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

To make Comments write directly to Jim at jimt@quixotic.ca

 

23

Jun

2019

Killing at a safe distance

Author: Jim Taylor

It had to happen, I suppose. Around two million fans of the Toronto Raptors basketball team packed the city’s downtown streets for a victory celebration.

            Then someone took a gun into the crowd. And started shooting. 

            Four people sustained wounds. Three people were arrested; two firearms seized. 

            As I write this column, three suspects have been identified; a fourth is being hunted. So far, no one has offered a motive for the shooting. 

            You’re expecting another rant about guns and gun control. Not this time – because I think there’s a bigger issue involved.

            In case there’s any doubt, I do oppose guns. I did have a BB gun as a teenager. I haven’t owned a gun since; we didn’t let our children play with guns.

            But the real problem is not guns. It’s our ever-growing desire to distance ourselves from the effects of our actions. 


Comments (0) Number of views (17)

16

Jun

2019

Canada’s hands are not clean

Author: Jim Taylor

For years, I have railed against the policies of white supremacists – principally in the U.S., because of the daily deluge of news that spills north across the border, but also in New Zealand/Aotearoa, France, Germany, wherever….

            But I am now forced to recognize that Canada has been, and to some extent still is, a white supremacist nation. More specifically, a male white supremacist nation.

            The catalyst is the 1200-page report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls – sanitized by abbreviating it to MMIWG – released Monday May 27.

            I have long known that my province imposed discriminatory taxes and restrictions on Chinese immigrants in past years. And that Canada turned away a ship full of Jewish refugees, and forcibly relocated Japanese residents during World War II.

            But the most consistent victims of Canada’s white supremacist policies have been our Indigenous peoples.


Comments (0) Number of views (46)

9

Jun

2019

Mueller report: redacting is not editing

Author: Jim Taylor

Robert Mueller produced a 448-page report. U.S, Attorney General William Barr cut it down to four pages, of which only two actually dealt with the content of Mueller’s report.

            When Congress insisted on seeing more than Barr’s  brief summary, Barr produced a “redacted” report, with large portions of Mueller’s  text blacked out. Some pages had not one readable word remaining.

            A friend asked me, “What does ‘redact’ mean?”

            I gave her a dictionary definition -- to edit, to prepare a manuscript for publication.

            That definition illustrates how definitions themselves can and must change. Because what Barr did to Mueller’s report is an utter contradiction of editing. Any definition is -- by definition, if I dare use that term -- the way a word has been used up to that time. It is a snapshot, an understanding frozen and preserved. It cannot define how a word will be used in future.


Comments (0) Number of views (49)

2

Jun

2019

How to handle offensive opinions

Author: Jim Taylor

Here’s the problem. You have these friends, see, who keep sending you emails filled with racist slurs against Muslims, abortionists, “Indians” (they still use that term), Hindus, Asians, and immigrants in general. Oh, yes, and about climate-change hoaxes perpetrated by thousands of dishonest scientists who are being paid off by a small cabal of Jews trying to impose a tyrannical World Government on us…

            Should you cut them off? Block their emails? Terminate the friendship?

            Or do you try to reason with them? Prove their so-called facts incorrect? Point out the flaws in their logic?

            That might work if they reached their views as a reasoned conviction. But that’s unlikely. More likely, they’re regurgitating cultural memes they’ve accepted without any conscious analysis. 

            This is not just about offensive emails, of course. It’s also about SNC-Lavalin mess in Ottawa. And about the mass murders in Christchurch and Pittsburgh. And about the Yellow Jackets in France, and Donald Trump and his countless Trumplets all over the U.S., and various right-and/or-left-wing advocacy groups who shout down speakers they don’t approve of…

            As you might guess, I’m at one end of this spectrum. And the senders of what I consider offensive messages might well ask the same questions about me. 


Comments (0) Number of views (73)

26

May

2019

U.S. legislators see women as slaves

Author: Jim Taylor

Women in eight U.S. states have now been told that they have value only as wombs and child-care workers. Eight states have now effectively banned abortion, in what appears to be a coordinated attack on the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision that made abortion a constitutional right.

            Arkansas and Utah moved the permissible date up to 18 weeks of pregnancy. Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri moved it up to six weeks, when the embryo’s heartbeat can be first detected -- before many women even know they’re pregnant.

            Alabama enacted the most stringent restrictions, banning abortion entirely. At any stage.

            After the Alabama votes, gloating representatives declared their legislation a triumph for human rights. For protecting the most vulnerable members of society.

            But the smirk on the face of those representatives as they faced the media’s cameras told the real story. It said, “Ha! Gotcha, you bitches!”


