Category Archives: Lifestyle (MC Archive)

Lifestyle-related columns that appeared on Jason Menard’s previous Web site, Menard Communications.

Hyperbolic Infomercial Teaches a Lesson

By Jason Menard

It’s amazing how one person’s hyperbolic statement can be another person’s accurate reflection of an event. You can call it synergy, you can call it fate – I call it the power of the late-night infomercial. And maybe our eyes, once opened by shock and disbelief, can remain open to potential happiness that we once took for granted.

It happened just the other night, as my wife and I were mindlessly flipping through channels. Suddenly, a hyperactive piercing voice broke through the ever-changing sea of interrupted conversations, broken music beats, and flashing images. It compelled us to stop, hypnotically drawn to the surrealism of the event.

Now, I own a perfectly good vacuum. I also own a couple of perfectly broken vacuums that I keep around in case I have a technological epiphany and am suddenly able to do more with electronic equipment than simply electrocute myself. The point of all this is to say that I really don’t need a new vacuum.

That being said, the woman – in her increasingly manic state – was doing her best to convince me. Or, should I say, she was trying to stoke the dormant flames of my small appliance passion. The man next to her was doing the convincing – lifting up bowling balls; picking up freezers, and sucking up bowls of dust.

And it was in the midst of me thinking about how infrequently I need to vacuum up sporting goods, large appliances, and evidence of neglect so bad that if they existed in my home I would take my kids to Children’s Aid myself, it happened. That moment of clarity that enveloped me and made me one with the universe.

In the midst of an apoplectic, semi-orgasmic state of rapture regarding the ability of this vacuum to suck up water, the woman screamed, “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life!”

And I agreed with the statement, if not the target of the sentiment.

I too had never seen anything like that in my life. Never have I seen anyone so maniacally enchanted with an electronic appliance – well, at least one that wasn’t intended to induce apoplectic, fully-orgasmic states of rapture. And while my initial reaction was to mock, upon further reflection perhaps I should admire this woman for ability to appreciate all of life’s gifts.

Needless to say, I did not purchase said miracle bowling-ball sucking vacuum, as I came away less than impressed with the presentation. But maybe that’s my fault – maybe I’m too jaded by life that I take for granted the smaller things in life.

I, apparently, save my reverence for what I consider the bigger things in my life. I experience joy when I see my children greet me when I come home from work; I derive pleasure from the embrace of my wife; I am awestruck by particularly beautiful expressions of artistic talent whether it be dance, song, and prose. Alas, the joyful potential of appreciating functionality of home cleaning appliances has eluded me to this date.

The hum of a washing machine will not induce the release of dopamine; the beep of a microwave oven doesn’t cause tears to well in my eyes; and the sound of my freezer self-regulating its temperature completely fails to bring me any joy whatsoever. Yet vacuum woman – the one who had never seen anything like this – would probably derive hours of pleasure from any one of those stimuli. And perish the thought – if she experienced all three, she’d probably be incapacitated by the sheer waves of joy convulsing through her body.

I mock, but just think how wonderful life would be if we all could experience such exuberance over the smallest things. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here beyond why my vacuum fails to perform at its fullest potential.

Maybe we need to learn how to take more pleasure in some of the smaller things in life. We spend so much time thinking about our stresses, what’s wrong in life, and what bothers us that we let literally thousands of positive experiences slide right on by us. We spend so much time saving up for grand expressions of joy that we overlook the cumulative potential of experiencing several smaller moments of enjoyment.

Sure, reverential awe for a vacuum cleaner may be taking this to the extreme – but there’s really nothing wrong with enjoying all of life’s gifts. Whether it’s the smile on a child’s face, the feel of driving a car home from work, or the sound of a bird singing maybe we should all have a few more of those “I’ve never seen anything like this” moments in our lives.

2007© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

School Boards Have to Stop Focusing on History

By Jason Menard

As a parent, you’d be pretty upset if the only class your child’s school taught was history. So why are we any less upset when the respective school boards are living in the past and refusing to accept a modern reality?

Faced with budget shortfalls, shifting demographics, and challenges in putting appropriate programs together, it’s no longer enough to look to what’s been done in the past. We must learn from those successes and redefine how our education system works in the future.

