THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES AND THE ART OF RESISTANCE: A RHETORICAL ANALYSIS OF CANADIAN CULTURAL ANTI LANGUAGE
Patterson, Laura Marilyn
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This thesis examines the role of rhetoric in identity creation, and demonstrates how popular discourses can shape and maintain cultural identity. It examines how a marginalized culture uses its popular discourse as a way of establishing and maintaining a sense of cultural distinctiveness in face of overwhelming external (in this case American) influences. In particular, this thesis examines the formation of Canadian identity through an analysis of the first eight seasons of the award-winning satirical television programme This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Television programmes are a type of cultural discourse, and they appeal to their audience by reflecting back to that audience recognizable aspects of themselves. In cultures that are quite resistant to an outside influence, like Canada's, public discourses often act as languages of resistance; in other words, our shared public expressions are marked as much by a sense of "against whom," as by a sense of "with whom."! This thesis offers a case study of one such resistant discourse in order to explore how these languages of resistance, or antilanguages, help to establish and maintain a culture's distinct identity, especially in the face of overwhelming outside cultural influences. My analysis will draw upon the works of several theorists, such as Kenneth Burke, Norman Fairclough, and John Fiske, to illustrate how shared resistance to "them" contributes to the creation of a stronger sense of "us". Canadian discourses have often been labelled as simply "anti-Americanism", but this thesis demonstrates that this resistance is a part of a larger pattern of Canadian identity that serves to unite us as a culture. These patterns have been identified by many critics of Canadian culture that I will draw upon in this thesis, including Jennifer MacLennan, Margaret Atwood, Pierre Berton, and Northrop Frye. This thesis demonstrates how this antilanguage functions to create Canadian identity through case studies of the sketches "Talking to Americans" (Chapter 2) and "Connie Bloor" (Chapter 3) then applies the same patterns to a variety of sketches taken from the rest of the programme (Chapter 4).