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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tyee and the practice of banishment

Beers, the editor of Tyee has it emblazoned upon his site's masthead that Tyee is "The feisty one". The reality is, in my view, something quite different., unless one considers facial cream made from the foreskins of hapless males to be truly something demonstrative of Tyee's and by extension, Beer's real "feistiness". Which is the tone and direction Tyee has much moved over recent months, after an initial honeymoon period following its founding of a few years ago now, until Beers had used the controversy generating potential of "the left" and other assorted ragtags and misfits to build up the popularity of the Tyee site.

It came to seem to many of us, since he is a relative new inhabitant from the US in this country, that he was expecting that Canadian democracy was not much more than what passes for democracy in the US. Now very often that is true, that Canadian democracy, the formal or "State" aspects of it anyway, are not much more meaningful than the Amerikan model notions. Both of our "official" notions of formal democracy are afterall fundamentally modeled on the merchant class compromise with the monarchy notions of it, evolved out of the aftermath of the English Civil War of the 1600s. At the street citizen level though, I think, we Canadians tend to expect much more, and have generally been much more prepared to accept, or at least tolerate, a much wider range of social and political opinion and practice than has the empire heartland to our south-, as a general rule and with exceptions.

And Beers evidences much more, I think, the US sensibility still around issues of what constitutes a more real democracy, and what constitutes actual political and broader ideas "feistiness". That is, especially if it doesn't fit within the narrower definition demanded by loyalty to "the State" and "the System" of capitalism, and the proverbial, if more myth than real, land of the free and home of the brave. Which over the US Empire expansion period, and of special interest here, has been extended to include the requirement for all to genuflect to their Middle East ally Israel. And if he/she won't, then brand the sonuvabitch as disloyal, an anti-semite (without even realizing that actually means "anti-arab"), or simply ban the recalcitrant blighter, as Tyee did in my case. Tar, feather and run the bugger out of town, in the classic wild west mythological tradition of Beer's still, at least his emotional and lingering sensibilities homeland.

I actually think he is having difficulty accepting that many Canadians, at least, are a little less impressed with the Amerikan two basically indistinguishable parties democracy view of the universe, or that it actually is the best of all possible worlds. Indeed, the degree to which it does exist up here is being challenged by notions of a more radicalized participatory democracy and such. And that what passes for "the left" in the US is not quite the same up here. There is a different history and tradition, as there was similarly, though it got confused in the times, with the old USSR.

Too bad for you Beers, and us too actually. Because we were prepared to accept you, and you had an idea that looked like it might actually work as an actual "liberation" instrument for awhile there. Until it frightened you, I suspect, and you decided to simply banish, what you saw as the main problem challenging your still US view of the world. With the banning victim just happening, in this instance, to be myself, of course. (And no doubt, as your discovery of Glavin demonstrates, we do have those, especially in "some" sections of the Jewish/pro-Israeli left in this country, but elsewhere on the right as well, who tend to share that US centric view. )

My view.

Which is okay, and I harbour no real grudge or malice toward you. You have in a way actually been the instrument of my liberation from the limitations of Tyee "The Tame One". 'Cause maybe, just maybe, we can actually achieve here, what it looked like, for awhile, you and Tyee, now, like I say, "the tame one" might have. Might have.


lynn said...

Great job, Coyote.

I love this quote from Jack London and I think it is quite applicable here, both in regard to London's exuberant nod to the best use of our short and valuable time here on good ol' Earth... and especially in regard to the omnipresent "taming" taking place all around us...whether it be our rivers, our wilderness, our representative voices, our free press...in the end - ourselves:

"“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

bear said...

"The function of man is to live, not to exist".

(I appologize in advance if this turns into a rant) :-)

Powerful words lynn :-) For some reason these dayz, I am drawn to thinking about the non-thinking. I am thinking of those that have lost their way in society’s sea of conformists who may never fully realize themselves and the impact they may have on others and the world around them. "Conform", and "Fall-in". I think of the Farside cartoon, when a sheep steps up to the front of a herd of sheep and says, "We don't all have to be sheep you know". Leaders, and independent thinkers, are out there, Coyote is that, and I think we all are examples of that, but there is a pressure in society to quit thinking and follow. It probably makes it easier for our “leaders”. If you stand out, you often stand out alone. Freedom of speech, and freedom of expression, is what separates us, but more importantly, it’s what unites us too... Without that freedom, we are sheep in the sense of followers and that is dangerous thinking today. Dangerous, because, who is leading??? Freedom to "Live", express, and be fully what we are intended to be, and impact fully the way we meant to impact, and nothing less, is what I enjoy about the people who post here. With freedom, comes expansive thought and that is what we need in order to explore the many serious and pressing issues facing us living on the Earth today...

Cool, thanks again lynn.



lynn said...

Rock on, Bear!

"With freedom, comes expansive thought..."

I couldn't agree more, really insightful piece of writing, bear...great to hear from you.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget to drop in and read Ann Cameron on the 'Can't afford your charter rights' thread @ Tyee too.

And have a look at Glavin's own blog/ and the Cohen thread transmontanus.blogspot.com

kind of interesting.

Coyote said...

I love rants Bear. Though they are much discredited, they are likely the ever more rare opportunities we get in this increasingly "tamed" world and society to see evidence of real passion anymore, at least outside the Middle East. Some people actually find rants, strong expressions of opinion and analyses, almost traumatizing it seems, that someone would actually put that much feeling-, real emotion out there for the rest of the world to mock.

Rant on here anytime, my friend Bear. :-)

And read modern day, over educated very often, even what passes for "left" opinion, on Tyee and elsewhere out there, and there is a "sanitizedness" to it, especially coming from formal NDP opinion, and the Greens, a "conformity" to the "system norms" imbued, heavily interlaced in it. It's how that "tameness" that Lynn so correctly identifies, manifests itself everywhere these days, even within what has been that hereto intellectual/indignant force within our society, its radicalizing, untamed impulse, and willingness to actually fight, even with one's body, for humanizing, socially compassionate social change.

We are over taming and destroying in the process, the larger world of raw nature, but also ourselves, down to conformity and bland. (Just watch the gathering evidence of it on even the Weather Channel, as I just did. :-)

It is my major annoyance with late life and society in the over-shaped ,pruned and manicured human world. I escape from it and into the bush as much as I can-, which gets more problematic as I age. :-) Though even in the deep bush one keeps coming up against that all consuming "civilizing/taming" presence of human society. Uniformly felled trees on a massive scale, tires in creeks and streams, beer can tabs in the most unlikely places, and plastic bags! Plastic bags! I can't believe how they have insinuated themselves into just about every corner of the planet! Sometimes it is even impossible to guess how they might have gotten where you find them.

And what we are doing to larger nature, we are doing to ourselves, our heads and our bodies, and our human societies.

And like I say, one can't even seem to escape it amongst what has come to be much of so-called "left-wing" opinion; it's dumming down and dull, uninspiring conformity. Its over-rationalizations.

For all its mistakes, and they made them, I still have a greater instinctive, natural response fondness for much of what was the "Old Left". At least they still actually believed in what they were attempting, and with a real passion driving them on, even to selfless sacrifice, unfortunatle, only seen today in religious Jihadis. (And they, that Old Left were frequently scared too, with good reason.)

Now it is all just so much academe it seems, merely an intellectual exercise, a debating society.

All right Lynn and Bear, there's my "rant" for the day. :-)

I hate it. I hate what you have correctly identified.

bear said...

Awesome Coyote...! I appreciate your "rant" totally my friend. We can blame lynn for both rants :-) and thank her too...

What you said about the need to get out to the forest, I agree. We will be heading to Galiano Island for the weekend to visit some friends, but of course to inhale the musty old growth smells. It will be hard to get me indoors, as I am ready for some REAL smells. No predators on the Island though, darn. That may feel a little like the plastic bags in the forests, something there that shouldn't be there, and something not there that should be there. Human footprints everywhere eh... Oh well, we will read ya in a couple dayz my friend...

Keep howlin' Yote' :-o

Peace and Love,