The tagline for this
operation reads: magazines, megacorps, and magic realism.
The last time I wrote, I
mentioned that I've been a little light on the magic realism. This time,
I'm here to correct my neglectfulness on the magazine
It's not that I haven't been
keeping up with my reading. It's just that fewer and fewer articles are
thrilling me as of late. I've read the latest Shift
magazine and ho-hummed. I read the latest Bust
magazine and was unimpressed - oh, other than the fact that I learned that,
no kidding, a Hello
Kitty vibrator had been created and sold in Japan. Even magazines that
I normally read cover to cover like Harper's
was letting me down.
I think there may be a bit
of burnout on my part.
Luckily there's been some
stuff published lately that have been helping me keep the faith:
If don't already know, there
very successful advertisement in the Great White North for Molson Canadian
beer that ran extensively this summer. It was called "I am Canadian" and
it bothered me for a number of reasons. First off, it was using patriotism
to sell beer. Granted, this has been going on for sometime as the beer
in question is called "Molson Canadian".
(I'm curious whether Molson's
was patriotic enough to run the same ad in Quebec. Somehow I think, mais
But there was a larger reason
why the ad irked me and why Canadian patriotism in general really bothers
me. It's this vibe that J. B. MacKinnon articulates so well in cover story,
"I am anti-Canadian".
Some passages from
the article which struck a particular chord within myself:
"If this sounds like
another clever game in which the writer bemoans Canada's foibles only to
find true goodness at the heart of the nation, well, it's not. Contrary
to popular belief, it is not difficult, let alone impossible, to distrust,
dislike and reject what Canada has come to represent...
But what is this collective
Canada that demands rejection? We are the global peacekeepers who used
land mines against a small group of native soverigntists at Gustafsen Lake
in 1995, and force to limit freedom of expression during APEC in 1997.
We push nuclear reactors worldwide. As Naomi Klein made clear in an award-winning
report last year, our policy of "trading our way to human rights" is transparent
appeasement of dictators. We are softer on Burma than any other Western
nation, but quiet about the need to end sanctions on Iraq. Our prime minister,
who promised to renegociate NAFTA, was later nicknamed "the godfather of
free trade" in Chile (and the "global village idiot" by a Vancouver cartoonist).
We are monarchists, with a system of representative government that has
been described as "five year fascism." Our citizens consume the most energy
per capita on Earth, and blocking a logging road in Canada is likely to
earn you more jail time than assault or burglary. Our new federal opposition
leader is the kind of Christian camp councilor not seen since the Scopes
trial. We are a country that has come to depend for its identity on the
marketing of its capitalists: Molson, Roots, Labatt. We took up vexillolatry
late in our history, like a vegetarian who takes up smoking, at age 65.
We are Siamese twins in a Bay Street suit. We are, arguable, the sole remaining
nation to consider neo-conservative pundits a growth industry."
There's much more to
this article than a shopping list of Canadian crimes but I had to include
the above paragraphs because of the damning blindness that we, as Canadians,
have somehow acquired.
Incidentally, this issue
of This has some other fine writings including good short bit on the rise
of the Canadian celebrity columnist and a longer piece on the official
myth of the Unknown Soldier.
Incidently, the tagline for
This magazine is "because everything is political".