The Thames Valley District School Board is currently struggling to deal with a projected $7.6-million deficit, while the London District Catholic School Board may be forced to pry open the coffers and dip into a reserve fund to make ends meet. We’re presented with heart-wrenching stories of how counselors – a position that’s currently on the chopping block – are saved students from challenging pasts.

We’re presented with a lot of vivid imagery, but nowhere are we seeing a true vision. It’s time to bite the bullet and revamp our education system to meet the needs of today’s London – not try to push the round peg of today’s needs into the square holes that are left by yesterday’s infrastructure.

I have a vested interest in this with two children in the education system. My son is finishing Grade 7 in the TVDSB system, while my daughter is finishing her year in jardin, at Académie de la Tamise – a school for children of French-speaking parents, which is part of a separate school board. Personally, I’d like to ensure my children have access to the best possible education, but our desire to keep everything everywhere, regardless of modern demographics, is hampering the ability to do so.

One undeniable fact is that there are fewer students today, rendering some schools almost obsolete due to declining attendance. In addition, where people live today is far different to where they were even 20 years ago. Times have changed and it’s time for the school boards to change with them.

The first change that should be made is the amalgamation of the Thames Valley and Catholic School Boards. It’s time to fully embrace the secular nature of our country and – more importantly – recognize that this duplication of infrastructure is a cost that could be eliminated fairly easily. After all, would you rather cut administrative costs or cut teachers and counselors on the front lines?

This isn’t to say that there’s no place for religious education. However, if you choose to want your child educated in a faith-based environment, then you should have to pay for that right. Throughout Canada we see parents sending their children to alternative schools focusing on religion or culture: Arabic, Jewish, Armenian, Muslim, and many others. Why, then, do we assume that free Catholic education is a – pun fully intended – divine right?

In fact, this rationalization of resources could bring forth a return to religion in schools. After all, a course on faith – one that teaches an appreciation for all the religions of the world – would go a long way towards fostering an environment of understanding amongst our children.

With two separate school boards pooling their resources, you may be able to stave off cuts in both the short and long term. That may also require looking at the existing school buildings and making the tough choices of closing some schools and selling the property.

Just because an area was populated with students years ago, doesn’t mean that a school that was viable in 1970 meets today’s needs. And sentimentality can’t play a role in this. Already many of our schools are environmentally non-efficient buildings that are bordering on out-of-date, so why compound the problem by operating many of them at less-than-peak capabilities?

My former schools in Montreal have been made into a health care centre and a community centre, respectively. The same can be done here, or the land can be allocated to other needs, such as residential or commercial requirements. And any money raised through the sale or lease of properties can be rolled back into updating the remaining facilities to ensure our children are getting the best education in the best possible environments.

We go to school to learn how to learn. The education we receive is more than just memorization of facts – it’s an education designed to help us take what the world throws at us and make the most out of it. We learn how to adapt, change, and take the lessons from our past and apply them to creating a better future.

Isn’t it time for our school boards to learn those same lessons? It’s time to close the books on living in our history and turn the page to a more creative and successful future – one that meets the needs of today’s students and, hopefully, their children.

2007© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

Dead Language Breathes Life into Modern English

By Jason Menard

I think it was Elvis who said it best when he sang, “it’s only words and words are all I have to steal your heart away.” And speaking from personal experience, if my words are any more eloquent, it is directly the result of the Latin training I received at South Secondary School.

Wednesday’s edition of The London Free Press profiled the retirement of Neil Tenney, the Latin teacher at that educational institution. And it also highlighted the fact that this program is the last of its kind in both the Thames Valley District and London Catholic School Boards – and that’s a shame.

Currently I make my living with words. Corporate communications expert by day, freelance columnist, sports writer, and radio fill-in by night, it has been through my abilities with the English language that I’m able to put food on my family’s table. And for that I have to thank my Latin teacher Jean Mayhew – formerly of South Secondary School.

You see, I didn’t learn English in English class. Far from it. I actually learned my English grammar during my time in Latin and French classes at South and, later, Western. It was there I learned about verb tenses, conjugation, and – most importantly – flow.

So while we’d be chuckling through the Cambridge Latin course reading silly stories about thepater Caecillius and his family, we were actually building a foundation upon which our appreciation of language grew. But without that foundation in the future, where will people learn?

I grew up in a time of English courses focusing on reading comprehension. It didn’t matter if you could spell your words or construct a coherent though as long as the general idea was expressed. And that continues, in large part, to this day. My wife and I fight a daily battle with our 12-year-old son about the importance of developing proper language skills, when his argument – justified by solid grades – is that “you get the point.”

