Friday, March 28, 2008

Obligatory "About Me" Post

Though it risks being perceived as narcissistic, this post is just a bit of blog housekeeping: The piece of text I've used for "About Me" purposes on this blog since I started it is one I've never really liked, notwithstanding that I've edited it a time or two over that period. It was written for another purpose, resides on another site, and has always chafed. I am finally getting around to replacing it...so here's a little bit about me:

Son of the white settler middle class in southern Ontario, Canada; spiced with early intervals in Scotland; raised in an apolitical liberal (puritan) home in a conservative small town. Has lived in industrial cities in Ontario most of his adult life, barring eight months in Ottawa and fifteen months in Los Angeles. Earned a piece of paper from a university saying he knows a little bit about biochemistry and worked in a few research labs. Turned to activism and writing in the midst of all of that, and hasn't looked back.

As a politicizing student, quickly arrived at an instinctive, book-based anarchism. Has been on a journey -- to unlearn the faux-objective, overly intellectualized, and disembodied place from which he saw social change at the start; to undo the deep training to ignore the political nature and relevance of his own everyday/everynight; to escape the false certainty and begin to heal the stunted humanity that come with privilege; to learn to see that his self exists in particular ways that were created by the social relations into which he was born and through which he travels; and to fully internalize that it is from there that all politics must start. Is an autodidact -- that is, almost none of his political learning has been in institutional settings with pieces of paper at the end, but it has still been very much social, through formal and informal listening, reading texts penned by other people on other journeys, participating in struggles for change, screwing up, and participating some more. He shies away from political labels, but is informed by diverse streams of anti-capitalism and anti-authoritarianism, opposition to the colonial past and present of the canadian state, and a commitment to lifelong exploration of anti-oppression politics. His earliest involvement had an environmental focus, and over the years has been involved in social movement spaces that were responding to student issues, right-wing governments, poverty, homelessness, racism, war, occupation, colonization, media issues, and more. Currently active with Justice and Freedom for John Moore, the Sudbury working group of the Media Co-op (aka Grassroots: Sudbury's Media Collective), and a member of the national advisory board of the radical political journal Upping The Anti.

Has been paid to pump gas, to enter data, to lift textbooks, to sell magazines, to wash dishes, to write articles, to write research reports, to develop community, and to teach. Has organized, facilitated, leafleted, written, researched, interviewed, spoken, listened, outreached, accompanied, broadcast, trained, occupied, blockaded, supported, copied, processed, recorded, picketed. Hosted and produced political spoken-word radio for three years. Has published over a hundred magazine-style news articles, a couple of poems, some op-ed pieces, a bunch of book reviews, a number of community-based research reports, and various and sundry other things. And tons o' blog posts. Became his son's stay-at-home parent starting at age nine months.

In September 2012, Fernwood Publishing released his first two books, Gender and Sexuality: Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists and Resisting the State: Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists. In February 2013, he launched a new broadcasting/podcasting project, Talking Radical Radio, which current finds its broadest distribution via Rabble.ca. The show brings you grassroots voices from across Canada, and gives people involved in a broad range of social change work a chance to reflect on what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. He periodically updates the sidebar of indicate other recent work.

8 comments:

Brian O'Connor said...

This is really good and not at all narcissistic. I've been wanting to do a re-haul of my "About Me" section as well and this has given me a cheat-sheet, a template of how to properly proceed.

I especially like the "has been paid to..." part. For me, that's a very useful and accurate way to described the jobs I've had and to emphasize to my readers that these jobs do not define who I am. i imagine it's the same for a lot of activists. 'Artists too...

Scott said...

Thanks Brian!

Yeah, I wanted to find a way to talk about paid employment but not be trapped by language into letting it define me. The other side of that, I suppose, is not wanting to implicitly devalue all of the unpaid work of various sorts that I do either -- much of my writing, my parenting, my political work -- which I value and which I understand as expressions of who I am to a much greater extent than whatever I happen to be doing to get some money in any given phase of my life.

Anonymous said...

I like it too. I've been putting off doing mine because I don't want to just copy and paste my writer's bio from one of any number of places online or my hard drive. (Although time being what it in busy September, it may come to that.)

But I like the depth, and the politics, particularly the phrase: "to undo the deep training to ignore the political nature and relevance of his own everyday/everynight"

Ursula Pflug said...

That last comment was actually mine, I just hadn't figured out the tagging thing yet.

Scott said...

Thanks Ursula! :)

Tanya said...

I just discovered your blog by chance and I pretty much just went "Where have you been all my life?!" That's how great your blog is. The book reviews alone made me squee. Excited to see an anti-colonial anarchist blogger from Canada.

Scott said...

[blush] Thank-you for your kind words, Tanya!

Khan said...

Just when I was looking for something good to read over the break I came across this such a great blog. I couldn`t help but to bookmark your blog. Thank you for the efforts you have been putting in to produce such a good stuff. Keep up with good work!