It reads more like fiction than mainstream news.

“But, at about the time of High ‘Change, Pressure began to wane, and appalling whispers to circulate, east, west, north, and south. At first they were faint, and went no further than a doubt whether Mr Merdle’s wealth would be found to be as vast as had been supposed; whether there might not be a temporary difficulty in ‘realising’ it; whether there might not even be a temporary suspension (say a month or so), on the part of the wonderful Bank. As the whispers became louder, which they did from that time every minute, they became more threatening. He had sprung from nothing, by no natural growth or process that any one could account for; he had been, after all, a low, ignorant fellow; he had been a down-looking man, and no one had ever been able to catch his eye; he had been taken up by all sorts of people in quite an unaccountable manner; he had never had any money of his own, his ventures had been utterly reckless, and his expenditure had been most enormous. In steady progression, as the day declined, the talk rose in sound and purpose. He had left a letter at the Baths addressed to his physician, and his physician had got the letter, and the letter would be produced at the Inquest on the morrow, and it would fall like a thunderbolt upon the multitude he had deluded. Numbers of men in every profession and trade would be blighted by his insolvency; old people who had been in easy
circumstances all their lives would have no place of repentance for their trust in him but the workhouse; legions of women and children would have their whole future desolated by the hand of this mighty scoundrel. Every partaker of his magnificent feasts would be seen to have been a sharer in the plunder of innumerable homes; every servile worshipper of riches who had helped to set him on his pedestal, would have done better to worship the Devil point-blank. So, the talk, lashed louder and higher by confirmation on confirmation, and by edition after edition of the evening papers, swelled into such a roar when night came, as might have brought one to believe that a solitary watcher on the gallery above the Dome of St Paul’s would have perceived the night air
to be laden with a heavy muttering of the name of Merdle, coupled with every form of execration (Dickens 1857).

Using Google Maps we can actually follow in space and time, the story of this giant Ponzi scheme. This post is a draft and a work in progress . . .

Items on this Google Map have not been fully edited.

Items in the bibliography have not been properly edited yet . . .

to be continued . . .

I want to watch Midsomer Murders now . . .

Notes

Circumlocution Office is Dickens’ (1857) term to ridicule governmental offices that delayed business by passing through the hands of different officials. “That brilliant invention the Circumlocution Office was made up at a time when examinations were introduced for the Civil Service. Dickens felt that bureaucratic indolence and incompetence were responsible for the sufferings of British soldiers in the Crimean war. “This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen … Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving – HOW NOT TO DO IT.” (Meaning, in Dickens’s time, how to avoid doing anything.) ( Byatt 2008-11-1.”

The Circumlocution Office is inhabited by a family of Tite Barnacles and relations.

General Motors (GMAC) The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday approved GMAC Financial Services’ application to become a bank-holding company, a status that would give the auto-financing arm of General Motors Corp. access to government bailout dollars and the Fed’s discount window. The move complements a $17.4 billion emergency loan package the government extended to GM and (Wall Street Journal 2008-12-24)… “Merkin, who is chairman of GMAC LLC, is named in the lawsuit brought by NYU, along with his Gabriel Capital LP fund and Ariel Fund Ltd. GMAC is the finance business owned by General Motors Corp and private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP. The Funds ‘feeding’ money to Madoff, including Ariel, made a conscious effort to conceal Madoff’s involvement from their own investors,” the NYU lawsuit said. “This concealment was a requirement dictated by Madoff, which was agreed to by Merkin and other ‘feeder’ funds (McCool Reuters 2008-12-24).”

Electronic Communications Networks (ECNs) trading model

Who’s Who

National Market System (NMS) Bernie Madoff presented his arguments at SEC hearings (2004-04-21 SEC) on the redesigning of “the existing national market system (“NMS”) rules to maximize profits and efficiency.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Washington, DC.