I’m not a stickler for grammar. Few people annoy me more than those who absolutely refuse to dangle their participles or split their infinitives. Grammar is fluid and what sounds right is often less jarring and more effective than what the prescriptive grammarians would condone from their ivory linguistic towers. I’ve got no problems with people using “they” in the singular if it sounds better. After all, grammar is designed to let words flow and to allow concepts to be expressed – not to rigidly force everyone to conform to one ideal that may no longer apply.

Life goes on. Things change and we’re inundated with new cultural, technological, and linguistic influences each and every day. If we remain dogmatically chained to our linguistic past, we’ll be ill-prepared to deal with the challenges of the future.

However, one should have a solid foundation upon which the future can be built. Language – and one’s understanding of it – enables people to experience a world of influences that may be limited by lack of comprehension. For me, Latin and French gave me the structure and knowledge that was lacking from my English training, wherein my teachers were more concerned about me understanding what was said than how it was said.

If I can boast any way with words, it’s because of that Latin and French training. Before I became immersed in those language studies, I was the product of my teaching. I understood concepts and could generally express them – but it was far from precise and it was far from proper.

Words are one of the best ways we have to convey feelings, emotions, and experiences. It is one thing to string together a few words to get an idea out there – it’s something much different to use language to allow the reader to experience the idea through the lyric effect of words. And let’s not even start how Latin has aided in my rudimentary understanding of languages like Spanish and Portuguese.

We live in a world where instant messaging and social interactive media has turned conversation into a competitive race. It’s not about saying something properly, it’s about saying it in as few characters as possible. Yet, eventually, those IMers will have to converse with a real person. They’ll have to hand in an assignment – not to mention a resumé — that isn’t peppered with emoticons or LOL’s. The question is where will they find the skills to do so?

I was lucky. I had Ms. Mayhew’s Latin class to steer me on the right course. Little did I know that weekly bingos, annual banquets, and light-hearted learning would have such an impact on my life. But it has, and I’m a better writer — and a better man – for it. Hopefully generations of students at South will continue to have the option to take this class, because its value is immeasurable.

It’s just too bad that no other students in the region will be able to start a day with Ms. Mayhew’s, or any other Latin teacher’s, terrible Latin jokes like semper ubi sub ubi – or always [where] under [where]. It may have been a terrible pun, but it was a fantastic foundation for the future.

2007© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

Delusions of Culinary Grandeur

By Jason Menard

I’ve discovered that the greatest thing those TV cooking shows serve up are delusions of culinary grandeur in people like me. But for every cooking nightmare they spawn, they’ve also helped to foster a dream-like world of excitement, flavour, and exposure to a world of food influences.

I admit it. I’m a Food Network addict. I can while away countless minutes watching any manner of food presentation on television. From Giada De Laurentis to Anthony Bourdain, from the Iron Chef to the Surreal Gourmet, I’m hooked on the concept of food preparation – and now I’ve deluded myself into believing that I can emulate what I see on TV.

After all, it seems so effortless. The fact that these people have honed their craft through years of slogging through the culinary trenches doesn’t seem to register to the average viewer like me. If we view it, we can do it.

Maybe I’m hearkening back to my youth, when Martin Yan would exhort, “if Yan can do it, so can you!” Of course, back then I was content to let mom and dad handle the cooking duties, so that latent passion for cooking lay dormant for many years. Even in my university years, when long days working at the student newspaper meant take-out took precedent over home cooking my idea of cooking was to pour some salsa over a chicken breast. When I got married, my wife ruled the kitchen – although I was a willing assistant who had my own set of meals in the rotation.

In the end, necessity truly is the mother of invention. And its father is clearly access to information. A few years back, my wife and I were involved in an accident that has left her with severe pain issues. As such, I’ve gladly taken up the slack in the kitchen and the Food Network has fuelled my delusions of culinary grandeur.

A recent meal? Tandoori chicken with saffron-infused basmati rice. If the ends justify the means, then the meal was a success – but the process of preparing the meal certainly didn’t come off as smoothly as the Man-Made Food broadcast made it seem it would. And that’s often the case. Exotic ideas that celebrity chefs pull off with flair and élan often don’t have the same sense of romance when you try to transfer that experience from the television screen to the dining room table. Yet despite the challenge (and the mass clean-up that resulted), I know I’ll be back in the kitchen trying out something new.

But at least I’m not alone in this passion. It seems that our increasing access to culinary television has broadened our perspectives on food as a whole. Meals and presentations that were once the exclusive domain of high-end restaurants have been demystified and made accessible to the average family. Ingredients once considered exotic are now commonplace on the local grocery store’s shelves.

Best of all, people are no longer will to settle for the status quo. My generation has truly embraced the foods and influences of a broad spectrum of cultures and our palettes have been improved because of it. We grew up in a Canadian society that was becoming increasingly multi-cultural. As such, we were able to take the staples we grew up with and accent them with ethnic influences that we were comfortable seeing as they were the ones our friends were growing up with. For us, it wasn’t about experimenting with food – it was about embracing our peers’ cultures as we embraced them as friends.

And we’re seeing that change commercially as well. Where not all that long ago Italian and Chinese restaurants were considered ethnic, we’re now inundated with a delectable panorama of dining options ranging from Lebanese to Peruvian to Ethiopian to Indian. Our culinary passport is now only restricted by our own threshold for experimentation!

So as our cultural influences expand, we’re introduced to new influences in our food. And then when you combine the proliferation of food-based television designed to make cooking accessible to the masses, you have an equation that allows average guys like me to believe that cooking for my family can be an event, not just a chore.

In the end, not all experiments turn out well, and I’ve had my fair share of disappointments. That will happen when one’s aspirations exceed one’s talents. I know I’ll continue to grow in the kitchen. Already I’ve come leaps and bounds – moving from dry chicken with salsa to hand-made Chicken Kiev or Marsala dishes. But the great thing is that there will never be a point where we’ve done it all.

There’s always room to grow, there’s always room to learn. Too often we shovel our food down without appreciating it. We take for granted what we’re eating, when we should be savouring it. And if food television has taught me anything, it’s been that food should be an experience.

So I’ll continue to emulate what I see on TV. After all, the worst thing these delusions of culinary grandeur can bring is a failed cooking experiment. But the potential reward that comes from making food an experience is one that my family and I can enjoy for years to come.

2007© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

Celine Dion? Kitaine, Not Evil

By Jason Menard

May 2, 2007 — We get it. Many of us hate Celine. But can we get some perspective on life. After all, as much as you may dislike her music, there’s no way in the world she should be listed as Canada ‘s worst person.

Sure, maybe the thought makes you giggle. But let’s get a grip.

A recent interview with the president of Canada’s National Historical Society, which publishes a history review called The Beaver and is the source of this Worst Canadian poll, indicated that Celine is amongst the candidates along with former Toronto Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard and serial killer Paul Bernardo.

Heady company that shows many of us aren’t thinking with our heads.

OK, Maple Leaf fans are prone to hyperbole — the natural by-product of overinflating their expectations before the NHL season starts and having them overwhelmingly shattered when another playoff season goes down in flames. So one can forgive them for living in their own little world, unable to see the bigger picture.

But, and I can’t believe I’m going to defend her here, what has poor Celine done to be lumped in with vicious scourges on our society like Paul Bernardo? There’s having fun and then there’s being cruel.

Sure, some of you may find Celine’s warbling cruel to your ears, but you can always turn it off. Personally, I like French Celine, can’t stand English Celine. Yes, when she comes on the screen, I sit with my wife and enjoy mocking her (Dion, not my wife) just as much as the next person, but I certainly don’t harbour any ill will towards her.

After all, what is Celine guilty of? Beating her chest maniacally during a song? Trying to channel Elvis in her embarrassing collection of poses she engages in? To the best of my knowledge, Celine is guilty of nothing more than having bad taste and having the money to indulge in her excesses ‘ no more than the aforementioned King of Rock and Roll did with his Jungle Room and fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

There’s a French word that doesn’t translate well into English, but sums up Celine perfectly –kitaine. It’s more than tacky, it’s not quite White Trash, but it’s a combination of things all rolled up into one leopard-print package. The Las Vegas wedding being carried in by manservants? Kitaine. The twisted rock faces she makes while singing? Kitaine. But since when has being tacky been grounds for hatred?

Is it because our fair Celine flew the coop south of the border to make her riches? Well, she’s not the first and certainly won’t be the last — and there’s hardly the same venom for Avril Lavigne and Neil Young as there is for Dion. We only validate our artists after they make it big south of the border anyways, so who’s to blame her for chasing the dollar signs while being able to stay with her child? Not me.

