Tuesday, July 05, 2011

"Summerworks": Censorship Or Sumthin' Else?


Last week, one of the guys who convinced me to start blogging, Denis McGrath, wrote a heartfelt piece on his more-or-less mothballed website, "Dead Things On Sticks" entitled "One More For A Good Cause: Why Censoring Summerworks Means No More Flashpoints".

It was a passionate post decrying a recent denial of Federal funding for the Toronto "Summerworks" Theatre Festival.

As Denis laid out the scenario, "Summerworks", an important showcase for new talent and the place where he'd gotten his start as a dramatic writer, had been denied $40,000 in essential funding barely a month before the festival opens and that loss of financing threatened the very survival of this Summer's edition.

On that point, I couldn't agree more. I got my own start in theatre festivals not unlike "Summerworks" and for many years served as a board member of a Toronto theatre company intimately involved with similar enterprises as well as "Summerworks" itself.

Promoting unknown artists and experimental work is always a crapshoot. Arts Bureaucrats, audiences and especially the media don't really know what they're being sold or which shows might be worth an investment of their time and money, so it's an uphill battle to fill seats. 

Yet a lot of great work has come out of "Summerworks". Given the nature of the beast, there's been a lot of crap too. But like all artistic endeavors, you try to learn from the bad while hoping the good will erase all memory of the other stuff as it builds and inspires your audience.

So "Summerworks" was given a steep final hill to climb after already running a full marathon with heavy packs. And being the kind of gung-ho, generous guy he is, one of the few in Canadian showbiz who consistently walks the walk, Denis ponied up $1000 to help them out, begging others to pitch whatever they could into the hat.

And that is magnificently admirable.

But a couple of other things in the post are not.

And since they have been picked up and parroted elsewhere by no lesser cultural luminaries than Jian Gomeshi of CBC Radio's "Q" (audio here) and expanded upon by Globe & Mail TV critic John Doyle here

I gotta call "Bullshit!".


I have three major issues with what's been said.


Midway through his essay, Denis fingers the villain in the "Summerworks" shortfall -- The Artist-hating Harper government.

"…draw your own conclusions, but to me this feeds into a nice long narrative about what the Conservative Government does to organizations that espouse (or whom they say espouse) points of view that don't gibe with the good Conservative mindset".

But if you look closely, there's no concrete evidence that "Summerworks" was censored by anyone. Oh, there's a little smoke, but mostly the kind that somebody has to manipulate with a few mirrors to come to such a conclusion.

Back in 2009, "Summerworks" produced a play called "Homegrown" by playwright Catherine Frid, which profiled a member of the "Toronto 18" convicted of being part of a terrorist plot.

When asked for a comment, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office who hadn't even seen the play stated, "We are extremely disappointed that public money is being used to fund plays that glorify terrorism”.

Later, PM Harper, when queried on the same issue, said he was "concerned" about the play.

That's it.

They were "disappointed" and "concerned".

Kinda like Maple Leaf fans at every trade deadline.

But that's all anybody in power said officially.

Or did.

Nobody halted the original production. Nobody banned the play. You could still put it on pretty much anyplace you want anytime you like.

Interestingly, nobody has.

Even though many theatre luminaries stepped forward to declare how important "Summerworks" was in the creation of their own seasons, and how much damage underfunding it might cause, not one has mounted another production of the play.

Maybe because it really wasn't really worth a second look?

Even the Toronto Star, which hates Stephen Harper pretty hard, warned their readers away from it…

star review


I know the approved narrative is that Stephen Harper is this really scary man with a secret hidden agenda, just itchin' to let a buncha crazed fundamentalist Evangelicals and gun owners who wear ass-less chaps to work every day loose on the delicate hothouse flowers of the Canadian Arts.


His government just guaranteed ongoing funding for the Canadian TV and film industries.

And since he's been in power, he's insisted on keeping Canadian troops in Afghanistan so women aren't beheaded in soccer stadiums and girls can go to school there without having to duck flying acid.

He's dispatched Canadian jets to bomb the shit out of a dictator bent on slaughtering his own people in Libya.

He's been the first guy to speak up against the UN putting Syria in charge of its Human Rights Commission and having North Korea head the one on Disarmament.

Does it make any logical sense that a guy committing that much blood and treasure to oppose totalitarian regimes also harbors a desire to throttle his own artistic community? A community most of the country doesn't pay much attention to anyway?

Much less sledgehammer a play nobody apparently wants to see…?

