Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26: This and that...

I read the New York Times with caution these days. But I was impressed by the following opinion column in it. After years of staring with glazed eyes at the Irving press, it's a pleasure to read an opinion column that actually is an opinion. I fear, though, that the prominence of Donald Trump is even worse than the columnist says. When Donald Trump speaks, it's not just him who shows hysteria and fear and hatred. It's the whole Republican party and, worse, it's a large portion of the whole American population.

That instability and near-insanity is the result of an overstated national pride that goes back all the way to the origins of the United States, to the use of history in schools to teach patriotism with propaganda and lies (as many New Brunswickers would like to do). And it has been made much worse by over a century of news media which are propagandist and delusionary.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/24/opinion/trump-is-the-poison-his-party-concocted.html?action=click&contentCollection=The%20Upshot&module=MostEmailed&version=Full&region=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article

Donald Trump is doing well because he reflects the direction the United States has been going in since 1775. He reflects the sense of superiority that sneers at all the rest of the world and makes it possible to kill without remorse, the self-centredness and greed, the racism, the hatreds, the fears, the hysterias , just like all the western empires before it. And Canada is not nearly so far behind that than we might think.

In the same issue of the New York Times is an excellent article on U.S. universities - and how awful they are as teaching institutions. Having taught thousands of students, I can say that Canadian universities are better - but not much.

The article refers, perhaps humorously, to professors as people who have devoted their lives to education. I hope that was humorous - because it sure isn't true. Almost universally, professors know nothing about education, and don't want to know. Prestige comes from research and publishing, not from teaching. And many, very many, professors devote their lives to prestige. And there ain't no prestige in being an educator.

University is supposed to be a place where students learn to think. But most professors have no idea how to do that.  So, it's mostly a place they learn to memorize. That's especially the case with business courses -- that I'm not sure should be in a university at all.

For a view of this is the American universities  (which are only a little worse than Canadian ones), read the site below.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/24/upshot/the-fundamental-way-that-universities-are-an-illusion.html?_r=0&abt=0002&abg=0
________________________________________________________________________

For general reading of the news, I've already recommended the British papers, The Guardian and The Independent. The guardian is at ......

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/26/italy-migrant-crisis-rome-protests-tensions-casale-san-nicola

For The Independent....

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/

Haaretz is mostly about Israel and the Middle East, and it's one of the best newspapers I know of.


http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.667928

For good commentary about Canada, I have a fondness for Rabble.ca.  Particularly good is Karl Nerenberg whom I knew slightly in my CBC days. He is probably the best journalist reporting on Parliament Hill. There is also an excellent column by David Climenhage. It's about two election polls, done by different companies, but using essentially the same methods. One shows the Conservatives way in the lead, the Liberals much lower, and the NDP lower still. That's the one that appeared in the Irving press - the one that Norbert commented on.

The other poll showed the NDP way in the lead and the Conservatives in the toilet.

Now, there's always a margin of error with any polls. But this is way beyond the limits of any "margin of error". So  how come the Irving press published one - but made no mention of the other?

http://rabble.ca/

Another favourite is Aljazeera. It's commonly dismissed as a Muslim propaganda sheet. In fact, it's not - and it's far, far more honest - and more intelligent - than any of the privately-owned news media in North America. And that certainly includes a cheaply run and shallow outfit like the Irving press.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/  You'll see a lot here that never makes it into our news media.

Don 't trust the BBC. Avoid Free Europe/Radio Liberty. It's pure propaganda, pure hate, and very crudely done. If you really must read propaganda, read some that's well done. Try....

http://www.rt.com/

That's Russia Today. It's run by the Russian government and, of course, it's propaganda. But, unlike Free Europe, it doesn't point fingers or call people names or hint at scandal.  It's rather more like patriotic boosterism - something like the Irving press but much more refined and readable. It might lie about conditions  in Russia; (I don't  know enough about conditions there to say). But it's foreign news is usually credible.

The best news source in Canada, by far, and one of the best in the world, is CBC. I have known it to deliberately lie only in the separatist period. There was a huge demonstration by anglo Montrealers who were gathered in a downtown square. I was on a balcony above the crowd covering it for a private station I then worked for. I also had an earphone to listen to coverage from the French network of CBC. What I heard was a statement by a French announcer that the official figure for the size of the crowd was 40,000.

In the first place, there was no such thing as an official figure. In the second place, every reporter in Montreal knew the capacity of that square because it was so often a rallying point. The capacity was  80,000 - and it was packed. More than that, I could see hundreds of  metres of streets in three directions, all of them jammed with marchers. That crowd was at least a hundred thousand.

Throughout the period of separatism, the French network of CBC was openly separatist and unethical. The English side, for its part, tried to avoid the subject. I  had worked for CBC early in that period, though I discussed separatism rarely, and only when I was asked to. However, I was elected Chairman of the anglo-rights group - and when that happened, I was fired (by Karl Nerenberg's brother.) Just being publicly known as being on the anti-separatist side, I got fired from my job of doing a long series on the history of Montreal street names.

The CBC is very, very good. But it has always had to run a little scared and, since Harper, very scared. It's no secret that Harper wants to destroy it, and will use any excuse it can get. If Harper wins the election, he will certainly privatize it - and destroy the best single group of journalists in North America.


2 comments:

  1. I notice this blog has many followers in France. The first (and only) Decarie to come to North American was Jean Descaris dit Lehoux (the name Decarie has many spellings - such as DesCarry, Descary, etc.)

    He came to Montreal (then Ville Marie) in 1643. I don't know what part of France he was from. His wife, Michele Artus, was from Malicombe Lafleche, Anjou.
    Is that a nice place to come from?
    You can reply in French. I can read it, but have trouble writing it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I notice this blog has many followers in France. The first (and only) Decarie to come to North American was Jean Descaris dit Lehoux (the name Decarie has many spellings - such as DesCarry, Descary, etc.)

    He came to Montreal (then Ville Marie) in 1643. I don't know what part of France he was from. His wife, Michele Artus, was from Malicombe Lafleche, Anjou.
    Is that a nice place to come from?
    You can reply in French. I can read it, but have trouble writing it.

    ReplyDelete