Consider other options…

26 02 2010

Evenings with the king of faux-compassion, Anderson Cooper, and being spat in the face by Bill O’Reilly can get a little annoying, if not utterly mundane, along with the same local news feed to which we subject ourselves to daily. Mainstream media, represented by an increasingly concentrated market, provides us with a seemingly single pane through which we receive information. That is why I want to feature two alternative media sites:

Launched in 2003, The Tyee is webmag that focuses namely on news and media issues facing the province of British Columbia, but ones that easily resonate throughout Canada and the world at large. As you might suspect, its online front-pages are wrought with olympic coverage at present, but the site continues to carry wide coverage of Canadian arts and culture, and the country’s unique media landscape. The site’s Mediacheck section is a great source for both looking at the politics facing Canada’s increasingly concentrated media scene and new technological innovations. Michael Geist, who I referenced in an earlier post, often writes for the Mediacheck. Click on the log0 below to check it out. is an online Canadian daily with a focus on progressive politics. Since its launch in 2001, Rabble’s has published work by noted Canadian leftist writers, including Naomi Klein and Linda McQuaig. The site has become the source of nation-oriented grassroots political discussion and features of variety of resources, including an expansive blogroll featuring some of the country’s most ‘insightful and opinionated progressive activists’, and great series of podcasts. Click on the logo below to check it out.


Between a rock and a hard place.

16 02 2010

Critical Reflection 2: The Institution

14 02 2010

In an interview in 1980, Michel Foucault said: “the source of human freedom—is never to accept anything as definitive, untouchable, obvious, or immobile” (Bess, 1988:1), a remark that I feel resonates within Paulo Freire’s banking concept of education; one that asks us to consider how inactive our supposed active minds can be and brings into question the methods by which we are discouraged from thinking critically within an institutionalised setting… Keep reading after the jump

Critical Reflection 1: The notion of truth

2 02 2010

These initial weeks have indicated that the notion of truth is going to play a significant role in our definition of power. It became immediately apparent that the idea of truth is not about what is true so much as what is defined as true, how it is defined as true, and perhaps what is most important in our discussion on power and stratification, who defines truth. Who, in this case, need not be defined as one person; who represents a collective and the ways in which these ideas are propagated and sustained… Keep reading after the jump

Creativity vs. Law

1 02 2010

Harvard law professor and political activist Lawrence Lessig, gives a really neat an insightful discussion on the state of the creative realm in the video below. He suggests that copyright laws, while originally derived to protect the work of artists and encourage creativity, are headed in the a very dangerous direction that could ultimately stifle creativity. And instead of protecting the artist’s work, this legislation is simply deepening the pockets of those in control of content production and channels of distribution.

You can learn more about Lessig and his interests by hopping over to his website, here. It’s worth noting that Lessig allows the free download of a number of his books, including Code 2.0 – a book that was partly written in concert with bloggers and other online folk via a wiki, and a seminal text in understanding some of the regulatory issues surrounding the World Wide Web.

If you like what Lessig has to say, or would like a to learn a little bit more on similar issues but from a Canadian perspective, check Michael Geist’s blog.

Gentrification of Brooklyn

30 01 2010

Canadian street artist Specter put together these billboards for the Gentrification of Brooklyn: the pink elephant speaks exhibit on view at the MoCAD in Brooklyn NY from February 4 – May 16, 2010.

You can see more of Specter’s work here and learn more about him in an interview he did with Hunt & Gather here

Pennies and Panopticons

30 01 2010

What is a penny worth these days? Not a heck of a lot if we look at a penny as a unit of currency. But the adage, a penny for your thoughts, brings to light the idea that a penny, not as a unit of currency but as a symbol of something bigger, can really go a long ways. The penny, in the saying, is perhaps a metaphor for an instrument of exchange. In this respect, a penny can be a social prompt, like the annoying stop light that forces you to consider how that stop-light ever even got there in the first place and what social consideration prompted regulators to implement such systems of control. A penny might be a friend who challenges your marxist ideals, a challenge that leads you to ponder a different form of social structure. A penny is an instigator. A penny is a catalyst. And cumulatively, many pennies can breed many things, thoughts and ideas.

Admittedly, Pennies and Panopticons, is a school assignment. But what P&P also is, is a place to discuss the seemingly banal ways in which we engage in power relations. Take for a minute, the Panopticon. A Panopticon, in Jeramy Bentham‘s design, is merely an annular premise (in his case a prison), whereby on observer can observe his subjects from the centre of the premise without the subjects being aware of whether they are being observed, thereby imposing a sentiment of omnipresence onto the observed and in some way or another controlling their behavior without activating force or constrictive action. While the idea is still used in prisons today, perhaps the most realistic example of a panopticon in today’s era is in the security camera that’s perched atop a downtown street lamp or clinching the side of a building. We know they are there, but do we know who, or better said, if, someone is watching?

It is my intention through P&P to bring the banal into forefront, question the unquestioned and expose the power of the individual.