How much longer will we fund our grifting clerisy?
From a distance, it is beginning to look as if Canada does not have a specific culture. No one is buying books, no one is watching television, no one is watching or listening to the CBC. People trail through galleries sometimes, and at the top of the investment tree, people buy art. But not because they love it, they buy it because it lends them status.
CanCon is a heavy lift at the best of times, being close neighbors to that hulking great monster south of us which is the most creative culture on earth. That is why we spend billions every year to prop up our creators, our artists, who we love.
Except we don’t.
Film salaries are funded up to 50%, books, 30%, news media 60%, and yet….no one is watching, reading, or listening. It is like a giant vanity project which various foreign appointees can brandish in foreign capitals.
Last month I traced the sales of this year’s Canadian literary award winners and I suppose “best-sellers”. Their sales on Amazon, hardcover, soft cover and digital ranged from 4 books to 33 books per month, incomes hovering in the three figures. (Amazon accounts for roughly 70% of sales.) This during summer reading months where Canadians are at their lake shacks from coast to coast reading one would hope about themselves, the world they live in, and well….just curiosity.
Equally looking at the viewer and listener stats for the CBC, our national behemoth, which eats up $1.5 billion annually, and which amounts to 50% of the media dollars spent, is equally disheartening. The state spends another $600 million supporting once-successful media because “internet”.
CBC television is watched by 3.9% of Canadians and only .8% watch CBC News. Again, half of all media dollars, half. Half is spent engaging less than 4% of Canadians.
CBC radio is considered reasonably good, and is listened to despite the almost vindictive calling out of anyone who disagrees with their hard socialist stance. Despite every conceivable advantage, advertising on the CBC dropped 20% during the pandemic.
In fact, they are so disliked that CBC is hiring “close protection security” for the next two years. They are so disliked, they have turned off commenting on their various programs. They are so disliked that there is a brand of coffee called “Defund the CBC’. This isn’t passive ignoring, this is active dislike to the point of needing bodyguards.
Because our media show us Canadians as racist, stupid, sexist, stupid, stupid and more stupid. And while they are at it, shallow and violent.
That is the real reason, and the only reason CanCon is dying. They hate us. Why?
The only people who have thrived during the past twenty years in Canada when private and public wealth doubled then doubled again, are the ones who live off the government, whether through mandated consulting in the enviro and other business, or direct granting or though quasi-private-sector jobs that are heavily subsidized. Or straight up public sector jobs which are among the most lushly funded and unionized in the known universe.
And do they hate us, in fact correcting us is how they get the grants, the jobs, the subsidy. Everything they do is meant to fix us deplorable Canadians.
Sit at a downtown Toronto dinner party with say, the head of CBC drama, and listen to just how much they hate the rest of Canada. Why? They hate the rest of Canada because they feel guilty. They know they are cheating and they know they are stealing.
The rest of the country who fund these very plush lives, earns a full 30% less than an individual or family in the US, right across the border. Unless you are a member of the protected class in the big cities, your health care is second or third rate, if and only if you can find a GP.
This imbalance is clear to everyone but those who are essentially, on the take. Our knowledge workers, our heroes, our artists, our grifting heavily funded, extra-extra special clerisy.