Who Knew This Would Offend People…?

***Update***: The band is now returning the loan and the album is being taken off the shelves:

“The product will be withdrawn from the domestic market immediately, and we requested our international partners to withdraw product internationally as well,” Black Box Music’s Ian Stanger said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We understand the band’s desire to maintain their creative integrity,” Stanger’s statement continues. “Therefore the album will be re-released as a non-FACTOR supported project in the coming weeks.

“The material was not intended to be offensive, though we regret it was interpreted that way. Further, we regret the negative attention that this matter has brought to FACTOR.

“FACTOR is an integral part of supporting and sustaining Canadian music domestically and internationally, and their support of our work and that of other Canadian musicians is invaluable.”

The Vancouver-based punk band Living With Lions recently released an album that’s making a couple of people upset

The album’s liner notes were designed to look like a mock bible and parodied Jesus Christ as a turd. They were also stamped with the logo of the government agencies that helped pay for its production.

It’s also subtitled “The Poo Testament.”

Normally, I would just ignore something like this — it’s gratuitous, doesn’t seem to have a real point, and no one is being forced to buy it if they don’t like it — but what’s that bit about “government agencies”?

Ian at Canadian Atheist explains:

Basically, all Canadian artists receive some funding from the government to help promote our culture (because we’re insecure like that). In this case, Living With Lions used a loan (not a grant, a loan) of $13,248 to produce an album called “Holy Shit.”

The money came from The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings, a non-profit group that provides “assistance toward the growth and development of the Canadian independent recording industry.” FACTOR gets some money from the Department of Canadian Heritage, which James Moore heads up.

“If someone is receiving taxpayer money they need to be respectful of the taxpayers of whom they are taking the money,” [Moore] said.

That’s a horrible precedent to be setting.

What isn’t offensive to some group of people? If the government wants to help fund the arts and support artistic freedom, they can’t get upset every time the art is something they don’t like. Either give the money or don’t. Don’t micromanage.

That said, it’s not like I’m cheerleading for this band. From what I can tell, they’re not trying to make any sort of statement with this packaging. They think it’s just a “joke” and I don’t find it all that funny. That’s besides the point, though.

In a released statement, FACTOR says Living With Lions published the album, like this, without their consent:

We realize that we have a responsibility to the public and our funders to enforce reasonable limits on the content of the projects we fund. For that reason, our contracts with funded parties include language prohibiting certain kinds of offensive material. All recipients agree to these terms prior to receiving funding.

In this case, the record in question was packaged with graphics and liner notes that some may consider offensive. This material had not been submitted to FACTOR prior to its release. We have communicated to the record label that there has been a negative reaction from some members of the public regarding the content. We are now reviewing these complaints.

Another Canadian punk rocker, Joe Keithley, thinks the funding’s going to get cut severely as a result of this incident — and the new Conservative-majority government is to blame:

Within a year or two we’re going to have to organize something against the Conservatives to restore the funding because I know they’re going to cut back. The Conservatives don’t understand what Canadian values are and they should stay away from making value judgments because they’re idiots.

Someone with more knowledge of Canadian politics can chime in as to whether or not this might actually happen.

Here’s another question for you: Can a band rightfully be called “punk” if it’s making music funded in part by government loans…?

(Thanks to Howie for the link!)

  • Jo

    “Can a band rightfully be called “punk” if it’s making music funded in part by government loans…?” No. End of story.

  • Mike

    Oh, please don’t defend this type of crap. I thought the whole point of this website is to promote Atheism without being a dick about it.

    The makers of this album knew they’d piss people off and that’s why they did it. Any action done for the sole purpose of pissing people off is lousy, whether its religious in nature or not.

  • http://www.fakkelbrigade.eu/chris/ Chris

    I disagree, Mike. This article doesn’t defend the album, it attacks the concept that anything can be universally unoffensive, which I agree with.

  • http://cousinavi.wordpress.com cousinavi

    Collector’s item.

  • Digitus Impudicus

    Just asking: Do Canadian religious musical groups get the same funding? If it was an evangelical album, would they have gotten the same amount?
    I know nothing about church/state issues in Canada.

