Jeff Melanson breaking his silence is like him breaking wind


You can trust Jeff Melanson; he has good hair.

Digging himself an ever-deeper hole, Chief Executive Invertebrate at the Toronto Symphony, Jeff Melanson, has an extended brain fart over the Valentina Lisitsa affair, which I’ve already written about.

There’s a piece in yesterday’s Musical Toronto, giving Jeff Melanson a platform to try to explain his inexplicable cancellation of Valentina Lisitsa’s concert with the TSO.  The article also links to a document prepared by TSO containing Lisitsa’s tweets. Unfortunately, Melanson just regurgitates his past statements albeit at greater and more boring length.  Issues he could have addressed, but didn’t:

  • How is “hate” defined?
  • Who exactly is offended, and can they reasonably justify their offence?
  • Where in Lisitsa’s contract does it say they can cut her because of her private activities?
  • How were the tweets collected that allegedly demonstrate Lisitsa’s “hate” chosen?  How do we know they weren’t cherry-picked?  Where is the context of those tweets?

Without answers to these questions, Melanson is just blowing smoke, and he’s still a coward.


This week’s invertebrate organization: The Toronto Symphony


TSO tells pianist to just play and shut up.

An upcoming performance by Valentina Lisitsa, a rising star in classical music, has been cancelled by the Toronto Symphony for reasons that are altogether unacceptable.

Lisitsa, born in Ukraine but ethnically Russian, has been tweeting statements about the ongoing strife in Ukraine, and that has apparently pissed off the wrong people. Media reports attribute the cancellation of her performance to a decision by TSO that her tweets are “provocative” and “deeply offensive.” (source)  But try as I might, I cannot find any analysis of the situation that rises above the level of knee-jerk pandering to political correctness and, possibly, ingratiation to funders – who are admittedly few and far between these days.

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Mike Moffatt needs an ethics refresher course

David Suzuki calls it like he sees it. (Image source: Globe and Mail)

In 2012, Mike Moffatt, and economist at UWO, wrote a piece called “David Suzuki needs an economics refresher course.” Well, no, actually he doesn’t. Indeed, it’s Moffatt who needs a refresher course – in the ethics of economic decision-making and of public debate.

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A note on ethics in design

BUILD modular shelves.

BUILD modular shelves.

I recently posted about a really shitty product on Google+, and one of the comments on that post put me in mind of the question of design ethics.  I almost just replied to the comment within G+, but then thought it might be better posted here.

Briefly, the product (described further here), is a highly modular and asymmetrically styled containers that can be “assembled” into many different configurations.

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Giambrone’s Mistakes and Our Mistakes

Adam Giambrone

Adam Giambrone would likely have made a good mayor for Toronto.

Adam Giambrone is a smart, young, energetic man who wanted to be Mayor of Toronto. He won’t be, now, because of perceived indiscretions in his personal life. And that’s too bad – partly because I think he would have been a good Mayor, and partly because he was shafted twelve ways from Sunday by a largely undereducated public and fuelled by sensation-seeking media.

Giambrone has a long-term “partner,” and seems to have had one or more shorter term relationships with other women. When his “affairs” became public knowledge, he appears to have tried to lie about it. Eventually, when the public evidence became overwhelming, he apologized publicly and withdrew his candidacy from the Mayoral election.

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