Yes, yes, Quebec is going to the polls to possibly elect some separatists today, and the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Charlotte, and I understand some people are playing tennis.
But also, our little satire show, slippery with amniotic fluid, is taking its first halting cloven-hoofed steps down from the mountain redoubt where it has been gestating.
Deep Rogue Ram, as we have chosen to call this beast, is a sheep unlike the others. Bred in the freedom-loving air of rugged Western Canada, its aim is to liberate its comrades through cheeky web videos and the like, uploaded weekly.
Here’s the first skit, in which a weather presenter, appalled at the unprecedented melting of the polar ice caps last week … well, goes rogue:
As you can see, I decided to really stretch myself in the acting department.
So why satire? Some friends and I tested the waters a bit earlier this year with the “Ethical Oil” puppet rap. We stumbled across what we think is an appetite for morale-boosting content that is factual and at least a bit funny. And while there are some fine satirists working in Canada, arguably the best are working in the States, and there are still issues in both countries that aren’t getting nearly the attention they deserve.
Last week we watched the Republicans officially lay hands on their presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who then mocked Barack Obama in his acceptance speech for taking rising sea levels seriously. Literally the same week that the arctic ice cap melted more than in any summer on record. I know these people hate science, but come on. This is basic beer cooler physics.
The thing is, Mitt Romney’s not stupid. By Republican standards, he’s suspiciously open-minded. But as he made his way down the aisle in Tampa (only a few feet above the current sea level), he stopped for a handshake with David Koch. David and his brother Charles are the infamous oil-baron Koch brothers, credited with bankrolling the Tea Party and fuelling the debate around global warming.
The handshake was affirmation that the Koch brothers and many donors like them will be doing everything in their considerable power to get Romney elected — who again, is not stupid. Politico reports the Koch network is planning to spend $400 million during this election, an investment they describe as “free speech“. (That’s roughly 20 times the limit for an election campaign in Canada. There are entire nations with smaller GDPs.)
If our focus is Canadian media and politics, why does Deep Rogue Ram care whose hand Romney shakes in Tampa? For starters, Koch Industries is massively invested in the Alberta oil sands, and has been for 50 years. They also do their bit to shape Canadian policy and politics — employing lobbyists and even donating half a million dollars to the Fraser Institute think tank in Vancouver. Their foundations also train Canadians.
Broadly speaking, Canada is home to many of the same entities and ideologies as our southern neighbour, and now similar tactics and strategies are seeping into our political campaigns and public conversation.
We think more has to be done on all fronts to hold some of this stuff up to the light — and sometimes to ridicule. This is not to dismiss the vital daily work of serious journalists and researchers, organizers and activists, or actual comedians. Rather we hope to add to what they’re doing, and hopefully have a few laughs along the way.
I’ll still be working on documentary projects and brow-furrowing articles, but I think it’s a good time to try this out, too.
New video next week!