  • AxeGrrl

    Hemant wrote:

    Someone with more knowledge of Canadian politics can chime in as to whether or not this might actually happen.

    You mean the possibility of the current Conservative gov’t cutting back on arts funding? Oh, I don’t think this ‘might’ happen, I think it’s going to happen.

    As a Canadian, with Harper getting a majority gov’t a few weeks ago, I finally truly understand how you Americans felt when Dubya was re-elected :(

    It’s going to be a loooooong 4 years…..

  • Glenn Davey

    Hemant is confusing “punk”, the style of music, with “hey punk, stop jacking my car and get a job”.

  • Barb

    Great article, Loved the end where you pointed out the un-punk-ness of a govt. funded punk album! excellence.

    @ Mike: I’m not sure that he’s exactly defending it, so much as he’s saying that the entity that gave them funding shouldn’t be nitpicking on behalf of those who might be offended. I agree that this concept was chosen just to piss people off, which is, of course, not helping anyone.

  • ThereIsNoSpoon

    Nothing is more “punk” than fighting “The Man” with his own money…

    Seriously, if punks are about disrupting the status quo, this is a brilliant move to bring attention to the whole issue of how anti-speech factions use grants and funding programs to influence and censor art.

  • http://aniasworkinprogress.blogspot.com DearAnia

    The separation of church and state is Canada is usually better than that in the States. We have our problems obviously, but being an atheist in Canada isn’t as big a deal.

    Many of the American atheists I know who come here are shocked by the lack of reaction that they get when they tell someone they don’t believe in a god of any sort.

    With the conservatives in power, however, we are probably going to see a change for the worse. The Cons have demonstrated on several occasions that they are anti-homosexual, anti-abortion, anti-women, anti-education, and anti-art. Harper in particular has already cut funding to the arts and has been on record saying something along the lines of ‘Canadians don’t care about the arts’ (which is bull).

  • ThereIsNoSpoon

    @Mike – speech is speech. A religiously based attack against speech is an attack and an attempt to censor and should be fought no matter how much you agree with the sentiment of those doing the censoring. A Christian band has just as much right to make an album that says “Atheists are Shit” – (ironically they don’t have the right to do it with government money because of the same 1st amendment principal – how does that work in Canada?) but any other statement, no matter how offensive, as long as it is not open sedition or “yelling fire in a crowded theatre”, is protected and should be defended as vehemently. This was the whole thing with 2 Live Crew back in the 80′s or whenever it was – the songs were LOUSY! They weren’t just in bad taste, they were just bad. But that didn’t make them *illegal*.
    These guys may indeed be jackasses who make our cause harder, but like it or not, they are on our side of this, they have every right to be the jackasses that they are being and as much as we may not condone it, to avoid being hypocrites we have to stand up for them.

    I guess you could argue that getting this nasty about starts bordering on hate crime. Consider the outrage if it were a Christian band making fun of the Koran. But then how much did all of us from every religion ridicule the Camping rapture-cultists?

  • Rich Wilson

    @AxeGrrl
    Except of course that it could well be five years.

  • ckitching

    You mean the possibility of the current Conservative gov’t cutting back on arts funding? Oh, I don’t think this ‘might’ happen, I think it’s going to happen.

    Even before the purge and reformation of the party, the Tories have never been fond of arts program funding. I’m sure this will be just another excuse to use to cut down on it.

    It’s a bit of a pity that none of the parties want to actually fix the problems with our arts funding programs. The Tories just want to cut them, and the Grit and NDP just return funding to them. Neither fixes the fact that Canadian art doesn’t do well inside or outside of Canada.

  • jonezart

    @ ThereIsNoSpoon

    Nothing is more “punk” than fighting “The Man” with his own money…

    Seriously, if punks are about disrupting the status quo, this is a brilliant move to bring attention to the whole issue of how anti-speech factions use grants and funding programs to influence and censor art.

    I agree!

