Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ignatieff makes it personal on the arts

Yesterday, I wrote about the need for Michael Ignatieff to start letting Canadians know who he is, what he's about and why he's here.


Today, we see a very good example of what I was getting at, in Susan Delacourt's story on Ignatieff's position on supporting the arts:
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says he has a personal stake in supporting artists in Canada, as well as the CBC.

“It’s personal. People think I spent my life up there in the ivory tower,” Ignatieff told about 100 Liberals gathered on Wednesday in Kingston for lunch with the leader.

“I actually spent 20 years as a freelance writer and journalist. I wrote screenplays. I wrote a couple of films. I lived by my wits. The writing life is a world of six-month contracts, Ignatieff explained, “and that’s the reality of life for many in the arts community in Canada.

“For 20 years I lived six months at a time. No safety net. No pension. No coverage. That’s the life of an artist, he said. I lived the insecurities of it, I lived the thrill of it. The thrill of being your own master. I lived the thrill of reaching an audience with no help from anyone except for what was coming out of my pen. I understand this world. I understand its risks; I understand its perils.”
I like these comments. He could have just said I think the arts are important because art uplifts, art inspires, art brightens, and so on. And that would have been fine, and all true. But by tying it back to his personal narrative he also made clear why this is personal for him, why this is an issue that he wants to address, and gave us a little more of a sense of who he is, and how his experiences shape his policy and beliefs.

Hope to see more of this.

Photo: Sue Humphrey

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11 comments:

BlastFurnace said...

And you know the Cons will ramp up the "arts are for losers" line ... Iggy does need to find more stories like this and make a way to connect it to ordinary Canadians to get the upper hand.

Ted Betts said...

It is also a nice contrast to the PM who has been a desk jockey and career politician all his life, relying on the public purse or wealthy donors, and not relying on his own wit and without a safety net.

CanadianSense said...

Nothing wrong with the arts, they just need to stop relying on grants from taxpayers for their livelihood.

Ignatieff had some nice qualities that need to be brought front and centre.

It may be too late but his pre-2005 speeches.

"The biggest single gain in human rights in the last 50 years happened during the Reagan and Bush I presidency. And it happened, in part, because of very intransigent American presidential rhetoric. I was a detente guy in the 1980s and I thought, boy, all this sabre-rattling from Reagan is terrifying. Well, guess who turned out to be right."

This is letting Iggy be Iggy. It would help with the centre, right of centre voters.

We don't think the NDP, Bloc are going to be real helpful if it hits the fan.

RuralSandi said...

More pearls of wisdom from CanadianSense - unbelievable crap.

CS - we have a population of approx 33 million. Not much of a market for the arts - that's why they need help.

CS, Gorbechov got his interest in democracy via Trudeau and via Eugene Whalen's farm. There's a book about it. I can't remember what it's called but it was done via interviews with the Russian ambassador at the time. Reagan? I think perhaps Pope John Paul had more to do with it and Reagan made speeches.

Ignatieff didn't mention that he was a journalist in worn torn areas. That would be quite an experience in itself. Meanwhile, Harper at a desk, on his butt, all safe and sound in a rumpled shirt.

Rotterdam said...

Bad art will always need to be subsidized....... Ignatieff has this, "I wish I stayed at Harvard",look on his face..

Rotterdam said...

Bad art will always need to be subsidized....... Ignatieff has this, "I wish I stayed at Harvard",look on his face..

The Mound of Sound said...

Trivialities such as "support for the arts" aren't taking the fight to Harper and that alone is Iggy's challenge right now. If he can't start hitting Harper this summer, he's just going to be mauled in a fall election. It's sad to see the Libs lapse into this coma.

Jeff Jedras said...

Mound, the Liberals spent four years attacking Harper and conflating every scandal to me Armageddon. That doesn't work.

It's not enough to attack, you need to give an alternative, and an alternative that people like and trust. This is a necessary part of that process.

RuralSandi said...

Rotterdam - Ignatieff actually looks like he's enjoying himself.

Bet that bothers you

The Mound of Sound said...

Jeff, you're right. It's not enough to attack. It also takes policy and vision. But you have to master it all if you're going to win anything. If you allow the side that ought to be pinned on the defensive free rein to go on the offensive against you instead, you simply make it his battle to lose, not yours to win.

One reason lawyers have fared so well in politics is that they're trained advocates, fighters, debaters. After several years before the courts you can't help but learn techniques of engaging critical thinking and logic and harnessing them to rhetorical argument. You actually do learn to "mop the floor" with second raters.

It's not that the Libs haven't attacked Harper. It's that they've done it so poorly, to no effect. Between that and all the flip-flopping, backtracking, and abstention voting, what credibility do they have left? Not much.

Iggy has many, many talents. So do many brain surgeons. That doesn't make them cut out for every job including political leadership. It doesn't take long in politics for a candidate to reveal whether he/she has the skill set for the job. Your guy falls well short.

The Rat said...

"“For 20 years I lived six months at a time. No safety net. No pension. No coverage. That’s the life of an artist, he said. I lived the insecurities of it, I lived the thrill of it. The thrill of being your own master. I lived the thrill of reaching an audience with no help from anyone except for what was coming out of my pen. I understand this world. I understand its risks; I understand its perils.”

And that's why I want the government to fund artists. I want artists to be able to experience those thrills without the risk, without the need to actually be talented, without the need to make something anyone would willingly buy. That's why I want you, the taxpayer, to to give your hard earned money to people like me. Vote Liberal!