A8 May 31, 2013 The Richmond News
Opinion T H E
a Canwest newspaper
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R I C H M O N D
N E W S
Play smart hockey
roponents of rock-em, sock-em hockey took a blow to the old kisser this week when Hockey Canada’s board of directors voted to entirely eliminate body checking from the peewee, or under-13, level. Predictably, the CBC’s resident dinosaur, Don Cherry, warned us we would rue the day, voicing the increasingly hard-to-defend position that it’s better to teach kids to hit and receive hits at a younger age. Canada’s coaching of hockey at the bantam through junior levels could certainly be improved — we have not won gold at the world juniors since 2009. But there is nothing to suggest that our hockey program will be hurt by such a move. As it stood, the only ones being hurt were our kids — and we’ve known about it for at least 10 years. A 2003 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that body checking was associated with 86 per cent of injuries sustained by players nine to 15 years old. A 2006 study showed that players were 42 per cent more likely to suffer a concussion and 25 per cent more likely to suffer fractures in Ontario leagues where body checking is allowed when compared to Quebec where it was not. Sadly, we are only just beginning to realize that the effects of a blow or blows to the head can have serious repercussions later in life. Parents pay attention to this kind of medical research and it’s no coincidence that hockey registration has stagnated across Canada for the last two years. Let’s relegate old-time hockey to where it belongs: the past.
Oval profits, still burden
The Editor, It seems the Richmond Oval has some money to spend with a colourful advertisement which came out this past week — one was included with the News in Wednesday’s delivery. The recent one had an interesting “bookkeeping” fact that stated a large surplus was realized, yet across on another page, a similar amount was granted by the city. They presumably broke even with this financial help from the city — the taxpayers! The 2012 Report to the Community puts the oval’s financial results differently. It reports oval profits as $3,066,824 in 2012, and conversely that the city contributed $8.36 per square feet to the oval budget. Whatever that means or equates to, it still comes out to an expensive operation for Richmond taxpayers! Larry Hillman Richmond
There’s no respect for taxpayers The Editor, The quarterly metered utility bill has just been issued and perhaps, the City of Richmond would like to explain the justification for increasing the water meter maintenance charge a whopping 20 per cent. This administration continues to sock it to the homeowner, showing absolutely no respect for taxpayers. L.B. Black Richmond
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Zombie shows begin eating networks Arrested Development is back on the air. Or, not the airwaves, really. The cult sitcom that ran for three seasons and was then cancelled (some nonsense about not enough people watching) came back to life this weekend via Netflix. The word uncancelled is relatively new, but it comes up a lot in conversation about TV shows, especially cult programs that died before their time. In the last few years, we’ve seen the resurrection of Futurama (major network to cable), Family Guy (ditto) and Beavis and Butthead (off the air for 14 years). We saw cancelled series Firefly get a big-screen adaptation, which also failed to clean up, but spread the cult following for both show and film. Cougar Town died on network TV but was picked up by TBS. It’s also not uncommon for a show to get canned by one network only to find life on another — the earliest of these was Get Smart back in the 1960s, but starting in the ’90s it became common for shows about forensic investigators or psychic detectives to jump networks. The trend in most of these revivals has been shows moving from the centre to the periphery. A middling show on one network is picked up by a smaller network, a cable channel, or a satellite channel. The core audience for the show will usually follow favourite characters up the dial.
Matthew Claxton PA I N F U L T RU T H
Now the shows are escaping television altogether. Arrested Development is being re-built by Netflix, which streams TV directly to your home for a monthly fee. The move to uncancel shows is one of the signs of the slow death of quality on network television. It’s not that you can’t find excellent shows on the major networks. There’s, well, Parks and Recreation is good, and, um. The networks have found what works for them are shows that appeal to a broad swath of people, offend almost no one, and which can be watched without any investment in an ongoing story. I don’t mind an episode of Castle, for example, but don’t try to ask me what the plot was a week later. A lot of network television is well acted, slickly shot, decently written, and ultimately boring. Television that is interesting and cutting edge, pretty much by definition is going to bring in a smaller audience than something that is comfortingly familiar. Cult shows used to see write-in campaigns to save them from cancellation.
Now fans don’t have to write to executives. They can vote with their wallets. Netflix isn’t bringing back Arrested Development because they like the show, they want to attract more subscribers. And if there isn’t a money-minded benefactor, fans can take the reins themselves. The teen detective noir show Veronica Mars was cancelled after three seasons. It’s now getting a film version, thanks to $5.7 million raised from fans through Kickstarter. This kind of thing trickles down. I didn’t give money to the Veronica Mars movie project, but I have given money to a guy named Kyle Kallgren. I like the videos he’s made online, and he’s making a short film about time travel and politics, called Election Cycle. He raised a humble $16,000 for his project. Never heard of Kallgren? Doesn’t matter, I have, and I want to see more of his stuff. If there’s a creator out there that you like, there’s now ways to support them directly. This kind of thing isn’t going to kill off NCIS or Big Bang Theory, but it is chipping away slowly at the foundations of TV. If writers and directors take their ideas to the masses, how long will it be before they don’t need the networks at all? Matthew Claxton is a reporter for the Langley Advance.
Published on May 31, 2013