Category Archives: sociology
I woke up this morning to the sound of the garbage truck… looking feebly out my window I realized I’d forgotten to put the trash out last night and it was too late to make it just then.
But I did manage to get some good work done b4 having to go out. A few years ago I wrote a short entry at earthpages.ca about ‘false consciousness.’ Today I updated it.
After going downtown I wrote the following. Oh, and btw, I did manage to get the garbage out after all… the truck came around to the other side of the street in the late afternoon.
From False Consciousness at earthpages.ca:
Another example might be what I saw today on Yonge St. in downtown Toronto. A sort of weather-beaten looking fellow who might have been living on the streets was wearing a brand new Globe and Mail baseball jacket with fine gold lettering on black. The Globe and Mail is Canada’s conservative newspaper. I’ve heard it called an “old man’s” paper, meaning that it generally represents the interests of conservatives with quite a bit of money. And I think it would strike some neoMarxists as ironic – and a proof of false consciousness – that this fellow was wearing that particular jacket.
- HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Detroit Nears Bankruptcy: Unemploy… (pjmedia.com)
- Ideology and Meanings in Communication (prmarketingcommunication.wordpress.com)
- False Consciousness and the Sleeping Public (allcoppedout.wordpress.com)
At the Eaton Centre last Wednesday before lunchtime… it was a rainy day and all the stores were pretty empty, until I walked past this iCloud demo. Afterward I realized that watches, jewellery, food, drink and clothes don’t turn people on half as much as the latest high-tech trinkets. That’s where the action is. And I guess that’s just part of human evolution…
- Is SoundCloud The Next YouTube? (readwriteweb.com)
- #iCloud Security Problems (fmpgo.wordpress.com)
- Few BlackBerry deserters in line at Toronto Apple Store (thestar.com)
- iCloud Calendars Are Type-Specific (busymac.com)
- djay updated to take advantage of iCloud integration (tuaw.com)
- iCloud with families – how does it work? (ask.metafilter.com)
The man in this picture was talking to himself. When he bought a coffee and came to sit inside the cafe area, another customer (in a group of three middle class customers) looked askance at him, as if he were a weirdo.
Then the group of three all started smoking, which stank, and prompted me to leave. When leaving I reflected how the man talking to himself (a basically harmless activity) was regarded as weird, while the smokers (a self-destructive and potentially lethal activity) were not.
This was a huge BBC documentary when I was a kid in 1969.
Snapshot—the Beatles are close to breaking up; mankind was about to set foot on the moon for the first time; Kubrick’s 2001 seemed almost too good (and strange) to be true; the (now) politically incorrect Get Smart was the TV show of the day; FM radio was still cool, and “high tech” meant… well, let me think… that was so long ago I can hardly remember. A push button phone? Cassette tape recorders? IBM electric typewriters?
Some have accused Kenneth Clark of being racist and ridiculously selective in this series. But we might consider — for the last charge, anyhow — that he states the limits of his study very clearly in the companion book, Civilization, which closely follows the TV script.
As for the other charge. Well, let’s just say that he’s certainly not politically correct, from a 21st century yardstick. But the fact that this series was so incredibly well received (even the Queen of England loved it and consequently made Clark a Baron) seems to indicate that Kenneth Clark was nothing more (or less) than an effective spokesperson for the prevailing Western mindset of the time. He was also a gifted scholar.
If we isolate one or two of his statements here and there, out of the entire series, he might seem like a racist. But after watching the first three segments, I’ve found counter-statements that balance out or contextualize some of his seemingly racist opinions.
Also, KC says many times that we’re all creatures of opinion and never claims to be laying out some grand immutable theory.
I’m not defending his questionable statements. Just saying that, for the most part, he’s a product of early to mid-20th century thinking, not enjoying the wisdom of eternity. And he fully knows those limitations.
So watch this and decide for yourself.
- Cameron’s U-Turn Causes Kenneth Clarke Some Pain (ranknews.wordpress.com)
- Is there life on earth after Attenborough? (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- NYT, Crowdsourcing and Cathedrals (laf.ee)
- Is there life on earth after Attenborough? (guardian.co.uk)
- Advanced Thinking (geopolicraticus.wordpress.com)
Check out the discussion at http://www.facebook.com/earthpages
- Signs Are the Most Effective Method of Ensuring Workplace Compliance (work.failblog.org)
- A blind boy (lovegodnotman.wordpress.com)
- Common Signs in Other Countries (fastsigns2542highlander.wordpress.com)
- Home Selling Tips: The “Coming Soon” Sign (dougfrancis.com)
This commentary also appears at Earthpages.org
Well it’s come and gone. The 2010 Winter Olympics are history.
Once again I felt compelled to watch the closing ceremony, not because I like seeing massive amounts of money spent on superficialities, but because I was curious to see how my country chose to spend them.†
Granted, the whole thing is open to debate. I get that. I mean, some say we need “spectacles” to keep life interesting, even though people are freezing to death on the streets and aboriginal teens are killing themselves because of the grim desperation that poverty can bring.
Others say that spending money on the Olympics stimulates local economies. In addition, many corporations involved in their overall production benefit. I get that too.
But what I don’t get is why the artistic director of the closing ceremony dished out every idiotic stereotype about Canada known to mankind. To spend significant sums of money on massive images of bears, log cabins, and Mounties in red ceremonial uniform seems misguided.
That’s not Canada at all. That’s just a silly cliché that, so it seemed, the opening ceremony hoped to eradicate.
Waste of money?
Well, let’s just say that I don’t agree with Marshall McLuhan’s dictum that “The medium is the message.”
I believe that part of the message is content. And in my opinion, the content of the closing ceremony was a bit of a joke. And not a good one, as intended.
Having said that, it wasn’t all bad. Neil Young and Michael J. Fox were highlights. And William Shatner was… well, William Shatner. That is, overblown but delightfully so.
How ironic, however, that these stars made their fortunes south of the border and basically left Canada to live in the USA.
Even these greats came off a bit thin because, as I say, the medium isn’t the only message. Content also matters. And despite their best efforts, these three stars sent out a message that Canada is a nice place to visit but, by gosh, we wouldn’t want to live there any more.
This commentary also appears at Earthpages.org
Last night’s Olympic opening ceremony wasn’t my top priority. I wasn’t going to bother watching it but realized I should see what my country was up to.
After all, I graduated in sociology and should know how the Canadian Olympic officials chose to represent this country to the world.
I suppose considering the budget they did a pretty good job. But what I found sort of bush-league was how the emphasis fell on Canada’s greatness instead of the greatness of Olympic Sport.
When doing graduate work in India in the late 1980s I saw a similar phenomenon. Anything of merit in India was pumped up to emphasize how “world class” that country was.
Canada is much the same.
This might be a sign of some kind of grand national insecurity. I mean, if you’re really the best you don’t have to talk about it. You just do it… and most everyone gets that you’re number one.
Having said that, I am proud of some of the claims made about my country last night. I believe we are miles (oops kilometers) ahead of many other lands in terms of forging a working and peaceful cultural mosaic.
It’s easy to talk about the wonders of multiculturalism when you’re banning religious groups from your country or beating up on minorities. It’s quite another thing to actually live peacefully with many different kinds of peoples (and their divergent beliefs) in close proximity.
That’s probably what I’m most proud of. And it’s probably the future of not only Canada but hopefully the world.
So why the lingering social insecurity? Is it because the US media tends to ignore and sometimes mock us? And if so, who cares?
From my experience the Americans worth interacting with see past all that, just as the Canadians worth interacting with don’t construct an identity by saying “we’re not the US.”
Defining oneself as Canadian by saying “we’re not America” is also a bit thin and hypocritical. Canadian media anchors, for example, often jump at the chance to appear ‘cool and hip’ by being on Twitter and Facebook.
Uh… what country developed those social media? Or WordPress, for that matter?
So let’s get real. Canada does get a lot of things right but also depends on the USA and many other countries to stay afloat.
It’s an international world. So why don’t we all start thinking that way?
I hope I’m this cool when I get to be Suzuki’s age…