Wednesday, April 18, 2007


There will be much said in the coming weeks about the horrible tragedy that occurred this week at Virginia Tech. Much will revolve around the very hotly politicized issues of guns. Indeed, the blood was barely dry on the victims bodies when I turned on the CBC and the same talking heads we are accustomed to seeing exploited the tragedy to play "nya, nya" on the horrors of American culture and gun violence.

Now I am not someone who believes anyone should be given a gun willy nilly. Responsible people should be allowed weapons but there should be government control as to who can get them and how long it takes. But having said that, it finally occurred to me that there is now a question we should also be asking:

Why do so many of these tragedies occur on university campuses, colleges or high schools: in other words, places of academe?

Columbine, Concordia, Dawson College, Ecole Polytechnique, Red Lake, Henry Foss, Rocori High School...the list is quite lengthy.

Now obviously, places of academe are not the only institutions where shootings occur, but can we not at least admit a very high number of them do.


What culture do modern day institutions of academia impose on faculty and students that makes so many of them distraught and confused?

Could it be an academic culture that insists on a philosophy of relativism, aethism and the denial of any moral absolutes or truths? A repressed culture that assumes the worst of human behaviour and then tries to 'cure' you of it.

The first thing that they tried to figuratively beat into me at Queen's University from 1989-93 was that, there was no God, no truth, no moral absolutes. They continually propagated an agenda of class warfare (hating the rich) and a pure non-science based confusion on issues such as gender and sexual identity. Could these be the nihilistic ingredients to creating a generation or two of students and faculty so disjointed from reality that it causes them to not be able to have proper coping skills?

Now, first and foremost, these killings are the resuts of indviduals gone to the edge and the individual must take responsibility for his/her actions.

But could the culture of despair, so propagated in modern day academia, not also be partially responsible for driving so many people over the brink?

I think that is a question that society must start asking.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Film industry insider and columnist Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere has read director Steven Soderbergh's two scripts on the life of Che Guevara entitled, The Argentine and Guerilla.

Both films are to be released in 2008 and Wells believes they are virtually assured Oscar status.

But what of the portrayal of our affable, ubiquitous communist friend?

Do we see the real Che? The one who led death squads and inquisitions with glee, shot men and women of the cloth and worshipped Joseph Stalin?

Not according to Wells.

"In this respect the Cuban righties are not that wrong. The Argentine contains no La Cabana depictions -- nothing about what happened in the wake of Castro and Guevara''s triumph, and no reflections at all about the kind of country Cuba became under Castro since then. "

"And Guevara is clearly portrayed in a flattering light. As far as these screenplays represent what the films will ultimately be (the rule-of-thumb being that scripts are only blueprints), Buchman's Guevara is an imperfect but admirable fellow -- com- plex and dogged, tenacious but plagued by asthma, brave and strong but capable of error, rigid and dogmatic and, in Guerilla, oblivious to the basic shape of things, and yet basically decent and humane and certainly courageous to the last."

While a film such as 300 cleans up at the box office; a film that speaks to themes of chivalry, honour and dying for a cause one believes in; Hollywood instead is financing a doubled tiered effort to continue to propagandize about the legacy of one of the left's sacred icons.

Now these films will win awards, but they will also flop.

The problem is, even though films such as this, Jesus Camp, Deliver Us From Evil, Shooter, Babel or the de-Christianized Children of Men flop hard at the box office, they gain critical respect and a following on video.

In Toronto alone, it is hard to not walk anywhere in the Annex area and not see posters for screenings of Jesus Camp. Many of my friends have made references to the film since it became available on video. References that tell me they believe most Christians (of all denominations) are like depicted in the film.

Do not at all think that many of the problems the West faces now are not at least in some part caused by how much propaganda Hollywood has churned out in recent decades.

Films can reflect a culture, they can also persuade it.