Bill C-10 – McVety on The Hour

From the Wednesday March 26th, 2008 Episode

Charles McVety’s arguments in favour of Bill C-10 were mind blowing – and not in a good way. He seemed to have a script and was sticking to it no matter what, essentially spewing rhetoric and dancing around George’s questions and observations. Who determines what is ‘grossly obscene’ content? George asked the question of him more than once and it was only in the last few moments of the interview that Charles McVety gave reply (and his words said so much about his true agenda – not violence, not hate – he does not want funding for any kind of depiction of sex – oh, dirty movies – oh my!).

At one point George brought up certain Canadian movies, such as Exotica and Crash, that had received international critical acclaim and without federal funding through tax credits might not have been made. Mr. McVety said that such movies could still be made, but would have to find other funding and doing so is not paramount to censorship.

McVety: They can make their movies on their own dime, but the government should not have to pay for it.

George: But realistically speaking, in this country if there is not funding a lot of these projects don’t get made.

McVety: Well, maybe that’d be a better thing because unfortunately Canadian films only make up 1.7% of the Canadian box office.

George: Well, there’s a lot of reasons for that though and it has nothing to do with the quality of the film. The films are great. That’s why they get recognized around the world.

McVety: Well, if they’d be recognized they they’d make more money.

George: That’s not true.

McVety: If they weren’t as offensive then they would be better recognized and more people would watch it so I think this will actually help the film industry.

Huh? I am confused.

Did he just say that Canadian films do not get critical acclaim? Exotica won 8 Genies and the International Film Critics Award at Cannes while Crash won 5 Genies and the Special Jury Prize at Cannes. Sounds pretty good to me.

Is he saying that the funding of a variety of Canadian projects, including provocative and controversial material, is the reason that Canadian films only make up 1.7% of the box office? Would cutting funding to such projects improve that percentage? Does he think the rest of the box office, the overwhelming majority being American films, are all free of controversial content like sex and violence and that is why we pay to watch ’em?

This man made no sense to me. None.

I’ll stop summarizing here because this situation and interview are both rife with things that clearly frustrate me and I could go on and on. Check out the interview for yourself if you want to learn more.

For more information on Bill C-10, from a few different sources, here are some links.

“If these people are so artistic and the product of their creativity is so magnificent — why do they need any money whatsoever from the Canadian taxpayer?” – Canadian Family Action Coalition

(Oh, I wonder if this applies to corporate tax rebates for other industries in our free trade economy?)

ACTRA response to Bill C-10

OK, one final thought from me – I do not elect politicians for their artistic judgment.


The Cost of Canadian Oil and a Canadian Rock Star

Episode aired 080312

The Cold Opener was a silly and cute one shot in the UK. George was the fox in a reformed version of the hunt. Beagles chased him. I love beagles. My first dog was half beagle. Cannot resist them. Afterwards there was some more humour on the Eliot Spitzer situation (a little insight into what his wife must have been thinking during his resignation announcement) . All very fun. Much preferred by this viewer to the moralistic judgment and exposés that many news and pundits shows have been featuring. I like the late night talk show take on it much better. I wonder what Saturday Night Live will say.

OK, back to The Hour. The first segment was with Peter Raymont, the producer of a documentary about the tar sands in Alberta. The doc looks at the cost of exploiting the tar sands. He of course mentioned the environmental impact, but the doc’s focus was on the cost to Canada of developing the tar sands too fast and selling off rights to it too cheaply to Americans. Check out the full interview. I have watched it twice because I think as someone who lives in the east I tend to only hear about the boomtown situation, but not enough about the bigger picture. It is a finite resource and the demand for it is not going anywhere soon (it is only rising). It does seem better to do things as they have in Newfoundland – charge royalties that are in Canadians long term best interest. Not the Americans. It is a provincially controlled issue, but it affects us all. A very interesting and important issue.

Tar Sands: The Selling Of Alberta airs Thursday at 9pm on the Doc Zone on CBC.

Next up was the Bryan Adams interview. During his radio show and in previous episodes of The Hour George has said the interview was a little tense. Not a lie. Bryan had his arms crossed for much of the beginning and then he seemed to loosen up a bit and got a little snarky. The conversation began with a question about songwriting featuring a popular George theme (the journey from boy to man) and then hit different aspects of his process as a musician. It was kind of neat to see him interviewed given how little press he does.

Fighting for Food and One Day at a Time

Episode Aired 080311

The Cold Opener had a bit of school lesson in it. They explained our country’s history of democracy (or version of it anyway). Amusing an educational. I like.

Author Raj Patel was on the show talking about his book Stuffed and Starved. He spoke about who has control of food distribution (mainly corporations and cartels) and who does not (consumers). He made the point that our power as consumers cannot change things. Instead we need to put a focus getting feedback from farmers – especially the large groups of poor farmers. He spoke of the power of large groups of people being able to affect change to the way things are structured – by speaking up and getting angry. This kind of disappointed me because I would like to think my consumer choices have power, but I might be a bit idealist about things. It is not enough. There are many other things required for serious change to our food distribution.

I really enjoyed the Valerie Bertinelli interview. I have seen her on other programmes about her book and her weight loss and this interview was refreshing. She was refreshing. I liked her goofy energy and her candour. It was neat to see her just go off about her political point views (always in a cute way – I think her charm is not faked). It seemed she had a sense of relief in being in a media situation (in Canada) where she could say what she feels without getting a bunch of hate mail her way (ah, the Internet might change that). It is a shame though that George could not pursue his question about how it was behind the scenes of One Day at Time when they tackled controversial and new-t0-sitcoms issues.

The show included an Everything You Wanted to Know  segment (one of my favourites). This time around it was about John A MacDonald. The expert interviewed was funny (maybe it was the editing though his choice of words certainly helped it along) and I learned a few things (a binge drinker, you say? used corruption in a focused manner to attain a goal? interesting).

Home & Garden – Sorta

First up was Michael Pollan author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and his latest book In Defense of Food. I was eagerly anticipating this interview. I am a bit of a foodie – especially real food. Sure, I enjoy the processed stuff from time to time, but on a day-to-day basis I aim to lessen the pseudo-food and increase the real stuff. In fact, just yesterday I finished reading a book about the evils of artificial sweetners and high fructose corn syrup (evil is not hyperbole in this case).

With humour and ease Pollan did not disappoint.  The interview I am sure was eye opening for some and I hope more and more people take what he has said to heart (I’ve lost loved ones to cancer and heart disease – diet related – real food can help prevent these kinds of things). His guidelines? Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Another important quote? If bacteria won’t eat something (like a Twinkie) then neither should you. Smart advice.

He also mentioned how it is a shame that good for you food can be expensive (i.e. the organic stuff) or time consuming to make (convenience foods are so rarely good for you) and how it has nothing to do with actual cost of food but because of the way things are set up. I wonder if his book addresses how to change that. In the meantime, may I suggest  my own little plan that I used to get me through my lean university days – frozen vegetables, dried beans, and rice. With the right seasonings and various sauces you can have a variety of meals. Not terribly exciting or perfect, but it is a start. Way better for you than KD and the like.

Oh! Mike Holmes! Sitting at home on the couch we were looking forward to this one too. Big fans of the show. It  has been on for 7 years. Wow! Time flies. And it is coming to an end. Sigh. But he has a new show in the works. I hope he gets a good sponsor because it seems he puts a heck of a lot of his own money into cleaning up after other people’s mistakes for his current show.  Such a good guy. So no-nonsense too. He is to build the first house for Brad Pitt’s Make it Right project in New Orleans. Neat that the project has the same name as Holmes’ book.

The show had a bit of a Closer if you will. Brian Stewart read the Spice Girls’ goodbye letter. I cracked up.

Online Viewing Recap

We missed a couple of episodes last week, hence no recent blogging from us. Sorry about that. We are trying to catch up online. We will add our thoughts on the different interviews and pieces in the next day or two.

Tricia Helfer – Not the most in depth or inspiring interview. I am a fan of the Battlestar Galactica series which I am catching up on via DVD. I like their take on space and sci-fi. Shame George and Tricia did not talk about that more, but I understand that he could not ask series specific questions as it is a niche kind of show and one I do not think he watches). However, I think they could have talked a bit more about the upcoming movie she is starring in – Walk All Over Me. I read an article about it. It seems like a neat, quirky movie. But then again I find she did not give him much to work with.  And when George asked about the modeling to acting move, I found myself wanting to roll my eyes. I did not need to hear about how an actor has to just allow herself to flub lines and how she likes jumping like a bunny to keep her energy up. Eeek! As for her Playboy spread she did not say anything we have not heard before – tasteful, artistic, wanted to do it while she still had the body to. I can see that doing Playboy is a safe move when it comes to sexual imagery (it is hyper photoshooped boob and butt shots – with occasional neatly trimmed and semi concealed muffshots), but I bet there were other motivations – the money was right, the exposure can be seen as good.  The whole Playboy versus Hustler comment pissed me off – reinforcing the levels of slutdom that is deemed appropriate for women. Though I did think the idea that Tricia preferred a real nude than a fake nude for signing purposes was an amusing sign of the times.

– Go Lightly –

George is Back with Guests Robert Bateman and Matthew Good

After two weeks of re-runs The Hour with George Stromboulopoulos is back with fresh shows and fresh interviews – with this week’s being taped in Vancouver. I assume the producers and staff took the time off to prepare for this series shows. I took the time to stay away from late night TV. The American writers’ strike and their repeat of shows helped with that too. It made me wonder though if it would have been beneficial for The Hour to have aired new shows during this time. Maybe they would have attracted some new viewers – those that typically watch the other 11pm slot shows.

And now onto the December 3rd, 2007 episode…

Robert Bateman – What an amazing artist. I truly love his work. It is probably due to my father’s influence. He took me bird watching as a child. He taught me about conservationism back in the mid 1970s. I did not grow up in the city. I was in the suburbs back when they were becoming suburbs. Not quite rural then (and certainly not now),  but it still had very little pavement. I spent countless hours in old farmers’ fields going on imaginary adventures.  Today Robert Bateman reminded me of this childhood of mine. I don’t like to be one of those people that says, ‘back in my day’, but I really do think today’s youth is disconnected from nature and it does us all a disservice. I hope his project Get To Know helps Canadian children go outside a little more.

Matthew Good – I am an avid reader of his blog and I very much enjoy his music. The interview did not shed any new light for someone like me. Not sure what would since he is quite candid about himself in interviews and through his blog – perhaps something super in depth and done over a longer period of time. In any case, I think it is very significant that he speaks openly about his diagnosis of bipolar disorder. He does not do so in a PSA way. He certainly does not do so in a Movie of the Week way. It feels very genuine to me. Very ‘just the facts’. I think that really has helped people. So have the information and views that he shares about geo-political issues over at his blog. The man is really intense about his research and his commentary is insightful. It is great to have a Canadian voice such as his be a part of this discourse about what is going on in the world today. I think he reaches many people who would normally not be so interested in such things.

I liked the space where they are shooting the show. It seemed like quite the full house and the audience quite enamored with being there. The sound was a little echo-y but it made it feel all the more ‘live’ to me. I also enjoyed seeing what I think were passerbys outside the window.

– Go Lightly –

Ani DiFranco and Chris Jericho

November 14th, 2007 episode

Just a quick entry…

I think I first heard of Ani DiFranco from Sassy magazine back in the late 1980s. I think. Foggy memory. I enjoyed her music and her contributions as an independent artist, but I would not call myself a true fan as I don’t own any of her stuff. I think I liked her from a distance and the idea of her. Sort of a passive experience. Anyway, I still find there is so much to admire about her. I enjoyed her discussion with George – especially the part about the changes in her life since she had a child. Playing with grass. Loved the sound of that. As someone who is also always on the go and working/creating/etc… I can appreciate the appeal of that.

Speaking of being on the go… Chris Jericho. Wow, did that guy ever have a lot of energy. I wonder if he ever sits still. He definitely has found a good outlet for his energy – physicality and entertainment. While his appearance on The Hour did nothing for me personally, I know that the world of wrestling entertainment has a big following (I have friends in the indie side of the biz). I think it is good that The Hour covers the topic and the individuals involved in a mainstream and personable way without the hyperbole usually involved. The exaggeration is a part of the product but it is refreshing to look at it without it.

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