Sunday, January 15, 2006

Identity

With the las week or few days of campaigning for the Federal Election, it is interesting to note the desparate attempt by all parties to ensure a uniformity of values which all Canadians share. It is absolute rubbish. The CBC does this everyday with their broadcasting schedule. Each programme is broadcast at the corresponding hour in five time zones. So, As It Happens runs from 6:30 to 7:30 in BC time, ON time, NS time, etc. The idea behind it is to create a feeling that all Canadians are living in the same time zone, and all listening TOGETHER. More than that WE AS CANADIANS are listening to the program and sharing CANADIAN VALUES and CANADIAN HUMOUR. More likely, we are sharing CANADIAN CONTENT requirements. Why is it so necessary to believe in this uniformity? I was reading an article in THIS Magazine or was it the Walrus, anyway, the gist of it was that the author being interviewed didn't give a rat's ass as to how his work is interpreted in Canadian history or culture, as being Canadian. Good for him. Who honestly cares whether it is Canadian or not. And what the hell does that mean anyway? It's not Canadian enough? I can understand the desire to keep some culture sacred from the overwhelming influx of American culture and TV lifestyles and music and consumerism and fast fat food, ad nauseum (literally), but this Nationalist concern that culture produced by Canadians needs to fit into this tiny Ottawa or Toronto-sized value system, or CBC-sized brain, is absurd. Canadians are not alike. They have few common values: Hockey, Canadian Tire Money, and a deep understanding that they ARE NOT AMERICAN. Beyond that, we are just people. The myth that many Canadians have encountered when travelling abroad, that we all know each other, is perpetrated right here with the CBC and our literary culture. So and so, a Halifax-born writer. Or So and so, a playwright born and bred in the Northwest Territories. Excuse me? Where the hell is that. The North West Territories? I have more in common with someone from Star Trek Deep Space Nine, than someone from Yellowknife. And that's all I know about the Northwest Territories. An area of land five or six times the size of England, and all I know is that the Capital city is Yellowknife, which happens to have a Canadian Tire store there. Which is not to say that there is anything wrong with being from the Northwest Territories. It's just this obsession with origin in reported information is so redundant. If I know that that such and such an author is from a particular area of Canada, I will have more in common with his work? It's just absurd.
So back to federalism. Yah. Good luck with that, because it doesn't really exist, except to say that, we all have Canadian Tire money and we can all wait 4-6 hours in the emergency room at at local hospital or that we can all know about the gun crime in Toronto, or that winter is bloody cold. Once we stop obsessing about how 'alike' we all are, we can start appreciating our differences.

3 Comments:

At January 19, 2006 at 9:46 AM, Blogger Kathleen said...

There was (is?) a resteraunt in a city where I originate from but which does not allow you to know more about me when disclosed, and it took Canadian Tire money as real money. It was called the Kestatupa, and even though it was less popular than the Hoito and the Scandinavia House, it was still quite an important part of the FINNISH district where signs were (are?) often in Fin, and you could order in that language if you prefered.. so take that common Canadian identity..


Although usually I am arguing there is any Canadian identity at all..... and it is not an identity of immigrating and being ignored as all funding for all arts projects would lead me to believe.

I think I picked up your bitter attitude in my writing there .

xo

 
At January 19, 2006 at 9:47 AM, Blogger Kathleen said...

Oh I realize having ethnic districts isn't so special in larger cities.. but these people immigrated generations ago... its the slowest assimilation ever.

 
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