"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago"
- Warren Buffett
Remember when men went to work and women stayed at home with their abandoned dreams and bottles of Valium and sherry?
One thing I think everyone can agree on is the fact that this past decade has had more than its fair share of dicks. While almost everyone can agree on the dickishness of certain slimy characters out there, certain others inexplicably have their passionate defenders.
To my mind, however, over the past ten years quintessential dickishness has been defined by a select few.
So here it is, my list of the Biggest Dicks of The Decade:
"Never, 'for the sake of peace and quiet', deny your own experience or convictions"
- Dag Hammarskjold
"True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice"
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Having written on many hot-button topics over the years, I'm quite used to impassioned responses to my writing by now, both for and against my point of view. However, nothing I've written before - not my rants regarding religion, not my denunciations of police brutality, and not even my many pieces about Israel's crimes against the Palestinians - has ever generated such a dramatic, emotional response like the one caused by my last piece, Freedom Denied! Are We Happy Now: The Crushing of Sri Lanka's Tamils. We're talking a real shitstorm of controversy here.
"The theory of the free press is not that the truth will be presented completely or perfectly in any one instance, but that the truth will emerge from free discussion"
- Walter Lippman (1889 - 1974)
A rather frightening and totally ridiculous reality, one that has been with us for many years now, is currently in the process of becoming even worse, at least down in the United States. This reality - the labeling of all criticism of Israel as "anti-Semitic" - threatens not only free speech and open debate, but the search for peace in the Middle East itself. Check out this article by Paul Craig Roberts and see if you don't agree: "The End of Free Speech? Criminalizing Criticism of Israel".
Roberts, it should be noted, is no left-wing radical. He's the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and he's even referred to as the "Father of Reaganomics".
We're all well aware of this idea, put forward by the pro-Israel lobby and much of the media, that any sort of criticism of Israel, no matter how deserving, is indicative of one thing and one thing only: anti-Semitism. However, it doesn't take a genius to see this argument for what it really is: A load of nonsensical bullshit and highly irrational buffoonery.
Rightwing-Dominated, Hypocritical and Riddled With Double Standards
Why is it that a nation such as Canada - with its largely liberal to left-of-center population - must endure, year in and year out, such a right-wing national media? In America conservatives complain about "the liberal media bias", but here in Canada we have exactly the opposite problem. And, unlike in America, our problem actually exists.
Below you'll find a link to a must-read article by Carel Moiseiwitsch and Gordon Murray concerning the extremely biased coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by all CanWest-owned newspapers (such as The Vancouver Sun, The Vancouver Province, The National Post, to name just three of CanWest's numerous papers across Canada).
The most telling thing in this whole article is the incredibly honest quote from CanWest founder, Israel "Izzy" Asper:
“In all our newspapers, including the National Post, we have a very pro-Israel position….We are the strongest supporter of Israel in Canada.”
Is it just me or is this whole Rev. Jeremiah Wright Scandal a bit of a farce? I mean, besides the fact that it's simply ridiculous to try and smear Obama with the words of his former pastor, the bigger issue, if you ask me, is that Wright is right. The man is telling it like it is. He may be saying some things that certain people don't want to hear, but, hell, I'd say that's a good thing. The man's not crazy. Nor is he the raving lunatic the media is trying to make him out to be. He's simply a guy speaking some truth.
I was just listening to a great 30-minute interview with Avi Lewis on CBC radio a little earlier and it reminded me of just what we've been missing with him no longer on Canadian TV, with him no longer entertaining and informing us with his progressive ideas, provocative interviews and passionate insistence on justice. It also reminded me of the letter I sent to the CBC last month:
It just doesn't get much more blatant than this! Usually you have to compare your Insignificant Others to your Significant Beloveds in general comparative terms, it's a rare chance indeed to be able to compare their relative value in real time. In fact, I do believe this is what scientists would call absolute proof of a hypothesis. But this is exciting for more reasons than that. I mean, how often do you get a chance to see the lives of a group of people treated with such complete and utter disdain, contempt and indifference right before your very eyes as you sit and watch the news?
Westerners are killed and it's a tragedy, non-Westerners are killed and it's a minor item. It goes on and on like this. It drives me crazy! While watching the news this morning I was once again completely struck by the different value put on Western lives compared to those of The Insignificant Others. I mean, I notice it just about every single day, but today was pretty extreme.