During one of last week's private, hush-hush "in-camera" sessions between CRTC Commissioners and Canadian broadcasters, the staff wheeled in afternoon tea and set down a plate of a dozen cookies.
The President of the network present pocketed eleven of the cookies and then offered the plate to Commission Chair Konrad Von Finckenstein. "Watch out for those union guys from the Directors Guild, Writers Guild and ACTRA," he said, "I think they want a piece of your cookie."
It was hard to listen to all that was said about the future of Canadian television last week without getting thoroughly depressed, selling everything you own on Kijiji and buying a foreclosed double-wide in the distant LA suburb of "Buenos Noches Enfermera" from which you can concentrate on writing pilot pitches starring Charlie Sheen.
God knows it could challenge trying to get a Canadian show off the ground as a worthwhile career move.
Certainly the picture every single one of the networks painted was one where programming anything made by or about Canadians was tantamount to fast tracking them into bankruptcy.
As I've said many times before, the average Canadian TV Exec's definition of good Canadian television does not include anything even vaguely "Canadian".
So I can understand the self-preservative response of packing up and going someplace where your talents are at least a little appreciated.
But I'm not sure any of us can outrun the direction the social pendulum seems to be swinging these days. It feels like the Banksters, MBA Grifters and financial manipulators are fully in control and anything that can't be immediately codified on an actuarial scale has no value whatsoever.
But I've always been one of those guys who figures if you can't see any light at the end of the tunnel, then maybe it's time to start your own fire.
I saw the first glowing embers in the passionate presentations of the Directors Guild of Canada, Writers Guild of Canada and ACTRA on the final day of hearings. And maybe for the first time, I detected a hint of resigned understanding from Commissioners who have made a habit of politely ignoring what Canadian artists have had to say in the past.
You could sense that even the Commissioners who had spent years in the bellies of the cable and broadcast beasts before their jobs as regulators were having difficulty either digesting what the networks had served them or figuring out how they could show their faces in public again if they went along with it.
I think a lot of us in a lot of walks of life are coming to the conclusion that those who would run our lives in a way that always seems to benefit them far more than anyone else should no longer go unchallenged.
It's time to start fighting back. And if you truly believe in yourself and your art and maybe your country, then the people who run Shaw and Rogers and Bell and Corus need to have their lifetime pass to getting their way revoked.
In the coming weeks, I'll be offering some strategies to accomplish that. But for starters, I need you to get your head around the core problem and then put a little fire in your tummies.
So this Sunday, I'm offering a triple feature. I'm sorry that all the clips are American. But let's face it. This kind of passion is what's been slowly bled out of Canadian television while most of you poor bastards have been simultaneously convinced that you can't do anything about it.
First up is Bill Maher, from Friday night's episode of HBO's "Real Time", getting to the heart of the issue. Whenever he uses the words "Rich" or "Wall Street", simply insert "Canadian Broadcaster" instead.
Bill's simple wisdom is followed by two promos from the Versus Sports Network, the American home of Canada's game, hockey. Consider them your pre-game and half-time speeches.
It's fight or flight time people. Enjoy your Sunday!