You Have the Right to Remain Silent

One of my favourite journalists Matt Taibbi finally articulated a core concept I’ve been circling but haven’t fully been able to express. He’s writing about journalism…in newspapers and on tv and he says in his book Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another (on page 137):

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#SetTheVCR: December 29, 2019-January 4, 2020

A New Year; Some Old TV. What are your TV resolutions for 2020?

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#SetTheVCR: Crave in January 2019

Yo…#SetTheVCR with Crave this January!

Canada’s Crave is like the PC brand Netflix…heh but it’s got some decent stuff! (No Frills for real…)

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The End of The Clash

Searching my email for something else and this raw email from 2002 was included in the search results. On Monday December 23, 2002 I learned about Joe Strummer’s so I reached out to a fellow Clash fan.

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138 | Ali Hassan (We Ain’t Terrorists/Muslim Interrupted)

My Summer Lair Chapter #138: What’s Your Recipe For Delicious Ribs?


Ali Hassan visits My Summer Lair! Ali’s bio on his website is funny because it starts: “Ali Hassan is a Stand-Up Comic, Actor and Chef…” Hence asking a Muslim about rib recipes; seems logical doesn’t it? The plan was to get into all 3 areas but it didn’t quite go that way. 

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Our conversation covers his comedy, his CBC work, and his cooking/catering. And…Topher Grace.

Heh: you can tell he and I had started Christmas Break 2019. He had a moment where he forgot Topher Grace’s name and I butchered John Leguizamo and Mike Birbiglia’s name. D’oh!

Corrections: When we were discussing John Leguizamo I mentioned Sex Freak! My ah…Freudian slip was showing. I combined the titles of 2 of his one man shows: His 1998 offering Freak is an HBO special directed by Spike Lee and Sexaholix…a Love Story is…ah the title speaks for itself. That was bad. There’s no such thing as Sex Freak. (Comments are below!)

As for Mike Birbiglia a must-see is his 2011 work Sleepwalk with Me and the one Ali mentioned: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. On Netflix you can see Thank God for Jokes and The New One which we talked about (and I also messed up its name). Mike’s stuff is fantastic so good; it’s inspirational: it gives you that if he can do this I can do this feeling.

Corrections aside we class it up by getting into Canada Reads and of course…ribs! mmmm.

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Ali Hassan @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Photography by Henry VanderSpek aka Culture Snap Photography

Recorded: Monday, December 23, 2020 at 11:30am (EST) at WeWork

137 | Elizabeth Semmelhack (Sneakers x Culture: Collab)

My Summer Lair Chapter #137: It Is Weird To Use Nike (A Billion Dollar Business) For Self-Expression?

“The urban interest in status sneakers coincided with the increasingly larger cultural trend rampant throughout American society that suggested individual expression could be achieved through brand identification.” Page 108 of Elizabeth Semmelhack’s Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture.

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That’s the quote I employ during our discussion because it documents a fascinating tension. This idea of using a mass-market product like a Nike shoe (Air Force 1 or Dunks) or Jordan shoe to advocate for self-expression is interesting. Nike is a billion dollar business it doesn’t just exist for you to be…somebody.

There are two significant battles that are always worth fighting: one is declaring war on mediocrity; advocating for incredibly high standards for well…everything: teachers, NBA players, podcasters, policeman etc. and the other battle is of course pushing back against conformity.

Sneaker culture easily feeds into both of those relevant fights. It is individualism, it is collaboration, connection, community, design, all connected to broader larger cultures like skateboarding and hip hop, all kinds of music; basketball, the NBA it’s incredible how something so “small” turns on some of the biggest things.

I’m reminded of The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams which opens with:

“so much depends

a red wheel

Right? I’m so grateful when somebody is generous with their time and their ideas.

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Bata Shoe Museum @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Photography by Henry VanderSpek aka Culture Snap Photography

Recorded: Tuesday December 11, 2019 at 10am (EST) at Bata Shoe Museum

New Book Alert: December 2-6, 2019

My weekly collection of new and notable books for your pop culture pleasure and edification: #ReadMoreTweetLess.

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Trial By Trailer: Including…Mel Brooks: Unwrapped

Is this good?
Will this be good?
Every movie trailer answers or challenges those 2 questions. The ham-fisted rebuttal comes swiftly, however: no you don’t need to always see a movie to know it’s tank.

Do you really need to sit through a Michael Bay Transformers movie to know for sure? Tank is Tank. And Fresh…well Fresh is always Fresh. I’m down like I’m Brown for that.

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136 | Charles Soule (Anyone)

My Summer Lair Chapter #136: Did You Hear About The Sci-Fi Novel Inspired by Pretty Woman?

Yeah the Julia Roberts prostitute movie. Weird right but indirectly that’s what Charles Soule said during our conversation.

Initially I thought Anyone was going to be some sort of Freaky Friday sci-fi novel. You know like those classic body switching movies. Instead it fits squarely in the Blade Runner and the Netflix show Altered Carbon sci-fi genre. So that was a pleasant surprise.

The basic premise of Anyone: “Set in a realistic future about a brilliant female scientist who creates a technology that allows for the transfer of human consciousness between bodies, and the transformations this process wreaks upon the world.”

The description goes on to add:
Anyone: masterfully interweaves the present-day story of the discovery and development of the flash with the gritty tale of one woman’s crusade to put an end to the darkness it has brought to the world twenty-five years after its creation.”

That’s what I really dug about the novel: it’s not only switching back and forth between bodies but also the past and the present.

Anyone is also the second novel from writer Charles Soule. You may know him from his Marvel Comics work on books like Daredevil and Darth Vader; from his indie comics work on Curse Words, (the highly recommended) Letter 44 and currently Undiscovered Country with Scott Snyder.

I interviewed him when is first novel Oracle Year was coming out just over a year ago and that was an interesting adventure for him. He’d become proficient at writing comics he’s good at that gig. Now he’s branching out picking up how to write novels and determining how to exist in this new medium and most importantly how to contribute quality ideas. He did a great job with Oracle Year; Anyone continues to build them on that success: making it look easy. Don’t believe that for a moment.

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Charles Soule @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan (Photography by Stephanie Cole)

Recorded: Thursday November 21, 2019 at 5:30pm (EST) at WeWork

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