The Dark Room
Episode #122 - Carlos Cruz Mosquera: Street Gangs and the Danger of “Positive Thinking”

Episode #122 - Carlos Cruz Mosquera: Street Gangs and the Danger of “Positive Thinking”

February 2, 2021

Dr. Paul Salvatori talks with socialist activist and scholar, Carlos Cruz Mosquera, about how “positive thinking”, as often found in popular self-help books, is a distraction from and counterproductive to fighting oppressive capitalist society. Drawing from his own experience as a former gang member and, later, motivational speaker, Carlos shares why radical political education is necessary to empower youth, especially those who—deprived by capitalist society of meaningful socio-economic opportunities—are prone to engaging in criminality.   

Read Carlos’ engaging article, “I’m a former gang member and I’m done peddling positivity”, and one of the focuses of this episode here. Also learn more about Anticonquista, a socialist publication focusing on the Latin American and Caribbean diaspora and which Carlos is co-editor, here.  

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

 

Education Outside the System (Part 3) : Dean Spade on Mutual Aid and Learning through Activism

Education Outside the System (Part 3) : Dean Spade on Mutual Aid and Learning through Activism

January 24, 2021

In this three-part feature, honouring the UN International Day of Education, Dr. Paul Salvatori—alongside podcasts guests—explores the nature of genuine learning, how it can happen outside the conventional educational system and ways it is both empowering for both the individual and community.

In the feature’s first discussion, Dr. Paul talks with Irish professor, Dr. Camilla Fitzsimons, about the value of “community education”, while addressing how it, as a force for social and political change—has unfortunately been undermined by “professionals”—disconnected from the grassroots level. In the feature’s second discussion, Dr. Paul talks with American educational researcher and critic, Alfie Kohn, about the problem of “rewards” in the school system and how that both reinforces obedience to authority and discourages independent learning. Finally, in the third discussion of the feature, Dr. Paul talks with American activist, author and lawyer, Dean Spade, about the value and potential to learn from one another through mutual aid, based on consensus-building, and that operates outside traditional systems of power.

Learn more about each of the three guests of this feature, including their recent work and publications by clicking on their names:

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Education Outside the System (Part 2) : Alfie Kohn on the Troubling Conformity in Schools

Education Outside the System (Part 2) : Alfie Kohn on the Troubling Conformity in Schools

January 24, 2021

In this three-part feature, honouring the UN International Day of Education, Dr. Paul Salvatori—alongside podcasts guests—explores the nature of genuine learning, how it can happen outside the conventional educational system and ways it is both empowering for both the individual and community.

In the feature’s first discussion, Dr. Paul talks with Irish professor, Dr. Camilla Fitzsimons, about the value of “community education”, while addressing how it, as a force for social and political change—has unfortunately been undermined by “professionals”—disconnected from the grassroots level. In the feature’s second discussion, Dr. Paul talks with American educational researcher and critic, Alfie Kohn, about the problem of “rewards” in the school system and how that both reinforces obedience to authority and discourages independent learning. Finally, in the third discussion of the feature, Dr. Paul talks with American activist, author and lawyer, Dean Spade, about the value and potential to learn from one another through mutual aid, based on consensus-building, and that operates outside traditional systems of power.

Learn more about each of the three guests of this feature, including their recent work and publications by clicking on their names:

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Education Outside the System (Part 1) : Dr. Camilla Fitzsimons on Community Education

Education Outside the System (Part 1) : Dr. Camilla Fitzsimons on Community Education

January 24, 2021

In this three-part feature, honouring the UN International Day of Education, Dr. Paul Salvatori—alongside podcasts guests—explores the nature of genuine learning, how it can happen outside the conventional educational system and ways it is both empowering for both the individual and community.

In the feature’s first discussion, Dr. Paul talks with Irish professor, Dr. Camilla Fitzsimons, about the value of “community education”, while addressing how it, as a force for social and political change—has unfortunately been undermined by “professionals”—disconnected from the grassroots level. In the feature’s second discussion, Dr. Paul talks with American educational researcher and critic, Alfie Kohn, about the problem of “rewards” in the school system and how that both reinforces obedience to authority and discourages independent learning. Finally, in the third discussion of the feature, Dr. Paul talks with American activist, author and lawyer, Dean Spade, about the value and potential to learn from one another through mutual aid, based on consensus-building, and that operates outside traditional systems of power.

