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Real Stories from Toronto #2,646,875 – It’s All a Joke

“Why are you always laughing?  Sometimes I don’t even know what you’re laughing about!  Sometimes it’s just mean!”

- Didn’t you get the memo?

“What?  What memo?”

- It’s all a joke.

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The Laughing Buddha

The Laughing Buddha

One day a monk walks up to him and asks, “What is the meaning of Zen?”
Smiling as usual, he instantly swung the sack over his shoulder.
“How does one realize Zen?”  Budai then takes up his bag and continues on his way.

From Siddhartha
“…Siddhartha replies that for every true statement there is an opposite one that is also true; that language and the confines of time lead people to adhere to one fixed belief that does not account for the fullness of the truth. Because nature works in a self-sustaining cycle, every entity carries in it the potential for its opposite and so the world must always be considered complete. Siddhartha simply urges people to identify and love the world in its completeness…”

District 9: Who is Human?

Here’s an insightful article I came across the internets when I was searching on the movie, District 9.

Written by: The Culture Craft

“District 9 tells the story of an extraterrestrial race who are forced to live in slum conditions outside ‘human’ society. The film adopts a documentary-style to narrate the circumstances of the alien arrival which disrupts the logic of viewers as observers by encouraging them to participate in a reality in which as humans, we must consider the presence of a new ‘Other.’ The introduction of the aliens into the landscape of Johannesburg subverts apartheid relations based on a distinction between white and black in which white is supreme, by establishing a new category of otherness. It emerges that the creatures are called ‘prawns’ to emphasise their non-humanness and subordinate position in the hegemonic order, which places them below black members. The film however, problematises conceptions of humanness by placing the development of nuclear weapons above what constitutes the human. It is for this reason that this film resonates with contemporary experience of otherness in which the politics of race is ultimately the politics of death. Foucault argues that racism is predominately a technology that authorizes the implementation of biopower. Within the framework of biopower, race functions to regulate the distribution of death and to enable the murderous propensities of the state. Such sanctions for inhumane activity are at the heart of human endeavour, which this film criticises. This film forced me to question where the boundaries between civilised and uncivilised can be drawn and furthermore, how we can decide what is for the good of humanity when what drives humans is largely the desire for power. The introduction of the aliens therefore forces the audience to ask: who is human?”

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Check out the rest of the article here (WARNING: SPOILERS!)

The film was directed by Neil Blomkamp (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Check out the IMDB page here

The film is also on Netflix Canada, can’t speak for Netflix US, but it’s worth the check.

128 Beats Per Minute: Diplo’s Visual Guide to Music, Culture, and Everything In Between

128-Beats-Per-Minute

 

Summary (taken from back cover): Diplo (aka Wesley Pentz) is the nexus of music and the cultural collateral it collects in the process of being created and released.  His record label, Mad Decent has helped bring the sounds of baile funk from Brazil, cumbia from Mexico, and other unknown music to Mexico, and other unknown music to clubs around the world.  Diplo’s work as a producer has brought a unique sound to hits like M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now,” and Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls).”

128 Beats Per Minute follows Diplo on this fantastic journey around the world, from his involvement with dancehall scene in Jamaica to the electro/techno underground in Tel Aviv.  Each chapter chronicles his tastes and travels, complete with essays and playlists, as documented by photographer Shane McCauley.  128 Beats Per Minute provides unique access to the most interesting scenes influencing music’s landscape today.

Here’s an excerpt from the book that I thought summarizes his rising pretty well:
“I was born in Mississippi and raised in Florida.  I spent time in Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina, too.  I never got settled, never was comfortable, never had an easy time in one place, but this helped to make me adaptable and made it easy to maneuver.  I shoplifted my first sampler from Sam Ash music center in Orlando, Florida.  I was working part-time at Subway, learning to use a Dr. Rhythm Drum Machine and DJing house parties with vinyl records I’d accumulated from flea markets and mail order.  Between rent checks, my turntables were always in and out of the pawnshops.  Eventually I found a way out of Florida, got a scholarship to school, and went north to Philadelphia to try to crack the music scene.”

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To me, Diplo is to music as Tibor Kalman (founder of Colors Magazine) was to graphic design/journalism.  What’s nice is that Diplo is still alive (yipee!) so, I personally went to one of his shows when they hit the city I’m currently living in (Toronto).
I finally ended up scoring a reasonably priced MDBP ticket and when I found out they were throwing an after party, I went to get a ticket as soon as I could.  I didn’t speaker fuck tho.  I just went there and watched.  I moshed a bit during the block party and I sat on top of the speakers later during the after party (may have gotten an orgasm or two…I guess this constitutes as passive speaker fucking?)

You can get the book on Amazon here

White Privilege

…(or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges, existing in predominantly white societies, that benefit white people beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people in the same social, political, or economic circumstances.[note 1] The term denotes both obvious and less obvious unspoken advantages that white persons may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice.[1] These include cultural affirmations of one’s own worth; presumed greater social status; and freedom to move, buy, work, play, and speak freely.[2] The concept of white privilege also implies the right to assume the universality of one’s own experiences, marking others as different or exceptional while perceiving oneself as normal.[3][4] It can be compared to and/or combined with the concept of male privilege.

Academic perspectives such as critical race theory and whiteness studies use the concept of “white privilege” to analyze how racism and racialized societies affect the lives of white people.

Critics suggest that the term uses the concept of “whiteness” as a proxy for class or other social privilege or as a distraction from deeper underlying problems of inequality.[5][6] Other critics of the idea propose alternate definitions of whiteness and exceptions to or limits of white identity, arguing that the concept of “white privilege” ignores important differences between white subpopulations.[7][8]

- Wikipedia

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Read more about on Wikipedia here

Also, The Queen of Versailles: A Brief Psychological Socio-Economic Analysis of the American Dream

Makwa Ziibiins

…translates to “Bear Creek” in Ojibwe.

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This track is titled, “Forgotten One” from the “Bear Creek Live” album.

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I first bought the CD up in Vancouver about a decade ago.  I’ve moved around a lot since then and lost the hard copy and my backup.
This track in particular has been in my head for weeks so I decided to find and get it online.  Just got the CD in the mail today and thought I should share this up.
It’s good shit.

Also: I didn’t much info on these guys online.  If you’ve got any more, hit me up.  

Check out a page from Batchewana here
And a short bio I from Canyon Records that I found here