Category Archives: Culture

Animals in the Cities

Most of our cities, however hostile to animal life, have some hardy species who survive and even thrive amongst us. Perhaps the cockroach, mice and rats come immediately to mind, and then after a moment’s reflection, the raccoon and squirrel, … Continue reading

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I Don’t Need to Change, I Need to Change the World Around Me

Although modern urban societies promote tolerance for the most part, there is a vocal minority who insist that they are entitled to more tolerance than others. Those of us who have read George Orwell’s Animal Farm recognize this logic. We … Continue reading

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Throw Your Vote Away: The Simpsons on Electioneering

One of the most poignant statements about our political system in the west was the election speeches of Kang and Kodos as Bob Dole and Bill Clinton running for president in a Simpsons episode from twenty years ago. When Homer … Continue reading

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Textual Reality and the Phenomenological World

Although my friend’s daughter asked me one time if the story I had just told her was a “true story,” most people acknowledge—however reluctantly in the case of Harry Potter fans—that the characters in the stories they read are fictional. … Continue reading

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Cultural Inertia: the QWERTY Keyboard and the Standard Railway Gauge

Two human traits stifle technological innovation. One of them is our innate suspicion of change, and we can see how that would have worked to our advantage historically, and the other is the slightly more complicated cultural and by times … Continue reading

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Keller and Rosa Parks: Case Studies in Historical Oversight

The story of both Parks and Helen Keller have been so heavily overwritten by the public imagination that they are almost invisible in a narrative ostensibly about them. This line drawing of their lives looms much larger than the more … Continue reading

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Becoming a Non-Vegetarian

A friend I’ve known for a number of years has recently decided to foreswear their vegetarianism, which I would have thought was rather deep-seated, and begin eating animals again. This is common enough that it is not really worthy of … Continue reading

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Pit Bull Defenses

One of the most polarized issues between pet owners, other than dogs are better than cats and whether you should keep mammal eating snakes around children, is the positive evaluation of pit bulls by dog lovers. Like all emotional arguments, … Continue reading

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A Shared Politics of Fear and Hate

Although Canadians have little actual stake in the American election, there is much shared sentiment on both sides of the border. Following the lead of the American media, many Canadians declare themselves to be supporters of one candidate or another, … Continue reading

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To Build a Fire

In the public imagination, the skill of building a fire lies somewhere between the virtuosity of some online people (We can think of the man from the Primitive Technology channel) with their bow and drill, Jack London’s famous story (“To … Continue reading

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