Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stonewall Uprising movie at the Mayfair

For those of you in Ottawa this weekend, and of course if interested, I just heard that a movie Stonewall Uprising about the, you guessed it, the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 will be playing at the Mayfair Theatre on Bank St. this weekend. The Stonewall riots are widely thought to have been the catalyst to the gay liberation movement.


random uni student

Where for art thou census debate?

Now, I know this is getting to be old news and all the points have been masticated quite thoroughly in the media and blogs but it's still on my mind. To be honest, I wish it was still national news. Unfortunately, the mainstream seems to have thrown in the towel in the face of the Conservative bulwark on the census.

I came across this and thought it was worth sharing. Paul Wells in Macleans makes a point about the Tories scrapping the mandatory long form census that I hadn't considered, one based in government accountability:

"Unmooring the census from its basis in statistical reliability is a wicked thing to do because it takes away one of the few tools we have for measuring the effectiveness of the things governments do...If you want the evaluation of government action to be a public good, available to us all, you need publicly available data of a high order, so that anyone with a decent grasp of statistics can measure results against goals...citizens will have fewer independent benchmarks against which to judge any of this."

I won't make any comments on it, as I am in no way an expert on the subject or even consider myself informed on it, and really, the quotation speaks for itself.


random uni student

PS. So, I posted this and then immediately saw this...I guess it's not quite as dead as I thought it was....may bad! And then I found this, also from Macleans - a list of for and against the scrapping of the long form census.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

JKF in Canada - 1961

For no particular reason other than that I find them neat, here's some clips of the arrival and speech of Pres. John Kennedy to Parliament in 1961.

Speech to Parliament - May 18, 1961

Arrival on Parliament Hill (reminds one of Obama's reception on the Hill?)

For some reason the Arrival on the Hill link goes to the Obama reception link, but if you click either link just below the Obama clip you'll find JKF's visit clip - it's #17 in the sideways scrolling list.


random uni student

Monday, August 23, 2010

In search of Canadian cuisine...

What food can be connected to a Canadian identity as authentically Canadian? What is the Canadian national dish? What can be considered specifically and uniquely Canadian cuisine?

Recently in a lecture we discussed how Chinese restaurant menus were the first in Canada to specifically differentiate between Canadian food and 'other' food. Think about it, what general Chinese food restaurant sign or menu doesn't say Chinese AND Canadian food. Of course, even the food labeled as Chinese food can really be considered Canadian food but such restaurants during the 20th century were the first to define what constituted Canadian cuisine in contrast to the food of a foreign, 'other', culture.

A recent CBC program, The Main Ingredient, discusses Chinese restaurants in Canadian cuisine history as well as engaging in a debate of what is truly Canadian national cuisine.

To top it off,  ever want to know about when pizza become popular in Canada? Check out the CBC Archives clip and choose Who's The Happiest Homemaker?


random uni student

Monday, August 16, 2010

Log Driver's Waltz as nostalgia?

For an exam I was re-introduced to The Log Driver's Waltz, an old NFB Vingnette from 1979. For me it brings back some childhood memories of seeing it on tv and is just a pleasant piece of historic Canadiana, regardless of its nostalgic aspects.

I made a surface connection of this production of this film as a nostalgic and romantic expression of the log driving industry in Canada during a time when it was fading out of the industry. Perhaps connected to the same nostalgia that placed a log driving image on the the back of the 1970's to 1980's Canadian One dollar bill?

Would anyone with more expertise on the history of the log driving industry in Canada be able to say yae or naye to this observation/connection?


random uni student

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nature, Humanity and History

Discussed this well known idea in class and came across it in an article. I thought it might be a nice one to share. It is, as mentioned, a well known thought as often seen in nature and climate change television documentaries. It might be comforting to note then, that the idea impacts history as an academic discipline. That was a comfort to me. Also, I just like how this is worded.

"In recent years, many environmental historians have argued that a perceptual division between ideals of "nature" and ideals of "culture" is at the root of many current environmental problems (see, e.g., William Cronon; Richard White; Neil Evernden). The notion that "nature" exists outside of and stands separate from human society and technology presents a challenge for addressing ecological problems in the twenty-first century. Not only does this dominant way of thinking mask many environmental tensions, but also it creates a sense of separation between most people's lived experiences and the environmental impact of their day-to-day activities. To conceive of "nature" as existing separately from "culture" is to deny the sense of interconnectedness that affects all forms of life on Earth. As Neil Evernden argues, "Nature is [. . .] nowhere near as independent or as 'given' as we like to suppose" (xii). For those concerned with addressing twenty-first century environmental issues, a critical re-thinking of what "nature" is and means is necessary....

Cultural production has long dictated the ways in which animals are conceived of and, ultimately, treated in Western society. From novels and fairy-tales to paintings, films, advertisements, and postcards, representations of nonhuman species continually shape the dynamics of interspecies interactions. These representations have firmly solidified the perceptual gap that exists between "nature" and "culture" in North America. In the realm of nature, such animals as bears, deer, and bighorn sheep are conceived of as "wild" and "untamed," while nonhuman animals encountered in spaces characterized by notions of "civilization" fit into very different systems of representation. In urban centres, for instance, nonhuman animals tend to be grouped into categories that label them as either "pets" or "pests," both commonly recognized as resulting from human desires, behaviours, and habits."

Cronin, Keri. "The Bears are Plentiful and Frequently Good Camera Subjects": Postcards and the Framing of Interspecies Encounters in the Canadian Rockies." Mosaic : a Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature. Winnipeg: Dec 2006.Vol. 39, Iss. 4;  pg. 77, 16 pgs.


random uni student