Saturday, July 20, 2013

July 20: I really don't want to say this, but....

...it has to be said.
I do not think columnist George Sullivan is an evil man. I'm sure he does not think of himself as being prejudiced. My own feeling is that we are all of us prejudiced more than we care to think we are. But Sullivan's column of yesterday, July 21, was one of the worst pieces of racism I have seen in print.

He castigates African-Americans for their reaction to the Zimmerman trial in Florida; and he says he's fed up with us Caucasions always getting blamed by these minority groups (read African, Korean, Moslem, whatever.) To rub the point home, he writes, "it seems every time someone from a minority community suffers a wrong, or worse, from their own reckless behaviour, overnight they are transformed to sainthood." For examples, he cites Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, whose "reckless behaviour" in overdosing killed them.

Mr. Sullivan, have you never heard of Elvis Presley? Have you never heard of how he died? Have you never noticed he was a good ol' white boy? In fact, any star who dies of "reckless behaviour", especially with drugs, gets idolized no matter what his or her colour.. Here in Moncton we do that so much that we get a string of bozos making the news because they're coming to the casino or the Wesleyan church to give "Elvis Tributes"; and long lines of local bozos will pay to listen to them.

Now, let me tell Mr. Sullivan what "race" means. It means that a certain group has qualities like laziness or evil or stupidity which are inherited. That group is usually identified by skin colour - but not necessarily so. Jews, for example, are white, but were defined as an inferior race by Nazi scientists.

The notion of race has little, if any, scientific support. But we have always defined people by what we call race. Google "The White Man's Burden". It's a poem by Rudyard Kipling praising the British empire and inviting (White) America to join Britain in forcing the white man's superior intelligence and morality on the world.

Racism, the sense that certain, identifiable groups are superior or inferior to others, was used to justify the brutalities of the British Empire, the killing and abusing of tens of millions by slavery, the slaughter of North American native peoples, and the abuse of native peoples to this day in Latin America and North America. The anti-Islamic poison encouraged by governments and news media in the western world is simply a minor variation on racism; and it's used to justify  killing Moslems by the millions to make rich westerners richer.

Racism is the common reaction to any people who are strangers to us. Racism is our defence against them; and it's our armour in attacking them.

I don't know the whole truth about the Zimmerman trial. Neither does Mr. Sullivan. But the tone of his column is clear. The problem is not that a teenager was shot and killed. The problem is that all them there minorities is always picking on us when they are really the authors of their own misfortune. That is racism. That is ignorant. That is hurtful. That is vile.

A major task of an editor is to review such columns before they go to print. Any editor seeing this should have stopped it. I think Mr. Sullivan is basically a decent and intelligent man who can do much better.

But the editor of this page cannot be decent and intelligent.  More likely, far more likely, he is stupid or lazy. In either case, this editor should not be employed by any newspaper.

This column is nothing but ignorance, bigotry, intolerance and hate.I think Mr. Sullivan is capable of coming to grips with those and dealing with them. But the op ed page editor should be fired for disgracing  the Times and Transcript, the Irving press, and all of New Brunswick. And for utter incompetence - incompetence even by the wretched standards of Irving Press.
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Fortunately, there's not much left to talk bout in today's paper. There are two reports on p. A2 about how safe shale gas is. On is by the sage Prof. Louis Lapierre of U de Moncton. (Aren't faculty and administration at that placw worried about their reputations? I have never seen a combo like Savoie and Lapierre from any university of any respectability.

Has the government considered firing the entire medical profession of this province for incompetence in their opinion of shale gas? I'm sure Lapierre and Savoie, in their superior wisdom, could fill in for all of them.

Again, the convfontation between SWN and shale gas opponents  from native peoples in the region and their many sympathizers goes on - unreported. This betrayal by the Irving press will not be forgotten by the people of New Brunswick - especially not by those who have stood out there through extreme weather, many of them women who seem to have been targeted by the police. Undestandarble.

It must be terrifying for police to stand here, only fifty or so and only lightly armed to face as many as a dozen women wearing white for peace, and releasing vicious-looking doves. It's disgusting the way these women are threatening SWN executive officers sitting in their simple, almost monastic offices in Texas.

And think of all those SWN truckers who have no defence when a half-dozen women in white appear before them, each carrying a vicious dove.
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Section A also has a pretty silly story on the collapse of Detroit. Actually, I'm suprised the TandT noticed it. The collapse happened only 20 years ago. The story doesn't mention what caused the collapse of detroit - free trade. Why build cars in Detroit when you can hire the starving and desperate of cheaper countries? And there's a double advantage.

Destroying jobs in Detroit means creating desperate people in the US who will work hours for peanuts. There's a message here that isn't sinking in.

