Sunday, June 27, 2010

The New Flag

The New Flag
Yesterday I wandered onto Parliament Hill hoping to get a few shots of the workers setting up the stage for the upcoming Canada Day celebrations, but it quickly turned out that I didn't have enough zoom in my camera bag. Half the front lawn is fenced off, with security guards in bright yellow t-shirts frowning at tourists who lean over the barriers trying to get a nice shot of the Centre Block.

Yesterday afternoon the techies were testing the giant screen above the stage, with colour stripes chasing each other and sound people wincing as the Peace Tower bells rang the half hour. Presumably someone will be instructed to silence the bells for the live broadcast. As for the Snowbirds which roared over the Hill before Stephen Harper was finished speaking last year, I wouldn't be surprised if some clever suit from the production company had suggested preventing the same blunder from happening again by having the Snowbirds fly over the Yukon and broadcasting them live on the giant screen. Mind you, they could also save fuel money by using canned footage.

On a symbolic level, there's something I find profoundly disturbing about a massive TV screen hiding the seat of government. Of course Canada Day on the Hill has been a giant TV show for many years, but never before had I got such a sense of the event being so blatantly scripted, stage-managed, and spinned by the Ministry of Truth. Between the fences, the giant screen, and the security guards, the general feeling is that Canadians are not welcome on Canada Day except as extras in the TV show.

Stay on your marks, people.


RobHoey said...

I'm new to Canada, but I can't agree with you more. However, the problem, as I see it, has to do with the notion of entertainment has "taken centre stage" and now the government has even gotten into the act. George Carlin may have said it best when he alluded to our "toys" being a way to divert our attention away from the real world--a way to keep us happy while the owners of this country (he meant the USA, but what's the big difference, eh?) while taking everything for themselves.
Rob Hoey

SEA said...

Well, and the phenomenon is hardly a new one. The Romans, after all, had the circus...