But that kind of logic has no place in an artistic community that has been taught their only path to survival comes from constantly advertising how threatened they are, be it from other cultures, changing technology or the disinterest of their own population.

So there's no evidence of censorship whatsoever.

But -- there's a lot pointing to either administrative incompetence or bureaucratic favoritism.

In his post, Denis states that the Sun newspaper chain "ginned up a bunch of controversy" about "Summerworks".

By that he means journalist David Akin, who discovered that elements within the Heritage department not only ignored their own funding rules, they actively backdated correspondence and even filled out their own forms to make sure the 2010 "Summerworks" grant application met all the required criteria. (More here).


In the real world, those activities amount to fraud, so it's unfair to brand Akin as having an ideological axe to grind.

Prior to his current Sun Media gig, Akin spent six years as the theatre critic for Thompson News. Maybe he finally succumbed to seeing one too many bad shows and went rogue, but in an email to me after the above post he affirmed his commitment to Canadian theatre:

"There's never enough money for theatre artists in this country and yet, if you want the public to support your work, you better be prepared to respond to a) challenges to the work itself and/or b) challenges to your claim to the money!"

In other words, nobody has an inalienable right to be supported and financed and above reproach.

So -- could it be that "Summerworks" simply once again botched its paperwork or didn't have anybody inside willing to help it through the process this time?

Maybe the previous embarrassment led to tighter internal controls at Heritage or some bureaucrat just didn't want to risk the wrath of his boss after the tongue lashing he got the last time around.

Maybe this is the kind of self-censorship that comes from ass-covering or just wanting a problem to go away.

And perhaps this whole media controversy is about deflecting blame rather than admitting to shortcomings.

More on that in Point Three. But first…



Denis makes the point that Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern, the creators of CTV's hit series "Flashpoint", met during "Summerworks" and their series would not exist had it not been for the festival. What's more, without further editions of "Summerworks" there could well be no more "Flashpoint(s)".


Can I first say how grateful I am that my mom and dad met in a coffee shop during WW2?

Because if there had been no WW2, they wouldn't have ended up in that coffee shop and I would never have arrived and then gone on to write and produce about 10 times more hours of prime time television than the current total for "Flashpoint".

I'm not saying we should have more world wars to ensure our creative future, however…

I did once meet one guy with whom I did many hours of prime time Canadian television in a strip joint. And a little more Federal funding for strip joints might not only lead to an uptick in creativity, but it could also help out a lot of single moms, under-employed dental hygienists and U of T students trying to get through that tough final year of Law school.


I think it's fabulous that Mark and Stephanie met at "Summerworks". They're terrific writers more than deserving of their subsequent success.

But let's not forget that because Federal funding went to "Summerworks" and not to similar ventures in Halifax, Saskatoon or Chicoutimi, several other Marks and Stephanies did not meet and projects that might have equaled or surpassed the exceptional qualities of "Flashpoint" don't exist as a result.

All around this country, worthy plays and films and other artistic works don't get created because there's only so much money to go around.

Lack of financing bedevils Artists everywhere. But the problem is particularly acute in Canada because virtually all alternatives to State sponsorship have been eliminated. If you don't get money from the Public purse for your show, you're almost certainly not making your show.

Even the boot-strapped, self-funded plays in "Summerworks" only have a forum because somebody in government pays for the venues and the advertising and almost everything else that draws an audience.

Like me, Denis has long argued against the government funded "favorites" who continue to churn out work that attracts neither prestige nor box-office returns nor ratings, but who keep going back to the well to find another full bucket waiting for them.

You can't alter that philosophy to protect a "favorite" who benefited you or your friends. Because in doing so, you are almost certainly stopping someone else from getting the opportunity they deserve.

Maybe what all this really boils down to is that we all feel "our" entitlements have more value than anyone else's.

And that's a game nobody wins.



John Doyle, the Globe and Mail critic, used the "Summerworks" affair to vent his displeasure with the Canadian Walk of Fame celebration, an annual exercise in which plaques bearing the names of Canadians famous for one thing or another are embedded in Toronto sidewalks.

It's pretty much a social season circle jerk tarted up as a celebration of excellence designed to attract tourist dollars by spending Public ones.

And while the argument can be made that the entire event could easily be financed by the banks and elite law firms listed as supporters and thus Public money could be better used by "Summerworks", that's not an argument that's going to get us very far.

