How Much Is Too Much: True North Entertainment and Canadian Militarism (or how to write sensationalist titles)

I guess you’d have to say that the biggest thing happening this offseason is the ongoing emergence and changes of the new Winnipeg Jets. The most recent round of controversy surrounded the unveiling of the team’s logos. Personally, I’m not a fan of any of the logos that the organization unveiled. I think they could potentially become iconic, at the moment they currently are just boring, or flat out bad when it comes to the word mark. But I’m not here today to throw in my 2 cents (or 0.0191 Canadian cents) on the branding. Well, I guess I am doing just that, in a way.

Disclaimer: I don't know a ton about Canadian politics, so this piece is based entirely off of the articles that I read as well as a personal reaction to the concepts discussed within those articles.

A quick side by side look if you aren't familiar with the logos

So, is the new Winnipeg Jets logo blatant advertising for the Royal Canadian Air Force? A pair of Canadians certainly thinks that True North is actively leaking Canadian militarism into the national sport. Derrick O’Keefe and Tyler Shipley both accuse True North Entertainment of doing exactly that. I believe that both make some good points. O’Keefe makes some great ones, as does Shipley before he goes full-Stza on us. Being an American living in the South East the first time I even became aware of the
encroachment of military controversy in popular Canadian Culture was through the song “Dear Coach’s Corner” by Propagandhi. The more I read about Canadian politics and the background to the Jets logo the more skeptical I become. The logo was made with the RCAF’s blessing and the Department of National Defense consulted on the design process. On top of that TRE is paying $10million over ten years to RCAF charities. Normally I wouldn’t bat an eye at something like that. Despite being anti-military and anti-war I think it is essential to support the troops (I personally like the Disable American Veterans charitable service trust due to their commitment to PTSD research and support). But the timing just makes it look like TRE purchased the rights to adorn their team with military regalia.

While I don’t (or don’t have the info to) agree with everything Shipley wrote, I can sympathize with him. I couldn’t imagine my response if the Predators debuted a new look that prominently featured an F-16 streaking past the Stars and Stripes, but I would bet I’d be somewhat riled up. You can pay tribute to the military without making the military the theme of your NHL team’s uniforms. I’ve seen them do it in Nashville and Philadelphia, and I’m certain that every other hockey team does something similar.


I cannot end this without some sort of reply to the critics of Shipley and O’Keefe. Kevin Engstrom (of the Toronto Sun) is just that critic:
It is quite easy to respect the work done by the people who serve in the military and air force -- even if you don't personally agree with the war or skirmish our government has them fight.

In truth, Chipman wasn't advocating for or against the Harper government, war, or the militarization of Canada by linking his team's logo with the RCAF, as Shipley suggests. Rather, he merely showed an appreciation for those who served and the importance of the air force in Winnipeg's history.
Logo for the Canadian Conservative
Party. Quick, get your crazy hats on
conspiracy theorists
In the first paragraph he makes a fair point, one with which I agree, but that second paragraph is what gets me. With some exceptions most of even the staunchest anti-war protestors believe in supporting the troops. At the same time we draw a line. When we see our troops acting unethically, whether it be torture or a disregard for the rights of others, we refuse to turn a blind eye. The majority of the men and women in the military are heroes, but as with anything else there are bad apples, Matt Cookes if you will. I do not support those, Mr. Shipley does not support those, but for that we experience condenstation. On top of that Chipman wasn’t simply showing appreciation to the military, he’s a businessman after all. He saw an opportunity to form a strategic partnership with the RCAF in attempts of creating a strong branding association. The old Jets were named due to the growth of the transportation and airplane manufacturing industries to Winnipeg (Boeing's Canadian Subsidiary and Bristol Aerospace). The new Jets are named due to the presence of a military airfield. Those are two different things, so nobody should be getting indignant when folks that aren’t obsessed with military might take issue with that associating.

1 comment:

What Is This? said...

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