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From the archives

The Other Side of “Irish Eyes”

Brian Mulroney abroad and at home

The Ramble

Memories from the PMO

Vintage Years

Two political memoirs

Andy Lamey

Andy Lamey teaches philosophy at the University of California at San Diego and is author of Duty and The Beast: Should We Eat Meat in the Name of Animal Rights?

Articles by
Andy Lamey

Defining Race

Andy Lamey on why both culture and biology count January | February 2019
The way we think about race is changing. Consider a Toronto Star story from December summarizing an important study on police carding: “Random street checks, or carding, should be banned as there is little evidence to show the practice is useful in reducing crime, while it disproportionately affects racialized individuals.” Had a similar story appeared ten years…

The Problem with Privilege

Private schools sell status and scandals are bad for business December 2018
This past fall was a season of scandal for Toronto private schools. In November, six students at St. Michael’s College School, which educates boys from grade 7 to 12, were charged with sexual assault. The charges were laid after videos emerged that allegedly showed students at the Catholic school being violently hazed. The month before, Bishop Strachan School…

The art of the hoax

The uses and misuses of intellectual pranks November 2018
Angry Penguins was a literary ­journal in Adelaide, Australia. In 1944, Max Harris, the editor, received two poems by an unknown writer named Ern Malley. They were accompanied by a letter from Malley’s sister, Ethel, which explained that Ern had recently died at age 25: “It would be a kindness if you would let me know whether you think there is anything in…

The foreign-baby baby problem

A lesson on citizenship from contemporary Japan, and 1860s America October 2018
The practice of granting citizenship to every child born inside a country’s border stretches far back in history. In recent years however countries that once viewed citizenship a matter of jus soli, or a “right of the soil,” have changed their minds. When Ireland amended its constitution in 2004, for example, it meant that unconditional jus soli stopped being law in any European…

The good news about fake news

The happy side effect of conspiracy-obsessed, post-truth politics September 2018
After 9/11 the American writer Jedediah Purdy travelled to the Middle East and other regions to gain clarity on how the United States was perceived abroad. In Egypt he discovered where conspiracy theories come from. Purdy’s resulting book, Being America (2003), recounted interviews with residents of Cairo who described Osama bin Laden as a “hero” for bringing down the Twin…

Anti-Appropriation’s Capitalist Logic

Does a stay-in-your-lane approach really benefit traditionally oppressed cultures? July–August 2018
In early July protests shut down the production of SLĀV, a show at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal directed by Robert Lepage and consisting mainly of songs composed by African-American slaves. “This entire show is based on a flawed premise: that white people are altogether, ahem, entitled to put on a musical theatre revue about black slavery,” wrote Montreal Gazette journalist T’Cha…

Is the Male Libido Really to Blame?

Sex, power, and #MeToo June 2018
The #MeToo movement has given rise to the view, expressed with alarm in social and other media, that men are pigs. Such a view was on display in a letter an anonymous woman sent to sex columnist Dan Savage, in which she said she doubted she would ever sleep with a man again after reading so many stories of sexual…

David Frum’s Trump Card

What the Critic in Chief doesn’t see about Donald Trump and George W. Bush January 2018
David Frum’s journey to the White House began in Toronto. In 1975, Frum was a teenage volunteer on a provincial political campaign. The candidate belonged to the New Democratic Party, but Frum, whose political views had yet to solidify, was not supporting him out of solidarity. Frum rather signed on because he wanted to see a political race up close and his family happened to know the…

Critical Un-favourite

The irascible, brilliant, greatly underrated John Metcalf, and how we talk about CanLit March 2017
John Metcalf’s name was once at the top of Canada’s literary blacklist. In 1989 Metcalf and another writer, Leon Rooke, co-edited The Second Macmillan Anthology. The collection included a section called “Position Papers,” in which writers outlined their aesthetic principles. The section had been Rooke’s idea, and in the introduction he divulged that more than one writer he approached had turned him…

Conflict Averse

Power, the new victimhood and the disappearance of personal accountability October 2016
Proponents of trigger warnings—labels inserted in university syllabi to indicate when class readings contain descriptions of war, rape and other traumatic subjects—argue that such warnings help survivors of such events avoid reliving their trauma in flashbacks. Last year, for example, four undergraduates at Columbia University in New York wrote an article noting that Ovid’s Metamorphoses contains graphic descriptions of rape: “Like so many texts in the Western…

Arguing for Open Borders

But exactly how open, and to whom? April 2014
In 1980 Joseph Carens was a young political scientist casting about for a seminar paper topic when he came across news stories about the interdiction of Haitians trying to sail to Florida. A new policy under the Reagan administration saw Coast Guard cutters intercept the boats and return the people on board to Port-au-Prince. Carens at first was divided over the…

The Politics of Return

One of the thorniest post-war questions undergoes new analysis March 2012
Howard Adelman and Elazar Barkan have impeccable humanitarian credentials. Adelman founded the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, where there is now a lecture series named after him, and Barkan runs a human rights institute at Columbia University in New York. The fact that their book, No Return, No Refuge: Rites and Rights in Minority Repatriation

The Thinking Man’s Marxist

From Montreal youth to Oxford chair, G.A. Cohen became one of our era’s great philosophical minds June 2010
Gerald Allan Cohen was a product of the lost world of Canadian communism. His working class parents were Jewish Marxists who toiled in Montreal’s garment trade. In 1945, when Cohen was four years old, they enrolled him in the Morris Winchevsky School. Morning classes were taught in English and covered conventional topics. But in the afternoon the language of instruction switched to Yiddish and the lessons included the history of class…