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DISPATCHES

Daniel Gawthrop’s latest thoughts on sex, politics, religion, media, literature and publishing, art, hockey, dining—well, life, really. Opinions are his own.

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Dear Alcohol, We need to talk. With the holiday season now in full swing, you and I have been seeing more of each other lately—but I feel our relationship needs re-examining. You see, now that marijuana is legal in Canada, I can’t help noting how easy a ride you’ve been getting in the court of […]

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Since news of his death broke a few days ago, the sensational story of ill-fated American Christian missionary John Allen Chau has been getting lots of attention in social media—and mostly for the right reasons. For every religious dingbat who calls him a martyr, there are countless other people who take no pity on the […]

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When American author Edmund White finally published his much-anticipated biography of Jean Genet in 1993, not all of his peers were impressed. Playwright and activist Larry Kramer, for one, wanted to know: at the height of a global AIDS crisis what was White doing, spending seven years in Paris writing about a decadent, bohemian artist/outlaw […]

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With the corpses piling up in Rakhine State and the number of Rohingya refugees fleeing into Bangladesh eclipsing the 400,000 mark, international good will toward Aung San Suu Kyi appears to be hemorrhaging by the minute. The whole world, it seems, is piling on Myanmar’s former beacon of democracy, blaming her for a crisis the UN describes as […]

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You can tell a lot about Canadians from how we talk about Omar Khadr. Right now, there’s a lot being said about Khadr that isn’t exactly flattering to those who are saying it. It has been been two years since the former child soldier, accused terrorist and youngest Guantanamo Bay detainee was released from a medium security prison […]

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Cultural Appropriation: The Elephant in the Room is Us

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[NOTE: As I write, I am supposed to be in Vancouver at the Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC)’s annual general meeting. Having flown to previous ones in Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Toronto, I had every expectation of finally attending an AGM in my home province. Instead, thanks to a careless mistake involving my passport, a trip […]

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For corporate killers, the free ride’s over

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Hell’s History: The USW’s fight to prevent workplace deaths and injuries from the 1992 Westray Mine disaster through 2016 By Tom Sandborn (United Steelworkers, 76 pp, 2016) Each year on April 28, unions and other labour organizations across Canada observe the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job. A solemn […]

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The stubborn persistence of justice

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Assassination of a Saint: The Plot to Murder Oscar Romero and The Quest to Bring His Killers to Justice By Matt Eisenbrandt University of California Press (226 pp, $37.95) For those old enough to remember it, the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero on March 24, 1980 still resonates as one of the late twentieth century’s […]

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Fifteen Minutes of Shame

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Predictably, it’s over before most of us knew it had even begun. The meteoric career of a cartoonish right-wing troll and social media shockmeister who happens to be gay—a sad human being who didn’t deserve a moment of serious attention—has come crashing down with all the sordid sensationalism that gave rise to it. Like most […]

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A Letter to Justin Trudeau

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Dear Prime Minister, As a native-born, Canadian male who happens to be married to an immigrant male who once fled a military dictatorship, I was heartened by your initial response to the U.S. ban on our Muslim neighbours. “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war,” you Tweeted, “Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity […]

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