The Great Canadian Wish List

Although CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices have prevented me from writing about it, now that it’s over I want to say that I found The Great Canadian Wish List fascinating.

Of particular interest to me has been the sentiments expressed inside the CBC over the whole thing. The announcement of the “experiment” was met with an add mix of optimism and vague cynicism.

Once the results started rolling in, this quickly escalated to panic and confirmed cynicism.

From there we went to a vague disassociation in public with a “we should get points for trying” argument which never totally went away. Inside the CBC, the cynicism had given way to resignation.

In the final stretch we saw a re-ownership of the experiment, and if history is any indication now that it’s over it the Wishlist will quickly be forgotten.

I didn’t mind the dirty scrum the Wishlist had become. Some of those people were really pissed off. Passionate. Some of them couldn’t spell for shit. Where’s the harm in that? Regular Tea Makers readers or anyone who reads anything posted on the internet will know the drill:

Get over yourself, we don’t have time to sabotage your damn meal.

If you are so paranoid, maybe you should stay home, or start tipping to ensure that the assholes out there aren’t wiping your steak between their ass cheeks.

Not tipping is wrong.

Denis? Is that you?

It took me a while to “get” Facebook. I found the whole thing confusing. Then I was asked to join a top-secret society who wanted to discuss the state of media in Canada. It soon started to make sense.

One wish on the Wishlist was to Help the CBC understand FB, offering to “HIGHLIGHT THE SOCIAL FABRIC OF FB” and begging us to shut down the Wishlist itself.

“Social fabric of Facebook?” What the hell is that supposed to mean? Maybe we didn’t fully understand it when we started, but Lord, we get it now.

All this crying about how the results were “perverted,” and “hijacked,” well here’s how I see it. Facebook is incredibly democratic. It’s essentially an empty shell, and the more you take part in it and put into it, the more you can personally get out of it. Much like democracy.

And because democracy is so fair, if one group is more vigilant than the other, and take the reigns on an issue while the other side is sleeping, they can get away with a lot.

You want perverse?

41% of Americans believe Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks (up from 36%), and now they’re spending $275 million per day there (and climbing), with a possible 600,000 civilian casualties.

Talk about hijacked.

Happy Canada Day!

July 2 11:37am addendum:
Here’s the CBC’s wrapup from yesterday.
Thanks, Marc.


  1. Joe
    Posted July 3, 2007 at 6:39 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Shorter Anonymous:

    We may be a public broadcaster, but that hardly means we have to mingle with the lower orders.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted July 2, 2007 at 11:35 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    ” The Wish List and 7 Wonders and My CBC all look to me like attempts to generate cheap content. The CBC is being amateurized. This is the time to distinguish the service from the Youtubes and Facebooks of the universe by providing high-minded, professionally produced content.”

    Of course, the digitization of media and the low-powered computers in the citizen’s hands will always lead to mass mediocrity and the “wisdom of the crowds” following perceived popularity.

    Look at the CBC putting up “most blogged” lists (do they have a most read set yet?) leading to more and more reading about battery-dead Iphones, or Paris Hilton.

    The excess fascination of CBC TV news with politics and Parliament Hill is not shown in the average viewer and the CBC does much of what they do for ‘political ‘ reasons (Preston Manning as voice over for “This I Believe”) and because in the CBC blood is still the Reithian code of doing what should be good for the C’s and D’s classes.

    Canadian wish list was just one example of jumping on the bandwagon without thought. It was a learning experience, but not a mass market one (6000 votes for the top listing! Peanuts.)

    While the chatterati may talk about it, it is summer and will be forgotten in the next heat wave. Besides all the “leaders” and masters are at the cabin/cottage and don’t pay no heed to matters back in the sweltering city with the little people. What’s the Gini factor today 0.49, and they are saying that China will revolt if that number over there goes higher.

    But the little people here should know there place in the CBC universe, that’s why they hired Miss Layfield to democratize television.

    Back to searching the radio for intelligence in the universe.

