Canada is a Distant Warning System for the American experience.

DEWLineFranchising is as much of an American export as is Microsoft software or the next Hollywood blockbuster movie.

Business format franchising, in a very real sense, promulgates U.S. culture worldwide.

The Distant Warning System (DEW line) was a creation of the Cold War as a North American defense against U.S.S.R. missile attack. There were 3 radar lines: DEW, Mid-Canada and Pinetree.

I was born on RCAF Station Senneterre, PQ which was in the Pinetree radar line from 1950 to 1988.

McLuhan believed that Canada had a useful role to play internationally in looking at the effects of American culture because we observe without attracting too much attention.

Another one of his quotes:

But Canada as an entity still has value as the DEW Line for the rest of the world, we have the situation of relatively small involvement in the big headaches. The Canadian has freedom of comment, a kind of playful awareness of issues, that is unknown in, say, Paris or London or New York. They take themselves too damn seriously; they have no choice.

Here you have a little time to breathe, to think and to feel. It’s because Canadians are protected from encountering themselves by layers of colonialism.

The Electric Oracle, for a 3rd time:

I don’t know who discovered water but it certainly wasn’t a fish.

To recognize patterns and effects from changing technology requires distance and a degree of playfulness that a “professional”  with their “career” precludes in our hyper-expert driven society. Only an amateur from the margins can perceive clearly enough and have the freedom to report back with less bias.

After all, it was an “innocent” (a child) who alerted the adults to the swindlers’ illusion of the emperor’s new clothes.


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