Archive for April, 2011

Sir Ken Robinson – The Fiction Of An ADHD Epidemic

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Sir Ken Robinson once again brilliantly analyses the state of our current systems of education and in particular addresses the fiction of an ADHD epidemic – aided by the wonderfully cogent animations of the RSA – in this talk on Changing Education Paradigms.

Share this with your teachers – and your kids.

Cheers.

Shane Koyczan – This Is My Voice

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

This is a 2007 spoken word performance by Shane Koyczan at the Words Aloud Festival.

Fucking awesome.

You can find a treasure trove of such gems at the Words Aloud YouTube channel.

Cheers.

Just Chewing Things Over

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

RIP Tim Hetherington

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

You may not know his name but you’ve certainly seen his work – journalist and filmmaker, Tim Hetherington, was killed in the city of Misrata, Libya whilst covering the conflict there.

Much will be said about Hetherington and his work by others – best to let it speak for itself:

Diary (2010) from Tim Hetherington on Vimeo.

Many people are killed or injured in the too many wars we continue to wage. Countless nameless dead litter the blood drenched soil of too many torn lands. When a known name or face is attached to a death it seems to bring brief clarity to the madness. Like Tim Page and many others before him, Hetherington served as our eyes and conscience in the field. Letting these brave artists speak truthfully and openly is the means for the world to see what horrors are perpetrated in our name and how our young men and women are called upon to act on our behalf.

Let his words and images feed our own hearts and minds so we ourselves may act with clarity and always do the right thing. War is never inevitable – but the desire to profit from it will always lie in the darker corners of humanity.

Shine a light.

UPDATE: It was initially reported that Chris Hondros, a Pulitizer & Capa award winning photojournalist who was with Hetherington in the attack had been injured but survived. Sadly, Hondros has also died. You can find out more here at the HuffPo where you can see some of the last images he posted.

Marshall McLuhan – Apropos Of Last Night’s Debates

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

I found this clip over at rabble.ca – it’s from the pre-Reagan era when Jimmy Carter had just debated Gerald Ford in 1976.

McLuhan’s POV on all this is spot on and terribly apropos of our own debates held last night – but not entirely for the reasons spoken of by rabble.ca.

After Jimmy Carter’s time in office it was Reagan who took the reins of power and, under the guidance of his media handlers, successfully distorted the role of the U.S. news media in their coverage of the White House using such tactics as: keeping the press distanced and granting access as a special favour; knowing the TV media needs pictures and knowing that’s all the pubic responds to; regardless of what bad news or scandals were being intoned by news anchors if it was only accompanied by staged, happy, smiley posed images of the jolly Reagan then the audience didn’t listen to the news – they responded to the pictures alone.

Harper has been doing this same tactic over the past year after he installed John Baird as his bulldog in Parliament – so there would be no images or sound bites of Harper having to respond to uncomfortable questions in front of the other elected representatives. This serves to convey an image of Harper as being presidential, too busy doing the business of state, and above the fray. Keep the image clean and happy. Strike the pose you want. Deny access except to convey the desired staged images.

Harper wasn’t even present in Parliament when the charges of contempt were brought down upon him and his party – an historical first for any parliamentary democracy. He didn’t want to be anywhere near it – so he could pretend it never happened and was of no consequence to him, the busy, industrious presidential leader of the Harper Goverment

This was ramped up further during these past weeks of electioneering: keeping the reporters at bay, roped off like kids on a school tour; being discouraged from covering any images of protest that conflicted with the desired happy smiling images chosen by the campaign; denying access by limiting questions to a mere 5 (one designated to a local reporter); deliberately not engaging or responding to issues or questions put forth by the press or the public. Just smile and wave, boys, just smile and wave.

And now – in the debate – Harper made a point of only responding with repetitive talking points, echoing the messages contained in their advertisements; ignored and refused to engage with the issues, the questions and even with the other party leaders.

They spoke to him – he spoke to the camera.

Stephen Harper seeks to remake Canada into a backward little-boy’s vision of America – with him as the President who gets to make policy and issues orders without the unnecessary bickering which is also sometimes regarded as debate, democracy and true parliamentary process.

Woe to Canada should this man ever be given even the slimmest of majorities.

During his time as a minority Prime Minister (albeit with the cowardly assistance of the opposition parties – too craven to fight too hard lest they lose the slightest grip on their own political standings) has consistently worked outside of Parliament – using deceit, delay and outright fucking lies to slowly, relentlessly, dismantle the operations and power of the very structure of our parliamentary democracy. Contempt indeed.

Given a majority he will set Canada upon a path where true civil discourse, true elected representation, and truth itself will be put in peril. He will, in short, craft his small-boy punitive and nasty-hearted dream of a mini-America. Our majority Mini-Me Prime Minister will become a President of a country that encourages and rewards those who seek to profit from the suffering of others – and punish and imprison all who disagree or dare defy his role as Daddy of all the people.

Stephen Harper has already proven himself to be a hypocrite and a liar who holds the very workings of our parliamentary democracy in contempt. Parliament represents the voice of the people – and he is contemptuous of that. I would say: “Shame on you, Stephen Harper.” – but I know he has no shame – just bald avaricious lust for power and the desire to punish those weaker than himself in order to satiate his perverse needs to feel strong.

Harper believes this country should be run like a business – indeed – he believes it should be run by business.

Stephen Harper is a fascist.

Please vote. Vote however you wish to – but vote. And please encourage young voters to turn out. Their voice must be heard. Last election there was a pitifully low turnout. If they can be convinced of the worthiness in exercising the right to vote – it can change this country, and consequently the world, for the better. They need to engage with our democracy to make it work. They need to add their voices to the voice of the people – before someone chooses to silence it.

Rick Mercer says it much better than me – pass it on:

Cheers.

P.S. Tom Brokaw sounds as if he’s struggling to remember the handful of catch phrases he remembers from those books of McLuhan’s he never got around to finishing and never really understood anyway.

Roger Ebert – TED Talk

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Sidney Lumet – R.I.P.

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Sidney Lumet, one of the best directors ever of American cinema, has died – and we are all poorer for this loss.

I had the good fortune to meet him, briefly, during the shooting of Equus but never worked with him. He didn’t do a lot of puppets. But the films and early broadcast dramas he crafted for us certainly made an impact upon me and the way I view movies and storytelling.

Here’s just a taste of his work:

Thank you, Mr. Lumet.

Happy Birthday Billie Holiday

Thursday, April 7th, 2011