  3. Johnny Happypants
    Posted July 2, 2007 at 9:02 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    oops…cancel my last comment. found it. damn hangover.

  4. Johnny Happypants
    Posted July 2, 2007 at 8:59 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Help! Can someone link me to a story about the results? I can’t easily find one. The .ca search this site feature is pathetic.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted July 2, 2007 at 8:17 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The Wish List and 7 Wonders and My CBC all look to me like attempts to generate cheap content. The CBC is being amateurized. This is the time to distinguish the service from the Youtubes and Facebooks of the universe by providing high-minded, professionally produced content.

  6. hugh
    Posted July 2, 2007 at 6:48 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    interesting … one group that has really understood the internet and social media is the evangelical christian movement. they are all over the world of podcasting and blogging etc. it makes sense. despite their growing power, they are still marginalized from mainstream – certainly in canada, stephen harper notwithstanding – and see the internet as a brilliant tool to reach the people. another way to move media around.

    if only CBC saw the internet the same way, instead of as an annoying nuisance that gets in the way of making radio & TV, or as a good way to fill eyeballs with flashing aggressive ads for dell computers and AOL (wtf?) … well, the world would be a happier place.

    anyway, things are at least inching in a positive direction in CBC netland… now looks much less annoying than it did this time last year. there are more podcasts and some shows are going online. good for CBC… but maybe they should hire some of these antiabortionists as consultants?

  7. Joe
    Posted July 2, 2007 at 5:31 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I assume you mean that people inside the big house were freaked out that right-wing assholes were invading their precious liberal (moderate) turf. I think thats a better response than the usual CBC reaction to right-wing assholes, which is to cave immediately. (Understandable, really right-wing assholes are convinced to the core that theyre right, but liberals always have nagging doubts. Plus liberals are never ready to go for blood.)

    It shows CBCs net.naïveté that it never occurred to anyone that right-wing assholes could set up vanity Facebook accounts as readily as could the B.A. (Honours) History grads who produce culturally significant Radio One programs in Fort Dork. (Actually, the assholes could probably do it more easily, since they arent hobbled by IE6 on Windows NT.)

    The Facebook responses were explicitly special interests, to use a right-wing-asshole catchphrase. Im not sure why CBC needs to be trafficking in special interests.

    And a grammatical note: On what planet is For a spiritual revival in our nation. (sic) an actual wish? I think a lot of People of Spirit™ would resent the hijacking of the term spiritual to mean Christian. What if we had a spiritual revival and nobody but Muslims came? Not quite what these right-wing assholes had in mind, I assume.

  8. Enik Sleastak
    Posted July 2, 2007 at 4:22 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    With so many of our modern ventures, we are accustomed to picking marginal projects and loser partnerships, specifically so that we can dominate them and keep our pompous “big fish in a small pond” attitude intact. We don’t dare take on anything genuinely ambitious for fear of becoming subsumed by it or, worse, that it might become a wild success that we cannot “control”.

    From the onset of this Canadian Wish List piffle, those of us who knew the scope and complexity of Facebook as a community and as a social mechanism sensed that CBC was trying to grab a tiger by the tail, with only two possible outcomes: we’d succeed by failing, our hands clutching thin air, and our “innovative interactive new media initiative” withering into familiar obscurity; or we’d fail by even modestly succeeding, hanging on for dear life as we were whipped around from one side of the internet to the other while someone more clever and more “nimble” rode our flapping coattails to arrive triumphant at a destination we would never have consciously chosen.

    (deep breath)

    So congratulations to our anti-abortion pals and their success at gaming our little poll. Their tiny win, inconsequential from a Facebook perspective, will likely be touted across Canada for at least one news cycle.

    Meanwhile, millions of Facebook users will dip into Facebook Video, iLike and the Top Friends application today (even the Virtual Garden application can boast 25,000 users), and Facebook groups like Six Degrees of Separation, God Bless TNA Pants, Save the Sam’s Sign and If 25000 ppl join this Charles will get Daryn Jones tattooed on his ass will continue to eclipse us with the quantity and the passion of their participants, no press release required.

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