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humanities 359 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 poignantly describes a film that will never be made, owing to the death of the cameraman, Helwig=s friend David Maltby. By reviewing selected clips of the unedited video footage, Helwig vividly recreates the sights, sounds, and emotions that attended a protest march against ARMX, a weapons trade fair, held in Ottawa in the spring of 1989. The essay deftly cross-cuts between scenes of the protest march and of Helwig=s final visit in the hospital with David, comatose and dying of bacterial meningitis. This juxtaposition underscores the jarring gulf between the death-brokers, who waltz past the barricades to purchase weapons of mass destruction, and individuals for whom real bodies are deserving of protection and care, and for whom each death is a tragic loss. The latter attitude is conveyed by Helwig=s insistence throughout the collection on witnessing gestures of compassion, like those of David=s sister Patty, who gently wipes the blood from her brother=s ear with a piece of cotton wool. Images such as this also demonstrate Helwig=s awareness of the craft and power of language. In her essay about the value of poetry, she states: >Poetry is the language of the centre B not necessarily the centre of a trauma, though that is sometimes the case; it may be the centre of a desire, a joy. It is the place where language is just beginning to break up and re-form.= And while some of the essays on pop culture offer few deep insights, others, particularly those documenting Helwig=s political activism, are, indeed, sharp enough to cleave the frozen sea within. (MARLENE GOLDMAN) Drew Hayden Taylor. Furious Observations of a Blue-Eyed Ojibway: Funny, You Don=t Look Like One Two Three Theytus. 173. $16.95 To be a Native academic reviewing Drew Hayden Taylor=s most recent book of social commentary is to enter into a dangerous territory, and I have done so with equal parts caution and pleasurable anticipation. The caution arises from the knowledge that jargon-spouting academics B Native as much as non-Native B are rightly among Taylor=s favourite targets for ridicule; the anticipation comes from knowing that Taylor=s critical insight is deeply embedded in his unrelenting dedication to truth, good sense, and the necessary power of humour. Taylor is perhaps best known as one of Canada=s most popular Native playwrights B his works include The Buz=Gem Blues (2002), alterNATIVES (2000), and Only Drunks and Indians Tell the Truth (1998) B but his talents as both a social commentator and humorist should not be underestimated. Furious Observations of a Blue-Eyed Ojibway, the third instalment of his popular series Funny, You Don=t Look Like One, collects forty-nine brief articles from various periodicals and public presentations, ranging widely over the complicated realities of contemporary Aboriginal life. With tongue 360 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 firmly in cheek and eyes trained for self-satisfied egotism, Taylor examines such diverse issues as vegetarianism, Native arts criticism, the desacralization and commodification of sacred medicines, urban and reserve cultures, intermarriage and multi-raciality, the politics of laughter, and the convolutions of his life as a slightly cynical Ojibway writer in an often absurd world. As with most of his work, Taylor brings a sharp sense of irony and humour to these essays. Of particular note in this regard is his thoughtprovoking piece >Culture by Association,= in which he questions the practice of non-Natives who assume Aboriginal identities when they begin intimate relationships with Native people. Taylor names this practice both >spousal cultural appropriation= and, more playfully, >being AIndian by ejaculation.@= While toying with the humorous implications of such practices and terminology B >God knows I=ve done my share of passing out citizenship= B he subsequently moves into the more troubling realities of appropriation, observing that the claim is most often done as an exercise in privilege and objectification of >cool hair and funky pow wows,= but it rarely extends into the socio-economic realities of many Aboriginal people, which include...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 359-361
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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