CBCradio

July 09, 2009

Pt 1: Bruno's Impact - We started this segment with a preview of Sacha Baron Cohen's latest movie, Bruno. It won't be in theatres until tomorrow, but it's already causing controversy. In the film, Baron Cohen plays a gay, Austrian fashionista and wanna-be celebrity. Bruno travels the world in his search for fame. He chases down Harrison Ford in Los Angeles. He tries to bring peace to the Middle East. And he adopts a baby from Africa.

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Pt 2: Letters - It's time for our weekly look at the mail. And The Current's Kristin Nelson joined Mellissa to help read some of your letters.

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Today's summer guest host was Mellissa Fung.

It's Thursday July 9th.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being accused of pocketing a communion wafer instead of eating it, at a funeral in New Brunswick last week.

Currently, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is facing a similar scandal, but he's being accused of hiding the salami.

This is the Current.

Bruno's Impact - Panel

We started this segment with a preview of Sacha Baron Cohen's latest movie, Bruno. It won't be in theatres until tomorrow, but it's already causing controversy. In the film, Baron Cohen plays a gay, Austrian fashionista and wanna-be celebrity. Bruno travels the world in his search for fame. He chases down Harrison Ford in Los Angeles. He tries to bring peace to the Middle East. And he adopts a baby from Africa.

Throughout the film, Baron Cohen plays Bruno as a shallow, effeminate, hyper-sexualized gay man. Some find his brand of satire off-putting and say it reinforces stereotypes. But others see a method -- and a message -- in his madness. Case in point ... the stunt he pulled at the MTV Movie Awards in May. Wearing wings and buttless chaps, Bruno ended up in the lap of rap artist -- and alleged homophobe -- Eminem. After he got Bruno's butt off his face, Eminem stormed out of the awards show. But a little later, it came out that he had been in on the joke all along.

Of course Sacha Baron Cohen is just the latest in a long line of people who have devoted themselves to pushing satire to its most ridiculous, offensive, and even dangerous limits. And for their thoughts on the value -- or point -- of trying to do that, we were joined by three people. James Penney teaches Cultural Studies at Trent University. John Greyson is a filmmaker who teaches at York University. And Andrew Clark is the Director of the Humber College Comedy Program. They were all in Toronto.

 Letters

It's time for our weekly look at the mail. And The Current's Kristin Nelson joined Mellissa to help read some of your letters.

CIA & Iran: We received a lot of feedback on a story we aired last Thursday. The Current looked at whether the CIA should be taking a greater role in helping the reform movement in Iran. We spoke with John Lenczowski. He is President of The Institute of World Politics. He was also the Director of European and Soviet Affairs for the National Security Council during the Reagan administration. After hearing this item, listeners wrote in with their thoughts.

Lung Cancer: Tuesday on The Current we looked at the issue of detecting, treating and dealing with lung cancer in a series called The Forgotten Cancer. The CBC's National Health Reporter Pauline Dakin brought us the story of a new screening process that could save many lives. This issue also received some mail and we shared some letters.

High on the Job - Documentary

A little over six months from now, the eyes of the world will be on Vancouver as the city kicks off the 2010 Winter Olympics. In the lead-up to the games, Vancouver has been on something of a construction binge. New Olympic venues ... a multi-million dollar facelift for the waterfront in Coal Harbour and condos, condos and more condos.

But there is growing concern that all the fast money being thrown at the construction industry has led to an increase in drug use among the construction workers responsible for changing Vancouver's skyline. Last fall, the association representing British Columbia's construction companies and the union representing the construction workers introduced a sweeping drug-testing policy ... the most far-reaching of its kind in Canada.

Hard numbers about drug use on construction sites in Canada are hard to come by. But in the course of making her documentary, the CBC's Aziza Sindhu witnessed construction workers using pot, crystal meth, crack-cocaine and alcohol. We re-aired Aziza's documentary, High on The Job. It originally aired on The Current in February.

Last Word - Sailing

Stay with us on CBC Radio One. Up next, it's Global Perspectives. Eight public broadcasters from all over the world offer up documentaries on the theme of islands. This afternoon at 1 o'clock, it's Dispatches with Rick MacInnes-Rae. And tonight at 10 o'clock on CBC Television, it's The National.

Five years ago this summer a teenager from Toronto named KC Maple was plucked from the raging seas off the coast of Iceland after his sailboat, the Silver, sank in a heavy storm. KC was sailing across the North Atlantic with his uncle who died in the tragedy. Mr. Maple's remarkable journey and rescue were chronicled in a radio documentary by The Current's John Chipman.

Late last month Mr. Maple met his rescuer for the first time since that fateful day. The Icelandic Coast Guard just purchased a new Canadian-made search and rescue plane. And rescue swimmer Audunn Kristinsson was on hand for the ceremony.

According to him, Mr. Maple has more to thank than the Icelandic Coast Guard for his rescue. It turns out his sailboat's GPS coordinates were accidentally jumbled before they were relayed to Rejkyavik, meaning the Icelandic Coast Guard was searching in the wrong place.

And the Silver boat sank so quickly that it was already submerged before the Coast Guard helicopter had even left the tarmac. We ended the program this morning with Mr. Kristinsson describing the mysterious circumstances that -- despite those potentially fatal obstacles -- still led his team to find Mr. Maple.

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