Dog-Eared: August 2017

The opening skit of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival (2017) in Mineapolis, starring James Kennedy, Keir Graff, and Kelly Barnhill pokes fun at what Kennedy calls “this weird tendency to kill animals in children’s books.” Kennedy describes the skit:

A devil’s-bargain device is revealed, Kate DiCamillo is affectionately
denounced, there is some (tasteful!) murder, and then Kelly, Keir and I
launch into the opening number from “Hamilton” with a 90-Second Newbery

Film Crit Hulk SMASH: On Criticism In The Intersectional Age is a long read and a reflective one on learning to get out of one’s own way and listen – on what being an ally really means (a lot of shutting up and tamping down one’s need to be seen as “good” in order to keep the conversation on who it should be about instead of being All About Me); criticism vs. disinterest:

White entertainment haaaates thinking of itself as niche, but it always really has been. And it is that acknowledgement that is the most important part. Not defensiveness,.. Just simple acknowledgment that it is what it is.

on conflicting interests and the demand for perfection when really we don’t need (and will never reach) consensus:

If you look at the very definition of intersectionality, you have to acknowledge that conflicting interests and needs are at the very heart of it. Thus, 100% consensus is a literally impossible. Sure, there are overlaps in what we all do, but it’s mostly about acknowledging and owning the things that don’t overlap and how it impacts all of our lives in different ways. It’s acknowledging difference. So why do we think that a movie could somehow implicitly satisfy every condition of intersectionality? And more importantly, when someone is vocal about the ways that it does not, why do we then freak out?

and on fixing your heart:

Sometimes I worry about our cultural emphasis on alignment and agreement versus compassion. Meaning I worry that in the culture war, it’s all about being on the right side of the fight, and if you aren’t? To hell with ya. Sometimes I worry that in call out culture, we have no idea what to do with “part 2″ of the situation once the called-out genuinely wants to get better. We just want them to go away forever (which literally no one can do). Sometimes I worry people think their morality and what makes them good just depends on pointing at the bad people and saying they’re bad.


What does it really mean to “fix your heart?”

It’s not your mind. It’s not your viewpoint. It’s not getting on the right side. It’s fixing your heart. So really, it’s about having compassion. Which means it’s about compassion for others, but not in the proverbial sense, for it’s not the theoretical masses or minorities out there. It’s finding compassion for the other person. The person right in front of you. The person talking. No matter who they are and what they are saying about you. And, no, that doesn’t mean tolerating their viewpoints. It’s understanding their personhood. I do actually realize what I’m asking with this. In the modern social media landscape, there’s a litany of people with the most hateful, toxic, horrific opinions whose only goal is to tear you down. These are people who genuinely mean ill will, so you largely need to remove yourself from that toxicity. No, this sentiment is far more about the conversation within cannibalizing liberal circles and ally-ship, when it comes from the people you would like to count yourself among. It’s about us figuring out how to all row in the same direction, that’s where it becomes critical. That’s where it’s all about finding your own capacity for change and reflection, not demanding theirs.

Children’s author Grace Lin spoke recently on what to do when your childhood favourites, the books you loved to read as a kid and now love reading to your kids, are racist.

Sometimes, good people, people you love, aren’t always right.

And that is how I feel about these classic books. I’m not saying we should ban them. I’m saying we should treat them like out-of-touch relatives. We all have that aunt or uncle, or maybe even a parent, who believes in things you don’t agree with.

You can still love that relative, and you can still let them be a part of your child’s life. But because you know they might say something you don’t like, don’t you try to keep an extra ear open, in case they say something in front of your child? And then, don’t you explain afterwards?

(Nafiza’s review of Grace Lin’s When the Sea Turned to Silver; Janet’s review of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.)

On August 4th, Crystal Fraser and Dr. Sara Komarnisky released a list of 150 Acts of Reconciliation. Crystal Fraser is currently working on her doctorate in History


On August 4th, there are 150 days left in 2017 – the year of Canada’s 150th birthday. There have been robust discussions this year around reconciliation and we would like to contribute to the conversation. Together, we have written 150 Acts of Reconciliation for the last 150 days of 2017. Many of these are small, everyday acts that average Canadians can undertake, but others are more provocative that encourage people to think about Indigenous-settler relationships in new ways.

They also provide a downloadable pdf of the list. If you’re the sort of person who likes to see things (and check them off), this is for you. The list is chock full of good resources as well – Indigenous bloggers, artists, podcast(er)s, and academics. #150Acts