Tag Archives: Toronto Standard

Tea With Chris: Which of Us Ex-Leninists…

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Carl: Astra Taylor wrote a Kindle Single on Unschooling that has sparked some useful debate: A Slate article slammed it harshly, advocating a position that I’ve long sympathized with, that we have an obligation to support and participate in the institution of public education; Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic took issue with that; and Astra herself wrote a thoughtful and balanced rebuttal in n+1. I strongly believe that (like most things about education) this is an ethical and political issue that doesn’t get rigorous enough consideration, and one with deep contradictions that are hard to work out. When I was a student myself, I spent a lot of time passionately reading and thinking about alternatives to the way schools restrict, control and segregate; as an adult, I’ve become more alarmed about the erosion of public schooling as a basic pillar of democratic society – I was even more gut-level enraged by Rick Santorum’s statement that as president he would homeschool his kids in the White House than by the rest of his idiotic stances. Whatever your personal stake in it, this conversation is vital to have and to expand.

On another note altogether, the great English singer and musician Robert Wyatt took a look back through his own lifelong sentimental education in music in a Pitchfork interview this week, including his struggles with alcohol, disability, anxiety and politics. (I suspect he’s a little revisionist about his Leninist past, but then which of us isn’t?) It is candid, funny, painful and enlightening.

Finally, in the Torontopian department, the Toronto Standard‘s Sarah Nicole Prickett takes a look at the diverse state of youthful collective creativity here, in a piece both heartening and informative, even if it never quite overcomes (though it tries) its historical nearsightedness.

Chris: Three decades ago, somebody watched a test screening of Videodrome and didn’t love it quite as much as me or Carl or (probably) Margaux.

Emma Healey wrote a sharply incisive response to “So Many Feelings,” Molly Fischer’s dismissive essay about “ladyblogs,” supporting “an acknowledgement of the fact that the experience of being a woman is inextricable from the need to waste time at work, or look at things that make you laugh, or find a community whose sensibilities and interests and tastes are familiar to you—whose existence makes you feel, in some small way, less alone.”

 

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Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson

Tea With Chris: Florizona –> Torontopia

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: Back in grade school, the George Grosz drawing that I came across in a textbook rattled me more than anything this side of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The sheer ferocity was disquieting. I mention it because a Grosz design is featured in this arresting collection of Weimar-era book covers, images of industrialism, intrigue and distorted forms from a world on the cusp of annihiliation.

Bill Blackbeard, who passed away last month, saved innumerable pieces of comics history from mouldering decay. Here’s how, and why.

This is not Vince Foster. This is not Swiftboating. This is the dude who passed health care reform as ‘the biggest Affirmative Action in history.’ This is the whitey tape. This is ‘you are an Indonesian welfare thug.’ This is the host of ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ questioning the intellect of the past editor of the Harvard Law Review. This is the scion of inherited money as populist, and the scion of a teen single-mother as elitist. This is, if you were white, you and the black dude who came before wouldn’t be here. This is we don’t believe you. In other words, this is a racism of the bone.”

Carl: It’s a bit ridiculous how often I bring Ann Powers to tea, but she’s now officially writing and broadcasting for National Public Radio now, and she’s had an especially prolific week. But her fine piece about “lifer bands” – the ones you stick with for decades – stands out especially because it’s about the ever-underappreciated Silos, who’ve got a new album out called Florizona, with this lead single, “White Vinyl,” which is simultaneously hilarious and genuinely sexy in a way that’s very tricky to pull off:

That video confused me a little, because the level of artwork done for it seemed to be disproportionate to what one does for a video, especially for an indie band. But then I discover it was actually a wholesale import of the art by photographer John Eder (who actually cowrote the song), from his book, Florida House (that link on the title should get you to an online flipbook of the whole thing – if it doesn’t work you can get there through the “Portfolio” link on his site), which tells plainspoken tales of growing up in south Florida in the 1970s, with tons of Eder’s work in a vein that I might classify as Googie-Photoshop Expressionism or something. Checkitout.

Type Books, which is just short of being the only remaining independent bookstore in downtown Toronto, is having a birthday party featuring “pop-up” readings from 18 writers tomorrow. You should pop in.

Simple idea but the execution is perfect: Way funnier than I expected.

But the main thing I did this week was write this piece, primarily of local interest. You may want to avoid if you acquired an allergy to the term “Torontopia” in the past decade, but I am hopeful that it recharges and redirects the conversation on some level. Maybe more to follow in the future.

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Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson