by carl wilson

'Anyone Caught Doing Culture, It Was a Career Killer'
And Other Just-So Stories

Toronto band and federal whipping post Holy Fuck.

1. The Globe has a news story, an editorial and at fine column by Simon Houpt about the Harper govt's attempt at a stealth attack on the cultural sector. I'm often critical of the effect of arts grants in Canada - the sense that Canada Council dependency results in a blander, more "worthy," "healthy," good-citizen kind of art culture here that breeds mediocrity - but these two programs are the kind of pragmatic aid that I think is pretty free of such effects: they promote "soft power" for Canada internationally while broadening artists' horizons and career potential.

The bust on the not-very-expensive programs is not just yokel philistinism: The fact that they're being justified by invoking the naughty-sounding name of Toronto band Holy Fuck (who despite their name are a danceable, creative and hardly threatening electronix-meets-rock band, who coincidentally are on an international tour right now and may not even be that aware of their ideological exploitation) and grants to authors to read abroad who might sometimes have a different political agenda than the Conservatives (because, y'know, milquetoasty neo-con-ism has given the world so much great art), all recalls the Gingrich-era cultural attacks of the Republicans in the U.S. If it were an isolated case, that'd be one thing but in combination with this spring's film-funding-censorship bill C-10, we're seeing a consistent pattern. And this while the Cons remain in a minority position: If they gained a majority in this fall's likely election, it could (like a lot of their agenda) shift into warp drive.

If you're Canadian, please write your MP as well as trade minister David Emerson and Heritage (ugh) minister Joseé Verner. If you're not but you can attest at all to the fact that international cultural outreach for Canada or any other country matters, drop them a note too. I'm proud of The Globe for applying fire to Harperite tootsies on this.

2. Elsewhere: T'cha Dunleavy of the Montreal Gazette had an interview with me this weekend about my book, taste and of course La Diva Dion. I always feel like I come off much more equivocal than I mean to when I'm asked about my final feeling about Céline in interviews. It's partly a reluctance to give away "spoilers" but maybe I should just say Céline Dion is amazing. Other recent reviews/coverage of the book from Bricolage and Nigel Beale as well as a wonderfully reflective LiveJournal post and subsequent discussion from someone I don't think I know named Christopher Pratt. It's the kind of reaction that's truly a pleasure to read. The book also comes up in the comments section of this post on "Eclecticism and Class", a Bourdieu-oriented discussion of cultural omnivorism on the new-to-me-blog The American Scene that could have come straight out of the middle chapters of my tome. If I have a spare mo' the next few days I may respond at length.

3. Also note that Vespa is continuing its Scooter Head campaign by moving into yet another relatively fresh medium - first paste-up graffiti, now wall projection - one of the themes of my Toronto Life piece this month on street artist Dan Bergeron aka Fauxreel, which I don't think I've linked here before.

4. And finally I've been remiss in not mentioning to Torontonians that the current edition of the Summerworks theatre festival has added a very well-curated nightly musical component featuring a roster that should be quite familiar to Zoilus readers. It takes a break tonight (Monday) but picks up again tomorrow through Saturday, 10:30 pm each night at the Theatre Centre.

General | Posted by zoilus on Monday, August 11 at 1:35 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)



thanks carl for the heads up on this - esp. the EZ address links in yr article. ive sent my letters of 'Disgust and Outrage' this morning. nice one.

Posted by andrew on August 14, 2008 11:04 AM



Amazing that I could link to a story called "what is Bill-C10?" and then call it C-86. Which was, of course, a famous music compilation in Britain released in 1986, and the styles of music thereupon. Weird the things the brain will do. I fix.

Posted by zoilus on August 12, 2008 10:14 AM



Carl, the censorship bill you're referring to is Bill C-10. The movie that was the lightening rod for that bill's supporters and their hate, "Young People Fucking", is still in Canadian theatres after eight weeks of competing with such summer fare as "The Dark Knight", "Wall-E", and "Get Smart", which is a truly amazing feat for an independent Canadian feature.

That's truly distressing news about how our government is hamstringing our ambassadors abroad in their ability to bring Canadian artists overseas to represent our country. I'm going to write my MP and those ministers immediately.

Posted by Gracing the Stage on August 12, 2008 3:33 AM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson