by Gabrielle McLaren, Peak Associate
Hear me out: CANADALAND is a podcast about Canadian politics, current affairs, news, and media.
Wait, no, don’t leave, come back! It’s good, I promise. You don’t have to hate it just because it’s Canadian-centric. You know why? CANADALAND . . . kind of also hates Canada . . .
Well, “hate” is a strong word. But Canadaland minces no words about the failures of our patriarchal, heterocentric settler colonial state and its aftertaste of expired mayonnaise. Take, as a recent example, Episode #251: Heard it Through the Pipeline — which saw host Jesse Brown and guest Rick Harp (an Indigenous journalist and co-founder of Media Indigena) tear apart media coverage on the blockades and protest.
“Last week, the title for our Short Cuts episode was ‘Wet’suwet’en coverage is still pretty bad,’ I don’t know if we should use that as the running title of this show every week [ . . . ] or update it to ‘Wet‘suwet’en coverage is now explicitly shitty,’” Brown says to his guest’s amusement to start the show.
This sums up CANADALAND for me: critical, straightforward, entertaining, and continuously diligent with its stories. Where media criticism can often end up sounding bulky or tiring when Foucault is inexplicably pulled as a theoretical crunch, CANADALAND gives you the tools to understand what they’re talking about as they talk about it. If your current thesis or string of assignments has shanked your ability to read the news as thoroughly and diversely as you would like, this podcast is definitely for you.
If daily news coverage isn’t your thing, CANADALAND has also adapted long-form journalism and writing to an audio format in my favourite way. Check out the five-part series Thunder Bay (on the city’s broken justice system and high murder rates) or Cool Mules (a new series “investigating the cocaine-smuggling ring inside Vice Media,” because why wouldn’t Vice Media have had a cocaine-smuggling ring?).
CANADALAND shouldn’t replace your own critical readings, but it does a good job at picking pieces from various national and international media to share, promote, or criticize. The ‘Duly Noted’ segment allows hosts to bring attention to news stories that the hosts feel are underrepresented. In the brilliantly named Episode #253 Panic! At The Discoronavirus, Brown duly noted a conflict of interest in a CBC documentary’s production while guest Garth Mullins criticized the brutally flawed methodology of a report looking into safe injection sites in Alberta.
Mullins’ voice on air gives me an opportunity to highlight another strength of CANADALAND’s, which is its rotation of guest speakers. Brown’s media criticism background makes him a good, consistent presence on the show but CANADALAND’s guest speakers allow for the show to practise what preaches — diversity in media. Mullins, whose pinned Tweet identifies his experience with “drug user journalism,” was uniquely placed to point out how COVID-19 especially and differently affected those affected by the overdose crisis. Meanwhile, in Episode #252, audience members got to hear firsthand about Anita Li’s experience as co-founder of Canadian Journalists of Colour and media professor.
My entire nerd brand was absolutely shattered as a result of how profoundly I’ve been sleeping on listening to CANADALAND. Seriously, where did all this melatonin come from? Don’t be like me kids, subscribe today.