Monday, June 27, 2005
The New York Times says "In your community, you might spot your son's Advanced Placement biology teacher working in the summer as a travel agent. Or perhaps your daughter's English teacher is painting the house down the street. Not counting those who teach summer school, about 20 percent of the country's teachers have second jobs (often during the school year, too), and the majority of those jobs could not be construed as enhancing universal respect for those who teach."
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Today at the Whyte Ave Chapters I met some very nice folks including one of my former high school students, an excellent young writerfrom the creative writing course I taught at the U of A's faculty of extension, a couple of other aspiring writers, some nice young progressives and an old high school acquaintance who’s all groweded up with her own kids and evrathang. Time, she does fly, eh?
Last night I was at Audrey’s Books and had fun chatting with fine and accomplished novelists Wayne Arthurson and Deanna Kent-McDonald, as well as local poetical terrorist and neat cat Mingus Tourette, whose poetry you have got to check out. The event was organised by NeWest Press which is putting out a book on Edmonton in September featuring a memoir by me about the then-working class neighbourhood of old Strathcona and my near-fatal adventures in tobogganing.
Had great fun last Tuesday with the folks at the southside Chapter’s book club for their stimulating discussion of The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad--thanks for all the insights and especially the chat about Philip K. Dick. And last Saturday I ran into Ray when I was signing at Chapters in Sherwood Park; Ray, a very nice former student of mine, was my "dealer" who got me copies of Samurai Jack; good luck in your new post-secondary pursuits, buddy. Many thanks to the always dynamic Rachel Sentes at Chapters Southpoint for arranging such massive support for so many local authors on the big book extravaganza that day, and to local publicist-supreme Sheri Lee Moshanski for her tireless work and help, not to mention being so nice as to attend so many of my events.
Tomorrow I'm signing books at the Chapters north of WEM between 2 and 4 pm, so please come on out.
Thanks very much to all the terrific staff of Audrey's and Chapters for all the support. You all deserve raises.
For a remarkably long set of KRS-One speech and interview clips, check this.
For more news on the Sister Sophia Stewart and The Matrix + Terminator controversy (did she create the source material for both?), read this.
For an extended discussion by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson on Bill Cosby's controversial statements last year and whether the American "Black middle class" has lost its mind, check out this audio.
Friday, June 24, 2005
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Friday, June 17, 2005
June 18, Saturday, 4 PM
Chapters, Southside, Calgary Trail, Edmonton
June 18, Saturday, 2:00 - 3:30 PM
Chapters, Sherwood Park
June 21, Tuesday, 7 pm
Chapters, Southside, Calgary Trail, Edmonton
Book Club Discussion of The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad
June 24, Friday, 7:30 PM
Audrey’s Books, 10702 Jasper Ave
Reading with Wayne Arthurson, author of Final Season and Deanna Kent-McDonald, author of West Wind, North Chatter
June 25, Saturday, 1-3 PM
Chapters, 105th Street + Whyte Avenue, Edmonton
June 26, Sunday, 2-4 PM
Chapters, West End, Edmonton (North of WEM)
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and her brother David wrote recently: "Recent revelations that the Bush administration has been fabricating news stories, secretly hiring journalists to write puff pieces and credentialing fake reporters at White House news conferences has infuriated the news media.
"Editorials profess to being shocked - shocked! - by the government's covert propaganda campaign in which, as The New York Times revealed March 13, at least 20 federal agencies have spent $250 million creating and sending fake news segments to local TV stations.
"But the media have only themselves to blame for most people - including TV news managers - not being able to distinguish journalism from propaganda. The line between news and propaganda was trampled not only by the public relations agencies hired by the government but also by reporters in the deserts of Iraq. The Pentagon deployed a weapon more powerful than any bomb: the U.S. media."
