By Jay Menard
As we approach the Oct. 27th municipal election in Ontario, the rhetoric is increasing, the volume and the vehemence is growing, and the rancor is raging. And while recent concerns about on-line parody accounts may be valid, I’m more concerned about the clearly partisan accounts that are bordering on the verge of self-parody.
I’m not going to list the parody accounts in this space. Safe to say, if you do a search for some of London’s mayoral candidates on Twitter, you’ll find them. Oddly enough, it seems to be only the right-of-centre candidates that are getting this treatment (but I’m sure that’s just coincidence). And while some candidates have taken to actively trying to get them taken down, for the most part I believe they’re harmless.
Effective parody is very challenging. Humour is subjective, but political humour needs to be smart, biting, and insightful. These parody accounts are puerile, insulting, and — worst of all — just plain boring. Continue reading
By Jay Menard
We’re fast approaching London’s municipal election date. Though some have already made up their minds, I remain firmly in the camp of thinking there’s a lot of time. Things change, positions get analyzed, but — most importantly — there are plenty of opportunities for someone to prove to me that they meet the minimum expectations to earn my vote.
But that term “minimum” is a tricky word. After all, just because it’s my lowest threshold doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with lofty expectations. And, in my case, my minimum is held to a very high standard — the same standard I put on myself as a voter and an involved citizen of London. Continue reading
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
By Jay Menard
I know some were inspired by Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi’s call for London to conscript his “Three Things for…” idea to encourage good deeds in the community.
Instead of being inspired, his call just made me sad.
Let me start by saying that I have no issue with the intent behind Nenshi’s Three Things for… idea. I just don’t know what it says about us that we need to have something like this at all.
Are we, as a society, so stuck staring into the palm of our hands that we don’t see the need around us and act accordingly? Has social networking made us so narcissistic that an action will not exist until it has received 30 retweets and a couple dozen Facebook likes?
Do we have to change the old adage from “no good deed goes unpunished” to “no good deed goes unpublished?” Continue reading
By Jay Menard,
When it comes to choosing for whom I want to vote, I take my cues from the Bard of Mersey, because more and more it’s getting harder to know who you can trust.
In John Lennon’s song “God,” he lists off a number of things in which he doesn’t believe, ranging from religions to politicians to philosophies to musicians. At the end, he quietly intones, “I just believe in me.”
John follows that up with “Yoko and me. And that’s reality.” And since Yoko’s not on my speed dial, I have to trust myself. In today’s world, that’s an even more challenging proposition.
Thanks to social media and the Internet, we have access to a wealth of information. But that wealth has vastly different values – ranging from pure gold to filthy lucre. And, sadly, there are far too many snake oil salesmen and women promising one thing, but working only in their own interests. We have access to more information than ever, but that doesn’t mean the information is better. Continue reading
By Jason Menard
Perhaps the term engagement gets a bad reputation because we’ve been so bad at defining what it means. I have some suggestions, but the one thing I do know is that engagement does not mean the equivalent of a guaranteed win.
It’s a topic that I think we’ve discussed almost ad nauseam, with little sense of resolution. But that may be a result of not truly understanding what engagement is, socially and politically.
That’s the problem with using empty, Biz-Speak-type words. They’re too open to interpretation and allow arguments to persist in an environment devoid of parameters. I have been quite vocal in my dislike of the term engagement, but the truth is that I really just dislike the way it’s been defined – or undefined as the case generally is. Continue reading
By Jason Menard
Politics is wasted on the young — mentally young, that is.
Before I get accused of being ageist, let me clarify that statement by saying that the real bane of political discourse is immaturity — and manifests itself across all demographics.
I know socially and politically mature teenagers and I know middle-aged people who are childlike in their application of socio-political thought. Political maturity isn’t about age; it’s about a willingness to learn and a willingness to accept that we’re not infallible. Continue reading