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Innis's Screen Capitalism Essay

2406 words - 10 pages

What it means to be Canadian has been continually moulded for years upon years. For Gerald Friesen, it has been a growing cause ever since the beginning of time when the Aboriginals occupied the land. After centuries of immigration and new settlements developing in their respected regions, the word Canadian has been gradually changed throughout the different eras, which as described by Friesen, consist of the oral tradition, the textual settler, print-capitalism, and screen-capitalism.1 Screen-capitalism was a very recent development in the progression of Canadian society. It “is said to have superseded all previous cultures as a consequence of the introduction of television and computers, the refinement of transportation and production systems, and the development of global corporate organization as well as of consumption-driven individual experience.”2 In essence, all of this has pointed to one thing: the continued growth of Canadian identity. With the new communication technology came American consumerism and in order to combat this new movement, Canada had to preserve its own culture and maintain its own unique identity. Through the creation of national institutions, the changes in our economy and our industries, and the advent of electronic communication technologies, Canada has carved out its own individuality. Screen-capitalism was perhaps the most significant aspect of Canadian history that forged ahead, shaped, and developed a national identity.The development of institutions and its conducts in Canada aided screen-capitalism’s success in implementing a nationwide individuality. Friesen states, “Privileged institutions...can be seen as indispensable instruments of production of the ideas and practices of an authoritative order.”3 The National Film Board (NFB) was no exception to this claim as it was created as an alternative cultural product to the Hollywood films south of the border.4 Film was a medium that was able to reach the masses, that could overcome physical land diversity, and that could be used to formulate and manipulate perspectives of citizens everywhere. With this in mind, the NFB was to become the national film propaganda agency, developing documentaries that created a sense of ‘collective responsibility’ among Canadians to support the war, thereby uniting the nation for a common goal.5 John Grierson, the pioneer of the film movement, orchestrated numerous national campaigns, in the belief that he was advertising the country.6 Using this propaganda as an educational tool, the NFB essentially became an outlet for uniting a nation by creating a sense of importance in each individual and reminding them Canada was one big community that was facing the international crisis together. The institution of the NFB basically reinstated that Canada’s identity of continually uniting a diverse population spread far and wide was always possible.The creation of MuchMusic was another cultural...

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