A month or two back in Ottawa, ministers from a couple of dozen countries got together for a big forum on “culture”—and, more specifically, on how to protect each “distinctive national culture” from being swamped by the global dominance of America. It might have been interesting to hear the American perspective on this but America wasn’t invited—because, said Canada’s Heritage Minister sniffily, there was no U.S. cabinet minister responsible for culture. Which is to say that even Bill Clinton’s Washington doesn’t think it worth appointing a cabinet secretary whose job it is to attend first nights.

It’s an object lesson in the pitfalls of trying to protect “culture.”

Anyway, with America absent, Canada and co. were free to devise new ways to ward off the sulfurous odors of Hollywood, as...

 
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