  • Andrew Morgan

    A government shouldn’t be involved in promoting new punk bands (or any bands, for that matter). Period. I think it’s outrageous that anyone should be forced to support art they find distasteful.

    That said, I disagree, Hemant, that the government can’t place restrictions on who gets money if they’re going to promote art. I think it takes a very warped view of culture to argue, for instance, that if the New York Philharmonic is going to get money from the NEA, then we must also fund Piss Christ.

    I’m not Canadian, so I don’t know what issues they have with their own art, though I do own quite a number of Rush albums…

  • Liokae

    Here’s another question for you: Can a band rightfully be called “punk” if it’s making music funded in part by government loans…?

    Short answer: No.

    Long answer: It’s possible, by deliberately and explicitly using the funds to subvert what they’re intended for, which obviously not the case here.

  • Annie

    I think the big question here is what is the process for applying (and getting accepted) for funding? If you simply need to be an artist in need of money, then they should get the money as quick as the next artist. I think the quality of their music, or the level of offensiveness may not be an issue.

    The article states, however, that this was a loan. I don’t know about any of you, but I only loan money to people I think will be in a future position to pay it back. I haven’t heard the music, and the cover and titles are not something that would even tempt me to listen. If they are really expecting their money to be repaid at a later date, I would think there might be some quality control. Throwing money at anyone who calls themselves an “artist” is not what I would consider good screening.

  • Blacksheep

    I’m a Christian and I don’t like it – but ultimately it’s benign, (and free speech). We won’t be burning anyone in effigy or putting a bounty on the author’s heads.

    The fact that it’s funded by my tax dollars is a joke on all of us, not just Christians. Free speech and me subsidizing someones childish project are two different things.

  • walkamungus

    @cousinavi: Totally! Go grab a copy!

    This looks like an arts-funding model for music that hasn’t caught up with the interwebs yet.

    I’m not gonna criticize these guys for going for shock value. Somewhere, in some box in my basement, I have a copy of W.A.S.P.’s “F**k Like a Beast.” On red vinyl, no less.

  • Brian

    When EVERYBODY is sniggering and mocking the beliefs of the christians “back in the day,” won’t we all be offended by something taking christardity seriously?

  • PhiloKGB

    That said, I disagree, Hemant, that the government can’t place restrictions on who gets money if they’re going to promote art. I think it takes a very warped view of culture to argue, for instance, that if the New York Philharmonic is going to get money from the NEA, then we must also fund Piss Christ.

    So “culture” is only what the majority says it is or, even more horrifyingly, what the government says it is?

  • Blacksheep

    So “culture” is only what the majority says it is or, even more horrifyingly, what the government says it is?

    Taxpayer funded culture should follow some semblance of respect. No person who believes in any sort of brotherhood or the golden rule would open their wallet and hand their personal cash it to an artist so that he could create “piss christ.”

    A proper response would be, “Do what you want, it’s a free country, but make your own money to spend on it.”

  • ckitching

    Taxpayer funded culture should follow some semblance of respect.

    And who decides what pays sufficient respect? Many Muslims find the depictions of pigs to be extremely vile. Some Christian sects find music and dancing to be blasphemous. Hasidic Jews believe images of women should be forbidden.

    Just who decides which of these groups we should cater to?

  • http://przxqgl.hybridelephant.com/ przxqgl

    where can i get a copy of that album? i don’t care what it sounds like, i just want it for the cover art… 8)

  • PhiloKGB

    Taxpayer funded culture should follow some semblance of respect. No person who believes in any sort of brotherhood or the golden rule would open their wallet and hand it to an artist so that he could create “piss christ.”

    The hell? So a member of the Brotherhood of Bonsai Tenders couldn’t finance Piss Christ (which I suspect isn’t what you think it is)? And as wonderfully idealistic as the Golden Rule might be, it’s a fair example of the impossibility of crafting a one-size-fits-all regulation for behavior.

    So are you trying to subtly substitute offense for culture, or are you going to explicitly tie it all together?

    A proper response would be, “Do what you want, it’s a free country, but make your own money to spend on it.”