Thursday, June 16, 2005
From today's BBC Africa Report: "Children are being trafficked into the UK from Africa and used for human sacrifices, a confidential report for the Metropolitan Police suggests. Children are being beaten and even murdered after being labelled as witches by pastors, the report leaked to BBC Radio 4's Today programme said."
Is that not a horrifying enough hook? Well here's a worse one for you--guess who's doing it?Culture and faith must be the servants of justice and the Divine, never the other way round. And if people are locked in mortal combat with culture or faith, you damn well know which side I think should win.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
"How about the Reverend Billy Graham? I don’t recall him ever blasting white Christians for making a disgrace of Jesus’ name by continuing to support racist leaders and reactionary social policies such as war, capital punishment, the Crime Bill, de-funding public education and U.S. cities in general, de-unionizing the workforce, repealing welfare, the aggressive assault on Affirmative Action, the upward redistribution of wealth in the form of tax cuts for multi-millionaires – each a different cause of racial segregation, widening socioeconomic inequalities, and the moral debasement of our society....
"In this spirit, I have written the sermon that Reverend Billy Graham would have delivered on to the heads of white America had he forgotten, for just a day or two, his own whiteness – if he had been a white Bill Cosby.
Tonight at 7 PM on Edmonton's University of Alberta Campus, anti-fascist human rights lawyer Richard Warman speaks on why he went to war against against hate group Western Canada for Us (WCFU).
"When you see people claiming that all people who are mentally disabled and all people who are homosexual should be killed, I think that that makes it imperative on anyone in the community to act and to bring that to a halt," said Warman.
The lecture is co-sponsored by the Northern Alberta Alliance on Race Relations (NAARR) and U of A's Department of Political Science. (And I designed the poster.) The event is in Room 158 of the Education South building on 87th Avenue.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Who owes what to whom?
Should the Original World even consider forgiving the debt of the Empire?
Say the word, say it slowly, say it proudly: rep-a-ra-tions....
Sunday, June 12, 2005
And may we all take the lesson--sticking up for your own group (however you define that group) is a good thing, and that means making sure your group is doing the right thing by everybody. So, all you rich & famous American-Afrikan athletes, actors and hip hoppers, time to drop the kot-tam Nike endorsements and stop wearing all the other Timberland, Adidas and other products of sweatshop criminality. Didn't like slavery? Didn't like apartheid? Then you must oppose a global dictatorship of sweatshops that brutalises somewhere between 30 and 40 million women and girls.
As The Ecologist writes: "Nike spends more money on advertising and promoting the reputation of its products than most other companies in the world – $1.13 billion in 1998. Celebrities, such as Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Monica Seles and Carl Lewis are paid huge sums of money for their association with the company’s products. In 1998, for example, Nike paid Tiger Woods $28 million and Michael Jordan $45 million.
"Contrast these vast sums with the money Nike spends on philanthropy in the countries where its products are made. In Indonesia, for example, it has spent $100,000 since 1998 on continuing education programmes for Nike workers and $150,000 on small loans to unemployed and disadvantaged people. These payments are also dwarfed by the amount the company spends on strategic philanthropy and cause-related marketing in the US."
Wake up, Black celebs. KRS-One said way back in 1989, "The day of the ignorant rapper is done." I wish he'd been right. So stop helping White corporations owned by the super-rich (who profit from firing poor White, Black and Brown workers in North America) to exploit poor Brown workers overseas. Oh, and read this.
And if you're looking for what to wear that's sweat free, you can start by checking out the side link for Global Exchange , shopping at American Apparel (actually owned by a Montrealer) and reading my interview with Charlie Kernaghan, the man who made Kathie Lee cry.
