This is so well-done and so infuriating. I'm a published Canadian author and have been aghast at the woke diminishment of our national arts for a couple of years now.

I've served on funding boards and awards juries. Many writers exploit the moment to get ahead, starting their queries with their intersectional points first, ahead of their work ("I'm a pansexual indigenous hard-of-hearing trans demiboy, and I've written a story about a pansexual indigenous hard-of-hearing trans demiboy, for all the pansexual indigenous hard-of-hearing trans demiboys....").

People with no intersectional points (the whites, the straights) and/or those with pride and confidence in their merit start out their queries not with their identity, but with "This is my novel." At which point they are shoved to the bottom of the pile for not being 'diverse' enough, no matter how good they are (unless they have an ethnic name with marginalized flair).

I've been in the room when a manuscript I could have written in grade nine was elevated to winning status. When I objected, gently, on the grounds the writing was just not strong enough, the response was: "...I know, but they're TRANS!" .... and it won. Meanwhile, a plain white writer's publish-ready novel? Nothing, because she's the wrong skin colour and she refused to talk about what kind of people she has sex with in order to get ahead in her literary career.

Sorry, this is a rant, and I haven't even touched on what we're "allowed" to write about and what we're not, and who is sought-after by publishers and who is not. My agent just told me she'd have my latest manuscript sold in a week if I weren't white and straight, and if I could shoehorn 'diversity' into a rural setting that is, genuinely and innocently, according to census, 98% white (although to the woke cult, 'white' can never be genuine or innocent).

All to say I deeply relate to this excellent piece. Fistbump to the filmmakers, and just as much to the thinking musicians, poets, playwrights, visual artists, and fellow authors who are all, like me, waiting for our cult-captured country to wake up and find its artistic backbone.

Expand full comment

I am really impressed with this piece of writing and the self-awareness in it. I know what my own views and biases are - I want my views and my biases challenged. I want documentaries to add to my knowledge or to perhaps alter how I view things by giving me knowledge I didn't have to begin with. I am pretty irritated to begin with by this whole bowing and scraping to the gods of wokeness (and I am supposed to be a "left" person) and this suppression of viewpoints just makes me even more irritated because there really are viewpoints out there that challenge us to expand how we look at things. We may not like or approve of those view points but getting them will at least provide us some more context.

Also, I knew we had a fentanyl problem but I didn't know how bad it was until this piece (my bad) and I also knew we were in trouble with our fertility but I wasn't aware it was a global thing. Those would have been valuable documentaries to have seen. Just like the documentary made on sex work in Edmonton years ago showing the decidedly unglamorous and thoroughly scary side of it - the side that people who like to scream that sex work is a choice don't like advertised - I don't think that documentary could be made today. It was on Netflix and funded partially by the National Film Board.

Expand full comment

It's the same story in CanLit. Have a look at these pieces form the Literary Review of Canada:

Lydia Perovic's Shut it Downhttps://reviewcanada.ca/magazine/2020/03/shut-it-down/

and Patrick Warner's Everybody's Face But their Own https://reviewcanada.ca/magazine/2020/04/everybodys-face-but-their-own/

Expand full comment

Everything Christina Clark writes is spot on. I know it's no comfort at all, but this has been the state of documentary funding and production in Canada since I first got involved in it in the late 1960s. Governments, foundations, and corporations have always had ideological criteria attached to their funding.

In the mid 1970s, for example, I edited a documentary for a major contraceptive ("pill") manufacturing drug company about teenage sexuality. The teenagers we interviewed were very forthcoming and candid that mutual masturbation was their contraceptive of choice. The drug company demanded those portions of the rough cut be exorcised from the documentary.

A documentary I edited for the CBC's Nature of Things about overpopulation had to cut any references to religion for fear of antagonizing the Roman Catholic church.

As we in the industry all know, it's about the 'Golden Rule.' They who provide the gold rule.

The good news, however, is that today, an accomplished filmmaker can make a good documentary with an iPhone and distribute on streaming platforms. The bad news is it's a challenge making a living at it.

So, making documentaries isn't a problem, it's easier than ever before. The challenge is producing them and making money from them.

Expand full comment

Thanks, these grievances need to be addressed by law makers. The problem is there are few strong enough to fight this fight. I only know of one who promotes less government intervention in places where Canadian's can chose for them self.

Expand full comment