the rug. It's the principle here that's scary, the slippery slope toward full-on government censorship of those things that we now take for granted. Sure, we can get behind a program that allows no government funding for racist propaganda or child porn, but isn't that already self-evident? Actually passing a bill to make this happen is insane. All of a sudden, this starts to feel like China. Or like the Bush-style Americans. Crazy maniac far-left-wing, or crazy maniac far-right-wing. Since it is the Harper Conservatives, I will assume it is a crazy maniac far-right-wing idea.

And then they decide people in their government actually need to be fired because they were about to go see a screening of a movie called "Young People F***ing". Which is exactly the kind of movie that Bill C10 would seek to prevent. Which is exactly the reason their party members should go to see it. And yet, they take the tickets that are offered, and they are fired. This just gets more and more neo-con every day. And from all accounts, the film involves no real sex or even nudity. It just has an offensive title. Ironically, the bizarre actions of our government in relation to this film and their staffers are giving it far more publicity than it would ever get otherwise. But it's also bringing a lot of attention to this fight over C10, attention that really needs as much public scrutiny as possible. Because this is a dangerous, scary precedent the government is trying to set here, one that is far scarier and definitely more dangerous than Young People F***ing, Shortbus, or even Rambo.

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