Tag Archives: internet

Four Docs

Reid Dickie

I’ve been pillaging the Winnipeg library system’s terrific collection of DVDs for recent documentaries and have four to recommend to you. I’m sure you can find some or all of these on the internet.

Gasland by Josh Fox Wanna see a guy light his tap water on fire? Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, is a dangerous and earth-killing technique that oil and gas companies all over North America use to release natural gas from shale deposits deep underground. A combination of water, sand and over 900 chemicals under enormous pressure is pumped into the shale, fracturing the rock. Trouble is, without any oversight, the drillers pollute the groundwater of area residents with natural gas and chemicals causing dire consequences. On the Canadian prairies, fracking is used extensively in southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan. It would be interesting to look at the groundwater purity in places like Waskada and Melita, MB and Stoughton, Carlyle and Weyburn, SK today and see what happens to it over the next year or two. Click the pic to watch a preview of Gasland.

Buck by Cindy Meehl Buck Brannaman is an American “horse whisperer” of sorts. Raised by a violently abusive father, Buck bucked the typical imitative lifestyle of the beaten-young and lived the opposite life, one of compassion, love and understanding for people and animals, especially horses. We follow Buck as he travels to various four-day horse-training workshops and we encounter the people and horses he meets and tames using his gentle technique which he teaches to the horse owners. We get to listen to Buck’s country philosophy delivered with humour and true wisdom. As Buck says, “Often, instead of helping people with horse problems, I’m helping horses with people problems.” I was honoured and humbled to spend ninety minutes in the presence of someone as highly evolved as Buck Brannaman and you will be too when you watch it. Click pic to see preview.

Exit Through the Gift Shop by Banksy When Linda and me first got together in 1977 we made all sorts of art including street art. Our outdoor work included putting fancy decorated bras on the “breasts” of fire hydrants, postering neighbourhood telephone poles with paper collages and so on. (You can find out much more about our early art efforts on my DTC Art page.) The spirit of street art has grown since then to the degree that one of the genre’s most shadowy figures, British graffiti artist Banksy, has made an Academy Award nominated documentary on the topic. Banksy tries to give us some direction here but this film twists and turns until you’re not sure who or what it is about. Fascinating glimpses into the lives of Shepard Fairey (OBEY) and Thierry Guetta whose role changes as the film progresses. Overall a statement on art beyond post-modernism demonstrating that the distance between graffiti on a brick wall in an alley and on the wall of a cocktail-muzak art gallery is very short. There is some indication the whole movie was a hoax, a prank by Banksy. Decide for yourself. Click pic for a preview.

Catfish by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost After a discussion on the veracity of the internet, my friend Kenn recommended Catfish to me. Thanks Kenn! Here we find a nice Jewish photographer who starts to buy art ostensibly painted by a little girl over the internet. Soon he meets her older sister, again over the internet. They talk on the phone, exchange pictures, check each other out on Facebook and he starts to fall in love with her. He desperately needs something to believe in but gradually things about her don’t add up so he and his filmmaker friends decide to visit her in Michigan. That’s as far as the trailer takes you and I’m leaving you there too. You’re on your own for the rest of this fast-paced eye-opener. I didn’t have much sympathy for the gullible photographer who seemed incapable of any kind of critical thinking, dumbed down and fully in the sway of Born-Yesterday Syndrome but I was richly entertained by the film. The upshot: Believe nothing you read on the internet, including my reviews, unless you can personally verify it, which in my case you can by seeing the films. Click the pic for trailer.

Four non-docs I recommend: Red State is a departure for that Kevin Smith and the antidote to Clerks. Tyrannosaur is a powerful British film completely peopled with despicables. The first season of British crime drama Luther features the incredible Idris Elba in the scary title role. Pirate Radio is a nostalgic romp that includes one of the best Beatles homage moments ever.

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Filed under Art Actions, Diversions, Film, Linda, Love

Wake Up Canada! Big Brother is coming to a front door near you

Reid Dickie

Sinister, secretive, untrustworthy, tyrannical, compromised by a foreign country, indebted to their corporate masters and unsullied by conscience, the Ref-Con (Reform-Conservative) regime currently ruling Canada is a dog’s breakfast of right-wing extremists, religious fundamentalists, greedhead capitalists, stunted idealogues and just plain dummies, not unlike a lot of alleged democracies these days. Similarly, this government is trying to make it legal to spy on every Canadian who has a computer and/or a cellphone without a warrant. Spy Bill C-30 stinks of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Communist China and the massive negative reaction to it by hundreds of thousands of Canadians is appropriate.

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, a long-standing windbag, sponsored this paranoid piece of “legislation.” Subsequently and deservedly, Toews has had his dirty laundry paraded before the public when the sordid details of his acrimonious divorce were published on a Twitter account. Although already public knowledge, the revealing details caused poor Vic such great despair and indignity that he got all victimy and launched an “investigation.” What a hoot! (Memo to Toews: if you can’t stand the heat, don’t light the fire. Plus, you make a lousy victim!)

Because language is a virus from outer space, every bill introduced in Canada has two names, a long and short name. Bill C-30’s long name is An Act to enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts. Its short name, the mainstream media name, is Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act. That’s different. Read the text of odious Bill C-30 here. Be brave.

Just so you know who has their hand up Toews’ back and wrote the script for him, on November 5, 1997, a bill was introduced into the U. S. House of Representatives. Its short title was H.R.2815 — Protecting Children From Internet Predators Act. 

Booga! Booga! Taking another page from the U. S. Neo-Con playbook, Toews thought he could fearmonger Canadians into ceding more of our rights and freedoms by invoking child pornographers as the boogeyman. Explaining the simple options to Canadians, Toews said, “either stand with us or with the child pornographers”  – fearmongering at its most amateurish.

Today Toews has backpedaled about three country miles from that because Canadians didn’t fall for it. Instead we started to share all our mundane personal information with Toews that we thought he needed to know. On his Twitter account #TellVicEverything and in emails to parliament, ordinary Canadians began confessing their sins to Deity Toews. Like? Like parking closer to one yellow line than the other in the mall parking lot, cleaning up cat puke and waiting for more, just checked – I’m still not a child predator and asking for a copy of an email accidentally erased. You get the picture. Thousands responded! Call it satire, zen, karma, justice, Canadian humour, eh. Consequently, the true nature of a foolish man with a little bit of power was appropriately revealed to the world, a deflated balloon, a sad buffoon.

Bonus: Because social media and bloggers drove and dominated events, the mainstream media went into a tailspin. Canadians weren’t buying their brand of bullshit. Editorials and pundits ranted about how the bill makes the internet safer for everyone, blah, blah, blah but it didn’t seem to work. The MSM are failing to convince more often now but don’t tell them yet. In spite of declining readership and viewership, they’ll be the last to know how truly irrelevant they have become. 

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Filed under Idiots, Politics