Friday, November 07, 2003

Confessions of a Sellout? 

New Jay-Z lyrics, in a song titled Moment of Clarity:

"...i dumb down for my audience
double my dollars
they criticize me for it
yet they all yell holla
if skill sold truth be told
I'd probably be lyrically Talib Kweli
Truthfully I want to rhyme like Common Sense..."

Is admitting you dumbed down your lyrics to sell the new admitting you rip off black music? I've long suspected he could rap 'smarter'. But what's funny about this is that it's sort of a backhanded shoutout; he's saying Common and Talib are great rappers, but they lack his millions, and therefore he's the smarter rapper.

My Sputtering and Angry Response 

So Liberal BC MLA's find so little opposition in the legislature and in the media, they have to go looking for it. They are now visiting protests where they are denounced. An excerpt from the coverage:

Joe Foy of the Western Canadian Wilderness Committee told Penner that British Columbia has become "an environmental pariah because of your government."
When Foy said B.C. is down to the last handful of spotted owls in Penner's Chilliwack area, Penner called him a liar.
Penner said there is no evidence of spotted owls in the area Foy was referring to and further, that the forest Foy was referring to is actually second-growth.
That prompted a sputtering, angry response from Foy.

Look, I don't know much about journalism. But isn't quoting a response generally preferable to describing it? Or would that conflict with the story CanWest is trying to tell?

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The Simpsons Steals from Canadian Bloggers! 

Really, they stole jokes from RevMod. He should sue. He should also spice up his blog a little. I suggest publishing chess games.

Cry, my beloved country 

Congratulations to M. G. Vassanji, who has just won the prestigious Giller Prize for his novel The In-Between World of Viktor Lall. I placed my bet on Margaret Atwood, because the Gillers are just like the Best Actress Oscar; the hottest chick always wins. Vassanji's novel "is about the feeling of displacement of the Afro-Indian Vikram Lall, who lived in Kenya during the end of the colonial era...Lall starts out an idealistic young man, but his job in the civil service leads to corruption and, after a life embezzling funds from the government, he flees to Canada." Seems to me like every book in my CanLit class has the same 'fleeing to Canada' ending (see Pi, Life of). None of these books actually take place in Canada, which just goes to show that Canada is incredibly boring.

The most exciting thing about the Giller Prize is, of course, the televised ceremony. Here's the Globe and Mail's irony-free description:
Surrounded by a month-long buzz of hype and publicity, the Giller Prize is regarded as the most glamorous event in Canadian publishing - past guests have flown in from as far away as Victoria just to attend the gala, and those without tickets seek solace in other Giller parties, such as the Giller Light, a fundraiser for literacy organization Frontier College.
But this year's 10th anniversary celebration was even glitzier than ever. Canadian celebrities Paul Gross, Pamela Wallin, Graham Greene, Daniel Richler and Cynthia Dale were on hand to make to make presentations to all five author finalists. As the master of ceremonies, Mary Walsh kept the crowd of 500-plus authors, editors, agents, booksellers and assorted media laughing.

So I sez to my roommate: You missed the Giller Prize broadcast! For the best Canadian novel of the year!
Roommate (in derogatory tone): Where's that being broadcast? The internet?
Me: No, the CBC!
We are comic geniuses, we are. Only the CBC could spend an hour giving away a single prize, and expect people to watch. So, isn't saying the Giller is regarded as 'the most glamorous event in Canadian publishing' kind of like saying someone was the nicest guy in the SS? Ditto that 'glitzier than ever' line; the Globe, typically, is not saying much. The truly annoying line, however, is "past guests have flown in from as far away as Victoria". Flying from Victoria to Toronto is not a noteworthy accomplishment; many Canadians do it on a daily basis. And I realize this may be difficult for the Globe to understand, but there are novelists west of Ontario. It is within the realm of possibility that one could be nominated for a Giller, and be flown in. It is statements like these that made Stockwell and Preston household names.
My girlfriend thought Mary Walsh was Jann Arden. And her opening monologue did not, in fact, keep the assorted crowd laughing. There were more laughs at the Democratic Party debate*. And then there's the celebrities. Oh, the celebrities. They were, in general, the sort of people that could describe a book as 'luminous' without giggling. One is famous because he sprang from the loins with a great writer, another is famous because he shares a first and last name with a great writer, and the other three I never heard of. Though Graham Greene, to his credit, made a joke about viewers expecting the 'other one'. I know I was expecting the writer of 'Our Man in Havana' (to my discredit). The point of this post is, Canadian literature makes me irrationally angry.

* 3 best laughs of Democratic Debate:
1. Al Sharpton discussing how much he wants to party with John Kerry's wife.
2. John Kerry saying, apropos of nothing, that he eats everything he kills. You should remember,as Kerry reminded the audience ad nauseaum, that he served in Vietnam. And I believe cannibalism is frowned upon in the Geneva conventions.
3. The rap song about Dennis Kucinch. (Though Kucinch's use of the phrase 'the spirit rebellious' was close.

Once More, With Links 

For my slower readers: Confidential to YA and AS: Your "I hate you" act is so transparent. Just fuck already.

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