August 29, 2006

Aug. 28, 2006: #1 Bud Talkinghorn

Coming to a small, small screen next to you

Scott Feschuck, the humour writer for "Macleans", has turned serious in a "Macleans" column entitled "Banff to the Future". In it, he tries to capture the desperation of the television executives who are trying to "catch the next wave" of viewership. The event was portentously called The Banff World Television Festival. However the main mindset expressed was the North American one; caring about anyone over 35 stopped some time ago. That younger cohort has been their economic grazing ground for a long time because these youn'uns buy tons of crap. You're over 35? Well, we have a few middle-aged dumb men--smart women sitcoms for you. And for the truly ancient--anyone over 60--between the arrested development plot breaks, we give you the best in adult diapers, corn plasters, and "uppers" that only North American genius can produce. Besides, these insipid, infantile programs that irritate you now will be greatly enjoyed during your advancing dementia.

The executives were all a'twitter about the young folks' limited attention span. Feschuck states: "They concluded that young people have an on-demand mindset and are demanding a more portable entertainment experience." Enter your palm gadget as a Lilliputian TV. Leave lots of program room there for ritalin ads. So, we are all going to be bound to the plot line tastes of a 21 year old (It used to be that of a 16 year old). We senile ones can always subscribe to Vision TV or The Geriatrics channel if we can't get hip to the new format. And for a while we will be allowed to watch them on our gigantic flat panel models.

As Feschuck concluded that everybody from the lowly writer with a dream to the dream-crushing executive was trying to glimpse the revolution to come. That bit about wanting it all and wanting it now, implies some instrument smaller than that idiot box that takes up 60% of the livingroom. Maybe some transmission that can be added to the Blackberry will be the future. It will certainly add a dimension to the teenies' mall experience. CBC's president, Rabinavitch, evoked the lost era of the vinyl record and the videocassette, and suggested that standard TV fare was on the way to defunctsville. Television was going to have to, somehow, reach these spendthrift young souls with pinball synapses. Polls have shown the younger set actually enjoy product placements. Hence, the idea was floated about a sitcom series that would be, basically, one big commercial, but slickly disguised as a relationship story. You wouldn't even have to have commercial breaks as they would be embedded in the program. But as Feschuck noted, maybe CBC should try to produce a few programs that anyone might want to watch first. For me, I'm not letting my library card expire.

© Bud Talkinghorn

A politically incorrect assessment of our immigration/refugee policy

Years ago, I was in Jamaica for a few days. When I flew into Kingston the customs hall calypso band was there to greet visitors. They were so stoned that they sounded like a kid's rhythm band afflicted with cerebral palsy. An old Jamaican behind me said, "Isn't that a disgrace!" Later in the walled-in compound of the Sheraton and two Brit hotels I saw the open criminality that suffused the compound and the adjoining streets. In a four block walk to a book store, I was accosted by four different men who, variously, wanted to sell me fake/stolen watches, a nubile hooker, a pound of "wisdom weed" and packets of cocaine. Even the boutiques in the compound had to pay protection money or have their windows broken. One owner (whose window was smashed) said, "The gangsters control this place." In the Sheraton's lobby there were signs exhorting the staff to "Treat our guests well." An extraordinary statement when it should have been presumed behaviour. However it was necessary, as my experience showed.

The hotel phone operator called me at 1 a.m. to tell me to come collect the leftover money from my long-distance $50 deposit. I told her I was going back to sleep and would get it in the morning. As the call was short, I had $38 left over. The desk man tried to give me $15 back. I informed him that first I would talk to the manager and then the police about this blatant embezzement. Two minutes later, he returned with the rest of my deposit. "Just a mistake mon", he assured me. Yeh, of course. I have to include the incredible meal I had in the hotel's cafe. When I entered I was only one of two customers there. While I sat at my table, unserved for ten minutes, I had the opportunity to overhear the conversation of three waiters two tables away. So help me God, one of them actually said, "You know, you can't get good help anymore." The other two shook their heads in agreement. I got up, walked over and confirmed the guy's observation. This pried one into service. I ordered turtle soup, chicken something, a Red Stripe beer and coconut flan. Ten minutes (two spliffs later?) he wanders out and gives me my beer. "The rest soon come, he told me." Twenty minutes later he emerges with the chicken dish. Ten minutes after finishing that meal, he slowly wanders over with the cheque. Luckily, before blowing my stack over the padded bill--no soup, no flan--I notice that he hasn't even included the soup or the flan. Those requests went into the ether somehow. I didn't leave a tip. This level of service from the top hotel in the country was flabbergasting.

What these memory snapshots all lead up to is my departure. As the taxi is taking me to the airport, the driver points out the Gun Court. "They even catch you with one bullet, mon, you end up there. It's that bad here." In the airport departure lounge, I observe a gaggle of young Jamaicans waiting for the Toronto flight. Rather like the calypso boys, many appeared deeply stoned. The men sported the dreadlocks, floppy woolen toques, and "bling" of "rude boys", as the Jamaicans call them. I thought, "This is what is entering Canada?" And that was many years ago.

I was aware that my experience could have simply been a bad batch. Therefore, over the years I have followed the impact of this group of immigrants. It has generally been a sad story. Large numbers are on welfare, the unwed "baby mamas" continue to push out future problems, and the criminal element control the slum ghettoes they inhabit. Murders committed in front of numerous witnesses go unsolved because of total intimidation by the thugs. I remember reading in the early 80's The Globe and Mail's crime reporter lamenting the "sad parade of shackled black men in the Monday court sessions of Toronto".

However, the current spate of gun murders committed by them is only the tip of the pathology that engulfs that broken community. The Jamaican youth drop-out rate in schools is enormous, for instance. The drugs of choice are more addicting. The prevalence of identity politics has created an us-versus-them mentality. What can these attitudes and behaviours be except a harbinger of more crimimality and welfare dependence?

With all this decades-long evidence of a group who are not productively intergrating into Canadian society, why are we still bringing them in through discredited reunification programs? The only answer I can fathom is that they will vote for Liberals or NDP'ers. It is these parties that have allowed this group to swell out of control. Anyone who proposes a check on dysfunctional immigrants loses in the urban areas. One can only hope that the Harper government puts a lid on this. Even the Caribbean immigrants from other islands would welcome that policy. The Jamaican thug culture give them all a black eye.

© Bud Talkinghorn--Jamaica, with about 60% of the GTA's population, had over 1600 murders last year.

Our universities as bomb factories

Surely it is a little disturbing to keep reading about the student backgrounds to most of our (alleged) home grown terrorists. The latest bunch were Tamil-Canadians who not only were using the university to acquire military weapons, but also controlled the Tamil Student Councils. The radicalization and secrecy that pervades the halls of acadene has to be more closely scrutinized by the university authorities. However, as so many of the staff members are thmselves self-styled leftist facilitators, there is little chance of that happening. Maybe, when these militant students turn their wrath on the universities themselves, some notice will be taken. That the bastion of leftish thought, the CBC, would be on the target list of the 17 alleged Muslim terrorists must surely give them pause for thought.

© Bud Talkinghorn


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