Sunday, September 26, 2010

Influential Liars

Time to resume after a month's break. It was good to stand back and see this space as a reader for a bit rather than its author. After reviewing your many thoughtful comments, I'm close to drawing two conclusions.

First, regarding the name: Nunaview. I had originally hoped it would convey an idea of the Nunavut Territory as a relatively non-partisan perch from which to observe governnents, the press, and the effect each is having on North America's current self-image. Seven months later, however, I'm finding that my fellow Nunavummiut come to this blog expecting views on our own governments and our own press, not the rest of the world. More than that, they are desperate for a constructive description and analysis of what is going on right here at home.

From a second group of readers, one that includes several prestigious members of the established press in both Canada and the United States, I have heard that most blogging is a mere echo, a stream of parasitic opinion feeding off harder, genuine 'news'.

That comment cuts deep. It speaks to the original intent of this blog, which was to expose and analyse the debilitating hidden assumptions underlying much purportedly harder journalism, that of our contemporary 'mainstream media'.

I know, I'm as fed up as you of the cliché embedded in those two words, but how else can we desctibe the elements of our contemporary press who have voluntarily donned a straightjacket agenda of the narrowest possible scope, with their Pablum of permissible talking-points ensuring only a few tightly controlled self-perpetuating biases are eligible for coverage.

My recent period of reflexion has convinced me there is enough truth in each of the above two criticisms, that I should consider splitting this blog in two. Nunaview should morph into a more recognizably Nunavutian view of itself, Nunavut. While the analysis of misleading assumptions in the utterances of our leaders and news media can move to a new space called "Confounded Interests", or "Influential Liars", or some other equally ornery and curmudgeonly monicker.

Both blogs will continue to claim our contemporary press and broadcasters undermine public discussion, both north and south, but I must now accept the criticism and the challenge that it is not enough to simply state that fact. I must begin to illustrate the point, with your help, using highly specific examples.

I am betting we all crave an alternative to the dreary inventory of social boils and puss heaped on us by local and national publications. I assume we expect more from our intellectual leadership than streams of rhetorical Clearasil promising cream hued institutions of a decidedly assimilationist complexion while the same old post-colonial zits just keep popping up right next to our best of intentions.

Every time a news report frames the context or contaminates the detail of our lives with a narrative that is so crippling and destructive that it precludes a way out, let's expose it. The time has come to throw off the obsolete and shackling mindsets that bind us.

A tall order. I know. We will be amateurs, both of us, dabbling where the professional wolves dominate and are so expert at mocking and belittling such attempts as ours. It might take a year or two to hone our skills and our instincts.

But our firm intent should be to gradually retell our own story, using all the same truths, using all the documented history in which the nay-sayers love to wallow, but to reweave that cloth into a map of the way forward that is as useful as the one we used to get here.

Care to join me?