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Wonderfully put, my dear. What is your theatre community like? If there's a counter-culture, it will show up there first. I used to work in what was called 'guerilla theatre' for part of my career. The entire point is to tweak the powers that be; to beard the lion, if you will. So check out the small theaters. They may be doing things you'd enjoy participating in and perhaps blogging about.

I think your definition of 'sell out' is different than mine.

Every time ANY person in the arts/media/entertainment industry puts money before capital-A-Art, then they are deemed to be a sell out.

FFWD needs to make money so that they can continue to give their paper away for free becuase they know darn well that if the arts community had to pay even 25 cents for the paper, they wouldn't.

This is not about putting money first. One can be an artist and economically saavy. But, FFWD capitalizes on an alternative spin. The CDA ad is actually dictating social norms -- that is antithetical in my view to the alternative arts culture. Where people draw lines often says a lot about their authenticity and credibility.

FFWD continually puts forth great writing on issues that the Real Media (tm) tends to ignore or gloss over. They gottta be able to do it somehow, n'est pas?

Now... I'm a traditional bleeding heart liberal type, but I love the ads. It's just too PC to suggest that voices have been stolen or misappropriated. The (annecdotal, perhaps) fact remains that a good chunk of the homeless either choose the lifestyle or else are mental health cases that should be dealt with in ways other than feeding their various addictions.

Do we need more low-cost/afforable housing? Yep (s'long as it doesn't create ghettoized neighbourhoods). Do we need a more extensive mental health care system? Yep again.

What's the best way of moving towards these goals? Not by tossing change around.

D'accord - FFWD does put out great writing on lots of issues! I particularly like Amy Steele who does great writing on various social issues. But, FFWD has survived without the CDA to date, and I don't think they need to run the ads. If they are financially tied, I can certainly voice my concern.

You like the ads. I hate them; there is nothing PC about it. My heart doesn't bleed. I just hate hypocrisy and hidden agendas.

Hidden agendas on whose part? FFWD? They're just accepting advertising. Nothing sinister of backhanded about it. Just a difference of opinion. :)

No one's saying you can't or shouldn't voice your concern. Everyone likes a good argument, eh?

As for the PC comment - it's a big debate in the anthro scene - (mis)appropriating voice. It's considered unPC to do so, and arguably, the DTA has done so with these ads.

Hidden agendas on the part of the CDA, not FFWD.

I think when you say that the appropriation of others' voices is unPC it trivializes the act.

Do you really believe that 'generousity' is the real problem for panhandlers?

I believe that there is such a thing as enabling. So yes, if generosity is giving money to a "homeless person", so that they can buy drugs or drink, then yes, that is a problem.

Being the bleeding heart liberal that I am, I also believe that there ought to be something available to those who want to get out of that cycle. Alas, it is their cycle to get out of, and I am a strong proponant of personal responsibility. If anyone chooses a certain lifestyle, that's their decision.

We need better mental health program sto deal with some of these issues. Otherwise... run 'em out of town? I don't think so. Make it harder for them to maintain their chosen lifestyle? Yes, I do think so.

The DTA is trying to make the DT a better place for us residents. I have been verbally assaulted by da bums on the street. Take a walk down by the St. Louis, or elsewhere in the East Village if you want a taste of that.

It's a complex question, and my first law of life is that there are no easy answers to complex issues. One small part of that is, quite clearly, not to enable disfunctional, anti societal behaviours for which we all must pay.

And here's what else: I invite you to write a post for the Blog@Calgary ( that puts forward a your views of the matter.

I think it is a debate worth having, and that you have something to offer up to our readers.

I actually like to stick to writing on my blog, but thanks for the offer. I think it's great that you're in to discussing the issue. Maybe, you'll post something about it on your blog.

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