Friday, July 24, 2009

The ever spreading influence of new models of media, internet based, are threatening the older mass media, newspapers, television and even radio with irrelevance. There are many responses, and some on the left see this as an opportunity for a progressive media to gain influence. Out in Molly's old stomping grounds, Saskatchewan, there is one such project, the Sasquatch, which aims to be both a print and internet effort. In their ambitions, if not their politics, they resemble the more libertarian and successful Z Communications (see our Links section).
I do, of course, wish them well, but I do have to say that a quick glance at their August issue shows it to be not quite my cup of tea. Some of the articles are quite good, but the plunge into "opinion" revolves around the 60 year old question of whether a)the NDP is perfect in every way or b)how much better it is than its one perennial opponent and what minor adjustments could be made or c)has serious deficiencies that could, of course, be remedied by capturing the party and moving it to the left. Some of the revelations were new to me. The Saskatchewan NDP's new leader Lingenfelter is, apparently, an ex-oil executive. And silly me- all these years of thinking that they couldn't find a leader any more right wing than Roy Romanow. Well, I still think that they will never find one who was equally 'assholeish' and so given to low cunning. I await my disillusionment.
Another revelation added to my long standing opinion that Saskatchewan politics are trapped in an eternal time loop that they will never exit. One of the pro-NDP writers added as evidence for optimism that the same conference that had elected the oil executive as leader passed resolutions demanding the end of the nuclear industry in Saskatchewan. Speaking of time loops lets jump into Molly's Magical Time Machine and transport back about 30 years to a barroom in Regina Saskatchewan. This was shortly after yet another anti-nuclear resolution had been passed by an NDP Convention (ie not the first and hardly the last over the past three decades). By this time Molly has quit the NDP, and it hard to tell whom she is more pissed off with- the fools who keep valiantly soldiering on to pass resolutions that never have any effect or the political bosses in the NDP who cynically let the rhetoric spouting lefties blow off steam with such noneffective busywork. My drinking buddy for the night just so happens to have been the Premier's chief flack runner. He is all ice to my fire, all control to my moral outrage. You don't, of course, achieve such a position without having shed any vestige of principle to the last thread.
There is, of course, no disagreement with the central idea- that the lefties are fools, wasting their time by passing resolutions at party conventions that will never translate into policy. Nor is there any disagreement with the secondary idea, that the party brass knows this very well and uses it intelligently. Nor is there, finally, any disagreement with the tertiary idea, that the lefties would be of far more use to their ideals if they were to come down off their academic high horses and actually go to the people rather than try to imitate Sisyphus by rolling a rock up an eternal hill. My drinking buddy, however, has no interest whatsoever in the goals of the lefties. To say the least he "won the argument" by summing up the attitude of the party brass very well. He looks at me like the total idiot he must have thought I was and answered, ""It's not a world for babies". That sums it up pretty well. The lefties in the NDP were (and even more so are now) childish for imagining that their eternal plotting could change the course of the party. I was childish for imagining that morality (such things as honesty and principle) had anything whatsoever to do with the political process. So...more beer and let's change the subject. Nowadays I know very well that the lefties could never "go to the people" because of the simple fact that the lefties represent a class whose interests are only sometimes in agreement with those of the majority, and I also know that the term "lefty" contains at least some cynical manipulators who are worse than the bosses of parties such as the NDP. That doesn't mean that I accept the point of view of my booze buddy that night. Yes, "it is not a world for babies", but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't keep trying to make it such a world.
Enough of my trips down memory lane. Here's the Sasquatch announcement from the Act Up in Saskatchewan website. Think about subscribing.

Feed the Sasquatch

This is a time of great upheaval in Canadian media. While corporate-owned, ad-heavy, top-down media are stumbling, slashing newsroom staff and local coverage, new and exciting media forms are rushing in, finding cracks in the system and spreading deep roots from which to grow.
That's where The Sasquatch comes in. And you can play a leading role in helping it thrive!
The Sasquatch – a new, independent print and online publication – focuses on stories that affect you and that reflect discussions in kitchens(you have to have come from a Saskatchewan CCF/NDP background as I did to appreciate the significance of "kitchen meetings"-Molly) and living rooms across the province and around the country. The Sasquatch tells stories that get swept under the rug by mainstream media but that desperately need to see the light of day.
But to succeed, The Sasquatch needs more subscribers. Please take a moment to subscribe today at our discount, introductory rate.
This is your chance to show your support for local, non-profit, independent news. For only $20, you'll receive 8 biting issues of The Sasquatch featuring thoughtful political analysis and important stories on Saskatchewan life and politics that aren't being told elsewhere.
Here are 3 simple ways you can get involved:
1. Go to our online webstore at or call 1-866-431-5777 (525-2949 in Regina) right now to subscribe. Use the coupon code "promoSasquatch" to receive our special introductory rate.
2. "Attend" the Facebook event for this subscription drive. Invite your friends to attend, too.
3. Spread the word to your email networks, prefaced by a personal message encouraging them to subscribe.
We need 250 new subscribers by the end of the summer in order to meet our targets. Please take a moment to subscribe and spread the word right now.
By subscribing to The Sasquatch, you are contributing to healthy democratic debate, supporting the work of local freelance writers and ensuring that underreported stories and marginalized voices(this term is definitely not CCF nostalgia-Molly) are heard.
Buying a subscription gets you a hard copy of The Sasquatch delivered to your door every six weeks. Or buy a combo package and get Briarpatch Magazine ( along with it. Or, if you'd prefer, just make a donation -- because, as much as we wish it were otherwise, good media costs money.
Even if you can't subscribe right now, or if you're already a subscriber, please spread the word, tell your friends, browse our website and email an article to your friends (or enemies!). Let them know that they can choose media that gives priority to local news and that's hard-hitting and meaningful to them.
Participating in our subscription drive gives you the chance to give something back. Again, we need 250 new subscribers by the end of the summer or we may have to scale back. Every little bit helps, and we appreciate any and all of the support we receive from our readers.
Check out what you'll be getting here: and join us as we embark on this exciting independent media project!
Shayna Stock, Publisher
The Sasquatch
p.s. Important new initiatives like The Sasquatch sometimes fail in the early stages because supportive, sympathetic people are slow to rally to them. Please don't let that happen. Subscribe right now, and encourage your friends to do the same.
p.p.s. Remember, use the coupon code "promoSasquatch" to claim your introductory rate of $20 ($45 for a combo subscription).
All politics aside I think that the people at the Sasquatch are going about this in a backasswards way. To my mind it would be better to begin as simply an internet publication, with minimal costs, with an ambition to produce occasional printed specials. Concentrating on this would allow the website to be much more topical. Sooner or later someone is going to ask about whether an every six weeks edition of the Sasquatch is any worthwhile addition to a monthly edition of Briarpatch. I'll get a bit "political" here and point out that what I say is obvious to anyone who has had to operate in the 'real economy', but it is far less obvious to those who have come to depend upon grants (usually from government) that prop up projects that couldn't succeed on their own. This is one of the bad habits that has been inculcated by the sort of leftism that I dislike, and if I cannot convince those who hope for such grants of the immorality of what they do I may, at least, be able to convince others of its impracticality and unintended consequences. Too much ambition guarantees failure. Good luck to them anyways.

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