Month: February 2014

Believe Your Beliefs, But Let Us Watch the Game

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By: James Di Fiore

 

Canada and the USA continue their rivalry today at Noon EST on CBC

 

Say what you will about the Olympic Games, but there is no denying the power of having millions of people simultaneously gasp and cheer for 2 hours. Canada has been here before, and every time it’s as close to magic as you can get.

For some, this is an overstatement. To them, the Games are too commercial, not political enough and an exercise in silly fandom. These Games have been especially political, with Russia’s draconian social policies front and centre. People wonder out loud if we are indirectly supporting the Putin Regime and its policies if we happen to wave a flag at a hockey game, or dare watch it on television.

It isn’t difficult to understand the backlash the Games receive. In fact, it’s depressingly easy. Russia spent an irresponsible 50 billion – that’s billion with a B – hosting these Olympics  in a country where infrastructure, poverty and the economy is not as robust as the investment should indicate.

Back home, the primary focus on Olympic outrage is nestled in a solidarity gesture with gay rights activists all across the globe, and especially inside Russia. While formidable, these activists must be frustrated to know their efforts are not attracting the amount of support they hoped for, an indication there is lack of monolithic behaviour from people who truly believe in equal rights. Certainly, there are degrees in which people express their desire for change. There are die hard, moderate and apathetic enthusiasts for issues like gay rights, and none of them should be outright dismissed. You can simultaneously support gay causes while still tuning into a hockey game. You can believe the Olympics are run by self serving corporatists and still enjoy listening to the national anthem.  You can even be disgusted at watching Pussy Riot get whipped by Sochi security and still be moved recalling Alex Bilodeau embracing his special brother for the world to see and admire.

And in Canada, a place where equal rights is considered one of our best known qualities, or at least more socially liberal than most of the westernized world, our citizens can walk and chew gum at the same time. So go on and fight the good fight in worldwide social justice, but please do not make us feel guilty for cheering on our hockey teams.

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Toronto Councillor Proposes Naming Landmark After Famous Canadian Bigot

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By: James Di Fiore

Not many Canadians have the good sense to call out John A. MacDonald for what he really was; a repugnant white supremacist who believed non whites were inferior. MacDonald even has the distinction of being the only person who ever said publicly that Canada should be an Aryan state.

And the biggest dweeb at Toronto City Hall, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, has the bright idea of renaming Union Station after him.

Why do we always seem to gloss over the racists in history and excuse them for merely being a ‘product of their time’? See, there’s this thing called the internet, where we can all learn about the heinous men who are placed on a pedestal (see: Christopher Columbus and almost every Founding Father) or given a pass for some of the world’s most brutal acts and ideologies.

“In 1885, Mr. Stanley notes, Macdonald told the House of Commons that if we allowed Chinese into Canada, “the Aryan character of the future British America should be destroyed.”

These are those moments where white people should have little difficulty understanding the frustrations of non whites. Perhaps, if we were honest about our history, we would be better equipped to have a more inclusive future.



Pseudo VS Science: Bill Nye Debates Creationist Ken Ham

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By: James Di Fiore

When Christopher Hitchens was alive, he would often publicly debate a religious scholar like Reza Aslan or Rabbi David Wolpe about religion and its place in this world, or even its very existence. He, quite honestly, mopped the floor with most of them.

Tonight, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” is debating Ken Ham “The Creationist Guy” in what promises to be a battle of tangible science VS superstition. Some believe Nye is giving a whack job and the belief that the world is just 7000 years old elevated status by agreeing to do the debate. While understandable, I personally believe that sometimes we need to see superstition up close.

This piece, and many others like it, disagree. But if polling is conducted before and after the debate, and if that poll concludes more people who were on the fence now side with science, it will be worth it.

Then, perhaps CNN can finally produce a debate between respected climatologists and climate change denying “scientists” so we can see what stupid looks like up close and personal.