August 04, 2015

Writer talks about being censored by the CBC - on the CBC

Jim HenshawRebel Blogger

The truth about censorship is that all it protects you from is reality.

But the reality of our current reality is that we’re surrounded by mobs of people super-sensitive to just about everything. Use a word someone has deemed “offensive” or “inappropriate” and you’re in line to be pilloried in the public square.

Tell a joke “too soon”, inadvertently use a “trigger word” or explore an issue that’s “sensitive” and your life can be made even worse - all grave concerns for writers in particular.

As a result, you see more and more of us (especially in the television industry) practise self-censorship as we try to stay on the “right side of history” while said history is still figuring out which direction it’s going to go.

Each of us draws our own line in the sand. But how do we deal with a world that keeps drawing lines for us, both conflicting lines and ones that can spell career suicide if we cross them?

Last October, I got to attend Mark Leiren-Young's Southam lecture on “Comedy, Censorship & Sensitivity in the 21st Century” that dealt with all of these issues.

Despite his complete incompetence at predicting the outcome of hockey games, Mark is one of Canada’s funniest writers and winner of the 2009 Leacock medal for Humour. He’s also no stranger to having his work censored and attacked.

In 1991, CBC radio pulled a segment of his series “The Dim Sum Diaries” on the grounds that "it could be perceived to be racist."

Not “was” but “could be” and “perceived to be”. After being roundly condemned as “Canada’s National Censor” in editorials, the network relented and broadcast the episode (although not on the full network. Something it still hasn’t done.)

But 25 years later, it appears the mothercorp might be starting to come around. Perhaps by realizing you can’t be both politically correct and relevant.

Tonight at 9:00 pm CBC Radio’s “Ideas” will broadcast Mark’s Southam lecture and an interview with the man himself.

From my perspective this is essential listening for anybody who wants to write. I can guarantee that the content will inform your writing in a timely and important way, while at the same time being repeatedly fall-down funny.

A writer who second guesses his creative instincts might still be a writer but he won’t be a good one. The good ones, like Mark Leiren-Young, combine talent with courage and ultimately speak a truth even the most shuttered mind can’t ignore.


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commented 2015-10-04 09:01:48 -0400
Every Canadian should contact their MP and encourage them to force significant changes to the CBC censorship people
commented 2015-08-18 08:01:02 -0400
Media Motto: “Cowardice: the New Moral High Ground”…
It USED to be that the government was presented as cowardly and the media outspokenly courageous…THE SHOE IS ON THE OTHER FOOT HERE IN CANADA…We have a statesman in Harper…a man of courage and one who loves the safety of Canadians…instead of gratitude, we balk because we trust the cowardly media crowd who run and hide from the truth and the political party leaders who are running to catch up with them to scurry under their rocks: their “moral high ground”…the fear masked by “fake tolerance”.

Rushdie’s fatwa was the radical Islamists’ line in the sand and without Harper we are pleased to obey their command and thus,WE HAVE BECOME THE ENEMY…and if we succeed in ousting Harper, we will lose the only one who is ready and able to defend our country against full capitulation.

Some faith/ideas spread because they speak truth…false faith spreads by intimidation…we know which faiths/ideologies have grown by false means if we are not afraid to be honest with ourselves.

To quote Roosevelt, one of the last courageous Lefties: “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself”.
commented 2015-08-06 13:36:09 -0400
cbc ombudsman, ester enkin, told me that censorship wasnt in her mandate. i should write ubare dacrock…i am still waiting for a reply. ester enkin, as are most ombudsmen, is stealing money..and it is always taxpayer money..
commented 2015-08-06 13:34:07 -0400
cbc censorship is the national disgrace…pandering to a a very small audience, thats all cbc has, and intended solely to shape opinions.
commented 2015-08-05 21:25:00 -0400
CTV&CBC refer to ISIS child killers&rapists as MILITANTS can you trust their reporting on this election. Watching the CBC National is like watching old Soviet news from Moscow. Only the names have changed the proganda is the same.
commented 2015-08-05 18:47:38 -0400
When is saw that picture of Jesus in a jar of pee, and they called that art, I almost lost it. The CBC needs to go. Let’s give PM Harper another majority and cut this evil institution off.
commented 2015-08-05 07:00:25 -0400
This proves the value of taking the long view, and why comedians (and others) should never apologize for “offending” others. If you just stick yourself in one place long enough and refuse to move, eventually — in this case, 25 years - the “offended” or their latter day equivalents will probably come around. In this instance, this fellow has the rare priv. of being acknowledged, however. Most of us never get a “sorry, you were right all along” :)
commented 2015-08-05 01:22:01 -0400
CBC sure had no problem showing the Hebdo cover insulting the pope, they make me sick. The only thing i will enjoy about radical Islam will be seeing them reward their appeasers