Media issues

Purpose: Choose ONE of the following two options and post a message to our Course Forum that reflects on Canada’s image of itself and on Canadian values. Consider these images and values in relation to American (and other) media images that enter the cultural mix.

Option 1:

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Paul Rutherford suggests that there are three primary images of Canada in relation to the U.S. media influence:

The first is “Canada as a peaceable kingdom, devoted to the hallowed goals of peace, order, and good government, a haven of sanity and tolerance in a disturbed world, a country that is less aggressive and more humane than its American neighbour.”[1]

The second is “Canada as Nature” that includes “images of the Great North, the land of empty spaces, or wilderness Canada” as well as a mosaic of different cultures or a “community of communities” in contrast to the U.S.’s more industrial, melting pot image.

The third image is Canada as victim—“a vassal state, a perpetual colony, an imaginary nation or a non-nation.” This third image is one of dependency on others—Britain, the U.S.—Canada as a nation without its own culture.

Consider these three images of Canada and determine if you agree with any of them. What media images about Canada support your position? If you don’t agree with any of these images, then what is your view of Canada and how did you acquire it? Respond to these questions in a post and include images that represent your views of Canada.

Option 2:

Consider the symbolic nature of nationalism and Canada’s unique situation as a vast country held together (or not) by mediated symbols. Then read the quote below in which the author suggests that Canadians are not “hardwired” to have a strong sense of nationalism:

Lacking a great historical moment or a common language, and having few national institutions, heroes, or symbols that provide unity, Canadians have little of the ‘hardwiring’ that can be found in other countries.”(Taras, 2001)[2]

Canadians might compare themselves to Americans whom they regard as flag-waving patriots. In your post, respond to the following questions: Do you agree with the author’s statement about Canada’s lack of national institutions, heroes and symbols? If you disagree with the author, provide examples of prominent unifying symbols of Canada. If you agree with the author, discuss what this means for Canada as it relates to the rest of the world.

[1]Rutherford, 111.

[2] Quoted in “From British invasions to American Influences: Cultural Studies in Canada, Anne-Marie Kinahan, Mediascapes: New Patterns

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