Jan 14

Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult | Truthout.

"It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant."

Jul 2

Final Cut Pro X means Apple has abandoned professional artists

by Flick Harrison

Guy Debord said that the main function of our society is now the production of spectacle. The spectacle alienates us from life and each other. Facebook, for instance, transforms our relationships into images of those relationships, mediated by Facebook's own hidden desires.

Fifteen years of engagement with the Final-Cut-Pro-using professional class is, at best, a good self-funding, street-cred foundation for the new consumer version of FCP, called FCP-X.  It could be compared to the free itunes app of yesteryear which slowly led us to the Itunes Store and thence to the app store, iphone and ipad.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 9


On June 1, 2011, SunTV broadcast an interview with veteran Canadian dancer and choreographer Margie Gillis see link below, which quickly turned abusive towards the guest. In a message on his facebook page, Canadian dancer Louis Laberge-Côté, currently a teacher at Nationaltheatre Manheim in Germany, offered this assessment.

In response to the Sun News Network interview with Margie Gillis

By Louis Laberge-Côté

Contemporary dancer / choreographer / teacher / arts lover / taxpayer

If by attacking dance artist Margie Gillis on the Canada Live show aired on June 1st, Krista Erickson, anchorwoman for the Sun News Network, intended to publicly insult a well-respected artist on a sensationalist broadcast news channel, she certainly achieved her goal. Of course, Miss Erickson is allowed to have her own opinions and she has the right to express them. But when it comes to journalism, shouldn’t it be somewhat of a moral obligation for the reporter to put aside her personal opinions to look at a situation from different perspectives, gather information from different sources and, obviously, allow her guest to express her point of view? Isn’t it ridiculously unprofessional and profoundly inhumane to invite a woman such as Margie Gillis just to publicly bully her, with no possibility for real discourse, in the name of a few minutes of “great television”?

via On SunTV and Margie Gillis : Canada's online magazine: Politics, entertainment, technology, media, arts, books: backofthebook.ca.

Mar 26

This month's mass was gettin' bigger, as the sun came out and the DST-change made it brighter.  The weather was threatening as late as 4 pm in my neighbourhood but it ended up being a beautiful day.

First surprise of the Mass was the giant American film shoot occupying the Art Gallery square before us.  What made it a little more surprising was that one of the ride veterans led the start of the ride through the film shoot - or so we thought.  It looked like a good bit of fun and a political point well-made when we started passing right in front of the camera.  But then he stopped, took two steps up the Art Gallery stairs, and the guy started explaining why we were going to occupy the gallery steps for 20 minutes until it was time to leave on the ride.

Uh-oh!  I signed up to make a statement about bike culture over car culture, not to make a statement against Hollywood Film Productions.  I make plenty of those every day, and while I like the idea of earning everyone on set an extra 20 minutes of pay while slowing down the Hollywood agenda by several nanoseconds, I had no clear reason to throw Critical Mass into a head-on, high-stakes confrontation with max-pressure location managers, whose chief activity all day is cajoling people to  get the hell out of the way and let them get on with their work.

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 25

I think I have frostbite in my little toes.  But it was worth it to Critically Mass.

I also did an interview with Openfile.ca, a new online / local news service, about the question of whether critical mass is needed in the New World of Bike Lanes.  I'll post that when it's written up.

The big question today was - what would become of the pseudo-counter-mass which was meant to draw riders off into the bike lanes, to celebrate them and avoid angering the Easily-Angered Car Gods??  Well, it looked like there wasn't much of an issue - Jamie Ollivier  was there, doing his thing, and the main Mass did ours.

Feb 24

by Flick Harrison

Canada's copyright battles are in a holding pattern while Canada stumbles through 3 successive minority governments in almost 7 years.  It's a hot potato that won't be sorted until someone has a safe majority to risk the bruising online guerre-a-outrance that would inevitably ensue.

The Conservatives, now in power, really need their Guy-Fawkes blogaholics firmly-onside, in order to strangle every Liberal social program in its crib, and those people would be very leery of a DMCA-style bill in Canada... but that's exactly what's coming, whether the Conservatives or Liberals take power. Neither side can really admit that or even address it directly. The NDP is always wary of staking any new turf that suggests them once again to be bug-eyed communists in the opinion of the corporate press.

Here's a good article by Michael Geist about the lawsuit against ISOhunt, which I didn't know was proudly Canadian.  ISOhunt launched a court action to get a ruling that their torrent-search site was operating within Canadian law (!), and the recording industry used the opportunity to launch their own suit for damages against ISOhunt.

Michael Geist - Liberal MP Dan McTeague Emerges As Unofficial CRIA Spokesperson.

"Were this nothing more than an MP getting the law wrong, it would not be particularly noteworthy. More important is that McTeague's recent comments appear to be coming directly from CRIA. The Toronto Star letter to the editor includes quotes from two old posts on my blog (here and here). The visitor log for my site reveals that only one party accessed both posts in the period between February 14th (when the column first appeared) and February 21st (when the letter to the editor appeared). That party was CRIA, suggesting that the McTeague letter may largely be a cut and paste of materials supplied by CRIA lobbyists."

