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The Media Studies blog
Stories, ideas, shit-disturbing research and all things media-ted.
The red and yellow flag of Catalonia hangs everywhere in the tiny village of El Bruc, 50 km outside of Barcelona, where I have been living and writing for the past three weeks. A virtually autonomous region of Spain in the 12th and 13th centuries it was annexed to Castile (the southern region of what is now Spain) in the 15th century. Soon enough, the Catalan language was banned, its land traded away. Then there were Franco's purges of the Catalonia in the 1940's, language and history further erased.
The early morning train from Paris to Barcelona begins in grey mist. like Monet's series Cathedral a Rouen, seen yesterday at Musee D'Orsay, colours slowly developing (Monet anticipating photography's abstractions) from grey to blue to green. Houses change too, from stone to brick to pale yellow plaster. Everywhere, terra cotta roofs. Occasionally, industry appears, which I carefully frame out of my photographs.
Trains offer the comfort of arrival and departure, between which one exists comfortably within the unknown.
My mother's village in western Ukraine: Geese being herded by old babas, ox carts driven by farmers. In the fields, people tilling the soil until nightfall with shovels and hoes, no farm equipment in sight. No paved roads to be seen, let alone public transit, well-equipped schools, recreational facilities, jobs, futures.
Recently, University of Toronto sessional instructor David Gilmour, in an interview with the Random House blog Hazlitt, revealed that he refuses to teach female authors, and that students who want a different curriculum should go “down the hall”. His words, and calls to have him fired, have gone viral.
Recently, a new film, Ukraine Is Not a Brothel, directed by Australian filmmaker Kitty Green, about those brazen, bare-chested Ukrainian feminists, Femen, premiered at the Venice International Film Festival.
I went to my first political convention last weekend. The NDP Leadership Convention, to be exact. I felt a bit like an imposter: I didn't wear a partisan t-shirt or wave a sign. Instead, I scribbled in my little notebook, took loads of photos and eavesdropped incessantly. I could have been Lois Lane.
The Occupy Toronto-ers have received their eviction notice. Reporters have swarmed the park. An Emergency General Assembly has been called. Random supporters like myself stand around, shy guests at a proletariat cocktail party, conspicuous with our leather gloves or our digital cameras.
There is a kind of hysteria brewing in Canadian media these days. The Occupy movement has been going on for three weeks in Toronto, for several months in New York, and it's driving some conservative Canadian media pundits -- like Andrew Coyne of Maclean's magazine -- crazy. In a recent article, he declares that the Occupy movement is a "phony class war." He quotes statistics on dishwashers and microwaves, proudly declaring that 90 per cent of Canadian homes have the ability to nuke their food.