The sad reality of this country is that any self-respecting executive at RBC is going to support a sidewalk ceremony or film festival where his wife can rub shoulders with a movie star long before he'll ever actually approve a bank loan to a Canadian producer trying to make a film with that same star.

There's no percentage to doing otherwise.

Like a lot of things, our culture is more about appearances than content. So it's pointless to argue that one Arts event, tourist attraction or industry has priority over another when it comes to accessing tax dollars.

Because that money can always be spent more intelligently or on those more deserving.

Should any money go to the theatre when many aboriginal Canadians still don't have access to clean drinking water?

How many dialysis machines can you buy with what it apparently costs to put brass plaques in a sidewalk?

Who most deserves government largess, the fella with the best idea, the partner of an influential consulting firm or the guy who can write an air-tight grant application?

In any given year somebody will bellyache about the Calgary Stampede getting a half million dollars when a local Pride parade gets nothing or when the government cuts a big check for Stratford to do some old chestnut by a dead European White Guy versus a pittance for somebody who has distilled the voice of his generation.

None of us ever get what we think we deserve.

Some douchebag is always getting something he shouldn't.

And there's never enough to satisfy everybody.

If you ask me, the solution to all this is for all of us to get off the government teat and do exactly what Mr. McGrath did, put our own money where our mouths are.

You want to park a slab of granite marked Ryan Gosling next to a sewer grate? Go Nuts! Where's your money?

You want a play about aboriginal lesbian urban planners that can only be performed in the back of a moving taxi? Cool. Don't forget to bring the money.

You can't have a legitimate, vibrant culture if you're constantly standing around waiting for somebody else to pay for it.

If everybody who'd gotten a break from "Summerworks" had kicked in $1000, the festival would have been solvent in an afternoon. And then who gives a fuck why it didn't get any government support.

Let's go. On with the show.

Instead, we've become a country that expects others to pay for what we want, instead of a people who find a way to get it for ourselves.

We got that way by allowing our governments to make our decisions for us, instead of demanding they follow our lead and try to keep up.

I won't be in Toronto for "Summerworks", but I'm making my own commitment here and now to match Denis' kind and thoughtful donation by buying tickets to a theatre or two or three in another part of the country.

Backing the things we believe in is the only way to put an end to all the "I'm not getting my fair share" whining that takes up most of what passes for artistic discourse in this country.

Maybe if the government wants to both help out as well as alleviate some of the rancor Arts funding engenders, they just need to calculate how much they pump into the Arts plus what they budget to staff their funding bodies, get rid of all that and give us an equivalent tax break for supporting the arts.

Yeah, maybe a lot of that "individual choice" money would end up going to clog dancing and fiddle contests, but a lot of it would go to places like "Summerworks" as well.

It's a model that's worked in this country before.

In what's known now as the "bad old tax credit days", the Canadian film business was primarily populated by hustlers and dentists looking to shelter revenue. But it also saw the creation of some of the best movies we've made and spawned companies that were able to keep making them.

Maybe the answer is as simple as getting rid of entertainment taxes so it costs 25% less to go to the theatre or buy a ticket to a Canadian film. Because if you don't have a large bureaucracy of consultants and deciders to support, you don't need to take in all the money it costs to keep one going.

The main thing is, we've got to find alternatives to the current Artistic Welfare State. It nurtures nobody. It creates regional, cultural and personal animosities. It breeds conspiracy theories and divides us by class and taste and spheres of influence.

That system creates the opposite of what Art is supposed to do, driving us apart instead of bringing us together.

And the more shattered we become the less the chance we'll ever create anything that makes all of us proud.

And then there really will be no more "Flashpoint(s)" or anyone even wanting to make them.


DMc said...

There’s a theatre exercise I’m sure you’re aware of where you improvise a scene and then switch “status.” Ie: the dominant person becomes the follower in the scene, and the “low status” person turns the tables. I’m put in mind of that exercise reading your post here because it’s such an odd example. My position, my arguing starting point would seem to be from the point of naivete, and yours is in the form of “straight talkin common wisdom…”

But when you break it down, what you’ve actually got to say here is almost comically, impossibly naïve, and grounded in a “throw every bunch of shit at the wall you can muster” that would almost be easier to take if you were being cynical, and not earnest.

It boils down to Casualty is not Causality – Trust Your Conservative Overlords.

You start by twisting yourself in knots trying to point out that there’s no PROOF that the Cons pulled the funding for Summerworks one month out as any sort of payback.

Yes, Jim, well done. No proof indeed.

