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Culture

  • Rough and Rowdy Ways: Bob Dylan Confronts History

    Who is Bob Dylan in 2020? His new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, finds him contemplating the tremendous weight of legacy and history and how to make sense of it all. Dylan tackles these questions by immersing himself in that history, becoming both subject and historian, both object of cultural critique and the critic.

  • Paying attention: Focus and distraction in the digital age

    Attention, as a dialectic of focus and distraction, has become central to understanding mediated life in the information economy. If we are our experiences, and there are more possibilities to experience than ever before, then the highly selective allocation, surrender, and capture of attention determines what we become—and all that we can become⁠—as individuals and as a society.

  • Can a pandemic be boring? Yes, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing

    Philosophers and psychologists teach us that boredom can be a good thing when it provides impetus for articulating our moral commitments and pursuing the personal and societal changes needed to realize them. There is reason to believe that is happening now. Let us hope that once the pandemic is behind us, and we’re left dealing with its fallout, we will all reap the benefits of that realignment.

  • A Decade of Playing Left-Wing: Sports Heroes of the 2010s

    While I admit to being a sucker for these “best of” exercises, as a decade came to a close the stakes were high but the “Athletes of the 2010s” lists were so utterly predictable. But here at Canadian Dimension, winning takes a back seat to building a better world. So here are my nominations for those figures at the intersection of sport and politics that mattered most in the 2010s.

  • Folk Music’s Radical Patron: Remembering Mitch Podolak

    We all have much to thank him for. The world is a better place because of Mitch Podolak, and I am a far better, richer person after so many years of friendship with my Comrade. Mitch will live on in the years to come through the power of his inspiration and his contributions to those of us who knew him — and, indeed, to all those who, because of him, came to hear the music.

  • Colonization, resistance and popular culture

    It is perhaps naïve to assume that Premier Horgan or Prime Minister Trudeau are simply misunderstanding the history of Indigenous people. It is more realistic to frame our political leaders as willfully ignorant. But, that does not mean that we have to be. Simply watching a film … or reading a comic will not bring about reconciliation on its own. However, it is a much needed start.

  • Islamophobia is practically enshrined as public policy in Australia

    Australia now has a public collection of open white nationalists – from antisemitic podcasters to would-be infiltrators of mainstream conservative parties. They need to be understood in their proper context: the decades-long drumbeat of xenophobia and Muslim-hate, which has issued from some of the most powerful institutions in the country. This is the environment in which Muslims, refugees and immigrants have come to be understood as enemies of Australia. It may be an environment that has nurtured white supremacist terror.

  • The politics of the popular

    “Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of Black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of Black and brown lives in the prison-industrial complex.” Nike, by trying to capitalize on Kaepernick’s image, also amplified his powerful critique of systemic white supremacy. In this way, the ad embodies both the commodification of resistance while simultaneously pointing to the resistance itself. Nike is not revolutionary — but their new ad might be.

  • Dialectics of Christmas

    To smash the institutionalisation of happiness is to release m en from myth, from the need to displace salvation on to Gods or charity, and to realign man’s hopes on conscious historical action. Within the apparently innocuous shell of Christmas is found both oppression and the longing for liberation and revolution. The Puritans banned it; the Cubans postponed it; we can transcend it.

  • Does ‘anti-racism’ contribute to racism?

    Until these sources of racism are addressed, all that will remain is a moralistic policing of its inevitable expressions. Eventually, individuals and groups will feel increasingly emboldened to transgress these norms of comportment. And, because the antiracist Left has targeted “Whiteness” (often in ways that make it inextricable from white people as such) it has from the outset disqualified itself from building cross-racial class-based alliances.

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