LONDON, ONTARIO distinguished itself once again this week as a prime producer of one of the more meaningless forms of discourse which makes communication such an unadulterated pleasure in this golden age of bullshit; the ventriloquistic apology. You doubtless know the asinine drill by now: a ‘woke’ dignitary of the present day expresses his or her regrets for the past behavior of some other person who has never expressed regret for that particular behavior. It doesn’t even matter if the original designated offender is dead or alive. And if they are still emitting a pulse – as was the case two and a half years ago for mayor Matt Brown’s presumptuous apology for what he regarded as the gross moral insensitivity of his mayoral predecessor, Dianne Haskett (you can read all about that shabby bit of chicanery here: Matt Brown is a Very Sorry Mayor Indeed) – it isn’t deemed necessary to obtain a designated offender’s permission to apologize on their behalf.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Artistic director Dennis Garnhum’s announcement this week that the Grand Theatre has decided to shelve its entire 2020/21 season until a vaccine to counteract the Wuhan Batflu is secured, provides a sobering jolt to anyone who might have been harbouring hopes that we had everyone’s least favourite pandemic on the run. Just because we may have flattened the curve of the first wave (as they say) and started to partially and gingerly reopen some of our less essential businesses and facilities – and regardless of how antsy we’ve all become to resume life as we used to know it – the reality is that social confidence has not been sufficiently restored and come the cooler weather in the fall, we could get hit with another spike.
LONDON, ONTARIO – I offer up for your delectation a headline and a sub-headline which appeared on the top of page A5 of the Friday, June 5, 2020 edition of The London Free Press. Magically compressed into these fifteen illogical and utterly hopeless words is the purest distillation I have yet seen of the spiraling madness that currently holds the hollowed-out shell of Western civilization in its all-dementing grip. Are you ready? Take a deep breath and dig right into this steaming pile of stupid.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Norm Ibsen who died in London last week just a couple weeks before his nintieth birthday, was the first editor I encountered when I started to write as a freelance journalist in May of 1979. Up to that point my only real goal in life was to write fiction and – surprise, surprise – that wasn’t working out very well for me. I had the usual aspiring writer’s drawer full of unpublished novels and short stories, hundreds of bad poems and a couple frustrated stabs at play scripts. But the only writing that had made it into print were unpaid features in the last three editions of a fast-failing music magazine out of Toronto and one novel with an equally desperate publishing house in London who did manage to cut me one royalty cheque (which covered off the costs of one month’s worth of electricity in my slum of an apartment) before they too went belly-up. My actual paying occupation at that time was dishwashing and one and a half years into marriage, that just wasn’t cutting it anymore. It was time – indeed it was past time – to switch my professional focus to something that reputedly paid.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Owing to some weird fluke or glitch in the system, I’ve been called up for jury selection on four different occasions and have actually served on a criminal jury twice. I’ve never met another Londoner who’s been so frequently called upon in this way and I know many people who’ve never been asked even once. As a kind of companion piece to my recent Hermaneutics post recounting my incarceration in the old Middlesex County Jail at the age of twenty-two, I offer you this account from my thirty third year which recalls my first and most memorable experience as a disher-out of justice.
If you would like to contribute to the ongoing operations of Hermaneutics, there are now a few options available.
THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :