Jay-Z, the Stampede and tuition hikes

By Cam Cotton-O’Brien

I’ve begun to think the Calgary Stampede might be behind this proposed tuition increase. Jay-Z holds the key to my insight.

The latest issue of Esquire magazine carries an article about the astounding crossover success of the rap magnate. In it, writer Lisa Taddeo details that the most important feature of Hova’s ability to succeed in mainstream culture while retaining his street credibility has been his authenticity: Jay-Z is more than happy to sell you Budweiser, but only because he always drank Budweiser.

In the exact same way, the Alberta Government is branding the province.

Westerners are commonly perceived as classless uneducated yahoos. By allowing Alberta’s major universities to propose tuition increases that may price higher education beyond the reach of many Albertans, the government is ensuring the province’s populace will be less educated, dramatically increasing the authenticity of Alberta’s claim to boorish hickdom. As the general education level in the province declines, the Calgary Stampede will become more and more authentic. Tourists will be more enticed by the annual event, which will no longer be perceived as a show put on for a meager 10-day stretch each July, but as the bronco-busting reality of the Heart of the New West. Crowds will swell, coffers will burst, the world will watch as the province shakes off its petroleum reliance.

At least, I assume this is the case. Otherwise the value placed on education in this, the richest of the provinces, is plain embarrassing.

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