Friday, September 26, 2008


a month in France...where i've been slacking on the blog, largely because my main internet access has been the wireless in a horse racing bar in a tiny Burgundian town. i rather like the off-track betting bar--it's filled with every possible character in town, and serves a decent hot chocolate. but now it's time to return to the real world. i'm in Paris for the weekend, and heading back to Toronto soon.

and to welcome me back to Canada, i see that our fabulous Prime Minister--not content with simply cutting the entire international touring budget for Canadian performers--has now announced that ordinary people don't care about the arts. i would like to be surprised & appalled that he's said such a thing--because he is so wrong. but really, i'm disappointed that he thinks this is a politically savvy thing to say--because our Prime Minister does nothing, truly nothing, unless he thinks it is going to win him votes.

does Harper mean artists aren't ordinary? so does he think scientists are ordinary? are plumbers? are people who work at an off-track betting bar ordinary? because in Burgundy, the horse racing bar is named for a Jacque Brel movie, the bar is filled with posters for music and performances in this tiny town, and the place has always had a free Linux computer, for people to stay in touch with the bigger picture.

so i guess the real question might be: what the hell does our Prime Minister think is ordinary? does he think that Canadians are completely unlike other nationalities and that we are absolutely divorced from the arts?

fortunately, before i start gnashing my teeth about this, there's Margaret Atwood's excellent articulate defense of why the "ordinary" person IS interested in the arts, and why some politicians have a desire to suppress that interest, in yesterday's Globe & Mail. Here is the link, in case you missed it.