Archive for November, 2007

They just don’t get it!

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Will the media never grow up?  No sooner does J.K.Rowling author of the Harry Potter books remark that she’d always conceived of Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts as being gay than an avalanche of comment and news reports descends

Like prurient school children we are invited to pick over every imagined detail of the imaginary sexual preference of an imaginary character, This in turn arouses the ire of anti-gays with the Harry Potter series.

Meanwhile relatively little media attention was given to an ugly situation concerning a real life gay person,  James Loney, who’d suffered
long months of imprisonment by Iraqui militants.

Recently Loney, a Catholic , was “uninvited” to a Winnipeg conference he hd been asked  to attend

At the time of his release Loney had made no bones about the fact that he was gay.  The invitation to him  had been made some time before his rejection by Winnipeg Roman Catholic Archbishop James Weisgerber

The Archbishop’s lame excuse for the “uninvitation”  wasn’t because James Loney is gay, but because he’s in a relationship with another man.

I ask you!

Do two wrongs make a right, Bob?

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Bob Runciman, Progressive Conservative MPP for Leeds-Grenville, a former solicitor general and former minister for public security has always been a law-and order advocate, but his latest foray into the field leaves me wondering

Runciman took umbrage at a letter that Chief Human Rights Commissoner of Ontario Barbara Hall wrote to a Westport newspaper declaring the recent attacks on fishermen of Asian origin in that vicinity as acts of racism. and in particular the beatng of a 73-year-old man

The Review Mirror in Westport Ontario is in Runciman’s riding. He in turn wrote an open letter to Barbara Hall demanding she apologize for the slur of racism against the people of Westport. By the way, the text of Hall’s letter in no way charged all citizens of Westport with racism.

Runciman highlights the fact that there’s a lot of illegal fishing going on in Ontario waters which is true and leaves it there. But surely this is a matter for police and conservation authorities to deal with, not unauthorized persons. If the attacks aren’t racist aren’t they examples of vigilantism, people taking the law into their own hands? As a law-and-order man, Runciman should make sure he condemns such violence, too.

Otherwise, with his knee jerk reaction he’s tacitly implying that two wrongs make a right!

Canscene — Canada’s Multicultural Scene

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Vol 7, No 11

November 2007

Election overkill

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — October 11th and the Toronto Star’s headline was “Mr. Nice Makes History.” Meaning of course, that Dalton McGuinty and his Ontario Liberal Party had won back-to-back majorities — the first for his party since the 1930s.

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Searching for the causes of the PC’s defeat, one can find other reasons beside the universally attributed religious school funding proposal. This, it is widely believed, was a clear factor in John Tory’s defeat which included a personal loss to the Ontario minister of education in the riding he contested. But Tory had other liabilities, not the least being the Harrris-Eves Legacy. And…….. More »

ROM: from the Constitution to the Queen’s moose

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — Certain elements of our remote and not-so-distant past stir my emotions more than the tales of our success as warriors and captains of industry.

I felt that tug at the Royal Ontario Museum where A Season of Canada is now on exhibit until early next year.

I was looking at the first Canadian flag raised over Parliament Hill’s Peace Tower, on February 15, 1965. To the left of it was the patriated Constitution signed by Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minster Pierre Elliott Trudeau and to the right a blow-up of a classic photo of Trudeau in his canoe; not far away was the canoe itself. They were all part of Canada Collects, on loan from museums across the nation and featuring objects ranging from artifacts of the now-extinct Beothuks to Lucy Maude Montgomery’s manuscript for Anne of Green Gables. More »

Scary scenario: the fate of Bin Laden

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — The recent success of a ventriloqist-impersonator in a million dollar US television talent hunt revealed the man’s uncanny talent for voice mimicry — he’s one of the best I’ve ever heard.

Now, picture this. Al Qaeda has unearthed such a talent, who is totally able to convince even voice detection experts that he’s Osama Bin Laden. Why not? In all his taped messages since 9/11 Bin Laden has never been seen to move his lips, appearing only as a voice over a still photograph.

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Picture also that Bin Laden died at some time between 9/11 and his first television “appearances.” Assume also both Al Qaeda and the Bush inner circle know this fact, but each in its own way chooses not to reveal the truth. Al Qaeda still has its major symbol of resistance. The U.S. still has a palpable villain who has not yet become a martyr.

