About me

I’m a philosophy student at Simon Fraser University and a member of the New Democratic Party. Here I blog about politics (mostly Canadian politics) and philosophy (including ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of mind).

My politics are broadly social democratic, though more in the Nordic mode than the Canadian. I’m also interested in ways that our democracy can be made more participatory and deliberative within the context of a parliamentary regime. In ethics I lean towards realism and contractualism. In political philosophy I identify with egalitarian liberalism; I draw particular inspiration from John Rawls, Elizabeth Anderson, Samuel Scheffler, and Martha Nussbaum. In philosophy of mind, I lean towards non-physicalist substance monism and panpsychism.

I’m on Twitter as @MrSteveTweedale and I can be reached by email through [my surname] at gmail.com.

About the name “Popcorn Machine”

There’s a few reasons for the name. I’ll give you three.

First and foremost, the name is inspired by a specific Cretors Profiteer Model P14C popcorn machine. I’m a longtime volunteer for the Cinematheque (coming up on 19 years, I think), where my usual responsibilities include making and serving popcorn as well as cleaning the popcorn machine at the end of the night. Chats about politics around that machine and with many of the people I’ve met while operating it have had a big influence on my views as they’ve evolved over the years. I hope this site will also lead to some equally fruitful conversations.

Second, this is also intended as a writing exercise of sorts. I want to overcome anxiety about the quality of my writing while also improving my ability to write well within a fairly tight deadline, and I think maintaining a blog might help with this. Like a batch of popcorn that burns when it sits in the kettle for too long, ideas that just roll around in the head forever without being clearly articulated end up being no good at all. If I sit on an idea for too long, it ceases to be relevant, slips away, or just gets turned into another idea. At the same time, you don’t want to empty the kettle too soon, because unpopped kernels aren’t such a tasty snack and they can end up breaking a customer’s tooth! And there’s no point in making a big fluffy pile of popcorn in the first place if you have no intention of serving it out to people.

Finally, popcorn is a snack for showtime! And in my opinion, Canadian politics is among the greatest shows on Earth. If you feel the same way, I hope the Popcorn Machine will prove to be a source of delicious and relatively nutritious brain-snacks that enhance your enjoyment of the experience and don’t break your teeth but do get stuck in between them so everyone can see whenever you open your mouth.