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July 2009 Archives

July 3, 2009

Yeah, so

SatanI guess people are expecting me to write something about the Heatley thing? I find myself with the exact same thoughts I had after the Oilers' Nylander fiasco. If J.P. Barry's account of what transpired is at all accurate, Bryan Murray committed a fraud on the Oilers and inflicted objective harm on them, and if the NHL weren't being run by blind idiot children some recourse would presumably be available. Of course, all the evidence suggests that Barry is either unable or unwilling to provide the most rudimentary protection for Dany Heatley's reputation and marketability—I had understood this to be part of an agent's job, and indeed a particularly significant part of that job in a world of controlled salaries—so who knows whether he has the story straight. And the Oiler front office can only whine that it has been a victim of unfair dealing so many times before the fan says "You know, fellas, maybe the problem is that you're just really crappy negotiators?" (Not that there was any reason to doubt this in the first place.)

July 4, 2009

A Canadian grades the NYT's Canada Day expatriates

Dave Broadfoot[as found here]

Rick Moranis Really, Rick? Really? You used to be one of the deadliest satirists alive, now you can't recognize a sputum-covered cliché wriggling on the ground immediately after you've thrown it up? "We sing about the Queen, except we don't anymore! We have moose and beavers on our coins!" It's not even a moose, jagoff. Grade: D

David Rakoff "There is no contest about what I miss most about Canada. It is universal medical coverage. Just thinking about it, and its absence here, can send me into complete despair." Yeah, I got so upset I almost thought about packing my shit and going home so I wouldn't be in complete despair anymore. It's not like Canadian medicare is related to the risk-averseness, deference to authority, and cultural grayness that makes all the funny creative people leave, right? Grade: D

Sarah McNally "I miss the pride and simplicity of a national literature, which probably wouldn’t exist without government support." That's right. Without government support, nobody in Canada would ever write down words with any kind of attention to their order and meaning. Bonus demerits for "My expatriate sorrow is that the weather has become warmer and the government colder since I left." Everybody watch for Sarah's forthcoming novel, Cry, The Beloved Country (From A Suitable Distance). Grade: F

Melissa auf der Mar Student mentioned "Canadian mosaic": would recommend firing squad, but Miss auf der Mar's eternal Grade 7-ness is essential to her earning capacity and should not be discouraged. Grade: D

Sean Cullen "Back home, hockey highlights lead off SportsCenter. That is the height of civilization." A wholly correct, succinct statement. Grade: A-minus

Bruce McCall A trenchant, lively criticism of a civilization that cannot make sense of the Coffee Crisp chocolate bar. I don't eat them all that often myself, but it is nice to have the option for when I go off my usual feed of Caramilks. Grade: A

Malcolm Gladwell "What I miss most about Canada is getting the truth about the United States." Yeah, cute, but c'mon, Malcolm, it's not like every undergraduate in the lower 48 isn't given Howard Zinn along with their cafeteria meatloaf and chocolate milk. If Canada is the place where you get the truth about the U.S., where do I go to get barbed critical insights about Canada? St.-Pierre and Miquelon, maybe? Grade: C (with a circled "Could do better")

Kim Cattrall Nihil obstat. There's always one cheerleader on the squad who's just a little cleverer than the others. Grade: B

A.C. Newman Canada as land of excellent Asian food and terrible pizza. Now there's some news you can use if you're ever visiting (seriously, he's right on the money with this). Grade: A

Lisa Naftolin Did someone give you the idea that this was one of those six-word Hemingway competitions? Grade: Incomplete (see me after class)

Tim Long: "Why do we live here?" "Because it's where people love you." However, there is a magical land far to the south where even more attractive people will love you! Grade: B-minus

Free the Chicago Six!

Oh hell yes, the Chicago Blackhawks do have a very real, very serious problem. Tom Benjamin, bless his soul, is right about this. And in case he hasn't made it clear enough, it is surely irrelevant to the status of the contracts of the players in question whether the team's qualifying offers were filed on time with the league office, the NHLPA office, the Commissioner of Baseball, the Flat Earth Society, or the Emperor of Ice-Cream. These guys are pretty clearly free agents. And their official representatives need to ignore the conflicting interests of their other clients and obey their fiduciary duty. Hello, that's why it's called that!

July 18, 2009

Fishwrap syndrome

My Friday Post column is a call to legalize competitive mixed martial arts in Ontario and Vancouver, though it seems to be inevitable anyhow. Great topic, strong arguments, and yet I kind of blew it because of my commitment to an awkward literary conceit. Don't miss Tuesday's Steve McNair column, which is attracting wide international readership.

July 22, 2009

For better...orwell

Danwei.org has an interesting article about renewed efforts by China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television to purge regional dialects from TV. This presents makers of Communist docudrama with an awkward problem: viewers know perfectly well that revered leaders of the past, including Mao and Deng Xiaoping, didn't speak the pristine Mandarin that actors are now being asked to put in their mouths. Linguistic unity thus requires the glaringly obvious revision of essential moments in Chinese history, as a business editorialist points out.

I can't imagine what it would be like to listen to Chairman Mao stand on the Tian'anmen rostrum and proclaim the founding of the government of the People's Republic of China in a Luo Jing-style standard accent, nor can I think of what Commander Chen Yi's long, drawn out "What?" would turn into in standard Mandarin. Ni Ping even said, "There's a loss in verisimilitude when leaders speak Mandarin," and the actor Lu Qi said, "Without using dialect when playing Deng Xiaoping, it's hard to embody the charm of the great man."

July 24, 2009

Double your pleasure

Try not to get confused this morning. My usual full Friday column is about Twitter; there's also a short piece about Erin Andrews that was planned and written as an unsigned leader. (It might seem a little starchier than usual.) Friday's comment section in the print edition turned out to be too full to contain it, but my editor wanted it on the web while the peg is still white-hot (and since it contains the magic words "Erin Andrews", I briefly get to pwn the Full Comment popularity chart).

July 31, 2009

Diagnosis: geographic dyslexia?

"Every time somebody mentions Israel, I think of Finland." Geographic dyslexia, or just an amusing twist in my Friday column for the National Post? I have been waiting to make the point for a very, very long time that a preoccupation with the "theft" of territory from Palestinian Arabs, all of it accomplished in a series of desperate street fights and desert wars started by Arabs, is properly considered pretty low on any list of equally recent historical injustices involving population transfers. We have an ethically halfwitted tendency to focus on the ones we regard as being capable of correction because they did not involve organized mass murder.

Unoriginality done right

Here's my pitch: a Casablanca sequel, only not. It's the story of Rick and Captain Renault's "beautiful friendship." You don't make it explicitly a sequel, out of respect for the original, which is perfect. If anyone brings it up, you deny, deny, deny, deny. But, in a postmodern way, it's obvious. It's what might have happened. Your two characters have Rick and Renault's backstories, which aren't filled in all that completely in the first place. Unlucky-in-love American hardcase restored to his International Brigades idealism, Frenchman whose attack of conscience has blown his career as a raffishly bent copper. You cast them, make them up, and shoot them to match Bogart and Rains as closely as possible, though not so closely that you topple over into parody. We need Clooney for this, obviously. And somebody French, or somebody like Rains who can be more French than a Frenchman. Where'd all the white French leading men go?—maybe we use Charles Berling? Anyway, the characters don't have Rick and Renault's names, but then, Rick and Renault wouldn't be fighting under their real names anyway, would they? Hell, even in Casablanca we can't be sure either man is using the name that was on his birth certificate. So they have adventures. Fighting the Nazis. It's gold. But it's not a sequel. In fact, forget I ever said anything.

About July 2009

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

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