Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Globe and Mail

Here's one of those articles that make you go 'huh'? Margaret Atwood is worried that if the new Conservative government gets in will destroy culture. Now understand had the article been one that points out the need and importance of culture as an election issue whe would have been correct. Culture is not being discussed. Culture is not just an important industry but the means by which Canadians can articulate what being a Canadian means. After all, culture defines a people.

However poor Margaret can't leave well enough alone. She attacks the Conservative party as a bunch of phillestine hicks that will slash and burn culture. She accuses them of applying the rules of the market to culture. In one quote she says: """Own merits" is a slippery term. In the marketplace, it doesn't mean "artistically excellent," it just means "marketable." Big money will decide what you read, view, and hear". Actually 'own merit' can mean excellence. You see people aren't stupid. I know those in the artistic community have a rather elitist view towards the unwashed but guess what. It's the unwashed that made Stratford a success and the Shaw Festival of NOTL the great venue it is. People want great culture and they will pay.

Understand I know the need of government support, the problem in Canada is that it is beside the US. That cultural behemoth is so large that it overshadows everything else. However I believe Canadians want to know its stories. What is needed is great culture. In my hometown an 'artist' won some GG award for putting 10 bottles of water in a line. Now I know there's a message here, but what it is fails me.

Culture is important, who will protect it best. I don't know. From Margaret's articles she reminds us that the Liberals do nothing. If she's inferring that it best to support the Liberals because 'at least with them you know what you get', you will continue to keep culture mired in mediocrity.


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