Facebook fined, Alphabet lament, TikTok plots

The state of your digital destiny

An investigation into infamous Facebook practices that continued through 2018 has resulted in a $9-million fine from Canada’s Competition Bureau. The social network won’t contest the penalty, although it doesn’t believe it did anything wrong by allowing third-party developers to override what was perceived by users as a privacy setting.


Sweeping up Sidewalk Toronto

Manhattan Institute director Michael Hendrix was among those lamenting Alphabet deciding not to pursue its project in Toronto, saying that the proposed Sidewalk Labs intervention seemed necessary to bring the city into the future. The death of the idea brought on some ruminating over what can be built along the Quayside instead.


TikTok’s new boss has to show that he’s not some kind of spy for China. Disney’s head of streaming, Kevin Mayer, was tapped as CEO of the short-form video app, in a move that seems designed for navigating its regulatory challenges. TikTok has also been building a staff in Canada, which includes looking for a director of government affairs.


School’s out as retail returns

The announcement that Ontario classrooms will remain closed until September and that overnight camps are off-limits comes has some wondering how kids will spend summer. Meanwhile, permission for all street-facing storefronts to reopen comes with tales of resolve to do things right, even if that means buying records while masked:


Apex Da Barber confesses to giving haircuts around the clock. COVID-19 has kept the hairstylist preoccupied with house calls—about which the Toronto black-market barber was willing to speak under his pseudonym. The volume of complaints about salons remaining open appear to be rivalled only by reports of stunt driving events.


Finally, undoing Hanky Panky

Kent Monkman issued an apologetic statement about his recent painting, which depicts a sexual assault of Justin Trudeau in front of laughing Indigenous women and anguished former prime ministers. While the artist’s studio asked the Globe and Mail to not reprint the piece, it was by La Presse, and remained on Monkman’s social media:

My latest work Hanky Panky highlights the problems with the Canadian (in)justice system: the criminal targeting and disproportionate incarceration of Indigenous people; the victimization of Indigenous women, who experience violence and sexual assault at rates three times higher than other women in Canada; and the legal neglect of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people. Indigenous people do not put each other on trial in the same way the settler (in)justice system functions.
An all-woman council gathers to witness Miss Chief’s “hanky panky.” Miss Chief is not new to encounters with settler males such as Mounties and politicians. We see a red hanky in the right rear pocket of a handsome, grinning young man which indicates that he is a willing participant. Hanky code was widely used in gay subcultures in the 70s and 80s whereby hankies or coloured bandanas inserted in right or left pants pockets signaled a wide-ranging variety of sexual preferences and fetishes as an invitation to compatible and consensual partners.
These women are loosely inspired by the okihcitâwiskwêwak, the traditional council of Cree women law keepers who held authority over matters relating to the land. In my own reimagining, through their laughter, a group of Indigenous women reclaim their agency from the colonial patriarchal society which has suppressed the leadership roles women have always held in our communities. The women also represent Indigenous acceptance of fluid gender roles, including the Two-Spirit traditions embraced by most First Nations communities on Turtle Island.
This is not a punishment, but rather a consensual act that Miss Chief willingly delivers. This image employs a sense of humour drawn from Cree storytelling. I chose the title Hanky Panky to reflect on the playful nature of Miss Chief’s character, the exuberant laughter of the Indigenous women, and the trickery and deceit of each successive colonial government since Canadian Confederation. - Kent Monkman
May 16, 2020