Life in Canada and the US was pretty vile from the late nineteenth century rise of industry to to he post-1945 period. That prosperity came from tariff controls which forced manufacturers to make their products in the US and Canada. The sharing of prosperity was reinforced by unions which demanded that employers provide safe working conditions and decent salaries. When I began as a teacher, I earned only slightly more than I had as an office boy for the Bell. (Women teachers got less because they were,  you know, women.) We weren't allowed to have a union.

That's over. Business is free to go anywhere and to do anything as it pleases. It needs us only so supply soldiers and taxes to fight its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya --and many more to come..


Detroit is just one of the examples of a disaster that is going to get much worse. American business is going to recover. In fact, big business has scarcely paused in running up ever bigger annual profits.

Millions of Americans are now homeless and starving, even as their government pours ever more money into a wildly corrupt defence industry.

There has been no recovery for the American people. There isn't going to be a recovery. And it's going to hit us.

We have been sold out by our economic leaders and by the news media they control. The final stage of their victory, an open takeover of government, is already underway in New Brunswick - Jim Irving announcing he was now a member of the provincial government and giving himself the right o appoint his own people to government positions - Robert Irving has the arrogance to set up a buiness council, and announce it will advise City Council on economic development, something he has a personal stake in. Neither Irving had any right to do that. Any polititical leader, premier or mayor, of any intelligence, inegrity, understanding of democracy, would have told them to screw off and mind their own business.

But not in New Brunswick. And through all this, the Liberals have sat there with their unattractive faces hanging out.
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Good news on the faith page. In reponse to this unChristian behaviour of exploitation and enforced suffering and lying,the churches are striking back. The women of Hillsborough United Church are holding a berry tea. The sermonette advises us to quit complaining and celebrate the abundance of life. Now, there's an inspiring thought that should be framed and hung in all the food banks, and all those hidden corners the homeless find to sleep in.
Why, it could even be an inspiring motto for Detroit.
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Briefly - The editorial writer has no idea of what he's talking about. Neither does Norbert. The big column under the editorial cartoon, was written by a propaganda  hack working for a "think tank" (a propaganda agency like Insititute for Atlantic Market studies) that is financed by big busines to produce lies.)
Brent Mazerolle's column is, as usual, trivial.

Gwynne Dyer is okay (which is a low rating for him.)
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One last point I have to make. Read Isabelle Agnew on p. F3 who writes of her coming move to university as a life-changing movement. So it will be And oh, there are wonderful surprises in such moments.

The important thing is to meet the sort of people you have never met before, to realize that there are many worlds on this earth, and many ways to look on life.

Growing up in an environment of poverty, close attacment to the United Church,a high degree of illiteracy (though I loved readng)  a change of school in grade nine brought me in touch with a similar  group of boys, but more advanced tastes in reading - and writing. One would become a successful author. It was not a great change - but it was an indication that there was more in this world than I had dreamed of.

In grade 10, my class was largely Jewish, and my closest friend would be a Japanese boy who spent  the war in a Canadian prison camp, and is now a highly distinguished  doctor. The school had placed me - by what was discovered to be an enormous error - in the super smart class.

It had a powerful tradition. Christopher Plummer had been in that class. One of the teachers had been a  co-discoverer, with Dr. Banting, of insulin.Most of the kids in the class, though from families as poor as mine, had been raised to think of universities and graduate schools just as if they were normal.

And they read stuff I had never heard of. One day, Bob Dejong, who sat ahead of me, whirled around to pluck a cowboy novel out of my hand, and replace with some guy I had never heard of- George Bernard Shaw. And after that it was Somerset Maugham. And there was no going back.

Of course, it was too late save me in high school. And there came a day when the Principal called me down to his office. "Let's face it Decarie. You have no brains at all. It's time to go out and get a job."
And so I spent four years in the purgatory of Bell Telephone befrore sneaking back into university.

There, I met more Jewish kids, and began to move in a Jewish social circle. I was astonished. These people were more Christian than any Christians I h ad ever met, more active in causes, more concerned about learning, more caring about family.... They, more than any others, formed the rest of my life.

(I should add that I do not extend that admiration to Israel, which I think stands for little but ugliness, greed, cruelty, and a a racism not far different from the racism experienced in Germany by those Jews who founded Israel.

Yes, Isabelle, you are going to find life full of life-changing moments. The trick is to grrab the good ones. And they'll help you to avoid the bad ones.
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1 comment:

  1. No, there hasn't been much about Lac Megantic in the T and T...not much about all the reasons behind the resistance to shale gas and the lack of a social license or the exploration in wetlands etc etc
    Just Louis Lapierre and ads for the Irving Chapel services
    You can't buy your way into heaven....

    ReplyDelete