The Dark Room
Palestine in Perspective (Episode 3): In Conversation with Gideon Levy

Palestine in Perspective (Episode 3): In Conversation with Gideon Levy

September 23, 2021

Paul talks with well-known, Gideon Levy, about his courageous (and award-winning) work--exposing the criminal violence of the Israeli state against the Palestinian people--the extent to which efforts exist to undermine this within Israeli civil society itself and how the international community can help end the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Watch the video of the full discussion, of which this episode is the audio, on YouTube.

Follow and receive updates on Gideon’s journalism through his Haaretz page, where he regularly publishes insightful articles on the plight of the Palestinian people.

Palestine in Perspective (Episode 2): In Conversation with Richard Falk

Palestine in Perspective (Episode 2): In Conversation with Richard Falk

August 22, 2021

Paul talks with Richard Falk, Professor of International Law and Practice, Emeritus (Princeton University) and prolific human rights author, about his experience as former United Nations Special Rapporteur on "the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967”, the parallels between former South African and current Israel apartheid—oppressing the Palestinian people—and Israel’s attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the upcoming (September 2021)and fourth UN anti-racism conference in New York City.  

Learn more about Richard at richardfalk.org and his recently published memoir discussed in the episode, Public Intellectual: The Life of a Citizen Pilgrim, here. Finally, video of the discussion, for which this episode is the audio can be seen here.

Palestine in Perspective: In Conversation with Ilan Pappe

Palestine in Perspective: In Conversation with Ilan Pappe

August 3, 2021

This is the audio of the recent video interview, sharing the title of this podcast episode. 

In the interview, Paul speaks with renowned Israeli historian and activist, Ilan Pappe, on the history of Palestine, the ongoing attempt by Israel to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people (within and outside the illegally occupied Palestinian territories by the state) and, finally, how Israel has been relatively successful in avoiding prosecution for crimes against humanity, including major public relations campaigns—branding it as “progressive” and “democratic.” Ilan sheds light on how such branding is now being undermined by independent and social media, exposing the darker and inhumane side of Israel, while also galvanizing international support for the Palestinian struggle for justice.

Learn more about Ilan Pappe here

Episode #125 - Fr. Dwight Longenecker - Evil in Us

Episode #125 - Fr. Dwight Longenecker - Evil in Us

July 26, 2021

Paul talks with American writer, Catholic priest and thinker, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, about evil, pride and selfishness. Reflecting ideas in his recent book, Immortal Combat: Confronting the Heart of Darkness, Fr. Dwight elucidates the dark side of our humanity, providing difficult though important insight into how dishonesty underlies the three and the dangerous consequences, for both ourselves and others, where we fail to confront it. Being a genuinely good person, as Fr. Dwight shows, is much harder than simply appearing to say and do the right things, even where that might gain us praise from others and allow us to “get ahead” in the world.

Learn more about Fr. Dwight here.   

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CREDITS

Producer - Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Paul Salvatori

Episode #124 - Vijay Prashad - The Injustice of Poverty

Episode #124 - Vijay Prashad - The Injustice of Poverty

June 13, 2021

Paul talks with Indian historian, journalist and intellectual, Vijay Prashad, about poverty, its totalizing character—in so far as it affects people’s whole realm of life, rather than their material circumstances alone—and how neoliberalism has accelerated the spread of poverty worldwide. Before the end of the discussion, Vijay share why progressive taxation, instead of philanthropy that tends to favour the already well-off, is but one responsible approach to undermining poverty.

Learn more about Vijay and his engaging political journalism here.

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CREDITS

Producer - Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Paul Salvatori

Episode #123 - Catherine Liu - The Sanctimony of the Professional Managerial Class

Episode #123 - Catherine Liu - The Sanctimony of the Professional Managerial Class

April 13, 2021

Dr. Paul talks with Dr. Catherine Liu, professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California Irvine and socialist cultural critic, about her recent book, Virtue Hoarders: The Case Against the Professional Managerial Classcommonly referred to as the “PMC.” Drawing from the book, Catherine reveals how the PMC—from academics to social workers—have become the educated elite of modern capitalist society.

Though the class presents itself as being a defender of human rights, Catherine contends how this is largely illusory and obscures both their self-serving interests, including the consolidation of power and wealth, as well their rejection of the poor and working class. Finally, speaking to socialism’s potential to challenge this, the episode invites us to ask: how can popular struggle be achieved to create a more fair and just society, where all—and not only select classes like the PMC—can live materially comfortable and dignified lives?

Learn more about Catherine here.

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CREDITS

Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Photo - Los Angeles Review of Books

 

 

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. 

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