Wednesday, January 13, 2010

None Other Than Us

Who is Jean Kavanagh, and where did she study civics?

Oh, that's right.

Sorry, I forgot.

We don't teach civics in Canadian schools.

Why would we want children to know anything about government or power or money or voting or citizens' rights or...hush, now...democracy?

Jean Kavanagh, it turns out, is the marketing and communications manager for VANOC.

And a bang-up job she is doing, alright.

All on her own precious initiative, Kavanagh has sent a memo out to libraries and librarians in Vancouver warning them, no less, that they mustn't display anything with a logo of a company that is not an official Olympic sponsor.

In her advanced state of wisdom, Kavanagh has defended this action by saying it is NOT censorship.

I guess because she says so.

But Alex Youngberg, president of the library union, says the memo is contrary to the spirit of a public library. "There's something in my library to offend everybody," she said. "And that's our job. Our job as library staff is to not ever censor any information."

Here are the remedial steps I recommend.

Fire this fascist fool.

Send all VANOC immediately into a crash course on the real meanings of civic responsibility.

Ask for 500-word essays from everyone on democracy on the street in an actual living community.

If this is Kavanagh's idea of creative marketing and communications, I suggest she will be most comfortable working in a college environment, where I have learned that people have very little idea of these concepts and very little touch with the great expansive outer world.

On the same day, John Furlong, main beater of the VANOC drum, is entreating the good burghers of Vancouver to get with the program and get onside and get happy.

We should welcome this kind of Kavanagh-thinking?

No thanks.

Heroes, Reconsidered

Yesterday, I wrote in this space about the un-necessity of having heroes.

On the other hand...

There is Miep Gies.

She died this week at the age of 100.

She was the last of Anne Frank's four protectors.

She was an ordinary woman who only did what she thought was right.

God willing, may we all be so ordinary.

The Strongman of Coney Island

Joe Rollino died yesterday while taking his daily five mile walk.

He was 104 years old.

He was struck by a van.

He was small, but one of the strongest men who ever lived.

Read this obit from the NY Times and marvel at a real character.

The Old Folks

This lovely photo is part of a large collection of elderly couples in China sent to me by one of my very dearest friends.

I post it as accompaniment to the Jacques Brel song offered below.

Beautiful Brel Song Beautifully Sung