What we Cannot Discuss

I’ve come to the conclusion that Indigenous issues/residential schools is the Canadian equivalent of abortion in the U.S. You cannot have a conversation about it. So I won’t even try. But I will say that the CBC coverage of Pope Francis’ visit is despicable (predictably so) and I will link to this, by Terry Glavin. Oh, and you probably can’t have much of a conversation about abortion in Canada, either.

Shinzo Abe

Shocking, shocking act of violence last Friday in Japan. As some of you know, I lived in Japan during the ’90s and always stay as on top as I can of politics there. So I was pretty disgusted Friday morning when I went online to read about the assassination and I found this AP article. Keep in mind that he was referred to as “divisive” and “arch-conservative” in the original lede (one cannot see that in the linked piece). I have no objection, in an obituary or news article, to referring to whatever controversies might have surrounded a politician. But the use of provocative, polarizing language to describe a man who had just been murdered was appalling. Abe was a cultured fellow and he was democratically elected – yet to many in media circles, anyone who is conservative must necessarily be a rube with dictatorial instincts. The choice of language also showed some ignorance of Japanese politics and culture – it felt like a projection of Anglo/Western politics and language onto a man who did not live or operate in an Anglo/Western environment. Yes, Japan is “Western” in many ways, but it also isn’t.

Not unrelated is what has happened in Sri Lanka. What I mean is that “green” policies that are popular and even desirable in countries like Canada and the United States, France or Germany, don’t necessarily belong in places like Sri Lanka. A nightmare has unfolded.

Boris Johnson

I’m inclined to agree with Andrew Roberts’ laudatory take on Boris Johnson time as Prime Minister of the UK. In particular, I appreciate what he says here:

Prime Ministers used to be brought down over great and historic events. Neville Chamberlain fell over the Allied defeat in Norway; Anthony Eden was crushed by the Suez Crisis; Margaret Thatcher over the great issue of Britain’s relationship with Europe.

It is a sign of our pettiness, and perhaps also our decadence, that you were brought down over a few leaving parties for civil servants in Downing Street.

This really struck me – Johnson himself referred to the “herd mentality” that had taken hold. When I think of some of our own PM’s scandals, they are far worse and yet…there he is, still PM. And our PM, of course, is not known for his shimmering intellect. Boris is. He can write books, make speeches, write his own ticket in so many ways. I suppose he could even return to politics, though I am not certain he would want to.

And no, not trying to downplay the things he did wrong – I just find him a fascinating character and the reaction to him and dismissal of him misguided. A couple of my previous posts about him here and here.

Canada Day/July 4th

A fond memory of my childhood was watching Wayne and Shuster on CBC – it was always on Sunday nights with Kraft as the sponsor. I seem to recall a segment where they bemoaned the fact that there were no great songs about Canadian cities. So true. All of this is to explain why I am not posting a great Canadian song about Canada, but rather, a great American song about the United States. It is July 4th, so why not? And it is also an excuse to post a video of Sinatra – when is that not a good idea? Please enjoy – The House I Live In. I adore this 1974 edition, though I also adore the original, featuring skinny young Frank, which I posted as part of a piece I published on my Substack. Check it out, but first, behold: