Monday, February 17, 2014

Feb. 17: "Metro Moncton girls just love playing hockey"

Not only is this one, trivial news story (Section A4); but it's not particularly true. In fact, Most girls in "metro" Moncton don't play hockey the story admits that, but still insists they love it. The story then lists the benefits of playing hockey - none of them with the slightest evidence to support the claim.

This is a trivial, shallow, story that isn't really a news story at all. But it's a half page in the first section of the TandT.

Really, though, it was more than its silliness that bothered me about this news story.

It's  assumed presumption is that feminism means women becoming more like men. I mean, if they could all just become men, they'd be happy. Quite unconciously, this "news story" smacks of male arrogance. That's why it's good to read other things besides the Irving press.

For example, just before I read this "news" story, I read an article by Helen Forsey in a free, monthly journal called CCPA  Monitor. (check it out on the web). It's called "The Patriarchal illusion of control: The ruthless drive for power and control primarily masculine."

The point is that this masculine trait is enormously destructive, and we need feminine qualities to limit it, not to imitate it.

There's also a male arrogance in thinking that it is good for girls to learn to act like boys. Would the reporter have written a similar story that it would be good for boys to play more with dolls?
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The February issue also has a story missed by just about all of our commercial news media. Remember how Canada bombed Libya to---well---to----well, nobody's sure; but we bombed it. And we did it on legal grounds that were not at all clear, and still aren't. The national leader, Gadhafi, was a terrible man.  We know that because the Irving press and others told us. He did awful things to Libya like:
1. Made it the wealthiest country in Africa.
2. He did it without a huge wage gap. In general, the wealth was spread out to give Libya the highest standard of living in Africa.
3. There was free public medical care.
4. Free education.
5. The literacy rate was 90%. That's higher than it is at the Irving press.
6. It had the lowest infant mortality rate in Africa.
7. It had the highest life expectancy rate in Africa.

And we bombed them to save them from all that. It worked like a charm. Today, none of the above benefits exist. The is no functioning government in Libya. The country is infested with robber bands and war lords.

The real reason we bombed Libya was to capture its oil fields for our good friends in the oil industry. And even they lost. The war lords that we armed took over the oil fields; and they're a shambles. Poverty is universal. Free education has almost disappeared.

A country that was actually making its own way and succeeding was utterly destroyed - because it had the nerve to want to control its own oil.

And Canada bombed them. God save the Queen.

We don't need women to be just like men. We need them to put a lid on men.

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The NewsToday section will delight all those who spend their days with their noses in their own bellybuttons.

All the news for all the world covered  one and a half pages.

The, lead story is that Wow! Wow! Wow! some potash minder in Saskatchewan had to spend a night underground because of a fire. It's all over now; and nobody was  hurt.  And, just as big, a woman in Pennsylvania has confessed to multiple murders. And a man in Alberta may have found the brother he hasn't seen for some years.
And that's the big news that we all need to cope with today's world.

I can only assume that the news editors of Irving press are intellectually the laziest in the whole world of journalism. I can get more important news than that, and more news in general, from a glance at Google news.

For evidence of editorial laziness and, perhaps, general ignorance of what's going on in the world, read today's first op-ed column (by an editor),. read the editorial (by an editor). read any op ed page column by any editor or staff writer.

We live in an age when the best news services in the world are available in just seconds on the web. But all we get in our daily papers is trivia and trash.
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The good parts?
Alec Bruce gives us an excellent overview of political thought over the last 35 years. It's not just information; it's useful information. It's insight. And it leaves the reader with something to think about.

Norbert comes through today, a thoughtful piece on education. It still leaves a lot of gaps - but nobody can write just a column on the subject without leaving gaps. So let me add a few gaps of my own.

I never finished high school. So I was not qualified to attend teachers' college. I slipped in only because I had completed two years of university. (don't even ask how I got into university.)

The administration debated, then decided I could stay because my two years of university could count as finishing high school. And I passed teachers' college with ease.

In high school, I failed and failed miserably in algebra, geometry and trigonometry (like - with 25% or less)/ I passed history. but forgot all of it before I got close to university.

I remember nothing whatever from teacher's college. In my BA, I  took and passed psychology, sociology, history - and forgot it all as soon as I finished the exams.  ( and my grades were all poor.)

None of this appears to have had any effect on my life.  But, obviously, I must have learned something from all of that because I've been able to do things that require some depth of understanding.

So - if we can forget so much from our education days and still function. there must be some, vital things we do learn.

What are those vital things? In my experience of teaching history, it always seemed to me that, for most of my students, it was not the history that mattered. It was the ability to read with fuller understanding, to organize ideas, to make judgements. In short, it was to think.

But, if that's true, why do our high schools and universities spend so much history teaching time in dictating notes to memorize - most of which will be forgotten after the exam?

I mention this because Norbert's suggestion of a way to revise education calls for setting appropriate goals- and I suspect we have some distance to go in deciding what appropriate goals are.

Steve Malloy continues with his talent for taking a very ordinary topic, and seeing meaning to it. This time, it's our addiction to the cell phone - and I think he's right.
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There were some, little things that didn't make the TandT.

The California drought, possibly the worst in 500 years, has become pretty frightening. Food prices in the US, already up by some 18% in certain, basic foods are going to get an a hard kick up as the farms of California, which produce one third of US fruit and vegetable,  turns into desert.

As for water for people who lie in the state, there are no reserves to tap - and it's running out.

But that's hasn't been important enough to make the Irving press.

Another leak from whistleblower Snowden shows that the US has used Australian spy services to tap communication of American law firms that represent foreign companies in cases against American ones. It would be against US law to do that; so Australia gets them around that. The information gained is then handed on to the American companies who are being sued.

O-o-o-o what a terrible threat Snowden is to American democracy!  Almost as big a threat as Obama is.

Running out of opium and heroin? Fret not. Afghanistan, protected by American troops, was raised production so that it now produces 80% of the world's supply.

You don't get it in North America, though. Most of it is going to new markets in Africa and Asia. So that's okay.









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