Comments (0) Number of views (111)

19

May

2019

No guarantees of safety in bush flying

Author: Jim Taylor

The news that two float planes collided in the air and crashed, near Ketchikan, Alaska, took me back to my own exposure to bush flying on the north coast. (Funny how that happens more and more as I grow older.) For about four years in the 1950s and ‘60s, I got flown around northern B.C. by some of the best pilots in the world – which is why I’m still here to write about the experience.

Since the accident, flight companies in Ketchikan have been deluged by people calling to cancel bookings. Or seeking assurances about safety.

                   In bush flying, there is no assurance of safety. Never.

                   Safety depends on the quality of the plane and the skill of the pilot.


Comments (0) Number of views (86)

12

May

2019

A eulogy for Jean Vanier

Author: Jim Taylor

The news on Tuesday that Jean Vanier had died hit me like a punch in the gut. Tears welled up, unbidden. 

                   I can’t claim that I knew him personally. But that’s not quite accurate. Because everyone knew him personally. That’s the kind of person he was. He wasn’t paying attention to the person behind you. He didn’t care if you were a prime minister or a corporate CEO or Mother Teresa — you, as you, mattered. 

                  He was an unprepossessing speaker, by conventional standards. He ambled on stage, almost shambled on, 6-feet-4-inches looking as if he had slept in his clothes, with a great hooked nose that hung over the microphone. 

                   And a smile that stretched from here to eternity. 

                   He talked as if there was only one person out there — and it was you. 


Comments (0) Number of views (97)

5

May

2019

NRA deserves any trouble it gets into

Author: Jim Taylor

In 15 years of writing these weekly columns, I’ve learned that there are three subjects that always get up people’s noses. Anything I write about abortion, Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, and/or gun control provokes a heated response.

                   These responses often come from people who don’t subscribe to this  column, people who live in Germany, or Brazil, or Indonesia. I assume someone has forwarded my words with a comment like, “Isn’t this SoB outrageous? Tell the author what you think of him!”

                   Today's column is about guns. (I can see hackles rising already.)

                   Guns are not the problem. (I expect the National Rifle Association to forward that assertion all over the world.)

                   Gun owners are the problem. (I don’t expect the NRA to forward that part.)


Comments (0) Number of views (109)
Read more

Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: guns, NRA

28

Apr

2019

The lowest common denominator

Author: Jim Taylor

It’s one week after the Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka, which killed 359 people. It’s two weeks after the Christchurch shootings in New Zealand/Aotearoa, where 80 people were murdered.

            I hang my head in despair.

            I want to do something about it. I want to lash out, to rid the world of the kind of people who do this kind of thing.

            But I don’t know how to identify “this kind of people.” Media reports claim the Sri Lanka bombers belonged to a fanatic Muslim sect, but I’ve seen no proof -- yet. The Christchurch shooter has been described as a far-right white supremacist, which I suppose makes him nominally Christian.

            Nor do I know how to define “this kind of thing.” Is it more reprehensible to bomb people at worship than to kill them at work, in the World Trade Centre, for example? Is it worse to shoot people at prayer than to blow them up in a classroom or hospital or orphanage -- as happens in Yemen?

            In this storm of wind and fire and earthquake, a still small voice penetrates.: “The real purpose behind these actions is to sow discord and hatred, so that we are all reduced to the same level as the perpetrators of these crimes.”


Comments (0) Number of views (103)

20

Apr

2019

Waiting for a resurrection

Author: Jim Taylor

Today is, officially, Holy Saturday – the empty space between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It might better be called Holey Saturday. It is a hole, a hiatus, an abyss between the two strongest days of the Christian calendar. 

           Unlike Christmas – which has very little biblical evidence to support a date of December 25 – the date of Jesus’ crucifixion can be quite precisely identified. It happened at the Jewish Passover, which came about according to a 1000-year-old formula based on the spring equinox and the full moon.

            The crucifixion is also one of the few facts in the Bible that cannot be challenged. Every gospel, every letter, agrees that Jesus was crucified. No other world religion claims a leader who was executed as a criminal. 

            And the traditions agree that on the “third day” – counting Friday as Day One, because the counters didn’t have zero, yet – on Sunday morning, he was no longer in his tomb. 

           But Saturday is the day between. When nothing happens. 

            Because nothing could happen. Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath. The laws of Moses made it a day of rest. Jews were commanded to emulate God, who – according to Genesis – created the universe in six days, then rested on the seventh day. That’s why the women had to wait until Sunday morning to come to the tomb, 


