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Canadian Dimension: Dialectics of Santa Claus by Karl Marx

Image from United States Library of Congress

An undiscovered text by Karl Marx. titled, Dialectics of Santa Claus: Critique of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Here is Marx’s analysis of Santa using materialist dialectics:

A review of Hegel’s Science of Logic teaches us to go beyond mere appearances, to indeed “look at things twice”. Notice the relationship, the very contradiction of daily lived experience of being judged “naughty or nice”. The notion of a Santa Claus (a character based on the the religious reference to St. Nicholas now turned into a fetishized figure created during the full swing of (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Quotes from The Politics of Heroin – Alfred W. Mcoy

The so called war on drugs contains so much irony, we’ll need a new solar system to keep it in check.

“As long as demand and prices remain at current levels in wealthy drug-consuming nations, traders will enter almost any potential production area with wads of currency to elicit supply that can meet this demand. Over the past thirty years, the U.S. and UN prohibition has simply served to push production and processing, and smuggling of illicit drugs back and forth across the globe’s three critical trafficking areas – between Turkey and Laos within the Asian opium zone, (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: The Popular Front: An Alternative “Year in Review” of Pop Culture

Photo by TampAGS

Most “Year in Review” lists of popular culture are pretty predictable. Such lists are jam-packed with consensus contenders for big industry awards such as the Oscars and Grammys and they tend to be reflections of what is “popular” as defined by sales. Indeed, the typical “Year in Review” list highlights profitable popular culture. As the pop culture columnist for Canadian Dimension Magazine, I have assembled an alternative “Year in Review” list showcasing elements of progressive popular culture from 2014.

I have created the following list by polling CD collective members as well as readers on social media (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Falling Skies: Aliens as Metaphor

We watched the last of Season Two of the Falling Skies series last night. After a bit of research this morning, I learned I have two more seasons to watch and a fifth season has been scheduled. Something to look forward to. I wasn’t sure about how it would turn out, but the series has […]

Canadian Dimension: Misogyny at Dal: When we are sick of being forced down the middle road of apology and contrition

Photo by Anton Bielousov

My mother was a Dentistry graduate at the University of Toronto in 1943. As I look at her class graduation photo, I count 44 men and three women. She practiced dentistry, then taught dental hygienists, for 40 years. When I was a child, she never attended class reunions and, as far as I know, was never friendly with the men who graduated with her. Years ago I asked her why. She said, “The boys in my class were awful. They insulted me and the other two women. They played nasty tricks on us.”

More than (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Few More Uke Arrangements

Lately, I’ve been redoing all the arrangements of songs I put together for the Collingwood Public Library Ukulele Group (CPLUG) this year, as well as arranging some new pieces for the group. I’m working on a new layout for the tunes that makes them easier for beginners to follow and makes the songbook somewhat easier […]

Canadian Dimension: Ghomeshi Redux: Where do we go from here?

Photo by Damien D.

Now that Jian Ghomeshi has been charged with five criminal offences, including sexual assault and choking, what can we learn from this case, and more importantly – what can we do to make sure this does not continue to happen? We know that Ghomeshi was not the first media star to use his sense of entitlement to hurt women. Many white men especially, in all walks of life, use their entitlement, and power and privilege to get what they want from women. About Ghomeshi, we know this: at least four women have publicly condemned Jian Ghomeshi (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Heartwarming Crap I Have to Post – Thai Life Insurance

Sometimes you just have to look at the good bits in a situation.

Yes this is a commercial for a life insurance company. Yes it free promotion for them. Yes, if you subtract the commercial bit at the end, this is how life should go.

Filed under: Culture Tagged: Capitalism went right for once, Commerical, Heartwarming Crap I have to Post, Life Affirming

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Gravity: A Review

While watching director Alfonso Cuarón’s film, Gravity, this weekend, I was struck by how powerful the mixed themes of isolation and survival can be. I was reminded not simply of films – Tom Hanks in Castaway came to mind immediately – but in literature, too; from Robinson Crusoe to Blindness. Stories of survival have captivated humankind […]

Dead Wild Roses: Why You Can’t Be Racist Toward White People

. . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Why You Can’t Be Racist Toward White People

Politics, Re-Spun: Ferguson?

If there’s anything you can learn from Ferguson this morning, it’s that we need to check our race- and class-based social, political and economic entitlements.

It’s the least we can do this morning.

"If racism is something you're sick of hearing about, imagine how exhausting it must be living it every day." Jon Stewart

— Kendra Coulter (@DrKendraCoulter) November 25, 2014

Deaths from police shootings US 461 (*updated, likely undercount) Germany 8 Britain 0 Japan 0 #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/WqBnHNIdaA

— Conrad Hackett (@conradhackett) November 25, 2014

August 11, 2014 Welcome to the 1,000th Politics, Re-Spun Editorial! (1) July 15, 2013 Fearing Kate (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Julius Caesar: Best of the Bard?

For my money, Julius Caesar is simply Billy Shakespeare’s best ever play. I mean, what’s not to like in it? It has some stonking great speeches in it – including one of his top five ever (Marc Antony’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen….”) as well as a passel of memorable lines you can quote at parties (Who among […]

Politics, Re-Spun: Canada: The Eternal Rebuilding Project

Personal relationships enrich us, work makes us feel useful, and goals give us purpose

via Lecture 1 – Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio.

