Jewish life has survived and thrived in Canada—against all odds
January | February 2019
Historian Allan Levine must be a very brave man. First, writing Seeking the Fabled City: The Canadian Jewish Experience involved sifting through a massive and widely dispersed mountain of documents, plus interviewing dozens of people, all to create a book deeply wounding to Canadian vanity. We have become fond of contrasting our multicultural tolerance and civility with the bigotry of less happy…
The gap between religious rights and the rights of the rest.
Accommodation has such a cosy sound. Even when it is applied to government policies, it carries a hint of rest after a tiring journey. But there is nothing cosy or comforting about the accommodation issues that Canadians face today.
Take the issue of the burqa, the all-concealing garment that has become the focus of frighteningly intense emotion in the…
Does jealousy have a redeeming upside?
Some researchers feel compelled to study disreputable neighbourhoods or people. Peter Toohey, a professor of classics at the University of Calgary, is apparently attracted to disreputable emotions. He has already explored what the ancients called melancholy and we see as depression (Melancholy, Love and Time: Boundaries of the Self in Ancient Literature…
A conservative leader felled by shameful reporting—and hubris
We can all agree on one thing: what the scholar, political consultant and sometime social pariah Tom Flanagan calls the Incident is a cautionary tale. A man muses in passing on the wisdom of jail time for consumers of child pornography, and finds himself the next day engulfed by a braying cyberspace mob, enduring the loss of…
How Canadian do-gooders used the Great War to teach their poor fellow citizens some lessons.
How the country's most famous writer balances creation and celebrity
In the final chapter of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, set in 2022, social media have transformed many familiar terms into what the book calls “word casings,” so that “democracy,” “story,” “real” and “friend” require quotation marks to signal irony. In the context of Egan’s book, this makes sense: one of the characters has a social network of 15,896 “friends.”
Should Egan’s dystopian vision prove…
He did his best, maintains the former CBC head, but the whole world was against him
There is a strong unifying theme in Richard Stursberg’s memoir of his years at the CBC: uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. In Stursberg’s portrait, the CBC is a kingdom plagued by constant budget cuts (yet another round this spring), an obtuse and obstructive board, rebellious employees, malevolent rivals from the private sector and a howling mob of “Annex intellectuals and the plutocrats of Rosedale” opposing all changes in the corporation’s…
Why Canadians don’t often blow the whistle on wrongdoing.
When WikiLeaks funnelled endless secret documents to the press last year, there was only one possible reaction for all true Canadians: an immediate, obsessive hunt for evidence that we exist. Fortunately, we could breathe a sigh of relief after the first comb-through: not only did we show up in a lot of diplomatic cables, but Julian Assange’s outfit eventually released a list of our most important and sensitive infrastructure and resources in case anyone wanted to…
A provocative study makes us question the motives for international adoption.
Elizabeth Bowen’s letters and Charles Ritchie’s diaries create a passionate mix.
Recent books reveal new angles to the Home Children story.
Between the fawners and the tricoteuses, journalism is found guilty
My experience with journalists authorizes me to record that a very large number of them are ignorant, lazy, opinionated, intellectually dishonest, and inadequately supervised.—Conrad Black, quoted in the Carleton Journalism Review, Winter 1979–80
He was the best friend that thousands of British, American and Canadian journalists ever had. And for this they have now turned on …
The wait for Allan Gotlieb’s Washington diaries is worth it.
An African journalist-turned-academic tries to make sense
of the chaos that enveloped Sierra Leone.