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wmtc: nadine gordimer, 1923-2014

Nadine Gordimer was a great writer, and a steadfast voice for justice.

Gordimer, a white South African, was a member of the African National Congress when the organization itself was illegal. Several of her novels, which explored the affects of apartheid on those who lived it, were similarly banned.

Gordimer was a courageous woman, an outspoken intellectual, and a writer for whom art and politics became inseparable. She lived life on her own terms, and died at the old age of 90. Despite that, her passing feels like a great loss to the world.

Nadine Gordimer’s obituary in The Guardian (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lawrence in Arabia

I recall with some vividness seeing David Lean’s masterpiece film, Lawrence of Arabia, when it was first shown in Canadian theatres. I was 12 and utterly astounded by the movie. Not simply the great, sprawling, adventurous tale that meandered through 220 minutes (plus the intermission), but by the incredible scenery. It was a world totally alien […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Cup of Dragon Well

Legend has it that, in the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong (1711-1799 CE), the grandson of the Emperor Kangxi, went on a holiday to the West Lake district, in the Hangzhou area of Zhejiang province, China. He stopped at the Hu Gong Temple, nestled under the Lion Peak Mountain (Shi Feng Shan). There, he was presented by […]

Peace, order and good government, eh?: Reflections On Canada Day: The Impact Of Canadian History

I’m writing this on the morning of Canada Day 2014, thinking about all the fascinating things I’ve read about and seen, and all the people I’ve met. One thing I’ve come across is all the different parts of Canadian history I’ve studied, and how they’ve tied into many of the recent issues we’ve faced in Canada.

Take, for instance, the recent Quebec election and the idea of separatism popping up yet again; Aboriginal people disputing developments in places like northern B.C. and Caledonia; Alberta’s development of its energy resources and the disputes it’s had with other parties over the (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Happy Canada Day – Have some Canadian History :)

Did you think Canada was all about the fun? Nope, nope, nope! Learning first, then fireworks and beer.

“The enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which confederated Canada, was celebrated on July 1, 1867, with the ringing of the bells at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and “bonfires, fireworks and illuminations, excursions, military displays and musical and other entertainments”, as described in contemporary accounts.[35] On June 20 of the following year, Governor General the Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Happy Canada Day – Have some Canadian History :)

Did you think Canada was all about the fun? Nope, nope, nope! Learning first, then fireworks and beer.

“The enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which confederated Canada, was celebrated on July 1, 1867, with the ringing of the bells at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and “bonfires, fireworks and illuminations, excursions, military displays and musical and other entertainments”, as described in contemporary accounts.[35] On June 20 of the following year, Governor General the Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: On the centenary of Gavrilo Princip’s fateful shot in Sarajevo, let’s learn the right lessons from history

Gavrilo Princip under arrest. Below: Princip and the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Today is the centenary of the day Gavrilo Princip took his little Belgian pistol to Sarajevo and blew the heir presumptive to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire into history.

As is well known, not long after young Princip caused the demise of Franz Ferdinand, archduke of Austria-Este and royal prince of Hungary and Bohemia, not to mention inspiration for future indie musicians, things went rapidly downhill.

Someone somewhere rolled the dice to score a strategic point or two in the Balkans – one of which, it’s been (Read more…)

THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE: National Aboriginal Day Celebrated in Canada

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people from all backgrounds gathered all over Canada to celebrate National Aboriginal Day, which honours First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples’ invaluable contributions to our history and culture.

The post National Aboriginal Day Celebrated in Canada appeared first on THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE.

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Hollow Crown: Henry V

As I started to watch the last film in the Hollow Crown series, I wasn’t sure whether Tom Hiddleston was up to playing the iconic role in Shakespeare’s most patriotic (and jingoistic) play. I thought Hiddleston’s Prince Hal in Henry IV had just a little too much of Loki – and maybe the bully – […]

wmtc: what i’m reading: the book thief, an anti-war novel

I’m sure many of you have read The Book Thief, Markus Zusak’s youth novel about a German girl and her (non-biological) family during World War II. If you haven’t yet read it, I recommend it.

I had little interest in reading this book. I picked it up for professional reasons: it has been one of the most popular youth novels since its publication in 2005, and I intended to skim it, to get the gist. This book didn’t care what I had in mind. The opening was so intriguing that I kept reading, and before long I was completely (Read more…)

Eclectic Lip: How Trinity Western University (unintentionally) promotes divorce

Trinity Western University has been in the news recently, as law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia voted to not recognize lawyers trained at the religious university’s soon-to-open law school. These two law societies – like your blogger and the vast majority of Canadians – recoiled in horror at the university’s community covenant (“covenant” is just a fancy way of saying “contract”) clause forbidding students from having sex outside straight marriage.

While discriminatory and immoral, TWU’s policy is not illegal. If I understand correctly, several years ago the Canadian Supreme Court agreed with the BC Civil Liberties Union that, as (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Colonialism and Churchhill

 

Winston Churchill about the Palestinians, in 1937:

“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Colonialism and Churchill

 

Winston Churchill about the Palestinians, in 1937:

“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Now That…that is a Catch-22 – Belarus 1942

If you have not picked up or borrowed Blood Lands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder yet, I suggest you do so. It is a shockingly candid dissertation on what happened to the people on the Eastern Front between Stalin and Hitler. I quote from that text:

“Partisan operations, effective as they sometimes were, brought inevitable destruction to the Belarusian civilian population, Jewish and gentile alike. When the Soviet partisans prevented peasant from giving food to the Germans, they all but guaranteed that the Germans would kill the peasants. A Soviet gun threatened (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Now That…that is a Catch-22 – Belarus 1942

If you have not picked up or borrowed Blood Lands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder yet, I suggest you do so. It is a shockingly candid dissertation on what happened to the people on the Eastern Front between Stalin and Hitler. I quote from that text:

“Partisan operations, effective as they sometimes were, brought inevitable destruction to the Belarusian civilian population, Jewish and gentile alike. When the Soviet partisans prevented peasant from giving food to the Germans, they all but guaranteed that the Germans would kill the peasants. A Soviet gun threatened (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lost Shakespeare play found?

