my new thoughts
i've decided to move my political thoughts into a different format. i'm going to attempt to discipline myself into regularly writing column-length pieces on a variety of topics. for those of you interested in receiving them, simply e-mail me at mark dot schaan at some.ox.ac.uk
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Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
About a boy who randomly posts but is filled with many thoughts, most of them ridiculous, some stupid and the odd one intriguing...
- Name: bureaubrat
Monday, January 17, 2005
my new thoughts
Thursday, November 04, 2004
it has come to my attention that this web site is more widely consulted than i had previously thought to be the case. this means that i'm going to have to neuter my content a bit. sorry to my friends in winnipeg, waterloo and toronto, but i'm likely not going to say much about my personal life here. if you want the real gossip, drop me a line and we can have a good chat. alternatively, i'll be in the hinterland this holiday season. i'm in winnipeg from 9 december to 30 december and in toronto from 30 december to 9 january.
for those outside of these locales, it looks like e-mail is the way forward. so, from here on, you're likely to find content about politics, books, random musings or some rather banal statement on the facts of my life. you're unlikely to get the good stuff though- no rants about my job, my friends, or my partners. thinking back, i'm not sure i post on that anyway.
all good wishes, m.
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Wednesday, November 03, 2004
cast me gently into morning, for the night has been unkind
it's hard to imagine that, upon sober second thought, the result would be the same. however, at the same time, it does suggest to me that there is a bravery in courting death. however, my overwhelming emotion today is one of sympathy. in some small way, sympathy for the world which must now deal with a president who has clearly shown his desire to act unilaterally, pre-emptively, and probably most sickening selectively, in the international arena, to ignore international precedent or convention, and to eshue neither the values of responsible conservatism, nor compassionate liberalism but of strategic selfishness. but the largest part of my sympathy is for those 48% of americans who voted against this vision. those individuals who have seen their country tainted in the broader world, who have seen their jobs lost, their trade mismanaged, and their dollars misspent.
it is the way of elections that there are tough losses and hard transitions. but i simply hoped, for america's sake and for the world's, that they could move on. however, walking home at 7 am this morning, i just wanted to move on from such an unkind night.
by way of joking suggestion. my friend robert, who once ran for office in the us, has long argued that the american coasts poll similar in social values to canada. so, in spirit of helping our demoralised friends, i suggest that we simply inherit all the pretty blue bits of the map. the rest of the american midlands (that big red swath) will come to be known as Texas Big. therein, we'll form a wonderful coalition free from electoral college votes and protected by the magnificent charter... anyway, it's a thought.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2004
angel's wings and breakdowns
it's just one of those nights. one of those times when the night is dark and the clouds obscure. one of those moments when your strength and your weakness duke it out and it ends a draw. one of those instances when you know you're on the cusp of change; if not change, action. this is the noun before the verb.
and in the gentle voice in the background, somebody sings that there's beauty in the breakdown. but more importantly, the voices whisper that the passion is well-painted but that you suspect impersonation. and it's a little of column a and a little bit of column b.
as i said to my friend yesterday, november will either by stunning or drowning. i could have a new role, new funding for the rest of my work, a new excitement for my research, and a person to share all of this with. or i could have none of them. and it's so hard not to get built up- the possibilities so rich and real and within grasp. but the fall so hard, leaving you clumsy and slightly drunk with unsteadiness.
and for now there is only this moment. so i'll forge on and wait to see if the verb is flying or sinking. here's praying for angel's wings but humming that there's beauty in the breakdown...
"Excuse me too busy
Writing your your tragedy
These mishaps you bubble-wrap
When you've no idea what you're like
So let go, So let go, jump in
Oh well what you waiting for
'Cos there's beauty in the breakdown"
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Thursday, October 21, 2004
no good excuse
i wish i could say i have been doing something profound and thereby excuse my absence. instead, i've been doing a lot of busy work and spent the summer as a nomad with little gusto for posting. so, here i slink back to my non-audience to repent. ironic that i pick probably one of my busiest periods in oxford to suddenly find blogging a happy medium for procrastination.
there is a lot that could be said about life right now. i could talk endlessly about the difficulties i've had over the summer in sorting out life direction. i could explain further about why i've decided to pursue further academic study but under what conditions i've let myself go that way. i could wax poetic about some of the brilliant people who have filled my life in the past few months (clare, katie, edge, bryce, lele, sharon). i could even talk about my work.
but, i think instead that at this late hour the thoughts i want to share with the world are these: i've spent 2/3 or more of my life doubting myself and trying to live up to other people's expectations- sometimes even being an asshole to do so. too often, i've confused self-worth with self-aggrandisement. but, in the last few months and, in fact, in the last few years, i've realised that there's a lot more goodness to be found without trying that hard; there's a lot more bliss to be found in realising how great life is at the moment- not waiting for when it will be. to those who haven't seen me struggle through this and have simply criticised- it's a free country but i'm trying to no longer care about you so fuck off. to those who have supported me and cared for me as i've worked through much of this- thank you and i love you. for those still watching, let's stop the procession and realise that we're all just fumbling towards ecstasy
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Thursday, June 17, 2004
from 0 to 2 in only 1 day?
