The offensive against the offensive: self-published erotica comes under fire

Amazon have removed from their catalogue several self-published ebooks that depict violent acts of rape and incest, and today Kobo Writing Life authors will have received an email from KWL director Mark Lefebvre indicating that Kobo are following suit. The current offensive is the result of an article on the British technology website The Kernel that found for sale on Amazon pornographic titles such as Naughty Daughter Abducted And Pounded By Daddy’s Cock: Anal Sex And BDSM With My Step Father (taboo daddy daughter erotica) by Shannon Leigh. It cited Read More …

How to read ePubs on your Kindle Fire — even DRMed ones!

Today I learned a wonderful trick: a way to put onto a Kindle Fire an ePub ereader that will read PDFs and ePubs — even Adobe DRMed ebooks — purchased from major retailers such as Kobo, Sony, and B&N, and the myriad of smaller ebook retailers worldwide. Apple ebooks, which use a different DRM, are not transferrable. The principle is this: the Kindle Fire works on top of the Android system, and with a simple click in your settings you can tell the Fire to read Android apps purchased outside Read More …

The hypocrisy of piracy

Those who promote or facilitate the “sharing” of copyrighted content like to perpetuate an image of themselves as freedom-fighting renegades out “to stick it to the man” — the adage itself pirated from the sixties — “the man” representing those big bad corporations that make a profit off the backs of us artists and consumers alike. It’s an easy sell when you’re selling free, with the masses happy to swallow bullshit disguised as honey and overlook the obvious hypocrisy of the typical pirate site: corporate advertising. Go to any torrent Read More …

Dear Vancouver media: Thanks for nothing.

Dear Vancouver Media: Vancouver, as you know, is in mourning. For our reputation, for those who suffered injury, for the loss of joy at having gone so far in the Stanley Cup. But in the outrage over the hooligans who turned a party into a riot, there hasn’t been any talk about the real instigators of this mess and who is benefitting: YOU. In the weeks leading up to the final Stanley Cup games, there was constant mention in your newspapers, websites, and evening news programs of the Riot of Read More …

Writers Under Attack Again

  The above video was posted on YouTube in the hope of stopping an educational exemption in the proposed new copyright bill. Whether or not the exemption is fair-dealing or the video fear-mongering (as some have suggested) isn’t, to me, the real issue; to me, this proposed exemption is just one more example of the myriad ways in which people seem to think that writers should work for free. Consider Ariana Huffington’s insistence that her contributors are happy for the byline — then making a $315M sale to AOL on Read More …

Radicals safeguard the middle

In a discussion with a reader over a previous post, I was asked what I thought of a group of German feminists who claim heterosexual sex is oppressive to women. The question was stupid and off topic so I didn’t answer, but it got me thinking about radical social/political groups in general and if they serve any positive function in society, and have concluded that not only do they serve a positive function but that this function is essential. It is only through radicalism that we grow as a society. Read More …

What price life?

On The National this evening was a story out of Haiti about the new disabled population created by last year’s earthquake and the doctors who performed emergency surgery without consideration for long-term consequences. Whenever a major disaster hits, our first response is to save lives, and we applaud the medics who sweep in and provide care under the most dire circumstances. But as the doctor featured in The National segment, who revisited those whose lives he helped saved, believes now, if we’re not prepared to be there for the long Read More …

Debate is Dead

Okay, maybe not dead but it’s certainly terminal and what’s left of it appears to be languishing in a rarefied hospice somewhere, out of sight and mind of the masses. What passes for intellectual debate these days is often no more than a schoolyard scrap, with each side slinging barbs at the other while their mates stand behind them shouting out encouragement (think parliamentary Question Period and you’ll know what I mean). And even that’s only when someone actually bothers to engage an opposing opinion. Most, it seems, take a Read More …

The Ambivalence of Remembrance

I’m ambivalent about Remembrance Day. I believe it right and true to honour those who kept the machinations of psychopaths from invading our shores, as we did in both World Wars, but if we expand our view to look at war itself, the drums of honour quickly fall away with a sickening thud. Wars are never truly about freedom; they are about greed, about preserving and improving one’s standard of living at the expense of the loser, which is why even when we begin as defendant combatants we quickly turn Read More …

Eastern European films explore co-opting of artists by dictatorships

As some of you are aware, I had the good fortune to acquire a gold pass for this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival, and since Friday have been indulging in marathon screenings. I’m not here to offer any film reviews, however, but rather to remark on how three films seen thus far have reinforced my belief, stated unequivocally in my last two posts, that art creates social realities and thus carries great responsibility. The three films, Reverse (Poland), Chantrapas (Georgia/France), and Kawasaki’s Rose (Czech Republic), though otherwise wildly divergent, all Read More …