Thursday, December 18, 2014

"The Interview" and Intellectual Freedom

Hey all,

I suppose you've heard the news:

Corner Gas has a movie! I watched it (yesterday, at this hour), and it's really good. Seriously, if you're a fan of the Corner Gas show, or just a Canadian, I'd really recommend seeing/buying it. Oh, and there were some things happening in Alberta politics. Disappointing and stupid things.

Sadly, I'm not writing now to talk about fun or disappointing things: I'm going to talk about terrible things.

The Sony corporation has decided to block their film The Interview from going to theatres in any country. Now, this isn't because it probably sucks (no offense to Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Dan Sterling, etc.). It's because Sony is a cowardly corporation that bends to terrorism.

Probably not the words they'd use.

Here's one of many articles discussing it (NBC).

This is an issue of intellectual freedom and terrorism. Obviously. It's self-censorship based on some insane threats.

It is absolutely ridiculous that anyone in a "free" country would let psychopaths control our art (which, I admit, is a generous description of blockbuster movies). Maybe, MAYBE, if there was a real and direct threat on human lives we could make concessions in the short term. But there is no way anyone in their right mind thinks the North Korean government is a real threat to lives outside of their own country. There was never any real threat that "North Korean sleeper cells would bomb theatres," or whatever. The only people the North Korean's can really push around is their own citizens.

So far as I can find, there hasn't even been any credible threats. From the NBC article linked above: "a Department of Homeland Security official said that there was 'no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters,' but that it was aware of the threat." North Korea itself must be pleased with the turn of events: two less films criticizing it (there was a second movie cancelled, starring Steve Carell tentatively titled "Pyongyang"), and an inflated sense of importance in the world stage. But there is no realistic threat, Sony is just paranoid after their recent loss of information (and, really, why should corporations have privacy if individuals don't deserve it?).

Serves them right for having so much private information on the internet. The internet is public, every centimetre of it.

This is so weird that even Mitt Romney is on the right side of things. MITT ROMNEY, the dude that thinks a concept used to group and hide human beings behind a noun should be considered "people" (I always want to vomit/cry/flail-randomly-in-anger when I remember his words). He thinks that Sony should release the offending film online for free:

". don’t cave, fight: release free online globally. Ask viewers for voluntary $5 contribution to fight ."

The dude even asked Sony to get people to donate to fight Ebola. Mitt Romney. I don't even.

Terrorism won. Vague threats of death and damage swayed people, lots of people, and made them silence themselves and their works. Note to self: terrorism works. Though, I suppose this isn't *really* new information: the Sun News Network and Fox News have been using terror to influence people for ages.

Sony needs to release the movie online. Well, they SHOULD release the movie in theatres, but whatever.

Let's pretend Sony is right to believe that waves of North Korean fanatics are just waiting to bomb theatres (because, OBVIOUSLY, North Koreans that are allowed to leave the oppressive country are going to remain loyal without Suicide Squad style bomb implants), and we should stop having public gatherings (ie: theatre showings) of critical discussions. Then release the dissent online, and good luck to the bombers that need to destroy every server and household/public computer.

We cannot allow terrorists to think that threats of violence will realistically manipulate our media and our thoughts.

So, I think I've said some pretty strong things here. I would absolutely love to hear some responses from you, so please comment on this post. I'll definitely be happy to respond when I'm more sober.

--Ken

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Homeless Connect October 2014

FLIF had a great time at Homeless Connect in October. With all of the donations from EPL, we were able to hand out lots of books to the attendees of the event!

Two of our members helping out at our booth!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fundraiser Being Used to Support Recently Cancelled Play

A production of the play Almost, Maine, written by John Cariani, has been cancelled at a high school in North Carolina, despite the students’ claim that they had permission to put on the production. The cancellation occurred because the principal felt that “the play’s “‘sexually-explicit overtones and multiple sexual innuendos’ are at odds with the school’s mission and educational objectives.”

In response to this cancellation, a Kickstarter campaign has been created by the those in the school's community to allow the students to continue with their production. Their goal has already been reached and they pledge to donate half of the excess money to OUTright Youth of Catawba Valley,” an organization focused on supporting LGBTQ youth, and “the other half of the excess [will go] to various arts organizations in [their] immediate area.”

Additional links: www.bookshelvesofdoom.org and www.broadwayworld.com


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Homeless Connect Reminder

Hi everybody!


We hope the long weekend treated you well and you are refreshed for the coming weeks!


This is just a reminder that Sunday (October 19th) is Homeless Connect. We'll be at the Shaw Conference Centre (9797 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


See you there volunteers!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Homeless Connect: It's that time of year again!

Hey everyone!

This is just a reminder that FLIF will be participating in Homeless Connect on October 19th from 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Two weeks from today!)

Homeless Connect takes place at the Shaw Conference Centre, 9797 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton.

If you're volunteering, see you there!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Banned Books Week

It is now Banned Books Week, and hopefully you've seen some of the resources and articles raising awareness and celebrating intellectual freedom.

The CLA put out a press release on last year's survey of challenged resources and policies, as well as a report written by Alvin Schrader and Donna Bowman.

The ALA always has their webpage.

And there's an organization sponsored by publishers.

There are tons of ways to get involved this week. Raise awareness in your community (not everyone is as aware of banning/challenging books as you are). Loudly proclaim your commitment to and love for intellectual freedom over the internet or in person (Loudly: all in caps, at the top of your lungs). Take a commonly challenged book out of the library (return it on time and in good condition, please), or use your dollar vote to show support to publishers and authors of controversial works. Hug an intellectual freedom fighter (aka: librarian).

Here are some fun things that I found today:

A comic:

And a quiz.

Please let us know what you've found, what inspires you, or just whatever your brain wants to drop out in the comments.

Oh, and remember: banning and challenging works is real, and very serious. Don't celebrate Banned Books Week; celebrate our freedom to choose what we consume, and the people that fight for this freedom.

--Ken

Monday, September 08, 2014

Happy International Literacy Day!

This year the theme for the UNESCO event is "Literacy and Sustainable Development". Literacy is so important to education, and it helps to build strong and sustainable societies. Though the event is being celebrated on a global scale this year, the main celebration will be taking place in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Click here to read more about the event, including its history and importance.