Saturday, July 7, 2012

Brian McNair's world of "Cultural Chaos" : amateur nova scotia whale blowing rainbow out-virals Canada's official slicks

Over half a million sets of eyeballs and still going strong.

Sean Rowley's 22 seconds of amateur video of a Digby Neck , NovaScotia whale gaily blowing a rainbow at a passing boat of tourists was viewed by more people in the world than any of the expensive "slicks" put up by Official Canada on Canada Day 2012.

Canada's right wing prime minister Harper (and the government he runs with an iron fist) is all about total control of the message.

But even Stephen Harper with all the power, prestige and money behind him couldn't control the message that actual people on an actual globe took away about Canada on July 1st, Canada's national holiday.

Harper would prefer that when the world thought about Canada, it thought first and foremost about Tar - MegaTar Projects in Alberta, his home province.

In BC, another strand of Official Canada - the powerful right wing Fraser Institute, voted one of the top thirty think tanks ( out of over 6500) in the world, also puts out slick videos and runs its own mini tv network.

But its slick pro-megaproject videos can not draw flies anytime - let alone on Canada Day.

Another part of Official Canada is the NDP, the Official Opposition federally and a strong presence provincially, where it runs several provinces.

The Dexter NDP government in Nova Scotia , which proudly bills itself as "democratic socialist", is most proud of its many, many megaprojects: it will gladly give taxpayers money to almost anything ---- just as long as the proposal is big enough.

In the language of media theory, the Nova Scotia NDP can't handle a news story about "slow continuous murder" or "slow continuous growth".

But promise it hundreds or thousands of jobs, in the very short term , all in one location and it will take that over any alternative plan that might produce more jobs, jobs that last forever, but developing over a longer time span and spread geographically over a much larger area.

Official Canada - from Official Left to Official Right, can be summed up in one word: Megaprojects.

Rowley's amateur video by contrast is all about modesty.

Short, unedited, shakey, not promoted at all (to my personal despair !) : a small whale and a smaller rainbow.

So why did the rest of the world like it so much ( and how did they ever find it in the first place, when it was so un-promoted ?)

Perhaps because the world chooses to see past the Official Canada Bluster produced by the PR firm of Harper-Fraser-Dexter.

They have met Canadians and Americans and Britons and Australians and they find Canucks, overall, more low key than their other fellow Anglos.

This is the sort of thing that Brian McNair's 2006 book, Cultural Theory, predicted would happen --- the elites' Official Version would no longer be able to control the message, in part due to alternative media sites like YouTube and the blog-o-sphere.

Coming at it a trifle differently, I think it would have happened anyway, with or without the rise of the internet : the lost of faith in anything and everything elites hand us, I believe, came as a result of the collapse of Modern Hegemony since the events of 1945.

But I feel we can agree that a post-hegemonic world is a chaotic world, messaging-wise ....

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