Speeches From The Crowd


Speeches From The Crowd

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This collection of essays is a set of challenges. We all know that we are living on the shifting edge of an unsustainable world: an urban "First World" that is completely subsidized by forces, people and places largely unknown and elsewhere. This read offers essential facts and questions on food security, big media, poverty, social fabrics we could quilt with...  and tools to replace the "keep calm and go shopping" Modus Operandi.

Kerry Coast is a journalist, dramatist, former editor of The St'at'imc Runner and The BC Treaty Negotiating Times, and author of The Colonial Present.

Kerry Coast

excerpt from Speeches From The Crowd

"Social Needia"


...  But the facebook version of life-as-we-want-it-to-appear means constantly posing for photos - and posting - while at a great place "having a super time." But this is “still life”, or “life interrupted,” or maybe “posed life.” What actually happened was that the three teenage girls, or the two 20-somethings, were waiting in line outside a crowded restaurant where they… ate a late dinner without incident or intrigue. The picture they posted was of themselves letting out a single whoop while carefully positioned backwards against the neon sign of the restaurant so both they and the sign were in the frame. What actually did not happen was communication between the three teenage girls; between the two twenty-somethings.

Cyber-bullying betrays the presence of real power in these online spaces. Maybe it even motivates a desperately fast pace to the "social" postings. A modern suite is probably being written, to explore the situation through opera. It would be based on The Nutcracker, to help educate the young people through their experience: The facebook Suite, in six orchestral movements:

The Dream of Friends

The Ecstasy of Sharing

Jig of the Bots

Waltz of the Trolls

Nightmare in All Caps

In the Light of Day. not Device

Auntie Media’s Tea

...Social media produces the sensation, or the impression, that one is informed, engaged, heard… but how would that be measured? By retweets? By likes? It will certainly not be measured and reaffirmed in person. Who recalls all the messages they thumbs-upped or thumbs-downed? Perhaps such computer-generated campaigns as that of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will vindicate the social media participants. What will the others do?

        Surveys are still conducted by companies who rely on a list of land-line phones. So those surveys will be vastly out of step with the surveys compiled by artificial intelligence collecting data from webpages. Who is the President? What if the digital nation and the analog nation are inclined to continue to disagree, and the difference in the way they communicate drives that gap deeper?

        The expectations of the accurate representation of people and causes on social media are disappointed, and misunderstood. People expect exposure based on merit  – to reflect the real priorities of interests among those hundreds of millions of users – but it works according to paid advertising. While it appears to be a social, and populist, theatre of interaction, social media is just an enormous advertisement, peppered with real world, real time content provided at no charge by activist and employee users. There are a few vagaries in the question of Paid v. Popular circulation.

      Basically, they are feeding us to ourselves. We provide the content and facebook, youtube and twitter sells it back to us for the price of the advertisements.

Very often, social needs reserve and eventually diminish themselves to images and videos of cats and dogs. “Vines” feature girls slipping off the hoods of soapy cars; children talking back to their parents; and can people really express themselves in a video of a horse nodding along to a Top 40 song? 

        “Social” media is not very social at all. And the “media” in question is possibly the most limiting in the history of form. It is described in terms of gigabytes, but what everyone seems to have forgotten is that a gigabyte of data is a very tiny thing indeed. And so is the amount of communication it can carry from one person to another.

        A real, live person should play with someone their own size.


Other Books by Kerry Coast

The Colonial Present


  No treaties were made with the indigenous nations whose territories are now considered a Canadian province called British Columbia. Instead, a breathtaking policy of criminalization and assimilation has been vigorously carried out against them. 

Present day governments continue with processes that, although recently re-named and cosmetically improved, are unconstitutional and prohibited by the 1948 Genocide Convention: deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. 

The indigenous nations have never joined Canada but had citizenship imposed on them while the province has never fulfilled Canada's constitutional requirements of purchasing their lands before settling. The people of BC seek the dissolution of some thirty distinct indigenous nations. BC's economy is 80% derived from extraction of natural resources from lands and waters that have never been ceded, sold or surrendered to them by their indigenous owners. Recognition of this fact has given rise to what is called "the uncertainty principle" currently impeding foreign investment, to the distress of the Canadian government, which is under great pressure to resolve the issue. 

The ongoing colonization of British Columbia relies on settler indifference to the indigenous. The Colonial Present documents the colonizer's manufacture of a new mythology to dehumanize the original peoples and strip them of their rightful places in the world. Throughout the mainstream media, the academic presses and the courts, industrial influences have corrupted and impoverished the non-native understanding. Accepting these standardized lies, new British Columbians coming from all over the world comply with the destruction of distinct nations with lands, languages, cultures and peoples, a fate which replicates that in many of their original homelands. 

The indigenous peoples have suffered excruciating losses at the hands of British Columbia's leaders. British Columbia and Canada seek to resolve the issue by demanding that indigenous nations should release title to their homelands in exchange for a miniscule financial, land and program funding settlement, and management capacities barely distinguishable from those of BC municipalities. Their lands and rich resources are to be ceded to the Queen. 

This book is an exploration of how such a stunning string of events continues unchecked, and 

British Columbians' continuing attempts to rationalize them. 

" This is history as it should be done."

This fascinating study provides a template not only for understanding but transforming colonial realities throughout North America."

Natsu Taylor Saito, Professor of
International Law, Georgia State