Taking a Break from Trump

Yes, yes, I know. It’s horrible, but one can’t look away. The slow-motion car wreck that, for many of us, is the U.S. presidency fascinates us with new footage popping up seemingly every day.

Trump offending here. Trump kowtowing there. Trump saying something one day while his staff then say the opposite the next. Or vice versa.

Trump not keeping his word. Trump keeping his word.

It’s all wonderfully terrifying.

Meanwhile, for others of us, the relentless media scrutiny has for a long time now seemed poisonously absurd. The president can’t say anything, do anything, go anywhere, or meet anyone without some pack of the left-leaning press howling about how gauche, or hypocritical, or imperious he is—as if Donald Trump was elected for his politesse rather than his politics.

So let’s take a break.

Keeping track of what Mr. Trump says he will do is clearly pointless, although only just more obviously pointless than meticulously recording what any other politician says he or she will do. What matters, of course, is what the president actually does and what he actually gets the rest of the U.S. government to do.

And what actually happens in policy will be reported in due course—less excitingly, but far more significantly.

Americans therefore can safely ignore the majority of news stories about President Trump, since they detail thises and thats the importance of which is impossible to gauge at the time—or perhaps ever.

And only a fraction of whatever he actually does will trickle down to affect Canadian lives—the lives of most readers of this post.

We must beware the “politics porn” being peddled even by the mainstream, “respectable” media. Breathless, close-up focus on Trump’s every gesture is, frankly, silly at best and prurient at worst.

[For the rest, please click HERE.]

The Royal Family and the Choice between Duty and Love

“And so Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, faced with the choice between duty and love, bravely chooses duty.”

Or so went one report of the decision by Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend to accede to the political and religious realities of their time. No British royal could marry a person whose divorced spouse was still alive. It would scandalize the Church of England, whose Defender of the Faith was the Queen herself, and deeply compromise the moral stature of the monarch.

In the Netflix series “The Crown,” we see royal person after royal person torn between duty and love. King Edward notoriously abdicates the throne in order to be with the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson.

His brother thus takes the throne as George VI, but with grave reluctance. Not only does he not want the office of monarch for himself, but he fears his heirs, at the time mere girls, will be crushed by its responsibility when one or the other succeeds him. But he takes it anyway.

Elizabeth herself gets to marry the man she loves, but she repeatedly learns that she must put Philip in his place: two steps behind her as head of the country, head of the Church, and head of the (royal) family.

Duty versus love. Choosing the former over the latter seems positively medieval to many of us watching “The Crown” today. Of course, we think, Edward should have married Mrs Simpson and been able to keep his throne. Isn’t romantic love the supreme good, the theme of all our popular songs?

Of course, we think, Margaret should have married Peter. Doesn’t love conquer all?

[For the rest, please click HERE.]

The Paradoxes of Canada’s National Sport

“He shoots! He scores!” It’s playoff time in the National Hockey League, and we Canadians alter our social lives accordingly. Nothing—even in this fragmented, segmented entertainment market—grabs and holds our attention like hockey.

And why shouldn’t it? It is the quintessential Canadian game. Right down to its Christianity.

(More about that last part later.)

Hockey began as a winter pursuit of lacrosse players—or so goes at least one account of the game. Lacrosse used to be our sole national sport, derived from the considerably more vigorous (that is to say, murderous) aboriginal original, and is still our national summertime sport.

(How it became the preserve nowadays of East Coast American prep schools and elite universities isn’t clear to me, but we’ll have to explore lacrosse another time.)

Hockey, however, is king—and none of that “ice hockey” stuff, thank-you. There is field hockey, yes, and there is (just) hockey.

The Canadian spirit is, indeed, on display in hockey.

[For the rest, please click HERE.]