It seems arts funding is only for failures
According to Globe and Mail columnist John Doyle, Alex Trebek belongs in a game show host hall of fame, if there is one. Shania Twain belongs in a bare midriff hall of fame, if such a thing exists. Rich Little would be a shoo-in for an untalented comedian hall of fame.
Doyle himself would be a first ballot inductee into a hypocrite hall of shame. If such a thing existed. It doesn't, but it should.
Doyle recently attracted the attention of the Hollywood Reporter for his opposition to a grant from Heritage Canada to fund a festival inducting Trebek, Twain and Little onto Canada's Walk of Fame in the Toronto Theatre District.
"On the cusp of Canada Day, I put it to you that our taxes are collected and spent by a government that has contempt for us," Doyle fumed. "They must think we are airheads, as they dole out our money to fund the celebration of the already rich and famous."
Doyle goes on to infer that Trebek's success renders him unworthy of taxpayer money being spent to celebrate his success on the Walk of Fame.
Doyle, it seems, is like a lot of people: he dislikes a winner.
But it seems necessary to remember that he loves a loser. Consider his outrage that Sun News Network personality Krista Erickson would dare ask "iconic interpretive dancer" Margie Gillis some challenging questions about her arts funding.
During the interview, Gillis would complain that her renumeration as the top "professional" in her field is allegedly unfairly dwarfed by the pay received by other top professionals (who are actual professionals). In other words, she chose her career and when it turned out that it didn't pay what a top doctor or engineer pays, it's up to the government to step in and cover her losses.
Doyle tried to mask his outrage in smug yet spiteful contempt. But the irration and illogic of Doyle's screed was unmistakable. This was, after all, mere questions he was complaining about.
Now the government, instead of doling out $1.2 million over 13 years (1998-2011 was not a 35-year period, as Gillis comically insisted), the government is doling out a mere $500,000 to celebrate Canadians actually being successful on the international stage.
And not merely successful... wildly successful. In fact, Trebek and Twain (perhaps not necessarily Little) boast the kind of success stories that inspires many other Canadians to follow in their footsteps, following their dreams. And Doyle doesn't like it.
It's a bizarre look into the Canada that Doyle imagines for the rest of us to live in: one in which failure is celebrated as if it were success, and success is ignored as if it were failure.
Frankly, it's the kind of backwardness that could only be considered preferable in the mind of a consumate hypocrite; one of walk of shame calibre. Sadly, it seems John Doyle is up to the task.