Monday, 30 June 2008

Yesterday's Hike

Click to enlarge

 Somebody died yesterday in Lynn Headwaters where I was hiking.  As seen in this photo the waters are fast and furious, unusually so for this late in the year. I was hottern a dog and looking forward to a dive into the falls just up from this bend in the creek, but had to give it up owing to the current. Maybe next week.


Saturday, 28 June 2008

Binnie the Boob

"We live in a free country, where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones," High Court Judge Binnie said. Tell it to the HRC, Binnie.tbc

Saturday, 21 June 2008

The Wages of Spin: Fairy Tales in Lambeth

"The boat is in rocky, choppy waters; don't jump out of the boat and swim to the right," he said. "Stick with it. We're going towards Lambeth." Thus the Bishop of Durham to the growing number of schismatics threatening to cut ties with the Temple of Sodom, aka the Anglican/Episcopal Church. In fact, Reverend, the boat has a hole in it bigger than a fisted fanny. This attempt to talk away matters of fundamental division in their ranks has been signature stuff to the Anglicans from the choppy beginning of their rocky "communion." Ever since the king of all choppers, Henry Vlll declared that he wasn't really married to his faithful wife of twenty years, Catherine of Aragon, and betook himself and his country off the rock of St. Peter and onto the ever-changing tide of protestantism, Anglicanism, that "cold superstition," as a Frenchman once described it, has relied more on linguistic conformity than unity of conscience to maintain itself. In the end, however, reality overrules rhetoric. There's obvious irony in the fact that a church originating out of a king's illicit lust should eventually find its destruction in the libido of its own priests.
     Of course, Henry could and did enforce his fictions with all the coercive engines of the state. But the poor relic of the church he founded has today only one engine of suasion at its service, the human conscience. This, alas, is proving more intractable than any sixteenth century pope.tbc.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Same Words, Different Tune

This just in from Alberta (where Ezra Levant was originally “prosecuted” by the HRC), re mooted change of license plate motto: “The statement of Strong and Free just does not sit with our way of life in Alberta. We are great people and not aggressive like the saying would infer,” Margaret Maki, an Edmonton receptionist, said as soon as she heard the slogan she called “definitely American.”… “It’s more American in my view. I can’t relate to Strong and Free,” Liberal transportation critic Darshan Kang said.” Maki apparently is unaware that the contentious words are from Canada's national anthem. Also, note Maki’s faulty usage: what’s the real “inference:” Statist=Stupid?

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Would You Buy a Used Car from this Judge?

"Truly reprehensible" was the quoted headline on the Svekla sentencing. Seventeen years must pass before the monster will be eligible for parole after murdering a young woman and "offering an indignity to human remains." Sterling Sanderman, who sentenced Svekla, appeared to have some difficulty conveying the enormity of the crime, or perhaps, like a lot of Canadian judges, he doesn't consider murder to be all that of an enormity. "In another era, maybe another century, Mr. Svekla would be known as a cad, he'd be known as a louse, he'd be known as a lowlife," Sanderman said, running through the kind of evil lexicon that we routinely hear applied to former lovers and used car salesmen. And then to top off this devastating critique, Sanderman actually did compare the murderer -unfavourably- to a used car salesman! 
      Wrong, Mr. Sanderman. In another age, an age that still had some moral force behind its laws and some meaning behind its words, Svekla would have been known for exactly what he is, a brutal, cold blooded and despicable murderer. And his life sentence would have been exactly that, life. The criminal only drew what has now become a remarkable amount of time behind bars because of his callous treatment of the body after the killing. Indeed, Sanderman appeared to dwell on the murderer's cruelty to a corpse and "unbelievable insensitivity" after the killing than on the unbelievable "insensitivity" of the killing itself. 
      Otherwise, it seems, Sanderman would have been inclined to let Thomas Svekla back out on the streets after the typical amount of canadian durance, probably a decade or so, with even that reduced for good behaviour. People are serving longer sentences for looking at kiddie porn or defrauding grandma in this country than they are for committing what used to be known as the capital offense. Like the man said, truly reprehensible!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Slamming the Islamophobes

 "From Dante's Inferno to the Danish Cartoons, there have always been people who demean Islam." What this writer, really means is there have always been people who criticize Islam or its nefarious founder, a man with blood on his hands and enmity in his heart, as even a cursory reading of the founding texts corroborates. But by definition, to "devout Muslims," which Raheel Raza proclaims himself to be, to criticize is to demean.  tbc.

