To complete my trifecta of things in the Mercury that have made be angry (sorry Mercury staff), I come to another post on the 59 Carden St blog. Well, in the Mercury's defense, they were just regurgitating something posted on Ian Findlay's blog, but let's just say it opened old wounds.
You may recall a to-do made a month ago about a promotional video featuring the City of Guelph that the Mayor and others tried to pawn off as a prestige placement that Guelph was selected for, but what it really was was an infomercial paid for by the City. The series, Profiles with Terry Bradshaw wasn't so much a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous for out of the way tourist destinations in North America so much as it was a get-rich quick scheme for Bradshaw.
Now I have no problem with Bradshaw trying to get rich or die trying, and believe it or not I have no problem with the City trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The thing is that $20,000 that went to millionaire Bradshaw and his video scheme could have gone to one of numerous Guelph-based video and filmmakers who could have easily produced a 5-minute segment of comparable quality, and the bonus would have been that all that money would have stayed right here, in Guelph, where those filmmakers would have taken such a substantial payday and re-invested in either their own production, or maybe just contributing to the betterment of their standard of living.
The point is that Guelph's leaders perpetuate an idea that this is a very arts friendly city from the top down, but this isn't exactly true as the Bradshaw affair proves it. The city charges the Guelph Jazz Festival for extra cops for Nuit Blanche. You know what else happens the same Saturday as Nuit Blanche? It's the first Saturday night back for university students. You mean to tell me that the extra cops wouldn't be on duty anyway? And there are many critics inside Guelph's artistic community who believe that recent, sometimes multi-level government, efforts to support the arts locally; things like Artsvest, and culture mapping projects, are a bit off the mark. In summary, it seems that the people touting our artistic accomplishments just don't get how they're achieved or what's important about them.
Which is why the Bradshaw infomercial is so crazy-making.Yay, it will air again on June 30th at 1 pm on the Business News Network. A Saturday afternoon. On the long weekend. On a digital cable channel way up in the nose bleeds on the dial, to say nothing of the fact that nobody's going to be watching a business channel on a weekend, let alone a long weekend. But the city seems content to call this a victory rather than just admitting the truth: this is about as likely to promote the city as other infomercials are at getting you to buy a Slap-Chop, or a Sham-Wow.
Still, the next time the City needs another promotional video call me first. I know some people that might be able to help.