Selected Timeline

1823 Charles Dickens’ father, John Dickens, was imprisoned in the infamous debtors’ prison in Borough High Street, the Marshalsea. At twelve-years of age the future novelist was sent sent to work in a boot-blacking factory. John Dickens was the model for both Mr. Dorrit in Little Dorrit and Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield. Charles Dickens is in effect, Little Dorrit. In a prescient move, the BBC broadcast its adaptation of Dickens’ (1857) Little Dorrit, a month before Bernie Madoff’s arrest in his luxury Upper East Manhattan apartment. The similarities between the two stories are uncanny. See Byatt, A. S. 2008-11-15. “Little Dorrit: Within the walls of the Marshalsea.” The Guardian.

1857 In Charles Dickens’ introduction of his 1857 novel Little Dorrit he apologized for any similarity between factual events in Britain and Ireland and the context and character of his fictional banker, Mr. Merdle, who embarked on a fraudulent scheme now being compared to Madoff’s.

“If I might offer any apology for so exaggerated a fiction as the Barnacles and the Circumlocution Office, I would seek it in the common experience of an Englishman, without presuming to mention the unimportant fact of my having done that violence to good manners, in the days of a Russian war, and of a Court of Inquiry at Chelsea. If I might make so bold as to defend that extravagant conception, Mr Merdle, I would hint that it originated after the Railroad-share epoch, in the times of a certain Irish bank, and of one or two other equally laudable enterprises. If I were to plead anything in mitigation of the preposterous fancy that a bad design will sometimes claim to be a good and an expressly religious design, it would be the curious coincidence that it has been brought to its climax in these pages, in the days of the public examination of late Directors of a Royal British Bank. But, I submit myself to suffer judgment to go by default on all these counts, if need be, and to accept the assurance (on good authority) that nothing like them was ever known in this land (Dickens 1857).”

Thanks to these sources for making the Madoff-Merdle link: Paul Krugman, The New York Times Op-Ed columnist, in his 2008-12-19 blog post entitled “Madoff/Merdle“; McCann, Vincent. 2008-12-20. “Separating fact from fiction in financial fraud case.” Scotsman.com News.

1920s Financial frauds of the 1920s. See Galbraith, John Kenneth. 1954. The Great Crash: 1929. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

1960 Bernie Madoff started his firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities with $5,000. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

1938 Bernard L. Madoff was born?

1970s The creation of the consolidated system for disseminating market information generated enormous benefits for investors (SEC 2004-02-27).”

1980s The incorporation of The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. (“Nasdaq”) securities into the NMS generated enormous benefits for investors (SEC 2004-02-27).”

1990s The adoption of the Order Handling Rules in the 1990s generated enormous benefits for investors (SEC 2004-02-27).”

2004-02-27 SEC published Regulation NMS for public comment. “In addition to redesignating the existing national market system (“NMS”) rules adopted under Section 11A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), Regulation NMS would incorporate four substantive proposals that are designed to enhance and modernize the regulatory structure of the U.S. equity markets (SEC 2004-02-27).”

2004-04-21 Bernie Madoff presented his arguments at SEC hearings (2004-04-21 SEC) on the redesigning of “the existing national market system (“NMS”) rules held at the InterContinental The Barclay.

“The central objective of this review is to determine how the regulations governing the U.S. equity markets should be modernized. Our markets are continually evolving because of such factors as innovative trading technologies, new market entrants, and changing investment patterns. We believe that one of our most important responsibilities is to monitor these changes and to ensure that the U.S. regulatory structure remains up to date. In this way, we can help our markets retain their position as the deepest and most efficient in the world – markets that offer a fair deal to all types of investors, large and small.”

2004 Bernie Madoff presented his arguments at hearings on the redesigning of “the existing national market system (“NMS”) rules adopted under Section 11A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), Regulation NMS would incorporate four substantive proposals that are designed to enhance and modernize the regulatory structure of the U.S. equity markets.

Discussion: “Is access to markets through the members of an SRO and through the customers or subscribers of ECNs or market makers sufficient to assure fair and efficient access to their displayed quotes? Are there barriers to access that must be removed for this indirect access to be feasible?”

Participants: Ivan K. Freeman (Morgan Stanley), John C. Giesea (Security Traders Association), Robert Greifeld (Nasdaq Stock Market), Larry Leibowitz (Schwab Capital Markets), Bernard L. Madoff (Madoff Investment Securities) and Thomas Peterffy (Interactive Brokers Group)

2008-01 Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities claimed their investment advisory business managed $17.1 billion for 11 to 25 clients and boasted of an “unblemished record of value, fair-dealing and high ethical standards (Zambito and Smith 2008).”

2008-11-15 In a prescient move, the BBC broadcast its adaptation of Dickens’ (1857) Little Dorrit, a month before Madoff’s arrest in his luxury Upper East Manhattan apartment. The similarities between the two stories are uncanny. See Byatt, A. S. 2008-11-15. “Little Dorrit: Within the walls of the Marshalsea.” The Guardian.

2008-12-10 Andrew Madoff and Mark Madoff, Bernie’s sons and his employees claimed to be innocent victims of a fraud that they knew nothing about. They called the Securities and Exchange Commission, which told the FBI (Zambito and Smith 2008).”

2008-12-10 Special FBI Agent Theodore Cacioppi and a colleague questioned Madoff at his $9M East Manhattan luxury apartment on Thursday morning to investigate the possibility of any “innocent explanation.” “There is no innocent explanation,” Madoff replied. Within hours, investors who had trusted the 70-year-old Madoff for years – including the owner of the New York Mets – were reeling at charges that one of the most trusted names on Wall Street was a full-time fraud (Zambito and Smith 2008).”

2008-12-12 “[A]ngry investors crowded a Manhattan federal courtroom hoping to find out if the SEC would come to their rescue. Manhattan Federal Judge Louis Stanton issued an order freezing Madoff’s assets, as well as those of his firm, and named lawyer Lee Richard to oversee the business. The hearing was canceled, leaving investors bewildered (Zambito and Smith 2008).”

2008-12-23 “[H]edge fund executive Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, 65, was found dead in his office in an apparent suicide, reportedly distraught over being duped by Madoff. New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Villehuchet had cuts on his wrists from a box cutter and pills nearby. The Frenchman’s Access International had an exposure of $1.5 billion, officials said (McCool 2008-12-24).”

2008-12-24 Washington: “The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday approved GMAC Financial Services’ application to become a bank-holding company, a status that would give the auto-financing arm of General Motors Corp. access to government bailout dollars and the Fed’s discount window. The move complements a $17.4 billion emergency loan package the government extended to GM and …” Wall Street Journal McCool, Grant. 2008-12-24. “(McCool 2008-12-24) New York University sued fund executive over Madoff
2008-12-24. “Fed Grants GMAC’s Request to Become Bank-Holding Company.” Wall Street Journal.

Webliography and Bibliography

Byatt, A. S. 2008-11-15. “Little Dorrit: Within the walls of the Marshalsea.” The Guardian.

McCool, Grant. 2008-12-24. “New York University sues fund executive over Madoff.” Reuters.

Quinn, James. 2008-12-16. “An American Tragedy.” Financial Sense.

Zambito, Thomas; Smith, Greg B. 2008-12-13. “Feds say Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme was worst ever.” New York Crime. Daily News.  

2008-12-22. “Jewish leaders bracing for Madoff fallout.” The Boston Globe.

Unlikely Player Pulled Into Madoff Swirl.”NYTimes.com

A.G. takes himself out of Madoff probe | Deseret News (Salt Lake City) | Find Articles at BNET

Fund Fraud Hits Big Names – WSJ.com 

2008-12-14.Bodyblow to Wall Street at The Brian Sullivan Blog

Business News – AOL Money Canada 

U.S. Congress to probe SEC role in Madoff affair

edmontonsun.com – World – $50B fraud plot thickens

Madoff Mess manoeuvres 

Judge orders Madoff to tally his assets

Don’t Be Scammed by Madoff Investor Sob Stories – Seeking Alpha

Madoff investors unlikely to regain money

Madoff bad omen for fund of hedge funds industry – AOL Money Canada

Run by investors, for investors – North American Markets end lower, Madoff scandal raises concerns over financials – North American Market Summary

More banks reveal exposure to Madoff scandal – Yahoo! Canada News
Bernard Madoff scandal draws publishers 

IOC has nearly $5 million tied to Madoff – AOL Sports Canada

Some Madoff investors may have to give back gains – Dec. 19, 2008

Madoff’s auditor Friehling and Horowitz doesn’t audit? – Dec. 17, 2008 
Did Bernard Madoff act alone? – Dec. 18, 2008

Answers to 6 Madoff questions – Dec. 18, 2008

A stock exchange caught in the Madoff mess – Dec. 18, 2008

‘A Giant Ponzi Scheme’ 

reportonbusiness.com: Madoff debacle reveals stunning failure of due diligence

Midas Letter –  Health, Wealth and Prosperity

Meet the real Ponzi behind the ‘scheme’ – Dec. 15, 2008

TheStar.com | Business | Banks, funds among clients who lost billions

Charities hit hard as Madoff fraud losses mount 

Madoff: ‘Bloodbath’ for Twin Cities investors

Pigeon King owes $23 million | Farm andDairy – The Auction Guide and Rural Marketplace

globeandmail.com: Farmers should have been warned about pigeon venture: critics

The Canadian Press: Royal Bank says clients have $50M in exposure to alleged Madoff fraud

Ponzi schemes strike in U.S., Russia and Colombia | Worldfocus

Bloomberg.com: Worldwide

The Madoff Fraud: How Culpable Were the Auditors? – TIME

Madoff Victims Look for Ways to Recover Their Money – TIME

Wall Street’s Latest Downfall: Madoff Charged with Fraud – TIME

How I Got Screwed by Bernie Madoff – TIME

Bernie Madoff’s man to see – The Boston Globe 

Bull Market 

Top Trader Is Accused of Defrauding Clients – NYTimes.com

Bernard L. Madoff News – The New York Times

The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > His Last Name Is Scheme

A Scheme With No Off Button – NYTimes.com 

Ponzi Schemes – News – The New York Times

Even Winners May Lose With Madoff.” NYTimes.com

Madoff Agrees to Security ‘to Prevent Harm or Flight’ -NYTimes.com

“Talking Business – Avoiding a Financial Collapse, Indian-Style.” – NYTimes.com

“Madoff Scheme Kept Rippling Outward, Across Borders.” NYTimes.com

“Madoff Ponzi Scheme Lawsuit: Attorneys for Defrauded Investors.”

Madoff Scheme Kept Rippling Outward, Across Borders.” NYTimes.com

“Top Trader Is Accused of Defrauding Clients.” NYTimes.com

Op-Ed Columnist – The Brightest Are Not Always the Best -NYTimes.com

Wall Street fallout shakes economy

 

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NYT article on the at-risk lifestyles of high-speed, high-stress, high-adrenalin lifestyles of pro-bloggers chasing new improved on-line newstories 24/7.

Thanks to twitter and Steve Rubel’s lifestream for bringing this article to my attention.

“digg.com blurb: “Some professional bloggers complain of physical and emotional strain created by an Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.”

read more | digg story

This reminded me of an article by Kate Argyle (1996) in Rob Shields useful anthology entitled Cultures of the Internet. Argyle’s account of what happens when a member of a virtual community dies challenged notions of that Internet communities were blasé and that the Internet itself fostered  a culture of distance and indifference. See http://www.socresonline.org.uk/1/3/van_loon.html

Webliography and bibliography

Argyle, Kate. 1996. “Death on the Internet.” in Shields, Rob. 1996. Cultures of the Internet: Virtual Spaces, Real Histories, Living Bodies. Chapter 8. London: Sage. ISBN 0 8039 7519 8

Aldred, Jessica; Astell, Amanda; Behr, Rafael, Cochrane, Lauren; Hind, John; Pickard, Anna; Potter, Laura; Wignall, Alice; Wiseman, Eva. 2008. “The World’s 50 Most Powerful Blogs.” Posted March 9, 2008. Updated March 14, 2008. << Technology << The Observer. The Guardian. UK.

Once a blog has reached the status as one of the top 50 it seems to enter into the realm of mass media, albeit an alternative and social mass media. It is encouraging then that rant-free blogs that serve as a thinking press, like Kottke and Crooked Timber, are so highly placed. Thanks to ReadWriteWeb again for drawing this valuable article to my attention. When I added it to my delicious favourites, a tsunami of key words were automatically generated. (The irrelevant synopsis is an excellent example of concerns re: poorly dugg articles that sparked debate recently in ReadWriteWeb.) papergirls.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/the-worlds-50-most-powerful-blogs.

http://digg.com/world_news/The_world_s_50_most_powerful_blogs

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/mar/09/blogs

https://papergirls.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/the-worlds-50-most-powerful-blogs/

“Every single mainstream outlet syndicates headlines and summaries rather than publishing full-text RSS feeds — even for paid subscribers. They often don’t credit or link to bloggers who break stories first. And don’t get me started on the nuisance of interruptions such as interstitial ads and video pre-rolls.”

read more | digg story

Drawn deeper and deeper into that mesmerizing alternative virtual space called Web 2.0, caught in a cybernarcosis that hits me before I’ve even poured my second cup of morning coffee I now read all my news from my Customized Google New Reader fed by social-minded (not Socialist) .rss feeds producers. I’ve just placed three of the most recent .rss feeds by Steve Rubel at the top left where I begin, my daily news headlines, so to speak.

I learned about Micro Persuasion from Jonathan Yang’s (2006a) Rough Guide to Blogging which I found while browsing the stone and glass Cowichan Valley Regional Library’s print and paper stacks. Steve Rubel explores how social media is transforming marketing, media and public relations. See also Yang’s blog (2006b) which complements his recent Rough Guides publication.
While I’m still trying to figure out where I am since (this is obviosly not Kansas) I’m bumping into cyberspace inhabitants of this strange new world. Somehow I feel as though I am blurking unseen, like a voyeur, bordering on scopofilia. But there is so much information on them that I have this illusion that I can get very close to verstehen understanding. What is concealed and what is revealed here?

For now I am just grateful for the Rubies out there. I am going to start keeping track of them so I can remember months from now why I del.ico.used, Dugg, blogrolled, and finally .rssd them. (Blog lexicons really hurts the ears and conjures up some very ugly metaphors.) I think it is time for a poet laureat of the blog to whom innovators turn before creating new terms that will stick for all blog eternity.

One of the emerging concepts in cyberspace is the “deep internet” which came to mean that part of cyberspace that was exclusive, not social, pay-per-use or members-only and therefore in terms of acedemic capital, somehow more profound, valued, authentic, legitimate, timely and quotable. Academic journals are by far the worst offenders. Jstor (you-do-not-have-access) on my screen gives me a feeling similar to the blue screen of death. Main stream media seemed to be going in that direction but I am not so sure now. I can read full-text articles from the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Toronto Star and Nunatsiak News (including their archives) with no cost to me. Some require registration which is free and painless. Which is good for I for one would not pay a dime to access information on the Internet. In a way it is like a purist’s experiment. If I can access it for free that so can those who have Internet access but have no capital at all for even a dime-per-factoid user-fee.

Thank you Jonathan Yang I will be harvesting detailed information from your timely publication over the next while. Thank you Steve Rubel for holding a virtual flash light for the net novices who are blindly groping through the dark.

Selected webliography and biblography

Yang, Jonathan. 2006a. The Rough Guide to Blogging. Rough Guides: London, UK & New York, New York. p. 188 www.roughguides.com

Yang, Jonathan. 2006b. Rough Guide to Blogging: The Blog Accessed December 4, 2006.

Benign colonialism for dummies: how to impress OECD while Canada’s First People live in Brazil-like favela. Canadian Public Policy research has been usefully challenged by seasoned journalist Atkinson Fellow Marie Wadden’s recent series which continues her research begun in 1978 in response to the hidden horrors of Canada’s Innu town, Davis Inlet. The True North strong and free has been limping for a long time.

read more | digg story

Neither Left nor Right, just wrong

Decades later, Wadden concerned about the elusive solutions for problems of addiction in Canadian Aboriginal continues her research by visiting remote communities to find stories that will unsettle Canadian complacent apathy, compassion fatigue and worldly-wise jaded perspectives. We just do not want to give up the adventure stories that inspired our youth of Arctic explorers in frozen, isolated, hinterland Hudson Bay posts. Perhaps her shocking series will shake our stubborn pryde in our grandfathers’ mythologies while shamefully neglecting tragic tales from our Other grandparents.
Her passion for the subject earned her the 2005 Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy and led her to a year-long, cross-country trek to look at the causes, effects and potential solutions to the addiction crisis among Aboriginals. Her series of stories — Tragedy or Triumph; Canadian Public Policy and Aboriginal Addictions — is appearing in the Star and online at thestar.com/atkinson. Wadden began her career at CBC television in Newfoundland 27 years ago and has won numerous journalism awards. The St. John’s resident is the 17th winner of the Atkinson Fellowship and the first from east of Montreal. The fellowship, sponsored by The Atkinson Charitable Foundation, the Toronto Star and the Beland Honderich family, aims to further liberal journalism in the tradition of Joseph E. Atkinson, the Star’s founder. The Atkinson Series, Tragedy or Triumph, Canadian Public Policy and Aboriginal Addictions