Big Cold Wind: Pat Boone's Latest Hit on Free Speech

"The cessation [of America the good] is under way; the greatness is fading. Do we have the will – the goodness – to defend and reclaim it?" So queries Pat Boone [ Sexually abusing the 1st Amendment ] in his weekly WND column. Although to many people Mr. Boone is little more than a faintly remembered fifties pop star, an innocuous "cover" for black music in white bucks, an Elvis sans pelvis, his is in fact one of the more impressive voices to be heard amid the din of today's culture wars. He is also one of America's most insistent, articulate, and, be it said, contradictory advocates of censorship. tbc. 

Friday, 13 June 2008

Didactic Prophylactic

New Canadian Rawi Hage has just won the Big One of literary prizes, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, bringing the quondam cabbie a paltry C$160,000. Nothing to sneeze at, perhaps, but nothing to swoon over either. Literature, thy name is parsimony. 
      As usual the award for DeNiro's Game comes with a pile of verbiage about the novel's meaning, i.e., its uplift and politically correct message, in this case the provocative insight that war is bad. According to the author now turned oracle, borders are also bad. He claims to be someone "evolving into 'a creature who loathed borders.'" What a prize fiction we have here! When he fled faith-riven Lebanon way back when, I dare say he was nothing loth to cross that border into the U.S.A. and all it stood for: life, liberty and the separation of church and state. Get real, Mr. Hage!
       None of the literary awards pay much attention to the area of style, that is to say, art. Art, which by definition transcends politics, has always been suspect in the eyes of "progressives." Hage invoked Joyce at his acceptance, with a nod to the award's locale. On another level the reference seems a bit incongruous, given that Joyce was the consummate artist whose works were routinely attacked for being "about nothing." (Needless to say, Joyce remains scandalously undertaught in today's universities. I think it was Vidal (or was it his formalist alter ego Nabakov?) who liked to remind us that literature is the only art taught in university. In my four-plus-some years at SFU not a single instructor offered so much as a classroom aside -let alone a credited course- on Ulysses. You know, Ulysses, once extolled as the "richest example of fiction in history." But not extolled, not even read at SFU where making a virtue of one's ignorance was and likely still is the only art on offer, and where I can bet DeNiro's Game is already making its way onto some earnest boob's politically correct syllabus.) As in the Nobel prize, what you are saying trumps how you say it every time. "Sometimes beautifully written" is as far as the award went in praising the man's style. The question arises, what about the other times? Given that English is his third language we may infer that the man is hardly another Joyce, or another Conrad for that matter. which our staid and stalwart dons doubtlessly find most reassuring.
      No, politically correct, "civilizationally exhausted" (Steyn) Europe doesn't have much regard for style and form these days. Increasingly they look to immigrants to tell their story for them and to them, a story that is simple and reassuringly inoffensive. In Europe, as increasingly in Canada, "moral" equals "safe." War is bad, borders are bad and what does it matter if the writing is bad, too? Long before it stopped producing children Europe stopped producing works of art. Great art always implies a great tradition in which to root itself. That is why almost without exception all the first tier artists, the ones signalized in Leavis's "Great Tradition" have been conservative in temperament and tenor. When we lost those roots, we lost the capacity to flourish, to flower. The immigrant can sire our citizens for us, but when it comes to fathering works of the imagination he, too, prefers the safe.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

France: Sewing Up the Open Society- One Maidenhead at a Time

"In my culture, not to be a virgin is to be dirt," said the student, perched on a hospital bed as she awaited surgery Thursday. "Right now, virginity is more important to me than life."  tbc.
The words can't help recalling those of another young woman in distress,"I would rather lose my life than my honesty." These from Ann Boleyn pleading against the advances of the King. Those quoted above from a young Parisian Muslim on route to getting her hymen stitched in order to placate Islamic prejudice against unvirginal brides. One can't help noting the disparity in mores at work here. Islam appears to be about five centuries out of sync with the West on this as with most issues. Also worth noting is the shift in english itself, from the once synonymous words of honesty with chastity to the present state of things where almost any woman over seventeen who claims to be a virgin is probably being very dishonest indeed.
We may surmise that the honesty-virginity connotation never existed in arabic, since the entire undertaking of reflowering young westernized Muslims smacks of the grossest deceit toward their prospective husbands and families. It's not the operation's dishonesty that has liberal France in a tizzy, however, but the affront it implies to the liberal society itself. Once again we see Europe colliding into the inevitable contradictions of multiculturalism. But the open society is by definition an exposed society, and one in which no amount of legalistic suturing can mend into the seamless fraternite of revolutionary lore. France has played the whore with its own traditions and now she'll have to play nurse to the bastard culture which she officially condemns.

