Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel

This is a bizarre but common interview on a conservative media TV news channel with 'interpretive dancer' Margie Gillis in which the artist is confronted with, and forced to qualify her funding status over one specific remark (link here)

This is a very difficult performance to watch. There seems to be an overt mismatch of handicaps between the debaters; one one hand a wannabe 'Barbie/Phil O'Reilly' news presenter reducing all argument to a financial bottom line in a tone of moral indignation, and on the other a relatively harmless 'too-nice-to-be-intimidating' interpretive dancer (Margie Gillis) from an easily scorned discipline.
I think the news channel got very lucky finding a guest that they could so easily roast. The interview comes across as a very public beating of a single individual utilising the 'taxpayer dollar' sound byte. That's an easy and cheap button for a conservative media news show to push. 
Although Gillis was introduced at the beginning of the show as a consummate achiever and contributor to dance both in Canada and internationally, it seemed she then walked into a nasty trap.Gillis looked unprepared for the bullying tone that the 'Barbie/O'Reilly' clone took and floundered underneath pleas for compassion and flimsily communicated 'humanitarian' aspects of her work.                                                                                                                                                                  I can't help looking at this event as if I was in Gillis's shoes. I felt sorry for Gillis, bored with the TV presenter, and I silently fumed at yet another pointless scaremongering attack on an individuals  fundamental right to express, contribute, and communicate without retribution.
But like it or not I don't know if I could have done any better in a public debate in which I had to formally justify my work against a corporate argument that takes takes the whole function of art and reduces it to a fiscal narrative. 

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