Archive for the ‘texture’ Category

Textured Blogs

January 12, 2009

My favorite kind of blog right now… not too partisan, personal but not only personal, and… textured.

– Ric Dolphin is writing about working in the trades in Alberta. He’s a writer including for The Western Standard while it graced us for a little while, like an unrepentant redneck comet. Ric has taken to eulogizing the demise of the good ‘ole broadsheet. It probably wouldn’t be helpful if I said that his “blog” (as he might put it) is the best writing of any blog I follow lately. But in fact it is in a way an advertisment for the downfall of writing for a deadline. The Western Standard got too boringly partisan even for me and Dolphin’s “blog” is anything but that. The real good ‘ole broadsheets had poems and serial novels – real writing, literature even. Nowadays Paris Hilton has displaced poetry. I prefer “blogs”.

-My favorite Canadian blog – Rebellious Arab Girl. The last time I read it she was complaining about the cold and threatening to move to Hawaii. Apparently she’s still here. I think it’s my favourite thing about Canada – we all experience the bitter and beautiful cold. It’s like a national hazing…

-And this one by Lilian Nattel, almost a definition of a “textured blog”: A Novelist’s Mind… curious and amazed.


3 favorite youtube channels

January 11, 2009

Cocasseries is freakin cool. French-Canadian girl in Ottawa, features a lot of stuff about Canadian/Quebecios culture. It’s all in french except one funny video where she’s like “um, yeah I can speak english…?” Her latest video had a great song: “Je Vuex Te Voir”.

I don’t understand french, btw : )

Zyloga… pronounced zee-lee-oh-guh! Her new video is about the death of a toy store: “…I could really use a cheap stretchy Dracula”. There are playdough syringes out there.

James Dupre.

Two faces of Toronto and the European We

January 11, 2009

“Hitler didn’t do a good job” (a liveleak video of an anti-Isreali marcher in TO, from SDA)

The guy that said that hits the camera of the guy who asks him what Hitler should have done better. So that’s positive – he isn’t proud of his hatred.

So I wonder why it is that opposing immigration that includes cultures with people who will hold rallies and yell things like that is automatically racist in some people’s eyes.

Yeah, it can be. The first comment to that Small Dead Animals post refers to “savage Arabs”. There’s racism on the right. Yet I am far more comfortable to be conservative, and in terms of racism and racial thinking more than anything else. This started with Jim Pankiw’s run for mayor of Saskatoon. Pankiw is a pretty unpleasant guy who is barred from the Conservative party. The major flashpoint of the controversy around his run was a pamphlet he put out titled “It’s Clear Who The Real Racists Are” – a collection of racial and, to be honest, racist quotes of a few native leaders in Saskatchewan. I don’t like Pankiw and it’s pretty clear that his campaign against any special preferences for any racial group was as the voice of white resentment. Yet. In truth I decided that while I rejected Pankiw’s motivations and his tone was ugly I was and am more comfortable even with Jim Pankiw and the people that voted for him than the people opposite. It actually mattered to Jim Pankiw that an aborigional leader would say racist things. Now, Jim cared as a white person – he didn’t like having those things said about him and it frustrated him that white people always get the racist rap when there were aborigional leaders saying things no white person publicly would. I think it is fair to say that Pankiw’s motivation was racial, and arguably racist from the perspective that he was demanding a level playing field without reference to the pretty obvious fact that native individuals are generally born into disadvantaged circumstances.

The thing is this – I realized that the people that didn’t care at all that there were aborigional leaders who had said racist things didn’t care as white people. I noticed that there was always this unspecified reference to a “we” that clearly didn’t include natives. It’s the European We in the Canadian discourse that is specifically and almost unconciously white. And the people speaking as the European We didn’t care at all that there was plain racism on the part of some aborigional leaders. They cared very much that a white man named Jim Pankiw was advocating for no racial preferences in Saskatchewan and that he got 10% of the vote for mayor.

If it matters to “us” that even Jim Pankiw’s level of racial thinking got 10% of the vote for mayor of Saskatoon it should matter to “us” when plain racism is voiced by an aborigional. If it’s important for “white” people not to be racist it should be important for aborigional people not to be racist. We all know that racism hurts the culture or individuals who are racist as much as the people they are bigoted towards. It can debilitate a culture into always  blaming someone else for their problems when the truth in the long run is that nobody can help or hurt you as much as you can help yourself. To be completely unaffected by aborigional racism is the definition of soft bigotry, and the racially chauvanist message that soft bigotry sends – that it’s all and always “our” fault – is more damaging than all but the hardest bigotry of the far right. I believe that this is the difference between Canada and America for natives – we have soft bigotry and they have hard bigotry. American natives are better off and it’s because Canadians are racist in a worse way. It may not be worse for our souls but our souls aren’t my first concern.

And the European We even make issues like reserves more about white people than the people that actually live there. My heart sunk listening to a caller say on Sonic 102.9’s vent your spleen feature that “we” should be ashamed to even think of ending the reserve system. “We” took their country and to take the reserves too would be truly shameful. To “us”. How incredibly disgusting. This person was evaluating the merits of rethinking the reserve completely on the basis how it affects white people. The European We think people should be kept on reserves because of how it makes “us” feel. Whatever the arguments about reserves, at least let them be based first on the people that actually live there.

… I had no idea I was going to take this post this way. What was I talking about, Toronto? Because Toronto has another face that is much, much more appealing. It’s not quite safe for work maybe although it’s all video of public areas ; ) It’s vibrant, it’s alive and Canada can do with a bit of that…

McDonalds and royal twilight

January 9, 2009

I was continuing my bad habit of getting supper at the fast food places a couple blocks from my place. The round crunch of the compacted snow on the sidewalk was good. Edmonton makes such a quiet sound in the background, a little like white noise, like there’s some unusual ocean around the edge of everything. Then I looked up into deep purples and chaste, thick, pastel pinks. The whole sky above the snowy trees was royal. The whole horizon was dark blue violet, so much so that I couldn’t just stare. I had to look down half the time, like I was somehow rude.

Just a little peeping tom astonished by someone’s magic bosom.

New Years Introduction

January 8, 2009

I think it’s a fair bet you’ve been writing a pretty good blog when people are reading two weeks after your last post : ) And score – a bra website spam comment too! I got stuck back home in Saskatchewan when my car wouldn’t start in the cold, and I just didn’t like the feel of trying to blog from the computer there. In any case I couldn’t be a very regular blogger if I tried… it’s just not like me – too drifty I guess.

This is a new introduction first because I never explained the title of this blog but more that I’m changing a couple things. As for the title, my dad told me once that General Wolfe was my great great great great uncle or so through a marriage. I used to want to paint Canada’s old flag, the red ensign, on my ’73 Dodge Polara and make like a good old Canuck boy. It means to me a love for Canada and our history and a bit of a rebel cry, not for going back but for moving forward in directions the self appointed progressives probably wouldn’t call progress. But it is : ) So that’s what this is – The General Wolfe, a vehicle for Canadian rebellion.

And what I’m changing – don’t pull a Barack Obama. The first introduction signalled a desire to wander the field of the culture battles. In search of places of common ground I thought I could hop on out of my trench and use my capacity to both empathetically understand both sides and rationally judge their validity. In fact, pretty much the same thing as Obama – who once said that his freindships with more rightwing or libertarian people enabled him to synthesize a middle ground. This is ironic because I don’t think much of that idea – that Obama seems to think he can find an absolute truth that will unify America. I had thought it would just mean packaging his far left principles as moderate but it seems that even hyperactive left wingers too have caught on that “unity” can mean combining opposing sets of worldviews in a way that does not do honour to either side.

Yet that’s similar to what I was doing. And whatever the value, wandering the cultural battlefield alone seems to have left me badly exposed. In elementary school I recall impassive lunch hours where the other kids would bug me and I’d almost hover up out of it. One day, the bravest thing I think I’ve ever seen – a girl told everyone to shutup, and said “he has feelings too”. I was more shocked than anyone… feelings? Me? I was completely not there. Over the years I realized that I didn’t want to live life so aloof of everything and that it was not humble to be like that but more proud than ordinary pride. So I returned to myself, but still without any normal defenses. There is a quote that speaks of a mind that questions everything and even risks questioning itself if it is not strong enough to bear the weight of its ignorance. I think I was close to that. The weight of my ignorance is a heavy burden. A few things –  finding out in a rude way that the fundamentalist church I grew up in isn’t right about everything at all (imagine a series of the people you grew up trusting and loving as God’s surefire appointed leaders getting up to the church camp pulpit and telling everyone that when they say nobody can pull pranks on engaged couples it’s exactly the same thing as Jesus saying that), dissatisfaction with parts of my conservative trench, the economic crisis which made easy ideologies of economic growth look groundless – these all left me with very little for foundation. I wanted to recreate one with my ability to be empathetic in the thick of things and rational outside of that. It led to this post, which may be brilliant… but also unfair. It’s unfair first to myself, which led to being unfair to others. It’s too much.

I wrote in ada drive about a feeling that is irrevocable. I find that it is, but it is not overwhelming. It has to do with what Mir said in her comment:

I think many organized thoughts ie; faith, government, modern economics are in a moment of truth right now…

My moment of truth came, and I come out with more than a hint of freefall to my outlook. It’s not downwards, but forwards. My once path of a pilgrim’s progress is let go, for I cannot handle being so near and needing something so much which my mind must question and doubt at the same time. Without a provided foundation and too small to ever know one or just where I’ll land, I’m off the straight and narrow and now skydiving through my timeline.

The one thing I won’t question is myself, and accepting the burden of my ignorance I don’t need to grasp for texture to replace my foundation. Instead I can trace my path to reach out for these things without desperation. I’ll always have my unknowing wistful slouch, I think, but already I can stand straight more easily because the unknowing is outside me. I won’t need to shoot down things that threaten an unprotected and doubted self – my freefall will be easier. I can’t go back into any trenches but I won’t wander the battlefield alone. I’ll get in a foxhole on the side and try to ease off on the big guns.

So that’s The General Wolfe – Canadian rebellion, and a freefall with warm boots, rubber bullets, and texture.

ada drive

December 21, 2008

…off-topic philosophy


Listening in on Kentville

December 16, 2008

Listening to AVR 97.7 on the internet… they have a facebook group with a great description:

AVR 97.7 FM is based in Kentville, Nova Scotia. AVR Network delivers today’s hottest Country music to listeners from Chester to Parrsboro and Mount Uniacke to the Yarmouth County line…

Chester, Parrsboro, Mount Uniacke… the Yarmouth County line? I’m guessing those were cherrypicked. I love it.

And I can’t believe I’ve never heard One More Girl before (Update: whatever you think of my musical taste here, there is no arguing with the Hairflip! on the right at 7:14! Also, see the “Wussy – in the studio” video in the related videos at the end. That is a cool song.)