Category Archives: Activism

Hatred of Muslims and the Latest Red Scare

I had the pleasure of growing up in North America when the reigning hatred was of communists, although most people didn’t know what a communist was and—because of weak historical understanding—only vaguely associated them with the Soviet Union. Because I … Continue reading

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A Response to the Signs

When a sign about the exploitation of children went up in my neighbourhood, I thought little about it, partly because it didn’t look professional enough to have come from the desk of an official service. Instead, it had more in … Continue reading

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The Saltpeter Mines of Northern Atacama, Chile

Saltpeter, or nitrate, was a major export of Chile until artificial production began in Germany in the thirties. Then, like much of the world staggering as a result of the global depression, Chile suffered from the loss of nearly fifty … Continue reading

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Consumer Misery in Steve Cutts’ “Happiness”

The terrible truth that Steve Cutts reveals in his short animated film “Happiness” is that consumerism entices but does not lead to happiness. His rats are surrounded by consumer messages that promise that they—even the main rat character—will be happy … Continue reading

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Wishcycling

As soon as I heard the word, and its definition, in a documentary about the New York waste stream, I knew, rather sheepishly, that I had been guilty of wishcycling. Many times I can remember standing over a recycling bin … Continue reading

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Growing up in the Modern Depression

Each generation visits its sins on the next, just as children will grow up to have their teeth set on edge by grapes if their parents have learned to be sour. Since the great depression, two more generations have struggled … Continue reading

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Throw Your Vote Away: The Simpsons on Electioneering

One of the most poignant statements about our political system in the west was the election speeches of Kang and Kodos as Bob Dole and Bill Clinton running for president in a Simpsons episode from twenty years ago. When Homer … Continue reading

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Keller and Rosa Parks: Case Studies in Historical Oversight

The story of both Parks and Helen Keller have been so heavily overwritten by the public imagination that they are almost invisible in a narrative ostensibly about them. This line drawing of their lives looms much larger than the more … Continue reading

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Hostile Architecture 2

I have commented before on hostile architecture in Winnipeg, but now that I have collected a few more examples, I thought I would share what we walk by every day and ignore. Perhaps our own privilege blinds us. For if … Continue reading

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Becoming a Non-Vegetarian

A friend I’ve known for a number of years has recently decided to foreswear their vegetarianism, which I would have thought was rather deep-seated, and begin eating animals again. This is common enough that it is not really worthy of … Continue reading

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