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When you’re living in the past, who needs the CBC?

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 4:07 PM
Sometimes I want to hide out from bad news and what better place to hide out from bad news than a wormhole or a jail or that place in The Chronicles of Narnia where nothing ever happens – you just use it to jump from one world to another. I like these in-between places where nothing ever happens. That’s the vacation for me!

Television and movies have served that purpose very nicely for me over the last few weeks. This means that when the previews for the news comes on, I stick my fingers in my ears and do my best version of that old favourite, “La-la-la, not listening.” That song is becoming as popular as Happy Birthday to You. And why not? Who wants to hear any news anymore – it’s all bad. My ninety year old Dad has told me not to worry about things that I can’t control. He’s been telling me that since I was sixteen. I’m beginning to suspect why the sum of my parents’ life was having children, going to work every day, and coming home to an evening of watching TV. The real world was too scary.

Nowadays, avoidance of reality is very easy and very legal. For example, if you turn on Canada’s Comedy Channel, you see reruns of Montreal’s Comedy Festival Galas from a decade ago. The comics are all cracking jokes about history instead of current events. I find this very reassuring. Turn on the Déjà Vu Channel and it’s the Seventies and Eighties all over again: All In The Family, Who’s The Boss? Archie Bunker and Meathead and Gloria are fighting the same battles forty years later and they’re all still alive. How good is that?

My own particular favourite is The Space Channel because it’s all about lands and peoples who don’t exist at all. If I think that I’ve got it bad, all I have to do is watch Star Trek - Deep Space Nine as Captain Sisko struggles to deal with The Dominion and the evil Founders, a people made of liquid who can change into any solid shape at will. The Founders created a race of unbeatable soldiers the Jem Hadar and they are beating the pants off the nice Federation of Planets who really just want everybody to get along. Good guys die by the dozens but Sisko struggles on in this fictitious universe that knows the meaning of epic good versus bad battles yet is kind of challenged when it comes to acting…but I don’t care. It’s all pretend.

Meanwhile, like a good citizen of the world, I signed a petition to save jobs at the CBC. In spite of the fact that the CBC now broadcasts Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune everyday (as if nobody else does), this is one of the few broadcasters that even bothers with a local Montreal English language broadcast every evening. CTV seems to be hanging in there but ALL of them bailed when it came to morning new shows. Global, CBC and CTV just figure that there aren’t enough English people in Quebec who care to get news in the morning on TV. CBC is all about what’s going on now and though that’s hard to take, somebody has to be reporting the stuff.

The CBC was set up as a national television and radio network to inform people about local, national and international news. The problem is that when bad times roll around, people wonder if this is worth the cost. Shouldn’t private companies be taking on the job of media? Where do we look for a model – of course, our neighbours to the south, Yes, indeed. Fox News is the pinnacle of fair, objective broadcasting and shows exactly how good an idea it is to leave news reporting to businessmen. (No, I’m not at work, so I can be as sarcastic as I damn well please!)

If you want to spend an entire life hiding out in a mythical wormhole, then the future of the CBC may not mean much to you but for the rest of Canada who needs to know what’s going on, who cares to know what’s going on, dollars must be found for the CBC to continue to be a strong voice in Canadian media.

Meanwhile can Ellen find sanity outside the wormhole? Tune in tomorrow.

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