Kim Sawchuk
2008 Canadian Journal of Communication  
Considering the huge amount of energy we spend on creative activity, to be creative is "ordinary." It is an age-long and normal human characteristic: All children are born creative. It's the lack of any appreciation of these activities that is not ordinary. -Margaret Atwood, "To Be Creative Is, in Fact, Canadian" What kind of life can it be, I wonder, to produce this extraordinary fussiness, this extraordinary decision to call certain things culture and then separate them, as with a park wall,
more » ... rom ordinary people and ordinary work? -Raymond Williams, "Culture Is Ordinary" Three main areas of creative, critical intellectual inquiry within communication are broached in this final issue of the year 2008: the philosophy and theory of technology, critical journalism studies, and information and communication technology (ICT) studies. Kirsten McAllister's phenomenologically evocative feminist interpretation of Paul Virilio's "vision machine" opens this closing issue. McAllister teases out the potentially paralytic political melancholy embedded in Virilio's images of techno-embodiment. In the second article Paul Heyer offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of digital broadcasting cinema and opera for the "masses." Working in the tradition of medium theory, Heyer reflects on this relatively new practice that brings an explosive "liveness" to the cinema. The recent New York Metropolitan Opera production of Hector Berlioz's Damnation of Faust, featuring Québec playwright, director, and actor Robert Lepage's "techno-alchemy," lends weight to Heyer's arguments that such practices usurp facile divisions between high and low cultural practice. As if to underscore Heyer's point, the production quickly sold out in Montréal's downtown theatres, and in a recent interview Lepage spoke of the influences of the lights of Las Vegas (Blum, 2008) and theatricality of rock 'n' roll on his creation of the Met's first "interactive opera" (Wakin, 2008) . High (art) and low (culture) became a part of political debate during the federal election in September 2008 with reports of Stephen Harper's budget cuts to the arts sector and his ensuing remarks. Campaigning on the Prairies Harper said: "I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see a gala of a bunch of people, you know, at a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren't high enough when they know those subsidies have actually gone up-I'm not sure that's something that resonates with ordinary people" (Whittington, 2008) . These contentious comments, positioning culture, heritage,
doi:10.22230/cjc.2008v33n4a2173 fatcat:bp4m2i7qv5dr7a5yw3ubhr6smy