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An academic scolding for Canada Reads

With the CBC’s fourth annual Canada Reads program set to kick off on Feb. 21, a recent editorial on the Canada Reads phenomenon in the scholarly journal Canadian Literature is well timed. And writer Laura Moss has some serious concerns about the program, to say the least.

For one, she argues that the broadcast debates are strictly superficial: “the level of discussion rarely goes beyond character development, plot, or emotional response to the texts.” Some readers might agree that a meaningful discussion of aesthetics is sorely lacking from the discussion, but Moss argues that the most egregious absence isn’t aesthetics but politics. “The championing of Sarah Binks [in 2003] ignored historical context: for example, no mention was made of the derogatory depiction of vanishing ‘Indians’ with gin bottles.” And in the following year, “(t)here was a notable dearth of discussion about First Nations peoples in [The] Last Crossing.”

Tp sum up, Moss writes that, “The Canada Reads project needs to recognize that although the program may be ‘just a game’ as senior producer Talin Vartanian told me, it is a game played with cultural, social, and economic consequences.”

(Thanks to Bookninja.com for the link.)

Related links:
Click here for Laura Moss’s editorial in Canadian Literature
Click here for the CBC’s Canada Reads homepage