Feb 12

In case there was any doubt that I really liked Dayna Hanson's Gloria's Cause, here's proof how I was going on about it right after the show.

A snippet from Jessie Smith's post-show interview with Flick Harrison at Vancouver, B.C.'s PuSh Festival.

Support Improvement Club, the film adaptation of Gloria's Cause.

Jan 28

all images:


This week there's been a debate on the Velolove email list in Vancouver about Critical Mass: should it be abandoned or radically altered now that we have a few bike lanes and a pro-bike council?  The debate got me so riled I decided to go to Critical Mass for the first time in years, partly to re-assess my ideas about the event.  I also wanted to show support for bike culture in general at a time when the haters are hating and they've taken over Toronto.

A basic medical ethic says: First, do no harm.  In other words, don't make things worse or it will be harder to make them better.  A few folks think that Critical Mass does more harm than good, especially now that bike culture has invaded city hall.

I don't think CM needs to stop just because we got a couple of bike lanes built in Vancouver.  How many Vancouverites really understand how important CM, and other bike-advocacy clusters, really were in that process?  The visibility of any interest group contributes to their political success, and cyclists are no exception.  So if CM faded away, what would happen to everything cyclists have gained in this city?  Do the powers behind the automotive industry and consumer culture in general just fold up their tents and admit defeat?

Would those same people argue that the car culture in Toronto will now sit back and enjoy their victory, stop agitating their base, etc, now that Rob Ford has declared the war on the car is over?  Should the cyclists in TO just give up?  No to both, of course; cars will keep trying to consume everything put into their gas tanks and cyclists will keep struggling for saner alternatives.

Is there any other activist camp that has a big public party once a month?  CM is a vital and unique node, and it should continue.

I can assure you that after a super-fun, polite, and exciting tiny little ride (one person counted 28 riders at peak), I came away certain that Critical Mass can do no harm.  We got one unfriendly honk versus dozens of friendly toot toots, lots of hollers, the group stayed very tight (it was small, after all) and corking was barely necessary.

Jan 27


@ the Push Festival 2011

Gloria's Cause is a knock-down drag-out fight between dance, movement, theatre, and rock, and the winner is We the People. If I had to help you get a grip on the show, I could call it a Rock Opera. Or I could say it's as if Frank Zappa dosed the Tea Party with mushrooms, and then jammed with them on Jerry Springer.

There were at least two separate moments in the show when I was more moved than I've ever been by dance, and I mean an emotional arrest of the kind that happens seldom in a cynical viewer's lifetime. Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 9

From nettime-l, the international net.criticsim discussion list.

Re: Umberto Eco: Not such wicked leaks.

I think this article [about the mundane nature of the wikileaks cables] is un-Ecoistically weak, in that he seems to miss much of the substance of the leaks.

In the case of Canada, a long blow-by-blow review of a Canadian made-for-TV movie  series was sent by secret cable to Washington and revealed the deeply wounded psyche of the American diplomats doing the review. Eco is right that the cable consists mainly of mass-media summaries, but they are more useful than he acknowledges.

Getting posted in what Mordecai Richler called "small-town Ontario" must have been bad enough for the yanks in the embassy. Even worse was to find that these small-time hicks had their own national television network, and that on this network were unflattering portrayals of the war on terror.

"While this situation hardly constitutes a public diplomacy crisis per se, the degree of comfort with which Canadian broadcast entities, including those financed by Canadian tax dollars, twist current events to feed long-standing negative images of the U.S. -- and the extent to which the Canadian public seems willing to indulge in the feast - is noteworthy as an indication of the kind of insidious negative popular stereotyping we are increasingly up against in Canada."

You can feel the pique in the cable-writer's words. He's annoyed by the audacity of left-wing ideas expressed dramatically, of course, and he's insulted that America is not more respected and admired. He confuses "negative stereotyping" of Americans with negative views of US foreign policy. And of course, he eventually brings it around to the vital topic of how these free-thinking heresies might affect vital US trade interests.

The embassy cable goes on to review, in stunning detail, several Canadian television shows. What struck me was the tone of the reviews. The editorial slant matched precisely the most conservative voices in Canada: the ones who want to eliminate public broadcasting, the funding of culture, multiculturalism etc; the ones who wish we had gone to Iraq; the ones who think liberal is a dirty word.

More importantly, before the cables were leaked, the US showed how vital the tone of these leaks was, rather than their content. They made sure to pre-spin the leaks as "embarrassing" for Canada, not the US, and they said they would reveal elements of Canada's "inferiority complex." This is the traditional right-wing spin in Canada; being against free-trade shows an "inferiority complex." Refusing to go to Iraq is an "inferiority complex." Etc etc.

-Flick Harrison

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