Tuesday, November 29, 2005

on criticism.

note: this is a very slightly edited crosspost from my alternative media journal, since this is primarily to do with my MPI project. thought it might benefit from a bit of additional traffic though, so i stuck it up on here, too.

i've got something to write about today that relates to the inevitable (minor, meaningless, and laughable) stir caused in certain circles of lame people by my rude little zine article. i'm going to try and make this about how alternative media relates to its audience, and avoid making it about how little fratboy tools can't take criticism. if it veers off toward the latter, i apologize.

now, one of the main focuses of my project thus far has been the withdrawal of mainstream media. the corporate-run media is so isolated and separate from the polis as a whole that it's nearly impossible for it to function as a truly empowering outlet for civil discourse. alternative media might seem to be the solution to these ills, in that it offers citizens an unprecedented level of enfranchisement in producing media content and contributing to the discourse, rather than simply consuming it.

however, to say that alternative media is universally better than corporate is to create a false dichotomy of good/evil that really has no place in ethnographic research. and criticism is one thing that alternative media does really well, but also in a sense really poorly.

the independent nature of alternative media makes it easy to criticize establishment institutions, like i did in my first essay for the zine, without any problems. nobody minds if you diss the war on terror, 'cos it's a favourite punching bag of the quasi-intellectual wannabe media literate folks who constitute the greatest part of the zine's audience.

however, the insular nature of forms like the zine mean that it's a lot more difficult to be critical of those who might also be members of the incestuous little community that forms its audience. since people are bred and indoctrinated to see the corporate media as fundamentally Other, as separate from society as a whole, people tend to respect the right of criticism. growing up with a professional musician as a parent, i can say with some confidence that it's not exactly kosher to confront a reviewer about a review that one feels is unjustified. and especially not to decry them for criticising you "in this kind of environment," as i was. (note also: what is that supposed to mean?)

the band members that i wrote the terrible review of seem to have this expectation in a 'scene' zine that one won't be critical of members of that scene, that a reviewer has an obligation to be 'encouraging' or some such crap. certainly, i do feel some measure of obligtaion to encourage talent where i see it, especially locally - but i do not feel any obligation to encourage shit, anywhere. sorry, but being in the same faculty as me doesn't entitle you to the complete suspension of my critical faculties. i would have been happy to write some encouraging things, if there was a single thing i legitimately liked about the band.

certainly, the band members are entitled to their (incorrect) opinion of the quality of their music, based upon countless stoned mumblings in a frat-house basement. indeed, they are free to call my tastes misplaced, my verbosity pretentious, and my weight gargantuan. i ripped on them pretty bad in my article, and i'd be a pansy if i expected anything less from them in return. but for one of them to walk up to me in class and look me in the eye with disappointment and ask why i'd criticize them so harshly, as though i have some responsibility to cheerlead every bunch of jam-band wannabes that happens to be involved in MIT... well now that's just asking for propaganda.

and if anyone thinks that's gonna come from me before i've even committed myself to a job in the self-censored world of corporate-shill media... they're sadly (and hilariously) mistaken. not to mention completely out of place in this faculty.

oh. and let it be noted - if any interested parties happen to see this post - that my vitriol is owing not to the bass player approaching me in class, or giving me the finger. he was actually quite friendly, and took the whole thing in stride, as befits a respectable musician. any sincere rage he may have had was held back and/or muffled by sarcasm, at least to my face. thoughtful.

such mild irritation as may exist on my part is owing largely to the fact that the band members and their "manager" (stifles laughter) chose to pester my roommate for hours on end last night. also, i'm a pretentious little fucker, who bristles at the slightest suggestion that he restrain his critical apparatus (heh... apparatus). note also: a little college-rock band does not need a 'manager' to play bar shows with minuscule audiences. 'manager' is in fact euphemism for "guy without musical ability who still wants to feel cool due solely to his association with people that have talent."

alright, that's enough.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

canada is a banana republic.

we're becoming a puppet state of the US.

i just got done sending this email to Joe Fontana, the MP for London North Centre. please, anyone who reads this and is in London, do the same. copy and paste my letter if you so choose. leave a comment if you do, i'd like to see how many i can get sent. if you're not from London, but are Canadian, you can look up your MP here.

if you're not familiar with the details of the case, go here. if you'd like to do something more, go here.


Dear Mr. Fontana,

I'm writing you today to express my displeasure with decisions currently being made by the Liberal administration and Justice Minister Irwin Cotler. I'm one of your consitutuents, a student at the University of Western Ontario, and a permanent resident of the London North Centre district. Though I'm unaware to what extent you're familiar with the case, a Canadian citizen and former resident of London, Marc Emery, is currently going through the legal proceedings to be extradited to the United States for the cross-border sale of marijuana seeds over the Internet. Mr. Emery is a well-known political activist, and former owner of London's City Lights Bookstore.

