The Power of Video for Social Commentary

Years ago before the advent of the internet, I discovered the power of television. I suppose it helped that I worked in the industry. But I found out very quickly what an amazing medium video was for social or political commentary. While working as a radio technician for CBC in Saskatoon I used to write funny little songs that poked fun at reporters when they were transfered to another bureau. We’d have a going away party and I’d play them the tune. One day a TV producer who’d heard the song asked me if I could write one lambasting the federal government for dragging Canadians through endless constitutional talks. I was thrilled. Rap was big then so I wrote a song called “THE CONSTITUTION RAP” and recorded it in my basement. The producer loved it and said he wanted to make a music video and asked if I would act in it. I couldn’t believe my luck. So the long and the short of it was we shot the music video in a day and it aired on the local television news the following evening. The response was crazy and CBC’s national flagship noon show “Midday” out of Toronto ran it again the following day. That led a 4 year gig creating videos with political and social commentary.

Contitutional Rap

20 some years later video is still king when it comes to getting your messages out there. These days YOUTUBE is the place to shout out your words to the world. Anyone with a smartphone can shoot and upload in minutes. So from one mature tech user to another it’s the perfect way to get your point across quickly and fairly easily.


About M. Behrend

As a kid growing up in the sixties I had an overactive imagination. As an adult I realized that sometimes the truth can be more amazing than fiction. Everybody has at least one good story to tell.

3 responses to “The Power of Video for Social Commentary”

  1. Richard Schwier says :

    Great stuff, Mark! What are you doing in ed tech when you can generate this kind of stuff for a commercial market! 🙂 Really, I think one of the big lessons here is that conventional media has a continuing big role to play in how we shape social policy. And parody is one of the best tools we’ve got to accomplish big things. And messages don’t have to be angry to be effective; in fact, they are probably better when delivered with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

  2. jenniferbrokofsky says :

    It is very interesting to reflect on how quickly social media has grown. It is a wonderful way to connect with others and get your thinking out into the world. To think you were a trailblazer in this area and continue to inspire. Thanks for sharing your journey. I look forward to learning more from you.

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