Showing posts from March, 2016

The Dead

The political task, with the emphasis on the the, as in The political task, might be in how we determine the range of creatures we will communicate with.

That is the assessment of John Durham Peters, who effortlessly wheels these kinds of weighty aphorisms out of the cornfield deep of Iowa City, where he practises media scholarship at the public university.

Indeed, those beings not admitted to a communication network—whether, at various times in history, the slaves or caged hens or the unborn or the dying or the Athabasca River or children or bees or jailed criminals or HIV patients or glaciers or women or undergraduates or immigrants—share in common this: either their volume has been adjusted to zero or the frequency of their voices conveniently escapes the receivers of the political power machinery of the time.

And, so, the obverse of the JDP formulation can also be heard. Control the political game by controlling the turnstiles to the arena of conversation.

I have been thinking ab…

The Chair Now Recognizes...

Here are three of my favourite quotations from three of my favourite mayors on the status of flesh-and-blood human beings in the current iteration of the urban landscape. Thank you Rob Ford, Don Iveson, Enrique Peñalosa.

What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. Sooner or later you're going to get bitten. And every year we have dozens of people that get hit by cars or trucks. Well, no wonder: roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes. My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day.

The [city's bicycle transportation] plan recognizes that Edmonton's transportation infrastructure is built and maintained primarily for automobiles, and describes the creation of a bicycle network using roads and shared-use paths that makes it easier, safer, and more comfortable for cyclists and motorists to co-exist.

The essence of the conflict today, really, is cars versus people. We can have…

In Media Residual

As a placeholder for thoughts about Donald Trump's unmasking of the mass media, as a reminder to think about the power of the microphone, as a summoning of the ghost of CBS News past, and as a bit of wordplay with Macbeth, here is a take on where we are now in our mediated, political tragedy:
As a creep in this petty race deforms today In syllables of recorded airtime,  We look to Murrow, and to Murrow, and to Murrow

The People In My Neighbourhood

These are people I saw and talked to on my bicycle ride home today. Some seem to know where they are going, some don't. These are the people in my neighbourhood.

I saw a man walking with a single crutch.

I watched while a woman in a lumberjack cape and Spider Man toque walked by.

I caught a glimpse of a man walking on the sidewalk while his running shoes, tied to his backpack, bounced behind.

I heard the oracle. This man sitting on the bench outside 7-11 told me: "You look tired. You are not as strong as you used to be. But you have never been faster."

I said hello to two other cyclists.

I could hear this person talking to the pay parking machine.

The man slightly visible on the left of this pic said hey as I said hi.

I met a car driver who hailed me. 

The driver was lost and needed to get back to Southgate.

 "Don't take the Whitemud exit west and don't take Terwillegar, and you'll be fine," I said.

And then I saw a boy made taller by his father as…

Five New Trumpisms

In the latest offering from the occasional New Words feature in this blog, here, under the influence of Donald Trump, are five neologisms about the leading Republican candidate (at this point) in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Use them or not. For me, it's not a hillary to die on.

A GOP presidential candidate and former reality TV star who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices, including fear in its many facets, rather than employing rational argument. 

The pervasive sense that mediated images of Donald J. Trump are everywhere, or in many places simultaneously. 

Happening in the fashion of the ancient literary technique of irony, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions are clear to observers although unknown to the speaker, updated for utterances conveyed by Republican candidate Donald J. Trump in the 2016 primary season.