Friday, December 16, 2011

Not Friends of All Canadian Broadcasters

In all fairness, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting's "Stop the CBC Smackdown" campaign has probably gone unnoticed by most Canadians. In fact, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting has probably gone unnoticed by most Canadians.

In the ad, FCB presents a fictional -- purely fictional -- scenario in which the government privatizes the CBC and sells it to an American pro wrestling promoter. The ad has Bret Hart offended, and rightfully so.

In every sense, the campaign is an example of FCB playing at dog whistle politics. They've assumed that most of their supporters look down on pro wrestling, and so they've singled it out as a means to ridicule any notion that the CBC may not continue as it always has. In other words, that there may be any sort of changes.

But in singling out pro wrestling, FCB very clearly forgot about one of Canada's pioneering broadcasters: none other than Bret Hart's father, Stu Hart.

For decades, Hart was Canada's most successful wrestling promoter -- which, unfortunately, isn't saying much in terms of financial success. But Stampede Wrestling was broadcasted across Canada, into the United States, and in markets around the world. It's left an indelible mark on this form of entertainment that apparently FCB hate so deeply.

If the mark of success is how many viewers his programs reached, and how many dreams it has helped create, than Hart was an incomparable success.

Some of the Canadian stars to emerge out of Stampede Wrestling include Bret Hart, Owen Hart and Chris Jericho. Other stars to emerge out of the company included the British Bulldog and Andre the Giant.

Not that the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting have any respect for this.

Nor did they have much respect for Pat Patterson, a Quebec-born wrestler who was openly gay within the industry. The homophobic crack from their Lance Fury character is deeply disrespectful.

I fully expect to hear some ridicule for even bringing these things up, and I'm prepared for it. Frankly, I don't care.

Children across the world grew up watching pro wrestling, and for people of my particular generation, Stampede Wrestling was a big part of that. It was one hour of every Saturday afternoon remembered with fond memories.

For an organization that purports itself to be a supportive pillar of broadcasting in Canada to so callously and contemptuously disregard the contributions of wrestling to Canadian broadcasting simply reveals the group for what it is: a sham.

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