The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Saturday, November 13, 2004


Suzuki on anti-Americanism

Renowned fruit-fly breeder David Suzuki, also rumoured to be something of an environmentalist and favourite target of the rootin’-tootin’ pollutin’ crowd, lays down the smack on those self-hating Canadians who equate disagreement with the Bush administration with outright. His view? That of a scientist who got his Ph.D from the University of Chicago and whose work on Drosophila melanogaster (known to you and me as the fruit fly) was largely funded by an America that valued scientific research and funded the hell out of it.

In my youth I received a scholarship from an American University worth more than my father made in a year and it allowed me to attend one of the finest colleges in the world. Later I earned a PhD there and I am forever grateful to Americans for that. When I returned to Canada, I could not compete with my peers elsewhere in the world because of the poor funding available in Canada at the time. I stayed because I received a large U.S. grant. I will never forget the generosity of the U.S. and owe a huge debt of gratitude.

But it is precisely because I love America that I am so profoundly disturbed by what is going on there. Unquestioning acceptance of the status quo isn’t exactly an American ideal. In fact, it strikes me as decidedly un-American.

A similar argument that you’ll hear from Americans who don’t like the direction their country seems to be headed, but who have to deal with being called unpatriotic or worse. He’s got a point—Americans don’t like to think of themselves as deferential to authority; in fact, it’s been part of what’s fuelled the conservative culture warriors over the last four decades, this idea of rebelling against the establishment.

Something changed in the Bizarro World nineties, though. A lot of things flipped around. Leftish politicians went from being unconcerned about deficits (as the were in the sixties) to being the fiscal hawks, while those on the right were happy with deficit financing, as long as it was brought about by tax cuts. Idealism became associated with conservative foreign-policy wonks, many of whom had started out on the left.

Right-wing revolutionaries went from being on the outside to being in control, politically with Newt Gingrich and his successors, in the media world by a conservative publishing industry that had matured and bolstered by the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Conrad Black, and intellectually by a crop of think-tanks. And as Environics guru Michael Adams argues, Americans became more deferential to authority, while it has become the duty of all good Canadians to slag their leaders. Go figure.

But here’s the gentle geneticist’s killer blow: using one of your opponents’ favourite weapons against them.

Pundits who insist that critics of President Bush are anti-American are really saying that if 52 per cent of Americans believe anything then that’s what America stands for and everyone else has to respect that. This is a morally relativistic viewpoint that doesn’t even withstand the most basic of scrutiny and Bush administration critics should not be bullied into believing it does.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Post-elxn, down south

Paul Wells offers a bit of post-election wisdom. I’m not bothering; I’m hacking away on an assignment that I should have filed 12 hours ago. Read his stuff instead.

The majestic Howard Dean coalition %u2014 youth, new voters, the “wired,” the “disenfranchised” %u2014 remains the France of electoral coalition-building: genuinely useful, if only it would freaking show up for the freaking fight. Sorry, but I’m a bit bitter about this. Participation soared across every demographic, including the underestimated People Michael Moore Likes to Make Fun Of. But the young-new-”disenfranchised” set sat around and played Halo 2 on the X-box instead of, you know, freaking voting. These are the same people who couldn’t be arsed to pick up the phones at Dean headquarters in South Carolina when I was there in January. (Fun Canadian fact: the Canadian leader who has put all of his hopes %u2014 and I mean all his hopes %u2014 on the Howard Dean coalition of non-voting non-voters is Jack Layton. Explains a lot, really.)

Is it just me, or is today’s politician professing support of the cell-phonin’ bloggin’ and non-voting voter nothing more than this decade’s version of the perpetual loser who claims that he speaks for the 30-odd percent of eligible voters who didn’t show up last time? Yes, he is.

Fear not, though, fellow associates of the Liberal Media™! Your life is not over if Bush is elected!

I wanted Kerry to win and I expected Kerry to win. But the journalist in me finds this result far more intriguing. Four more years? Oh, man, the ride’s barely beginning, and it’s going to be nuts.

Thanks, Paul. I needed that. If Bush does win—and, frankly, it’s looking likely barring a clusterfuck of Kerry votes in Cleveland—I can rest assured that there will be a lot to write about for now till 2009. I’m not sure how much I should look forward to it. (Well, I suppose that it’s no different from getting all giddy ten years ago over a dozen ODs in one night and a barnburnin’ story that writes itself…)

For another take, check Colby Cosh’s all-day electo-something.

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