Friday, February 07, 2014

Not A Smidgen Of Corruption…

Everyone who has experience with government bureaucrats knows that no matter their dedication to the tasks at hand, an equal if not greater portion of their daily efforts appears to fall into the category of “Cover Your Ass”.

I honestly feel for a lot of these people. Many are in positions where they inevitably alienate somebody no matter what they do while being constantly evaluated by superiors whose agendas shift with the ever changing winds of public opinion or political necessity.

It’s perfectly understandable that the last thing they want in their lives are those troublemakers who come along insistent on speaking truth to power.

I mean, c’mon, the job’s hard enough. So it makes sense that the thought crosses some minds of pretending the problem isn’t real or insisting that “There’s nothing to see here”, so they can get on with whatever.

In a worse case situation, it’s even possible that the full force of a bureaucracy can be brought to bear on those who refuse to Shut The Fuck Up.

And that means that while the bureaucrat’s job is hard, it’s just as hard or harder –- and perhaps far more courageous -- to refuse to be silent.

Despite those realities, it has always annoyed and frustrated me that so few of those with great ideas about improving the Canadian film and TV industries are willing to confront or even openly question those who make or administer the rules.

There seems to be this palpable dread that they’ll go on some kind of enemies list. And so they remain silent, allowing bad situations to evolve into worse ones.

Several months ago, I posted a clip featuring a housewife named Becky Gerritson, who, finding herself swept up in the shit storm surrounding potential IRS targeting of political groups in the US sucked it up and spoke out.

As I said at the time, you don’t have to share Ms. Gerritson’s politics or values to sympathize with her feelings and understand her passion.

Last Sunday, during a pre-Super Bowl interview, President Obama assured his nation that months of investigation had proven there was “not a smidgen of corruption” in the IRS case.

Yesterday, Ms. Gerritson was back before a Congressional Committee begging to differ, her passion and courage once again very much on display.

You can’t help wonder how different the Canadian TV and film businesses would be if those who advocate on our behalf as adamantly refused to pull their punches.

What follows is a portion of Ms. Gerritson’s testimony. This time she didn’t come alone and those who champion speaking truth to power should listen to them as well.

1 comment:

mikel said...

Keep in mind that may be a bad example. Like Canada, the IRS uses a complaint system for audits, a 'snitch line' as it were. And with the relaxing of laws and the increase in the number of 501 conservative groups, then more complaints may have been inevitable.

For context you have to remember that a similar thing is going on in canada in reverse. It is environmental groups which are being rigourously audited thanks to the complaint driven system that has gas companies making complaints daily.

And now the government is cracking down on what it calls 'political activities', which is essentially the main reason most people give money to them, so that many environmental groups are being crippled, and may ultimately fold-which is FAR more serious than what is going on with the IRS.

But point taken, but given your talk about commercials, and given that its a pretty small industry, its really no surprise people don't want to 'rock the boat'-at all. Its not simply being on an 'enemies list', its simply being known as 'mouthy' in a world where the internet can broadcast this information to hundreds.

What is somewhat surprising is that blogs and things can be set up pretty anonymously, and perhaps if more of these stories got out, those involved would have strength in numbers.