Monday, 30 June 2008
Saturday, 28 June 2008
Saturday, 21 June 2008
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
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Saturday, 14 June 2008
Friday, 13 June 2008
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
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
"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
(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 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!