Friday, June 10, 2005
Br. Aaron Douglas, one of my favourite artists, painted this brilliant piece in 1944. To the best of my knowledge, there are no books which collect Douglas' work. What a shame. His use of radiant, interlocking geometries of light and colour is electrifying, amplifying the purpose of his body of work--to dramatise the experience of Afrikans from ancient Kemet (Egypt) to Imentet (the West). I call his style Afriluminism; his paintings are a major source of inspiration for my take on science fiction~fantasy, which I call Imhotep-Hop.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Censored: Exhibit of Canadian photographer murdered by Iran's security forces yanked from Montreal library
Unfortunately, some people in Canada would like to keep her work out of public view. A Montreal library hosting an exhibit of Kazemi's photographs decided to remove photographs deemed too sympathetic to occupied Palestinians; Kazemi's son gave the library an ultimatum--the whole exhibit or nothing. The museum chose nothing. Check out CBC's take on the story.
It's an odd conflict, since defenders of Israel tend to be critics of Iran. Surely drawing attention to the threat to democracy posed by Iran's repressive theocracy is useful to defenders of Israel. But attention paid to Israel's own repression, apparently, is too high a price.
Double-standards abound in discussion of Middle Eastern issues. For the record, I say we should defend innocent people regardless of their background, and oppose oppression regardless of the background of its perpetrators. Killed is killed, dead is dead and oppressed is oppressed. We need to avoid selective prosecution of moral points. For instance, while the idea that Zionism as practiced now through occupation is racism was embraced in the UN General Assembly for decades, it’s clearly hypocritical for other nationalists to make that charge without pointing to the racism in their own (Canadian, Iraqi, Turkish, Chinese, Russian, etc.) nationalism, which almost certainly crushes someone (Cree, Kurdish, Armenian, Tibetan, Ukrainian, etc.).
I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that all nationalism is intrinsically racist, but I would say that the practice of nationalism so conveniently incorporates racial or other persecution and exploitation that I don’t know if the two can be separated in practice. There's a difference between the nationalism of the oppressed and the nationalism of the oppressor, true, so Black Nationalism can't be equated with White Nationalism (any more than feminism can be equated with male supremacy). But it's clear that once revolutionary nationalists take power, they can become as bad as the people they kicked out (check out the songs and lyrics of Fela Anikulapo Kuti for his devastating attacks on the post-British rulers of Nigeria. Ah, hell, just check out Fela). Nevertheless, selectively targeting Israeli nationalism is clearly discriminatory and scapegoating, just as selectively refusing to discuss it or criticise it is clearly discriminatory as well, with dire consequences for the people of the Occupied Territories and, for decades, Lebanon.
I recently spoke with veteran Canadian journalist Duart Farquharson about his years covering the Middle East and the anti-Muslim/Arab bias he perceives in the CanWest/Global news empire. Vue Weekly ran the article, unfortunately slicing a key paragraph which you'll see below, with the orange portion excised from the print version.
“Nevertheless, despite studies by watchdogs such as the New York based Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) indicating commonplace anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bias in corporate North American journalism, at the cultural level, double-standards from critics of both Jewish/Israeli and Muslim/Arab sides seem to define viewpoints on the Middle East. For instance, many Westerners are terrified of Arab governments or Iran possessing nuclear weapons, but Western media is silent on Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons. At the same time, many Muslim/Arab proponents elevate human rights abuses by the Israeli government inside the Occupied Territories far beyond even more appalling and widespread human rights crimes conducted by the regimes of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey today, or of Iraq or Afghanistan just a few years ago.”
But now read the whole article to find out about how a Canadian media giant crushes criticism of Israel.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Tse continues: "Education student Edward Shizha, whose doctoral thesis is entitled Indigenous Knowledge and Languages in the Teaching and Learning of Science: a Focus on a Rural Primary School in Zimbabwe, beat out competitors from McGill University, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, the University of Calgary, and the University of Western Ontario to capture the Michel Laferriere Award from the Comparative and International Education Society of Canada."
Read the rest of the story here.
"The man is George. You could call him the whole bit: Dr. George Elliot Clarke, internationally renowned writer, academic and literary historian. But I can only think of him as Brother George, the Black man from a little strip of cold, wet land called Nova Scotia, Canada’s Alabama, home to centuries-old Black communities and the racist response against them.