Seven years in a Third World military dictatorship did not prepare me for the harsh reality of the everyday lives of Canadian Inuit and First Nations. I felt shame, powerlessness and confusion stemming from years of work as insider in cultural institutions devoted to Inuit studies. It took me ten years to build heightened levels of trust so all the stories pored out. The more I learned and accepted without offering bandaid solutions, patent excuses, weak explanations or high-haded social theories, the more stories seemed to come to me. It was as if I had a pair of antennas, an open channel to a stream of unending stories each one corraborating the other. The more I learned the more I questioned so I paralleled the kitchen table accounts with deep research into footnotes of published materials, Hansards, and cross-disciplinary work. I asked more specific questions of Inuit elders and the knowers in communities. (The knowers were often Inuit women of any age who had been chosen to learn more because of their superior abilities to learn languages. Their emotional maturity, discretion and wisdom was daunting. Often stories were shared in whispers. I would never get permission to share them. Potent stories of individual personal strength, survival could not be shared because the surviving members of the perpetrators of violence and injustice were still alive. In small isolated hamlets there are systems of power in everyday life that are as imposing as those on parliament hill. This explains why a convicted sex offender can be chosen to represent a community (where family violence is extremely high — off the charts in terms of the Canadian average) in the political arena. In Third World countries there is always the hope that education and maturity, in civil society and democracy, might provide improved access to human rights for citizens. My despair, my overwhelming sense of hopelessness, became consuming as I realized that this tragedy was taking place in one of the more advanced democracies with a relatively informed civil society. I began to meticulously develop a detailed timeline of the social histories of First Nations, Inuit (and African-Canadians). I would take the stories shared by friends and students and cross-reference them with dates provided by classical ethnographers, anthropologists, art historians, museologists, geographers, geologists, administrators and Hudson Bay Company reports. I reread the entire series of Inuit Studies, Inuit Art Quarterly and realized that it was not bad research on my part that made me so shamefully unaware. The very cultural institutions on whom we depend for insight into our shared communal memories, these institutions have failed us miserably. They continue to perpetrate distorted histories insisting covertly on presenting a benign colonialism. Examine the brilliant RCAP, the most in-depth (and expensive) report, undertaken using a progressive research methodology called Participatory Action Research (PAR). It’s on-line and available for anyone! Read the section on how our institutions of public curricula were specifically called upon to reexamine distorted histories in collaboration with Inuit and First Nations communties. The do as I did and examine what these institutions have done since then. A tourist visiting Canada’s cultural institutions, either virtually or in glass, steel and stone buildings, such as the National Gallery of Canada or the Museum of Civilization, or exploring Cybermuse, will not learn of the depth of despair of First Nations and Inuit communties. They will leave perhaps learning something of the heroic status of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Inuit art cooperatives, the benefits to Inuit of entering the international art market, the exquisite aesthetics of Inuit clothing from the pre-1950s, Inuit legends shortened and deformed for consumer tastes. They will learn about the dynamic Inuit culture as if the best of the culture sank with the Nascopie. Explorers and Hudson Bay Company employees are heroized when their work should now be reviewed through the lens of the informed, intelligent generation born in the 1930s and 1940s. Remove the overt desire to portray colonialism in Canada’s north as benign, to continue to cherish histories of post WWII heroism of southerners who conquered the hinterland to benefit all Canadians. Challenge the assumptions that learning English, the market system and the northern form of Canadian democracy was beneficial in the long-run. Unsettle the assumption that the errors were in the past and we should all move on. The litany of mistakes outlined in this brilliant, moving, informed series can be complemented by a thorough reading of one of Canads’ most-difficult-to-read stories, Mistakes. Let’s ask the communal archives of memory for the answers to the questions about what really happened to Inuit-Scottish, Inuit-Danish and Inuit-Icelandic children abandoned in the 1930s, 1940, 1950s, 1960s by their fathers who returned south and built profitable careers on their heroism, adventures in Canada’s north while ignoring pleas from their former partners, and even own children abandoned to the care of small vulnerable hamlets. We no longer accept that the genetic pool of the Scottish, British, American, Danish and Icelandic improved Inuit and First Nations do we? How can we continue in 2006 to lionize those who felt pryde in their improvement of the gene pool? Is there no way that we can honour our blue eyed grandfathers without simply forgetting. We need serious, committed memory work on the level of what has been done in Post WWII Europe. The situations are in no way the same. But the revamping of our institutions of communal memory is just taking too long. In Post WWII Europe it became evident over the decades that it could not be ignored by national cultural institutions. In Canada it has been politically shrewd to use delaying tactics in our museums just as we have in land claims issues, and the dozens of other recommendations of the RCAP. Read the most recent articles by Canada’s anthropologist and you will find apologies for these institions arguing that great progress has been made. After al we do have an Algonquin canoe floating silently in the Group of Seven section of the National Gallery of Canada. Silently is the word. Speak to renowned Algonquin elder William Commanda and put his voice through a loud speaker in those galleries. Listen to him describe the starvation when tourism trade grew as southerners flocked north to enjoy the Canadian Shield. Hear his gentle, firm voice as he describes in elaborate detail how he built canoes to stave off starvation as the First Nations communities were denied access to their fishing camps which had become the land of the tourists. He speaks without rage. His voice is still powerfully spiritual. He calls for a freeing of the rivers from the damage of the dams. In the room devoted to Canadian art of the 1950s install a Stan Douglas type piece where the voices of Inuit and First Nations whose lives were irrevocably changed by the one of the worst incidence of TB on the planet speak of their grandfathers, camp leaders, fathers, the hunters, trappers and fishers buried in unmarked graves near Moose Factory’s sanitorium.