    That’s fine and consistent and all, and had you left it there in your original comment there would be no discussion. But you very deliberately went on to make your bed by opining about culture. So now you can lie in it.

  • http://winghamatheist.blogspot.com/ Chris Burke

    Canadian chiming in here. The Conservative government that just won a majority in the recent election is our moral majority, to simplify.

    I won’t be surprised to see funding cut over this.

  • elricthemad
  • Larry Meredith

    don’t feed the trolls

  • Blacksheep

    And who decides what pays sufficient respect?

    if you’re smart and respectful of others you’ll do a pretty good job of it. There are things we all have in common, things that are universal.
    An example like the one in this post is an easy one.

    (Not arguing whether or not he has a right to do the art, which of course he does. I just don’t want to give money that I worked for to create it. Much better to give it to the poor, for example. Why can’t the artist pay for it?

  • Blacksheep

    But you very deliberately went on to make your bed by opining about culture. So now you can lie in it.

    Happily.

  • Colin

    Funding won’t be cut over this; the decision to cut funding to the arts was made long ago. It’s all that is left after cutting funding to Status of Women, the Court Challenges program, infrastructure development, manpower and training initiatives, environmental protections, etc, etc.

    That being said, it seems that the conservatives have been much more about keeping an iron grip on power and control of the media than about any actual ideological bent. Harper already said he wouldn’t visit the cornerstones of his Christian doombringers; abortion and gay marriage. If he refuses to make them illegal while he has a majority, will they blindly keep voting for him and his cronies? I’ll bet yes.

  • Blacksheep

    The hell? So a member of the Brotherhood of Bonsai Tenders couldn’t finance Piss Christ (which I suspect isn’t what you think it is)? And as wonderfully idealistic as the Golden Rule might be, it’s a fair example of the impossibility of crafting a one-size-fits-all regulation for behavior.

    I don’t know who the BOBT are, but who said they couldnt? I said it would be disrespectful.

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is about as universal as it gets. Do you not agree with it?

    So are you trying to subtly substitute offense for culture, or are you going to explicitly tie it all together?

    No substitution, nothing subtle, pretty plain and straightforward.

  • Blacksheep

    don’t feed the trolls

    Larry,

    Are you one of those who labels dissenting voices as trolls?

    I love how supposed open-mindedness breaks down in the face of honest debate.

  • Blacksheep

    Philo,

    In case you don’t know what piss christ is, here you go.

  • ACN

    Actually, Philo already pointed out that:

    And as wonderfully idealistic as the Golden Rule might be, it’s a fair example of the impossibility of crafting a one-size-fits-all regulation for behavior.

    It seems as though he may view it to be, at the least, incomplete. And I’d agree, there should probably be a “subject to informed consent…” clause. and even then I’d probably choose the more Kantian statement:

    “Act with reference to every rational being (whether yourself or another) so that it is an end in itself in your maxim”

    that captures the spirit of the edict so as to not be as subject to naive literalism. Don’t want the extreme masochists and warmongers thinking this gives them a free pass etc etc.

    Also, there was a really good thread at pharyngula about the piss christ issue earlier this year. I’ll leave you with a few thought provoking remarks because I think the claim that:

    No person who believes in any sort of brotherhood or the golden rule would open their wallet and hand their personal cash it to an artist so that he could create “piss christ.”

    is incorrect.

    Cuttlefish:

    Piss Christ is (was?) one of my favorite works of modern art. The juxtaposition of what is truly a beautiful image with the knowledge of how that image was achieved, has taken an image that is so ubiquitous as to be unseen and un-thought of and forces viewers to think about it. It is art that touches both emotion and thought, and sets them at war with one another.

    dsichel:

    When I first heard of “Piss Christ”, I felt that he was just trying too hard. But the photo is really quite pretty, and it’s the idea that makes it significant.
    Hm. You know what could have been interesting? Instead of calling it “Piss Christ”…
    he could have called it “Piss Christ?”, and provided some mutually-exclusive descriptions. Is it actually a crucifix in a jar of urine? Or is it a crucifix in a jar of colored polymer resin? Or perhaps it’s a crucifix photographed through a jar of urine? Or a composite photograph – a doubled exposure or some such?
    I feel that this would have reinforced the notion that blasphemy is entirely within one’s perceptions — not to mention that, under such circumstances, I feel it much less likely that the artwork would have met the same fate.
    Art is all about meaning. I’ve seen works which seemed simplistic and pointless until I read the description card explaining the idea, at which point I experienced significant perceptual shifts and realized the genius on display.

    Quodliet:

    Ing….digo Montoya: You Killed My Father, Prepare to Die @ 53

    Also now that I think about the Crucifix is itself grotesque! It’s an image of an emaciated man nailed to a fucking cross and driven to exhaustion by torture with his scalp pierced by a crown of thorns. A) Completely Metal and B) How does adding “In piss” really make it that more grotesque!? The subject itself is already (by design) a hideous image…the addition of “in piss” really is dwarfed by the original uglyness.

    That’s interesting. From the first time I learned about “Piss Christ,” I thought that was the whole idea: That no matter how distatesful or disgusting one might think urine is, the torture and murder of a man is far, far worse; and that we are falsely disgusted by urine (and here, distracted by it) when we should focus our disgust appalled by torture and murder, and we should condemn a religion that cherishes this murder as a Special Event to be contemplated with holy bliss. Eew.

  • ckitching

    if you’re smart and respectful of others you’ll do a pretty good job of it. There are things we all have in common, things that are universal.
    An example like the one in this post is an easy one.

    Yes, the album cover in this article is easy because punk music has always been about offending and upsetting the status quo. However, I was attempting to point out that ‘the devil is in the details’, and you conveniently chose to ignore this, so you could take more pot shots at the easy target.

    Love of music is not universal (there are a number of Christian sects that hate it, and some with a dyslexia-like condition can hear nothing but noise). So all music funding is right out? Some religions teach all paintings and sculptures are a form of idolotry and ban the production of likenesses. Since this is clearly not universal either, all paintings and sculptures are out, too?

  • Blacksheep

    Yes, the album cover in this article is easy because punk music has always been about offending and upsetting status quos. However, I was attempting to point out that ‘the devil is in the details’, and you conveniently chose to ignore this, so you could take more pot shots at the easy target.

    I don’t think I responded to anything you wrote – so how is it that you can say that I “chose to ignore what you were attempting to point out?”

    As far as easy targets, why do you think hemant chose this album, because it was subtle?

    Love of music is not universal (there are a number of Christian sects that hate it, and some with a dyslexia-like condition can hear nothing but noise). So all music funding is right out? Some religions teach all paintings and sculptures as a form of idolotry and ban the production of likenesses. Since this is clearly not universal either, all paintings and sculptures are out, too?

    I’m basing my argument on common decency and reason. Ruling out all music and all art is a silly, reactionary argument. You know what is good, decent, and respectful generally speaking. We’re talking about taxpayer funded projects, not the freedom to do as one chooses, which should always be protected provided it doesn’t harm others.

  • AxeGrrl

    Rich Wilson wrote:

    @AxeGrrl
    Except of course that it could well be five years.

    Please, don’t remind me :) It burns, it burns!

  • AxeGrrl

    Colin wrote:

    Harper already said he wouldn’t visit the cornerstones of his Christian doombringers; abortion and gay marriage. If he refuses to make them illegal while he has a majority, will they blindly keep voting for him and his cronies? I’ll bet yes.

    As someone on another message board said: “they could run a donkey for the Conservatives in Alberta and it would get elected

    To which another commenter said (about a particular candidate): “they already did!”

  • Steve

    This isn’t tax-payer funded. They used a loan. In other words, they’ll pay back the money.

  • Larry Meredith

    @Blacksheep

    What I know for a fact is that sometimes people just want to push buttons simply because they know it it causes people to flip their shit. They may not even have a problem with things like religion, but they specifically mock it for no other reason than to be offensive. This doesn’t just happen with religion. Sometimes you know that particular people or a person gets particularly upset about certain things, so trolls will purposely do or say those particular things to watch the people/person get pissed off. It’s entertaining for them. This is trolling. This is especially an act that has become increasingly popular online. It’s become so popular some even consider it an art form now. To be as offensive as possible, to say things in just such a way that it really ticks off a lot of people or ticks off a certain person to a high degree.

    The only way to battle a troll is to not give it attention. Trolls want attention, they want outrage, they want to make a big fuss. If they aren’t getting the attention, they’ll get bored and stop.

  • Spencer

    “Taxpayer funded culture should follow some semblance of respect. No person who believes in any sort of brotherhood or the golden rule would open their wallet and hand their personal cash it to an artist so that he could create ‘piss christ.’”

    What? Why not? What’s wrong with Piss Christ; what’s so “disrespectful” about it?

  • Blacksheep

    Larry,

    Good definition.

    My post was mainly because I have been accused of being a troll, simply becasue I have a differing viewpoint. I try most of the time to not push buttons on purpose, which I admit is sometimes hard if I’m responding to someone who has gone out of their way to push my buttons, which is common on this forum – yet I don’t consider them trolls!
    I honestly believe that many people on this forum have a very rigid system of thought and really do want a place to just agree on everything. And some get genuinely irritated if anyone has a different opinion than theirs.

  • Blacksheep

    What? Why not? What’s wrong with Piss Christ; what’s so “disrespectful” about it?

    I’ll quote Woody Allen in Annie Hall,

    “…Gotta go now, I’m due back on planet earth.”

  • Larry Meredith

    @Blacksheep

    Well I haven’t listened to this album, but from the way it it looks and what people are saying about it, it’s almost certainly a troll. The thing about good trolling though is that you can’t tell it’s a troll.

    Like it or not, trolling has become somewhat of a form of art. A really good troll can be really offensive for the sake of being offensive, while still sounding genuine. The whole point is to cause a really big rage. It’s entertaining because some people say really ridiculous and incoherent things in a blind angry rage (See: Jessie Slaughter). If you’re too offensive without any clear reason, then it’s too obvious and people won’t take it seriously. The art is in striking the balance. Making it offensive but not too obvious that you’re just looking for a reaction. This can be really annoying though because good trolls become hard to differentiate from the people who are serious about their offensive opinion.

  • Blacksheep

    Larry,

    Well I haven’t listened to this album, but from the way it it looks and what people are saying about it, it’s almost certainly a troll.

    Do you mean that the album concept itself was created by a troll and posted?

  • OregoniAn

    If all art was respectful of others, and stuck only to the majorities perception of what is “good” it wouldn’t be providing much of a service to anyone.

    While tepid music and paintings of happy trees have their place, the art that truly matters is that which draws a strong reaction from the viewer or listener.

    Manet’s “Olympia” was condemned by conservatives at the time as being vulgar and immoral. The premiere of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” degenerated into a full blown riot. Yet it was efforts like these (not the long forgotten “safe” contributions by their contemporaries) which meaningfully advanced the development of music, art, and expression of the individual.

    Art by it’s very nature should have no boundaries. A governments degree of support for the arts – with no strings attached – is a direct indicator of the importance it places on freedom of expression.

    As an atheist/skeptic I am ready (and actively encourage) opportunities to have my perceptions challenged. It’s a shame that the majority of our religious community place no value on this.

    Gee.. Wonder why that would be?

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @Blacksheep, you are definitely not a troll. You are part of the friendly atheist family here… Just a black sheep due to your religious beliefs. Are you a white-sheep in your church community or do you always march to a different drummer?

  • Larry Meredith

    @Blacksheep

    Not just the album cover, but the content of the album. From what I’ve read the album doesn’t really make any compelling statement. If this is true, it’s likely the authors just wanted to be offensive for the sake of being offensive.

  • Blacksheep

    @Blacksheep, you are definitely not a troll. You are part of the friendly atheist family here… Just a black sheep due to your religious beliefs. Are you a white-sheep in your church community or do you always march to a different drummer?

