Category

Issue Four

The Occupy Issue

June 20, 2012

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An Editorial Occupant

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Readers rewrite the books they remember. We occupy the books we’ve read, just as books occupy places, and places occupy books, ideas, and readers. Recently opening a book I took to the west coast in 2005, I flipped to the back page and found the old inscription left there for me by a traveller on a Vancouver beach: go to Ahousaht, he’d written. First Tofino, then Ahousaht, on Flores Island off...

Mask Panic: Past and Present

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Listen to the author read this essay: Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser. On January 7, 1514, the Parlement of Normandy, the royal court of appeal for that prosperous French province on the Channel coast, issued a decree banning the wearing and owning of...

Occupy The BBC: The Work of Adam Curtis

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A million acts of reportage, programming and documentation have left the BBC with the planet’s most complete video archive of the twentieth century. BBC writer and documentarian Adam Curtis’s technique is to obsessively sift through these uncountable hours of footage looking for connections. He shuffles through the BBC’s memories like its regretful conscience, imbuing each with a paranoid...

Occupying Prisons: Canada and the Future of Incarceration

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Films reviewed in this essay: Herman’s House  (Canada, 2012, 81 min.), directed by Angad Singh Bhalla Hunting Bobby Oatway (Canada, 2004, 45 min.), directed by John Kastner As the Canadian government prepares to close Kingston Penitentiary, the oldest pen in the country, Whiggish history-telling has already begun to frame its wake.  Virtually all the major news media have offered their own...

100 Years of Occupation: Leacock in Orillia

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Robertson Davies’s Salterton was inspired by Kingston, and Mordecai Richler immortalized St. Urbain Street. It’s hard to imagine these books set elsewhere: Duddy Kravitz could never come from Vancouver. But no place takes as much pride in being a setting as Orillia does in its starring role in Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. Leacock was only a part-time resident, but the...

The Impermanence of the Ordinary: Full Frontal T.O.

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Listen to the author read this essay: Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser. Reviewed in this essay: Full Frontal T.O. (Coach House, 2012), photographs by Patrick Cummins, text by Shawn Micallef Cities have been photographed since the birth of the medium...

Made in Occupied Japan

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Recently an acquaintance I’ll call Eric gave me a chrome-plated naphtha lighter similar to a Zippo. The lighter was manufactured by Atomic. Engraved on the bottom were the words, “MADE IN OCCUPIED JAPAN.” Shiny as a trophy, at 60-plus years, the relic still functioned like new. Inquiring as to how he came to possess the lighter, Eric explained he had stolen it from an old man. “Won’t he notice...

Christopher D’Arcangelo’s Occupations

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In recent months, the Occupy Wall Street splinter group Occupy Museums staged an alternative, barter-based art fair outside New York’s annual Armory Show, and released a fake press release under the guise of the Whitney Biennial disavowing the exhibition’s corporate sponsors and apologizing to the exhibiting artists “for allowing them to be exploited by the former sponsors.” In these...

Occupy the Right: Ezra Levant and the Redefinition of Canadian Character

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Reviewed in this essay: Ezra Levant, The Enemy Within: Terror, Lies, and the Whitewashing of Omar Khadr. McClelland & Stewart, 2011.   Ezra Levant’s jeremiad, The Enemy Within: Terror, Lies, and the Whitewashing of Omar Khadr, is not actually about the eponymous Pakistani-Canadian, but rather about Toronto and the “professional protestors of the anti-war left.” In committing the burden...

Two Poems

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Transnational marriage A tongue from a developed country Fallen into a developing mouth It discovers, the sanitation there’s a bit problematic The dentists are very irresponsible A cotton-ball from many years ago Still exuding residual warmth in some cranny It sheepishly wishes to make an exit But is clamped onto by the tips of incomplete teeth In the name of love In the name of profound and all...

The Land of the Trinity Ad Infinitum: Diaspora Culture in Port of Spain

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I Twenty years ago, quixotically pursuing a doomed romance, I moved to Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago. Part of what decided me to go was the time I’d spent among the malcontents of the city’s Woodford Square. On any given day there was a Dickensian cast of cranks, madmen and impassioned citizens, fulminating against the “parasitic oligarchy” of Trinidad and Tobago...