Learn more about each of the three guests of this feature, including their recent work and publications by clicking on their names:

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Update

Update

January 22, 2021

Some interesting episodes to look out before the end of this month, starting this Sunday. 

Coping with COVID: Call for Guests

Coping with COVID: Call for Guests

May 18, 2020

How are you coping with COVID-19? Is there a personal story, related to that, you'd like share--from dealing with isolation and loneliness to fears over the pandemic itself--that might help others amid this difficult time?

If so, Dr. Paul would love to talk with you about the possibility of being a guest on The Dark Room. He can be reached at paulsalvatori@sympatico.ca 

 

Episode #121 - Fourth Annual Maria Salvatori Mother’s Day Special: Exploring motherhood and the troubling practice of skin lightening with Professor Nikki Khanna

Episode #121 - Fourth Annual Maria Salvatori Mother’s Day Special: Exploring motherhood and the troubling practice of skin lightening with Professor Nikki Khanna

May 11, 2020

The idea that a mother's "love" made do more harm than good is certainly a difficult one, especially when that love reflects a prevalent cultural norms. 

Addressing this, Dr. Paul speaks with Professor Nikki Khanna (University of Virginia) about how mothers within the Asian-American community, as much of elsewhere in the non-Western world, influence or pressure their daughters to physically lighten their skin.

It's also one of the main themes in Professor Khanna's recent book, Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism, where she--and the voices of several Asian American female authors--illuminate the big business of skin lightening products and how, through propaganda-like imagery and advertising, it perpetuates the racist myth that the whiter you are, the more "value" you have as a person. 

Learn more about Professor Khanna here. You may also purchase Whiter here.

Special thanks to journalist and social justice advocate, Ayesha Khan, for her guidance in the preparation of this episode.

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #120 - Exploring the unsettling rise of “influencer” culture with Tatum Dooley

Episode #120 - Exploring the unsettling rise of “influencer” culture with Tatum Dooley

April 27, 2020

Have you been persuaded by an “influencer”? Do you really know?

Dr. Paul talks to Toronto-based journalist and art curator, Tatum Dooley, about the rise of influencers, namely popular individuals online selling what appears to be a “natural” or “ordinary” part of their lives, and how they are pairing—through agencies like Toronto’s #paid—to with trendy brands to strategically push their products.   

Bearing on the power of images and art, the discussion explores how ethical influencer marketing is and to what extent audiences can make informed choices as to whether to buy from them, thereby having the opportunity to resist the allure of advertising. 

Learn more about Tatum here.

You can also read her engaging pieces, discussed in this episode, on influencer culture at The Walrus (“We’ll All Be Social Media Sell Outs Soon”) and  Real Life (“Cost of Simplicity”).

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

 

 

Episode #119 - Anti-Gun Violence Advocate & Therapist - Rev. Sky Starr

Episode #119 - Anti-Gun Violence Advocate & Therapist - Rev. Sky Starr

November 14, 2019

As gun violence continues to rise in Toronto, many are divided as to what the “proper” response to ending it should be. For some, it’s a tough-on-crime approach that focuses on legally disciplining, as through incarceration, perpetrators of gun violence. For others, like Rev. Sky Starr, it involves being sensitive and responsive to the needs of communities, especially those directly affected by such violence.

In this episode, Dr. Paul Salvatori speaks with Rev. Sky about how she first became involved in compassionate efforts to end gun violence, her continuing work—within and beyond Toronto's Jane and Finch community—to help others heal in its traumatic aftermath and the role spirituality can play in governments better ensuring safe communities while respecting the rights and dignity of all.  

Learn more about Rev. Sky and Out of Bounds—the grief and trauma support group of which she’s both founder and executive director—here. Further info on the “Community Interfaith Remembrance” event, hosted by Out of Bounds and discussed by Rev. Sky in this episode, can be accessed there as well.  

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

 

Episode #118 - Former Ontario Premier & Social Justice Advocate - Kathleen Wynne

Episode #118 - Former Ontario Premier & Social Justice Advocate - Kathleen Wynne

September 20, 2019

Dr. Paul Salvatori speaks with former Ontario Premier and current provincial Member of Parliament, Kathleen Wynne, about how the progressive and social-minded politician entered politics, the activist outlook and philosophy that has guided her throughout her career and even the place of love in the often combative world of politics. As might be expected given the media attention it’s received, the discussion does not shy away from the controversial Ontario sex-ed curriculum Kathleen introduced while Premier. Shedding new light, Kathleen shares how the curriculum was first developed, how she handles the harsh pushback it still receives and, perhaps most importantly, the essential role it plays in the care and education of young people.

Thank you to Wendy Weston, Kathleen’s assistant, for helping coordinate this episode of The Dark Room.  

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Book Launch - Cathy Crowe’s “A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse”

Book Launch - Cathy Crowe’s “A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse”

August 28, 2019

Live talk and discussion with tireless homeless advocate, educator, writer and recipient of the Order of Canada, Cathy Crowe, about her recently published book, A Knapsack Full of Dreams: Memoirs of a Street Nurse. Hosted at Eastminister United Church (Toronto), Cathy reads from the book—providing a window into her beginnings as a social justice nurse—followed by an intriguing conversation, alongside Anna Willats, on the difficult challenges and rewards fighting homelessness in Canada.  

Special thanks to Another Story Bookshop for organizing the event. You can learn more about and purchase Cathy’s book here.   

The Dark Room Unscripted #5 - Anger: The Pain Behind Gun Violence Pt. 2

The Dark Room Unscripted #5 - Anger: The Pain Behind Gun Violence Pt. 2

August 28, 2019

Why it's important to understand the role anger, closely associated with pain, plays in fueling gun and other forms of violence, as well as the perpetrator's perspective--without endorsing or promoting it. Find "Sins of the Father: How Abuse at Home Led Me into the Criminal Underworld", Vito's story mentioned in the cast, here: https://bit.ly/2KFIvEf 

Episode #117 - Mixed-Media Artist - Carlo Polidoro Lopez

Episode #117 - Mixed-Media Artist - Carlo Polidoro Lopez

August 26, 2019

As the well-known proverb goes, “one man’s art is another one’s treasure”. This may aptly be applied to Montreal-based artist, Carlo Polidoro Lopez, whose daring work is literally made up with garbage, also characterizing its beauty and originality. 

Dr. Paul talks with Carlo, alongside his son, Alex, about his work and how it began in adult life rather than as a a “wonder child”. Defying traditional Western aesthetics, Carlo’s non-linear work—blending a smorgasbord of colour and texture—invites the viewer to rethink what it means to be creative. For Carlo this involves drawing from both his personal and collective past, as a multiethnic Canadian, while giving form to raw thoughts and feelings as they occur to him in the very process of making art.  

View Carlo’s most recent work on Instagram. You can also learn more about Carlo on his website.  

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

The Dark Room Unscripted #4 - Loving Our Way out of Loneliness

The Dark Room Unscripted #4 - Loving Our Way out of Loneliness

August 22, 2019

Recently, some have suggested a pill could be the solution to the "loneliness epidemic". Dr. Paul instead entertains how altruistic love, namely putting others before ourselves, might be the healthier and better solution. It might also prevent tragedies like the recent death of Carson Cremini, in British Columbia, from happening too. 

The Dark Room Unscripted #3 - Be Honest

The Dark Room Unscripted #3 - Be Honest

August 20, 2019

A recent story about why it's important to be honest in today's freelance or "gig" economy not only to be ethical in business but promote a more trusting, socially cohesive world. 

The Dark Room Unscripted #2 - Young Men and Violence

The Dark Room Unscripted #2 - Young Men and Violence

August 11, 2019

Why young men become violent when they feel they don't matter and how healthy bonding can prevent that, as well as what we--as a society--can do to be part of that patient and caring process. 

The Dark Room Unscripted - The Pain Behind Gun Violence

The Dark Room Unscripted - The Pain Behind Gun Violence

August 6, 2019

In the wake of a high number of shootings in Toronto this past long-weekend, as well as the mass shootings in the United States that took place during the same time, Dr. Paul Salvatori shares a brief word on the need to address the pain behind gun violence in order to better understand and end it, while encouraging respectful face-to-face dialogue (offline) as the means through which this can occur. 

