Archive for January, 2012

Photography of Phyllis Christopher

“Manchester, England, 2010”

I had the most wonderful Christmas and holiday vacation this year, visiting friends and family in the United States as well as in Canada. I was given some wonderful presents, including a Buffalo Sabres jersey from my son and a framed print of this beautiful image above from a friend down south. “Manchester, England, 2010” is by photographer Phyllis Christopher.  I love all of her work. It’s so charming and alive. (I must have spent an hour and a half, when I first visited Christopher’s website, just mesmerized by her portraits of … food!) “Manchester” is part of her amazing Editorial portfolio.


My willingness to apply the Golden Rule = My wish not to be struck by lightning.

Kwantlen Distinguished Alumni Award Finalists

Two of the three finalists in the Business and Industry category this year have a basil.CA connection: Jack Fox is a long-time friend with whom I’ve worked on a number of projects, including some ground-breaking publications distributed by his company, T-Bodies Productions. Another finalist, Gozde Hilmi, is the most recent winner of the Maureen and George Basil Award, given to a Kwantlen Polytechnic University Human Resources student who achieved notable success in the program’s arduous HR practicum. I’ve never met the third nominee, Shane King, before, but I am looking forward to shaking his hand at the Award Ceremony, which is being held at the River Rock Casino on March 2 as part of the university’s 30th Anniversary Gala.

Watching America

Compared to how much I study it — a pretentious phrase, I know! — American political culture is something I almost never write about online … or anywhere else, for that matter. It feels too personal, like one’s love life gone awry.

And there are fine folk out there, like my former mentor and NYU professor Jay Rosen, who write about such things so well and speak for me, as it were. His piece today, Agnew’s Resentment Machine: Six Data Points About Culture War and The Campaign Press, is marvelous:

“Here we have one of the most under-covered stories of the 2012 campaign. If the Republican candidates believed the culture war wing of their own party, if they credited it with any genuine insight, if they respected its critique of the journalistic profession, if they thought there was a solid core of truth there, they would not have agreed to participate in debates where the questions are asked by such ideological opponents as Wolf Blitzer and Jon King of CNN, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos of ABC, David Gregory and Brian Williams of NBC, John Harwood of CNBC and the New York Times and on and on. As Hewitt said: Hey, these guys are left wing! It doesn’t make any sense!

“Unless… the candidates see the culture war wing of their party as a useful idiot– wrong about what journalists are up to, but valuable for keeping the press in line. Then the debate thing does make sense. The candidates participate because they can predict the questions. They know they’ll be able to get their message out and reach people who don’t watch Fox. And the resentment machine is right there at their fingertips: just attack the questioner and score some points. Notice, then, how conservative culture warriors wail about it, but don’t try to explain this basic weirdness: candidates vying for the title of head conservative voluntarily submit themselves to questioning from the enemies of the conservative state!

“My view: even Newsbusters knows their critique is a joke. They’re just working the refs, and raising money off their Agnewisms. And it’s a pretty sweet gig. Brent Bozell’s 2010 salary: $423,000. He should be raging at the Republican candidates for legitimizing the David Gregorys and John Harwoods of the world. That’s what a real activist would do. Instead we have Hugh Hewitt whining to a New Yorker writer: It’s absurd!!

“Don’t you see the comedy? This is why I say it’s a great story going uncovered. Conservative candidates treat their culture warriors as know-nothings: fools and tools.”

Food Chains

During my recent visit to Spartacus Books, I was able to get caught up with the literature of my favourite Trotskyists, the folk who publish the Workers Vanguard newsprint magazines (still just 50 cents) and the Partisan Defense Committee and Spartacist pamphlets (two bucks at the most). One doesn’t have to be a revolutionary communist to appreciate the unsparing analysis of national and world economies found in these publications. (I especially like its scathing pieces on women’s issues.)

I also picked up the 30th anniversary issue of “World War 3 Illustrated,” which features a few dozen comix-art pieces on the theme of “the food chain.” Most of the work is beautifully illustrated and smart. I recommend you pick this up if you can find it. (Try these cool places.) Some of the art: