Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why editors should not write editorials....

Today's editorial in the Moncton Times and Transcript is bizarre.

It begins with a review of the mayoralty debates in Moncton and Dieppe. In both debates, the candidates, it says, presented excellent platforms. (I must have missed that. The platforms seemed to me as trivial as Alward's promise to listen to us.) But, okay, let's say they all had excellent platforms.

Then, focussing on Moncton, it lavished praise on candidate Carl Bainbridge for having an excellent debating style.

Then it says the clear winner in the Moncton debate was George Leblanc. Why? Because he was a better debater. Duh?

What does debating sytle have to do with beinig an effective mayor? Would you choose a heart surgeon or an engineer or a CEO or a mechanic on the basis of debating skill? Incidentally, the edditorial writer chose Yvon Lapierre of Dieppe for the same reason.

When the Liberals and Conservatives were running in the last provincial election, I was astonished by the lack of any coherent platform for either party. I was surprised at a visit from a candidate who said the big issue was to prepare for the global market - when it was soon clear she had no idea what the term meant. And people voted for her., anyway.

I have seen no sign so far that any mayoral candidate has any sense of the challenges facing Moncton and Dieppe,, (and Riverview), let alone having any response to them.

And we have an editorial writer who churns out pompous gibberish. I could laugh if I weren't crying so hard.

On the op ed page, the column by Eric Lewis is, well, the usual nothing column for staff writers.. The page was saved  by Brian Cormier's column.  It's not really the sort of opinion column that should be on an op ed page. It's not even about a terribly important issue. But it will be of interest to many readers - including me. It's all about the fascinating things we can learn about our families and our ancestors through the website for the New Brunswick Provincial Archives.  This is a good one. Give it a read.

I don't know what to make of de Adder's cartoon. It's either stale and unimaginative or very timely and highly imaginative. It's a sketch of Hitler's Mein Kampf with page markers labelled crazy, racist, anti-semitic, rubbish, etc. Having read Mein Kampf, I can certainly agree with all those labels. But I think we all, or most of us, already know that and have known it for a long time. And, since it    was written some eighty years ago, it's pretty old hat, read now only by crackpots (and, okay, historians.) Why choose this for an editorial page in the twenty-first century?  Unless...... de Adder giving us a hint that this is where we're heading? Has he noticed the recent rise of fascist parties in Europe? Has he remembered that Hitler, Mussolini and Franco arose because of conditions of economic eollapse? Just like the conditions we're watching today?

Is he subtly reminding us that business leaders in Canada and the US (as well as in Germany and Italy and Spain) supported the Hitlers and Mussolinis and Francos of this world? Is he reminding us that Hitler took pressure off big business as the cause of economic hard times. Is he reminding us that is why Hitler singled the Jews for persecution? Instead of looking for the real cause of their problems, Hitler encouraged Germans to simply blame the Jews for everything.

Is he reminding us that anti-semitism was widespread in Canada and the US at the time - and for the same reasons? Is he reminding us that the prime minister of Canada was an admirer of Hitler? And that Canada barred Jewish refugees from the 1930s to well AFTER the war? That hundreds of those Jewish refugees during the war were children who had been rescued, had applied for refuge to Canada and the US? Who had been refused by both? Even though both governments knew that the refusal meant that they would be sent back to the death camps?

Is this cartoon a clever way of pointing out that we are now repeating the 1920s and 30s both in economic conditions and in finding a scapegoat to lay the blame on? You know, so we won't blame greedy and short-sighted business leaders who make more in a coffee break than minimum wage workers do in a year? They don't pick on Jews of course. That would be a little bit transparent.

So the people to be feared and hated are Moslems. Yes. Yes. Libya might have attacked and taken our freedom any day. A huge and wealthy United States with the most powerful military in the world with the largest nuclear stockpile is plunged into hysteria at the thought that an Moslem Iran might get one bomb. (Though there is no evidence is even trying to do so.)

The hysteria over Moslems is fanned by news media, nicely covering the fact that the US is controlled not by Moslems but by banks and oil companies, that is is threatened not by nuclear bombs but by incompetent and corrupt and uncaring business leaders, that its democracy and freedom have been destroyed not by robed Taliban but by governments which have given themselves the right to imprison, torture and even execute American citizens without charge or trial, to establish the most severe domestic spying system in history, and, very soon, to beat, to kill any American who protests about it.

That deliberate creation of hysteria is what has led Harper to enact a crime bill which will almost certainly create more crime. It is what is causing him to consider that environmentalists be officially listed as terrorists, that we save money by cutting out environmental controls and essential programmes that help people - instead, spending billions on a military plane that will be an antique before it even comes into service, and cutting taxes for the super rich who are already getting rich faster than the rest of us are getting poor. Yep. It's all them there Moslems whut's doin' it.

Is de Adder telling us we are reliving the 1920s and 30s? That we are becoming the new fascists?
Well, I'm quite sure he's right. and that's a brilliant cartoon. And if he's not saying that, I can't imagine why he drew it.

Meanwhile, Harper will play patriotic games to distract the slow-witted. A million for a visit from two people of neither interest nor ability of any discernable sort. (Well, to be fair, Charles is a good water colour painter.) Several million for a brainless celebration of the year we got invaded (like everybody else) by the US. And who knows how much for pictures of the Queen in every office, house, outhouse and hen house  in Canada.

Keep it trivial.And that last explain all the rest of today's TandT. Except for Alec Bruce and, today at least, Brian Cormier. Keep movin, folks, nuthin t'see.

Oh, take a look at the  "futuristic' design for an events centre page A1). Apparently, the Moncton of the future will still rely on busses, cars, and trains - so we'll put them all real close together. That way, a person who lives away from downtown will drive in, park somewhere in a giant garage, and take a bus to go anywhere in town. And having all those cars, busses, trains, and hockey rink all in the same place will attract people to live downtown -near the trains and cars and busses - and we won't have any traffic problems.

I note the firm that designed it is called Architecture 2000.

 Bad name.

It should have been called Architecture 1950.


  1. Paul Craig Roberts has some interesting points on his latest blog post that you must comment on.
    If you are not familiar with P C Roberts, today is the day. He has some fascinating insights into the American war machine. And his resume is impeccable.

  2. Thanks. It looks like a good site. What is the title of the article?

  3. And Mein Kampf... I didnt see the cartoon, but I read the other day that it is to be published for the first time in Germany.