by carl wilson

Suck the Canada!
(A Call for More Hilarious Propaganda)

With all due respect to the Department of Culture folks (whose swing-riding-target plan is a great idea too), the video below shows how artists can intervene in politics, including arts funding, without seeming like whiners: Pool talents and make something smarter, funnier and more irreverent, pointed, charming and entertaining than anything professional politicos can dream up. The production values don't have to be as slick as this. Just for background: The musician in this video is Michel Rivard of the popular Quebec band Beau Dommage, and the song he sings is a classic hit of theirs, "La complainte du phoque en Alaska" (The Alaskan Seal's Lament). (How apropos for the age of Palin.)

While a bit of the humour here is cliched and inaccurate about the cultural problem in Ottawa (it's not that they can't understand French or recognize Quebec celebrities: the current Minister of Heritage is a francophone from Quebec), it will play to the intended audience, and symbolically it yokes the censorship and arts-abroad issues and nails the ideological deafness of the Conservatives. Encore! Encore! (Kids in the Hall and their younger heirs, call home - we needs yr skillz.)

General | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, September 28 at 12:48 AM | Linking Posts | Comments (4)



I've always thought those kinds of figures are a bit dubious - they don't really provide any context. First of all, how does that compare to every dollar invested in, say, auto manufacturing? Or health care? And it's unclear to whom those $11 dollars go, how well distributed they are socially, whether they mean it produces that much tax revenue (I'd say clearly not), etc.

If it was a 1100% return *to the government,* sure, they wouldn't turn it down, but if those benefits mostly go to parts of society that are hostile to the Tories (such as metropolitan downtowns), I could see them wanting to reduce those benefits.

It's certainly complicated. Here's a study that tries to do the same for just the arts in BC - which doesn't find an 11x multiplier effect but does find a multiplier effect:

It's so tough though because the economic argument doesn't seem like a winner - where in the world aside from Hollywood and Bollywood perhaps is the *main* benefit of culture economic? In some ways yielding to that set of measures seems like to concede the game - to accept a way of looking at life that really means art can't win.

Although of course other arguments that art is like medicine or social work or what have you are also distasteful. So I guess you just throw a little bit of everything at the wall.

Anyway, does anyone know the specific source of the 11x claim?

Posted by zoilus on September 29, 2008 12:18 AM



1) Yeah, that's pretty funny.

2) That point at the end: That every dollar invested in the arts yields 11x its value. That sort of claim keeps coming up. Surely the conservatives don't hate art *so* much that they are willing to foresake an 1100% return on investment. Does anyone here know what the thinking is or might be behind that 11x figure?

Posted by Misha on September 28, 2008 10:09 PM



Thank you for the reference. Cross-posting


Posted by Heather on September 28, 2008 5:20 PM



very funny! tres drole!

Posted by g on September 28, 2008 5:00 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson