Monthly Archives: July 2011

The hysteria of Armageddon, once reserved for apocalyptic super disease, invading aliens, or meteor extinction, has found its way—via the American president—into the debt debate. And with the deal for the American debt ceiling floundering, it seems reasonable to assume it will take a bit more time to get to some kind of consensus on how America will face its self-styled ‘Armageddon.’ That this debt … MORE »

Brian Dijkema  |  July 28, 2011  |  Discipline, Philosophy

Life-threatening cancer in Canada’s leader of the opposition; shootings in Norway; starvation of thousands in Somalia. Not exactly the type of week which instills optimism in those who read the news. But newspapers—good newspapers—aren’t really meant to be read by optimistic people. Anyone who follows the news knows that the scale of the terrors we see this week in the news appear larger than the … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  July 27, 2011  |  Journalism

Ever since news came out regarding the atrocities perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway last Friday, it has proved challenging to publicly describe this man and his motives. Police officer Roger Anderson initially described Breivik as an “ethnic” Norwegian and a “Christian fundamentalist,” adding his political opinions leaned “to the right,” without giving further details. On his facebook profile, Breivik described himself as “conservative,” … MORE »

Brian Dijkema  |  July 26, 2011  |  Leadership, Politics

Many Canadians are thinking about Jack Layton today; I know I am. The press conference held by the leader of her majesty’s loyal opposition yesterday was jarring—less so from the news itself, than from the visual and audio evidence of the effects that cancer is having on Mr. Layton’s body. The newspapers are already starting to fill up with commentary on the implications of Mr. … MORE »

Alissa Wilkinson  |  July 25, 2011  |  Arts, Literature, Media

Last week, critic and former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky wrote at Slate about two marvelous snarky (and ultimately wrongheaded) takedowns of John Keats by his contemporaries. Part of their problem, he says, is that they ignored entirely the three rules of reviewing. Pinsky got them from some stylesheet he received from a magazine for which he was writing in the 1970s, but as he says: … MORE »

Robert Joustra  |  July 22, 2011  |  Death, Economy, Foreign Policy, Legacy

Photo: The Independent The space shuttle Atlantis rolled to a stop shortly after 6 am Thursday at the Kennedy Space Centre, closing a chapter on one of the most far-reaching super-power confrontations in human history: the cold war space race. That race was as much about international politics, about the control and mastery of space, a nuclear and technological confrontation with the Soviet Union, as … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  July 21, 2011  |  Civic Core, Elites, Leadership, Vocation

If you dislike self-serving arguments, don’t read this. The seed for this piece comes from reading Geoffrey Kurtz’s review essay of George Scialabba’s What are Intellectuals Good For? Sciaballa’s book seems to be a lament regarding the diminished place that public intellectuals have in society. We are saturated with words and images produced by ‘anti-public intellectuals’ of the public relations industry; corporations and the wealthy … MORE »

Peter Stockland  |  July 20, 2011  |  Culture, Leadership, Media, Philosophy

There are three reasons to forgive media magnate Rupert Murdoch. You may, of course, choose none if you wish, but they are: 1. You’re a sincere Christian who prays daily, or at least weekly, to be forgiven your trespasses as you forgive those who trespass against you. 2. Despite his media empire’s cruel exploitation of almost everyone, you just can’t stay mad at a guy … MORE »

Brian Dijkema  |  July 19, 2011  |  Arts, Institutions, Literature

One of the great fringe benefits of having children is the amount of time it allows my wife and me to spend in the library. My wife and I order books online from the Ottawa Public Library on the recommendation of friends, or from the valuable book of book lists, Honey for a Child’s Heart. And, weekly, we make a pilgrimage to our local branch … MORE »

Alissa Wilkinson  |  July 18, 2011  |  Legacy, Literature, Philosophy

Last week, Jonathan Rauch started blogging—and he started with a diatribe against blogging, which he hates because it comes from the “self-congratulatory smugness of internet culture,” which is inherently hostile to “people who want to read and think.” He tries a nifty thought experiment: if all the blog posts of the last however-many years since the word blog was coined were lost, would anyone notice? … MORE »