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Monthly Archives: November 2012
Diane Weber Bederman  |  November 30, 2012  |  Culture, Health, Media, Parenting

Social media gave us anonymity, and it has opened the door to incivility throughout the public square. Last week a late night radio show host in Quebec informed a caller that it was fortunate she could remain anonymous, else she wouldn’t have been able to call the Holocaust “the most beautiful thing that could happen in history.” The host, Jacques Fabi, lamented that it was … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  November 29, 2012  |  Business, Discipline, Justice, Politics

I work for a think tank. We have lofty goals and sometimes even think our work is important in changing the way other people think. And so, whether it is in earnestly sitting down to write a blog, reviewing various proposals with a view to making a recommendation which is worthy of our scarce resources and energy, or pontificating in a staff discussion on an … MORE »

Peter Stockland  |  November 28, 2012  |  Media, Politics

It is annoying enough that journalists must insist on pretending to know the enduring significance of political events they know nothing about. It is utterly infuriating when those same journalists write or speak as though they don’t even understand the basics of our electoral system. In the reportorial aftermath of Monday’s three federal by-elections across the country—in Victoria, Calgary, and Durham, Ont.—we were repeatedly told … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  November 27, 2012  |  Institutions, Politics

Monday was by-election day in Canada. Based on the media build-up you would be forgiven for thinking that the results are consequential to the future of Canadian politics. And they may be. But since none of those ridings changed hands from one party to another, these consequences are less obvious than first appears. Before focusing on those consequences, it probably is worthwhile debunking a few … MORE »

Peter Menzies  |  November 26, 2012  |  Culture, Elites, Media

Perhaps the great disappointment of my life has been the realization, at the age of 40 or so, that adulthood did not bring with it an abandonment of childish default behaviours. By which I mean that I began to notice the baser tribal instincts that emerge within people in junior high school and articulate themselves in various forms of bullying and denigration of others in … MORE »

John Seel  |  November 23, 2012  |  Discipline, Health, Loves

A high-profile sex scandal is better than a car wreck for rubbernecking. The Petraeus affair has provide ample salacious chum for a media shark feeding frenzy, now entering its spinning phase. Self-righteous finger wagging is easy. Self-reflective soul searching comes much harder. There are sobering lessons to be learned from this tragedy. If it can happen to General David Petraeus, it can happen to anyone. … MORE »

Ray Pennings  |  November 22, 2012  |  Education, Loves, Parenting, Vocation

Last week, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia released a report based on survey data showing the diversity of American families. Rather than being divided by parenting choices and styles, it turns out that worldview is a more significant variable in determining various family types. U.S. families can be divided into four approximately equal-sized groups. On one end of … MORE »

Robert Joustra  |  November 21, 2012  |  Business, Economy, Foreign Policy, Justice, Media, Politics

For Christmas this year, I’m wishing for a secret agenda—the kind everyone kept promising me was coming, only to disappoint me over and over. Now, we have “leaked” documents on this government’s new foreign policy: so banal, so self-obvious, so redundant that it’s possible some kind soul scooped them off the comatose cadaver of a once idealistic wonk. I challenge you to find a secret … MORE »

Peter Stockland  |  November 20, 2012  |  Cities, Complexity, Politics, Tech

About two months ago, residents of a village in Quebec’s Eastern Townships awoke to find a hydro pole in the middle of the road leading in and out of town. In the middle was not, in this case, a figurative expression. It was smack in the space normally home to only yellow lines and dead skunks. Apparently, the roadway had recently been moved. The pole … MORE »

Peter Menzies  |  November 19, 2012  |  Arts

Given the rise, at least within the once-popular press, of the mantra of neo-atheism and secular fundamentalism, the Mediterranean remains a refreshing option for those of us who, to use the terminology of the newly fashionable, still believe in “fairy tales.” It is easy enough, after all, to dismiss the Christian story in such vulgar and casual terms from the comfort of a fashionable latte … MORE »