Wednesday, January 13, 2010

None Other Than Us

Who is Jean Kavanagh, and where did she study civics?

Oh, that's right.

Sorry, I forgot.

We don't teach civics in Canadian schools.

Why would we want children to know anything about government or power or money or voting or citizens' rights or...hush, now...democracy?

Jean Kavanagh, it turns out, is the marketing and communications manager for VANOC.

And a bang-up job she is doing, alright.

All on her own precious initiative, Kavanagh has sent a memo out to libraries and librarians in Vancouver warning them, no less, that they mustn't display anything with a logo of a company that is not an official Olympic sponsor.

In her advanced state of wisdom, Kavanagh has defended this action by saying it is NOT censorship.

I guess because she says so.

But Alex Youngberg, president of the library union, says the memo is contrary to the spirit of a public library. "There's something in my library to offend everybody," she said. "And that's our job. Our job as library staff is to not ever censor any information."

Here are the remedial steps I recommend.

Fire this fascist fool.

Send all VANOC immediately into a crash course on the real meanings of civic responsibility.

Ask for 500-word essays from everyone on democracy on the street in an actual living community.

If this is Kavanagh's idea of creative marketing and communications, I suggest she will be most comfortable working in a college environment, where I have learned that people have very little idea of these concepts and very little touch with the great expansive outer world.

On the same day, John Furlong, main beater of the VANOC drum, is entreating the good burghers of Vancouver to get with the program and get onside and get happy.

We should welcome this kind of Kavanagh-thinking?

No thanks.


Anonymous said...

Fire her NOW!

DAVE C. said...


I saw the interview on TV last night and my initial reaction was similar. But at the close of her statement she once again reminded us that VANOC had agreed that in exchange for corporate financial support, they would not allow corporate competitors to get a free ride. Apart from the irony that this sounds like anti-trust activity, one would have thought that VANOC would have expected their spokesfolks to use a little discretion in such matters. Libraries? A hotbed of insurgency if ever I saw one.

But then it struck me that in the city's/province's lust to win the bid for the winter games they had to know they would have to agree to such terms to ensure that we could afford this circus. So it seems a tad disengenuous now to hear VANOC staffers defending their actions because the sponsors had insisted on such terms. Reminds me of Flip Wilson's classic line, "The Devil made me do it".

By the way, I thought your shot at college students (and staff?) was a bit of a low blow. I suspect that many of the business and political elite around here come from the ranks of "higher" education. But if your point is that important values seem to be getting trampled in the Pamplona-like stampede to host the Olympics, I totally agree. Seems to me that some of our leaders are only too willing to sacrifice democratic values for questionable goals.


David Berner said...

My low blow, Dave C, had nothing to do with students.

It's all about communications and marketing departments in academia...the word "lost" springs to mind...

Chris M said...

I am a bit confused on this.
I tried to find out something about this person and was only able to get information that she was the director of marketing and communications for the library system.
Is she also the Vanoc director?
Talk about the Servant of Two Masters, and three and four if this is the case.