Arts and the Avenue: The Bleeding Heart Art Space

This is an interview piece that was written a few months ago. It took me well outside of my writing comfort zone, but also opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on life, art, and community. If you’re in Edmonton, check out The Bleeding Heart Art Space.

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Located in the heart of Edmonton’s Alberta Avenue, the Bleeding Heart Art Space is surrounded by change in one of the city’s most diverse and dynamic neighbourhoods. It isn’t mere happenstance that brings BHAS to this area: Alberta Avenue has become an incubator for Edmonton’s art and culture scene. But ‘The Ave’, as it is colloquially known, is in the early stages of gentrification. Once a thriving and prosperous middle class residential neighbourhood, it is just emerging from a period of decay, rising crime, and plunging property values. The most immediate and tangible result of this is a neighbourhood with startling contrasts: a trendy ‘not-for-profit’ coffee shop, which features live local musicians to serenade patrons over their unpronounceable beverages, sits nestled between excellent restaurants offering everything from barbecue to Ethiopian cuisine. Small grocers offer hard-to-find items to the many immigrant families in the area, and interested shoppers can probably find a bakery from their continent of choice. Meanwhile on the same street, seedy bars and a pornographic video store compete with a community center and a playground.

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Hitting the Links

Thomas Sowell on the ‘living wage’. The idea of arbitrarily raising minimum wages without regard to market forces or the real value of labour is a perfect encapsulation of activism  conducted without regard to consequences. Low-wage jobs are like the on-ramp of earnings success: the steeper the ramp, the more people get stuck at the bottom.

Here’s The New York Times with a great piece on the withering of thought in contemporary universities.

A dissident voice commenting on American race-relations. Thoughtful, but also comes with a language warning.

The Wise and the Witty

“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.” – G.K. Chesterton

“[Post-modernism] is a debilitating intellectual fashion indulged in by people who give the impression of never having been near a human rights violation.” – Fred Halliday

“One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that ‘violence begets violence.’ I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure — and in some cases I have — that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.” – Jeff Cooper

1,709,900 Arab full voting citizens in Israel. Meanwhile, 12 Jews alive in Egypt, 45 in Yemen, 50 in Syria and 0 in Saudi Arabia.

With all of the hoopla about Bibi’s recent election win, it’s important to remember that Israel is the only free democracy in the Middle East. While you might not like the outcome of this latest election, bear in mind that the criticism being directed at Israel is made possible solely BECAUSE it is democratic. This fact alone should be enough to temper some of the vitriol being spewed around by those who have an ideological axe to grind.

You can fool all the people...

JudenFree The numbers tell the true story. Racial cleansing in most Mideast countries copied Juden Free efforts by Nazi Germany in the 1930s, forcing Jews to leave or face the consequences. This tragic photo is from that period.

While the U.S. White house is moaning about why one political party in Israel complained about “droves” of voters being driven by foreigners to polls in a “get out the vote” effort, the racist, apartheid policies of the Promised Land’s neighbors go unspoken.

Forgetting Gaza and the West Bank – where there have been no elections for a decade – and ignoring American apologists, who complain that Israel is never sufficiently democratic, looking around the Mideast one learns that the “Juden Free” movement did not die with our victory in World War II, but has continued unabated in many Arab nations.

For example, Mexico has 1.5 times the population of Egypt, and 5,618

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Academic Caviar

Ok, this one is a bit heavy. It’s three pieces all dealing with the question of whether ISIS is (or is not) Islamic. The first piece is the Atlantic article that I put up last week, followed by a response by Mehdi Hasan who rebuts Wood’s thesis in the New Statesman. Finally, there’s Tom Holland’s New Statesman response to Hasan. Be warned that these are not for the casual reader, but if you really want to acquaint yourself with the arguments flying around out there, these are excellent sources. While I’m not terribly familiar with Holland and Wood, Hasan is a very well-known Islamic apologist. I tend not to agree with him, and his piece is by far the longest of the two. It is very well-written, though I fear that he has devoted about 10,000 words of excellent prose to a circular argument wherein ISIS isn’t Islamic because he and a number of Islamic scholars say so. In this respect, Holland’s response to Hasan is terrific. I’m really partial to the comparison between the Protestant Reformation and Radical Islam. I think it would be very difficult to rebut the comparison without insisting on some sort of Islamic exceptionalism (the bete noire of the post-modernist/post-colonialist crowd). For those brave souls who have an opinion on this, let me know what you think in the comments.

The Atlantic (Wood)

New Statesman (Hasan)

New Statesman (Holland)

Lastly, because I’ve spent the weekend indulging myself with ‘deep thoughts’ on Islam and the West, I thought I’d include a spectacular panel discussion from just a few weeks ago which includes both Douglas Murray and Maajid Nawaz.

[Panel Discussion]

Blue Poop: On Early Childhood Nutrition

Blue poop yesterday, blue poop today. And there’s probably going to be blue poop tomorrow.

Keeping a baby fed is quite the ordeal.

The drama started the day he was born. Unexpectedly premature, he was moved into the NICU while my wife recovered on the other side of the hospital from a double surgery. Babies don’t eat much for the first day of their life, but after that, it becomes the most crucial thing in the world to make sure they get fed.

My first food-related conflict started with a team of specialists on their daily tour of the NICU. All but demanding to put a nasogastric feeding tube into a newborn that hadn’t had the opportunity to try and eat anything yet, they were more than shocked to be told “no”. It angered the doctor, but amused the residents. It also ticked-off the aged nurse who demanded to know if I would be capable of attending to his feedings every two hours around the clock. She seemed to think I wasn’t up for it.

Between baby-feedings and tending to my wife on the other side of the hospital, I didn’t sleep for the next four days. Turns out he ate just fine without having food pumped directly into his stomach. This was my first hint that perhaps expert advice in the area of baby-feeding should be taken with a grain of … salt.

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Hitting the Links

Solid interview Brian Lilley with Dr. Zuhdi Jasser at the Manning Conference. Jasser’s views on de-radicalization are spot-on.

Here’s a really great Telegraph article on the subject of academic freedom and multiculturalism in the U.K.

While I thought that talk of Alberta’s possible secession had died out, here it is again in the National Post, but this time from an American who has an interesting take on things.