#172 – Prime Memeister, Part Three: Seeking AdVICE

Question: when visiting a storied reservation whose tragic tale should rightly inspire indignation and disgust towards Ottawa in any right-thinking person, how many news organizations should be there? I can think of a few candidates. There’s APTN, the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network. It’s a go-to for my own research and thinking because they tend to cover stories that the CBC and Postmedia juuuuuust didn’t around to because destroying historical artifacts is obviously less newsworthy than the daily slather of revisionism and feels. The CBC as a national broadcaster would probably be a good choice, seeing as how the miserable plight of the Indigenous is a national issue.

No, of course not. Those reasonable options should go fuck themselves because this story, a potentially-important moment, is not here to inform Canadians. It is here for memes and photo-ops. And if it’s the Prime Memeister we’re talking about, there’s no “news” site more meme-tastic than VICE. For the unaware, VICE is a cripplingly-stupid and exploitative “progressive” news source which alternates between talking about totally-wild-kinky-weird-sex (which is in fact rather tame), talking about marijuana and how much/little fun recreational drug use is, and generally being sensationalist little schmucks. It’s as transparently constructed-cool as MUCH was, except that MUCH never pretended that it had anything clever to say. It certainly didn’t run hard-hitting pieces about blowing a load through the night.

APTN also isn’t guilty of running click-bait bullshit whose titles are written with a smitten eye to “the youths”. But they got kicked out alongside any other of those square media outlets run by The Man. Fears of a media circus are rather hyperbolic considering that there isn’t any road access to Shoal Lake. But that’s hardly explaining why a profit-hungry media company playing at edginess got access to the story over an Indigenous-run news organization or the fucking CBC. When others are barred from entry it suggests that Indigenous suffering is only worth talking about if it makes one shithead caker rich and another shithead caker look good. In other words, the Indigenous are being used as props. Again.

Why is it that the suffering of Shoal Lake can only be experienced through the lens of a sadsack collective of Hunter S. Thompson wannabes? Do you think Hunter, the master of Gonzo journalism himself would be an appropriate choice to cover Indigenous issues in the first place? I will concede that VICE sometimes does have useful stories and even more rarely can run good television. But the image that VICE projects and the image that’s used to sell shitty labor conditions to journalists is utterly inappropriate for the issue at hand unless the goal is to render the thing so edgy as to be meaningless. At the very least it should not be the only voice present…but exclusivity is what they, and by extension we got.

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(s) Next up, Marilyn Manson’s in-depth investigation of Newfoundland’s poverty

We leave the world of edgy brand management and marketing real, raw journalism now to comment on something more than a little bit insidious lurking in the wings. Go back to the link I posted under the words ‘kicked out’ in the third paragraph – do you notice all those Mounties hanging out there? This wasn’t merely a closed event. Access to the Prime Memeister and the community as a whole was completely cut by the RCMP even as Justin was out on what is undoubtedly national business. This wasn’t a top-secret meeting at the Pentagon. This was a trip specifically with a stated mind to uncovering and understanding problems on reserves and it didn’t allow the kind of media that people who aren’t attracted to milennial edge a chance to report another angle. Closing the trip down tells me that there’s something to hide; using the RCMP to do it is even fishier; giving exclusive access to an entertainment company over relevant broadcasters is profoundly dodgy.

We have plenty of aww-worthy pictures of #RealChange playing with children, hugging and smiling people – the usual tripe. But the story of Shoal Lake itself, the one that VICE got? Totally sublimated by talking points. There might have been some darkness to the trip, some evidence of frustration and resentment or even condemnation of the Liberal Party itself. But we’ll never know because the only people allowed to report gave fawning praise for Justin and the others were shut out by police action and a flimsy excuse.

VICE and the PMO are made for each other. Both are pale facsimiles of the institutions they are supposed to represent, leaning on marketing and branding to mask shitty ideas and shitty conditions. Both are under the thumb of egoistic maniacs. And neither should be able to consider the stunt they pulled at Shoal Lake anything more than a photo shoot.

