Sunday, April 10, 2005

Saturday on Sunday

We have a federal-government-funded broadcasting network in Canada - the CBC - funding is through general revenues (not licence fees - I would hate it be per-TV-and-radio in the house and car). Now I don't like this sort of thing - it seems to me it is largely an arrangement in place to assure the self-appointed cultural elite a special level of access to the communications in the country at the expense of the general tax-paying public, who are far less effective at lobbying for government funding. We do also have a large sector more or less in the private sector (subject to all sorts of silly controls) so things are not so bad here.
I suspect nonetheless that some of the programming the CBC provides appeals to me more than to the general public so I think I can view the arrangement as a subsidy to me. (I still do not like it.) One piece of that programming I often listen to on a Sunday morning is a three-hour news show on one of the radio networks. It is a mix of news features and interviews, which vary from inane to insightful. At the worst one learns what the Canadian chattering classes are on about. The interviews can be very annoying, as the host tends to interrupt, ramble on about himself, and either block the interviewee from participating, or simply feed what seem to me softball questions to some partisan interviewee. Today's show finished with one of the latter interviews, about Leo Strauss. But that is not what this is about.
A couple of times in the last few weeks, there has been a substitute host, Robert Harris, who normally hosts an extremely eclectic and interesting show on music - I always feel I learn something from it. And who would have known it - he is a wonderfully effective interviewer, and a pleasure to listen to in the role.
And now I am at the point. A feature today was Robert Harris interviewing Ian McEwan about his novel 'Saturday'. It took me five minutes upon getting home to place my order. It is a delight to listen to two very reflective and intelligent people discussing difficult issues. If you are lucky you may be able to get audio of the interview from the program's web site in a week or two.
So the interview confirmed something that had been in the back of my mind, and I stole the title for this entry from someone whose blog I read daily - go read his entry on the book, which should make you even more eager to read it.
Norm has a lot to teach you as well - about music, politics, how to think.
We are a chatty species and it is wonderful to be able to find so many other people with whom to carry on this enormous worldwide chat.


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