Thant Myint-U: The unbearable burden of history

The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century By Thant Myint U Norton, 288 pp In all my years of writing and journalism, the only time I recall ever being turned down for an interview at an arts event was when Thant Myint-U, pre-eminent historian on Burma and grandson of U Thant, third Secretary-General of the United Nations (1961-71), snubbed me before his appearance at the Irrawaddy…

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Stanley Cup 2020: Pro sport as alternate universe

  So, they’re really doing it. On August 1—a time of year when most players are on golf courses, water skis, or houseboats, enjoying a final month of freedom before the next season’s training camp—twenty-four of the National Hockey League’s thirty-one teams will begin competing for the 2020 Stanley Cup. At least, that’s the plan until the realities of a global pandemic take over. Yes, at a time when U.S. deaths from COVID-19 are pushing…

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Anti-racism: Yes, Canada, this IS a test

Okay, hands up: how many of you have ever heard an Indigenous person describe Canada as “non-racist”? Or a person of Chinese descent? Or a South Asian? Or a Latino? Or a black person? You get the idea. The fact is, you haven’t: these folks and other people of colour have more than enough experience to prove the contrary. The only Canadians who describe our country as “non-racist” are white people who are irritated by…

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Still sitting pretty in Chilliwack?

Check out that stare: behold its ruggedly confident, make-my-day machismo. Yes, Barry Neufeld’s got a good thing going—or at least he thinks he does. Hence the self-satisfied grin. But perhaps he can’t afford to be so smug. You see, Barry Neufeld has just had his card marked. Those of you who subscribe to my blog but don’t live in Canada won’t have a clue who or what I’m talking about. So allow me to introduce you to…

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Letter to an Icon

Dear Bryan, I see you’ve stepped in the doo-doo. In the last 24 hours, your brand as Order of Canada-holding, All-Canadian-Guy-Next-Door rock star has taken a beating because of something you said on social media. And your attempt to walk it back has landed with a big thud. As your friendly neighbourhood crisis communications professional, I’d like to assist you in unpacking your offence while offering some free advice on what you might do next.…

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