Comments (0) Number of views (97)
RSS
12345678910Last

Tags

"gate of the year" #MeToo 150th birthday 1954 1972 3G A God That Could Be Real abduction abortion Abrams abuse addiction Addis Ababa adoption Adrian Dix affirmative action aging Ahriman Ahura Mazda airport killings Alabama albinism albinos Alexa algorithms Allegations Almighty Almighty God ALS alt-right altruism Amanda Todd Amherst analysis Andrea Constant Andrew Copeland Taylor anniversaries antidote Ants aphrodisiac App Store Archives Ardern armistice Art artifacts astronomy atonement atropine Attawapiscat attitudes attraction audits authorities autism automation autumn B.C. election B.C. Health Ministry B.C. Legislature B-2 baby Bach bad news baggage Bahai Banda banning books Baptism Barabbas barbers Bashar al Assad BC BC Conference Beans bears beauty Beaver Beethoven beginnings behaviour belief systems beliefs benefits Bernardo berries Bible biblical sex birds birth birthday birthdays Bitcoin Blackmore blood blood donors body Bohr bolide Bolivia Bolivian women bombing bombings bombs books border patrol both/and bottom up Bountiful Brahms brains Brazil breath breathe breathing Brexit broken bubbles Buber Buddha Buddhism Bulkley bulldozers bullets bullying bush pilots butterflies butterfly Calendar California Cambridge Analytica. Facebook cameras Canada Canada Day Canadian Blood services Canal Flats Canute caregivers caring Carnaval. Mardi Gras carousel cars Carter Commission cats cave CBC Cecil the lion. Zanda CF chance change Charlie Gard Charlottesville Charter of Compassion Checklists checkups chemical weapons Chesapeake Bay Retriever Child Advocacy Centre child trafficking chivalry chocolates choice choices choirs Christchurch Christian Christianity Christine Blasey Ford Christmas Christmas gathering Christmas lights Christmas trees church churches circle of life Clarissa Pinkola Estés Clichés cliffhanger climate change clocks close votes coastal tribes coffee collaboration collective work colonial mindset colonies Colten Boushie Columbia River Columbia River Treaty communication Communion community complexity composers conclusions Confederacy Confederate statues Confirmation confusion Congo Conrad Black consciousness consensual consent conservative Conservative Party contraception Conversations coral Cornwallis corruption Cosby Cougars counter-cultural Countercurrents courtesy courts Coventry Cathedral CPP CPR CRA Craig crashes creation creche crescent Creston crime criminal crossbills cross-country skiing crucifixion crypto-currencies Cultural appropriation cuneiform Curie curling cyberbullying Cystic Fibrosis Dalai Lama Damocles Dan Rather Danforth dark matter darkness Darren Osburne Darwin data mining daughter David David Suzuki dead zone deaf deafness death deaths decision Definitions Delhi Dementia democracy denial Denny's departure Depression Descartes despair determinism Devin Kelley dew dawn grass Diana Butler-Bass dinosaurs dissent diversity division divorce dog dogs dominance Donald Trump Donna Sinclair doorways Dr. Seuss dreaming dreams Drugs Duvalier dying Dylan Thomas earth Earth Day Easter Ebola eclipse economics Eden editing editing by committee Edwards-Sawatzky Egypt eight-track tapes Einstein either/or Ellithorpe email embassy emergent emotions encryption English Entropy epiphany epitaph Erika van Oyen erosion Esteban Santiago eternal life eternity ethics Ethiopia Eucharist eulogy evacuation evacuation orders Eve Evelyn Glennie Every Note Played everything evil Evolution expectations experiment extinctions extremes extremism eye for an eye Eyes Facebook faith False Creek fascist fate fear Fedex feel feminine hygiene Fentanyl Field figure skating Fire fireball fires First Nations Fitbit flirting flooding floods floppy disks flow charts flowers fluency flying Flying objects Folk sayings Food Bank forensic Forest fires forests forgiving Four Pests campaign franchises free free speech free will freedom friend Friendship friendships fruit fundamentalism future Gaia games Gandhi Garrison Keillor Geese genocide Gerald Stanley Gerard Manley Hopkins Ghomeshi girls global economy global warming go north God gods Golden Golden Rule good Good Friday good intentions goodness Google Google Play government Governor General grammar gravity Great Barrier Reef greatest story green Green Eggs Green Party Gretta Vosper grief Grinch Grounded Group of seven growth Guiado guilt guns Habits hackers Haidt haircuts Haiti Hal Niedzviecki handshake harassment Harjit Sajjan harmony Haskins hate Hawaii health health plans hearing hearts heat heaven Hell helping herd instinct heroes heroin Higher Porpoise highway Hillary Clinton Hinduism history Homulka Honduras honesty hope Horgan Horton hospitality houseflies houses Huawei human rights Humboldt hurricane ICBMs ice dance identity IMF imitation immigrants immortality immuno-globulin inclusive language income taxes independence India individualism inertia Infinity injustice intelligence intervention IPCC irreverence Isaac Watts ISIS Islam Itzhak Perlman Jack McCarthy Jagmeet Singh James Shaw Jr. Jean Piaget Jean Vanier Jebusites Jeff Sessions Jerusalem Jessica Farrar Jessie Oliver Jesus
Copyright 2019 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada