Just think of all the Spidermen and Incredible Hulks!
And get Spain, Germany and Greece to make up some for themselves ... I swear, nothing good ever came of raw fish or airplanes!
(Credit: Mrs. EMG)
At first blush, income splitting seems to bring more fairness to the system. Where someone who earns $80,000 and has a stay-at-home spouse now pays about $3,500 more tax than a working couple each making $40,000, income splitting would leave both couples paying the same.Um, okay ... Except that under the present system the given divorced parent is no better off anyway. To say, then, that "one person's fairness is another's pain" with respect to this particular inequity is to suggest a causal relationship between the two that doesn't, I'm afraid, exist. So ... erm ... what was your argument again, Mr. Star? That my neighbour--Javier--and I both used to get screwed, but only I get screwed now, does not make Javier responsible for my ongoing, and certainly not increased, screwedness.* I'm supposed to be ticked off that he, a father of two, gets a tiny bit of a break from the grind of making ends meet because I don't? Could I ask you perhaps, for the sake of my dignity and lest my neighbour think considerably less of me, to mind your own goddam business?
But one person's fairness is another's pain. Consider a single, divorced parent who also makes $80,000 and pays child support for four children to a former spouse. That person would pay $3,500 more in tax than either of the income-splitting couples, even if they have no kids. Income-splitting sure wouldn't strike the divorced parent as fair.
The United Church of Canada is launching the largest advertising campaign ever by a Canadian church in an attempt to spark debate about religious issues and encourage people to come back to the pews.Reverend-cum-Marketing-Executive Keith Howard explains the United Church’s reasoning for undertaking a campaign whose monetary cost must be at least as considerable as the toll it takes on good taste:
The series of advertisements poke fun at some traditions and tackle controversial topics such as sex and gay marriage.
One includes statues of two grooms on a wedding cake and asks, "Does anyone object?" Another features a can of whipped cream with the question, "How much fun can sex be before it's a sin?" Still another depicts a bobble-head Jesus on a car dashboard and asks, "Funny. Ticket to hell. What do you think?"
"We have become aware that particularly for people in the 30- to 45-age group, many of them do not even know that the United Church exists, much less what we stand for."A simple enough problem, Reverend. People don’t know that the United Church exists for the rather simple reason that, really, it doesn’t. Or it does, but its quality is so nebulous, so diffuse, so insubstantial, as to constitute more of a religious gas. A kind of post-Christian flatus: intangible, but somehow still offensive.
"I guess I really should read the National Post. You know: that I might better know mine enemy."
The remark made me uneasy for a number of reasons: I am myself a reader of the National Post and, indeed, was known to this gathering to be so ( ... it's a condition, you see. Like leprosy. Your approach is sounded by bells); it (the remark) elicited from every mouth at once (except, obviously, my own) a, it seemed to me, pointedly vehement expression of approval (though, to be fair, the drink has a habit of making me a little paranoid); and, most jarring of all, it came from a person who, to the best of my knowledge, has never had especially strong or divergent political views—or if he does, he's never been at all vocal about them before.
I asked the obvious question.
"How do you figure that the Post is thine enemy when, as you say, you never read it?"
"Well ... Whenever I visit my brother he's got a copy hanging about. I take a look at it then."
"And what exactly makes the paper so terrible again?"
"The reporting's awful!"
"And you consider shabby journalism your enemy? What Canadian newspaper isn't your enemy then?"
"It's the slant."
"The slant?! Have you ever read the Toronto Star?"
Here he paused to give the others of our group a cheeky grin, then turned back to me. "It's the particular slant. It's an extremely right wing newspaper."
Ach! Well at least he didn't say that it was conservative.
It was an irritating conversation to say the least. And one that, I must confess, I bowed out of quite quickly.
Why? Well, firstly, defending the National Post isn't so much a losing battle as it is, unfortunately, just a lost cause. For while I do read the Post, I can't say that I'm much of a fan. It's true that, daily, I read it before I then read the Star, various of the Suns, then the Globe and Mail ... But I'm under no illusions as to its pedigree. Indeed, I might go so far as to say that it's been getting progressively mediocre-er with every passing month. I'll admit that I once had a preference for its op-ed pages over those of the other rags on offer—back when the likes of George Jonas were making more than once weekly appearances, and the likes of Warren Kinsella were making none. But this past preference isn't enough for me to risk the likelihood of a MillerTime pariahdom in defense of a paper that's managed somehow to retain all the dogmatic disapproval of Canada's 'educated' majority, without ever managing to be especially conservative. (A friend recently bemoaned to me that the Post hasn't even been able to muster the momentum to nail down an Arts and Letters niche—short of, that is, the prolix pissings of that androgenous dwarf.)
But none of this makes the Post substantially worse than any of the country’s other newspapers. Indeed, I would think that it rather puts it on a par with them. But you’ll notice the conspicuous absence that night, in the persons concerned, of even a recognition of the kind of double standard necessary to condemn a newspaper without ever actually reading it. Mea culpa, after all, est sua culpa in the 21st century's ever-revising compendium of conventional wisdom. Who am I to try standing fast against such a tide?
Who am I to try standing fast against such a tide?
I’m hardly making any novel or original observations when I say that this sort of stuff is typical of the Canadian philosophical disposition. (If it can be called that. Given that it’s more of an anti-disposition.) It’s not so much that we’re Canadian (don’t like the idea of nationalism, thank you very much) as that we’re not American. It’s not so much that we’re Liberal (labels are so confining, don’t you think) as that we’re not Conservative. It’s not so much that we like the Globe (it’s still awfully conservative, don’t you know) as that it’s not the Post.
That, culturally, the golden standard by which we measure ourselves is not only American but, I would suggest, more American than American (hence our constant failure to be even successfully derivative of our neighbours in this respect—sure, you invented the wheel. So what?! Don’t you see that this wheel here is even wheelier than yours … No, it’s meant to be flat in that spot!) … That, politically, we are so far gone in the counter-intellectual throws of materialism that we’ve actually undertaken to insist that the difference between liberalism and conservatism is not one of degree but one of kind (hence the prevalent, desperate equation of conservatism with fascism) … That it is quite literally impossible for this country to produce so contrarian a national newspaper for it to be actually, reasonably considered hostile or opposed to the status quo, but that we’ve made as much of what inoffensive little we’ve got anyway … That any of these things are the case is, quite simply, immaterial.
What isn’t the case, chappy? Now there’s a question. Tell me what it's not, and I’ll tell you where I stand.