And so long as you can stay in the bubble, that’s wonderful. But outside the bubble, people are aware of how this government has gone after every single person or organization that has ever strayed outside their party line. Statscan. Scientists. Whistleblowers on Afghanistan. It is not a list covered in glory.

If the 62% of the electorate who did not support the Conservatives in our recent election do not trust them, it is not because they are crazy artists. It is because the actions of the government in public have raised legitimate concerns through their conduct. You talk about artists not taking responsibility but Canadian conservatives including you have never once taken responsibility for why there is such antipathy out there toward the party. You prefer to see Liberal-led bogeymen at every turn.

But there’s no linkage to the pulling of the Summerworks funding. No no. Not at all. Nothing to see here. In your own way, Jim, you’re modeling the Canadian mindset very well: everything YOU believe is not proven and you’re just being silly, but what I believe really IS a big bad conspiracy of people not giving poor Stephen the benefit of the doubt.

In its own way it’s very Canadian to stand there and look at something that’s so self evident and to fall back on, “but there’s no proof.” Maybe it’s the American in me – probably the same part that gets me to do dumb things like back up my words with my own money – but I prefer “if it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck.”

This thing has duck shit all over it.

The other disingenuous, or merely naïve, jumping off point of your thesis is pretending that what is on the public record is the entire story. You know very well that’s not how politics works.

You’re probably also aware, and are choosing to ignore the fact that the Conservative Arts policy – such as it is – has been laid out to arts organizations across the country that the only argument is now “measurable results.” Your experience might tell you how frustrating this is to an industry where results are ephemeral much of the time, but there you go. That’s the charge.

So let’s lay aside most of your “cultural” argument for now – much of which I agree with, but that’s neither here nor their for the next four years because the Conservatives are simply not interested in talking about anything theoretical about culture. “Oh,” you might say. “There’s no proof of that.”

Talk to anyone who’s had a conversation with Heritage staff, Jim. It ‘s true. Let’s move on.

DMc said...

Talk to anyone who’s had a conversation with Heritage staff, Jim. It ‘s true. Let’s move on.

You demonstrate this Con. Philosophy of “results driven” when you “prove” the play that started this was no good because it wasn’t picked up for production anywhere else in Canada. You want to be able to use your “results” argument as a cudgel, but like your buddies, when someone tries to actually make the argument in the frame you’ve set to REFUTE you do everything you can to ignore or overlook it.

Well here’s the essence re: the “results” argument regarding Summerworks. It has spawned more plays that were picked up by regional theaters than most other festivals. It has led to many award winners, and commercial remounts over the years because it is a rigorous, juried festival. Yes, all works do not pay off. But many many do. It is a good investment, that 47 000.

Your argument re your parents meeting in WWII is cute but it also misses the forest for the trees. The point there is not that Mark & Stephanie met. It’s that they were put together and found out they were artistically compatible. When Mark says, “No Summerworks, No Flashpoint…” he’s not talking about meeting his wife. He’s talking about finding his voice, which led to the creation of the most successful Canadian series in decades. When I talk about Summerworks, I’m talking about a place that helped me find my voice and has now led me to being a pretty decent taxpayer. Those measurable results your Cons like so much.

Then you fly off and try to say well, what about Moosejaw…they didn’t get funded so they never got to create Flashpoint. You’re talking out of both sides of your mouth here. Do results matter or not? Is regionalism bad or not? It can’t be bad except when you want to use it to try and bolster your refutation. There are shitty improv groups in every city of any side in North America. But not every one is the Groundlings, or the Upright Citizens Brigade. Quality matters. Results matter. Where people go matter. Summerworks matters because it has been successful by the very yardstick the Cons themselves want to push. THAT is why cutting its grant makes no sense.

I can’t even bear to get into the rest of the Hot Mess of your post, David Akin, the tempest in a teapot brouhaha over a form, except to say here is some grand theatre all on its own – you claim to be above the crazy on either side but you argue directly from the Fox News playbook – pick tiny points rather than the big picture, hang everything on some small incidental thing rather than the issue at hand.

It all leads to the fave Con argument: oh well it’s so hard and choices will always leave someone out so the real thing is we should get out of supporting the arts altogether. More dirt in the sky. Yeah, this is arts we’re talking about so it’s not life and death, thank God. It’s not like you deny climate change or anything—except whoops, you’ve bought into that, and posted on that subject, too.

