Do you know why? Partly our education system is to blame as it places emphasis more on computers and less on social studies.
Partly is thanks to our multi-channel universe where we have niche TV channels that cater to such fragmented segments of the market that there are no “broad-strokes” painted where people might just exposed to something different. What’s the viewership of the CBC like now that you can watch Retro-Teletoon, Teletoon, Cartoon Network, Teen Cartoon Network, Nick Kids, Bob Kids, Boo this and so on??? Not so great.Â It’s pretty sad when those old Hinterland “Who’s Who” commercials are run as for a gag like old Soap Commercials instead of for their education values.
One of the biggest issues is what I saw today in a Chapters Book Store in Ottawa. A big huge book store with racks of magazines (four double-sided 40 foot long racks, seven feet high), large sections dedicated to this segment or that. Books for those on a budget, lots of fiction, business, self-help books, books to help you pick self-help books, you name it. ThereÂ kids section that looks more like a high-end toy store than a book store, a big music section (people still buy CD’s?) and then the history section. This is the section that I always gravitate to and here is what I saw:
Three, count them three, four foot wide shelves on one book case with Canadian History… That’s it. Just three. The two selves underneath were part of a more general history (US). 12 feet of Canadian History. Now I know for a fact there are more than 12 feet of Canadian History books written; this was just insulting. More so when I started comparing. Five 5-shelf book cases dedicated to US History or, 100 feet; Three 5-shelf book cases dedicated to World Wars One and Two (US and British, one book was Canadian) or, 60 Feet.
I thought, “This can’t be right?” So I looked around more. Chapters has things segmented so finitely that there was a “Political Science” section, eight more feet of Canadiana. Not bad, that brings use to 20 feet total but oh wait, there’s 80 more feet of US Political Science including four feet dedicated to Barack Obama.
I counted only three titles in the sections on our current or former Prime Ministers, Harper, Chretien and Trudeau, and I ran out of fingers and toes to count on for the US Presidents. Heck there were more on British Prime Ministers (4) than Canadian ones and this book store is in OTTAWA ONTARIO CANADA!!! The Nations Capital!!!
Not to beat a now dead horse called “Canadian History”, I looked at some of the “HOT” titles. Eight Feet of Books on, about or by Celeb Chef Jamie Oliver, 10 feet on Gordon Ramsay. 10 feet on Oprah, six on how to build a deck, 24 feet on Pokemon and 30 feet on how to get the rock hard abs I’ve always wanted (unlike the keg I have now).
So to quote Sybil Fawlty, “what does it all mean Basil?” What does this all mean? I am not saying that the country will lose it’s identity by people shopping at Chapters, however their lack of exposure and promotion of Canadian History means collectively we lose one more chance to hook someone into learning more about our country. Chapters stores and their parent Chapters-Indigo own Smith Books, Coles, Chapters and Indigo or in otherwords a virtual monopoly on the bookstore front. With the exception of the odd independent bookseller, there is no other player except for the Internet. What they (Chapters) puts on the shelves is what people see, period!
That’s one more reason why we have less and less younger people every November 11th at a cenotaph;
One more reason why the maple leaf is more a fashion statement than a source of pride in our country;
One more person who can rhyme off who the last 10 Presidents of the United States were but can’t say who our Prime Minister is.