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February 2009 Archives

February 3, 2009

Protectionism: it's wastefulness in a good cause!

Preachin' the gospel of free trade, and quietly praying that Obama decides not to screw the whole world to save Ohio's electoral votes, in Tuesday's Post column.

February 7, 2009

I like 'em and I'm going to smoke 'em

News of the World Phelps coverMy internationally celebrated*, "absolutely fantastic"* Friday column tackles the subject of "disgraced", bong-hitting man-dolphin Michael Phelps. Phelps lost his first sponsor shortly after I filed, when the Kellogg Co. decided not to renew an expiring contract with the Olympics hero. And as if to highlight the changing environment of opinion on marijuana, the company was promptly attacked on at least a couple of major syndicated radio shows: how dare Kellogg declare Phelps to be a threat to their kid-friendly image, people asked, while selling sugar-laden junk food like Smorz cereal and Famous Amos cookies to stoners and slothful, obese American children? Over the next couple of decades, it may well be better for one's reputation to have sold hash brownies than Pop-Tarts.

February 9, 2009

He's not Trudeau. He just plays him on TV

Hanging around on the net late in the day? If you're quick you can catch a preview of my Tuesday Post column (written in a late-night burst of energy) about Michael Ignatieff and his influences.

February 11, 2009

They'll probably never make it

"On our last night in London, we went to a performance by an extraordinary new pop group called The Who. They've only existed as The Who for about a year, but already their fame in England is enormous. Their individuality is based on an overwhelming use of amplification and sound distortion. A performance by The Who is mesmerizing and exhausting." That's what's happening in London in the autumn of 1966, as reported by Paul Soles and (a gamine but disappointingly un-chic) Adrienne Clarkson.

February 12, 2009

An awkward question

How much of the messianic, Beatlemania-like response to President Obama do you think is a product of his biracial heritage? I don't mean in the sense that he is, in himself, a powerful symbol of the colour-blindness that has already been achieved in American society. That's a much-discussed, and obvious, component of his appeal. I am thinking more of the possibility that some people regard him as a sort of messenger or sojourner from a post-racial future in which the varieties of humanity have been whipped together in a big sexy blender. It's a common enough opinion* that miscegenation will ultimately rescue us from the problems of race and that homo euro will one day die, deservedly, of an excess of lust. Does Obama possess a soupçon of extra glamour because we sense that he is, in some regard, the Nietzschean Superman? Do we instinctively recognize him as being a pictorial sample of our likely descendants?

*(Unfortunately for the hypothesis, it seems to be a pretty robust rule that among creole/métis castes, and in places like Brazil or India where something like the racial blender actually operates, people are vastly more conscious of invidious distinctions of hue than they are in merely multicultural societies.)

February 15, 2009

A-Rod? More like Fey-Rod

In writing Friday's Post column I found myself more interested in Alex Rodriguez's weird personality than in his all-too-understandable offence against baseball. This probably cost me some of the hits I would have received from plunging into the supposed controversy over performing-enhancing drugs. A few idiot sportswriters have subscribed to the view that what A-Rod did is worse than what the Black Sox did; taken literally, this implies that bending the rules to be a better competitor, which baseball players have been doing since the Knickerbocker Rules were in force, is more outrageous than conspiring not to compete at all.

I regard the illicit use of PEDs as no worse than defacing a ball with an emery board, and probably much less effective. The tarnished A-Rod points out himself that there is really no visible performance peak in his career statistics. Although we have to take him at his word that his years in Texas were the only "dirty" ones, he has yet to fail a high-stakes drug test since he was traded to New York, and there is nothing at all unusual about his career trajectory since the age of 20.

February 17, 2009

Inside the numbers

Today's Post column puts a massive study of violence and mental illness under the microscope and finds that the headlines didn't quite match the findings. I am curious to see what response it might elicit from the profession. To my surprise, I've received some warm, grateful comments from the general public; in general I have the luxury of treating this issue as a fascinating abstraction, but there are those for whom it is not.

February 18, 2009

'There is no accountability on blogs...'

Would you be surprised to learn that an electronic-media blowhard given to lecturing webloggers about their lack of professionalism literally did not know the meaning of the word "plagiarism"? Nah, I wasn't either.

Love Bollywood style

Somehow I feel like a couple that would do something this hilarious/benevolent is basically destined to be together forever.

February 20, 2009

Be kind, rewind

Friday's National Post column looks at the prospects for a reform of Alberta human-rights legislation. Readers outside Alberta will recall that Ontario's human rights commission was powerless to punish Maclean's magazine for the demographic jeremiads of Mark Steyn because it didn't have statutory power over expressions of opinion. Alberta's HRC does have that power, thanks to a stealthy 1996 change to the Human Rights, Citizenship, and Multiculturalism Act. But the opportunity exists for Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett to implement a reform while placating red Tories and liberals, and it appears he is interested in taking it. This would give Alberta something we aren't too familiar with for the past decade or so—a rising ministerial star with a genuine, solid individual accomplishment to his name.

February 25, 2009

You can almost hear the quietly intoned 'fuck it' before the first word

My Tuesday column for the National Post was planned in a moment of ennui and calculated to offend (though by means of truthful utterances, to be sure); naturally it immediately became one of the most lavishly praised things I've written. Isn't that always the way? Catch up here if you missed it.

February 26, 2009

'As we pulled up I saw the Superman symbol on the grill.'

Shaquille O'Neal may be the greatest American folk hero since Davey Crockett.

February 27, 2009

Dispatch from Stabtown

Bat'lethEven as my first Post column of the week smashes through the Full Comment record book for hits, my distinctly better (but more parochial) second column, about a mayor's flirtation with knife control, is hitting the doorstep. (I had a hand in today's unsigned leader on the new Conservative anti-crime measures, too.)

Although my own mail has been strongly "pro" on the Tuesday column—which is prefaced by a warning that it should not be taken in strict seriousness, and which has attracted attention mostly for the weaker half of the argument—there have been a few minority reports from the blogosphere from baby boomers objecting that, as individuals, they darn well paid their own way, dadgummit. Some have even ventured to suggest that their generation has somehow prepaid for the future services ours will receive from the government. Since it is apparently not widely known, let me note that if you are 65 years old today, the entire net public debt of Canada when you were 20 was about $118 billion in today's money. The figure peaked in the mid-'90s (right around the Freedom 55 mark) at $750 billion. Those who somehow missed out on their fair share of the difference have my sympathies.

About February 2009

This page contains all entries posted to ColbyCosh.com in February 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2009 is the previous archive.

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