By Paul Wells - Friday, December 31, 2010 - 9 Comments
From the Inkless Emailbox, a forwarded email from Stephen Harper’s chief of staff on his last day on the job:
From: Guy Giorno
Subject: Farewell and Thanks / Au revoir et merci
Sent: 31 Dec 2010
After exactly two and one-half wonderful years, New Year’s Eve 2010 will be my last day as Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Canada. On January 1, I return to the private practice of law. Details will be announced on Tuesday.
Public service is a privilege. The opportunity to contribute to the betterment of Canada is a privilege. Yet these privileges were magnified by the chance to work for a principled, strong, ethical and patriotic leader: someone here for all the right reasons, here for Canada, here for Canadians. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 31, 2010 at 2:57 PM - 1 Comment
200 killed and more than 1,000 injured since Gbagbo refused to step down
In the month since the Ivory Coast’s incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to give up his position as head of state after losing a run-off election, the country has deteriorated into a state of civil war, its prime minister has said. Prime Minister Guillaume Soro told reporters, “This is what’s at stake: Either we assist in the installation of democracy in Ivory Coast or we stand by indifferent and allow democracy to be assassinated.” Gbagbo’s refusal to step aside has caused a surge of violence and gunfire that has cost 200 lives and injured more than 1000 people, according to Soro’s numbers. The UN has confirmed a death toll of at least 173. Human rights groups have accused Mr. Gbagbo’s security forces of abducting and killing political opponents, the Globe reports, though he denies the allegations and points the finger at protester violence instead. The country’s electoral commission and the UN have both declared Alassane Ouattara the winner of the Nov. 28th presidential election.
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 31, 2010 at 2:35 PM - 122 Comments
Muslim headscarf used in series of robberies
Ottawa police are investigating a series of bank robberies linked by one distinguishing element: the thief wore a hijab. The city saw its fourth such robbery on Thursday evening when a man dressed in a hijab, which covered his nose and mouth, passed a note demanding money to a Scotiabank teller. The suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of cash and no one was injured. He is described as a dark-skinned male, roughly five-foot-10, slimly built with dark eyes and bushy eyebrows. Police are investigating whether the suspect is also responsible for previous robberies that involved hijabs. Const. Katherine Larouche said, “There is no way of saying for sure, but sometimes descriptions given by witnesses bear some similarity and a hijab is sort of out of the ordinary.”
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 31, 2010 at 2:32 PM - 7 Comments
Rising commodity prices boost Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar closed out 2010 higher than the greenback, finishing the year at 100.54 cents U.S. The figure represents a 5.6 per cent gain over the past 12 months and is the loonie’s highest closing value since May 2008. The Canadian dollar’s rise was largely due to an increase in oil prices and a spike in the price of copper, while its U.S. counterpart fell on strong economic data that prompted investors to take on more risk.
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 31, 2010 at 12:52 PM - 0 Comments
Two-time CFL all-star succumbs to ALS
Tony Proudfoot, a Canadian CFL star, has died at the age of 61 following a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Proudfoot played defensive back for the Montreal Alouettes and B.C. Lions over 12 seasons. He was twice voted to the all-star team, in 1977 and 1979, and won the 1974 and 1977 Grey Cups with the Alouettes. Known for his intellectual side, both on the field and off, Proudfoot also worked as a sportscaster and college professor. Following his diagnosis with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2007, he occasionally wrote columns in the Montreal Gazette chronicling his struggle with the disease. He leaves behind his wife and three children.
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 31, 2010 at 12:48 PM - 7 Comments
Angst-filled Western subculture could “damage our gene pool,” says police chief
Armenian teachers and police are cracking down on students who subscribe to the “emo” subculture. The term “emo” is short for “emotional” and refers to people who listen to soft, melodic punk music that emphasizes unhappiness in the lyrics. Emos dress similarly to punk rockers, making them easily identifiable. Although there is no law banning emos, the chief of police in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, said that the presence of emos could “damage our gene pool.” He said his officers are interrogating young people to protect their safety, adding that two teenagers who committed suicide recently were thought to have been emos. A local human rights activist told AFP that the police force’s behaviour is similar to a Communist-era witch-hunt. “It is like the repression in Soviet times, when law enforcement agencies were chasing hippies, punks and rockers—all those who refused to live within society’s limits and be like everyone else,” said Mikael Danielian, chairman of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia.
