There's a scene in William Goldman's "The Princess Bride" where the arrogant douchebag, Vizzini, finds it "Inconceivable!!!" that the film's hero, Westley, can outmaneuver him in a battle of wits to free the captive Princess Buttercup.
Of course, Westley easily outsmarts him, proving once again that the fatal flaw in people with power is that they always think they got where they are because they're just that much smarter than everyone else.
It's a flaw astonishingly evident in both candidates currently running for the American presidency.
To offer a local example: a couple of weeks ago, Jean-Pierre Blais, the insufferably arrogant douchebag who chairs the CRTC, issued an edict reducing the amount of Canadian participation in Canadian content. And while most of the Creatives in this country found the ruling inconceivable, Blais himself could be found writing letters to craft guilds where he found the fact that they were upset even more inconceivable.
This isn't the first time an arm of the Canadian government has stepped in to gut the country's artists just when they appeared on the verge of making a breakthrough in reaching a national or international audience.
In 1981, the government of Prime Minister Trudeau the first cancelled the film investment program which had kickstarted a thriving film industry on less than 24 hours notice. A move which torpedoed dozens of films in mid-production, tossing hundreds of artists and film techs immediately out of work.
Seven years later, the government of Brian Mulroney promised a ticket levy on foreign product to fund Canadian production and blinked at the last minute when Hollywood studios objected.
In 1999, the CRTC changed the definition of what counted as Canadian content in broadcasting so news and magazine style shows were rendered equal to drama and comedy, drowning dozens of dramatic and comedy projects and costing thousands of jobs.
And who can forget the decade of CRTC incompetence that followed as time and again the needs of both Canadian Creatives and Canadian viewers were pole-axed in favor of ever-growing greed and entitlement within the broadcast community.
I can't count the number of times during that dark time where I attended meetings or conferences where Canadian public officials met Guilds and Unions face to face to insist that they were "on our side" and "things will change" -- and then nothing changed.
So Blais and the other CRTC Commissioners who backed this unbelievably short-sighted decision are no worse than those that have preceded them, appointed by governments leaning both Left and Right.
These are just the self-admiring Vizzinis of the moment.
So how do you get around them?
Well, you can go somewhere else. That works for some. Even worked for me for a long while.
Or you can fight them from here.
With the same talents they are trying to deny the world that you have.
In my day, that was the theatre. In a time where Stratford and Regional theatres never did Canadian plays and repeatedly hired foreign talent, a community arose that eventually overcame that system, creating memorable work and launching an infinite number of long and successful careers.
There were also low-budget and later direct-to-video movies, all financed and distributed without a dollar of public money. Maybe you didn't make a lot of cash. But you worked and you got even better at what you did. And after a while you had a level of recognition and body of credits that couldn't be ignored.
These days, it's easier than ever to make and distribute something of your own. I know three guys in my relatively small Canadian city who've built their own green screen studios. Dozens more with broadcast quality digital recording, editing and post production systems. Hell, I've stumbled across teenagers who've forgotten more about CGI than I will ever learn.
If the people at Bell and Rogers or Corus don't recognize your value, you don't have to look very far to find people who will. And once you have something finished you'll quickly discover than Amazon and Netflix and their many online competitors, imitators and challengers are far easier to talk to than the gatekeepers at Canada's traditional networks.
And unlike those networks, these new entities actually have money of their own that they want to invest and don't need to go hat in hand to bureaucrats.
A couple of weeks before Jean-Pierre Blais revealed he's not really as smart as he thinks, Canadian cable provider Telus revealed the winning projects of their Storyhive web series competition.
The winner in BC is also called "Inconceivable". Written by Joel Ashton McCarthy, Rachel Kirkpatrick & Mike Doaga and directed by McCarthy -- it's as good as anything you're likely to see from any of the Boys and Girls in Suits networks.
Yes, it's nice to have the public money deals and an often national even if ever-shifting time slot. But the disrespect of what you do that comes with such perks is becoming more and more intolerable and less and less likely.
But you don't need them.
And as inconceivable as that seems, it's as true as it has always been.
Trust your talent.
And Enjoy Your Sunday...