Jeff Melanson breaking his silence is like him breaking wind

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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.

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This week’s invertebrate organization: The Toronto Symphony

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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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Are young people really that bad?

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Are the young really that bad? No, they’re not. Everyone else is.

As I enter serious middle age, and I retain memories of youth while gaining a certain wisdom of age (and still have the energy to care), I find myself wondering about some of the canards I have heard for decades.  One of them is that the younger generations are always somehow worse than they were “once upon a time.”  I really think that’s not true, and here’s an argument to support this claim. Continue reading

Sexism and shirts

The infamous shirt.

The infamous shirt.

I’ve waited a while before posting this because I didn’t want to be caught up in the unholy craziness that surrounded “ShirtGate” when it first happened.

Genital mutilation.
Rape culture.
Religious misogyny.
Unnecessary, invasive, medical procedures.
Wage disparity.
Women treated like chattel.
Irrational body image expectations.
Whole industries devoted to telling women what to be and how to be it….

…and Matt Taylor’s shirt.

One of these things is not like the others.

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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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Intentionally missing the point

The advocates for the Energy East pipeline are, in my opinion, acting unethically because they’re trying to sway public opinion in their favour by means that are not authentic.

Evidence-based policy-making is the best known way to make policy. But it’s not enough to depend on evidence, even if the evidence were fully recognized by all participants.  The agents who develop evidence – discover, measure, and communicate it – are biased by their value system.  Beyond that, policy-making itself has its own biases independent of the nature and quality of the evidence used.
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