Sunday, 11 January 2009


The profoundly irritating Obama playlist thing on CBC Radio 2 has only one more week to go. Starting tomorrow, they want us to vote for the 49 songs, from a shortlist of 100, "that define us," as their promos say.

What nonsense. There is no simple or singular Canadian psyche, soul, identity, essence, or spirit (or any other such term used in the past week by people explaining their nominations for the shortlist) for an immigrant nation like Canada. There is no "fundamental truth about Canada", no stereotypical Canadian cultural moment. No collection of songs--even a shortlist that will include, I'm guessing, songs in French, songs from the north and all the regions of Canada, songs from various genres--can define "who we are".

Have you listened to the lyrics of "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" (the most frequently nominated song) lately?

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