"Brother George has made it his life’s work to map the literary history of those African-Canadians and their kinfolk across the country, to weave a luxurious verbal tapestry about Black folk in the Great White North so glittering that no one could turn away from its elegance and beauty and pain.
"I first met Brother George at a rally in Ottawa, 1991, when I was a verbally blasting the police after the Montreal cops shot and killed a brother for Driving While Black. George introduced himself to me, and I got my first taste of his personality, his corn-popping, hot-buttered laugh, his intense intellect, his next-door decency. I had no idea he’d end up one of the leading figures in Can-Lit, a poet, screenwriter, lit-historian and multi-award winner who’s now teaching world literature at the U of T.
"When I meet him again at a recent community dinner, everybody is charmed by him. One brother says that within five minutes of him entering the room, George seems like an old friend who’s come home. So how does brilliant, accomplished, defiantly pro-Black Brother George come to be writing an opera called Beatrice Chancy?
“'Opera has a reputation for being an elitist form,' he explains. 'But we have to remember that opera was originally a poor-person’s art. That’s where all the so-called élite art forms came from—performances for ordinary, everyday people. Including poetry. And Black arts such as the blues and jazz came about for the poor working person who wanted to relax. It was Black people who made Bessie Smith a star. They went out and bought her records even when they didn’t have record players, because wanted to make sure she’d be a star because they recognised the significance of her voice.'
“'A condition of being a Black artist in Canada is that unlike in the US, our audiences are guaranteed to be racially mixed,' as opposed to exclusively Black. But while Clarke is committed to African-Canadian audiences, 'in attempting to write an opera libretto, I couldn’t afford to think of it as being something that only White people are going to see. But why should opera be considered outside or not appropriate for Black issues, experience or history? According to Harold Cruse in The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, the only original stage art that African Americans created is the musical. So operas are just a shade different, one step removed.'”
Monday, June 06, 2005
And there are plenty of other news links on THE BRO-LOG, everyone, from links on Afrikan History to links on countering racial supremacy. So check 'em out.
Why? Because US rivals China and Russia know that the ultimate goal of US ballistic missile "defense" is first-strike capacity with impunity, i.e., a policy of mass-murdering nuclear aggression against civilians not practiced by anyone since the US president ordered the immolation of all women, children and old people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Historian Gar Alperovitz has demonstrated that the atomic vengeance was not only entirely unnecessary, but that the US president knew it was unnecessary while some of his conservative military advisors pleaded with him not to go through with his horrific plans.
Br. Hill's a fine cat. I met him in E-Town a couple of times; during the first, he was reading from Any Known Blood and was a fine story teller--very funny. Recently I read his article in The Walrus, which introduced to history-lite Canadians the subject of North American Afrikan self-determination, among other things. Check the Brother out.
Friday, June 03, 2005
Another fascinating piece on the controversy--did Sister Sophia Stewart write the source material for both The Terminator and The Matrix film series? See what Sabrina Ford has to say, and then check out the source material yourself, including visuals.
TIME Magazine's Top 100 Films List: THE FLY is there... but how come aint no Brothers up on the wall?
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Linda McQuaig writes: "A 22-year-old prisoner at a US detention centre in Afghanistan died in December 2002 after being chained by his wrists to the top of his cell for four days and beaten until, according to the coroner, he resembled someone run over by a bus. During his interrogations, the prisoner cried 'Allah' whenever he was struck, which apparently amused his US interrogators and encouraged them to strike more. One later explained: 'Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny'....
"Accusing Washington of having become 'a leading purveyor and practitioner' of torture, Amnesty [International] called on Congress last week to appoint an independent commission.... But the death of this young Afghan taxi driver — who, it turns out, his interrogators believed to have been innocent — as well as more than 100 other detainee deaths and countless torture allegations at the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons have failed to provoke any official investigation aimed at holding top people in the Bush administration to account."