Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Political Monday

Previously in the Adventures of Citizen Justice:
In 2006, Citizen Justice applied to be a part of the Mountain Standard Times Performative Arts Festival. In 2007, the Festival was postponed till 2008. All the planning in the world, wouldn't prepare Citizen Justice for the unexpected CULTURE WARS!!!!!!!!!!

Today I am writing about Monday October 8th! What a day that was.
The financial crisis had hit a few weeks earlier. A Canadian Election was in full swing. And Prime-Minister Stephen Harper makes some wild comments about Canadian Culture.

Through my online grass-roots connections (aka Facebook (aka the CIA)) I was invited to three events that day.
1) A Canada-wide wear black for the arts Day.
2) Artist Dead-In - a protest in front of City hall.
3) Calgary's "Wrecking Ball" a "political theater Cabaret" thingy.
black costume
ONE - Wear Black for the Arts Day! You'll notice I converted an old black Leotard into a sweet alternative Black Citizen Justice Costume. Unlike Spiderman's black costume, that makes him a sexy aggressive bad-ass. This one just ups the sexiness and ambiguous gentrification thing I have going on.

You could have done this event too, its an easy way to raise awareness. Assuming someone notices that you are wearing alot of black, they might say, "What's with all the black clothes?" and you would reply "I'm attending a funeral. Yes a Funeral for Arts and Culture in Canada, and the worst part of it all is that it was MURDERED!!!!!" and at this point you should be yelling "MURDERED!!!!! MURDERED!!!! MURDERED!!!!! by the Conservative Government and Stephen Harper.... HARPER!!!!" and you should be thrashing around on the ground, like there is crazy mournful bee in your brain, and if you can vomit on command you should do that, all day!

Two: Artist Dead-In - a protest in front of City hall.
Send in the CLOWNS!
Stephen Harper's Cultural Vision
Stephen Harper's Cultural Vision

Below is a short video I edited about the event. Enjoy.

If this "Art is a Niche Issue" Issue doesn't sound familiar to you, below is a nice video I found on Youtube, kinda highlighting the pre-election culture clash.

SCARIER STILL, Here is a clip from "the Hour" highlighting Harper's Republican Style handling of the media.

Near the end of the Rally at City Hall, I ran into a good friend, Noel Bégin. He not only talked me into coming to see a talk by John Ralston Saul that evening. He also had me proof read a document he had been working on. He read this statement on October 9th's edition of Soap Box Derby" on CJSW. With Noel
s permission I share this article with you....
a message from Noel Bégin
In response to arts cuts, and to Stephen Harper's divisive statements; Let's Cut Our Loses: Harper's minority government has cost Canadians in money, country, and culture. It's in our power to stop him.

To our fellow citizens of Canada,

Don't let Stephen Harper sell you short. While we appreciate that Harper sees artists as extraordinary, we are ordinary Canadians too, but we find that the term "ordinary Canadians" was slyly used by Harper to divide Canada's citizens. Many of Harper's recent statements attempt to pit you against us, but WE ARE YOU. Harper says ordinary Canadians don't want the kinds of creations that artists make with your tax dollars, but we think you're proud of what we make, proud of how carefully this small fraction of your tax dollars are spent, and that you're impressed by how difficult it is to receive those dollars.

The arts are a dynamic yet ordinary sector of the Canadian economy like all of the other sectors. The difference is that art is something we invest in as a nation because it is less about your bank account and more about your heart and mind, less about making a living and more about understanding the nuances of existence.

The Canadian system of arts funding is envied the world over for how it ensures that monies are distributed only to artists and arts groups who maintain a high standard of professional excellence. If the cultural industries are to maintain their integrity and continued innovation our system needs to remain free of the censorial influence that Harper is attempting to assert

Some art is created for children, and some art is created only for adults, some art functions as art regardless of age. Harper's attempt to seduce voters with a plan that will ultimately under-fund children's classes also serves to reduce the Canadian public's perception of art as an activity for children, and distract voters from the fact that this should be an essential part of a properly funded education system.

Suggestion is a powerful form of influence. Stephen Harper suggests that artists are elitist and exist in ivory towers, but each aspect of the arts is a specialized field, with specialized and technical language no different from the specialization of any professional industry. When Harper suggests that ordinary Canadians don't want to support the arts, he acts to divide us from you, but again, we are you. One must ask why a Prime Minister would seek to drive a wedge into the Canadian economy, or between groups of citizens. As artists and as ordinary citizens of Canada we are sure that Stephen Harper is not an acceptable choice for Prime Minister of the great country of Canada.

We are stronger together as a nation, and we want as a nation to be proud of our accomplishments in business, in science, in the arts, etc. We as artists are ordinary Canadians - we are you. We invite you to become engaged in the arts, to discover where and why a small fraction of your tax dollars are put to use, and to participate in the dialogue of art on a daily basis, consuming a byproduct of our combined strength.

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