Hi, and welcome to LOUDCANARY, where I collected one aspect of my published work and narrativize certain fascinations: Propaganda, birds and other animals, evolutions, control and mass surveillance systems, smell theory, music, people as product, entheogens, magic, perils of rectilinear architecture, ruins, post-Earth futures, chaos theory, secret prisons…
As an independent journalist, I often let my subjects find me, rather than the other way around. While spending several months in China in 2009, my encounters with several outspoken dissidents, including Ran Yunfei (冉雲飛) and Liao Yiwu (廖亦武), led me to publish several pieces about propaganda, democracy and control systems in China. A chance encounter with a miner on a flight to Ulaanbaatar in 2011 focused my attention on Mongolia’s enormous mining boom, and I again dove into research and published a lengthy piece exploring the impact of mining on the country’s land, people and other animals. In 2014, my acquisition of an Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter led me to write about the merits of using typewriters, and about the standardization of surveillance and cognitive disruptions heralded by electronic communications technologies.
It’s all connected, but some connections are more distant than others, and a tricksterish sense of humor and detachment informs my general approach.
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In 2004, I founded and began editing LiP: Informed Revolt, an award-winning all-volunteer-run North American magazine.
LiP**, always printed on 100% recycled paper, with vegetable-based inks, and with worker-owned or union printers, was a journal of politics, culture, sex and humor that we devoted to politicizing intellectual honesty and challenging dogma from points across the political continuum. I was deeply honored when the late historian and activist Howard Zinn (A People’s History of the United States) described LiP as “Funny, refreshing, intelligent and outrageous!”
After ending the magazine in 2007, I edited and designed Tipping the Sacred Cow (AK Press, 2008), an anthology of its best and most durable material. (The cover art, by extraordinary mural artist Mona Caron, is a riff on the trickster Bugs Bunny, with a stock counterculture rebel depicted as a fly-gathering buffoon-in-a-bullseye.) Contributors included Vandana Shiva, Winona LaDuke, Tim Wise, Rebecca Solnit, Lisa Jervis, Mary Roach, Boots Riley, Michael Eric Dyson, Tim Kreider, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, and Christopher Hitchens, among many others. [Full PDF of Tipping the Sacred Cow now available – free.]
“In an era when most political magazines in the U.S. ranged from the tepid to the tedious there was LiP, fearlessly delving into the essential topics of our times and mapping the way to a revolution you’d actually want to join.”
— Patrick Reinsborough, co-founder of the Center for Story-based Strategy and co-author of Re:Imagining Change (PM Press)
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Before all of that, I labored at a series of New York and Chicago companies, including Citibank, The Asia Society, Ernst & Young, and Viacom, where I worked for MTV and Showtime and developed a revulsion for life in the corporate world. In the early oughts, I also served as Books Editor for Britannica.com, the now-defunct online magazine of Encyclopædia Britannica, and for six months in 2002, I filled in as Interim Executive Editor for Sea Kayaker magazine in Seattle while the usual Executive Editor was out making a person.
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Since 2009, I’ve worked as a freelance reporter, photographer, web designer, research assistant and film production student. I’ve also spent some time WWOOFing in Taiwan and Humboldt County, California.
I’m Irish and Cherokee, and grew up in Oklahoma and the Netherlands.
LOUDCANARY more or less ended in 2014.
* Unless otherwise noted text and photos on LOUDCANARY are (c) 2016 Brian Awehali.
** The title of the magazine (“don’t give me no ____”) was a nod to my esteem for the work of John Lydon and his post-Sex Pistols band, PiL (Public Image Ltd.)