 

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#61 – Channel Surfing, Part Three: Rick Mercer Reports on Nothing

Rick Mercer is the Don Cherry of the caker left in Canada. I’ll admit to putting this off because watching the man in action is just so unappealing. Look, people. I’ve watched Schitt’s Creek, Little Mosque on the Prairie, and listened to the Vinyl Cafe for the sake of research. They were all insipid, gloopy, flaccid mush. But I would take in every episode of that dreck twice in the name of avoiding this moron and his mouthbreathing Potemkin Tour of Canada. I don’t think it’s possible to any less amused by anything ever put to film than I was while doing the research for this piece. I hate Don Cherry because he is an empty suitrack with a singular competence who nevertheless feels that his reactionary, know-nothing voice is wanted. For Rick I feel much the same, only without the “singular competence” bit. Even the Moan and Wail won’t hesitate to call Mercer a coward!

Let’s start with this noxious example of how Rick peddles in Canadian revisionism:

Rick scores some rotten points immediately with his whinging nonsense about American border security. He makes a point of attempting to break US law by having his driver only bring his driver’s license to the border, and then he sagely advises the viewer that although his passport contains Afghan visas (because Afghans in the US were at the time being horrifically mistreat…oh, wait) he himself is white and therefore should have no problems. He then suggests to his viewers that should he fail to follow (another) US law regarding filming border crosses he will be sent to Syria and tortured. Hey assbag – Canada was complicit in the extradition of Omar Khadr. Amazing how you didn’t mention that part, eh fuckface? He finishes by making it to Buffalo (one wonders how the driver managed to get over, unless he actually had his passport the whole time) and shilling for Tim Horton’s, because you just can’t be a revisionistic shitstain on the face of Canadian “entertainment” without that. DAE security warnings in Canada are the same as the quantity of cream in a shit cup of coffee?

Hilarious.

Then we get this laugh-a-minute look at the poverty of Newfoundland:

You see, Rick doesn’t have the balls to make fun of the hideous urban form of Fort McMurray or the ludicrous stupidity of having a mono-industrial town in the middle of nowhere. Instead, he decides that it’s hilarious to say that as a thirty-something year old Newfie it’s shocking that he hasn’t been to Fort McMurray. Never mind that this guy already has a job, making the entire joke utterly pointless. But don’t worry – Tim Horton’s is hiring!! What’s with this moron and his idle worship of Tim Horton’s? I also find it remarkable how the notion of sending remittances to failed parts of this country is rendered into humor by Rick. Tee hee, aren’t the Maritime provinces just so fucking poor? LOL having to leave your home to find work in extractive bullshit is funny! HAHAH-oh, right. Funny how Rick never jokes about how trashy Fort McMurray is.

And this isn’t even the worst of Rick. His wretched show is mercifully kaput, but he maintains his idiotic ramblings in a Toronto alleyway with his singularly blunt “Rick’s Rant”, where he shills for #RealChange by effectively suggesting that Canadians are too stupid to oppose obvious failures in the Canadian state because they will instead idly point to Donald Trump. It turns out that Canadians are not in fact immune to populism, as future Premier Doug Ford looms over Ontario like the Hindenburg coming in for a landing. Or this unbearable left-caker insinuation that only white people can hold reactionary views and thus that only white people are responsible for civic and social failure in this country.

Part of the reason I took so long to do this is because I genuinely want to punch this gob in the nose every time I look at him. To read the comments on these videos it seems like Rick is fooling Canadians into believing in their ramshackle shit-shack just fine, which is even more alarming and disheartening. A propagandist with an unfunny bundle of jokes and the kind of comforting upper-middle-class opinions that middle management bleats out over Thanksgiving dinner, Rick Mercer represents a Canada that is simply too scared to meaningfully self-reflect. I can’t wait to watch him squirm when Doug Ford becomes Premier of Ontario, mostly because I’m curious as to how these caker munsons will try to pass this off as somehow congruent with their revisionistic make-believe.

