Writing

My family in Vermont sent me Bill McKibben’s 2005 book (updated in 2014) as a Christmas gift. In it, he recounts a meandering trek through the Lake Champlain region of the Adirondacks. It’s part nature writing, partly an account of the history of the region and the ways his neighbours are tying to earn a […]

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A five page Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles has been released for the forthcoming Women’s March on Washington. It takes an inclusive “everything is connected” point of view, of the sort you often see in environmental declarations.

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Trumpery

2017-01-08

in Writing

trump·er·y — ARCHAIC n. (pl. -er·ies) attractive articles of little value or use. <SPECIAL USAGE> practices or beliefs that are superficially or visually appealing but have little real value or worth. adj. showy but worthless: trumpery jewelry. <SPECIAL USAGE> delusive or shallow: that trumpery hope which lets us dupe ourselves. <ORIGIN> late Middle English (denoting […]

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I told the UN chief about my recent conversations with disgruntled tribesmen, and their complaints about the Afghan police behaving like robbers. “Yes, this is a case of bad governance,” Mr. Masadykov replied. “I can say now, when we’re talking about Taliban, maybe half of these so-called anti-government elements acting here in this area of […]

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In a recent briefing on Canada, The Economist discusses my committee member Peter Russell’s forthcoming book: After Britain wrested control of Quebec from France in 1763 its new French-speaking subjects resisted assimilation. So did Canada’s indigenous groupings: Inuit, First Nations and mixed-race Métis. Such resistance was sometimes met with oppression and cruelty, and Canada’s treatment […]

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The Atlantic recently published a 17,000 word essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Obama presidency: “My President Was Black“. It’s told in light of the Trump victory, and with an eye to what is going to follow.

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Nothing about my PhD so far has been easy. As long-time readers may recall, my first comprehensive exam was only passed after two attempts and a lot of effort. The strike was painful, and has made me particularly question the quality of undergraduate education that U of T provides, in terms of class and tutorial […]

Dr. Jennifer Welsh’s lecture tonight about the challenges faced by liberal democracies — including the psychological, political, and social stresses arising from extreme wealth and income inequality — was highly interesting and I took detailed notes, both for a forthcoming response here on my blog and for incorporation into my PhD research project. I was […]

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One of the many people who I have already met through this year’s Massey College orientation events is Toronto Star journalist Katie Daubs. I’m now reading her feature article Walking the Western Front, about two months spent walking through WWI battlefields in France and Belgium.

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Staying at Oxford after my degree and often revisiting it in the late 1950s, I occasionally glimpsed W.H. Auden around town… He invited me to visit, and I would sometimes go to his apartment on St. Mark’s Place for tea. This was a very good time to see him, because by four o’clock he had […]

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