In the end, to me, it breaks down like this: Art does need support to survive and it always has. Arms length works because Government shouldn’t get to choose what the art is because they’re bad at that. Just like they shouldn’t be able to control, except in the broadest strategic sense, what Scientists research.

Whoops – the Conservatives have meddled in that too.

Greater personal support of the arts is laudable. Business too should do more, because they should recognize the persuasive arguments of people like Gladwell and R. Florida that vibrant arts lead to vibrant cities which leads to a more innovative business force. But Government support also plays a role.

The compact that is currently broken in our society is that those who did well used to believe they had to give something back. Now they want to give something back so long as they can meet Bono. That’s the thing that needs to be fixed. Maybe one $1000 donation at a time.

Rusty James said...

You're right Jim, The Big Picture is Canada has an artistic welfare system and unless that changes, the same bums will continue to create crap that passes the Telefilm-Smell-Test and cash their cheques:

"If it's sounds Canadian, and looks Canadian, it must be worthy of a few grand (and no worries ma, I've got 3 weeks of paid vacation coming - I work for the government remeber!)

Having said that, I think aboriginal lesbians get a bad rap.

Clint Johnson said...

Yes, 62% didn't support the Conservatives- 70% didn't support the NDP and 81% didn't support the Liberals. Conservative support actually went up by about 2% over the last election. Politically off spectrum, I preferred a minority government that had to build consensus to get things done. Better brakes on any political party is a good thing.

There is antipathy toward ALL parties, largely fostered by a few zealots who insist "the other side" can only hold their ideas if they are evil, ignorant, stupid or naive. The ideologues of the left insists that the right are rapacious capitalist pigs who are only happy if they can distill oil from the tears of the poor- while their representatives on the right state that the lefties are just a bunch of slavering socialist madmen who will only be happy when everyone is living in egalitarian poverty. Most people are in the more rational middle but if you find yourself nodding in agreement to either one of those statements then you're part of the problem, please stop.

Refusing to pay for something is not censorship. If the government sent the police in to stop Summerworks then that would be censorship and I'd be protesting right along with most people from the right and the left. I want to create a comic book series but if I insisted Denis pay for some of it- and then started railing against him for censorship because he doesn't want to pay for my soapbox... that would be a real dick move.

If we exclude all government supported art, there is still more being created today than at any time in history. This is primarily because the market system has made us so wealthy that we can pay for our own artistic urges if we want to- but also in no small part because there are many who have done well and want to give back.

I certainly haven't done well over the last decade but I've spent over $60,000 on my own projects and donated hundreds of hours of my time and gear toward dozens of other people's projects.

I taught my nephews to do stop motion animation, both with armatured clay and their Legos, and they were creating videos to post on Youtube before they were eight years old. I taught them the basics of story structure and comic book layout so now they are creating their own comics running into the tens of pages per issue. There are at least three family members that paint, one is recording her own CDs, one pursues acting, another is going after practical special FX and a couple besides myself write. I help them when I can and as far as I know not a one of them haven't resorted to tax subsidies. They aren't making a living off of their art but where is it written that we have a right to live off of money taken from other people working at jobs they don't like, so we don't have to?

What it breaks down to is that the art YOU want needs support to survive and always will. You want the taxpayer to pay for art they aren't interested in but that you like. You may argue that one can only become truly good at their art through thousands of hours of intense work in that field along with feedback from a supportive and experience group of peers. You may believe this can only be achieved inside a taxpayer supported system while I believe it can work at least as well with a private system if we wean ourselves from the current mess, grow up and take responsibility for our own lives.

And no Denis, I am not following you around to throw poop at you, we just happen to frequent a lot of the same places in the virtual world. If we do ever meet up in the real world I would like to buy you a beer and see if we could actually carry on a civil conversation without the obscuring intermediary of the abstracted word in a cyberspace with no nuance. I believe you to be a decent person who, like me, wants the greatest good for the greatest number. The discord comes when we look at the same complex system of billions of people and trillions of dollars and give different weights to various socio-economic levers, sticks and carrots.

Anonymous said...

The Toronto 18 play was in fact a sympathetic portrayal of someone found GUILTY by a court of law of wanting to blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange as well as other targets in the heart of downtown Toronto. His name is Shareef AbdelHaleem .. please look it up.

I love art - I grew up on it, i NEED it on a daily basis .. but glorifying terrorism is completely out of line.

Lisa Hunter said...

