Rock Promoter Cleared by Standards Council: your thoughts?
This week, the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council (CBSC), released their November decision on whether or not rock promoter and CKNW (Vancouver) radio station “Reality Check” commentator, Bruce Allen, violated ethical codes. The CBSC panel exonerated Allen on possible human rights violations but did scold him for his “bullying tone.”
Allen’s commentary is now infamous as the “shut-up and fit in/hit the road/go home” rant. I was one of those local yokels listening “live” to Allen that fine September day in 2007, when the pop music impresario, let loose his short snappy, somewhat unhinged, and certainly, for me, rather cruel zingers.
CKNW is affectionately know as “The Giant” in B.C. and its roots are in my home-town of New Westminster. There’s always been a kind of cultural divide between those who listen to the Mother Corp (CBC) and those who listen to the Giant, although i suspect everyone in these two pods at least once has tuned in, late at night, to “NW” after a Canucks Hockey Game. Go Canucks Go.
Bruce Allen’s comments bothered me a great deal. I wrote an online letter to the CRTC which later bounced to the CBSC. Once logged in at the CBSC, I then had to prove that i had heard Allen’s comments contemporaneously, not second-hand. Once I did so, i then was supposed to wait till the radion station contacted me (it never did) and then if still unhappy, within 14 days, file a specific type of complaint, a request for a ruling (in the midst of wedding arrangements, i forgot).
For what it’s worth, here’s the gist of why Allen’s rant bugged me:
1. As an immigrant-citizen brought up to fully adapt and conform to “mainstream” Canadian society, Allen’s rant to “shut up and fit in” sounded duplicitous. Too often, “shut up” doesn’t mean, “conform”, it means what it sounds like. I’ve been brought up to never say “shut up.” I wonder if this is an “immigrant sensitive” thing? “Shut up” in our family was one of the rudest things you could say and my mother would come down hard and immediate when and if she heard it. Can you relate?
2. Fit in to what? I’m as mainstream as you can get, but my skin is brown. This means that i’ve had my share of “stuff” come at me. Having listened to Allen on NW before, I didn’t believe his implied taunt, which i understood to mean, that if you conform, if you “fit in” then all will be well.
3. Rule of Law? Obey? You bet. But not all laws are just and sometimes even “immigrants” have the right to question them.
Here’s a snippet of what the transcript shows Allen said, “We have laws in this country. They are spelled out and they’re easy to get a hold of. If you are immigrating to this country and you don’t like the rules that are in place, then you have the right to choose not to live here. But if you choose to come to a place like Canada, then shut up and fit in. We are a democracy, but it seems more and more that we are being pilloried by special interest groups that just want to make special rules for themselves.”
As always, i’m looking forward to your comments…particularly from any over seas readers….