As a Liberal voter, I feel that this decision is fundamentally opposed to the values of the Liberal party, and constitutes an unwarranted and unlawful intrusion into Canadian sovereignty by the United States government. Regardless of your opinions on the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, the fact remains that Mr. Emery's supposed crime, if it is to be punished at all, ought to be punished fairly and justly according to the laws of
our nation, not according to the draconian laws of another state.

The on-line sale of marijuana seeds, which contain no THC, and cannot be considered 'marijuana' in any true sense of the word, is an activity which has long been pursued by Mr. Emery and many other Canadian businesses. They provide a valuable service, particularly to medical users of cannabis - considering that several US states
and the Canadian federal government have legalized the usage of medical marijuana, it would seem that Mr. Emery's business is growing ever-more legitimate.

The fact is, Mr. Emery is not being prosecuted for the sale of some seeds. Nor was he even arrested by our own RCMP, but rather with the supervision of American drug enforcement officers. This is, simply put, an attempt by the United States to undermine Canada's status as a sovereign nation. He is being prosecuted, by a foreign power, for exercising his right to political assembly and organization in our country. Karen Tandy, administrator of the DEA, said as much in an interview with the Seattle Sun-Times:

"Today's arrest of Mark (sic) Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine and the founder of a marijuana legalization group, is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement... Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery's illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on."

Marc's arrest is not the result of trafficking in illegal drugs, but is rather an attempt by American interests to stifle the political discourse in Canada by imprisoning a Canadian political activist. I am by no means suggesting that you ought to be opposed to the prosecution of a criminal act, whatever the justness of the laws in question. All I ask is that you see this action for what it is - an unwanted and unjust intrusion into the Canadian political process by a foreign power. It is a well-known fact that the American government is firmly opposed to efforts by the Liberal Party to introduce legislation for the decriminalization of marijuana, and this is merely another mechanism by which their conservative government is attempting to stifle progressive legislation.

As a constituent, I would ask that you simply represent the interests of your riding, and demand that the administration and Irwin Cotler refuse to extradite Mr. Emery to the United States. Marijuana decriminalization is a controversial issue, and many are still opposed to legalization efforts; I respect their opinions. However, I know of no Canadian citizen who would approve of the fact that our justice system and indeed our very sovereignty is under attack by the United States. If Mr. Emery is to be prosecuted, let it be in a Canadian court, under Canadian laws, rather than in a foreign court, where he is apt to be sentenced to life imprisonment, even death, for an activity that would merit only minor sanctions under the Canadian judicial system.

Thank you for your time.

Cordially yours,

Alasdair McMillan


Monday, November 21, 2005


I can't feel the funk...but i do find myself in one (funk works as both an adjective, a verb and a noun...FASCINATING).

okay okay...so i've been talking about this teeny little project that i've been working on for a while now...you remember, that little EP of chaos known as "ze bastard synthetics"...i even started writing out the album's back story on this blog...but then i got nervous, thought that it was too self-indulgent (even i have moral limits...though they do exist in the stratusdiddsphere) and finished at part 1...

anyways, matt and i have finally finished it...and will be holding a packaging party on saturday at InTouch Studios to put together a bunch of the CDs (talk about DIY) so my friends and family can have a copy of it. I really don't plan on making more than 100 of them, i don't really see more than that many people really wanting the thing...but who knows.

I kind of like the idea of grassroots art...doing it for fun, no pressure...i know i'm no musical virtuoso...i'm merely a fan, and would love to share this bad boy with you...

tracks include pieces that were recorded starting in March of 2004 and ending in August of 2005...there are also like 20 songs that didn't make it (i believe in continuity, only 7 fit) which i will post on various websites for people to listen to or ignore...it really doesn't matter to me.

anyways...let me know if you're interested in getting a copy, i'm not here to force-feed anything down people's throats...i feel bad enough talking ad nauseum about the whole thing on a blog (self-promotion is icky)....i mean, the EP isn't anything revelatory, but it does seem to be a pretty strong (or at least interesting) first attempt at making a record....

you can hear two songs that didn't make it at:


the CD will be released on Tuesday, November 29, 2005



the new weezer video is the most horrible thing i've ever seen.

Friday, November 18, 2005

more than one kind of frost.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

bum fuck dill pickles.

i hate blogging.....why do i keep doing it?

i've become a typical 12 year old boy from the 1970's.........listening to symphonic rock (i'm lookin' at you flaming lips/sufjan stevens/eels) and playing RISK (one could substitute RISK for D&D...same diff)...........i still say i have more taste though.

photoshoots are for models, not mannequins.

everything is flashing before my eyes..........time to die..............oops...........still here.

suicide is silly..........people just need to eat more ju jubes..........it can't be THAT bad.

