Tag Archives: Simon Orpana
Globe & Mail writer Margaret Wente recently disparaged the students protesting tuition hikes in Quebec as the “Greeks of Canada.” In this response, Simon Orpana suggests the student movement actually positions Quebec as a beacon of social awareness with the potential to restore how Canada once defined itself as a country. The Quebec student strike, by opening a debate on the nature of democracy itself, has crucial implications for the whole of society.
In this provocative essay, Simon Orpana interweaves social observation with personal and philosophical reflection to consider the contemporary cultural landscape in which digital connectivity makes us all to some extent exhibitionists and peepers. Privacy is put on display through public acts, even as public spaces are increasingly privatized and subjected to the greediness of both the corporate and the consumer gaze. But rather than “retreat to a dislocated elsewhere,” Orpana asks us to consider how accessing and negotiating these shifting dimensions of a socially embedded self are mediated by class, status, and most significantly the economy, as “Daily we plug into our iPods and cell phones, hoping to insulate and inoculate ourselves from the political and ecological calamities whose evidence is mounting around us in everything from unusual weather patterns, to increasing precarious employment options, to overcrowded transit conditions, but over which we seem to have very little control. Our reflexive responses to the hegemonic operations of capital remain symptomatic insofar as they imitate the abstract and global level at which digital finance operates, asserting forms of social connectivity in a way that promises us agency and freedom while allowing the economic structures that determine us to remain obscure and unchecked.”