“The news media work with other dominant media to represent a symbolic image of the nation. If particular groups are consistently under-represented or represented in stereotypical ways as abnormals — criminals, unassimilable immigrants, undeserving Others, those who don’t fit the ideal normative standards, and those who do not belong to the nation — then it follows that ruling powers are likely to use these representations as justification for imposing measures that effectively curtail the rights of these groups in entering or remaining within the nation. Representations of racialized minorities in the dominant media of a nation are, then, indicative of how that nation perceives itself and the groups within it.”—Yasmin Jiwani. Discourses of Denial: Mediations of Race, Gender, and Violence (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2006), p. 37.
“Brandchannel, a website that tracks product placement in film, noted that movie branding was up in 2010, with an average of 17.9 products per film in the 33 films that reached the top of the box office. Apple topped the charts after getting its computers, iPads, iPods, and other items featured in 30 per cent of the top US box office hits, and Iron Man 2 won all the marbles with 64 company props. Say what you want about Avatar making audiences identify with the good guys, at least the blue monkeys from Pandora weren’t drinking Red Bulls.”—Darren Fleet, Apple tops product placement charts, Adbusters95.
“So if we problematize the notion of ‘Canada’ through the introjection of the idea of belonging, we are left with the paradox of belonging and non-belonging simultaneously. As a population, we non-whites and women (in particular, non-white women) are living in a specific territory. We are part of its economy, subject to its laws, and members of its civil society. Yet we are not part of its self-definition as ‘Canada’ because we are not ‘Canadians.’ We are pasted over with labels that give us identities that are extraneous to us. And these labels originate in the ideology of the nation, in the Canadian state apparatus, in the media, in the education system, and in the commonsense world of common parlance. We ourselves use them. They are familiar, naturalized names: minorities, immigrants, newcomers, refugees, aliens, illegals, people of color, multicultural communities, and so on. We are sexed into immigrant women, women of color, visible minority women, black/South Asian/Chinese women, ESL (English as a second language) speakers, and many more. The names keep proliferating, as though there were a seething reality, unmanageable and uncontainable in any one name. Concomitant with this mania for naming of ‘others’ is one for the naming of that which is ‘Canadian.’ This ‘Canadian’ core community is defined through the same process that others us. We, with our named and ascribed otherness, face an undifferentiated notion of the ‘Canadian’ as the unwavering beacon of our assimilation.”—Himani Bannerji. The Dark Side of the Nation: Essays on Multiculturalism, Nationalism and Gender (Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2000), p. 65.
“A new sense of the notion of information has been constructed around the photographic image. The photograph is a thin slice of space as well as time. In a world ruled by photographic images, all borders (‘framing’) seem arbitrary. Anything can be separated, can be made discontinuous, from anything else: all that is necessary is to frame the subject differently. (Conversely, anything can be made adjacent to anything else.) Photographing reinforces a nominalist view of reality as consisting of small units of an apparently infinite number — as the number of photographs that could be taken of anything is unlimited. Through photographs, the world becomes a series of unrelated, freestanding particles; and history, past and present, a set of anecdotes and fait divers. The camera makes reality atomic, manageable, and opaque. It is a view of the world which denies interconnectedness, continuity, but which confers on each moment the character of a mystery. Any photograph has multiple meanings; indeed, to see something in the form of a photograph is to encounter a potential object of fascination. The ultimate wisdom of the photographic image is to say: ‘There is the surface. Now think — or rather feel, intuit — what is beyond, what the reality must be like if it looks this way.’ Photographs, which cannot themselves explain anything, are inexhaustible invitations to deduction, speculation, and fantasy.”—Susan Sontag, On Photography (Anchor Books Doubleday, 1977), p. 22-23.
“A defining feature of capitalist societies is that the majority of people are systematically dispossessed from the means of producing wealth — from the land and its resources, mines, factories and so on. This is often done through conscious effort by the state and capital, in order to gain access to what was previously collectively or publicly controlled resources and to create a market in wage labor. In turn, in order to survive people must then enter the labor market and sell their ability to work to the people who have secured ownership over the means of producing wealth. The dispossession of the majority from their land confers a great deal of power to capitalists, including the ability to control conditions of work and thus maintain (from their perspective) a healthy degree of exploitation and profits.”—Todd Gordon. Imperialist Canada (Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2010), p. 30.
“Everybody like to hear that story. Tell us more tell us more more MORE about being a dope addict and a whore! Puta tecata puta tecata. But I tell you what I want, it’s my book — we had a nice place, velvet things, lace curtains, the crystal ball. I ask her once, my hand in the black river of her hair, my eyes looking up at hers, her caramel color skin, red movie lips, the perfume from her like a pink and purple dream — show me Mami how to see. Show me what’s inside the crystal ball. She look at it a long time then say, Ahh Negrita, you don’t want to know.”—Sapphire, Push (First Vintage Contemporary Edition, 1997).
“We hurt each other too well to let it drop. She breaks everything I own, yells at me like it might change something, tries to slam doors on my fingers. When she wants me to promise her a love that’s never been seen anywhere I think about the other girls. The last one was on Kean’s women’s basketball team, with skin that made mine look dark. A college girl with her own car, who came over right after games, in her uniform, mad at some other school for a bad layup or an elbow in the chin. Tonight me and Aurora sit in front of the TV and split a case of Budweiser. This is going to hurt, she says, holding her can up. There’s H too, a little for her, a little for me. Upstairs my neighbors are laying out all the cards about one another. Big cruel loud cards. Listen to that romance, she says. It’s all sweet talk, I say. They’re yelling because they’re in love. She picks off my glasses and kisses the parts of my face that almost never get touched, the skin under the glass and frame. You got those long eyelashes that make me want to cry, she says. How could anybody hurt a man with eyelashes like this?”—Junot Díaz, Aurora, Drown (Riverehead Books, 1996 ), p. 52.
Programs aimed at keeping a lookout for potential terrorists are not about profiling, government officials stress. But an analysis of suspicious activity at the Mall of America near Minneapolis, by NPR News Investigations and the Center for Investigative Reporting, suggests that the mall may be questioning people based partly on their appearance.
From the more than 1,000 pages of suspicious activity reports examined, the documents suggest almost two-thirds of the “suspicious” people whom the Mall reported to local police were minorities. Compare that with the U.S. population, which is more than 70 percent white. And whites account for 85 percent of the population in Minnesota.
One evening last summer, Nauman Tariq, a brain specialist at three hospitals in Minneapolis, had just pulled out of the Mall of America parking lot with his father sitting beside him in the car. Suddenly a police car started tailgating them with its lights flashing. Two more cruisers moved in.
The police ordered Tariq out of the car, frisked him and put him in the back seat of a patrol car. While he was sitting there, he craned his neck to read the policeman’s computer on the front seat.
"My name was there on the laptop with my address and there was this highlighted sentence saying that [he was a] ‘possible terrorist threat,’ " Tariq says. "So that was something which at that time I realized that there was something seriously wrong here."
“As oil reserves dwindle and climate tipping points loom, they babble on endlessly about liquidity, stimulus, derivatives, bond markets, sovereign debt, AAA ratings and investment banker bonuses. They never say a word about melting glaciers, eroding coral reefs, rising sea levels, fizzing oceans or the methane that’s building out of the arctic tundra. Like medieval theologians who argued endlessly about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, today’s economists argue incessantly about how growth can be sustained forever on a finite planet. Ten years from now, as the blowback from the externalities of their way of doing business repeatedly hammers us and global warming kicks in with a vengeance, we’ll look back in shock and awe — and wonder what it was about these logic freaks and their money narratives that so mesmerized us.”—Kalle Lasn, Paradigm shift, Adbusters 94. Sign the manifesto: Kick It Over.
“Europe is now McDonald’s largest region by revenues, despite having roughly one-quarter the number of outlets as the U.S. Last year, revenues from company stores and royalties from franchisees topped $8.9 billion in Europe, compared with $7.9 billion in the U.S. West expects U.S. sales to rise by 3.4 percent, vs. 9 percent for Europe (19 percent if you include the foreign currency impact). This year, he reckons, McDonald’s, the most American of brands, will generate 55 percent of its earnings outside the U.S.”—Kerry Capell, McDonald’s tastes victory in Europe: Runaway success in light of store redesigns, local menus and… fit clubs. Bloomberg Businessweek on msnbc.com
“Even the reporter who wrote the story didn’t want to believe it. Could U.S. troops in central Iraq really have handcuffed and executed an extended family, including four women and five small children? Matthew Schofield of McClatchy Newspapers wrote the story about those allegations more than five years ago, based on reports from Iraqi authorities and a medical examiner in the town of Ishaqi, an incident American forces allegedly tried to cover up with a subsequent airstrike. From March 2006 until today, Schofield had not been able to put the story out of mind. And now, despite repeated denials by U.S. military officials of any misdeed, a diplomatic cable newly released by WikiLeaks corroborates the newsman’s concerns. ‘We need a thorough investigation of this,’ Schofield said. ‘It’s been too long. We need to know what happened in Ishaqi.’”—James Rainey, A grim reminder of Iraq tragedy from WikiLeaks,Los Angeles Times, Sept. 2, 2011.
“I arrived in New Orleans in the rain at 5 o’clock in the morning. I sat around in the bus station for a while but the people depressed me so I took my suitcase and went out in the rain and began walking. I didn’t know where the rooming houses were, where the poor section was. I had a cardboard suitcase that was falling apart. It had once been black but the black coating had peeled off and yellow cardboard was exposed. I had tried to solve that by putting black shoepolish over the exposed cardboard. As I walked along in the rain the shoepolish on the suitcase ran and unwittingly I rubbed black streaks on both legs of my pants as I switched the suitcase from hand to hand. Well, it was a new town. Maybe I’d get lucky.”—Charles Bukowski, Factotum (First Ecco edition, 2003), p. 11
“I do not pull back the curtains of my window until somewhere in New Mexico. I do not open them when the train pulls into Chicago or after that, when I board another Amtrak train, the train that will eventually take me to Los Angeles. When I finally do open the curtains in the small compartment, I am sitting on my bed and staring at passing images beyond the windows as if they are a movie and the clear square window a screen.”—Bret Easton Ellis, Sitting Still, The Informers (First Vintage Contemporary Edition, 1995), p. 68.
“Memory is relatively easy to deal with, from the totalitarian point of view. There is always some agency like the Ministry of Truth to deny the memories of others, to rewrite the past. It has become commonplace circa 2003 for government employees to be paid more than most of the rest of us to debase history, trivialize truth and annihilate the past on a daily basis. Those who don’t learn from history used to have to relive it, but only those in power could find a way to convince everybody, including themselves, that history never happened, or happened in a way best serving their own purposes — or best of all that it doesn’t matter anyway, except as some dumbed-down TV documentary cobbled together for an hour’s entertainment.”—Thomas Pynchon, Introduction to Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (New York: Penguin, 2003), p. XX.
“What does it mean if somebody asks you, Do you support the people of Iowa? Can you say, Yes, I support them, or No, I don’t support them? It’s not even a question. It doesn’t mean anything. That’s the point. The point of public relations slogans like ‘Support our troops’ is that they don’t mean anything. They mean as much as whether you support the people of Iowa. Of course, there was an issue. The issue was, Do you support our policy? But you don’t want people to think about that issue. That’s the point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody’s going to be against, and everybody’s going to be four. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn’t mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy?”—Noam Chomsky, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2nd ed, 2002), p. 26.
“We need some new big idea. The Enlightenment ideas are played out. Think of all the ideas that are dead and gone. What has to come along in the 21st century is a new uber myth/assumption/idea. There’s a parallel, although no parallels are exact, as you know, between the death of Alexander, roughly 300 B.C., and the birth of Christ. And the birth of Christ rises at the same time as the Roman Empire—the old Roman Republic, after 100 years of civil war, gives way to the empyreal idea, in more or less the same few years that Christ is alive and well and walking the roads of Palestine. But in the 300 years between the end of the death of Alexander and the birth of Christ, there’s no guiding idea and the only thing that counts is money. There’s no other value. You don’t get that much civilization coming out of that setup. I expect some idea to come out into the consciousness of the 21st century that will allow for some notion of sustained balance as opposed to unlimited growth.”—Interviewwith Lewis Lapham, Truthdig, Sept. 2, 2011.