..........................a long pause occurred while The Flaming Lips' song "Sleeping on The Roof" tripped me the hell out.

how corny is it that i'm still blown away by songs.............

"it's not grade 12.....i'm not trying to find myself" - Brit.

what to do with this life of mine? i think i want to invent a new condiment.

one time there was a squirrel
it was a magic squirrel
but it had a terrible secret

...........what should was the squirrels secret?


Monday, November 14, 2005

your spiritual leader? probably.

so another weekend comes to an abrupt end.

I found myself in the midst of a violent drink-a-thon with young mr. liam thomas murray, a male sibling of mine. We are a bit concerned because we have been unable to piece together the how/when/why/what/if we got home on friday night....we can only assume that a variety of animal and plant life were sacrificed in the process.

I got to see the classiest little indie/folk/generally mind-blowing band last night...

The Barmitzvah Brothers make me endlessly happy...and it's just ridiculous how much better they get each and every time i see them....we also realized last night that essentially all of their songs are waltzes............which is the most incredible thing ever/of all time.

i am currently obsessed with the back slash....

disney/fuck puppy

I also saw Noodles on friday night, with my mom and a priest who has been friends with my zany family since like the 1940s. It was a hilarious good time...............noodles tends to blow my mind in ways i would've never thought possible. The woman is just a complete genius....80 years old....she's all heart.....and she's possibly the most inappropriate human being alive.....in perhaps the most loving way possible. ALRIGHT! ENOUGH OF THE MUSH!

..........weird tingly feelings in my brain/heart..........

Eels are fascinating little musical outfit. their live record oh, what a beautiful morning is absolutely nvfkjhgfjlkhgklhjgkljhgkljhklgjhkjgh!!!@#$$#%$%$

that link leads nowhere.

one of alex's friends told me that i made a connection with him last night....one that will inspire the rest of his life..........he was drunk.......but i still believe that he will take my teachings and move forth, spreading the word......CAMISM IS COMING!!!!

Monday, November 07, 2005



read this blog, it's friggin hilarious.

that's all. i've got a joint to roll!

Friday, November 04, 2005

spam is fun.

so, i'm at work right now, and we just received this delightfully inscrutable spam email. i love how, in a last-ditch attempt to foil now-ubiquitous spam blocking software, spammers have resorted to just adding paragraphs of completely random text. here is an exact copy of the email, in all its unedited glory (except i edited out the product pitch... no way am i giving those satan-worshipping cock-manglers any free publicity)


Don't you regret eating about once a week?.
cheese burger and cheese fries .... mmmmm.
Luke is missing jumping today..
Those news announcers aren't practicing shaving next to the police station
right at this time..
Joseph doesn't dislike praying carelessly..
Ashley disliked reading between the two buildings..
I am enjoying eating in the river..
The librarians don't remember skiing for more than an hour..
Betty Sue wasn't enjoying working..
tomorrow i will wash my hair and go to the salon.
But this is where you come in: Between now and November, you, the American
people, you can reject the tired, old, hateful, negative politics of the
past. And instead you can embrace the politics of hope, the politics of
what's possible because this is America, where everything is possible..
i need to get a pedicure. my feet smell and itch.
They are not missing shouting today..
I didn't love dancing for two hours..
The gardners regret skiing well..
Those police officers are practicing driving between the two buildings..
Is the scientist missing praying?.
Doesn't Suzanne like skiing among the trees?.
The science teachers practiced fighting..
Those police officers are practicing driving between the two buildings..
Until that day, he could not hear the language differences. He asked for
the computer every day by pointing to it. He was allowed to spend time each
day on the noun program. One year later he was talking in full sentences
and was staffed into normal preschool..
Doesn't Suzanne like skiing among the trees?.
Do those gardners regret walking carefully?.
14. Ninety six bottles of beer, three a's, three b's, one c, two d's,
twenty eight e's, seven f's, three g's, eight h's, thirteen i's, four l's,
sixteen n's, nine o's, nine r's, twenty six s's, twenty t's, four u's, four
v's, six w's, five x's, and five y's on the wall. .
I missed shouting carefully..
Did Roy love working on the top of the mountain?.
Haven't the journalists liked surfing?.
Were those farmers practicing shouting next to the police station?.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


if the sparseness of my posts leave you feeling empty and hollow... read my other blog, which has been created for the purposes of fulfilling the 'journal' requirement for my MPI 391 project. not that i'm going to stop posting here, but the other one is going to get a good chunk of my attention til the project is due at the beginning of december.