Will Straw, PhD
Will Straw is Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and lives in Montreal. He is Professor of Communications at McGill, where has taught since the mid-1990s. Dr. Straw comments regularly on cultural and other matters for Canadian media. He is the author of Cyanide and Sin: Visualizing Crime in 50s America and dozens of articles on popular culture, cities and media.

Entries by Will Straw, PhD

Remembering The Creator Of Modern Gossip Journalism

(0) Comments | Posted February 8, 2016 | 10:25 AM


No one will be celebrating this, but 2016 marks the hundredth birthday of one of the most vicious show business gossip magazines ever published. Broadway Brevities was launched in New York City in 1916, edited by a Canadian named Stephen G. Clow. Born...

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Canadian Embassies are Interested in Business, Not Culture

(1) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 11:23 AM

In 2012, I went to Budapest for a meeting of university-based researchers whose work deals with cities and their culture. In advance of the trip, I arranged to make a courtesy call on the Canadian Embassy, to meet with the officer in charge of educational and cultural affairs.


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Fighting For the Right to Party All Night

(2) Comments | Posted September 19, 2013 | 12:04 PM

In the press conference this week unveiling her platform as candidate for the Montreal mayoralty, Mélanie Joly announced that one of her priorities for the city would be a "Charter of Nightlife." As every encounter in Quebec these days explodes in discussion over the government's "Charter of Values,"...

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Daft Punk Did More Than "Get Lucky" With This Hit

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 8:54 AM

I'm just back from a one-week European swing that took me through the Amsterdam airport to Oslo, for a conference on popular music, then back through Paris to Montreal. As I moved from airport, to train station, to restaurant, to hotel (and, to be honest, to the occasional nightclub), I...

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Canadian Cities Take Over Cultural Policy

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2013 | 10:49 AM

Ten years ago, I was one of the organizers of "Accounting for Culture," a conference held in Gatineau, Quebec to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Federal Department of Canadian Heritage. The theme of the conference was "cultural citizenship," an idea much in vogue at the time....

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Mirror, Mirror On The Wall: Will Alternative Weeklies Fall?

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2012 | 8:16 AM

The folding of Montreal's anglophone weekly newspaper the Mirror last week seemed to shock even those I rank amongst the city's media insiders. Hour, its younger competitor, had been closed down earlier this year, but that was hardly a surprise. It was easy to think that, with its...

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The Man Who Put the "Can" in CanCon

(2) Comments | Posted February 22, 2012 | 11:34 AM

I met Pierre Juneau -- the prominent Canadian civil servant who died this week -- only once or twice, but was struck on those occasions by the grace and generosity he showed towards researchers and students interested in his legacy. Juneau is best known, of course, for having...

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Why "Happy Hour" is not French

(11) Comments | Posted January 4, 2012 | 8:27 AM

I don't usually buy the Journal de Montréal newspaper, for a wide variety of reasons, but gave in when faced with a blaring headline: "Let's Party... (en anglais seulement)." Inside, the paper reported on a dozen or so downtown Montreal nightclubs advertising their New Year's Eve festivities in English only....

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Where Have All the TVs Gone?

(5) Comments | Posted October 11, 2011 | 4:51 PM

Over the last few years I've been struck, looking out at my undergraduate classes, by the sight of 80 or more Apple logos staring back at me from the backs of students' notebook computers. Those reflecting on the legacy of Steve Jobs have emphasized the ubiquity of the iPhone and...

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