Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer is a time for ....reading

Since this is the first year in which I have had a blog, I am discovering a number of seasonal impacts on blogging regularity. The number of posts over winter weekends is directly proportional to the quality of the snow. And now I have discovered that my love of summer reading, cycling (mountain and road) and other pursuits cause me to ignore the blog more than a for a bit. I feel a bit guilty about it but I get over that once I sit down on the deck with a glass of wine and a book. Nothing to disturb me but the occasion mosquito. And they can be swatted away as easily as the equally annoying Conservative talking points.

Since this is a "Canadian political blog" I should report on one of the books I have read. A Fair Country by John Ralston Saul. I can highly recommend this book for those interested in being challenged as to how to make the best of Canada. J R-S elaborates on his theme, outlined in Reflections Of A Siamese Twin, that Canada is based on three founding nations (Aboriginal, English and French) and that this at the heart of what makes us unique. Whether you agree with it or not, it is more palatable than the assimilationist tripe that the Eminence Grease has imported from the United States.

One of the defining characteristics that J R-S ascribes to Canadians as a result of this aboriginal lineage is an ability to have a sense of the other or feel empathy for the position of the people you come in contact with. After I finished A Fair Country, I started on Shakey, Neil Young's Biography. I thought it would be a good idea to read a book on someone who Conservatives would claim has invalidated himself as a candidate for Prime Minister by virtue of being successful on the world stage notwithstanding his obvious connection to his home and native land. (BTW, It was apparent that Neil Young wanted his affection for Canada to be very clear to the readers of this book).

It was very interesting that I read the following quote from Mr. Young on page 38:
There's something in Canada that teaches you that you always gotta look at both sides. See how other people could figure out why what you're saying is wrong before you're so sure you're right.
Pretty cosmic that the same thought is expressed in two such disparate books. Maybe J R-S is onto something.

I would like to thank anyone who took the time out from your summer to read this. I hope you enjoyed it. Now back to internet silence.
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