Attwood’s figures on the economic contribution of the arts community are deliberately misleading, either that or she has slipped into dementia.
Did Margaret Atwood mention, for instance, that the advertising business was one of the single-largest components of the industry she was defending? Advertising, by the Stats-Can/Conference Board definition, is a “culture industry.” So, as it happens, are newspapers — including all those lowbrow tabloids and giveaway subway dailies that Ms. Atwood would be mortified to be seen reading. Broadcasting, too, is included. So are all writers, journalists and editors, whether engaged in creating novels, cleaning up typos in a real-estate pamphlet or writing penetrating right-wing newspaper editorials.
StatsCan is extremely liberal about what it counts as a “cultural occupation.” The definition includes translators, public relations workers, anyone involved in photography or printing, web-masters, publishers of research and scholarship databases, anybody who works in a cinema (“Butter with that, sir?”), industrial designers, zoos and botanical gardens.