Is it because she’s prone to overindulgent ballads? Is our anger towards Celine nothing more than the grumpy effect that we have once the saccharine levels retreat from our bodies after hearing the latest sweeping melodramatic song over the airwaves? Is it nothing more than a result of us coming down from a sugar high?

Most likely, it’s a combination of all. She’s an easy target, who — Mr. Magoo-like — seems to stumble blissfully unaware of the trail of fromage she’s leaving in her wake. We love to tear down our stars ‘ especially those who seem to revel in being able to indulge their fantasies to such a great degree.

Yes, there are many reasons to dislike Celine. But I’ve yet to find one reason to hate her. And there’s certainly no reason to lump her in with company like Paul Bernardo.

The Beaver contest is looking for those who have had the most malign influence on The Great White North. Other than her aural assault — which is easily avoidable — Celine’s pretty much been a benign influence on this country. Now, for some she’s a benign tumour, for others she’s a shining star.

But in no way, shape, or form should she — or any other entertainer or athlete — be considered for this list. They’re entertainers, but you don’t have to be entertained by them. And just as much as this list is entertainment, there comes a time when being too frivolous is just as bad as taking things too seriously.

2007© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

A Matter of Perspective

By Jason Menard

One of the great things about life with my wife is the difference in our backgrounds – and our relationship has helped me to broaden my perspective on life. Oddly enough, I was reminded of this by the news that a new reality series focused on the creation of a new Menudo was in the offering.

That’s right. Menudo. Trust me, this will all make sense.

My wife is the daughter of a former diplomat. As such, much of her youth was spent living abroad: Algeria , Niger , Brazil , and Mexico . She spent a number of years in Mexico City , living at the embassy, but able to immerse herself in the language and the culture – a culture that included the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo.

For young pre-teen and early teen girls in that area of the world Menudo and similar band Timbiriche were music idols. Unfortunately, for young pre-teen and early teens in this neck of the woods Menudo’s impact was felt in a significantly different manner.

This first came to light when we were going through our collection of vinyl albums. Sifting through a stack of appropriately named dust jackets, I came across my wife’s collection of old albums. Our reactions were quite different — her eyes misted over with youthful memories; my eyes were wide with shock.

Now, it was at this time that I realized that I take my youthful influences for granted. Popular culture references that, to me, are common are, in fact, restricted only to a certain sub-section of people who lived during a specific time in that specific area. I had always, to a certain extent, assumed that because my wife and I are both Canadians and of the same age, we’d share many common experiences – much in the same way that I could easily relate with other friends and acquaintances that I had met. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I believe my, “I can’t believe you actually own this,” was met with an icy cold stare in return. Once that look thawed, it was followed by her asking how it was I knew of Menudo, growing up in the Great White North.

And here’s where our perspectives differed greatly. To many Canadian kids of a certain age, our exposure to Menudo was limited to breaks between Saturday morning cartoons. After getting fit with Mary Lou Retton, we’d then be subjected to perfectly coiffed, pastel-wearing young boys galavanting about in highly choreographed routines. To us, Menudo was nothing more than a cheesy, kid-friendly, boy-band precursor. But to my wife and her friends in Mexico they were so much more.

A band that was a source of mockery for us was an object of reverence for them. While we viewed them as disposable filler to be endured until Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends came on, in fact they were filling concert halls throughout the Latin world. We cried tears of laughter, they cried tears of idolatry.

Since that moment, the tables have been turned time and time again between our youthful experiences. Movies, music, and films that I view as iconic touchstones of my youth and carry the full weight of being cherished memories pass over my wife’s head as if they were light as a feather. Pop culture references, key literary experiences, and other character-defining moments are met with a quizzical look and quiet acceptance.

And, very quickly, it reinforced the notion that while two people, both of whom were born three months apart and only a few kilometers apart in Montreal, may arrive at the same destination, our perspectives can be drastically different based upon the route we’ve taken to arrive where we are. No version is right, no version is better – and the sharing of these journeys have allowed us to grow as individuals because we’re able to see beyond our own entrenched views and be more appreciative of the diversity and complexity of life.

But in the end, if we end up watching the Menudo reality show, we’ll probably still do so for two separate reasons. And while she’s recapturing fond memories of youth, I’ll probably be doing my best to stifle any grins and chuckles. After all, I’ve learned to respect her perspective – even if the view is slightly different than my own.

2007© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

Lessons Learned

By Jason Menard

You know what’s the best thing about university? It’s the opportunity to learn and explore exciting new worlds and experiences. And what’s the worst? The fact that everyone around you thinks they’re right and has all the answers.

Despite the cacophony of people all-too-ready to pounce on them, Ian Van Den Hurk, the editor-in-chief of The Gazette, and his staff have learned the greatest lesson of all from their spoof edition – the lesson that people make mistakes and it’s OK.

Now, if only others would be as tolerant and forgiving as they expect The Gazette staff to be. But when it comes to savaging the wounded, it seems that whatever slings and arrows that are nearby are fair game – even if they’re not based in truth.

I know, I’ve been there. Ten years ago, I sat in Van Den Hurk’s chair as editor in chief of the daily student newspaper of the University of Western Ontario . I had the honour of working with a dedicated, passionate group of people who were committed to excellence. Most importantly, they were committed to sacrificing their lives for the cause of serving the student body at large. We were a diverse group of men and women, working together knowing that we were fighting against various interest groups that only had one agenda to push – their own.

In a university environment, you’re immersed in a world of passionate people, who are learning new things and gaining new experiences every day. They are exposed to new causes and embrace them with the passion and vigour of youth – unfortunately, that’s not always tempered with experience and knowledge, and that enthusiasm without wisdom can be the fuel that fans the flames of anger. Passion often overwhelms perspective when dealing with various interest groups.

One of the arrows recently lobbed at Van Den Hurk and his staff is that The Gazette has long been a bastion for sexist comment, which is ludicrous. Over my four-year time at The Gazette I had the distinct pleasure of working for and with an unparalleled group of women, many of whom have gone on to positions of influence in the media and business world. They brought a passion and dedication to the publication of the news, but also were able to shape and refine our perspective. These were some of the strongest women I’ve met and they are the type of people of whom I would proud to have as role models for my daughter and my son!

In my exit column, I wrote how much I valued the contribution that everyone made at the paper and stated that the ignorant critics would always remain so. That opinion still holds because it’s not that people don’t want to understand – it’s that they choose not to.

Looking back on my days as EIC, I was vilified for choosing to run a Cultural Diversity issue in February. The decision was motivated by our desire to be more inclusive with the various groups around the campus, but due to financial and advertising restrictions, the only month we could afford to do this edition was February – the time of our Black History Month issue. We were vilified as racists, despite running a month’s worth of articles focusing on black history, because we chose to forgo a dedicated issue in lieu of embracing all cultures. Despite the positive feedback we got from the campus at large, a select few groups chose to focus solely on their own interests – to the point where we were told the African-Canadian co-ordinator of the month’s worth of coverage wasn’t “black enough.”

From that experience and others during that year, I learned a valuable lesson about respect and tolerance. I learned that in a position of influence you have to be even more sensitive to cultures than you think you are – but, in the end, you have to do what you feel is right.

But the key point is that I learned – and isn’t that what higher education’s about? Don’t forget that Van Den Hurk and the rest of his staff are students, juggling a passion for journalism with educational, familial, and social commitments. Many have to hold down second jobs because the pay they receive is a pittance – but they do it for the love of the craft. They’re passionate, dedicated people who only want to do the best, but sometimes make a mistake. And now, in rectifying that mistake, they have the opportunity to grow as writers, as editors, and — most importantly — as people.

In retrospect, the article lampooning Take Back the Night and women’s issues should have been vetted a little more closely. It should have been handled with the utmost in delicacy understanding the passions that the issue can inflame. But the topic is not taboo – no cow is too sacred for satire. How one puts that satire into effect is the key, and it’s a lesson that the staff of The Gazette are certain to have learned.

In this rush for everyone to mount their moral high horses, common sense is getting trampled underfoot. If there was truly no malice – and I can’t fathom, knowing the caliber of women that join the ranks of The Gazette, that there would be – and the staff is genuinely remorseful for the impact of their work, then we should afford them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. For those who are preaching tolerance from their respective pulpits, perhaps it’s time for them to lead by example.

In the end, the writers at The Gazette will be better, more well-rounded people for going through this experience – and isn’t that what higher education is about?

2007© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved