Logrolling in our time - Macleans.ca
 

Logrolling in our time


 

I know it’s becoming a bit of a refrain around here, but apologies for the light blogging, even taking the usual summer lassitude into consideration. Anyway, I’m sure you’ve been preoccupied with the latest issue of the LRC. What, you don’t subscribe to the LRC?

Look at what you’re missing. Joe Heath leads off with an essay on what caused last fall’s financial crisis, while Jack Mitchell takes one for the team and reviews not one, not two, … but FIVE books about the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. It’s a lovely read, trust me. There’s the usual LRC stuff, e.g. poems <small> which I don’t read </small>, and a review of the new Alice Munro, which I don’t care for. But you might.

Anyway, the most interesting review in the issue is buried at the back — a critical look at John Ibbitson’s new pamphlet on Canada and/in North America, by Les Horswill. It’s a fun and challenging read, because Horswill pushes Ibbitson to places that he doesn’t dare go, but which — deep down — I suspect he [Ibbitson] wants to. The whole thing raises anew a discussion that’s been very quiet since 9/11, viz. the place of Canada in North America and whether our future is indeed continental. Here’s the money quote from Horswill:

In this light, the border is not merely a menace to Canada. It stands as a hindrance to the full expression of North America’s two pre-eminent cultural achievments: transcontinental federalism and the freedom of people to change their minds, their work, and where they live.

Funny, if someone like Horswill had written this ten years ago it would have been on the front page of the National Post.


 
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Logrolling in our time

  1. there are also three letters in response to your review of russell and sossin, including one penned the editors themselves. is this going to get a separate treatment? hope so.

  2. and both the review of Ibbitson is quite good, though it has nothing on Jack's. well done Jack!

    • Thanks, Sea&Mountains (and AP!). And I agree about the letters, which I hope will be online soon and which perhaps Mr. Potter can link to. It's always great when a serious review of a serious issue, like Mr. Potter's in the July/August LRC, generates a lively debate like that.

      In my (perhaps biased!) opinion, the LRC is a truly great deal. I find nothing so satisfying as receiving a big slice of well-written intellectual material every month, such as one can easily take off to the café and sit with through a decadent afternoon; and with the LRC one doesn't have to pretend one is enjoying it as an Englishman (as with the TLC) or as an American (as with the NYRB): rather, the pieces are written for us. That is one treat that even the bold and interesting Mr. Horswill would, I hope, not wish to deprive us of.

    • Thanks, Sea&Mountains (and AP!). And I agree about the letters, which I hope will be online soon and which perhaps Mr. Potter can link to. It's always great when a serious review of a serious issue, like Mr. Potter's in the July/August LRC, generates a lively debate like that.

      In my (perhaps biased!) opinion, the LRC is a truly great deal. I find nothing so satisfying as receiving a big slice of well-written intellectual material every month, such as one can easily take off to the café and sit with through a decadent afternoon; and with the LRC one doesn't have to pretend one is enjoying it as an Englishman (as with the TLS) or as an American (as with the NYRB): rather, the pieces are written for us. That is one treat that even the bold and interesting Mr. Horswill would, I hope, not wish to deprive us of.

    • Thanks, Sea&Mountains (and AP!). And I agree about the letters, which I hope will be online soon and which perhaps Mr. Potter can link to. It's always great when a serious review of a serious issue, like Mr. Potter's in the July/August LRC, generates a lively debate like that.

      In my (perhaps biased!) opinion, the LRC is a truly great deal. I find nothing so satisfying as receiving a big slice of well-written intellectual material every month, such as one can easily take off to the café and sit with through a decadent afternoon; and with the LRC one doesn't have to pretend one is enjoying it as an Englishman (as with the TLS) or as an American (as with the NYRB): rather, the pieces are written for us. Given how much time one puts in as a loyal cosmopolitan (anglophone division), that's quite gratifying.

      • It's like the Walrus, except readable.

        (Full disclosure: I'm working on a new review for them too.)

        • I just about spat coffee onto my computer after misparsing that as Wells saying he was working on a new review for the Walrus.

          The LRC is the kind of thing I liked to read when I was in school and found myself spending lots of time loitering in libraries. Now that I am in what I optimistically call the workforce, I haven't been staying on top of a handful of worthy periodicals (I even let my subscription to Private Eye lapse, for God's sake). But every so often, I do look at website and finger my credit card thoughtfully.

          • Ironically, a year of Wellsian diktat, i.e. handing him the power of life and death, the crook and the flail, not to mention the pen, may be the only thing that can save the Walrus. On verra.

            Loiter more, Lord Bob!

            So fleetingly, alas, Lord Bob, Lord Bob,
            The years run out; and not a single hour
            Can piety preserve, for wrinkles rob
            Our later days, along with death's dread power.

            Not if, for every passing day, my friend,
            Three hundred bulls unto the tearless lord
            Of hell to sacrifice you condescend,
            Who guards Geryon past that grim fjord,

            The watery cleft which all of us must cross,
            All of us nourished on the fruits of earth,
            Whether we greet the peasants as the boss
            Or pass away as poor as at our birth,

            In vain we dread the bloody sight of war,
            Or growling Adriatic; yes, in vain,
            When autumn strikes, we palpitate before
            The Afric Wind, and call it inhumane.

            No, no, the black and aimless, stagnant mere
            Of Cocytos, and Danaos' cursed race,
            And Sisyphus, condemned to persevere
            In endless toil: such evils we must face.

            Your land, your house, your charming wife are left
            Behind; and each of your new-planted trees
            Shall be of their brief gardener bereft,
            Save for the cypress, by the mortal breeze.

            Your wiser heirs shall then have wine galore,
            The wine you stash behind a hundred locks;
            They'll spill your haughty cellar on the floor,
            Which should now be besprinkling high priests' frocks.

            (I don't grasp the last line either, but don't blame me . . .)

        • No — FULL disclosure would include telling us what book you're reviewing.

  3. Colour the new kid in class confused…what's the LRC?

  4. Given that this blog is aimed at the general public, you should consider that many readers, including myself, don't know what "LRC" stands for off the top of their heads.

    • rumors, while your point stands, it is the Literary Review of Canada.

    • Agreed, although I would have skipped past anything with "Literary" in its title, and missed what appears to be an interesting magazine. But, is it the August issue you are talking about, because I don't see any of the articles mentioned in the "buy one issue" section and that is the latest issue listed. Still, that one sounded good, too.

      • yeah the website seems to be lagging print Jenn. it is september being discussed; though you are right august was also a fine month in LRC.