Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6: Maybe it's the heat......

...but, oh, there is close to nothing worth reading in today's Moncton Times and Transcript. The big headline story is that assistance dogs, such as guide dogs for the blind are a big help. Gee! Who would have guessed? And that breaking story takes up over half a page.

The next big story is that the Riverview air traffic control centre is a busy place. That's another half page - with a picture of three people busy sittiing at computer screens.

Another half page is about how labelling people (hipsters, geeks,Brits) can sometimes be useful. This flash comes from a sociology prof- and that alone seems good reason for finding a label for sociology profs. Yes, it can be useful. But we've sll known that for a long time, even before the Stone Age. But I'm so happy a sociology prof has had the courage and insight to make it offical.

It's also called stereotyping; and it can be very, very bad at certain times if you're a Jew, Moslem, Hindu, gay, poor....just about anything. And we all do it, anyway.

So what's the point of this story? Why is it front page?

Oh, and would somebody tell the good professor that to exaggerate means to overstate  something. Therefore, you cannot over-exaggerate, since exaggerate all by itself means to go over the top. You might as well say overoverstate. (Or was it the reporter who made that error? Who knows? At the TandT, it could even have been the editor.)

There is no news to report on the lobster fishery problem. So it's reported anyway, on p. 3, against a yellow background to tell us.....I guess.....that there is nothing to report..

Then there's the usual irrelevant (and often untrue) guff about button-poppin' pride on New Brunswick Day. On p. 2, we are told that a Shediac native invented the crossword puzzle in 1926. In fact, crossword puzzles were commonly made for children in nineteenth century Britain. The first modern crossword to be published was in the New York World on Dec. 21, 1913. And the man who made it was not from Shediac. He was from Liverpool, England.

Norbert points with pride to the New Brunswick invention of the snow blower. Another blooper. The snowblower was invented by a man named Simard from Montreal, who founded the Simard snow blower company. He got the idea from watching grain threshers in 1894; and began manufacturing them in the 1920s.

C,mon, fellas. It's not hard to check on these things. Anyway, Bell did not really invent the telephone or the Wright Brothers the airplane. Nor was the first, published crossword back in 1913 really mark the invention of the crossword. It's history goes back for centuries. To attribute any invention to just one person is usually a mug's game.

If we could prove that there is something in New Brunswick that creates famous people, then we'd have something to talk about. Otherwise, this is just local boosterism.

I had a relative (now deceased) who is currently being considered for sainthood, Reverend Zenon Decarie. But the Pope has not  yet contacted me to ask what role I played in his saintliness. (I would appreciate hints from Norbert on this point.He can make up some that sound good. "Moncton native played key role in creation of a saint.")

Section D also breaks the big news that David Beckham and some guy called the TV Chef are going to drive their motorcycles from Los Angeles to San Francisco. I can't wait. I'll bet this must be the first time it's every been done.

The editorial is a brainless and pointless one that starts out as a feel good item about New Brunswick Day, then shifts gears to pimp for shale gas.  Norbert's piece is similar with a whole list of things invented here.

Then there's the usual list of famous people who came from here - like Louis Mayer, a founder of MGM, and Walter Pidgeon, the actor. The trouble with examples like those is that there is no reason to believe that living a small part of their lives in New Brunswick had any effect at all on their sucess.

I checked just two of Norbert's NB "inventions", the snowblower and the SCUBA tank. Norbert was wrong on both. Primitive self-contained breathing apparatus goes back to the eighteenth century. Modern development is almost entirely from the US, Britain, and Italy - all before and during World War II.

Craig Babstock's "opinion" piece, thrills us with "Judges, Criminal Code frown on use of firearms during crimes". Who would have guessed?  Allen Abel tells us his usual little story about life in Washington that, as usual, tells us nothing at all.

Even the letters to the editor page is pretty much a disaster zone. The Letter of the Day is a piece of political bafflegab from the CEO of Health Council of Canada to tell us what exciting things it's doing - a sure sign it's doing nothing at all.

There's a similar piece of propaganda from the federal Minister of Fisheries. He and his government, despite all appearances that they are destroying fisheries and ocean research, assures us that wonderful things are happening.

In this whole, damned paper there is only one item worth reading - Alec Bruce's column on rural self-determination. I'm not entirely convinced by it. But it's a pleasure to read something intelligent in this fish-wrapper edition.

1. HINT TO THE EDITORS - The news services are full of stories about disasters and lies in the shale gas industry, notably in the case of Enbridge (another name to celebrate on New Brunswick Day). Weren't you going to keep us up on all that?

2. To Ward Two councillors Henderson and Leger, can you now find time to answer my questions? What is the pollutant that lies under Highfield Square - you know - the one where the supermarket that stocks our food is? How bad is it? Can it be treated? And if you don't want to tell us what's going on, why did you run for office?

3, A general reminder - current events group - tomorrow, Tueday, August 7 and 7 p.m. at the Moncton Library. I haven't settled on topics yet - but, despite the crashing dullness of the Moncton Times and Transcript, and BrunswickNews in general, some very serious things are happening.

No comments:

Post a Comment