Stan Persky Forever Old by Stan Persky

Paolo Sorrentino, Youth (2015). Although old people supposedly “dwell in the past” – too much, it’s implied – in 45-year-old Italian director and screenwriter Paolo Sorrentino’s sumptuous meditation on age, art, mortality, and other mysteries of life — which... [Read more...]

John Harris The Search for Khanlit by John Harris

    1 Nashwa Khan is a 23 year-old, American-born, Islamic, south-Asian-Canadian cultural journalist now living in Toronto. She blogs and writes magazine articles, and she tweets and Facebooks, mainly telling anecdotes about her personal experiences of other people’s... [Read more...]

John Harris Some Second Growth Poetry (and it’s good!) by John Harris

Fabienne Calvert Filteau, Second Growth (Creekstone Press, 2014. $18).   Fabienne Calvert Filteau is in her late twenties and from an old Central BC family. Her great grandparents settled in Vanderhoof around the turn of the twentieth century. As the family expanded it spread... [Read more...]

Newest Articles

Why Haydée?

From Margaret Randall’s new book, “Haydee Santamaria, Cuban Revolutionary.”

The Young and the Restless, and Laura Kipnis

“Feminist students protest feminist prof for writing about feminism”: the Laura Kipnis story.

Letter from Berlin: Quo Vadis, Greece?

Questions about Greece that maybe even the Delphic oracle can’t answer.

Medal Madness at the Pan Am Games: a participant’s report

Brian Fawcett files a report on the Pan Am games, currently blotting out perspective and meaning in Toronto

Who is David Thauberger and Why is He Painting Pictures of Prince George?

Brian Fawcett wants everyone in Northern British Columbia to see the exhibition of David Thauberger’s paintings of Prince George. Here’s why.

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Newest Reviews

Forever Old

It’s Oscar season. Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth” isn’t nominated for Best Picture, but it’s as interesting as anything else on view.

Some Second Growth Poetry (and it’s good!)

John Harris on “second growth” poet Fabienne Calvert Filteau.

A True Blast from the Past

Brian Fawcett finally reads Cyril Connolly’s The Evening Colonnade after 40 years. He wishes he hadn’t waited so long.

Letter from Berlin: Quo Vadis, Greece?

Questions about Greece that maybe even the Delphic oracle can’t answer.

Hobo with a Shotgun

John Harris reviews Rob Budde’s award-nominated Dreamland Theatre, and the Prince George Poetry War continues

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Newest Dictionary Entry

Mother Canada

If we weren’t such devoted and devout followers of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his beloved Conservative government, we might have to admit that not only is he depressingly anti-democratic, and a fetishist or fascist about terror and crime, but a dolt without a drop of cultural taste. His aesthetic appreciation seldom rises above the level of a family Selfie.

Harper family selfie.

Harper family selfie.

Having slashed cultural and communications budgets over his decade (it feels like a century) in office, when he does make an artsy proposal, it turns out to be “offensively tasteless,” “Stalinist” and the mother of all ugliness. We’re referring, of course, to the proposed Mother Canada 10-storey-high statue slated to be placed on the shore of Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia. The cloaked and nun-like female figure with its arms stretched out towards the Atlantic Ocean is meant to honour Canada’s soldiers who died overseas.

Mother Canada

Mother Canada

The project, a $30-million private venture, fast-tracked by Harper, is the brainchild of a well-meaning Toronto businessman, Tony Trigiani, who was inspired by a visit to a Canadian war cemetary in Italy to set up the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation. The foundation hopes to raise $25 million to complete the scheme by selling corporate sponsorships that will be acknowledged on the site. In addition to the statue, the memorial will include the Commemorative Ring of True Patriot Love, the True North Square and the With Glowing Hearts National Sanctuary. (Excuse us for a sec, gotta upchuck.)

Local opponents of the plan, the Friends of Green Cove, call the Mother Canada proposal a “kitsch glorification of war.” Cape Breton resident, 93-year-old Valerie Bird, a World War II veteran, says, “It is vulgar and ostentatious. It certainly doesn’t belong in a national park and I don’t think it’s going to do a darn thing for veterans… This is a monstrosity.”

A Globe and Mail editorial said the giant statue was “a hubristically arrogant act of unoriginality. The bigger is better approach is best left to Stalinist tyrants, theme park entrepreneurs, and insecure municipalities hoping to waylay bored drive-by tourists.” The latest argument against the scheme, reported in the Sydney, Nova Scotia Cape Breton Post (July 9, 2015), is that the Green Cove location is a significant Mi’Kmaq aboriginal cultural and spiritual site. Even cartoonists have been lampooning Mother Canada.

Cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon weighs in.

Cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon weighs in.

Gee, maybe beauty isn’t in the eye of the political beholder.

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