This is the first episode of "The Dark Room Unscripted", featuring off-the-cuff reflections by Dr. Paul. In keeping with the topic of this episode, "Too Young for a Funeral"--a recent song by Dr. Paul (under the artist name "Salvatori")--follows the discussion. 

 

Episode #116 - Third Annual Maria Salvatori Mother’s Day Special: Alison Irons & Kelly Whetter (Anti-Gun Violence Advocates)

Episode #116 - Third Annual Maria Salvatori Mother’s Day Special: Alison Irons & Kelly Whetter (Anti-Gun Violence Advocates)

May 9, 2019

In honour of the Third Annual Maria Salvatori Mother's Day Special, Dr. Paul Salvatori talks with Alison Irons and Kelly Whetter. The two mothers courageously share their difficult journey of having each lost a child to gun violence and how that tragedy has motivated them, together and as individuals, to create a safer, less deadly world. Though words alone can never do justice to the pain of losing a child to gun violence, Alison and Kelly reveal that such pain does not automatically condemn one to despair. Rather, as Alison and Kelly's determination show, it can be transformed into remarkable strength, allowing one to support others in similar hardship while challenging us to rethink the conditions that bring about senseless killings. Learn more about Alison and Kelly's anti-gun violence advocacy and group, Communities for Zero Violence, here. You can also learn about Kelly's anti-gun violence foundation, Gabe's Read Balloon Foundation, here.

This episode is in memory of Alison's daughter, Lindsay Wilson, and Kelly's son, Gabriel Nikov, whose lives were cut all too short by gun violence.

Special thanks to anti-gun violence advocates, Louis March (Zero Gun Violence Movement) and Chris Glover (Toronto MPP), for helping make this episode possible.        

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #114 - Documenting Jordan Peterson: Patricia Marcoccia and Maziar Ghaderi

Episode #114 - Documenting Jordan Peterson: Patricia Marcoccia and Maziar Ghaderi

November 13, 2018

On the cusp of his rise to international popularity, controversial University of Toronto professor, Jordan Peterson, visited the The Dark Room. Illuminating as he was on a wide array of philosophical topics, some of which reveal a deeply troubling side to our humanity, there was no mention by him about an important documentary that was being about him at the time. 

Paul talks to Toronto filmmakers, Patricia Marcoccia and Maziar Ghaderi, about making that documentary, Shut Him Down: The Rise of Jordan Peterson, which premiered on CBC this month. The film present viewers with what life has been like for Peterson amid the major backlash he's received as a vocal opponent of political correctness, while also shining a light on his critics, especially the transgender community, who believe he is promoting hatred. Sensitive to differing points of view, the film shies away from being an apology or justification for either side. Rather, as Patricia and Maziar suggest, Shut Him Down invites viewers to thinking critically about the heated divisions along ideological lines Peterson's presence has created and, perhaps, a way of civilly resolving or managing them. 

Watch Shut Him Down (currently only available to stream in Canada) here. You can also learn more about and follow Patricia and Maziar's documentary work, via the follow site:

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Episode #113 - Prison Reformer: Howard Sapers

Episode #113 - Prison Reformer: Howard Sapers

August 13, 2018

Canada is often thought of as exemplar of democracy, where all are guaranteed humane treatment. But, as recent news coverage of the appalling abuse of its prison inmates suggests, this guarantee falls short all too often.

Dr. Paul talks to Howard Sapers, the Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform to the Ontario provincial government, about the proper function of the prison system in Canada (and elsewhere) and to what extent it actually ensures the human treatment of inmates. An advocate against the overuse of solitary confinement, Howard also discusses how such segregation does more harm than good, unnecessarily comprising both the mental and physical health of inmates. In doing so, Howard brings to light that, though prisons have an obligation to correct the offender, they must do so justly--without causing excessive suffering. Finally, Dr. Paul and Howard look at how well Canada provides mental health care to inmates, while not allowing certain offenders requiring specialized psychiatric and other medical treatment to languish behind bars.

Learn more about Howard, including his reports on correctional reform, here.

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

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