Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jian Ghomeshi and Rawi Hage

There's been a lot of debate about worth, or more exactly, lack of worth, in the Canada Reads series. The focus has been on the rules and their deployment. But the reason I only tune in for a yearly snapshot, and then only after the fact in desultory fashion, centres on the host.

I recently spent an excruciating twenty-plus minutes listening to Jian Ghomeshi try to cajole Rawi Hage into an admission that Canada is a big-hearted, complex-free assimilator. Hage's patience was admirable, and he also had to set the dilettante faux-chuckler straight on other matters.

I let out a silent cheer when I subsequently read that Hage hated lit soirees, and preferred kibbitzing with his taxi buddies since that's where the real storytelling originated.

I then thought, no doubt naively, that a parallel Canada Reads series would be a bigger bang for reader, author, and viewer if the host(s) were also fretted in depth with the books on display. But passionate digressions obviously scare CBC admin-flunkies who think they know how to "read" the public's taste for hard-hitting current events buffered by soft-boiled lit chat.

I realize the feed is from Feb 2009, but Teh World Wide Interwebz is a big place, and I'm frequently several universes behind.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Paul Krugman

"If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack," [Paul] Krugman told CNN's Fareed Zakaria on Sunday, "and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat, and inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months."

Did David Icke include Nobel Prize-winning economists in his reptilian gallery? And if that prophetic science whiz is on to something, shouldn't Krugman be attack-sacrificing to get this recovery show on the road?