Daily Archives: November 11, 2011



The Daily Show responds to Rick Perry’s debate meltdown with “joy boners.”

UPDATE: The link above has unfortunately gone dead. However, you can find the bit in Canada here, and everywhere else here. You shouldn’t need to search beyond the direct link, but if you do you are looking for the opening segment of the Thursday, November 10th show. If you haven’t seen it already, it is very funny. Stewart is always especially good at bringing satire into pristine focus when it comes smack up against the delusional vanity and incompetence of politicians. Small victories for comedy, therefore, can result in joy boners, as they probably should.

Iraq Veterans and Occupy

The Atlantic has an article on war veterans who’ve organized against the war in Iraq and are now joining the Occupy movement. One of them, Scott Olsen, who is 22 years old and served two tours with the U.S. Army marines in Iraq, was shot in the face with a tear gas canister by police at Occupy Oakland two weeks ago. Here’s an excerpt from the article, which can be read in full here:

At Occupy DC, a painting of Scott Olsen in uniform is draped on the side of a tent. He’s become a symbol of the Occupation Movement — he fought overseas only to be injured when exercising his “freedom” of peaceful assembly at home. His name has become a shorthand to talk about why so many vets are at Occupy Wall Street.

“There’s a reason Scott Olsen got shot in the head,” says Patterson, looking down at his chain-restaurant hot cocoa. “Because he was out front.”

Patterson still sports a military haircut and a bit of the Army swagger. He also has a touch of that telling hyper-awareness war vets sometimes display; he’s a little twitchy, a little intense. He tells me he has PTSD and has been self-medicating with weed. He says it helps. What’s also helped is being a part of this protest movement. “This is the only peaceful solution,” he says. “If this movement doesn’t work, our country is not going to make it … We’re just not going to make it.” Patterson became an interrogator in Iraq straight out of high school. His mother had to sign his enlistment papers. He turned 18 in Basic. “We’re an industrialized nation who’s a third world country. The super wealthy elite pretty much control our democratic process and everyone here is pretty much fighting for scraps and that’s not right,” he says.

It’s not just that the police are using escalating violence against demonstrators — video of which we’ve been posting — it’s that they are encouraging by their actions that others do so. On two separate occasions, people have driven their cars into Occupy demonstrations, hitting and injuring people who were in the way. On both occasions, the police did not even detain, let alone charge, the persons involved.

Video of the Scott Olsen incident in an earlier post here.

Think Progress has an article on why veterans are joining the Occupy movement here.

Remembrance Day


Sgt. MacKenzie” by Joseph Kilna MacKenzie

Here’s Frye in “Hart House Rededicated,” delivered on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Hart House, University of Toronto, November 11th, 1969.  As often happens with Frye on public occasions, somehow everything comes together with a resonance that is immediately recognizable.  In this instance, the elements are the anniversary of Hart House, Remembrance Day, and our hard won, and too easily lost, sense of community.

Since 1919, a memorial service at the tower, along with an editorial in the Varsity attacking its hypocrisy and crypto-militarism, has been an annual event of campus life.  Certainly I would not myself participate in such a service if I thought that its purpose was to strengthen our wills to fight another war, instead of to fight against the coming of another war.  That being understood, I think there is a place for the memorial service, apart from the personal reason that many students of mine have their names inscribed on the tower.  It reminds us of something inescapable in the human situation.  Man is a creature of communities, and communities enrich themselves by what they include: the university enriches itself by breaking down the middle-class fences and reaching out to less privileged social areas; the city enriches itself by the variety of ethnical groups it has taken in.  But while communities enrich themselves by what they include, they define themselves by what they exclude.  The more intensely a community feels its identity as a community, the more intensely it feels its difference from what is across its boundary.  In a strong sense of community there is thus always an element that may become hostile and aggressive.

It is significant that our memorial service commemorates two wars, both fought against the same country.  In all wars, including all revolutions, the enemy becomes an imaginary abstraction of evil. Some German who never heard of us becomes a “Hun”; some demonstrator who is really protesting against his mother becomes a “Communist”; some policeman with a wife and a family to support becomes a “fascist pig.”  We know that we are lying when we do this sort of thing, but we say it is tactically necessary and go on doing it.  But because it is lying, it cannot create or accomplish anything, and so all wars, including all revolutions, take us back to square one of frustrated aggression in which they began.  (CW 7, 397)

2,000 Posts

It’s gratifying to post that number, but it’s just window dressing. We’ve drawn 200,000 visitors so far, and they are responsible for a remarkable 800,000 page views. That’s the number that matters. People are clearly coming here to access the resources in our journal and our library, which is really what this is all about.

I’m going to ease up the pace a bit for the next week or so. With the foundation of Frye references in place, I’ll likely only post on Occupy and Keystone XL and other current events for the next little while. We don’t need to justify our coverage of them any further.

However, I’ve got plans for what is still to come. The nature of our current events recently makes this an opportune time to have a look at Frye’s decades-long involvement with the Canadian Forum. It never hurts to remind ourselves that Frye was never simply an ivory tower scholar, he was a man very much engaged in the world around him and was an excellent commentator on it. We also have other threads on the go and will continue to add to them.

We’ve posted some wonderful new material in the last few weeks. Please have a look at Péter Pásztor’s “Translating Frye into Hungarian,” and Joe Adamson’s “On Relevance: Frye on Universities and the Deluge of Cant,” both of which will soon be added to our journal. And, of course, there is also Bob Denham’s new collection, Essays on Northrop Frye, a prized addition to our library.

We have recently compiled two collections of Frye’s references to Marshall McLuhan and to anarchism, both of which will be shortly posted in our library.