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Cheer and Loathing in Animation: Episode XXXIX - Exit Flagger

Every Friday Chris Robinson unleashes improvised and hastily scribbled cheer or loathing on the animation community to be digested, swallowed or... expelled. This week: What can Animation do to combat racism?

'Cheer and Loathing in Animation' illustrations by Theodore Ushev

That stuff in Virginia was pretty depressing and scary. How do you stop that stuff before it gets outta control? If I had some sway… well, aside from fighting back at those haters with brick filled pillows (sorry peaceniks, but intolerance cannot be tolerated) …I’d start with banning all flags and national anthems. Screw Nations!, Go Planets! I personally can’t stand listening to the Canadian anthem or any other and all this nonsense about god and standing on guard. It’s the stuff of white men scribbled fairy tales and the sort of shit that feeds the either/or mentalities of these fuckwit racists. Why do they even play anthems at sporting events? They don’t when I go to the movies or the ballet or the donkey show, so why is it even permitted at a hockey game (which is additionally bizarre since a good chunk of the players are from countries not named USA or Canada and yet you don't hear their anthems). Same goes with the military. Get that stuff right out of stadiums.  I’m generalizing here…. but I guess sports does tend to attract those militantnationalist types with one hand covering their heart while the other juggles a tall boy and a monster truck cap.

Fortunately, animation festivals tend to avoid that stuff…but can they do more? How about the host nation stop accommodating English? Just stick to your language and let the rest of the world adjust. No bilingual announcing. No subtitled films. It would be tough, but maybe it would encourage people – especially us Anglos – to embrace other languages and ways of expression? at the very least it would lead to some potentially interesting film interpretations. We all talk too much anyway, so a little more silence and listening wouldn't be such a bad thing, right? Hell, there must be app that would let you simultaneously translate to the language of your choice

Okay, maybe that’s too much… well… how about we stop listing or announcing the country that a film is from? Who cares if it’s from Canada, Croatia or Finland? With so many co-productions made today, it’s never even really clear what the origin country is anyway (when Priit and Olga Pärn’s film, Pilots on The Way Home can be counted as Canadian content even though it was created and conceived in Estonia… well…that’s kinda mucked up). Let’s just focus on the film and the creator. Look at the work from the National Film Board of Canada…. A chunk of the stuff they do are international co-productions. They’re more UN than NFB and always have been. Don’t get me wrong…. I think the diversity of voices is fantastic (Okay… Yes…the Canadian taxpayer in me would rather see that production money going towards emerging Canadian animators rather than used to piggyback established international talents.) so  why do we have then go and ruin it all put putting a nation ‘stamp’ on it. Let all these voices speak. Let them be heard. Who cares what flag they adorn. Who cares what corner of land they were conceived on?

Ideas? You got em, Let’s hear em!

Let’s make amination more great again!

Chris Robinson's picture

A well-known figure in the world of independent animation, writer, author & curator Chris Robinson is the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.