Adrienne Clarkson speaks in this Massey Lecture about belonging.

The first peoples were here first. They established a sense of this land.

Europeans came to conquer and exploit and seek whatever noble goals orbited their economy. They helped remake and redefine the land and its people. For better or worse.

Since then, new people have come and contribute to this eternal project of ever-rebuilding Canada.

Harper isn’t interested in (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Yes Means Yes: A Reading to Start Your Week

If you read anything about Yes Means Yes, this week, read this paragraph, then click the link to read it all.

We all need to be talking about this around the water cooler this week.

We’ve come a long way in our acceptance of all manner of sexual relationships and habits, but the one I think is still in the closet, is the desire not to have sex. Abstinence-only education has become such a joke, that the choice to abstain has become denigrated right along with it. If we put up ads to suggest it’s okay, it comes across as (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Three Godzillas: Size Matters

This year another remake of Godzilla was released, and of course I had to get a copy. I have many of the other Godzilla films made over the past 60 years, sadly not all of them. There were so many monster movies made in Japan through the 1950s and 60s that it’s hard to keep track […]

A Puff of Absurdity: It’ll Be Fast: On Yes Means Yes

Globe and Mail.

I was struck by the report of an intimate exchange between a man and woman in today’s Globe & Mail; the woman later questioned how consensual the act really was.  She said, “Please stop,” and he responded, “It’ll be fast.”  Later she says “yes,” then later again “no.”

But that “fast” line struck me because of when else it’s typically said.  We don’t offer the cushion that an event will be over quickly unless we’re well aware that it’s not an event that’s desirable.  I might say it when my child’s about to get a (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Poems That Make You Cry

I cannot read Dylan Thomas’ poem, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night‘ without a lump in my throat. I read it at my father’s funeral, several years ago, so for me it has a personal context that retains its emotional impact. Many poems move me or touch my heartstrings, however, that have no such personal […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Camping’s madness carries on

Harold Camping has been dead for almost a year, but his legacy lives on. Not just in the broken dreams of his deluded followers, but in the many lives he destroyed through his madness. You would have thought that, having predicted the end of the world several times, and been wrong each one, because of the […]

Politics, Re-Spun: The CBC Respects Dignity Better than Corporate Media

Corporate media, being owned by corporations, needs to maximize shareholder wealth. That means news is a loss leader.

News is about generating sensationalism, excitement or hysteria.

News is about generating ratings to charge more for advertising to maximize shareholder wealth.

Thus, when the CBC characteristically doesn’t sensationalize something, it’s noted around the world.

CBC is owned by us, WE are the shareholders. WE maximize wealth by having high quality, respectful journalism that enhances dignity. Not like the Jerry Springer that corporate media has become.

So, read this, especially the last line:

Mansbridge, in sharp contrast to the frenetic, breathless delivery (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: Reflections on a violent day in Ottawa

Photo from Public Domain

I often find it hard to feel empathy for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. But when I saw the grim picture of him talking on the phone following the end of his confinement in the locked down House of Commons yesterday, I sensed in him a vulnerability he rarely exhibits. Harper, like his fellow MPs, Parliamentary staff, media, visitors and children in the downstairs daycare, had likely hunkered down behind locked doors, no doubt traumatized by uncertainty when an armed gunman entered the building. Because no one knew who the gunman was after, all were potential targets. (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Thug Kitchen – Healthier Living for Everyone

The following post has a higher than usual amount of profanity (for DWR, anyway). You have been warned.

Eating right is hard. Eating horribly wrong is so very easy. Are we all doomed to clogged arteries, pickled livers, and malnourished obese children? No! Thug Kitchen is here to save us all! What started as an awesome blog is now a cookbook with it’s own trailer!

What makes Thug Kitchen so special? There are lots of health cook books out there, but you may have noticed a slightly unusual tone in the trailer. From the Thug Kitchen FAQ section:

[Thug (Read more…)

The Misanthropic Bird: Girl Posts Selfie – Internet Retaliates

If you took any history 101 class, you may have heard of civil rights activist, and overall great guy, Martin Luther King, Jr.. And if you happened to be awake during your teacher’s lesson, you may have retained some of the brilliant and moving words Dr. King spoke, particularly his speech that included living “in a nation” that judges a person by the “content of their character”. And though these words were taken from a speech promoting civil rights and condemning racial segregation, being judged by the content of one’s character is apparently an ideal the internet has no coding (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Cold Mountain Poems

I first became aware of the Tang dynasty poet, Han Shan, in the late 1960s, when I was engrossed in reading the poets of the earlier Beat generation. It was at that time that, through them, I started to discover and explore Western Buddhism – as it was adapted and represented through their experiences and […]

Politics, Re-Spun: What I Am Thankful For

This weekend, I am thankful for folks in Seattle who know how to transform the imperialist Columbus Day into Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

May we all learn this for next year!

“We are all citizens in a democracy, we are all here to work with each other, and by making this Indigenous People’s Day, we are adding something, we are not taking something away. We can both recognize our strengths.”

“We are not reveling in the pain of our past, but rejoicing in the celebration of a triumph—the voice of the indigenous people who are saying ‘we are still (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Revisiting Chinatown Revitalization: Oct 8 at 8pm at Centre A

October 8 Program will start at 8pm Centre A, 229 East Georgia Street. FREE Event. RSVP here. Chinatown—the community, its buildings, its urban plan—is one of the most significant cultural […]