Another Day

It was a show that celebrated the individual, in the certain belief that within just one person we could find all that redeems humanity.

There was a time when the CBC actually exhibited evidence of having a soul.
And a conscience.
The conscience was the courage of This Hour Has Seven Days.
But the soul was Man Alive and Roy Bonisteel.

Four books by Roy Bonisteel

Today, it exists only as a few random clips in the forgotten corners of the CBC Archives, and in the aging memories of a generation that first watched television in black & white.
Seemingly lost forever is perhaps the most treasured interview ever done by any broadcaster. The one Roy did with Sondra Diamond.

Today, the CBC lives almost entirely on the celebrity, the superficial, and the fake.
Canadians are valued only for their newsworthiness, their crimes, or their athletic achievements.
And we are to believe that no one would give us the slightest attention unless we’re standing next to an American movie star.

More than at any other time in the history of the CBC, it has become almost entirely focused on ratings, and a confusing struggle to keep up with technology.
No one stops to ask why are we doing any of this.
Is it all just to provide distraction?
Is it all about reporting the horrors of the world, and then follow it up with an exhibition of tap dancing, to say that ultimately nothing really matters at all?

It’s become more about catching attention and eyeballs than capturing hearts and minds.
It’s become more about cashing a paycheque and “covering your ass” than being a light in the darkness.
It’s become more about restraint and efficiencies than about freedom.

We podcast and stream and webbify the life of a country, willfully elevating the shell of the medium above the value of the individual.
We wave flags and invite the world to our doorstep.
But what do we feed them when they come inside?
Content.
Without a conscience and without a soul.

Just another day on the airwaves, and now “pages,” of the CBC.

2 comments:

  1. Allanjoined April 10, 2009
    Posted July 30, 2009 at 4:46 pm | #

    Since you bring it up … I have never deluded myself into thinking or pretending to think that I understood very much at all that came from Marshall McLuhan. And I do have several books by him and have read from some of them.
    He struck me as a smart guy, like Joseph Campbell, whom I also respect.
    But also as a bit of a mischievous scholar who liked to jerk people out of their illusions using wordplay.
    And I still don’t buy the phrase “the medium is the message”.
    No matter the medium, I try to grasp the message. And I see them as two separate things.
    Michael Jackson is just as dead no matter which medium is informing me of that fact.

    from Wikipedia:
    “McLuhan frequently punned on the word “message” changing it to “mass age”, “mess age”, and “massage”; a later book, The Medium is the Massage by McLuhan and Quentin Fiore,[6] was originally to be titled The Medium is the Message, but McLuhan preferred the new title which is said to have been a printing error.”

    The medium is the massage, is a phrase I can fully understand and accept.
    The medium we are exposed to is able to massage the message using its own unique capabilities. But it is no more important than the wrapping on the present, or the frame on the picture.
    Impact, value and ideas are still contained within the message itself, and not by whether I’m receiving it as a Twitter on the iPhone.
    If mediums were the message then a higher education would have to be predicated upon how many of the current gadgets each of us possess.
    The story of the Ten Commandments did not in any way imply that we should revere stone tablets, or subsequently place more value in parchments and billboards. The basic lesson doesn’t change by virtue of the device.

    Tod Maffin’s ideas are still bullshit to me, whether they come by way of a keynote presentation or a podcast or a blog or a newsletter.

    We use all available mediums/”platforms” in our search for truth and understanding, and personally, it makes little difference to me whether I get “The Message” through the Dead Sea Scrolls or a post by The Tweet Makers.
    And in many ways, the only messages that count are seeing the sun come over the horizon across a peaceful lake or that astounding moment when a child is born or the tragic horror when a bullet takes a life on Yonge Street.

    The experience of living is still the loudest and real message, whether the CBC is there to turn it into content or not.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted July 30, 2009 at 3:43 pm | #

    Media in this country would be a lot better if ‘journalists’ would study the works of Marshall McLuhan. One of my favorite quotes by him was “Mud sometimes gives the illusion of depth”. Funny that now, more than ever the man could not have been more right…the medium is the message, especially in this country.


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