And so both sides continue in their unspoken conspiracy of silence.

Could be!

Book review: Cause for Hope

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Cause For Hope by Bill Phipps
Copper House, 232 pages: $24.95
(Canscene) — For may years now, I have ceased to adhere to any formal religion and the recent Ontaro election hubbub over the public funding of religious schools gave me he willies

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I believe that religion is an individual, family and community matter and should be taught completely outside the public education system. I deplore the fearmongering of fundamentalists and my hackles rise at the way religious leaders on both sides of a conflict bless their own armed forces.

But Cause for Hope by a highly religious man has moved me greatly because its author would no more consider me a sinner than he would a devout follower of a specific religion. More »

A Canadian president? Heaven forbid!

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

(Canscene) According to a recent poll, 51 percent of Canadians think we should sever our ties with the monarchy when Queen Elizabeth’s reign concludes. Respondents also showed little relish for Prince Charles as the Queen’s successor, but favoured Prince William.

That aside, who could Canadians expect as head of state in the event of Canada becoming a republic?

As we have witnessed recently in the United States, with George W. Bush’s ridiculous and damaging vetoes, and in Pakistan Musharraf’s reluctance to give up ties to the military a form of dictatorship is being exercised. One must never forget that Mussolini and Hitler were elected by their fellow citizens.

It would seem to me far more fitting for the continuance of the offices of governor general and provincial lieutenants governors than an elected president. Parliament and the Senate (if still around) would continue to fulfil their present roles, governed by the Constitution and unhampered by a GG’s own private political beliefs.
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TIFF ’07 finale

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

(Canscene)–Not yet released to Canadian audiences, these four films are my final reviews of films seen at the Toronto Internatonal Film Festival.

Coen brothers: back in form

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — After two productions on which they seemed to have lost their bite Joel and Ethan Coen have come up with the kind of black comedy at which they excel in No Country for Old Men.

The film is much more noir than comic. A drug deal gone wrong results in bullet-riddled bodies strewn over the Texas landscape. They’re discovered along with bundles of money, by border patrolman Lewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) taking some time out for a litttle hunting. Lust for the loot triumphs over conscience but Moss soon finds himself on the run from drug deal mastermind Anton Chigurh (Xavier Bardem) and local Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) who’s after them both.

The chase turns deadly and corpses pile up as Chigurh searches for Moss and the money. The portrait created by Bardem stops short of caricature and brings us a figure of total evil with a psychotic delight in killing.

No Country for Old Men
Bardem: a psychotic killer par excellence

The overarching theme is the disappearance of the old West, personified by the ageing Bell, on the edge of retirement and knowing that his days of authority are over. Tommy Lee Jones gives a superb performance likely to get him an Oscar nomination as is also his role in In the Valley of Elah.

Tess Harper and Kelly Macdonald also shine as wives, respectively of Bell and Moss and Woody Harrelson injects humour into a shadowy character who gets in the protagonists’ way. One regrets his elimination so quickly.

Altogether a great comeback for the Coens.

Woody tries his hand at tragedy

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

(Canscene) — Following the “serious” thriller Match Point, Woody Allen comes up with the tragic Cassandra’s Dream, also filmed in England.

It’s the story of two hard-drinking Cockney brothers, Terry (Colin Farrell) obsessed with gambling and Ian (Ewan Mc Gregor) with ideas “beyond his station” and an abiding passion for a young actress. Cassandra’s Dream is the name of a boat they share, so named because it’s been bought with winnings on a greyhound of that name.

But both brothers fall deeper and deeper into trouble, one from gambling debts, the other fearing the phoney personality he has given himself will be uncovered.

Enter affluent, smooth talking, globetrotting Uncle Howard who puts temptation in the boys’ way; he’ll help them financially if they “do a little job” for him.

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Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell : brothers caught up in murderous plot

But the “job” is the murder of Howard’s alienated business associate and as they find they cannot refuse Howard their love for each other begins to fall apart, and the boys are driven headlong toward the tragic ending.

On release, Cassandra’s Dream is likely to excite much debate about its place in the Allen canon of work but for me, the film was satisfying with good performances from Farrell and McGregor and a superb character role for Tom Wilkinson as the scheming uncle. This many-sided actor gives what is arguably his finest performance, but then there have been many such in his career.
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