i know, i know. i slack off from posting and then come back with a vengeance. anyway, i know finally have the time to reflect on things, notably, the current canadian election.
essentially, i increasingly feel that this is a 'made by the media' election. in the early days of the campaign, the media focused all of their energies on the crumbling liberal team. most of the major media outlets (including macleans, the globe and ctv) sent their star reporters to the conservatives who covered stephen harper as some sort of demi-god and thereby portrayed paul martin as notable absent. then when their destruction started working and the martin camp really did fall apart (as a camp is known to do when the feel they're not making any gains), the media tried to turn it back into a two-horse race by attacking harper.
as warren kinsella noted a few weeks back, this is when we started to see lines like 'despite excellent voter feedback on his party platform, harper continues to be dogged by his conservative social views'. that being dogged, and those who 'continue to question' were actually reporters- not real, live canadians. essentially, it was an invented story.
now, however, the media realise that their act 1 destruction of martin went too far and he really is crushed. so, they circle like vultures and essentially ruin any chance of recovery. so, he makes a reasonably good performance in the debates which the media turns into, at best, 'a draw', and at worse, 'a clear victory' for harper. this, of course, is assisted by viewers who have had their views shaped by act 1. but now it's just getting silly. don martin's 'news article' in today's winnipeg free press (carried by canwest news service) is beyond reproach essentially passing off spiteful, sarcastic taunting of paul martin as news. "If this was a Monty Python movie, the prime minister was the kicking and screaming old man pleading "but I'm not dead yet" as media carried him out for hurry-up burial.", martin writes and goes on to add "There is no doubt now, these are the most critical days of the entire campaign for Martin as he fights to reverse a death spiral sucking his government down the drain. The obituaries may well be written by week's end as polling firms hired by most major media outlets head into the field for a major blitz of public opinion." this is not news, this is an angry media deciding that they can control electoral outcomes- and the sad thing is they can.
It's rare but I have to agree with Tim Murphy. "After much mocking by journalists watching Martin's pre-programmed non-answers, chief of staff Tim Murphy has had enough. "It's nice of you guys to stop your ascension into heaven long enough to cover the campaign." I think he hates us."
I can understand why.
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endings, beginnings and facing the void
i know, i know- i have been a horrible blog slacker. i can't believe my last post was about my birthday which feels like a decade ago. however, i have many good excuses for my non-updating practices: i finished my dissertation, i went to chicago, i wrote my last exam ever. all of that has been fairly stressful, fairly liberating but, now that it's finished, life feels weird somehow...
this master's degree and this two-year period of my life has forced a lot of thinking. on the one hand, it's been a painful period of coming to terms with my own capabilities. my masters proved to me that i've been given a lot very easily without necessarily working as hard for it as i should. however, i've also learned that i have a lot of scars from some of the crap i've had to deal with privately and that most people don't know or care about. however, on the other hand it's been a two-year period of self-discovery and of amazing hope for where my life is headed. i learnt that i am capable of working very hard. i've learnt that i'm capable of citing my own faults and working on them. i've learnt that some of my 'rock-solid' positions are more maleable than i imagined.
this two years has been really amazing and tough. i've truly come to understand how flawed i am but also how much hope i have for what i can become. rather than being a depressing experience (which it has been at times), i feel now like it's liberating and also promising...
this summer will be a lot of floating around and also beginning to seriously take a crack at my d. phil. the itinerary looks something like this:
june 29 - july 25th: deaning an international baccalaureate course at harvard/mit in boston. also doing a bit of lit. review.
july 25- july 30th: preparing for my parents
july 31st - aug 15th: hanging out with my parents. the plan: oxford, london, berlin, edinburgh, stirling, north scotland, oxford.
august 16 - sept. 26th: canada for research. 2 weeks in winnipeg and the rest in toronto (yet to be determined).
anyway, i'll post again soon... hope to see some of you soon and look forward to hearing what you've been up to
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Tuesday, May 18, 2004
we kindly interrupt your regularly scheduled program for this bit of random
there's no coherance yet today because it's 9:24 in the morning and i've still recovering from this bizarre dream which somehow featured being in a musical about homeless people with lots of costume changes and no audience... alas, some thoughts for the day:
*) my birthday party on the weekend was perhaps one of the most fantastic nights of my life. 70 of some of the people i feel truly lucky to have in my life, a fantastic venue, brilliant venue and loads of both champagne/amaretto (not in any way mixed- yuck!) made the pain of turning the big 25 so much easier to bear!
&) buzz hargrove makes me increasingly angry. while i recognise that a $10,000 pay hit may be a lot to ask and while i know that you can't set too low a standard for what you believe your workers are worth, there still arrives a time when you need to ask yourself the question: is this wage what the market will bear? thanks to buzzy-buzz there may be no air canada. having now said no the li's, deutsche bank, and ge, who else does mr. lightyear think is going to rescue our national carrier? good luck trying to get the us airlines who buy the pieces of air canada to hire canadians!
£) ken dryden running for the liberals: coup of all coups!
@) my little maclean's mention has come out. if anyone is interested head to macleans.ca or pick up a copy on a newsstand near you
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