• books,  culture

    Culture, Ethnicity and questions.

    I want to participate in the A More Diverse Universe book blogging tour, where bloggers write reviews of speculative fiction books written by authors of color. So I went to the library looking for a sample of speculative fiction by an author of color. I had a list of authors with me and choose a book called Rain is Not my Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith. After getting it home and reading half of it I realized it isn’t speculative fiction. The author was on the list because she also writes about vampires. This one is a middle-school novel about a young girl in small town Kansas. Nevertheless I…

  • books,  communication,  culture,  God,  meaning of life,  the ethical life

    A book about the Harry Potter books, and the many questions they invoke.

    My current light-reading is the book Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menance behind the Magick by Richard Abanes. In some ways it is a very weird book for me to read because I do not share the author’s conservative Christian religious beliefs. Why then should I concern myself with the criticisms he has of Harry Potter based on those religious beliefs? I am drawn to the book for the chance to see a little window into the ideas of others. How does his understanding of the Bible effect his understanding of Harry Potter? How does his understanding of Harry Potter help me understand my own views of the world? Much of the book ends…

  • books,  culture,  education

    The Meaning of Reading

    Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains includes the following: Theuth describes the art of writing to Thamus and argues that the Egyptians should be allowed to share in its blessings. It will, he says, “make the people of Egypt wiser and improve their memories,” for it “provides a recipe for memory and wisdom.” Thamus disagrees. He reminds the god that an inventor is not the most reliable judge of the value of his creation: “O man full of arts, to one is it given to create the things of art, and to another to judge what measure of harm and of profit they…

  • culture,  homeschooling,  Occupy,  the ethical life

    Social Skills, Homeschooling and Occupy

    I’ve written a bit already about my experience with my local Occupy group, and how I love the idea of Occupy but had problems with the reality. So when I recently saw a link to an article about Occupy Toronto, I was very interested to read it. After a lengthy recounting of some of the safety hazards and failures of Occupy Toronto, the article concludes: The unwillingness of Occupy Toronto’s membership to develop and enforce standards of behaviour consistent with the values of social justice exemplifies a deeply flawed process. These problems are not unique to the Occupy movement; they have been present in many organizations, including our own. Yet they…

  • culture,  movies,  the ethical life

    arts, culture and environment

    About a week ago I went to a candidate’s forum focused on environmental questions. The Green Party, Liberal, Conservative and First People’s National Party were there. The Conservative candidate didn’t bother showing up, but that’s another rant for another time. Right now what I want to write about is one of the questions that was asked. The question was regarding the topic of good green jobs and promoting a green economy, and the question was, have the candidates ever considered the arts as a source of green jobs? It was an interesting question, I thought, and the mainstream candidates were all struck dumb. The First People’s National Party candidate, Will…