Friday, May 25, 2018

Is It Time to Stop Genuflecting To "Indigenous Ways of Knowledge" (IWK) As a Way to Expiate Residual Guilt for Residential Schools?

This article makes the case for it:
Formally recognizing the harm done by the residential school system is a laudable goal. But I have yet to see any evidence that scholars create knowledge in fundamentally different ways, based on their ethnicities, as IWK proponents claim.

It is entirely true that Indigenous cultures have amassed valuable knowledge for millennia—from the creation of beautiful and elaborate origin stories, to the development of ecological know-how, to the observation of basic principles of astronomy. But these elements tend to be universal within all cultures, including Western cultures as they have passed through earlier stages of scientific development.

In recent centuries, the Western tradition has created a suite of intellectual tools that did not develop in other cultures–such as the scientific method, which requires that new claims be tested, replicated and scrutinized by one’s peers before being accepted. As applied through such mechanisms as peer review, the scientific method permits us to separate fact from folklore. To the extent the implementation of IWK would require the dilution or relaxation of these practices, it would undermine one of the primary purposes of our universities since the Enlightenment.
The Enlightement? How Eurocentric can you get, you racist! (That's me channeling guilt-ridden "progressives.") 

Talk About a Rush to Judgment

An "improvised explosive device" is detonated at a restaurant in Mississauga, injuring 15 people, and police immediately rule out "terrorism"?

How can that be?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Cutlery a Preventative for Clitorectomy?

DON, May 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Swedish city is advising girls who fear being taken abroad for forced marriage or female genital mutilation (FGM) to tuck a spoon in their underwear before going through airport security.

Airport staff in Gothenburg have been told how to respond in such circumstances, said Katarina Idegard, who is in charge of tackling honour-based violence in Sweden's second biggest city.

"The spoon will trigger metal detectors when you go through security checks," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "You will be taken aside and you can then talk to staff in private." 
"It is a last chance to sound the alarm," Idegard added.

Today's Limerick

Terry Glavin's last column got singed.
"Israel makes some crazed, " he's now whinged.
Should he look in the mirror
It couldn't be clearer--
He might be the one who's unhinged.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Tribute to the Late Philip Roth

I awoke to the news that Philip Roth has died at the age of 85. It is unfortunate, though hardly surprising, that this great writer will now be reduced to his most notorious (and, IMHO, far from his best) work. (Well, he did come up with that scene in which he disrespects a slab of raw liver--so I suppose he has only himself to blame for such a complaint.)

Earlier this year, he was interviewed by the New York Times. I especially like this bit wherein he sums up the bathos of the writer's life:
C.M. Looking back, how do you recall your 50-plus years as a writer?

Exhilaration and groaning. Frustration and freedom. Inspiration and uncertainty. Abundance and emptiness. Blazing forth and muddling through. The day-by-day repertoire of oscillating dualities that any talent withstands — and tremendous solitude, too. And the silence: 50 years in a room silent as the bottom of a pool, eking out, when all went well, my minimum daily allowance of usable prose.
Personally, I have never read Roth for his sex scenes (which are too phallocentric for me, and which I have tended to skim or skip over). I read, past tense--and read, present tense--Roth for his way with words and for his electrifying flights of prose, of which the above represents the merest taste.

Fortunately, he has left us plenty of heady writing, a lasting legacy which should have been acknowledged with a Nobel literature prize. And when you consider some of the lesser lights who have won it (Harold Pinter? Bob Dylan?), it seems clear that Roth was well and truly robbed.

Update: Don't miss Tablet's "Remembering Philip Roth."

Barbara Kay and the "Abominable" Post Man

Yesterday, the National Post printed my letter objecting to NatPo columnist Terry Glavin's use of the word "abomination" re Israel's actions in Gaza.

Today--hurray!--Barbara Kay elaborates on--and excoriates--Glavin's abominable word choice:
Well, that’s quite a strong word, abomination. A very damning word. Myself, I save it for truly depraved actions like the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons on whole villages of innocent people — man, woman and child — by a monstrous tyrant who will stop at nothing to retain power, and who has proved many times that he’s devoid of any respect for the lives of those who aren’t kin or politically useful. I’m referring to Syria’s Assad, of course — and having read Glavin’s columns over the years, I know he shares my horror.
And this explains some of my surprise. “Abomination” is not a word I would ever use for any engagement with enemy forces undertaken in a democratic nation whose military, made up of ordinary citizens, comes out of a culture in which respect for human life is legendary.
Kay goes on to provide examples of actions that do satisfy the meaning of "abomination"/"abominable":
Hamas provided free transportation to the security fence for all Gazans, including women and children. They were paid $14 a head or $100 per family to attend. The injured received $500. That’s pretty abominable. So’s this: Hamas gave everyone with a video camera VIP access to “the show,” and free wifi too to make sure no injury went unrecorded (both real and fake: one video shows an “injured” victim borne away on a stretcher hopping off completely unscathed when presumably out of camera range.)
She concludes in a more-in-sadness-than-in-anger kind of way:
Israel is constantly subjected to double standards — by the UN, by biased journalists, by anti-Semites on social media. In choosing to use this morally charged locution, “abomination,” with regard to the IDF, even the brilliant and knowledgeable and honourable Terry Glavin, whose writing on foreign affairs I greatly admire, has not only succumbed to uncharacteristic rhetorical carelessness, but in doing so, has given comfort and ammunition to polemical jackals for whom he normally and justifiably feels the greatest contempt.
Well, there's a sucker born every minute--and, in the bamboozling department, Hamas has it all over old P.T.!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

More Evidence of Ceeb Political Bias?

The CBC claims that Andrea Horvath's socialist NDP party is "surging." However, according to the latest polling--which does not receive the same "sexy" headline--the Ontario Tories have an 85% chance of winning a majority in the upcoming election.

CBC Ombudsthingy Shoots Down Honest Reporting Canada Complaint Re the Ceeb's Flagrantly Biased Gaza Reportage

Quelle surprise, eh?

Update: What can I say? The Ceeb brings out the Emily Dickinson in moi:
The Ceeb claims its coverage is "neutral,"
Which is obviously less than trut'ful.
Its leftist perspective
Remains a directive.
To complain will never be fruitful.

Animal Cruelty?

The Top 7 Dog Names Inspired By Jewish Food (h/t: NDA)

Just so you know where I stand on the subject, I would never name my dog, say, Gefilte Fish.