The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts from the “Media” Category

Societies Can Fail

Posted on December 21, 2017

We are well aware of the key characters involved in the ancient Christmas story – shepherds, wise men, angels, Joseph, Mary and Jesus. It’s all so quaint and moving that we forget the oppressiveness of that era. Few would have believed in those times that the mighty Roman Empire was about to crumble. And they would have been incredulous to learn that within 70 years, the temple, Jerusalem and the Jewish homeland itself would be gone. This is ever the problem with societal decay: the seriousness of the situation is hardly obvious at the time. Yet Aristotle warned that a growing inequality would only bring instability and chaos. Plato wrote that tyrants utilize the premise of free speech and public angst to claim absolute…

Fire in the Eyes

Posted on December 19, 2017

The old scriptures tell of how Moses, over 100 years of age at the time of his death, stood on a mountain overlooking the Promised Land and “his eyes were not weak.” Yet, despite that great advantage, the legendary Jewish leader passed on, never able to enjoy what he had seen and dreamed of for most of his life. I thought of that story again a couple of days ago when I learned that Gina Barber, politician, activist and author, passed away of cancer. The outpouring of collective grief and thankfulness for her influence was remarkable in its own way, with many chronicling personal stories of her effect on their lives. I have one of my own, and it’s as recent as two weeks…

Inequality in the Fast Lane

Posted on December 14, 2017

In the midst of all the election hubbub following the stunning Democratic Senate win in Alabama, one Republican congressman used the occasion to call on the Republican Party to dump Steve Bannon, one of the early architects of Trump’s presidency. Congressman Peter King is worried over where his own party is headed in recent weeks and although his speaking out against Bannon raised a lot of eyebrows, it was something he said only a couple of weeks earlier that carries much more significance. While the Republican tax cut plan was heralded by some in Washington, King was flummoxed by the nonsensical hurry to get it passed when it was, in fact, the deepest cut in corporate taxes seen in decades. “You’re rewriting a tax…

Community Amnesia – Part 2

Posted on December 12, 2017

In our previous post the subject concerned what transpires in communities when news sources – traditional or online – are wiped out by corporate fiat. Journalists lose their livelihood, citizens lose their context, and communities are cut loose from their recorded history. But there’s more, and it’s devastating. It’s not just about losing the stories that others won’t cover – social club luncheons, the doings of smaller community organizations, neighbourhood developments – but the lack of momentum for causes that are as equally important to society than any other big story. Take poverty for instance. Sure there are the important stories currently gaining attention, like pilot projects for a Basic Income Guarantee, federal housing money for the next decade, a special benefit for children…

Community Amnesia – Part 1

Posted on December 8, 2017

Today I lunch with a good friend and committed journalist trying to come to terms with the loss of his job because of the recent Postmedia-TorStar deal that closed a good number of local newspapers across Canada, including London. He is one of those people who is his writing; it’s how he chronicles his aspirations and struggles, his belief in community and his own place within it. There are many like him now wondering how to navigate their future. The communities are still here, but many of their dedicated storytellers are gone. Such thoughts abounded when I came across CBC London’s Kate Dubinsky’s piece on what happens to the archives of such publications when they close down. You can read it here. She rightfully…

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