Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CBC Radio Two contest: 49 Songs from North of the 49th Parallel

Apparently CBC Radio Two is holding a contest. This is the text of the contest announcement from the CBC Radio Two web site:

49 Songs from North of the 49th Parallel

Canadians choose 49 songs from North of the 49th parallel that defines Canada to the new President.

Beginning Monday, January 5, CBC Radio 2 invites Canadians to help select the top "49 songs from north of the 49th parallel" that would best define our country to the incoming U.S. President Barack Obama.

His playlist could definitely benefit from some Canadian content, especially given the depth of our musical offerings – spanning a wide variety of genres and representing our culture from coast to coast.

"One of the best way to know Canada is through the depth and breadth of our artistic expression," says Denise Donlon, Executive Director, CBC Radio. "We're excited about the new President and we want him to be excited about us, so we're asking our audience to help compile the list of our most definitive Canadian songs!"

After having read this announcement, I imagined the following conversation that might take place between President-elect Obama and one of his advisors during their morning workout:

Hey, Barack, did ya see this? (Advisor is reading the Chicago Tribune while on the stationary bike.) Canada is holding a contest to develop a playlist of Canadian music for you.

Say again? A playlist of Canadian songs? For me?

Yeah, CBC Radio is holding a contest to choose 49 songs that best define Canada for the incoming president. That would be you.

Why me? I already know about Canada. We have briefing papers coming out the ying-yang about Canada. And why 49 songs? What, one for every state in continental North America? Are they excluding Hawaii for some reason?

No, no, it has something to do with Canada being north of the 49th parallel.

I see. Well, it seems very odd. But why me? Why now?

Well, you know how it is. Canada has always been a little bit unsure of itself. It's always had to try to define itself by its relationship to America.

I see.

And there's always been a deep-seated anti-American aspect to the Canadian identity. It all comes from the United Empire Loyalists who flooded into Canada after the War of Independence. They were anti-American, and the trait has persisted through the generations. So Canadians often feel the need to assert their identity, often through anti-American sentiments. Remember the ad, what was it, that we saw that one time when we were in Buffalo? Remember? That beer ad? The guy in the lumberjack shirt ranting about Canada?

Oh, yeah, I remember. How very odd, and sad at the same time.

Yeah, so I suppose this contest is just another one of Canada's strange attempts to assert its identify, but they have to do it in relation to America, and to you, to let you know they exist.

Well, it still seems very strange. Why can't they celebrate their own achievements without us? Canada is a great country. They have many things to be proud of. It would be like us, trying to celebrate ourselves in relation to, say, England, or France. Can you imagine such a thing?

No, I can't, but that's Canada for you.

Yeah, I guess. (Barack ponders for a moment.) I know what the problem is. Canada has a self-esteem problem. Yes, that's it. It's all a matter of self-esteem. We can fix this! I know we can! OK, here's what I want you to do. After the inauguration, I want you to start working on a program to build up Canada's self-esteem. We'll have a Canada Appreciation Day, and we'll invite famous Canadians to the White House for a dinner. We'll invite Avril Lavigne, Jim Carrey, Margaret Atwood, Burton Cummings, Joni Mitchell, Michel Bublé, we'll have a dinner and show afterwards.

OK, I'll get some other names together.

We'll invite the Canadian Prime Minister, Harper, to Washington, first thing in January.

Well, remember, Canada's going through a bit of a political crisis right now. Harper might not be the Prime Minister after they introduce their next budget.

Right, I forgot. OK, hold off on the Harper invitation until after the situation in Ottawa becomes a bit clearer.

I think that's a good idea.

And we'll have an exhibition hockey game. We'll get all the Canadians who play on U.S. teams to play for Canada, and all our guys to play for the U.S. Shoot, we can even make it an eight game series!

I'll get right on that. I'll talk to the NHL Commissioner.

What about inviting some CFL teams to play exhibition games in border cities? Show everyone that the CFL can be more exciting than the NFL, what with all the passing that the Canadians do?

Yeah, that's an idea for next summer.

And Gretzky. Does he play ball? We can invite him over sometime.

I don't know if he plays, but I'm sure he'd give it a shot. He's a great athlete.

Good! I'm excited about this! I just know we can make a difference for Canada! Now, let's go shoot some hoops.


Anonymous said...

"Canadians choose 49 songs from North of the 49th parallel that defines Canada to the new President."

That sentence apparently defines Radio Two's current level of intelligence. Throw out the stuff in between and the sentence would read "49 songs defines Canada". Um, let's get our plurals straight here, shall we?

Later in the release, Denise Donlon is quoted as saying "“One of the best way to know Canada..." We is got to fix us grammar, yes we does.

Later still, "A total of 49 songs will be determined."

Determined? Strong-willed? Macho?

And, finally, "So, what Canadian music do you think are the most definitive..."

I think the one that are most definitive are "We Folks Is Illiterate, Doesn't You Know"?

Look, if you want to impress my president (I be dual-citizen, having became Canadian two year ago and thus losing my ability to write well grammar, eh?), send him a couple of Stompin' Tom albums. Real* Canadiana, you know?

James Wooten said...

It's a consequence of the dumbing-down of the CBC. First things to go are proper grammar and spelling.

James Wooten

Anonymous said...

"First things to go are proper grammar and spelling."

And audience...