If we were in the States, I'd agree with you that lack of funding doesn't equal censorship. (I've made the argument myself many times that saying no to a grant isn't the same as book burning or throwing artists into gulags.)

BUT... as an expat in Canada, I do notice an unspoken censorship here, and it's shocking to me. I've seen Canadian artists self-censor any projects that might be seen as "political." I've seen producers who insist on taking out anything that seems political before submitting to a funding agency. No one wants to risk offending the government, since the government is the source of nearly all funding.

Is there any Canadian film like All The President's Men? Wag the Dog? Missing? The Candidate? Advise and Consent? At some point, you have to ask yourself why not, and you won't like the answer.

Lisa Hunter said...

P.S. I never saw the controversial play, so I can't say why no other theater picked it up. Perhaps it was simply a bad play. But perhaps it died because other theaters worried that their funding would be cut off if they presented it. It's impossible to say whether audiences would have supported it.

jimhenshaw said...

Great points, Lisa. And that pre-censorship is something I've witnessed here under governments of all stripes.

Perhaps that's the best reason there is for our government to support Arts funding through tax breaks or entertainment tax cuts -- thereby funding what WE feel needs support and not what THEY feel deserves it.

Rusty James said...

And you can also state that what the government (read: Telefilm Administrators) wants is good ol' yuk-yuk, Canadian yarns...

And writers and producers write towards that knowing there's a cheque at the end of it.

Meanwhile the Canadian viewer is fed more crap.

The industry truly needs (as Jim states) to get off the government teat because all this does is leave a bad taste in the mouth of the (dare I say it?) consumer.

John McFetridge said...

Is there any Canadian film like All The President's Men? Wag the Dog? Missing? The Candidate? Advise and Consent? At some point, you have to ask yourself why not, and you won't like the answer.

There are Quebecois films that fit this genre (though they're usually like Octobre and the federal government are the bad guys).

But that self-censorship (whether it's politically driven or because we've been told all our lives no one is interested in our Canadian stories - not even Canadians) is likely a big problem.

One thing that would be good, I think, is if public institutions like Telefilm and the CBC and anyone who access government money (or cable fund or anything like that) was required to show all the projects submitted and the reasons some were turned down and others accepted.

I'd like to know how many Canadian All the President's Men have been shopped.

jimhenshaw said...

Great idea, John. Although some of us might prefer to assume there were political motivations for not doing our scripts instead of finding out everybody thought they were just crappy.

That said, am I the only one who recalls the first CBC airing of "The Arrow"...

The film laid blame squarely on the Canadian government for what happened. But CBC followed the premiere screening with a panel discussion in which the producers had to participate where "alternate motives" were presented.

My experience has always been that there is little initial self-censorship from artists and producers, but a lot of second guessing and suggestions for softening of dramatic points once the gatekeepers get involved.

Brandon Laraby said...

Here's the thing, it's an admirable idea to want Canadian artists to 'get off the teat' -- to want us to be able to stand up on our own and throw a stiff middle finger up to 'the man' as we go about doing things our own way.

And a few notable folks have done just that.

But the reality of the situation is that it's not going to happen overnight.

So to take funding away from a show that has, for X number of years, operated with the expectation of a certain amount of money -- well, in effect, that is censorship.

Well, unless the people running the Festival decide to eat the pay cut (but is that fair to them?).

The government, by taking away this festival, is sending a message -- 'cause if they can axe 20% this year and not cause too much of a fuss, not have lines of Canadians marching on their front lawns and artists decrying them from awards podium... then they can do it again next year.

Starve the beast.

You, sir, with all of your experience in the industry, know that no one in their right mind goes for blatant 'censorship' anymore. Of course not. That leaves marks, that's prove-able.

But budget cuts -- and really, $47,000 in a government budget of billions? -- are the perfect cover. That money means nothing to the government but it means everything to Summerworks.

It's a tactic, plain and simple. It's called playing the 'long game'. Chip away here, chip away there.

Does it deserve it? Well, considering that it's July 7th and I haven't heard a peep about Summerworks in a while... maybe it's just not pissing enough people off.

And that's sad.

But still, don't say that what's going on here isn't censorship 'cause this is a classic from the Canadian playbook.

someguy said...

It's not the main thrust of your piece, but I thought the drive by slam of Homegrown near the top of your article was pretty classless. Especially because it had nothing to do with your argument.

I think you can bill yourself as the guy who fights the good fight for Canadian writing, or you can casually shit on some play you haven't seen. Probably shouldn't do both.