second note [test]

Pretty obviously, the Stephen Marche version of the argument has become an embarrassment even to its former proponents. [<— this graf needs slight reshaping, to invoke previous note on Marche and segue into Donham rebuttal]

So now we have a 2.0 release of the anti-Harper case, this time by a retired newsman and Canadian radio personality, Parker Donham. What’s useful in the re-released version of the anti-Harper case is that it dispenses with Marche-style heavy breathing about Canada’s road to serfdom and cuts right to the chase: Harper’s obstinate and perverse insistence on governing in ways not to the liking of Parker Donham.

The “ever lengthening list of grievances” that Donham presents involve central issues of how Canada should be governed.

He wants a more activist approach to climate change, more resettlement of Syrian refugees in Canada, and an approach to domestic security more in line with the left-wing NDP than with the Conservative and Liberal Parties that together enacted the 2015 anti-terrorism act 183 votes to 96 in the House of Commons. He wants to see a less friendly attitude to the United States than Harper has expressed, more Canadian troops detailed to UN peacekeeping missions, and more frequent conferences with the provincial premiers. He wants fewer prisons, less development of fossil fuel resources, and a looser policy on voter ID.

Those are Donham’s views, he’s certainly entitled to them, and I expect he’ll cast his vote on October 19 accordingly. That’s democracy, and fair enough. What’s not so fair is the obdurate refusal to accept that democracy means that other people are equally entitled to their views—and, if they are numerous enough, to elect a government that represents their views in the same way that Donham believes himself entitled to be represented.

Atlantic readers may remember how in 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was excoriated for rhetoric that seemed to divide “real Americans” (rural, religious, conservative) from other Americans (urban, secular, liberal). Donham’s piece is an extended exercise in Palinism in reverse. There’s the real Canada—which Donham believes speaking for—and then there’s an illegitimate Harper government and its “many offenses to the country’s long tradition of political and social liberalism.”

And with that, I think, the cat is out of the bag.

The indictment against Harper is not about democracy. It’s not about science. The “intense animosity” to which Donham confesses is the emotion of those who got used to seeing Canada run a certain way in most of the period since the mid-1960s. For nine years, Harper has run Canada a different way. That’s the unforgivable thing, and all the rest is just so much overhyped publicity.

It’s apt that Donham describes Harper’s differences from Canadian liberalism as “offenses.” The Gospeller wrote, “For it need be that offenses come, but woe to him by whom the offense cometh.” These latter day upholders of Canada’s liberal orthodoxy feel just the same way. ​


first note [test]

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A month ago, The New York Times posted an oped by a Canadian novelist, Stephen Marche, warning that the country’s prime minister, Stephen Harper, was waging a “war against science” in service of his larger purpose “to prevent democracy.” I held this claim to scrutiny here at The Atlantic a few days later, and found it lacking, to put it mildly. The accusations against Harper presented by Marche and those who think like him ranged, I said, from the true but trivial (more formal manners at press conferences) to the overwrought verging on hysterical.

Here’s an especially outlandish version of the latter, postdating Marche’s article but endorsed by him in his Twitter feed:

In late August, many media sources across Canada—including Canada’s state broadcaster, the CBC—lent credence to the claim that Harper was “targeting science” because the federal department of Agriculture was digitizing farm research libraries and then recycling or pulping obsolete and redundant printed materials. This claim was magnified and publicized by left-of-center social media into a veritable Fahrenheit 451 bonfire of precious knowledge:

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People have gone pretty far over the cliff when they can believe that an update to modern technology constitutes a war on science. The truth of the matter was less far-fetched and more squalid. Demand for materials-on-paper from the Lethbridge library had plunged by more than 80 percent over recent years. Digitization of the library threatened public-sector jobs. What was at issue here was not know-nothingism. It was unionized Luddism.

Lion Item: Cecil the Fundraiser

Cecil’s death has already resulted in donations of more than $780,000 to the team at Oxford University that was studying him. (American philanthropists Tom and Daphne Kaplan also gave a matching pledge of $100,000.) Researchers at Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit said today the money would help them study lions not only in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, where Cecil lived, but also in adjoining countries.

Killing lions isn’t illegal, and, as we noted yesterday, 11 African countries, including Zimbabwe, issue permits for their hunting. Indeed, some hunters argue that trophy hunting actually helps conservation, by providing tens of thousands of dollars per permit to countries that otherwise lack the resources to protect wildlife. On that note, a reader flags this op-ed from Kennedy Mavhumashava of The Bulawayo Chronicle, a newspaper in Zimbabwe:

If the killing of Cecil, which happened outside the Park’s boundaries, is found to be illegal, let the chips fall where they may. But I find the western outrage over the demise of Cecil, which is only a lion to many of us, suspicious. Continue reading

Lion Item: Airlines Bow to Pressure

Delta just announced it will stop transporting hunting trophies:

Effective immediately, Delta will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight.  Prior to this ban, Delta’s strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species. Delta will also review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies and other organizations supporting legal shipments.

Other airlines—including British Airways, Lufthansa, and South African Airways—announced similar changes in their rules amid outrage over Cecil’s killing, much of it directed at airlines that transport hunting trophies around the world. For more on the outrage, and the outrage over the outrage, check out Hamblin’s latest.

Despite their declining numbers, lions are actually not an endangered species. And 11 African countries, including Zimbabwe and South Africa, issue permits for their hunting. The New York Times notes that Americans make up the bulk of non-African hunters.

Does Hotness Diminish Humor? Cont.

[Chris Bodenner]

Susan Silver, a TV writer whose credits include The Mary Tyler Moore Show, asked Hawn a question about ageism at the Aspen talk (and Eisner chimed in with an odd response at the 2:50 mark):

Susan emails her take on our discussion thus far:

As the former Casting Director of Laugh-In, I was so happy to see Goldie again.  And I had worked for Michael a few times.  I was surprised more at the answer he gave to my question about ageism, particularly towards women in the business.  He sort of side-stepped it, saying something like “When we were young we had success …” The way I took it, he implied that now it was others’ chance. Huh?

Ageism is the new sexism. A few years ago, we members of the Writer’s Guild who were affected got a very nice financial settlement and acknowledgement that studios and agencies were ageist.  So I’m not sure what Michael meant as far as beautiful women not being funny; we know that is not true.

Oh well, Goldie was great and is involved in a very important project with education and children’s brains.

More on that project here.

Does Hotness Diminish Humor? Cont.

[Chris Bodenner]

Eisner emails a response to Spencer’s piece:

In the context of a public conversation with Goldie Hawn in which I was complimenting her on being both beautiful and funny, I said such a combination is hard to come by in Hollywood. I certainly did not say Goldie was the only one. My point was simply that Goldie, unlike many, has not been defined exclusively as one or the other.

But the outrage is already spreading far and wide. On Twitter, Hollywood producer Megan Ellison and comedic actresses Mindy Kaling and Elizabeth Banks slammed Eisner’s remarks. Cable news programs “Fox & Friends” and “The Ed Show” brought on panelists of female comedians to scrutinize the subject. Kathy Griffin commented at length:

Influencers and decision-makers who share the views that Eisner was stupid enough to say out loud actually decide whether or not I work, my career and sometimes my personal fate. People who share his views, and all the other men who think the things about women that he is expressing verbally, should simply be subjected to a panel of women — women of my choosing — who decide his career fate and legacy based on his physical appearance.

The panel might include Amy Schumer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, and Patricia Arquette:

Schumer, by the way, recently made a whole episode, “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer,” parodying the way men sometimes judge the beauty of female comedians. (Watch one of the brilliant scenes here.) Eisner’s comments also got a lot of scrutiny this week from writers such as Ann Friedman, Amanda Marcotte, and Catherine Rampell. The latter had the strongest original point: Continue reading

Does Hotness Diminish Humor?

[Chris Bodenner]

Yesterday in Aspen, Michael Eisner stirred up controversy during his conversation with Goldie Hawn. Spencer was there:

“From my position, the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman,” [Eisner] said. “By far. They usually—boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online—but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you [Goldie Hawn] being an exception, are not funny. […] In the history of the motion-picture business, the number of beautiful, really beautiful women—a Lucille Ball—that are funny, is impossible to find.

You can listen to the full context of those remarks above. Reader Duncan Tweedy doesn’t understand why people are getting so offended:

I don’t think Eisner should be excoriated for this comment. He wasn’t saying women aren’t funny, which is a stupid and indefensible argument. He was merely noticing that “unbelievable” physical beauty makes being a successful female comedian much more difficult. I think there’s plenty of evidence for this. Continue reading