Close Reading: Trolling the Utne Library


Geist-coverA look at publications you may not know or may not have seen for a while... 

Focus: “Something to do with Canada.”
About: Geist is a mag­a­zine of ideas and cul­ture made in Canada with a strong lit­er­ary focus and a sense of humor. The Geist tone is intel­li­gent, plain-talking, inclu­sive and off­beat.
Praise and Awards: The Western Magazine Awards “Magazine of the Year”

A Geist Sampler:

Alberto Manguel on the complexities and clichés of Canada:

But slowly, to the image of the Mounties and the poster for dogsled­ding in Quebec, were added other, more unex­pected and more pro­found aspects of our nation. Canada was becom­ing vis­i­ble through its com­plex­i­ties, not merely through its clichés. Then it all stopped….

The recent finan­cial cri­sis, so use­ful to jus­tify every out­ra­geous deci­sion taken in the name of greed, is of course blamed.... But the truth is, the blame is ours. We have allowed our pub­lic tran­sit sys­tems to col­lapse and for rail lines to be ripped out. We have allowed the health sys­tem to become so degraded that, in Alberta, for instance, we find it nor­mal to queue for hours out­side pub­lic clin­ics in freez­ing weather to see what­ever doc­tor hap­pens to be present. We have allowed arts pro­grams to be cut from our schools, and we accept that our chil­dren will be brought up in a sys­tem that con­sid­ers paint­ing and music super­flu­ous activ­i­ties. Maybe, immersed as I was in imag­i­nary places, I believed in a coun­try that never quite existed, at least not beneath the sur­face, and that now, when the arro­gant cupid­ity of our eco­nomic sys­tem no longer both­ers to hide its meth­ods or inten­tions, even that sur­face has been blown away and Canada appears to be nei­ther bet­ter nor worse than most other countries. Read the whole story>> 

Stephen Henighan on the Phony War of Global Warming:

My grand­fa­ther con­tin­ued to work at the cloth­ing shop he owned in London until the day he went to work to find that German bombers had left a large hole in the ground where the shop had stood. The aware­ness of approach­ing dis­as­ter did not alter my grand­par­ents’ behav­iour. Only the next spring, when Germany invaded Norway, did the full import of their deci­sion to enlarge their fam­ily become apparent.

Today we are once again in a Phony War. This time the antag­o­nist is the dam­age we have done to our cli­mate….

In a Phony War you can’t voice your deep­est pre­oc­cu­pa­tions, because they sound like hys­te­ria. We all live with the (mostly unspo­ken) knowl­edge of the inevitabil­ity of our death as indi­vid­u­als. To live with the unspo­ken knowl­edge of the inevitable death of our civ­i­liza­tion, per­haps within three decades, is far more par­a­lyz­ing. Read the whole story>> 

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