Libya - Multiculturalism - MAD Magazine

Libya - In our First Hour, firestorms in the Middle East. From North Africa to the Gulf, the hot winds of revolutionary change are blowing across the entire area.

On Friday, hundreds of thousands of protesters turned out in Egypt, in Yemen, in Iraq and of course in Libya, calling for economic security and the freedom to be themselves in a democratic homeland.

In Libya, Moammar Qaddafi, using his security forces of regular army African mercenaries, fought back like a caged lion. Dozens have been killed.

In Benghazi, the country's second city, rebels appear to be in control. But at week's end, the colonel was hanging on. This morning, a conversation about the Libyan civil war and what happens post-Qaddafi

That's in Hour One.

Read more about hour one here

Multiculturalism - In our Middle Hour, the state of the state.

Forty years ago this year, Pierre Elliott Trudeau gave the world the idea of legislated multiculturalism.

Canada said to the world, you don't have to reject your native culture when you come to Canada, that the country is not one culture but many, not a melting pot, but a government crafted and financed mosaic.

Well has it worked? Multiculturalism is under fire in a number of European countries including the United Kingdom, but how is it doing in the country that invented it?

40 years of multiculturalism---a critical appraisal in Hour Two.

Read more about hour two here

MAD Magazine - In our Final Hour that mad, mad, mad Mad Magazine.

It's 60 years old believe it or not, and is still in the business of subverting the minds of our young.

I'll talk to the leader of the Usual Gang of Idiots about how a satirical magazine from the 50s, can survive in an age when irony is dead and YouTube sets the cultural norms.

Read more about hour three here

Elsewhere in the program: Ira Basen's documentary about Demand Media, your mail on vaccinations and autism, some thoughts on tonight's Oscar ceremony and Episode 8 in our series Stranger Than Fiction.

Hour 1

Michael's Essay

In this week's essay, Michael takes a critical look at the movie business.


No one is exactly sure how the end game in Libya will play out, but there is a real sense that we are witnessing the end of an era.

Moammar Qaddafi has been a force in Arab, African and world politics for four decades. He 's been loved by millions, despised by just as many and wondered at by a world not sure what he might do next.

Qaddafi has used oil as a weapon and a boon. He's been the mastermind behind some deadly terrorist acts. He has lectured and harangued his own people and the world on everything from his own unique theory of socialism to the future of the world free of colonial powers to who really killed John F. Kennedy.

Making sense of Moammar Qaddafi has been a challenge for diplomats and experts in international affairs. Professor Costanza Musu is with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. A graduate of London School of Economics and a Jean Monnet Fellow in the Transatlantic Programme of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute, Professor Musu has studied and written about Mediterranean Politics for years. She was in our Ottawa studio.

And if it is tough for a diplomat or a foreign affairs expert to make sense of the Qaddafi era...imagine how much more difficult it is for those who lived through his rule. Khaled Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya and lives and works in Ann Arbour Michigan. An award-winning poet and the author of four books of poetry as well as the translator of numerous books, Professor Mattawa teaches Poetry in the University of Michigan's Master's program in Creative Writing. He was in a studio on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbour.

Mail: MMR and Autism

Last week on the program, Michael spoke with British investigative journalist Brian Deer. Mr. Deer had spent seven years looking into the research of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who claimed to have found a link between routine childhood vaccinations and the onset of autism. As a result of Mr. Deer's work, the medical journal that first published Dr. Wakefield's study retracted the paper. And the presitigous British Medical Journal labellled Dr. Wakefield's work fraudulent.

We got a lot of mail after running that interview - but we also got a lot of mail before I even sat down with Brian Deer. Here's some what came into our emailbox after the piece aired.

Hour 2

Content on Demand

Suppose we told you that there's a company that pumps out more than 5000 stories a day on the internet, employs more than 10,000 freelance writers, editors and videographers, and is the largest single source of videos on YouTube.

And when that company offered its stock to the public for the first time in January, its market value immediately soared to $1.5 billion, higher than even the New York Times.

