YouTube pulls a clip of Canadian Conservative Party leader and PM Stephen Harper playing John Lennon's "Imagine" over copyright concerns, Art Threat calls his campaign appearance with Filipino-Canadian YouTube sensation Maria Aragon "a heartless attempt to deploy Imagine for electoral gain": "Here is a Conservative politician who has worked to dismantle public arts funding and has headed ‘closed-border’ immigration policies enforced by the Conservatives for years. His campaign appearances highlighting Canada’s ‘diversity’... are entirely disingenuous and by extension callous. In reality, Conservative immigration policies and even 2011 election campaign ads are overtly racist in nature."
• Minneapolis' Location has a new artist book that's of particular interest: In quiet rooms young girls are writing poetry, featuring 20 David Rathman's war-themed watercolors. The book will be on sale at Weinstein Gallery the evening of Apr. 14, along with the premiere of a new Rathman film installation that "blends and bends the tank/plane/warship drawings with flickering footage" of the Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston boxing match.
• Twin Cities art guy Andy Sturdevant looks at flags in the U.S., asking, "Which ones have been co-opted?" First up, the "completely co-opted" Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" flag: "Somehow, this excellent underdog motto and symbol has been completely co-opted by the most privileged group of people in the annals of Western civilization as a rallying cry to abolish the last lingering vestiges New Deal and re-institute the Gilded Age (except without the jaunty mustaches this time)."
• China Digital Times says the blog service Sina Weibo has been deleting Ai-related posts: "One user reported that she reposted a message about Ai Weiwei over 200 times and it was deleted each time." To combat the censorship, some web users have adopted the phrase “Love the Future” (爱未来) to use in place of Ai's name (艾未未), because it looks and sounds similar; web censors are catching on however.
• While it may seem like I've been running one of late, Hyperallergic now has an actual Ai Weiwei liveblog filled with really good updates.
• A Twin Cities radio station's "parody" (er, racist song) about Hmong people sparks an interesting reply by actor Bee Vang, who played the lead in Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino. He wrote of trying to "stay true to the script" and "do justice to my own life and to that of others like me," but said "so many things in [the film] seemed distorted and unrecognizable" -- including when his character made this retort to racists, "You can call me whatever you want, because you know what? I'll take it." His point: Unlike the filmic version of Hmong people, he can't shrug the KDWB "joke" off. (Via Braublog.)
• "Each year, an area at least the size of Belgium of native forests is cleared from around the planet." Konstantin Dimopoulos' awareness-raising response in Vancouver: Blue trees!
• Your moment of Banksy-inspired maxipads.