    Thanks Jeff.
    Great question: maybe I’m an off-white sheep (or just need a bath). Depends on the church, I don’t attend a church if I disagree with their doctrine or if the pastor is phoning it in. It will sound like a dichotomy to people here, but I prefer Churches that are a bit on the conservative side, but are also totally welcoming and non-judgemental of others. Some good ones here in NYC.
    And I enjoy a good debate at Church too!

  • Godless Lawyer

    This has only been brought to light because the socialist NDP, which is the newly minted official opposition (second largest party) in Canada, recently made a public call to increase arts funding.

    Unfortunately, Canadian politics will descend deeper and deeper into this ideological back and forth.

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    jumping in unread: yes. indeed, it’s the very definition of “punk ideology” to take government money and then turn around and use it to insult and offend traditional institutions. i say: total Punk Score/Pwn! heh, i know all the punk people i grew up with would’ve loved to be paid by a fucking government for their work. and bought weed and hair dye with the money. heh.

  • Sivi

    Canadian government arts funds, be it the National Film Board or Canadian Heritage, have a history of funding Canadian projects without much censorship.

    To give a good idea: Ginger Snaps (the film) was funded in part by gov’t funding, as have all of Cronenberg’s films. And those are definitely not mainstream cinema.

    It’s more like gov’t loans and grants for small businesses, with the added benefit of promoting Canadian artists. This includes punk groups. It costs money to produce an album, and if you can get a couple extra bucks to do it, why not?

    And yeah, per the other Canadians above. I predict a lot of pearl-clutching and arts defunding by the current government, despite the best of Canadian art being subversive in nature. Hell, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation shows risky or satirical stuff all the time, and they’re a Crown Corporation.

  • CanadianNihilist

    meh, I didn’t vote conservative but I truly hope they not only cut the arts budget but get rid of it completely. I’d rather have my tax dollars used to better equip schools and hospitals than fund shitty Canadian music and/or art.

  • Larry Meredith

    @CanadianNihilist

    I’m with you on that… Canadian musicians and artists aren’t any good. Even the few that are always jump for the border and become Americans to find their fame.

  • Matt H

    Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of Robin Sparkles.

  • Bryan

    Since no Canadian’s have answered Hemant’s question…

    Arts funding in Canada is done by arms-length organizations; meaning that the gov provides funds to these organizations, but the decision on who gets access to that money is made by the organizations themselves. As Sivi mentioned, this money has generally been distributed with little censorship.

    In addition, arts “funding” occurs in several ways – there are loans and grants, such as the one Living With Lions received. These are usually accessed via an application process. But there are also tax credits, and all you need to get that is to have your work qualify as “Canadian content”, which in plain-speak means a certain percentage of the production process has to be done in Canada by Canadian companies.

    Because of the setup the gov cannot cut funding specifically to one band/artist/genre, but they can cut arts funding in general. Since we have a conservative gov this will most likely occur. But I don’t think this “incident” will feed into that – our cons generally don’t like anything that is tainted with higher education, expertise, or higher culture…

  • Sivi

    @Bryan,

    Er, if you read up you’ll see several Canadians have replied, including myself as well as a couple of the usual “art is worthless” brigade.

  • Godless Lawyer
  • AxeGrrl

    Larry Meredith wrote:

    I’m with you on that… Canadian musicians and artists aren’t any good.

    I can only attribute the above comment to ignorance/lack of exposure :)

    Neil Young, Feist, Oscar Peterson, Daniel Lanois, KD Lang, Arcade Fire, Lenny Breau, Broken Social Scene…I could go on for a while…..

    Seriously, this country is oozing with talent ~ and it’s nice to see a time when Canadian musicians/artists are getting more recognition internationally.

