Tuesday, December 8, 2009
CARPING ABOUT CARP
Moses Znaimer: Self-Appointed Genius
For years if you came to my house, car or cottage, you would listen to either jazz or classical on the radio. These days it's more jazz from Jazz 91 because Classical 96.3 has turned into a propaganda instrument for the glorification of Moses Znaimer and the financial advancement of his lobby group and budding media conglomerate.
Znaimer has driven his word Zoomer into the side of the Boomer generation and intends to zoom his way to fortune and fame, again, on the back of pensioners and classical fans who don't realize that the revived FM station under Znaimer, his AM oldies station, his Zoomer magazine, his CARP lobby and other bits and shows all intertwine like mating octopuses.
Znaimer wants us to drown in ads for Boomers, Zoomers and pensioners (presumably without the zip of Zoomers.
The cross fertilization has Znaimer on the cover of his Zoomer magazine, his sister doing Zoomer reports on 96.3, which are a warmed-over collection of medical reports you've heard before, his wife doing a pleasant show on 96.3 just before midnight, the pathetic news reports on 96.3 suggesting an article several days before by a CARP VP is the most important news in the country, the constant ads for Zoomers to buy car insurance and house insurance through CARP ,... and so on ad nauseam.
Ironically, I agree with much of Znaimer's posturing on behalf of pensioners. And I may even make a bit of money from his incessant self-promotion because the Canadian financial goliath, Fairfax, led by one of the world's savviest investors, Prem Watsa, has bought 28% of ZoomerMedia. And I have too much of my retirement tied up in Fairfax shares.
But it grates on my nerves to listen to a radio station pretend that it's giving news when it's just publicizing another part of the company and its founder's ego.
Woven through everything are the initials CARP. I suppose it once stood for the Canadian Association for Retired Persons but there must be a dictate that it must never be spelled out now. Look at all the material and do a Google search and it's always just CARP. The reason is cynical and obvious. Znaimer has no wish to limit himself to retired people because he wants to sell as many $34.95 annual memberships as possible.
So CARP, we're told, is for people over 50. Yet there are also ads saying it's for people over 45. And I even heard on 96.3 that people who are only in their twenties would benefit from CARP membership.
This is nonsense. What is good government strategy for Canadians who are 25 is not necessarily good for people who are 50, and people who are 50 do not have the same political goals as people in their seventies.
It's not in the interests of people who are 30 or 55 to have pensions increase - unless they are supporting aged parents- because they are the taxpayers who will pay for that added burden.
Lobby groups always want to spread their grasp so they can boast to politicians about how many members they have. Except politicians and bureaucrats aren't stupid. What Znaimer has done now is blunt the impact of his lobby because it no longer represents just seniors. So CARP is larger as a lobby, but has mixed its message.
Znaimer has made an interesting choice in having Susan Eng as the chief agitator for CARP. Eng is a tax lawyer who was a disaster on Toronto's police commission. There are many older politicians who still roll their eyes when they talk about her. No, not because she was a tough opponent but because she was such a dumb left-winger.
I tangled with Eng a few times. I recall the TV debate where she was on the verge of calling me a racist. Except I pointed out that I had been the official sponsor of 43 Vietnamese refugees into Canada. Since she couldn't match that, she tried another gambit.
She is a minority woman with an activist record of piggybacking on causes, so she would appeal to this brilliant promoter who knows all about how to create a useful image, from scrawny pony tail to skeletal visage to boasting about only four hours a night of sleep to monotone delivery of his latest insight.
Znaimer was a boy wonder at the CBC and might still be at his invention, CITY TV, if his ego hadn't grated on his colleagues. He may do well for Zoomers and Boomers, but younger people he tries to grab for his closing act should head for the hills. At 67, aged wunderkind have the problem that they may exasperate most of their audience who will then flee from the boom of his zoom that he knows everything about everything, from a to z, from the abracadabra of his approach to the zenith which may now be passing.