Jason Rogers (photo)
By John Geddes - Friday, December 31, 2010 at 12:28 PM - 3 Comments
Best-of-2010 lists have been filling the entertainment pages of my recent morning papers (yes, I still read the paper on paper, preferably newsprint manufactured with a large proportion of long-fibred northern spruce pulp, which renders it less susceptible to tearing) and, I figure, why not play along? So:
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, December 31, 2010 at 9:24 AM - 80 Comments
You have to remember how this started, how 2009 ended and how 2010 began. How the Prime Minister rang up the Governor General and asked her to prorogue Parliament until March. How this was hailed as “devilishly clever.” How someone started a Facebook group to protest the gratuitous use of an arcane Parliamentary procedure. How 200,000 people made the tremendously small effort of registering the requisite click to join that group. And how 20,000 people stood in the cold on a Sunday afternoon in their various towns in January to demand that the House of Commons return to work—work that we otherwise mostly ignore, but work we apparently want to know is going on all the same.
Before the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, 3,500 people stood on the front lawn, singing and chanting and shouting. It was insistent and demanding and disgruntled. It was quaintly committed to the institutions and principles of parliamentary democracy. It was an incredible noise. However fleeting that moment now seems. Continue…
By Jaime Weinman - Friday, December 31, 2010 at 9:24 AM - 8 Comments
Having looked at the list of New Year’s Eve specials and found them all wanting (even CNN’s combination of Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin — with star power like that, it’s hard to understand why they’re in last place), I’m probably going to skip all reminders that 2010 happened, or that 2011 will happen. Instead I will retreat into a happier time free from economic turmoil and political strife: the 1930s. I’m referring, of course, to TCM’s Marx Brothers marathon, starting at 8 p.m. tonight.
First they’re showing four Paramount films — from Animal Crackers through Duck Soup – followed by the MGM staples A Night At the Opera and A Day at the Races. Oh, and also Go West, which isn’t very good, but that’s why it’s on at 5:30 in the morning.
The division of the marathon into Paramount/MGM blocks will lead to the usual round of discussion of Paramount Marxes vs. MGM Marxes and which is better. I should say that as a kid, my introduction to the team was with the first two MGMs, Opera and Races, when Elwy Yost programmed them on Saturday Night at the Movies. My parents, wanting to introduce me to the team, taped the whole show for me, and I watched the whole tape over and over, not just the movies but the interviews (mostly with people who had written scripts fro the brothers, like Addams Family head writer Nat Perrin and Meet Me In St. Louis writer Irving Brecher). Then when I saw my first Paramount Marx movie, I loved it, but it didn’t seem all that different from the MGM films. It wasn’t until I saw Duck Soup that it occurred to me that there was any change in their style.
Of course that might be because the first Paramount movie I saw was Animal Crackers, and that was based on a stage show, meaning it had the secondary love couple and additional musical numbers and all the rest of it. A Night at the Opera really just put back the elements that the Marxes had used on stage but not in their last three, shorter, Paramount movies. Also, Night At the Opera and Races have timing that’s reminiscent of those early stage-based movies, because they went out on the road and pre-tested the routines before filming them. Meaning those movies have long stagey pauses like in Animal Crackers and The Coconauts, where they’re pausing for the audience laughter that accompanied the original stage shows. It doesn’t really bother me, though — these movies were meant to be seen in theatres, and the audience laughter fills in the pauses.
The only downside to watching the Marx Brothers is wincing at the obvious cuts that have been made in three movies: Animal Crackers famously had dirty lines snipped out when it was reissued (are we ever going to hear Groucho sing “I think I’ll try and make her?”), as did Horse Feathers. And there are rumours about A Night At the Opera surfacing in the original print, before all references to Italy were cut, but it hasn’t actually turned up yet.
Everyone has a favourite thing about the Brothers, or a favourite Brother — yes, there are Zeppo enthusiasts. I’ve always been attracted to the idea, which David Thomson among others have promoted, that each of the three main Brothers embodies a different approach toward assimilation (and assimilation, whether it can be done and whether it should be done, is the subtext of a lot of U.S. comedy). Groucho is the one who tries the hardest to assimilate; he’s always the one with a full name, with a position of authority or honour, and the possibility of marriage with a wealthy WASP lady. But he just can’t control his rage against the phonies and snobs: where anyone else in his position would suck up to Margaret Dumont, he insults her endlessly. Chico is the one who acts like he’s sucking up, putting on the funny-foreigner act and calling everybody “boss,” while using that as cover for his real agenda of swindling anyone who’s richer than he is (including Groucho). Harpo doesn’t even try to fit in; he just constructs and lives in his own little world. And Zeppo is the one who is so assimilated that you almost forget, until late in the movie, that he’s from the same origins as the other three.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 4:54 PM - 225 Comments
Editorial slams federal government as protectionist
An editorial in the Dubai-based Gulf News claims “Canada has lost its way under Harper.” Purporting to explain why the UAE had imposed visas on visiting Canadians, the newspaper argues Canada just hasn’t been the same since the Conservatives took power. “Ever since Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his right-wing Conservative government came to power, the veneer of civility has slipped,” it reads. “Politics in Ottawa has become polarised — it is Harper’s way or the highway.” According to the paper’s editors, this shift is most noticeable in its staunchly pro-Israel stance on matters involving the Middle East, its eager participation in the war on terror, and, perhaps most important to UAE readers, its protectionist approach to trade. “Where companies were independent, they are now subsidised and granted preferential treatment, as is the case with Air Canada.”
By Paul Wells - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 1:35 PM - 171 Comments
As if on cue, this showed up in the Inkless Emailbox today:
Liberals call on NDP to stand against additional unaffordable Conservative corporate tax breaks
OTTAWA – As Finance Minister Jim Flaherty makes pre-budget overtures to the NDP, Liberal MPs today called on the NDP to demand the cancellation of Conservative corporate tax breaks at a time of deficit in favour of easing the economic pressures on average Canadian families. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 1:22 PM - 29 Comments
NDP climbs into third place, behind Bloc, Tories
A new CROP poll shows the the Bloc Québécois would once again take the vast majority of seats in Quebec if a federal election were held today. But if the Bloc’s dominance comes as no surprise, the same can’t be said of the dismal showing by the federal Liberals. Support for the Grits has tumbled to 18 per cent in the province, behind both the Conservatives (20 per cent) and the NDP (19 per cent). Nearly six in 10 (58 per cent) of Quebecers say they would welcome a federal election in 2011, including 72 per cent of Liberal party supporters.
By Paul Wells - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 1:12 PM - 21 Comments
In the Globe, a former staffer at Rights and Democracy and a former staffer at the Forum of Federations note the state of Canadian democracy promotion:
The Canadian International Development Agency’s Office of Democratic Governance, which channelled much of Canada’s democracy funding, was disbanded. The Department of Foreign Affairs’ Democracy Unit was folded into the Francophonie and Commonwealth division.
The Democracy Council, a forum for discussion and collaboration among Canadian democracy promotion agencies, disappeared despite interest from both government and non-government actors to see it expand.
The Parliamentary Centre’s Sudan and Haiti programs were “de-prioritized.” And our former organizations, Rights & Democracy and the Forum of Federations, have been rendered impotent by partisan and ideological board appointments and de-funding respectively.
And what of the new agency that was to make Canada a world leader in democracy promotion? Some say it was the victim of the disaster imposed on Rights & Democracy by its board; others cite the focus on austerity sweeping Ottawa. Either way, it has been put on the “back burner”. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 12:57 PM - 35 Comments
New labels will cover 75% of package
Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has announced new rules that will force tobacco companies to include larger and more graphic anti-smoking labels on cigarette packages. One of the new labels features the late anti-smoking activist Barb Tarbox on her deathbed. Tarbox died from lung cancer in 2003 at age 42. The labels, which will cover 75 per cent of the cigarette pack, are part of an aggressive anti-smoking campaign that Aglukkaq hopes to introduce “as soon as possible.”