Cardenio. Written by William Shakespeare. Based on an episode in Miguel Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote. The novel was translated from Spanish into English in 1612. The play was known once, but lost. Performed by the King’s Men in 1613, the same year Shakespeare penned Henry VIII, or All is True and The Two Noble Kinsmen. […]

PostArctica: Mammoth Miners Memorial, Mammoth, Arizona

Came across this remarkable art in honour of dead miners.

“The Mammoth Miners Memorial honors 55 miners who lost their lives over the years in the San Manuel, St. Anthony and Tiger mines. Along with a statue of a hard-rock miner and ore buckets, the memorial features a sculpture of life-size metal skeletons holding mining equipment.The sculpture is the work of artist Jerry Parra.“

And you really should check out Bongolnc’s Flickr pages for an endless array of beautiful pictures of the Arizona countryside!

. . . → Read More: PostArctica: Mammoth Miners Memorial, Mammoth, Arizona

PostArctica: Mammoth Miners Memorial, Mammoth, Arizona

Came across this remarkable art in honour of dead miners.

“The Mammoth Miners Memorial honors 55 miners who lost their lives over the years in the San Manuel, St. Anthony and Tiger mines. Along with a statue of a hard-rock miner and ore buckets, the memorial features a sculpture of life-size metal skeletons holding mining equipment.The sculpture is the work of artist Jerry Parra.“

And you really should check out Bongolnc’s Flickr pages for an endless array of beautiful pictures of the Arizona countryside!

. . . → Read More: PostArctica: Mammoth Miners Memorial, Mammoth, Arizona

Art Threat: Painting, Resisting, Giggling: An Interview with George Littlechild

I first stumbled upon George Littlechild’s art at the Comox Valley Art Gallery in my hometown of Courtenay, British Columbia. After reeling from the emotional turmoil and historical reopening, rapprochement and reordering rendered in his bold and colourful brush strokes and integration of collage through archives, I was delighted further to learn that Littlechild resided right there, in my little town. After several years run by a city council dominated by career politicians and land developers, Courtenay has come to resemble the big box subsidiary that many other communities in Canada have become after non-local retailers move in to newly (Read more…)

wmtc: some thoughts on emily brontë’s wuthering heights

Cover of 1943 Random Houseedition with woodcut illustrations

Emily Brontë published Wuthering Heights in 1847, under a pseudonym. Brontë died the following year, at age 30. It was the only book she would ever publish.

How did an isolated young woman, a parson’s daughter from a remote area of Yorkshire, who never married, rarely left home, and hated travel, come to create this story of ferocious passion and violent revenge that would shock her contemporaries, and enthral audiences into its second century?

The existence of Wuthering Heights is one of the great arguments against that wrongheaded advice to writers: “write what (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Reflections on Chartres Cathedral, the death of civilization and the deification of the banal

Thinking of Chartres Cathedral, I ask myself, what, if anything, have we built in the past eight centuries, that compares to this? The iPad, computers, cell phones, the internet? Are you kidding me? You must be joking. We have more ways to amuse ourselves, yes, but when has our capacity for entertainment, amusement and […]

Dead Wild Roses: Civilization, Capitalism, Consumption – Why stop the Orgy?

I’m glad I’ll be dead when humanity’s collective shit hits the fan. I used to get all wrapped up in debates about Capitalism and the slow motion Seppuku we’re committing. I was genuinely flummoxed when my arguments were characterized as hopelessly naive and that my positions were unfounded vis-a-vis economic reality (a.k.a the dominant capitalist consumption paradigm).

Bollocks to that noise.

I’m out of fucks to give about important economic arguments and how super-fucking-awesome capitalism is. I will not be around when glitz comes off of our over-consumption and enough of humanity realizes how hard (Read more…)

wmtc: march 19, 2003: don’t call it a failure. it was a huge success for so many.

Eleven years ago today, the US invaded Iraq.

This unprovoked invasion of another country that had not threatened the United States was justified by the pretense of finding weapons of mass destruction (which the US knew did not exist), and as payback for 9/11 (which the US knew Iraq had no part in), and by of ridding the world of Saddam Hussein (who was trained and financed by the US). Many such rationales were advanced, including a a Christian crusade against Muslims.

None of the stated rationales for the invasion mentioned the massive profiteering that would reap trillions in profits (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Machiavelli and the Elizabethans

In 1555, Bishop Stephen Gardiner wrote a treatise to King Phillip II of Spain, in which he borrowed (aka plagiarized) extensively from Machiavelli’s The Prince and The Discourses. Gardiner did not credit Machiavelli or attribute any of his quotes, but rather copied some of Machiavelli’s content verbatim or very closely. This was less than two […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lucretius and the Renaissance

It’s fairly clear, even after reading only a few verses, why Lucretius’s didactic poem, On the Nature of Things – De Rerum Natura – made such an impact on thought, philosophy, religion and science in the Renaissance. It must have been like a lighthouse in the dark night; a “Eureka” moment for many of the age’s thinkers. […]