Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The State of the World

The mothership connection
It's Wednesday, so that means the Lance website gets its weekly facelift. This time out, we've got stories on the continued search for Uncle Ross' successor, an explanation of the referendum on the electoral process going on in conjunction with the current provincial election, and a look at the phenomenon of microblogging, the practice of making posts no longer than 200 characters. After last night's monster post, it's something I'm seriously considering.

Let down and hangin' around
Without question, the marquee event of this week's Humanities Week was the appearance of historian, author, and eminent expert on all things Middle East Tariq Ali. Digression time.

At the 2005 national conference of Canadian University Press, the marquee speaker was Harper's Magazine editor Lewis Lapham. It's all anyone could talk about and when we took our seats in the hotel ballroom, the excitement was palpable. And then the man came out, and most of us at The Lance were totally underwhelmed. All Lapham basically did was come out in front of a room full of young journos and other assorted lefties and Bushbash. Which is fine, but it's not reinventing the wheel and it doesn't exactly challenge the audience. I swear, most of the questions in the subsequent Q&A were of the 'This is what I thnk, please tell me I'm right, Mr. Lapham' variety.

I was reminded of that night as I read the Star's recap of Ali's lecture last night. To wit:

Ali said that in a post 9-11 world, the United States has tried to "remake the world in their own image," but its mission is failing because of violent resistance in Iraq and continuing problems in Afghanistan.

Really? I'd never considered that.

"This war has made Iran a regional power," Ali said, reminding the audience that U.S. interest in that region of the world is largely motivated by the desire to protect the oil reserves.

So the war's about oil, huh? Hadn't heard that before. I'm hoping Star reporter Sonja Puzic took what she thought were the more scintillating quotes for her story, and that such tired points were not the bulk of Ali's argument. The boss tells me we'll have our own article on Ali coming next week. I hope it tells me something I haven't seen on The Daily Show for three years.

That said, I'm still pleased Ali appeared, because UWindsor needs to step its game up when it comes to public lectures.

Good news out of N.Korea?
An early story we saw yesterday offered some vague claims about North Korea reaching some sort of agreement in the ongoing six party talks concerning its nuclear program. Details are now emerging that North Korea has agreed to disable its reactor by the end of the year, in return for heavy fuel oil and getting off the US terror list.

Of course, no details of how the promises will be implemented, but we take what we can get around here.

Ice Cube once asked, 'Why more n**gas in the pen than in college?' Turns out he had his facts wrong.

Staying with the theme: fifth grade teaching tool uses the n-word to teach the children history.

Threats of severed penis are acceptable grounds for divorce.

That orgasm ringtone was questionable to begin with, but for God's sake, turn it off if you're in court.


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