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 12:46 PM - 5 Comments
Harper may be picking team for spring election
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will shuffle his cabinet before parliament returns on January 31st, an insider told the Canadian Press. The insider says the minor shuffle will involve six or fewer ministers and will almost certainly fill the seat left empty when Jim Prentice quit the environment file last month. Although Harper has vowed not to call or provoke an election, the shuffle would provide an opportunity for the Conservatives to strengthen their team before an opposition-triggered election, which many observers predict. Tory strategists say Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has hinted that he will pull the plug on the government by voting against the budget in February or March. Strategists will be watching to see if Harper makes Julian Fantino a minister. The former head of the Ontario Provincial Police pried the suburban Toronto riding of Vaughan from the Liberals last month in a close by-election.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 12:35 PM - 0 Comments
PEI workers lowest paid in Canada, those in NWT are highest
A report by Statistics Canada shows weekly earnings grew 4.4 per cent in Canada from October 2009 to October 2010 to an average of $863.33. The growth was partly due to an increase in the average number of hours worked. Manufacturing, wholesale trade, plus mining, quarrying and oil and gas workers saw the biggest jumps in weekly earnings growth. The numbers also show a widening gap in earnings by province with PEI the clear loser in 2010. Growth was only 0.1 per cent for Islanders who continue to have the lowest average weekly earnings at $703.84 per week. That’s 18 per cent less than the national average and 9 per cent lower than the second-lowest paid workers in New Brunswick. Weekly earnings in the Northwest Territories were highest at $1,220.52 and second-highest in Alberta at $1,012.54. The numbers are only for those who are employed, so they do not include government transfers.
By John Parisella - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 12:34 PM - 20 Comments
While the Democrats lick their wounds, the GOP looks to rein in the Tea Party
It is true this year will end on a bipartisan note. But with the arrival in Washington of a contingent of Tea Partiers, watch for a lot of Congressional posturing. Despite their long-standing affinity for each other, Tea Partiers will test the leadership skills and patience of House Speaker John Boehner as the Republicans try to find a viable political platform. Will the GOP stick to an agenda of smaller government which they promised under Reagan and Bush, but failed to deliver? Will they tackle the hard issues of entitlement and defense spending? Can the GOP retain its pro-free trade stance in the face of the Tea Party’s isolationist tendencies?
The Democrats, meanwhile, are still licking their wounds from the mid-terms, and the party’s liberal-progressive wing is still smarting from the deal on the Bush tax cuts. Are they prepared to tackle reforms to the types of social programs that are dear to their liberal-progressive roots? And even though Barack Obama ended on a relatively high note, with polls showing some rebound at the end of the year, can he carry the remainder of his agenda forward with a divided Congress and Republicans eyeing the White House?
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 12:30 PM - 21 Comments
Property forfeiture law was previously against drug dealers
The idea of authorities seeking to seize the cars and houses of drug dealers and criminal gangs is familiar enough. In Manitoba, for example, the province’s criminal property forfeiture unit made headlines last spring by taking control of a Hells Angels clubhouse. But now the unit is going to
court to try to take the Winnipeg home of a soccer coach who allegedly abused a preteen girl. It’s the first such attempt under the province’s Criminal Property Forfeiture Act, previously used to grab the
asset of marijuana growers and other profit-seeking criminals. The head of the unit says the soccer coach has used his house in a crime, and therefore shouldn’t expect to keep it. The man hasn’t been tried yet on the criminal charges and his name isn’t being used in news reports.
By Jaime Weinman - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 12:16 PM - 2 Comments
Someone discovered that Warner Brothers’ official website for the movie Space Jam, created when the movie was released in 1996, is still active and hasn’t been changed since those ancient times. It’s become a very popular destination for internet users who want to be reminded of what the internet was like back then: when it was already popular, but wasn’t exactly dominant, and when the very act of making an official website for a movie seemed a little gimmicky.
I love being reminded of the fact that official websites in 1996 looked almost indistinguishable from amateur websites on Geocities (remember Geocities), with the colourful backgrounds, blocks of text, and occasional pictures. But you know, other than that, these movie tie-in sites haven’t changed very much. Typically, you’ve got the cast and crew information, unrevealing behind-the-scenes revelations, merchandising and (if it’s aimed at kids) some games. That’s pretty much what these sites still are, the difference being that something like the True Grit official site can be even harder to navigate. And some movies don’t even have real web areas of their own, like How Do You Know, also known as “why would anyone let James L. Brooks spend $100 million on a small-scale comedy with appealing but mostly overpaid stars?” The surprising thing is not that official websites looked so slapdash in 1996 but that they haven’t gotten more interesting in the last 15 years.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 11:58 AM - 1 Comment
Oil tycoon and Putin critic gets maximum jail term
Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was sentenced to an additional six years behind bars on Thursday in a case that raises questions about Vladimir Putin’s influence over the country’s justice system. Khodorkovsky has in the past been critical of the Russian prime minister, who has in turn called for Khodorkovsky’s imprisonment. Khodorkovsky, who was found guilty earlier this week of embezzling billions of dollars of oil from his own conglomerate, is already serving an eight-year sentence on an earlier conviction that ends in 2011, right before the next presidential elections, in which Putin is reportedly considering running. The 14-year sentence was the maximum penalty.
By Brian Bethune - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 10:36 AM - 0 Comments
Top-selling fiction and non-fiction titles (week of December 27th, 2010)
Top-selling fiction and non-fiction titles (week of December 27th, 2010)
1 OUR KIND OF TRAITOR
by John le Carré
3 (11) 2 FALL OF GIANTS
by Ken Follett
5 (13) 3 FREEDOM
by Jonathan Franzen
2 (18) 4 THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS’ NEST
by Stieg Larsson
4 (32) 5 ROOM
by Emma Donoghue
1 (17) 6 DEAD OR ALIVE
by Tom Clancy
(1) 7 TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT
by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
6 (5) 8 LUKA AND THE FIRE OF LIFE
by Salman Rushdie
7 (6) 9 THE CONFESSION
by John Grisham
8 (7) 10 NEMESIS
by Philip Roth
by Keith Richards
1 (9) 2 ATLANTIC
by Simon Winchester
2 (5) 3 AT HOME
by Bill Bryson
(1) 4 MORDECAI
by Charles Foran
3 (9) 5 SQUIRREL SEEKS CHIPMUNK
by David Sedaris and Ian Falconer
(1) 6 PAPER GARDEN
by Molly Peacock
7 (4) 7 MUST YOU GO?
by Antonia Fraser
10 (7) 8 FINISHING THE HAT
by Stephen Sondheim
4 (3) 9 AS ALWAYS, JULIA
ed. Joan Reardon
5 (2) 10 THE TIGER
by John Vaillant
LAST WEEK (WEEKS ON LIST)
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 10:31 AM - 1 Comment
Social networking site doubled its share of visits in 2010
According to online intelligence company Hitwise, Facebook is now unequivocally the most dominant website in the U.S. in terms of visitors. It accounted for 9 per cent of all U.S. website visits this year, compared to 7 per cent of all visits for Google and 3.5 per cent for Yahoo! Mail. Facebook’s
share of visits more than doubled over 2009. Although new numbers for Canada aren’t available, it’s probable that Facebook also topped searches; yesterday it was reported by comScore that 83 per cent of Canadians go to Facebook at least once per month, compared with just 72 per cent of Americans. Canadians are also bigger Twitter and YouTube users.
By Scott Feschuk - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 8:46 PM - 3 Comments
Scott Feschuk Last week: 8-8 Season: 120-95-9
Scott Reid Last week: 9-7 Season: 104-111-9
Dallas (plus 7) at Philadelphia
Feschuk: Postponing the Vikings-Eagles game because it potentially was going to possibly snow a lot will go down as the final manicured nail on the shiny, polished lady fingers of the pansified NFL. No hard hitting, fellas. No touching the quarterback without his written permission. And y’all come inside now and hide under the bed – it looks like rain. Sure, if they’d gone ahead with the game, maybe the crowd would have been so small that Brett Favre could have revealed his pant possum to every pretty lady in person rather than via text. But so what? It’s football! Men have played football in the face of overwhelming obstacles such as brutal temperatures, howling winds and having Kyle Boller as their quarterback. They and their fans could probably have handled eight inches of snow. Pick: Dallas.