 

 

 

 

#21 – Tim Horton’s Brown Sludge Water™, Part 2: King Tim

Consumptive Canadiana is one of the most viscreal displays of caker nationalism, and few are champions of that trait more than the nasty bastards behind Tim Horton’s Brown Sludge Water Product. They’ve inveigled themselves into the caker consciousness to such a degree that even the national broadcaster effectively advertises for them. This of course perpetuates the perception that Tim Horton’s and its Brazilian-American parent company is a touchstone of Canadian identity that deserves special recognition despite serving up shitty wages that domestic Canadians won’t work for, poor treatment of foreign workers who were misguided into coming here, and ill-conceived growth in locations and menu size that relies on the continued import of poor people. These are values that cakers claim to abhor; is it really kosher to have the CBC singing Tim’s praises?

Before we begin, let’s remind ourselves of the CBC’s mandate:

“…the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as the national public broadcaster, should provide radio and television services incorporating a wide range of programming that informs, enlightens and entertains;

…the programming provided by the Corporation should:

  1. be predominantly and distinctively Canadian, reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions,
  2. actively contribute to the flow and exchange of cultural expression,
  3. be in English and in French, reflecting the different needs and circumstances of each official language community, including the particular needs and circumstances of English and French linguistic minorities,
  4. strive to be of equivalent quality in English and French,
  5. contribute to shared national consciousness and identity,
  6. be made available throughout Canada by the most appropriate and efficient means and as resources become available for the purpose, and
  7. reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada.”

Let’s play a game with this. It’s called “Where’s the Mandate?”, and the prize is a deep sense of shame and disgust. Round one: what does the headline “Tim Hortons lineup on Christmas Day at least 100 cars long in Truro“contribute to “[informing], [enlightening], and [entertaining]” Canadians? I’m pretty sure the state of the Tim Hortons in a podunk Maritime hole isn’t information that I needed, thanks. And before a caker does this, you don’t want to have to lean on the line “but it’s Canadian!!” because the business conforms in no way to your other claims of “progressive Canada“. Put it this way – do you really want your identity associated with terrible labor conditions, bad food, poor urban form, and globalization?

Here’s thing number two, coming from YouTube. The post is entitled “Refugee family checks out Tim Hortons for the first time“. This could not be less useful footage – it’s just people standing in a suburban dump of a building gearning and praising Canada. And the irony is that this kid’s folks could well end up working in one of these shitholes where they’ll soon learn of the “safety” that comes from not making enough money to progress in society. “Hello Canada” indeed.

But what about white people, says the reactionary flubberguts that usually frequent Tim Hortons? How about this one, which gets a bonus punch of consumptive Canadiana in the form of hockeymans nonsense: “Tim Hortons wedding: Hockey-mad Alberta couple brew up very Canadian vows“. That’s not news, assholes – that’s boring people making regrettable choices. Again, why is it okay that the national broadcaster is telling you what to call Canadian? Is that not more than a little bit bush-league Pravda crap? Oh, and yes – cakers are really this retarded that they think getting married in a fast-food joint is worthy of national news. This is not an isolated incident. And while we’re at it why the fuck is dogsledding to Tims a “Canadian” mode of transportation to a Tim Hortons? Most Tims I go to look like this:

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(s) What, you mean you aren’t proud of sitting in a metal box waiting for a metallic coffee?

The mythology of Tim Hortons is one of consumptive Canadiana. The company plays up its Canadiana through marketing but in reality is just one more inferior car-centric fast-food chain on the wrong side of history. Whether they’re giggling about hockeymans or using Tim Hortons as a set-piece to make-believe about how loving and tolerant cakers are (go back and look at the dislikes on the YouTube video of the refugees enjoying being regarded as akin to parrots in a zoo if you doubt how loving Canada is), the CBC uses Tim Hortons to contruct an ersatz nationality. As always, the shadowy guys in suits win and cakers are deluded further into drinking shit as well as eating and living in it.