As this summer's PRISM revelations shattered tightly held delusions of privacy in much of the English-speaking world, sales for George Orwell's 1949 dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four skyrocketed 7000 per cent. Overzealous pundits lashing out against the rise of something as inconceivable as a Nineteen Eighty-Four-esque authoritarianism are, perhaps consciously, usurping Orwell to divert from the fact it isn't just deceitful democracies that are undermining centuries of struggle for freedom and agency -- it is our mindless culture of empty consumerism and celebrity hero worship.
Adam is a PhD student in Political Science at York University, where his research engages the intersections of technology, governance and critical theory. He is a regular contributor at DeSmog Canada and Rabble.ca, as well as an associate at The Public Intellectuals Project. For more of his work, check out his website.
So here we are -- witnessing the slow and painful death of freedom in Canada as the Harper administration relentlessly wages a war on critical thinking that has left us with drastic reductions to our anonymity, due process, freedom of assembly, and virtual privacy in exchange for some intangible conceptualization of security.
07/07/2013 10:29 EDT
Time and again, those of us barely scraping by on precarious appointments in the service industry are fed the same exhausted occupational rhetoric: "Prosperity in the 'new economy' requires flexibility and sacrifice on the part of the labour force." Translation -- welcome to the precarious labour trap.
06/10/2013 12:08 EDT
Here in the "Canadian Mosaic," issues of race are largely stricken from the language of the everyday. We prefer not to speak openly about racism, for deconstructing it might chip away at that illusory façade of Canada as a nation of perpetual tolerance and chronic multiculturalism -- a delusion we all hold dear to our glowing hearts. Unfortunately for all those "liberal-minded" Canadians out there who view our country to be so forward thinking and accommodating that racism is a non-issue, institutionalized multiculturalism is not the same thing as social racial equality.
05/14/2013 12:19 EDT
Unfortunately, as Boston has reminded us, it seems that same salinization must now be applied to the big dogs. It's not that amateur sources on Twitter and Reddit have become more reliable than say CNN or The Associated Press -- unless perhaps said amateur is tweeting on location -- it's that the two have become indistinguishable.
04/23/2013 05:25 EDT
During the leadership race Trudeau was rather ambiguous when it came to tangible policy proposals -- instead insisting it's not the leader's role to hand down decrees from on high to grassroots Liberals, and if elected, he would consult both partisan Liberals and other Canadians so to develop his party's platform from the bottom up. Fair point in theory, but let's wring out what little Trudeau has said so far.
04/19/2013 12:14 EDT
These seemingly irrational flaws in judgement can lead to perpetual distortion, inaccurate judgement, and illogical interpretation -- all of which are key ingredients in the widening of cultural rifts, the deepening of global disparity gaps, and the general intensifying of political upheavals.
04/14/2013 11:16 EDT
Less than a generation ago, Canada was a world leader when it came to the fundamental democratic freedoms of assembly, speech and information. So perhaps it is time for us Canadians to wake up and smell the suppression -- no longer are censorships solely the purview of tin-pot dictators in far away regimes.
03/26/2013 04:07 EDT
We were told we could have the world, and unsurprisingly, we're getting more than a little anxious out about the idea that we won't be so fortunate. To be frank, all we really want is for that ugly lie our high school guidance councillors told us in senior year "if you go to a good university and work hard, doors will open for you," to be true. But it's not.
03/07/2013 12:16 EST
Facebook has forever changed the way we talk, share, court, and even think. Yet it is also irritating, over-stimulating, and campy -- invasive, censored, and exploitative. And above all, its users are starting to show signs of Facebook fatigue. The collapse probably won't happen any time soon, but it will happen -- nothing can rule the World Wide Web forever.
02/01/2013 07:59 EST
As a middle-class Canadian of European ancestry who has never spent much time on a reserve, I feel like it's not my place to speak for the #IdleNoMore movement. Allow me to clarify. I'm in solidarity with the movement -- even a staunch supporter of it, but only if the First Nations themselves are the ones leading the march.
01/24/2013 12:13 EST
It's time to shift away from the messy public spectacles regarding euthanasia. Instead let's follow Quebec's lead -- Canadians everywhere should be able to choose from a full range of end-of-life options, including -- if the prerequisites are met, the option of a medically assisted suicide. There aren't really any scary precedents or slippery slopes here. What there is, is an alternative to an existence of suffering and pain that should, and can be afforded to a terminally ill, palliative treated, mentally competent adult.
01/17/2013 05:07 EST
Social media isn't a replacement for real-world action -- it's a way to coordinate it. The fact that apathetic Internet users who plague our respective newsfeeds cannot click their way to a better tomorrow does not mean that dedicated actors -- those who would be in the trenches regardless -- cannot employ social media effectively.
01/15/2013 12:17 EST
As I'm sure you all know by now, a tentative deal has been reached between the players and the owners of the NHL. For most of the world, this means absolutely nothing. I find the NHL more and more irrelevant every time it returns from another one of these temper-tantrums. As a recovered NHL addict, I can't help but wonder why we want to put so much energy and passion, offer so much devotion and piety, to a league that has done this to its fans four times in the past 20 years. Why do both the league brass and the players' union continue to overestimate Canada's passion for the NHL?
01/06/2013 11:40 EST
The Internet not only changes what media we view, but how we view it. In order to avoid being overwhelmed by informational anxiety as so much data prattles uncontrollably at us from our screens, we have subconsciously become our own content editors and censorship committees, determining for ourselves which sites are worth frequenting and which ones are not, what content is good and what content is bad.
01/03/2013 05:24 EST
If voters sit down and scrutinize the political and economic policy proposals put forth by each party in 2012, it becomes apparent that it is nearly impossible to tell where one party stops and another begins. So unless you sit slightly to the right -- in which case every party embodies your politics -- the next time a canvasser, pollster, government official, or public figure asks, "which political party do you support?" consider responding "none of them." Can you really be considered apathetic?
12/27/2012 08:15 EST
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