Friday, November 27, 2015

Nov. 27: Just a small town weekly...

There's nothing wrong with a small town weekly. Typically, they have just one reporter, maybe two, who covers very local events that are overlooked by daily papers. They have one or two opinion columns that are contracted to writers who live in the community or are known to it. I wrote a column  for such a paper that provided an audience of, maybe, 10,000.

There was no out-of-town news since people got that from the better-equipped daily, the Montreal Gazette, whose circulation was something over 100,000. I can't find the circulation figures for the English-language Irving papers in New Brunswick, but they must total something approaching the figure for The Gazette.

What aren't all they all merged into one?

There is, of course, no hope that the local news will ever be more than the trivia it is now - though the sheer quantity of trivia could be reduced so that the section would also have room for provincial news. Provincial and Canada news would then be covered by a central bureau which would also be covering world news for all the papers.

I would leave L'Acadie Nouvelle alone since that's an audience that should be getting its news and views with an Acadian perspective.

What we have now is a section A that's a jumble of local and provincial news, most of it unspeakably trivial. Then we get more provincial news - and even local - in section B.

Today's section A front page headline is "Oland to testify "in considerable detail' ". This isn't city news. In fact, it's not news at all. This is pure sensationalism. If you want that sort mindless thing, you can get one of the magazines at the supermarket that has headlines like "Shocking! Queen says Prince George not cute". or "Elvis alive and is a snow plough contrator in Dieppe". "Prince Charles had sex change at birth. Queen feared having two queens in a row would be bad."

The other big story on page one is that an elderly, homeless man in Moncton who dresses as Santa Claus was robbed. That's a sad story, of course. But it's also treated as sensationalism. Some real questions might be - how many homeless people are there in Moncton? Why? What do we do for them? What should we be doing? Let's get away from the sob story. Let's see an editorial suggesting what we should do about this.

A3 continues the beat with sad stories about a man going on trial - way off in Cambellton. And it tell us nothing we didn't know a year ago. A Miramichi woman was killed by a train. A4 has the stop press story  (mostly photo) that Riverview will put lights in its Christmas trees this year. On A5, a cheap and easy story on a woman getting sentenced for two years. Also on A5. we learn a local radio station has eliminated 4 jobs.

And that's about it.
The editorial fumes about the great problem of the day. Our bus service is cutting wireless computer service to passengers. Hey, ed., I think Moncton has bigger things to worry about - like making sure people get enough food, and can find a place to sleep in the winter.

Norbert has a good column - except his one-eyed perception of terrorism. He says the people fleeing the middle east are the victims of  terrorism - by which he means Muslim terrorism. Norbert, they're also fleeing American, British, French, Saudi (and Canadian) terrorism which has killed far more innocent people than Muslim terrorists have. The victims of our terrorism in that region must now be well over 2 million. Nor is it less terrorizing when the killers are wearing uniforms.

Norbert, do you think people feel honoured to have their baby blown up by a western bomb?

"They flee delusional, violent misfits, seemingly mentally ill misfits..." says Norbert.  Yes, they do. And most of those delusional, violent misfits are us. It's our violence and delusion that create violence and delusion in others. There was nothing like ISIS in the middle east - until we got there. Until we understand our own capacity for evil, we will never defeat it.

Cole Hobson's column asks the question "Did Childish, Churlish Behaviour Mar High School Football 'classic?' It takes 4 columns for Hobson to say he doesn't really know anything about it. And, of course, the big space above is filled with a photo of football players so we can know what he (isn't) talking about.

Brian Murphy's column has something to say. Not much. But it's something.

Alec Bruce has a well-written column. But he plays the teaser game too long this time. I didn't see what he was talking about until the final sentence. He makes a good point - but needs to make it clearer exactly what that means.
Canada&World has  (maybe) four pages of news - and four of ads.

Africa and Latin America don't exist. Asia lives only in a controversy about a beauty contest. Nuthin' happenin' in Yemen.

But there is room for a big story that a century-old bottle of beer has been found in Halifax harbour - and it might be drinkable. There's also a big story about a local woman who runs a food store. That's the story. She runs a food store.

Is there anything worth reading in Section B?

Well, yes. On A1, representatives from six conservation and business groups called on Premier Gallant  to change the Crown Lands and Forests Act to prevent the giveaway of our forests to Irving that happened under the previous government.

But the present government is still the previous government. It's Irving. So the premier said no. ( Mind you, if Mr. Irving wanted an act changed, you can bet it would be changed - pronto.)

Gallant babbled that the act constitutes a contract; so he can't change it. If that were true, it would still be illegal for women to wear bathing suits that showed their knees. It is no great matter to change an act to make sure that a terrible giveaway like the last one does not happen again.

The lead story on B1 is worth reading. It's about a village that is protesting the failure to expand a nursing home. But the village is a half hour drive from Moncton. That doesn't strike me as being the big, Canada&World news story of the day.

B1 has a story that Canadian leaders are excited about the arrival of refugees in Canada. That's not really a story. It's more like propaganda. But it's the kind of propaganda we need to counter the hateful propaganda that is all around us. It's worth reading it.

B7 has an important story. France has a law which forbids Muslim women to wear headscarfs because they are a religious symbol. Girls have even been kicked out of school for breaking that law. And the European Human rights court has upheld the French law.

So - will priests be forbidden to wear crosses? Would I be forbidden to wear my T shirt with the Star of David on it? Will nuns have to wear mini-skirts?

Maybe France should go all the way, as Hitler did. He forced Jews to wear stars of David to make it easier to pick them up for the death camps.

I'm a little sensitive to this kind of racism because I grew up in a Quebec that was nose-deep in ostentatious Catholicism. Every  government office had a crucifix. So did every court - and  you took the oath swearing on a Catholic Bible. Bishops were allowed to approve every piece of legislation that came down. The streets were full of religious statues, and hordes of priests and nuns in full gear.

Then, the separatists forbade religious symbols on any civil servant (except, perhaps, a discreet cross.) I'm sure it was just a coincidence that this happened just as Muslims were becoming noticeable in Quebec.

This is racism. We have returned to the Naziism of the 1930s and 40s. And that's not an overstatement. It's most noticeable in the United States these days. But it's also in much of Europe, and in Canada.

Hitler's major objective, besides building a German empire, was to block any spread of socialism or communism. That's why western capitalists, including Canadians, gave Hitler so much support. That's why the Canadian government was sympathetic to Hitler right up to 1939.

But he needed an emotional rallying point. That's where Jews came in as objects of fear and hatred. He also accused them of being communists - an accusation Canada also made all through the war, and almost to 1960. U.S. communist hunters of the 1950s paid special attention to Jews. Almost all the current  Republican candidates - and Hillary - are naziis in their outlook and policies.

Hitler did not create naziism. It was already there in the minds of the wealthy. Hitler just gave it an emotional focus to draw in the common people. And that is exactly what Donald Trump and most American leaders are doing - with the help of most of the news media.

What you will not find anywhere in the Irving press is any mention of what Pope Francis is saying as he visits Africa. Francis is one of the few religious leaders in the world to have the courage and intelligence to tell some hard truths about the nature of our society, and to see what we are doing from a religious perspective.

Meanwhile, the British P.M. is doing the Christian thing. He's going to spend billions to bomb Muslims. I guess that why he can't afford to help the 25,000 homeless children who live on London's streets.
al Jazeera has an excellent video of the history of ISIL. It is a product of the
destabilization of the Middle East that was carried out in order to loot its oil for the profit of big oil business in the U.S. and, at first, in Britain.

Empires (and greed) destroy societies. That's why 'terrorism' gets its chance. It's created by our terrorism and greed. That's why fighting ISIL is not going to settle anything. We've been doing this sort of fighting all over the world for 500 years.
And the fighting has never settled the problem. Of course not. Violence is the cause of terrorism, not the solution.

That's why Harper was a damfool to put our pilots at risk.

The whole opinion page of al Jazeera is worth a read to get an idea of what a real opinion page looks like. (Caution - the first opinion on the page is not what the title suggests it is. It's also heavily academic in its tone, way too much so for a popular audience.)

Terry Seguin of Fredericton CBC has an important statement about what is happening to the deer of New Brunswick.

The reader who sent me the above story also sent me one about the Russian jet shot down by Turkey. I hesitated to publish it at the time because I could not find confirmation for it - but it has been amply confirmed since. ( My apologies to the reader who sent this.)

I have lots more. But enough is enough for a day.

Two things scare me most.
1. Donald Trump is a Hitler.
2. Almost all the candidates for both U.S. parties are Hitlers.
3. The American people just love their Hitlers.

1 comment:

  1. Going by the size of the ads and the amount of ink used, the really big news in Friday's paper is on page A10, "INTRODUCING THE ALL NEW 2016 HONDO CIVIC" -- and page A13, HYUNDAI's "BLACK FRIDAY Event UP TO $5000..." on page A13. No mystery there.