Fallen Heroes, Fallen Idols

Fallen Heroes, Fallen Idols

"PPCLI commanding officer Lt.-Col. David Anderson called Snyder a "soldier's soldier who always led from the front.""Given the opportunity, he would always lead his soldiers into harm's way."

So comes the eulogy for yet another of Canada's "fallen heroes" in the Afghan war. Anderson's comment  sounds incredibly stupid. To "lead someone into harm's way" is a common expression signifying an irresponsible and reprehensible action.  The C.O.  implies by it that Snyder was leading his men into unnecessary danger. Given that the poor fellow died after falling down a well during a night patrol, the connotations of the above comment are especially unfortunate. If his men had followed him into the well... well, let's not go there. 

     Let's not go there. That's what we should have said in the first place when an antiquated Nato treaty took the country into the dark abyss of this war many years ago. That was when we were all led into harm's way- by our "leaders." How many of these "fallen heroes" have we seen since then? The press keeps up the old hero routine for these young men but for the most part their deaths are anything but noble. Most seem to be the result of roadside bombs, land mines or even "friendly fire." In a war where ambush and sneak attacks are the order of the day, there's little opportunity for the old "above and beyond" type of valor. Still the press has to do its duty by the families if not by the nation by eulogizing one and all up on the same dubious pedestal. It's only when a son dies under some distressingly awkward circumstances such as those of Snyder that the families begin to mutter any reservations about the overall operation of the war itself. To perish in the heat of battle burns away any tarnish on the motives behind the battle. Even criminals get a grudging kind of adulation from us if they go down fighting. But to be laid low by way of some banal accident or freak of nature ten thousand miles from home really does bring home the stupendous pointlessness of it all.


Saturday, 7 June 2008

Ballad of Liberty Canuck

On a cold day in June they found the cadaver,
(They almost didn't in all the palaver)
The corpse was riddled with a zillion holes
Sucked dry past the point of lawful controls,
Down in the hollow under the Heather,
The odor kept back thanks to the weather;
The post mortem it seems was done on the fly,
The evidence, too, came up dry:
(Strict rules of which, alas, didn't apply)
The death put down to natural cause:
The little suckers had broken no laws;
When the name was told many said, Our good luck!
And good riddance at last to Liberty Canuck.
But some were there had to scratch their heads
And whispered (out of earshot of the Feds)
That all them bites spoke of something more sinister,
Something maybe they should write the Prime Minister,
And raise the alarm to drain the morass
Before the little suckers attacked en masse; 
Then again, what's the point? the motion was killed,
The atmosphere had noticeably chilled,
Recalling that Harper never really liked the deceased,
Why, he was even rumored to have joined the feast-
For he'd not be the first to want no truck
With the stubborn old fool Liberty Canuck!
The Mounties, too, were arguably complicit;
(After the first bites they told her to kiss it!)
Egad! who perhaps wasn't in on it?
And of course the Press put their usual spin on it-
Both sides had to be heard from because
They didn't want to create the wrong kind of buzz,
Yeah, every pol and hack could only duck
When asked to shed a tear for old Liberty Canuck!
So all had to accept that she got her due,
Bit off more than she could fairly eschew;
Drop by drop and bite by bite,
Parasite by protected parasite;
But so that her demise be not all in vain,
Nor her memory alike her blood to drain,
Heed, Canada, the lesson of one Liberty Canuck:
Them damn mosquitos really suck!

Magna Farta

"We have a heritage of free speech that we inherited from Great Britain that goes back to the year 1215 and the Magna Carta." Ezra Levant before the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

      Mark Steyn calls the Human Rights Commissioners "pretend judges." And so they are, but the shocking pretense of justice they represent goes well beyond them and their absurd "strict rules of evidence do not apply" procedures. Indeed, the stain on our Canadian polity spreading out from Heather McNoughton's pseudo-judicial body like a sanies from an untreated wound defiles the entire garment of national legality, right up to the venerable white robes of the Supreme Court itself. The so-called Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been shown to be so much bureaucratic wind and none too aromatic at that. And they say the hearing was confined to a basement devoid of windows! Now that must have been cruel and unusual: 
Gasping they asked, Did somebody die? 
         Why, only old Liberty Canuck, came the reply.