Reid: Following Philly’s embarrassing loss to Minny on Tuesday Night Football, I’m jumping on the ’today’s flavour’ bandwagon and declaring that Continue…
By Jaime Weinman - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 7:02 PM - 1 Comment
Because classical music depends mostly on the work of dead composers, but still feels the need (like every other form of entertainment) to have some kind of current hook to draw people in, centenaries and anniversaries — basically, any round number of years since something happened — are the life’s blood of the business. And because Gustav Mahler was born in 1860 and died in 1911, he gets two, two, two anniversaries in one. This year was the 150th anniversary of his birth, and we’re moving into the 100th anniversary of his death. Orchestras perform and record a lot of Mahler anyway, but this gives them an excuse.
Come to think of it, Mahler’s explosion in popularity in the ’60s, after a few decades when his music had been a tough sell in most concert halls, may have had something to do with his centenary in 1960, though I don’t get the impression that it really spilled over into 1961 and the 50th anniversary of his death. Celebrating a composer’s death, a paradoxical idea if there ever was one, may really have caught on in 1991 with the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death.
So we’re getting two solid years of Mahler cycles; and in an era when the only good news for the classical recording industry is that the pop music industry will soon be doing almost as badly, Mahler recordings still pour into the shops. Most of Mahler’s symphonies were not frequently recorded until the ’60s; now they’re probably the most frequently recorded pieces out there. When an orchestra starts its own label (something that’s necessary if it wants to keep recording) it often does so with a Mahler symphony. The San Francisco Symphony’s label has released nothing except Mahler symphony recordings. And the veteran period-instrument conductor Philippe Herreweghe, who left his longtime Harmonia Mundi label because they wanted to cut back the number of recordings he made, just started his own label; his first release is a Mahler symphony on period instruments. (No, there’s no real point to playing works from 1900 on period instruments, but yes, they do sound pretty good that way.) It’s a Mahler world out there, to an extent I wouldn’t have thought possible even in the ’90s when I started getting interested in music.
I certainly liked Mahler, particularly once I caught onto the Jewish strain in his music — like the famous movement below, with the minor-key arrangement of Frère Jacques interrupted by a klezmer-style interlude. I just didn’t think of him as part of the mainstream repertoire, but he certainly is now.
I wrote about some of the reasons for the Mahler boom for the magazine earlier this year. I will add one other thing: Mahler’s popularity has increased with the amount of space offered by recorded formats. Most of Mahler’s symphonies are around 80 minutes in length, which made them very poor propositions for the old 78 RPM records. When LP came in, suddenly it was possible to fit a whole Mahler symphony on only two records, and the shortest symphonies — 1 and 4 — on only one. This allowed much more Mahler to be recorded. When compact disc came in, with its 80 minute maximum playing time, it was possible to listen to some Mahler symphonies at home, straight through, without a break. (Though most conductors take the symphonies a little more slowly than they were probably taken in Mahler’s era, pushing them to over 80 minutes. Mahler didn’t live to make recordings, his disciples tended to take the famous “Adagietto” quite fast, while many modern conductors take it very slowly.) And now, with digital music, there is no need to change sides in any music, no matter how long it is.
Speaking of breaks and time limits, here is a complete Mahler performance that someone has uploaded with all four movements — even the ones lasting over 20 minutes — unbroken. It’s the sixth symphony, which is described at length in Alex Ross’s The Rest Is Noise because it’s a key work in “twentieth century music,” whatever you take that term to mean. It was the first Mahler symphony not to incorporate any of his songs Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 4:31 PM - 32 Comments
Is it possible we misunderstand what Teflon is, what purpose it serves? Technically speaking, polytetrafluoroethylene is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene. Applied as a coating to cookware and the like, it reduces friction, allowing stuff like scrambled eggs to slide off more easily.
As an analogy, it works much the same. One who is said to be made of, or covered with, Teflon avoids blame, scorn or lasting injury no matter the scandal, misstep or wrongdoing. He who can walk through a firestorm without suffering so much as a singe of his shirt cuffs. He, for that matter, who whistles his way through it all, going mostly unnoticed.
As analogies go, this much seems fairly straightforward. And it is only to wonder whether some misunderstand the implication because of at least two attempts in recent weeks to suggest Tony Clement has something in common with the substance. Continue…