Monday, December 17, 2018

a news service

Dictionary entries are filed alphabetically: choose a letter to view entries.
The dictionary contains 611 entries.


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Jacobs, Jane

American-born urban critic and scholar who settled in Toronto during the Vietnam War to protect her children and her sanity. She has become a national treasure, and a beacon to U.S.-born immigrants for her commitment to and understanding of the differences between local and cosmopolitan values, and how they rarely have any resemblance to government policies and urban development practices. See Amer-Canadians

James Bay I

Hydroelectric development designed to drown Northern Quebec’s native and caribou populations while providing separatist Quebecois with economic dowry for entry into the North East Power Grid. Primary drownee to date is Quebec Government, in red ink.

James Bay Ii

Indian lands, along with 60 cent of Quebec’s land area, if the PQ attempt to sever Quebec from Canada.

Japanese Restaurants

One of the pleasures of Vancouver is that it has the best Japanese restaurants in North America, and the only good ones in Canada. It’s almost enough to make you miss the place, if you’ve left it.

Je Me Souviens

Quebec’s license plate slogan: Freely translated, it means, “We’re going to get You English pigs may have defeated Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham, but we’re going to punish you with our bad manners-and get all the federal civil service jobs in the process. Kind of makes you wish they’d remember that this has been the most benign 230 year military occupation in human history.

Jim Flaherty

Stephen Harper’s finance minister, 2007-.  Flaherty was the only person in Ontario’s 1990s kick-the-poor Conservative regime to the right of Premier Mike Harris himself. That Stephen Harper has made Flaherty his finance minister, and allows him off the leash regularly despite his tendency to put his foot into brown and messy things, either says a lot about where Harper would like to take Canada politically, or about just how little other talent is available within the party ranks.

Jobs

We don’t seem to have enough jobs to go around, or governments that recognize that the lack of meaningful work is the primary threat to Canada, not a debt crisis that is nearly pure ideology. How can you have a just or happy society unless the abilities of its citizens are wanted?

John Baird

Lantern-jawed Federal Conservative Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Stephen Harper’s chief attack dog and parliamentary bully. Foreign Affairs is his fourth cabinet post, having held Transport, Environment and Treasury Board, and a couple of other ministries no one has ever heard about.  He was also a post-teen cabinet minister in Mike Harris’ right-wing Ontario regime, and he learned his bullying skills in Harris’ not-exactly-lamented-school of beating up the poor.

Johnson, Ben

Jamaican sprinter, steroid user, comeback artist, now personal trainer for Moamar Khaddafy’s brats. Was he a hoax or the victim of a hoax? If he was the victim, just exactly what was the hoax, and when is it going to be over?

July 1st

Formerly Dominion Day, now Canada Day. It was more fun when we were still sure there was something to celebrate other than American domination and the availability (in Ontario) of poor quality Taiwanese fireworks.

Junos

Canadian Music Awards given to musical performers acceptable to parents. This explains why Anne Murray, Murray McLaughlin, Corey Hart and various friends of David Foster have basements filled with Juno trophies. Things are getting better, if you think Alanis Morissette is a step in the right direction.

Justin Trudeau

Eldest son (now reaching his 40s) of Pierre Trudeau, current Liberal MP for Montreal riding of Papineau, which happens to be the smallest federal riding in the country, with the lowest average family income. He has his father’s charisma and oratorical skills, along with some of his political instincts and courage. But it isn’t yet clear that he inherited his father’s intelligence. So far he has shown a knack for supporting good causes and crash-and-burn political figures. But if the federal Liberal party has a future, Justin Trudeau is going to be at its centre. For better or worse.

Jutra, Claude

Eventually, the bio-bit about Quebecois moviemaker Claude Jutra will again read: “Jutra, Claude (1930-1986), born in Montreal, major mid-20th century Canadian film director and one of the modern founders of Quebec cinema, best known for Mon Oncle Antoine (1971) and Kamouraska (1973) among his two dozen films. Committed suicide in 1986, by drowning in the St. Lawrence River, near Montreal, age 56, while suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.”

But for a week or so in mid-February 2016, 30 years after his death, the director, actor and screenwriter’s bio reads: “Claude Jutra, pedophile, slept with boys as young as [fill in the blank]. Also made some movies. His hated name, merci bon Dieu!, now removed from Quebec Film Awards and various streets and parks in Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec.” A bit overwrought, and sanctimonious to boot, no doubt, but the issue tends to over-excite public wrath, and the outrage will likely calm down after the turn of a couple of news cycles.

The biography of Quebec filmmaker Claude Jutra by author Yves Lever is seen in a bookstore, Tuesday, Feb.16, 2016 in Montreal. Telefilm Canada says it will allow Quebec's film industry to take the lead on what to do about awards bearing the name of a famous director accused of sleeping with young boys. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

The biography of Quebec filmmaker Claude Jutra by author Yves Lever is seen in a bookstore, Tuesday, Feb.16, 2016 in Montreal.

This sudden, probably temporary, verdict on Jutra’s life came about when the CBC’s French-language Radio-Canada (and then its English-language counterpart) reported that a new biography of Jutra by retired cinema professor and movie critic Yves Lever alleged that the director had sex with “underage” boys, mostly in their mid-teens, but possibly younger. The chapter on Jutra’s pederastic sexual preferences occupies only 4 pages of Lever’s book, and is slightly vague. Jutra “liked boys who were 14 or 15 years old and even younger,” Lever said in an media interview, and although the chapter doesn’t offer specific evidence, most people who knew Jutra or the Quebec film world don’t dispute the claim.

The story amped up considerably in the next days when a La Presse reporter uncovered an unidentified middle-aged man who charged, in a distraught interview, that Jutra had molested him from the ages of 6-16. The story perhaps reminded readers of a scene from the current Oscar-nominated film Spotlight, about how Boston Globe investigative journalists in 2001 revealed the story of Catholic Church priests molesting parish boys and how the Boston archdiocese tried to cover it up. In the Jutra matter, what might have been an arguable erotic preference for too-young adolescents turned, in short order, into a dreaded case of pedophilia. A day later, screenwriter Bernard Dansereau came forward with allegations that he, too, had been molested by Jutra in the early 1970s, when he was 12 or 13 years old. Quebec provincial police launched an investigation, urged other victims to contact them, and recommended that Dansereau file a complaint, even though the would-be accused had died 30 years ago.

The ensuing social eruption had less to do with Jutra than with the reputation of various institutions and sites in Quebec. Provincial politicians were quick to wade into the debate, and soon arts bureaucrats and civic officials, anxious to placate the public, were scrambling into damage control mode. The annual Quebec film awards, officially known as “the Jutras,” handed out in March, were promptly slated for renaming. Jutra’s name will also be stripped from Montreal’s Claude Jutra Park and a street named Claude Jutra Crescent, as well as the streetnames of half a dozen other towns in the province. Jutra’s My Uncle Antoine is still available on YouTube and will presumably not be subject to the erasure operation.

Like 99.99 per cent of the general population, we’re naturally opposed to pedophilia on the grounds that children, especially “prepubescent children, generally aged 11 or younger,” (as the CBC report on the “medical definition” of pedophilia put it), are incapable of engaging in meaningful consent to sexual activities with adults. What’s odd about this still taboo topic is the competitive aggressiveness that people discussing it feel the need to display, for fear of being regarded as “soft” on pedophilia.

Given both the effects on children and the social (and criminal) consequences of engaging in sex with children, no one in his right mind would choose to be a pedophile. So, it has to be assumed that pedophiles are not exactly in their right minds when it comes to objects of desire, that it’s a form of mental illness, and the attention of medical personnel is appropriately directed to therapeutic activities designed to prevent pedophilia and to protect children (all of which turns out to be, according to medical testimony, difficult to do).

Most of the social gossip about Jutra suggests that the main focus of his sexual activity was with mid-teen boys, often working as rentboys in Montreal, and that much of his non-pedophiliac sex was arguably legal. The age of consent in Canada in the 1970s and 80s was 14, hedged in by a few additional restrictions (the age of consent wasn’t raised to 16 until 2008, although child pornography legislation from the 1990s defined children as anyone under 18, or even appearing to be under 18). In the 19th century, when Canada was largely an agricultural country, the age of consent was 12, mainly to conveniently provide child brides for Canadian farmers, a practice then and still widespread in many cultures. However, given the fervour of public outrage about these matters, most discussion of the topic is still confined to professional and academic circles, and as the old quip has it, “Never try to explain to a lynch mob, armed with pitchforks and nooses, the difference between such things as pederasty and pedophilia, or anything else having to do with sex and children.”

Jutra.

Jutra.

As for the late Jutra, the best that can hoped for, as biographer Lever says, is that the revelations in his book won’t tarnish the reputation of the filmmaker – that is, the emphasis ought to be on the living films and their director rather than the posthumous, unfortunate subject of the biography.