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Friday, March 14, 2008

What? They don't play music *I* like? Then shut them down!

Russell Smith is at it again.

He's fed up with the CBC. I am, too, but for different reasons than Russell is. He's upset that they don't play the kind of music he likes. He figures that if Radio 2 does not play enough classical music at the times he plans to turn on the radio, the entire network should be scrapped. I'm not joking. This is really his argument.

Russell, as you'll recall, is the Toronto columnist who never misses an opportunity to let everyone in Canada know that he is better than they are. Whether it's the proper way to tie your shoelaces or to punctuate a run-on sentence, Russell is the man with the plan. Everyone else pales beside him.

I know it's Russell instead of a ghostwriter, because only Russell would write a sentence like this:

We've all seen the writing on the wall for some time now, and resistance is futile: The CBC no longer feels there is any point to devoting an entire radio station to the more musically and intellectually complex style of music colloquially, though entirely inappropriately, known as "classical" (more on that tendentious terminology in a moment), because, according to its mysterious studies, no one is interested in that any more.

A good rule of thumb is that if you have to stop for breath twice while reading a sentence out loud, your sentence is probably too long. I did not make this rule up: I learned it at a school with ties to England, one of Russell's favourite places. We wore formal robes to dinner with the president and sipped sherry after chapel. This is all true, and should make me eminently qualified to offer advice to Russell Smith.

Russell is furious, because Radio 2 is only going to play classical music while everyone's at work. The rest of the time, they are going to play music from artists like -- wait for it -- Diana Krall. Yes. Russell cannot believe our national broadcaster has fallen so far. You can buy Diana Krall's CDs at Chapters! What's the fun of listening to a radio station that plays music ANYONE can own? The whole point is to listen to musicians nobody has ever heard of -- that is the only way to establish yourself as a cool person in Toronto. Russell would never dream of telling anyone that he listens to Feist. Heck, everyone knows who she is. Russell can only be cool if he listens to music that is so pure, unique and genuine that nobody else likes it. THAT'S what should be played 24 hours a day on the public broadcaster.

Russell is especially contemptuous of any music that features a verse, a chorus, and then another verse. I suppose he is much happier when music features "codas" instead. That's totally different. In any case, Russell sees this programming decision as proof that Canada is not an enlightened country. He wants Radio 2 to be shut down, because there are plenty of private easy-listening radio stations in Toronto. Why would the country need another one?

And people in Toronto wonder why everyone else hates them.


scribe said...

I am no fan of CBC's plans for Radio 2, but I think Russell Smith is the biggest windbag in all of Canada. I could not stop laughing through your entire post!

Karen said...

Some of us non-windbags like classical music too, Meg, as well as that terrible pop stuff.

Megan said...

Oh, I like classical. I'd even argue that it's part of the CBC's mandate to play it.

I'm just not self-absorbed enough to believe that the public broadcaster should play only the things that I personally want to listen to. Or that they should be shut down if I don't want to hear whatever they play. Or that Toronto's radio stations broadcast to the entire country.