By selley - Wednesday, August 27, 2008 - 0 Comments
Must-reads: …Don Martin and Lawrence Martin on Election Fever!; L. Ian MacDonald on Obama’s
The power of speech
The pundits offer advice for Barack Obama and sympathy, at best, for Hillary Clinton.
All Obama has to do tomorrow night, L. Ian MacDonald opines in the Montreal Gazette, is “deliver on what the first George Bush called ‘the vision thing’, … tell his story to those Americans who haven’t heard it, … [and] confront the nagging doubts of whether America is ready for a black president,” and do it all in a speech that’s better than any he’s made thus far. No small task. Thus, MacDonald suggests Obama consult John F. Kennedy’s 1960 nomination acceptance speech, in which he “squarely addressed … whether America was prepared to elect a Catholic president,” and Bill Clinton’s in 1992 for inspiration on how to tell his personal story.
The Toronto Star‘s Thomas Walkom heard very little about Obama in Clinton’s speech last night and a whole lot of “cold logic”—i.e., that Americans who want “things like … universal health care” should want a Democrat in the White House, flawed and male though he may be. In other words: “Forget your reservations about Obama; he’s better than the alternative.” But Clinton’s attempt to sell suspicious female voters on Michelle Obama as the woman’s voice in the White House must have been galling, Walkom suggests, given that in emphasizing “her loyal brother, her stay-at-home mom and her two daughters,” Mrs. Obama had “chose[n] to pander to America’s ingrained prejudice against strong-minded women.”
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 9:50 AM - 0 Comments
It’s been an odd experience working on my story that appears in this week’s print edition of Maclean’s. Some of the Canadians I have talked to about his incredibly important subject — freedom of expression — seem to lose their love of freedom and their s**t their cool when confronted by two words: Ezra. Levant. I spoke to one intellectual luminary whose ability to make a rational argument not to mention his sense of decorum suddenly deserted him and the best he could muster at the mention of Levant was to compare him to a walking piece of male anatomy. Fine. I get it. A lot of people don’t like Levant and a lot of people disagree with him and a lot of people are offended that he published the Muhammed cartoons in his magazine. How can I put this simply? With apologies to the band: This.is.Bigger.Than.Ezra.
So much bigger.
When you read the story — and it’s long and complicated — please note the comments of Louise Arbour, as well as those of the UN rapporteur on free speech. This is not a right wing or left wing issue.
In a nutshell:
“…Pakistan and the other nations that have banded together in the Organization of the Islamic Conference have been leading a remarkably successful campaign through the United Nations to enshrine in international law prohibitions against “defamation of religions,” particularly Islam. Their aim is to empower governments around the world to punish anyone who commits the “heinous act” of defaming Islam. Critics say it is an attempt to globalize laws against blasphemy that exist in some Muslim countries — and that the movement has already succeeded in suppressing open discussion in international forums of issues such as female genital mutilation, honour killings and gay rights. …”
Maclean’s: Stifling Free Speech Globally