Everybody Knows This is Nowhere?

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere?

Posted on May 7 by admin
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This year’s World Expo will be held in South Korea beginning on May 12. Its theme is “The Living Ocean and Coast” and it is expected to draw more than 11 million visitors over the course of 3 months. The event will be attended by 105 nations, but Canada and Greece are the only two countries to decline an invitation.  The reason for Canada’s absence is being chalked up to the unjustifiable expense. Hey, that’s Greece’s excuse!

It seems the real reason for not attending the World Expo is the result of our nation’s wounded pride. In a report commissioned by Heritage Canada following the 2010 expo in Shanghai, it was found that the Canadian pavilion is not viewed as a priority stop for most Expo visitors. The report concluded that:  “The shallow understanding of Canada, of Canadians and what is unique about Canada hinders top-of-mind interest in visiting the Canadian pavilion”. So… not representing ourselves is a better solution to this age-old Canadian dilemma?

Canadians seem to spend a lot of time trying to figure out why our culture is misunderstood and so often overlooked. It’s a circular thought process that betrays our youth and self-consciousness as a nation. That time would be better spent creating culture, participating in global conversations and defining ourselves by something other that our awkward eagerness.

The fact is that we don’t need to explain to others why we’re here or why they should care. Our existence and cultural success isn’t determined by how many people plan to hit us up at the World Expo. So the dialogue shouldn’t be about why people aren’t talking about us; why aren’t we talking about ourselves? A microcosm of this appears in Canadian publishing. Independent Canadian bookstores and publishers are closing or being bought by American chains. Their closures reflect a lack of Canadian self-interest.  The consequence of their (apparent) extinction would be a dwindling of available vehicles for Canadian expression and thought.

The Defining Canada blog’s aim is to promote the discussion surrounding publishing in Canada. Let’s not waste time establishing that we exist, or trying to counter unwarranted ideas about the importance of Canadian stories.