In the National Gallery of Canada’s Inuit Art section (in the basement) remind visitors that the artists whose works continue to be revered, have suffered starvation in Canada in the 1940s and 1950s, have succumbed to alcoholism, and drugs, that they have met violent deaths through suicides, murders, or in preventable house fires. How many Canadians know the other stories connected to Inuit women artists who made history when they were honoured with the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest award or the Royal Canadian Academy? One died alone in a hospital near Montreal in the 1980s, so depressed because of her linguistic isolation (she could only speak Inuktitut) that she gave away her ulu, the woman’s knife so affectionately mentioned in articles about Inuit art. Another was confused at one time when nortern officials refused food to her family during the peoriod of starvation in the 1950s. What about Canada’s most widely admired Inuit artist whose works are honoured internationally who was now ill, forced to live on city streets and was so badly beaten by police he carried a lump on his forehead for weeks. They and/or their families still live in houses where the entire contents of their fridges are a plastic bottle of ketchup and mustard. The have developed diabetes. A few have become violent and abusive. So many Inuit artists are in the Baffin Correction Centre at any given time that local people suggest a visit as part of the itinerary for Iqaluit, Nunavut’s art scene. Then let’s see some footage of the renowned Inuit elder and activist, as he describes through his son, artist and interpretor, his trip to New York or his interpretation of one of his carvings. Let’s hear him sing with tears in his eyes, the song he wrote for the homeless man on the streets of New York. Where is the strong articulate voice of Sheila Watt-Cloutier in any contemporary site claiming to represent to Inuit culture? If you do not know this name you should. She has made history. What about Paul Okalik, Peter Erniq. These are names all Canadians should know. Let’s begin with something simple: honest, inclusive timelines. Let’s contextualize stories about Inuit culture. Stop funding Inuit studies unless there is a critical component that examines issues, not as tidy sanitized disciplines that claim to be protecting Inuit art and culture from the sordid truths of everyday life. Inuit art and culture are dynamic, alive, robust. The Inuit art and culture market will survive but perhaps not by continuing to enrich southerers or those who live decades in the north, return to the south and continue to become enriched on their insider knowledge. If Inuit benefited fully from their own art production in a sustainable, equitable fashion there would be far less need of so much government intervention. There is more percapita talent in the tiny hamlet of Clyde River waiting for a venue than there is many southern cities. There is also far more youth suicide, violence against women and despair.

Footnotes:

The private Atkinson Foundation, founded in 1942 by former publisher of The Toronto Star, promotes social and economic justice in the tradition Joseph E. Atkinson. This includes the work of Armine Yalnizyan, (2000), “Inequality Rises As More Families Slide To The Bottom Of The Income Scale: Tax cuts don’t address economic reality says new report,” Centre of Social Justice, January 27, 2000 http://www.atkinsonfoundation.ca/publications/The_Great_Divide_Armine_
Yallnizyan.htm

“I have spent the morning reading this useful article and I am working on a summary of the section entitled “The Semiotic Triangle.”

“Smith (Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, Buffalo NY/USA), Kusnierczyk, M.D. (Department of Computer Computer and Information Science)and Schober (European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), Hinxton, Cambridge) co-authored this interdisciplinary research paper to be presented at the KR-MED 2006 conference in which they present clear, concise arguments for the disambiguation of terms used with some confusion across disciplines such as computer science, philosophy, data and software engineering, logic, linguistics, and terminology domains. Since ontology is a burgeoning field ontology-related terms are used differently from one discipline to another. They draw primarily on biomedical informatics, partly because biomedical ontology related terminology has been the most thoroughly developed (Smith, Kusnierczyk, and Schober 2006).

References:

Ogden, C. K and I. A Richards. 1930. The Meaning of Meaning. New York.
Smith, Barry, PhD, Waclaw Kusnierczyk MD, and Daniel Schober, PhD. 2006. “Towards a Reference Terminology for Ontology Research and Development in the Biomedical Domain.” in KR-MED http://ontology.buffalo.edu/bfo/Terminology_for_Ontologies.pdf

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Technorati spider release

November 1, 2006

In my attempt to understand how Frimr reached its scores I found sites called blogjuice? which led me again to Technorati. I had visited their site before so this time I decided to register. I now have a Technorati Profile. I am now trying to use Technorati to refine searches for key concepts such as memory work, answerability, post-national, ethical topography of self.

I continue to find so many free, useful and fun internet services. Flickr is by far the most entertaining. For keeping track of bookmarks, which I call my webliographies, del.icio.us and swicki offer much more than I could ever have imagined. Swicki even does it with image collages of your individualized tag clouds. I have been learning how to interconnect my Flickr with WordPress and Blogspot. That is also amazing.

Frimr Pumpkin I have decided to no longer keep an account with Frimr, a fictional site that offers to track how famous you are becoming on the Internet. I just could not figure out how to fill in their on-line form. Apparently my score jumped from 0 to 9999 and back down to 0 in a few weeks because of the way I entered my ‘feeds.’ I didn’t even know what a feed was until I tried being a frimeuse. (This term in French for boastful: ‘Link me, I’m famous’ ) Since I am in this for the pure pleasure as well as the teaching, learning and research I prefer not to work too hard to keep track of my score.
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