Monday, July 28, 2008

The Culture Wars on CBC Radio 2

Short blog this week.
I wanted to draw your attention to this article by Robert Everett-Green of the Globe & Mail which is the first in hist three part series regarding culture wars that are currently being fought out on CBC Radio 2.

It's a fascinating topic and revolves around the government's role in defining and promoting culture. The crux of the argument is this: The CBC (and by extension the elected Canadian government) should promote "permenant music", and eschew "ephemeral music", as it always has... until now. At least this is how the debate is being framed by the old guard. Of course "permenant music" is code for Western Classical music, and "ephemeral music" is code for contempary [pop] music. In actual fact the "ephemeral music" could hardly be considered mainstream fare and is usually on the experimental side of the equation. No matter. In the "permenant" camp we are on a slippery slope to cultural ruin.

Why I find most interesting is that Canada is not unique in this view that Western Classical music somehow represents some version of the truth. If you look at all the state run broadcasters, they all dedicate at least one station to classical music. Even KBS of Korea feels obligated to dedicate a station to mainly Western Classical Music when there's plenty of eastern classical music out there.

While I enjoy Western Classical music as much as the next guy (do film scores count ;) ), I welcome this debate since it exposes the undefinable nature of art. To define and quantify culture and art is chasing rainbows, but you learn a lot along the way. In the meantime, I'm happy to enjoy the debate.

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