    Please don’t judge us by Bieber, Celine and Nickelback alone! :)

    *silently retching*

  • Indigo

    @ Larry Meredith: Because of course, in a country of 31 million people, no one anywhere is a decent artist or has any hope of being one. And the solution to this is clearly to simply cut off all arts funding, because the very best thing for our nation’s culture is to force even more of our most talented individuals to the States and make our artistic landscape even duller.
    Have you been to the theatre lately? Art galleries, museums? Film or music festivals? Taken in some local bands, maybe? Do you even watch or listen to CBC for anything except the news and the playoffs? (Not that I’ve got anything against hockey – go ‘Nucks – but there’s more going on.) Quick – name ten Canadian novelists, poets, playwrights or screenwriters alive and writing today.
    In my experience, the only people who complain about how “Canadian art sucks” are the ones who make absolutely no effort at all to engage with it, look for it or even be aware of it. If you don’t support the arts, not just with your taxes but with your presence, you can hardly complain about the lacklustre results.

  • Larry Meredith

    Neil Young, Feist, Oscar Peterson, Daniel Lanois, KD Lang, Arcade Fire, Lenny Breau, Broken Social Scene…I could go on for a while…..

    and I can honestly say I don’t like any of them. So it wasn’t ignorance.

    Canadian artists are moderately talented at best. I’m a big comedy fan. Pretty much the only edgy comedy show Canada has is Jon Dore Television Show but Jon Dore sucks and isn’t funny. Corner Gas? It was moderate at best before getting worse and worse. Video On Trial… ugh. I don’t know why people like that show. I honestly can’t find a single redeeming quality about it.

    Our TV shows and movies suck. I don’t go to museums or the theatre but who the hell does? Seriously Indigo…? Art Galleries? Are you trying to make me fall asleep?

    Canada could never have great edgy shows like South Park or Tosh.0. Even our political news satires are lame. Compare an episode of Daily Show or Colbert Report to Rick Mercer Report. I don’t know if we just lack artistic ability or if our laws are too censoring of the good stuff, but we just don’t do very well.

  • Drew M.

    and I can honestly say I don’t like any of them. So it wasn’t ignorance.

    Whether or not you like them is in no way indicative of whether or not they are good.

    It is, indeed, ignorant to say KD Lang and Neil Young lack talent (And I even loathe the latter, but I gotta give credit where it’s due). I am unfamiliar with the other artists AxeGrrl mentioned, so I cannot comment on them.

    I don’t know if we just lack artistic ability or if our laws are too censoring of the good stuff, but we just don’t do very well.

    My guess is that it has to do with the fact that Canada’s population is roughly 1/10 the size of the US’s (33M vs. 303M). That’s a vastly smaller pool of talent.

  • Mihangel apYrs

    I seem to recall a measure of outrage concerning a decision made by the Smithsonian concerning an exhibit.

    While this doesn’t have the same moment it does have the same spirit. It is important to protect even the most infantile of free speech from those who would censor it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/apartheidstinx Dee

    On their facebook it says:
    “Living With Lions
    TO CLARIFY: “Holy Shit” is getting re-released ASAP, not entirely recalled. This album and the original artwork are here to stay.
    Wednesday at 12:43pm”

    They’re just returning the loan and releasing it themselves.
    And it shouldn’t be considered “selling out” to take money from the Canadian government because that’s just what happens here in Canada: we encourage Canadians to make tv shows, music, movies, etc. by fronting the money. Why? Because we’re trying to become independent from the US and rely on 60% of our stuff and only 40% of the US’. But as you know most bands, tv shows, etc are from the states. But we want this to change.
    For example, if you turn on the tv here in Ontario and it’s a Canadian channel, the programs will say “funded by the government of canada” in the credits. I don’t think there are any media sources that don’t do this, for the most part. It’s part of the governments plan to encourage artists, and to make Canada more known on the world stage. I think this is done with video games and video game companies as well. It’s just to kick-stat the market.

  • http://www.facebook.com/apartheidstinx Dee

    kick-start the market**

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.clayten Bill Clayten

    Deep Dark Woods are an awesome band!

    Rush doesn’t fit everyone’s taste, but they are three of the most technically proficient musicians of the 20th, and even the 21st, century.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.clayten Bill Clayten

    The Deep Dark Woods is an awesome band!

    Rush doesn’t fit everyone’s taste, but they are three of the most technically proficient musicians of the 20th, and even the 21st, century.


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