Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
This blog is adopting a new format. Posts will appear every Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
Book writers traditionally lock ourselves away while we’re working. We do everything possible to block out distractions. It’s all about maintaining our focus.
Bloggers are the exact opposite. They’re hyper-connected to the wider world, perpetually monitoring social media, news feeds, and headlines.
I’ve had difficulty juggling my various personas lately, and have been doing more reading than writing. There’s some truly wonderful thinking going on out there.
Beginning January 1st, therefore, this blog will re-launch with a new format. Posts will appear three times a week and will cover a wider range of topics. I’ll highlight an illuminating/provocative perspective, supply a hyperlink, and add some commentary.
My goal is to be concise, to produce easily-digestible appetizers that might tempt you, dear reader, to explore further. (Since 2009 this blog has published a good deal of often lengthy, original research. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to make that time-consuming labour sustainable over the long haul.)
We’re at an odd moment in history. Ideas that were boldly counter-cultural 40 years ago have been absorbed into the mainstream. They’re now imposed by government bodies, taught as gospel in universities, and promulgated as self-evident by journalists. But in the process, something went terribly wrong.
Today’s dominant narrative is distinctly narrow minded. The tolerance and good humour implied by that commonplace 1970s phrase, ‘Live and let live,’ have evaporated.
These days there’s apparently only one acceptable way to think about climate change, Donald Trump, transgender issues, feminism, men’s rights, immigration, racism, Israel, Islam, and so forth. Depart from this righteous path and you are at substantial risk of being shouted down, called ugly names, threatened with physical violence, hounded at your workplace, banned from social media, and shunned by former friends and colleagues.
Thou shalt conform. Religious zealotry has gone mainstream.
Well, screw that. As a journalist I’ve never seen the point of parroting fashionable ideas. When I open a newspaper I want to learn something new about the world – not read another story revisiting the same, well-worn themes and reciting the same, utterly-predictable analysis.
As individuals and societies, we make better decisions when we examine questions from multiple perspectives. It’s a deep, wide, complicated, messy world out there. We all talk about thinking outside the box. We all praise diversity. Yet we’ve ended up with a world in which diversity of opinion is as welcome as a skunk at a picnic.
The posts that will henceforth appear on this blog should not be interpreted as endorsements of every claim or argument in the source material cited. Nor are they intended to signal that the publications involved (whether that be the New York Times or Breitbart) are always trustworthy. Even the most reputable media outlets print mountains of nonsense.
In any case, ideas should stand or fall on their own merits – irrespective of where they’ve been expressed, and by whom. In the end, we must puzzle things out for ourselves. No book author, newspaper reporter, broadcast personality, civilian researcher, or investigative journalist is all-knowing.
So let us see where this journey takes us.
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→ an extremely short video:
→ The banner at the top of this blog has changed. Until late November 2017, it looked like this (click to enlarge):