Tag Archives: news

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.

Casualties of War

I feel sorry for this kid, sentenced to jail for life, as I feel sorry for his victim. And no, not making a moral equivalence between an invading force and a civilian victim of that force – I just feel pain for both of the men in this story, and for both of their families. It should be Putin up there on trial. And you know that this young man’s mother has no clue what is happening to him – she likely only gets to hear a highly-edited version of events. A tragedy all around.

Swashbucklers and Anniversaries

I was talking to a friend about my mother and how she had a big crush on Moshe Dayan – she kept his picture on our fridge for the longest time. I think that Zelenskyy is in Dayan’s league there – a leader who becomes an object of admiration and who is madly crush-worthy. It’s a good thing, though, of course, the reason both men were/are famous is that their countries were/are under attack, which is not a good thing. The news from Ukraine continues to depress.

On another note – about another kind of war – it was two years ago today that Toronto went into a lockdown which we thought would last two weeks. I’ve written this before, I’m sure, but I’m extremely introverted and had it not been for all the death (including in my family) and economic destruction, I would have thoroughly enjoyed the pandemic. But restrictions are currently loosening in the Toronto area and I am not sure I am ready for all the humans out there. One podcast I enjoy is Andrew Sullivan’s Dishcast, and a few months ago he was predicting that when the Covid pandemic was over we would all go wild. From what I’ve been witnessing, his prediction is coming to pass. Case in point: I attended an event at a pub last Thursday and I arrived fairly early on in the evening. People had been there maybe forty minutes and yet the majority of them were hammered and dancing like idiots. It got worse (or better, depending on your attitude) from there. And this was a business event where most attendees were over 40. This won’t be pretty, people.

Another anniversary – my birthday last week: it is Pisces season and a fellow Pisces friend of mine has written a terrific piece to mark his own special day. In it, he makes mention of George Harrison – yet another Pisces – who happens to be my favourite Beatle. I think his All Things Must Pass album is better than all of the music created by the other three Beatles (post-breakup) put together. Don’t @ me, John/Paul/Ringo fans.

Happy almost spring, dear readers.

Protesters

I have been vaccinated and boosted. I am also someone with enough of a libertarian streak that I don’t mind debate about most matters, including vaccine mandates – in fact, I think it’s healthy to have such debates. But when protesters start behaving like this, one can only assume they are a bunch of unserious yahoos.

Update: I should add that I feel the same way about protesters on the left when they knock down statues of Sir John A. or Queen Victoria. Unserious yahoos. But, of course, they rarely get the sort of condemnation this current crowd is receiving.

Tutu and Didion

Too lazy to write two posts, so I will include both of these very different people here. Bishop Tutu died and the laudatory headlines were everywhere. Would anyone, I wondered, have the courage to write about his, er, uncomfortable relationship with Jews and the Jewish state? Melanie Phillips to the rescue with this must-read. (I had not been aware with just how vile some of Tutu’s views were. Now I – distressingly – am.) Apart from Phillips, though, there has been little criticism or challenging of Tutu – it reminds me of when Helen Thomas died and nobody would mention the antisemitic elephant in the room. It was all, what a feminist icon, blah blah blah zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

My internet friend Rick McGinnis (still have not met him, but hope that I will, one day, post-pandemic) wrote about Joan Didion three years ago. An original take – as he calls it, her “uncomfortable fit” in American (counter) culture.

Good 2021 News

Twenty-one scientific discoveries – in other words, the year has not been entirely about the plague, even if the headlines might indicate that it has been so. Obviously, vaccine news – both about COVID and malaria – is at the forefront, but there is more. What I find particularly fascinating (and not unrelated to Kennewick Man):

Between 23,000 and 21,000 years ago, a teen ambled across wet sand near the shores of an ancient lake in what is now New Mexico‚Äôs White Sands National Park. The fossilized prints from this slightly flat-footed youth are challenging theories of when humans first crossed into the Americas. The prints, described in September in the journal Science, date to a time when scientists think towering glaciers had walled off human passage to the continent from Asia.

Read about all twenty-one.