Category: Society

2018, Politics, Society

Ontario and the Notwithstanding Clause

There are many things to like about Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a more inclusive bill of rights than, say, the American one. But there’s always been a crucial flaw, the “Notwithstanding Clause.” This clause grants any provincial government the right to override the Charter in a specific instance for a specific period of …

1972, Books, Non-Fiction, Philosophy

Jumpers (1972) by Tom Stoppard

My favourite philosopher, Hannah Arendt, believed that space exploration, particularly manned space exploration, created a new paradigm for human beings. For the first time in history, humans could physically see what astronomy and math had only proved before, namely that we were just animals on a little planet in some little corner of the universe. …

2018, Personal, Philosophy, Psychology, Society

What if One of Your Core Beliefs is Based Upon a Lie?

Like any self-reflective adult, I like to believe that the beliefs I hold are based upon facts, not other beliefs. I spent a long time between the ages of 18 and 25 working to come to what I thought were defensible beliefs, beliefs based upon objective reality (as much as possible), rather than what I …

2018, Hockey, Philosophy, Society, Sports

The Nihilist Hockey League

I have been a fan of the hockey comedian/commentator Down Goes Brown for some time. I don’t remember when I became aware of him, but it was before he started writing for Grantland. I have appreciated both his comedic takes on what is a very silly league and also his perspective, which often seems to …

2008, Books, Economics, Non-Fiction

Predictably Irrational (2008) by Dan Ariely

This is a fascinating and sometimes amusing exploration of behavioural economics through descriptions of experiments that the author has conducted, and some he’s read about. It’s a pretty good introduction to behaviourial economics and social psychology. A number of these experiments were unfamiliar to me and some of them are really illuminating. I’m particularly interested …

Psychology, Society

How Does Donald Trump Have Friends?

This morning, I read an excerpt from the new book about Donald Trump’s first year in office as President of the United States of America. It was a fascinating read, confirming many things I believed and giving me much more of an in depth portrait into the madness that is the White House currently.  But …

Books, Movies, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Society, Theatre, TV

In Praise of Cultural Appropriation

This article is about the accusation of “cultural appropriation” being thrown around at works of art. I may not be entitled to write this.

Philosophy, Society

Alternative Facts Are Older Than Facts

aka Western Philosophy Caused Alternative Facts We are told that so-called “alternative facts” are a new threat to us as a society; to how we view and understand the world and how we make decisions about the world (policies etc). But I think the idea of an “alternative” fact is far older and, worse, rooted …

2017, Personal, Politics, Society

Fascism is Alive and Well in the United States of America

I must admit that I have been somewhat of a “Trump optimist” these last few months. I believed in his obvious, demonstrable incompetence at just about everything he does (except branding and self-promotion, obviously). (He’s been abetted in this incompetence by untold numbers of people if you’re wondering why someone who is generally incompetent can …

2016, Politics, Society

Well that was Stupid

Regardless of how you feel about last night’s US general election, why did that take 18 months? Why does it take 18 months to make a decision about who should be president? 18 months! This is not normal. No other democracy in the world takes this long to pick its head of state. None. This …

2016, Philosophy, Science, Society

Detective School

If I have learned one thing from immersing myself in too many true crime podcasts, TV series and movies, it’s this: most detectives have never been taught to think. There seems to be an obsession with relying on instinct and (supposed) “known knowns” and nothing else; no rigorous investigation techniques, no awareness of the infamous …

2016, Music, Religion, Society

The Tragically Hip Live at the K-Rock Centre, August 20, 2016

I wasn’t going to watch this show. The cynic in me found the sudden outpouring of interest in The Hip weird. I felt like people I’d never heard mention this band previously were now obsessed with getting tickets to shows, all because someone (Canadian) famous is dying of cancer. Instead, I was going to watch …

2015, Movies, Society

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015, Stanley Nelson)

Age is a funny thing. I watched this movie months ago, perhaps more than that, on Netflix and forgot to review it (I think!), forgot to rate it, both things I do religiously. And then I got it from the library this week. When I started watching it (because Olympic golf is on!) I got …

2016, Politics, Psychology, Society

Is Trump the Greatest Con Man in American History?

Sorry for the clickbaity headline. What I really mean to ask is “Is Donald Trump trying to become the Greatest American Con Man of All Time?” because only if he wins the Presidential election will he achieve this feat.

2016, Psychology, Society

We do not want to know what we do not want to know

People say we’re rational. Human beings may be animals, but we are animals who have overcome our animal natures to make calculated decisions about our choices. I mean, look at all we’ve accomplished with our big brains. We tell each other we think rationally, even logically. And we  want rational explanations for what is happening …

2013, Books, Journalism, Non-Fiction, Society

Informing the News (2013) by Thomas E. Patterson

This book was written to make the case for “knowledge-based” journalism. It was sponsored by an initiative that is trying to establish that kind of journalism. The author believes strongly in the cause ans has been a crucial part of the initiative that sponsored his work here. But despite the fact that this is very …

2009, Books, Journalism, Non-Fiction, Psychology, Society

The Peep Diaries (2009) by Hal Niedzviecki

This is a relatively interesting and amusing book about how modern technology and modern culture have created a brave new world that we don’t really understand how to navigate (and which could have all sorts of unintended consequences for us. However, the book suffers from a number of problems which make it not among the …

2011, Movies, Politics, Society

Better This World (2011, Kelly Duane, Katie Galloway)

This is an important film that is really, really worth your time. What starts off seemingly as a portrait of some well-intentioned youths that got into some bad shit (and feels, perhaps, like an apology for such behaviour) soon reveals itself to be the story of something so much worse. Though it’s weird to say …

Politics, Society

An Open Letter to His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston

Your Excellency, I don’t need to tell you that as the Queen’s representative in Canada you are essentially our Head of State. Regardless of the massive changes that have occurred since the position of Governor General was created, you remain in a position of actual authority even if the weight of the office has diminished …

Politics, Society

Abolish the Canadian Senate?

A lot of people are calling for the abolition of the Canadian Senate lately (spring of 2015), and these calls will increase if the chamber dose what everyone expects, and passes C-51 this week; C-51 being the anti-terrorism legislation that basically every legal expert in the country is opposed to. At the same time, the …

2015, Politics, Society

My Message to Senator Yonah Martin

Dear Ms. Martin, I would like to express my deep disappointment with you and your fellow Senators regarding Bill C-51, a bill that is unconstitutional – and will be found so, I have no doubt. The idea of the Senate is that is a place to reevaluate government legislation. Ostensibly this duty should be above …