It was Wall Street's first billion dollar initial public offering since Google.

That company is called Demand Media.

The California-based company has only been around for a few years, and until recently has been flying under the radar. Not anymore.

It's called - somewhat snidely - a "content farm." "Information factory" works too.

We all want answers to our questions- instantly, insatiably - and online content producers have sprung up to deliver. How do I change a diaper? No need to ask a friend. Which pogo stick has the highest bounce? The answers are a couple of the clicks away - or will be very soon. And how they get there may surprise you.

For years, people have been trying to figure out a way to make money providing content to the web. Demand Media says it has discovered the magic formula.

Ira Basen recently joined the ranks of Demand Media freelancers. Here's his documentary: Content on Demand:


In a speech this month, British Prime Minister David Cameron re-lit a firestorm of debate about a concept that was all but invented in Canada: state-sanctioned - and encouraged - multiculturalism.

He wasn't the first leader to talk about the failings of this policy. Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared it an "utter failure" in Germany. And there has been backlash in other parts of Europe, including Scandinavia, the Netherlands and France.

It has also been controversial in this country, ever since Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau introduced a bill about multiculturalism in the House of Commons. That was four decades ago this year.

The legislation entrenched in law the idea that there is not one Canadian culture, that we must respect the fact that we live in a nation of immigrants, whose own languages and customs help define what it means to be Canadian.

We invited three people to share their thoughts on multiculturalism. Keith Banting is a Professor of Political Studies and Policy Studies at Queen's University. He has written and edited many books about public policy and is co-author of Multiculturalism and the Welfare State. Professor Banting currently holds the Queen's Chair in Public Policy. He's at CFRC, the Queen's University campus station.

In the same studio: Alia Hogben. She is the Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women. Ms. Hogben was born in Burma, lived in India and - before immigrating to Canada - she lived in a number of other countries as the daughter of a Canadian diplomat.

Neil Bissoondath also has a family history of migrating more than once...from India to Trinidad to Canada. He is the author of many works of fiction and non-fiction, including Selling Illusions: The Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada. Mr. Bissoondath is a visiting lecturer at Laval University in Quebec City and was at the CBC studios there.

Hour 3

MAD Magazine

What do Richard Nixon, Dr. Seuss, J.R. Ewing and Justin Bieber have in common?

They have all beenskewered on the cover of MAD magazine.

Few political heavyweights and pop culture titans over the past 60 years have escaped the satirical crosshairs of MAD and its mascot, Alfred E. Newman.

Started in 1952 by William Gaines, MAD was a departure for the publisher of EC Comics ... his other titles included Tales From the Crypt, Weird Science and Frontline Combat.

The gamble paid off ... the magazine was an instant hit and would soon become a cultural heavyweight in its own right. Its warped worldview has influenced millions of teenagers for more than half a century.

In the early years, of course, MAD had the field all to itself. But the magazine soon spawned a generation of copycats ... from Cracked magazine to The Simpsons to Jon Stewart. All owe a debt to MAD.

John Ficarra has been co-editor and then editor of MAD magazine since 1984. He was in our studio in New York.

Mail: Women in Publishing

On last week's program, we heard from Anne Hays, who was so angry about how few women's bylines there are in major magazines that she cancelled her subscription to the New Yorker. We heard from a media watchdog who had tallied up the numbers for a range of publications and found the problem everywhere she looked. And we convened a panel of Canadian and American editors to thrash out why the disparity exists and what can be done about it.

And then we heard - in a big way - from you.

Stranger Than Fiction #8

Money talks. And when you're a starving artist, it speaks with a seductive voice.

So, when writer Miguel Syjuco learned of an unusual experiment - in which he would be paid to expose himself - he leapt at the chance.

Miguel Syjuco's first novel Ilustrado has been nominated for, and won, numerous awards, including the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize.

In this week's instalment of Stranger Than Fiction, part 8 in our series, he tells us his true story, Guinea Pig.

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