Canzine Central: 3 Questions for Tim Runtz

Tim Runtz headshot 2014

 

Canzine Central is this Saturday, and we couldn’t be more excited to head out to the prairies and bring together a whole host of indie creators, zinesters, activists, writers, artists, and others at this first ever edition of a Canzine in Winnipeg. We’re especially excited for our panel, From Print to Pize: Zines as political tools in the digital age. One of our guests will be Tim Runtz from Geez Magazine. We asked him a few quick questions to get to know him before the event.

 

1. What is Geez Magazine, and what do you do there?

Geez is a quarterly ad-free magazine printed on 100% post-consumer-waste-paper for activist types who are mostly disenchanted with Christianity. Many of our readers would situate themselves on the “fringes of faith,” or call themselves post-Christian; that is, they’ve abandoned much of religion, but it still informs their worldview.

Each issue covers a different topic, and over the years we’ve looked at concerns like feminism, police brutality, disabilities, body image, education, peace activism, Christian anarchy, work, leisure, privilege, art, and more. (See a complete list of our back issues at http://www.geezmagazine.org/magazine).
About ten years ago Geez’s co-founder Aiden Enns was working as the managing editor at Adbusters, and saw that in many ways Christian culture was worse than the North American culture at large targeted by Adbusters. He started Geez with a few others to call out the consumerism, homophobia, unchecked privilege, and political entrenchment among people of faith.

My official titles are Associate Editor and Circulation Manager. Given that we’re a small operation (three of us, working half time), each of us does a little bit of everything – writing, working with writers, copyediting, acquiring images, fundraising, promo, social media, etc. I also guest edited our Winter issue on Apocalypse.
2. The role of print magazines is changing in a digital age— how do you see Geez fitting into that?
This summer we positioned ourselves explicitly as a print-only magazine with an issue called Life Offline. (We see our modest social media presence and blog as essentially necessary evils for attracting new subscribers.) We also changed our tagline from “holy mischief in an age of fast faith” to “contemplative cultural resistance.” This was part of a larger move to situate our magazine as a place you can go to escape news feeds, advertising, and hyper-information, and maybe recharge from some activist burnout. Our older issues were more playful, but recently we’ve gone a little more literary.

I think we’re trying to provide resources for our particular niche (in the sense of cultural critiques, as well as “how to” type pieces) but we’re also trying to provide these resources in a way that enables readers to get away from their devices and be “unproductive” for a while. I don’t think digital networks are completely evil, but I think the impulse to passively flit through news feeds is the same as the impulse that tells us to shop for things we don’t need, and not unlike our tendency to stick to surface level conversations instead of maintaining eye contact for extended periods of time. In a way, I hope, publishing a finite physical object with longish articles can encourage ways of living contrary to the dis- attachment assumptions that seem to be dominant today. We, culturally, need to relearn how to just sit with a book for a while, and I think this can teach us how to be more satisfied with what we’ve got.
3. Have you ever been to Canzine? How do you think Winnipeg is going to take to Canzine Central?

I’ve never been to Canzine, but I’m looking forward to it. I think Winnipeg has strong activist and literary impulses, and this is a great opportunity for those communities to gel. I’m hoping to meet a lot of writers and artists, and discover some new and clever reading material.

Winnipeg seems to have a fairly mediocre reputation among outsiders, especially when compared to some of the bigger Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver. But in that sense, it’s a perfect venue for a zine fest. I like to think that Winnipegers have no ambition for glossy large-scale corporate periodicals. We’d rather spend our perpetual winters working on little projects and sharing them with our friends. I think if enough people hear about the event it’ll go really well!

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