Saturday, December 26, 2009

A new decade is upon us

I am sure that anyone who reads my blog, and I know that there may be one or two of you left, and this is not surprising. Due to my inactivity and my departure from Ukraine for an undetermined amount of time, I find it difficult to write about an environment that I have been removed from. By blog entries were usually the result of something that prompted me to write, they were personal tidbits of my experiences. They were never fictitious or text bookish when I dealt with my subject, they were personal forays into one aspect of the cultural industry which is under developed and will probably remain so until professionals fill the ranks of the appropriate Ministries in Ukraine, and cronyism as it as exists in Ukraine is reduced to being negligible.

Of those who read my blog, I know there was one individual who eventually thanked me for ragging on him about plagiarism to the point he eventually shut his blog down. I think readers of blogs should play watchdog on intellectual property issues. I won't say that I was playing bad cop in that particular situation, I was just asking the individual to play by the rules, and to write original material, and if if he chose not to then to properly cite his sources. That is not a great deal to ask.

All the things that I wrote about I had a personal connection to, no less than what I am putting out as what may possibly be my last blog entry in this particular area that I started in three years ago. A decade has come to a close. This is not because I can't find material to write on, but because the personal and human connection to those that I will write about has been removed due to geographic distance. Without this connection I consider it to be unfair to anyone that has read my musings over the years to think I just had a coffee, or beer with Mis'ko Barbara or someone else, but before you are in for a long hiatus from my musings I will leave you all with two other personal notes.

The first is directly related to the season. Back in 2006 my company was involved with the Telnyuk Sisters in the area of creative. They had been off the Ukrainian music scene for quite some time and they felt they had a need to bet back and find their audience. During that period there were two videos we were involved in, both of which I put up on YouTube and virulently distributed, the first really has nothing to do with this time of year, while the second, a period piece, captures the entire atmosphere of the season.

In the days leading up to and shorty after Christmas in 2006, I was home in Montreal with family but I was also busy trying to find software to convert copy of the master of Sad Rizdvyanniy to a format and size acceptable by YouTube. I did finally find the software I was looking for on SourceForge, and some of you thee years ago first saw the Sad rizdvyaniy clip. I said it then and I will say it again, the piece is timeless! I am happy to have been one of the very small cogs in the wheel to make it work.

Now one last personal foray into an industry I feel strongly for but this one comes from a totally different angle. Most of you either are personally on or know something about the vast array of social networks that have become unfathomably popular and big money makers to those who the first kids on the block to exploit Web 2.0. Most recently I received a request to become connected with someone on one of these networks. I saw the picture and the name meant nothing to me at all, but then I read on and I realized something that I have known for a very long time now. Milgram's six degrees of separation theory doesn't apply to me or most people who are Ukrainian diaspora, or are involved in the Ukrainian cultural non-industry. This person Ihor started off by stating that he had heard a great deal about me from our common friend Yurko, and that his project Radio Skrynia was a hobby which Yurko was helping him with. Yurko, or Ryba as his close friends who knew him more than 20 years ago call him is an old friend of mine and in his own right a bit of a legend. From what I heard, he was one of the first people in the former USSR to both port and localize UUCP from UNIX to Mac, so while his talents lie in a not so cultural sphere he is now helping out his friend Ihor with a pro-Ukrainian music project.

When I checked out the site, the first thing I saw was Sad rizdvyaniy! I didn't watch the clip but looked around the site and will be visiting it again soon, and hope that Ihor and I, who are now so far removed from where our roots are, will thanks to Ryba get to know one another and possibly collaborate in the future.

Things will be taking on a new format regarding what I blog about, and music and Ukrainian culture will not be the sole focus. When I return, I will once again share with you things that are personal. I'm not sure who first said it, but reality is sometimes stranger than fiction. Anyone, who has spent a great deal of time in a place they have called home because of their genetic and emotional attachment has also probably had experiences that are not only stranger than fiction, they are a reality and part of their lives. Like I have in the past shared with you little pieces of my life as they pertain to the music and cultural arena in Ukraine, uaMuzik, is in fact a small part of a larger story.

I believe that the larger story is one that Ukrainians in the diaspora will understand, though others will understand it too. People from countries that were once behind the "Iron Curtain"; people who traveled to Canada to find a new home in the aftermath of the Second World War and were separated from family; by lovers of peace who heard of a country in Europe that renounced its nuclear arsenal; by those who were appalled to hear of the death of an opposition journalist more than a decade ago whose murders have still not been brought to justice; by those knew that Voice of America, Radio Liberty others had been quashed in Ukraine as a radio station owner fled the country in fear for his life; and those who watched their screens and read the headlines of an incredibly peaceful (r)evolution. This story will not be the headline, but one small aspect of what went on behind the headlines in the hearts and minds of individuals, not the talking heads we so often are exposed to.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Decade!


  1. The meaning of plagiarism.

    "use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work."

    The blog was an aggregation of articles about Ukrainian music artists. At no point did I ever represent the articles as my work or of the blog itself.

    Some of the articles were accredited and some were not when they were found. It's just the way you find things on the Net.

    The blog was created to help promote Ukrainian culture through its music. There was no money at all made on the venture and many hours of my own personal time was spent keeping it together. It was getting thousands of hits per day during the EuroSong competition. Hopefully the visitors would then be able to check out other Ukrainian artists.

    Thanks to your ranting and raving that all came to an end.

  2. Orest,

    It seems that you can't let it go, can you? What were doing was still not fair use and simply cutting and pasting things to your blog for what ever ultimate goal you had does not justify your actions.

    In addition the definition of plagiarism you have provided is extremely narrow in this day and age. These are issues that are close to me for many personal as well as professional reasons. Clearly, you didn't consider it extremely important where your materials were coming from.

    Clearly you seem pleased that I pointed you away from your errant ways and now you have more time for family. I hope you have enjoyed it for over the last year and a bit since that incident.

    Now that you have the time, take a look at Plagiarism Today. Have a good 2010.