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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Catch phrase activism

I've got a photo heavy post for you today.

Youngest and I headed over to the library this evening.  Our usual routine, when the budget allows, is to sit for a while in the Second Cup that is in the library, chat, do some crochet, whatever.  Unfortunately it's closed for renovations right now, so we were going to go across the street to a fair trade coffee shop.  On finding it was going to close within 10 minutes, we headed into a nearby mall where we thought we might get some bubble tea.  Everything there was closed.  We still wanted to go somewhere, so we headed a couple of blocks over to a Tim Horton's we knew would be open later.

It just happens to be directly across the street from where the local Occupy group is squatting in a private park.  They were supposed to be gone this morning, but from what I read in the paper, they apparently had an hour-long meeting and decided they wouldn't leave.  The owners have granted them an extra day, but there's no word yet on what's going to happen tomorrow.

We couldn't see much of what was going on.  It was rather dark, so all we could see were a few signs and the edges of tarps and tents light up by the street lights, and shadows in the background.  It's a small park holding a small group of people.  We didn't go across to see more.  I wasn't comfortable with the idea of going past there in the dark with my 15 yr old daughter.  My older daughter, sure.  Eldest is a more assertive, confident type that people tend to leave alone.  Youngest, unfortunately, has the sort of demeanor that has every passing drunk shouting "yeehaw!!" when they see her walk by in her cowboy hat and duster, and every aggressive panhandler aims for.  I have less concerns about her walking along past the federal prison near us at night than walking alone down the main thoroughfare downtown.  The types of people that come out are very different.

Though we didn't go across the street, we found something else.  Leaving through a different entrance, we found a bunch of chalk writing on the sidewalk.  Only in front of the Tim Horton's, though.  I found this interesting, since there's a CIBC at the other end of the complex.  I thought the occupiers were against banks?  Perhaps walking to the other end of the block was too much effort.

For those outside of Canada, the CIBC is the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The complex is even called Commerce Place.  It's tenants include not only the Timmies we were at, but everything from a radio station, corporate offices and retail outlets, including an organic restaurant/bakery/mini-grocery store that specializes in all natural, sustainable fare.  It's always a very busy place, too.  An excellent example of capitalism, actually.  Among the services it offers is a meal delivery service, where people can order prepared, hot organic meals for regular delivery.  They know how to give their customer base what it wants, and are very successful at it.

Speaking of capitalism, here's one of the sidewalk phrases we found.

It reads, "capitalism kills love - you decide - love kills capitalism."

In interesting sentiment.  According to this, people have to chose between love and capitalism.  Either choice is violent, resulting in the death of the other.  Fascinating.  False dichotomies like this are really popular.  It makes me wonder what the writer thinks capitalism is.  Somehow, I don't think they mean the organic food store I mentioned above.

This one reads, "we'll see you at the barricades."  I didn't see any, but it was dark.  There may have been some across the street, but I've no idea where.


I'm not sure what this means.  It could be a reference to communism as a form of government.  Or it could be suggesting we all live in communes.

 "Cynicism of the intellect
Utopianism of the will."

What the heck does that even mean?  I am catching the vague Marxist/Leninist reference, but that's about it.

Two phrases in this one.  "Destroy capitalism" and "the kingdom of heaven is among you."  I find the juxtaposition of destruction with a heavenly biblical reference amusing.

 Another dual message and biblical reference.  "Occupy everywhere" and "the meek shall inherit the earth." 

Uh huh.

 "Without love no one would care enough to act in defence of our society!"

What was I saying about false dichotomies again? 

"CNT-FAT You do the work they get the pay."

I have no idea what the CNT-FAT refers to.  Actually, I don't know what they're referring to about people working while someone else gets paid for that work, either.

"Freedom should be free."

Actually, freedom is bought and paid for with blood and sacrifice.  Freedom in never free and needs to be fought for and defended.  Strange that people living in one of the freest countries in the world do not seem to appreciate, nor recognise, their freedom and the price others paid to bequeath it to us. 

 Love is greater than money.  Another false dichotomy. 

 Oh, the next few I find hilarious!  First...

Here is one of a couple of free papers available.  This one, put out by the same company that sells the Journal next to it, if I remember correctly, is labelled good.  The paper is free because it's paid for with advertising dollars.  In other words, we get this paper for free thanks to capitalists.

 Here is another free paper, put out by a competing company.  It, too, is labelled good.  I assume because it's also free.  It could also be because of the content.  If you click on the image to see it full size, you'll note the front page reads "Bad teacher," with an apple labelled "Eat me."  We stopped reading this paper because of the high sexual content.

Note that this paper, labelled good, is owned by Quebecor.  Quebecor also owns this paper....

 Yes, this paper that is labelled as "lies."  Three times, even.  It's part of the Sun Media group.

So, free paper full of sexual content, good.  Sun newspaper, owned by the same company, is filled with lies.

Got that?

No, I don't get it, either.

This smudged out writing reads "Edmonton Sun = Fox News."

So not only is the Sun filled with lies, it's Fox News.

This is actually an inadvertent compliment.  It turns out that Fox News is the most balanced of the big news sources.

Opponents of Sun Media are a fairly amusing lot.  They insist, no matter what the facts, on equating them with Fox News.  Fox News, of course, is the source of all things evil and hateful, according to them.  I don't get the channel, so I have no idea.  I don't watch any of the other big news channels, either.  For Canadian news, Sun News Network is the only thing I watch now, though any tv watching is rare for me.  I'm more likely to watch clips online. 

SNN has nothing to do with Fox News.  Never did.  There is no connection between the two, except that they are both admittedly right leaning (unlike the other news sources that are left leaning, but won't admit it).  This is enough, however, to have them branded as the source of all things terrible by people who admit they never watch either.

So this particular bit of sidewalk wisdom is not only an inadvertent compliment, it's perpetuating a falsehood.

This one is funny.  It has the words solidarity and love spelled out, with the peace symbol and anarchy symbol scattered around for good measure.  I read this and I suddenly start hearing this.

I don't think the people who wrote this understand where Solidarity comes from.  Being of Polish descent, the movement and its accomplishments held great meaning for my family.  For a group of people who openly advocate communism, Marxism and socialism, I find the expropriation of the Solidarity movement both ironic and disgusting.

 You'll have to click on this one to see it full size.  I did my best to put together 5 photos to get the whole thing.  It has two messages.  The long one reads "Be careful or the media will have you hating the people being oppressed and loving the people doing the oppressing."
Under that it reads, "transcend without transcendence."

The first part is inadvertently funny, while the second part sounds like New Agey spiritualism.

 Another merging of photos gives us a quote from the band, Billy Talent.  "You can turn your back or you can plant the seed.  You can choose compassion or universal greed."

Yet another false dichotomy, but it's lyrics from a famous band, therefor it's wise.  Right?

I think I should swing by these guys during the day with a camera - if they're still there - and see what other nuggets of wisdom they have to share.

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