Musings on The Lone Ranger, Tonto, and Cultural Appropriation

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Yes, I get the reason some people might have been outraged that a white guy (Johnny Depp) played an indigenous person in the 2013 movie version of The Lone Ranger. It seemed, at least from the outside at the time — before watching it — to reinforce stereotypes and denigrate native Indians. Cultural appropriation and all that. What was Disney thinking? Facepalm! Whitewashing! But wait… Time magazine had a review with the title, Johnny Depp as Tonto: Is The Lone Ranger Racist? NPR’s reviewer asked … click below for more ↓

WWCD: What Would Cicero Do?

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Throughout his career, Marcus Tullius Cicero fought tyranny, stood up to dictators and bullies, defended the Republic, and paid for his principled stand with his life. He put himself in harm’s way frequently by openly challenging and even suing the elites, the rich, and the powerful who were controlling — or trying to control — Rome and its empire for their own personal benefit and enrichment. I wonder what he would do if he were alive today, facing the same threats to our government and … click below for more ↓

Musings on Grammar, Usage, and Garner’s

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Be honest with me: how serious are you about the serial comma? Do you wade into discussions on language forums and social media brandishing citations from your favourite authorities? Do you dismiss dissenting authorities as heretics? Are there style and usage guides on your bookshelf with sticky notes and bookmarks in them so you can immediately find your references should anyone post a contrary opinion? Do you haughtily refer to it as the Oxford comma instead of the serial — or, the gods of language … click below for more ↓

Another Housing Debacle in Cwood

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A recent story in CollingwoodToday leads me to believe Council has made yet another misstep in its fumbling and bumbling efforts to deal with affordable housing. As the story notes, Council decided to sell an already affordable property near the downtown where people are currently living in rental units, and to sell another piece of property at the edge of town far from every service and shopping, to create an “affordable ghetto” there. Bad ideas, as I’ll explain, and a poorly-considered decision. And, in another … click below for more ↓

Why Local Media Has Failed Us

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The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2024, released this week, identifies the biggest short-term risk to the planet is from misinformation and disinformation, even above extreme weather events. The risk is highest during the next two years when “more than 3 billion people due to head to the polls in 2024 and 2025, including in major economies like the United States, India and the United Kingdom” where rightwing dictators and fascists like Trump, Putin, Poilievre, and Modi will be on the political stage.* What … click below for more ↓

Musings on Atheism, Belief, and Statues

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The website godchecker.com lists roughly 4,000 “weird and wonderful Gods, Supreme Beings, Demons, Spirits and Fabulous Beasts” which have been worshipped since the beginning of recorded history. Many are still being worshipped.  It’s quite an amusing and exhaustive collection of deities, demons, and demigods like saints. All gods and demons are, at least to me, weird, albeit not wonderful except as expressions of our limitless imaginations. Ditto with the rest of the supernatural baggage that comes with deities: reincarnation, ghosts, angels, an afterlife, souls, saints, … click below for more ↓

Musings on the Post-Xmas Days

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I am glad to have reached the first week in January of 2024 without telling a lot of people to simply fuck off and leave me alone during the past month. The urge is, I’m afraid, great and growing stronger every year. The Xmas season does that to me, beginning as it does in early September, when Canadian Tire and other box stores start putting Xmas lights and decorations on display for sale. The selling season continues through the late fall when suddenly every radio … click below for more ↓

Review: The Banshees of Inisherin

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I had expected comedy. Maybe not laugh-aloud, rib-splitting stuff. Not slapstick and pratfalls. But humour of the British sort. Oscar-Wilde-ish witty dialogue. Banter like that from Fry and Laurie. Joycean innuendo and joie-de-vivre. And a resolution that brought an appropriate closure to the end. Instead, what I got was a Greek tragedy of unresolved pathos, violence, poverty, and misery that left the story — and audience —hanging. Not what the trailers of The Banshees of Inisherin had led me to expect. One Guardian review called … click below for more ↓

Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics

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You might think, while reading Henry VI Part 2, that Shakespeare was writing about recent events, the writer merely masking them in archaic historical dress. Okay, even if you have read some of the Bard’s plays, the three Henry VI plays probably aren’t among the ones you read in university or high school. They can be a slog to read in part because they were among his earliest, and the story meanders a lot. But bear with me. They were the lead into Richard III, … click below for more ↓

Accuracy, Licence, and the Death of Stalin

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One of my favourite movies in my collection — seen three times already on DVD or Blu-ray but likely to be seen more — is the 2017 satire, The Death of Stalin, directed by Armando Iannucci. Wikipedia describes it as depicting: “…the internal social and political power struggle among the members of Council of Ministers following the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1953.” That’s a bit vague; it doesn’t include the antics, the scheming, the occasional slapstick moment, the brutality of those members, … click below for more ↓

Councillor Shits on Democracy

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In a recent story in CollingwoodToday, Councillor Jeffrey is reported shitting on the democratic process. Rather than respecting a previous decision of council as policy requires, she chose to bring back a vote to add another staff person to our already overstaffed townhall. In doing so, I am confident she was well aware that she was voting to further burden taxpayers, simply because she didn’t like the way the vote went when she wasn’t at the table. Coun. Kathy Jeffery noted that the Nov. 20 … click below for more ↓

More Oppressive Budget Bullshit

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Council is still eyeing a massive hike to Collingwood property taxes, proving they lack any concern about the problems facing seniors and others on fixed incomes, low-income earners, and the many working-class people simply trying to make ends meet in an increasingly expensive town. Every tax increase, every utility increase, every user fee increase makes their lives harder. No one at the council table seems to have the spine to stand up to staff demands for more money, more employees, more stuff in their offices … click below for more ↓

Council’s Affordable Housing Con

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A recent story in CollingwoodToday has the headline, “Town considering increases to development charges.” Everyone knows that increasing the development charges (DCs) adds to the cost of a new home, making housing even more expensive and less affordable. Right now, it’s extremely difficult to find anything even close to “affordable” in Collingwood. Apparently, the town wants to make it even harder and more expensive to buy new homes… unless, of course, you’re already a millionaire with money to burn.* The proposed increases include (emphasis added): … click below for more ↓

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