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Sheila Steele's Blog

Sheila Steele

March 23, 2003: For a year or so I have been encountering blogs on the Internet. I didn't like the word. It was too much like snot or blowhard or fog -- messiness, unclarity. Just too Generation X for a genuine certified member of Generation World War Two Baby with a degree in English literature. Blog is short for Web log. A log is something like a diary. The pretense of a difference between objective and subjective is dropped. "Editorializing" is not scorned and dismissed in blogs although a blog is more than an editorial. Blogs are where writers can daily exercise. Perform, express. Always rehearsals, though. No opening night.

When World War Two entered a new phase, with the bombing of Iraq, I took a break from TV. Or it took a break from me. Coincidentally my son Kevin (a member of Generation X) drew my attention to one of the most widely used blogs on the Internet. It happened to be operated by Cory Doctorow who is the son of two of my former comrades in the Trotskyist League for Socialist Action. I had read some of Cory's work and I was delighted to discover on the blog site that he had published a book which was also available online. Reading Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom was a delightful diversion from war watching and website maintaining.

It also led me to wonder how Cory could put his book online and make any money. He explained that he had done so as part of an experiment with the Creative Common. I then visited that website, watched the educational cartoon explaining how the registration works and joined up. Nevermind that Cory also has a print version available for buying (and I suggest you all go out and buy it!) -- I'd just skip that part. I spend many hours every week writing material and then agonizing about how to make it fit into inJusticebusters website. Now I have somewhere to put all that stuff that doesn't fit.

When we first went online, I created "Sheila's Free Speech page" to try and do this -- but it rapidly became cluttered and I was too busy to maintain it. I will gradually dismantle it and work it into a more apparently level-headed narrative. I have brought over to this page my tits gif, though. I thought it was fairly daring five years ago. How quickly shock devalues.

I turned 60 in January. I daresay my life had begun somewhat before then but the marking of the day did put some things into a different perspective. It is not likely I will write a novel or a book. It is quite possible that the events of my life are not really interesting to anyone but me. This is not to say the people who have told me I should write a book were not sincere, although it is possible I misread the script at the time. I was into my fourth or fifth decade when I caught on that when people told me how imaginative I was that it wasn't necessarily a compliment. "You should write a book" is something like that. Also the word "interesting."

I will continue to work on each entry to this blog until I have finished it. Then I will file it and work on another. My son Marlon has been on the methadone program for almost four years. He has not got better but he is still alive and part of my brain is working on keeping him so at all times. Marlon is of a different generation. Not a war baby or a boomer or gen x. Maybe it is the hiphop generation. Along with Michael, Michelle and Kathy they are open about their lives and circumstances. They are not flustered or embarrassed by the same things that embarrass me and the people I am close to. They have been denied access to education because they failed to follow some rules or their brains weren't wired right for the system. They will inherit whatever we have to leave them. Insofar as I believe in a future I must believe in them. They are, after all, posterity.

March 24, 2003: New courage last night in the Oscar wins of Michael Moore and Eminem. Eminem's absence (for refusing to hack up his song by changing some words) and Moore's presence, along with the other documentary makers, with the short course on the difference between fiction and documentary complemented each other perfectly. I understand that if you're not pissing someone off, you're probably not doing your job. Then, the next day, I got a letter from Chief J. J. Ewatski of the Winnipeg Police and felt useful again. There was also an e-mail from Al Giordano's newslist where he perfectly expressed my attitude to the war.

. . .This "war" is a media show. The bravest soldiers refuse to fight in unjust
wars. I refuse to watch. I admit: I think less of the gullible people who
sit entranced in front of the television or the computer screen obsessed
with this "war," whether pro or con. Don't they see? The "war" is being held
for them, for their attention, to bring them into power's trance, to keep
them from more life affirming activities. This war brings a bombardment of
their consciousness, too, to keep them stuck in place. What if they held a
war and nobody watched? Politicians would wage fewer wars. . . .

Instead of adding to this blog, I took a look at some autobiog material Rick Klassen and I were working on by e-mail two years ago, before my iMac was stolen. It's really very good and I will be posting it soon. I also discovered a flower that bears my name! And I am longing to get at a full exploration of Sheelanagigs.

March 28, 2003: Education continues to snake through my thoughts. Al Giordano's speech to authentic journalists in Brazil slammed the academy and proclaimed that education served no other purpose than to mould the masses into compliant worker/consumers. While I agree that most Education is delivered to teach only the basic stuff one needs to go with the flow, I don't believe that humans learn to think in a vacuum. I am grateful for my university training, as frustrating as much of the experience was. I keep running into others who, like myself, were kicked out of schools or Sunday schools or other institutions for asking too many questions, for developing chips on shoulders, or were just generally stubborn or rebellious for a variety of reasons. All of us have received guidance from someone more knowledgable, perceptive -- educated -- than we were who took the time to "get through to us" and offer useful advice. We learned to reflect.

I agree with Socrates that an unexamined life is not worth living. The works of the Greek philosophers have been peserved and translated. Those of us who want to read them can read them. But we have to choose to read them instead of choosing to do something else online -- like gambling or shopping on eBay or playing games or viewing porn. These activities may sharpen some parts of the brain but not the parts that think, that empathasize, that seek creative, social expression.


January, 2001: What we have done with the Publication Ban: Defied it!

June, 1999-Feb. 2000 - Copyright chills a world that is cold enough already