By Jay Menard,
“It’s not the band I hate. It’s their fans.” Yes, I am gearing myself up for Sloan’s appearance this weekend at the Western Fair’s Beer & BBQ Show, but that’s beside the point.
That lyric also perfectly sums up the way I feel about some of the participants in our municipal campaigns. And the danger for the candidates is that they’re going to suffer from guilt by association.
London, especially on Twitter and other social networks including our local paper’s comments section, is easily likened to a playground. Whether it’s puerile name calling or taking their figurative ball and going home when they don’t get their way, we see a lot of the worst in discourse.
I had hoped during a municipal campaign things would change, but I haven’t seen it yet. Continue reading
By Jay Menard
When exactly did we determine that voting against something is better than voting for something?
Strategic voting is bad enough – the idea of compromising your beliefs in some grand effort to ensure “they” don’t get it. It’s semi-understandable when it comes to our first-past-the-post system, especially if you’re in a riding where vote-splitting may be an issue.
But this idea of “Declining your vote” as a grand statement against the political system? Sorry for being frank, but it’s egocentric and ineffective. Continue reading
By Jason Menard,
Tonight, we were privy to what was, in my opinion, the best seventh-round selection of the NFL draft. And I hope we’ll have more of these moments in the near future so that, eventually, they won’t be special.
The video of Michael Sam receiving a phone call from the St. Louis Rams notifying him that he was their seventh-round selection is powerful, emotional, and uplifting. The image of his boyfriend, holding his hand and comforting Sam as the player struggles to regain his composure, is touching. And the kiss between the two was natural, organic, and will have ultimately no impact on his on-field abilities.
But the Sam situation was unnecessarily different. And it shows how far we have to go in this society until what should be considered normal actually is. Continue reading
By Jason Menard
Back when I was younger, the mixed tape was all the rage. It was your way to express your feelings through song, because you just couldn’t find the right words. I’m embarrassed to say in my past I may have given out a couple of them to certain people in my life.
Earlier today, in another spurt of time-killing and/or self-reflection, I started playing around with a song list on Grooveshark trying to define The Soundtrack of My Life. I asked others to share their songs, so I thought it only fair to put mine down in ‘print.’
Remember, these are not my favourite songs (though, some are), but rather songs that represent key moments in my life and/or songs that held a specific importance to myself and someone else.
It was fun. It was enlightening. And it mixed equal parts fromage and gravitas. Continue reading
By Jason Menard,
In today’s social-media dominated world, the opportunity to share ourselves is ever present. But volume of sharing does not necessarily equal substance.
For example, I’ve had a lot of changes over the past couple of years. Some of you may know about them; others don’t. You see, I write a lot, but I don’t share a lot.
The trivial, the odd, the fun? Sure. No problem. But the personal? The stuff below the surface? I don’t like opening myself up like that and it’s rare that I do. I used to use the excuse that I figured people wouldn’t care, but that’s only part of the truth.
The truth is is that it’s not you. It’s just me. Continue reading
By Jason Menard
It’s easy to see the world in terms of black and white. Filtered through the prism of personal interest, right and wrong can be very clear. But step back and look across the entire spectrum and what seems clear is often muddled by shades of grey.
Ideally, everyone would put their name to what they write or say, on-line and off. But we don’t live in an ideal world.
By Jason Menard
It’s been proven over and over in sports that success does not come exclusively by having the best players — it’s having the best team that wins championships. After all, even on the Dream Team not everyone could be Michael Jordan. Someone’s had to be Christian Laettner.
That rings true in all aspects of life, including business and politics. Everyone wants to be (or thinks they are) the idea person, the visionary, the leader. There’s a whole market predicated on selling motivational posters to those who want to believe that individualism matters more than collective will.
It’s true that single-mindedness and tunnel vision can lead to successfully completing a goal or project. And if you’re interested in your own needs, that’s often enough. But true success — the kind that uplifts people from across all walks of life — can only come from balance and teamwork. Continue reading