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Song submission penalizes Hockey Night in Canada: Offside war-mongering

Offside war-mongering

The Consumer Goods call out the CBC

Tyler Shipley loves hockey, but he’s sick of seeing his favourite game, and one of our public broadcaster’s most popular shows, Hockey Night in Canada, being increasingly used as a pro-war propaganda pulpit.

When the CBC recently launched a national public contest to find a new theme song for its iconic program, they likely weren’t expecting anything like Shipley’s satirical ode to Don Cherry et al. at Hockey Night in Canada – called Hockey Night in Afghanada. The cheeky music video critiques the way the popular telecast "present[s] a very blatant pro-war, pro-occupation political message, in spite of behaving just like any other objective sports program," says Shipley.

While it didn’t make the cut with CBC Sports, and won’t be posted on their website, the music video is attracting eyeballs on YouTube (watch it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFwruD0FGfo).

"It strikes me as a cunning political move to associate the most popular sport in this country with a very pro-war position," says Shipley, who submitted the song along with his Winnipeg bandmates The Consumer Goods, known to fans and music critics alike for their wickedly sharp absurdist indie agit-pop.

While the regulations for the theme song contest clearly state you must "not expose CBC to embarrassment, contempt, ridicule, adverse publicity or otherwise reflect unfavourably on the CBC," Shipley says his motivation was to raise awareness and public debate about the war in Afghanistan.

"I’m not slandering, libelling or creating false ideas about what CBC does. I turn on hockey on Saturday night, hoping the Leafs lose, and instead get Don Cherry’s ‘heart-wrenching’ tributes to fallen soldiers – and notable lack of any mention of the Afghani dead. I’m not comfortable with that. Why is this war being pushed in a common-sense way when so many Canadians are against it?"

For more information about The Consumer Goods, check out www.myspace.com/theconsumergoods and www.theconsumergoods.net. The band is set to release another album soon and will play Café Campus on Aug. 21.

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  • by Reuven De Souza - July 17, 2008, 7:08 pm

    I am not sure that I watch the same Hockey night In Canada as Tyler Shipley. I mean if you are going to quoted as stating that the show has a “…blatant pro-war, pro-occupation political message…”..well you opught to be able to back that up. Despite joing the increasing ranks choosing the smooth styles of Pirre Houde at RDS, I can tell you that the CBC is guilty of merely acknowledging our soldiers across the world and at home. no more and no less. This sounds more like a tempest in a teacup if you ask me.
    What is actually missing is the fact that the CBC perpetrates and even greater and cunning blight on the national landscape….the continued employment of the wretched Bob Cole and Harry Neale!

  • by Tyler Shipley - July 21, 2008, 12:55 am

    Respectfully, Reuven, I’m quite happy to back up my claim that HNIC promotes a pro-occupation agenda. Incidentally, I am also happy to support a campaign to fire Bob Cole, on account of his blatent anti-analysis bias!

    ‘Acknowledging our soldiers around the world and at home’ is, indeed, what HNIC does, but that acknowledgement itself legitimates the pro-war position. Don Cherry shows us a picture of a dead Canadian soldier, and encourages us to see that soldier as a hero, but does not contextualize it by explaining why that soldier was killed. Thus, instead of considering whether it was okay for that soldier to be terrorizing Afghan villages in the first place, we are expected to ‘shut up and mourn the hero.’ If an Afghan television station gave rousing tributes to resistance fighters killed by Canadians, we would target them for bombing.

    Indeed, I think your reply highlights precisely my point about HNIC. Because the program is so popular and influential, its political choices have a powerful impact on public opinion. Thus, CBC has actually “normalized” the sentiment of ‘support our troops’ to the point where we are led to believe that it is common sense. In 2003, when Ron and Don discussed the invasion of Iraq, people were shocked by the insertion of such intensely political questions on a hockey discussion panel. Just 5 years later, tributes to the troops take place nearly every week, commentators regularly slip in a quick note to the troops overseas during the telecast, soldiers are invited onto the ice during pre-game ceremonies and CBC often sends a live TV feed to Kandahar to show ‘our boys’ watching HNIC in Afghanistan!

    This sends a very clear message: “the troops are good guys serving in an important war to defend our country and we ought to appreciate what they are doing.” There is much evidence to dispute that claim, but HNIC does not provide even a glimpse of that perspective, creating the illusion that there IS only one opinion.

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