Mar 162012

My article on the polygamy court decision’s impact on polyamorist families is finally up on the Vancouver Courier. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to interview an established poly family for this.

I’ve already received an email arguing: “You know as well as I do that in the human experience of groups there is always an alpha male and alpha female; also, children are more apt to be abused by those adults in a group who are not their biological parents.”

Personally, I’m far from convinced that enforced monogamy/nuclear family is necessarily better for people than any other family structure. What surprises me is the instinctive, visceral aversion some people apparently have to alternative family structures, expressed as anything from deflected-hostility/anxiety humour to outright contempt and hatred. In that, it is quite like homophobia.

Jan 312012

My latest is a short piece on the state of surveillance in Vancouver. This wasn’t my idea, but I’ve been interested in privacy and surveillance issues for a while, and I took the gig.

I had assumed there would be clear laws about where you can put surveillance cameras, whether as private citizens or as business, but the laws regarding this are pretty vague. There are stronger laws about keeping records of other people’s personal information (which includes their likeness.) There’s also a lot of obfuscation about the city government and police’s use of surveillance.

Surveillance is becoming a big issue. When you get right down to it, Google and Facebook and Twitter aren’t offering all these services for free out of generosity. They are businesses, and a large part of their business is selling information about the people who use their services to other businesses. It may be anonymized or otherwise restricted for people’s privacy, but that is still what they do.

Google is rapidly becoming something like the Minds in Iain M. Bank’ s Culture books: nearly all-knowing artificial intelligences so powerful, and so essential, that the humans can only cross their fingers and hope that they aren’t doing anything bad, or if they are, it’s for the humans’ own good.


Jan 182012

It’s up on the Tyee.

I’ve been a big fan of David Cronenberg for years, not only for his movies themselves, but for his ways of thinking about art and creation and censorship. He’s a fascinating interview subject.

So, when I got the opportunity to write about him (or rather, get paid to write about him), I jumped at it, got every book about him I could find in the library, and rewatched his Dead Ringers to study. I wanted this to be the best essay I could write about him and his work.

Jan 162012

I’ve been a fan of Canadian film director David Cronenberg for years, and I was most pleased to get the opportunity to write about his new film A Dangerous Method. (Or rather, be paid to write about it.)

This was even harder than I usually find writing, as I wanted to make this special and not just throw something down on the screen. I took out just about every book in the library on Cronenberg, and even tracked down a 37-year-old review of his first feature, Shivers, which the reviewer called “the most repulsive film I’ve ever seen.” 26 years later, Cronenberg walked away from Cannes with a special jury prize.

I also had to delay because it took forever for the film to screen here in Vancouver. I got it done and submitted Sunday night.

Currently there are two other paying projects on the go, with one finished but waiting on a clarification about rights and payment, the other in progress. There’s also a fiction story that I have a buyer for, but I’m procrastinating about signing the contract. In back of that is a work-for-hire project that would be a major undertaking, with money and a topic that interests me, but with less creative control.

 Posted by at 11:02