Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Rita MacNeil and the CBC

Only in Canada could Rita MacNeil have become a big star.
If she'd been in the U.S., she might have gotten a shot on PBS, but mostly only people in her own region would have known her.
But here, we treated Rita -- who died today -- as a national treasure.
Her Christmas specials were made years ago, but they are replayed every year. Apparently, they still get big numbers.
Rita MacNeil became a star -- and stayed a star -- in Canada because we're a bit old fashioned. We look beyond what's on the surface and see the radiance below.
And we also have a national broadcaster that reflects our Canadian values.
I haven't watched the CBC for many years -- it hasn't been on my radar, what with 57 other channels of nothingness to enjoy -- but it must be credited with being in tune with the psyche of the "ordinary" Canadian who lives in Kamloops or Sydney Mines.
The CBC still reflects the decency of this great land and showcases people and places that would never be seen on regular television.
I remember watching the CBC with my grandmother many evenings and getting to know Anne Murray and Don Messer and Juliette, and becoming better informed about my country through the tremendous package of news programming that has set Canada apart from other nations.
Recently, I've come back to the CBC, thanks to people like Sean Simpson and his dog Mollie who appeared on Dragon's Den to plead for funds which would allow Sean to bake the organic dog cookies -- the ones he sells at the Ottawa Farmer's Market -- for the masses.


Of course, I've heard of Dragon's Den -- one of my former coworkers went on six years ago to pedal his ma's recipe for tomato jam -- but I never watched it.
I didn't realize what a great show Dragon's Den was until I saw it repackaged as The Shark Tank on CBS. That makes me feel a slightly ashamed of myself.
I also started listening to CBC in the car in the past year, mostly because I, sometimes and rarely, appear on Definitely Not the Opera. Shallow, I know.
In the past few years, I've become tired of monopolized commercial radio with its canned playlists and corny ridiculous advertising. (People who own businesses, should be told NOT to do their own commercials. Stations only run them because they don't have to pay talent!)
CBC Radio (One or Two, I have no idea) does a fabulous job of showcasing homegrown Canadian singers and songwriters, people we would never know if it were not for the CBC. Again, I feel a little ashamed of myself because I've come to CBC Radio a bit late, but at least I'm willing to give it a chance in my dotage.
Anyways, this is a round about way of saying thanks to the CBC for letting us know that Rita MacNeil was a person who could sing, and for putting Sean Simpson on the air because, well, because Sean's a good guy and Mollie is an ace at retrieving beer from the fridge. Were it not for the CBC, Sean would still be peddling organic dog biscuits at the Ottawa Farmer's Market.
Sean deserves that Dragon money, even if they own half of his business.
As a final note let me say, rest well, Rita MacNeil, the treasure of the Maritimes.
And thanks CBC for letting me know her at all.



 

No comments:

Post a Comment