Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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Liars deserve to be called liars

Author: Jim Taylor

National Public Radio in the U.S. has made a decision. It will not use the word “lie” to describe President Donald Trump’s less-than-truthful assertions. Or, as NPR puts it, “how to characterize the statements of President Trump when they are at odds with evidence to the contrary.”

            NPR cites, as an example, Trump’s claim that when the World Trade Center was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, "I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people [referring to ‘Muslims’] were cheering as that building was coming down."

            The statement was clearly false, and NPR said so. But they didn’t call him a liar.

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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: Trump, lies, NPR




Dreaming of something beyond ourselves

Author: Jim Taylor

 Dogs dream. 

            That should be an obvious statement. All dog owners have seen their pet’s legs twitching while asleep. Clearly, the dog is chasing something. A rabbit perhaps. Or romping for sheer joy through an imaginary meadow. 

            We cannot know exactly what the dream consists of, because dogs can’t talk to us. But the fact that dogs can dream should tell us that dogs are capable of imagining themselves in situations that transcend the immediate present. 

            That is, they are not simply creatures that react to external stimuli.

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Cougars treated like aboriginals

Author: Jim Taylor

Four cougars were killed in the city of Penticton this last week.

            That’s the bald fact. The reactions to it probably skid in two different directions.

            One reaction approves of killing them. Cougars, it would assert, are wild animals. Very powerful, and potentially dangerous. For human safety – or perhaps more accurately, for the safety of straying pets – cougars must be eliminated from urban areas.

            A second reaction is sorrow. Even anger. The cougars had harmed no one. Indeed, it could be argued that they had performed a service to Penticton residents, by culling a few of the wild deer that infest the city.

            And besides, they looked cuddly.

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Un-learning things we were taught

Author: Jim Taylor

You probably had drilled into you, at school, a number of rules about writing:

·       Never split an infinitive.

·       Never start a paragraph with “I”.

·       Never end a sentence with a preposition.

·       Never start a sentence with “And” or “But”.

And you’ve spent most of your adult life trying to conform to those Never-Never rules, even when doing so required a mental hernia. 

            Those rules never were rules. Every one of the great English writers, the ones who set a model for us, broke those rules.

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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: grammar, English, rules




The mistake of sending young people to war

Author: Jim Taylor

 Unlike most recent mass shootings, Santiago did not die in a hail of police bullets, leaving authorities to guess about his motivations. And often, I suspect, to create conspiracies where none existed. We’re told he has been cooperating with police. 

            Even so, most news reports have included a line such as, “Terrorism has not been ruled out.” Or perhaps, “Authorities are still investigating possible terrorist links.”

            Why, why, oh why must Americans find someone else to blame?

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«January 2017»



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