Disclaimer: this post is not about the TV show “Jersey Shore”. I haven’t even seen it, and trusted sources have led me to believe that I should best keep it that way. Also, I’m pretty sure Canada had nothing to do with sending hurricane Sandy on a rampage on the Jersey shore.
Sometimes life just isn’t easy. You’ll be faced with hardships coming out of nowhere, battering you left and right, leaving you with no sense of direction.
This happened to me recently. Was it the lost job ? The resumes sent out without any answer ? The interviews come and gone with no end in sight ? No, of course not. I’m talking of course about the NHL lockout.
It’s difficult enough for an expatriated Canadian to get his fix of Canadiana in normal circumstances, but with October come and gone and no sign of NHL hockey on the horizon, things are getting rough. So, deprived of my fall fix of flying pucks and fisticuffs, I turned to that other great Canadian icon: the CBC.
I turned to the CBC podcasts on a whim, remembering those long evenings sitting by the fireplace, sipping hot chocolate with my aunt and cousin and listening to the hour-long documentaries about far-off places of the world, or chuckling to the Royal Canadian Air Farce. What, you thought the R.C.A.F. had something to do with flying jets ? Of course not, it’s Canada. As someone said (on the CBC), Canada is like the Swiss Army – without a knife.
But I digress. I stumbled upon a terrific piece of radio called “Canada Reads”. It is, in its purest form, nothing more than reality radio. Yep, that grandest of concepts, when applied to the medium of television, that has given the world blurry black-and-white footage of people having sex under the covers in an attempt not to be voted off of Big Brother, and whatever they do on Jersey Shore (like I said, I’ve never seen it; now you know where the phrase “ignorance is bliss” comes from).
Reality radio according to the CBC, however, is a different beast. You see, “Canada Reads” is a reality show about books. Five books, short-listed to appear on the show, duke it out for the privilege of becoming this year’s “book that all Canadians should read”.
I think the original concept actually was to let the books fight amongst themselves until they fell to the ground, flat on their covers, whereupon linesmen would jump in and intervene. Apparently that didn’t provide the anticipated thrill, however, perhaps due to the fact that the books were all inanimate objects, and therefore sorely lacking in the fisticuffs department.
So the way it works is that five Canadian celebrities each defend one of the books, and at the end of each show, after much debate and many hilarious comments, one book is voted off the show. Until, at the end of the fourth and final show, only one book remains, voted Canada’s must-read book for 2012. So you see, it really is reality radio. Who knew this concept could be turned into something thoroughly entertaining, and yet culturally uplifting.
There are many times when I was laughing out loud, but the debate was not only funny, it was also thought-provoking, broaching some very serious subjects, and I can tell you one thing: I want to read all of those five books, because they all seem brilliant. In case you’re wondering, here are the finalists. Now go read the books.
So that’s how I satisfied my craving for a fix of home: if you’re Canadian, then chances are the CBC will provide that for you. But what about you, expats and travellers of WordPress ? How do you cope, when you get that urge for a fix of home ? The Internet, in its many wise ways, provides much to choose from, so how do you do it ?