Why the quaint but out of fashion book cover from the 1970’s to depict Canadian celebrity in 2021? Read on…
Image-Book Cover: Berton, Pierre. (1975) Hollywood’s Canada: The Americanization of Our National Image. Toronto, Ontario: McClelland and Stewart Limited. Source: silverscreenings.org. (Website link: https://silverscreenings.org/2018/02/19/canadian-stereotypes-from-classic-hollywood)
This blogger, Eilís laughs sardonically and cries bitter tears when she reads this January 2021 subheading from the latest issue of Maclean’s magazine: “…In 2021, Canadians will be all over big and small screens…” (https://archive.macleans.ca/article/2021/1/1/fresh-faces-and-older-friends)
Whose screens? According to this article, American. Who is watching them? Canadians. Quoi de neuf? Hence, Pierre Berton’s 1975 book cover to illustrate this approximately 70 year-old conundrum. Although in 2021, most if not all Canucks fail to see it as one. Not exactly the best strategy from this scribe’s point of view, considering the shenanigans south of the border.
Despite that, Maclean’s reporter, Jaime Weinman documents – and glorifies, from Eilís’ perspective – all the big US production companies, shows and publications in his supposedly “Canadian” celebrity piece: Marvel Studios, “Saturday Night Live”, ABC Studios, Hollywood Reporter, “Schitt’s Creek”, Amazon Studios, Warner Brothers, Netflix and to top it all off; “the Disney+ streaming service”. They’re all here. Except? Canadian content, also known as, Cancon. (Sorry, Deepa Mehta, you belong on a “real” Canadian entertainment listing).
In addition, the story highlights the noted “celebrities” involvement with these motion picture monoliths as the ultimate symbol of success in the performing arts. As if the only true achievement for a Canadian actor is to win over and be noticed by the Americans; a pretty pathetic way – in the opinion of this writer – to get “stardom” in Canada or any heed from its people.
But it appears that the luminaries featured in the Maclean’s story are too busy working and playing in the USA to lose sleep over a minor thing like their national identities, anyway.
Thirty-five years ago, in 1985, 65 per cent of Canadians expressed concern – in a Gallup poll – on the above quote and “The Americanization of our National Image”. Do they still fret over it? Hardly. Even Pierre Berton would be shocked with their celebrity “indistinctiveness”.