Rick McGinnis

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Baby Boomers caused great harm

Baby Boomers caused great harm

Just at the zenith of their political, cultural and social influence, it has become fashionable to turn a corrosive eye on the Baby Boomers, that huge generational cohort born somewhere between the final years of the Second World War and the beginning of Beatlemania outside of Britain. Keep in mind that very little of this is self-critical; the generation preceding the Boomers is far too old and diminished to ... (Continue reading)

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The cultured life

The cultured life

Culture is one of those words – like marriage, society, science, family and gender - that we use a lot these days. And like those words, if you stopped the argument where it’s being used, it’s unlikely that everyone using it would share the same definition. I’m sure this has been the case for at least a generation now, but I’ve slowly come to the realization that, the longer this situation persists, the less likely it is that, in some ... (Continue reading)

The Young Pope garners young conservative following

There’s a scene at the beginning of the season finale of The Young Pope that sums up this controversial HBO series as much as any of a dozen or so startling scenes in the previous nine hours. The titular pontiff, played by Jude Law, has just been told by his director of publicity that he is scheduled to lead a group of schoolchildren on a tour of ... (Continue reading)

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Fake news is nothing new

Fake news is nothing new

There’s a story my family likes to tell about the only time my mother’s photo ever appeared in a national newspaper. She had been invited to the offices of the Toronto Star with several other women, where the paper had apparently set up a test kitchen. Several dishes were baked, interviews were conducted, and photos were taken of the women. When the story ran my mother appeared in newsprint showing off her favorite pie recipe. She told everyone that it wasn’t ... (Continue reading)

Close encounters with first-contact movies

Close encounters with first-contact movies

I have always been a sucker for the “first-contact” subgenre of sci-fi movies – films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Contact, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, District 9 and, at the very genesis of the genre, The Day The Earth Stood Still. Distinct from the usual sort of sci-fi that re-imagines westerns or war movies with ray guns and space ships, these films try to imagine how ... (Continue reading)

Politics and the social media bubble

Politics and the social media bubble

Depending on what you read on my Facebook page this month, the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency was either the onset of fascism on American soil or the beginning of the return of American greatness. There was little in the way of middle ground, and keep in mind that the majority of my friends on social media are Canadians, unable to vote in the U.S. election ... (Continue reading)

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The natural world doesn’t care about you

The natural world doesn’t care about you

I was born and raised a city kid; you have to go back to Scotland and Queen Victoria to find someone in my family who lived and worked in the country. Pavement and asphalt are my natural habitat, so it was with some unease that I bought my first pair of hiking shoes this year, in preparation for a trip to Ireland that involved climbing to the peak of ... (Continue reading)

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The majestic sky

The majestic sky

Clouds as a gateway to God Red Lodge Montana I spent 20 years of my life running from God. I won’t go into the reasons here – for a long time I blamed poor religious education, but that was just an excuse – but I began my adult life in full flight from questions about God, faith and spirituality. Obviously I didn’t run fast or ... (Continue reading)

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Surviving university

Surviving university

University of Western Ontario Early this summer I attended a graduation party for a small, private Catholic high school where the children of several friends were saying farewell to classmates and teachers they had known for years – some of them since kindergarten. Many of these young men and women were babies when I first met them, so this pleasant evening was tinged with melancholy thoughts about ... (Continue reading)

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Appreciating Whit Stillman’s comedies of manners

Appreciating Whit Stillman’s comedies of manners

Whit Stillman, New York City August 1990. My youngest daughter is fond of asking unanswerable questions like “what’s your favorite food?” or “who’s your favorite band?” I usually answer that I’m too old to have favorite anythings anymore, but she hasn’t asked me “who’s your favorite living movie director?” yet, and that would be easy to answer: Whit Stillman. Stillman is an American who burst ... (Continue reading)

Facebook and politics

Amusements Rick McGinnis Facebook was launched a dozen years ago as a place for Ivy League college students to connect online and answer burning collegiate questions like “Who’s hot and who’s not?” But even before they made a movie about it, Facebook had gone from being an online distraction only potentially more interesting than World of Warcraft into something between a broadcast network and a public utility. Perhaps this ... (Continue reading)

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Escaping radical feminism

Amusements Rick McGinnis As the father of daughters, I always feel a bit guilty when I find myself railing against the excesses and absurdities of contemporary feminism. I mentally prepare myself for the counterarguments my position will invite: Don’t you believe women should have the same opportunities as men? Don’t you think equal work should mean equal pay? Do you want to return to a time when women ... (Continue reading)

Waking up from the ‘American Dream’

Waking up from the ‘American Dream’

"The children are our future” is probably among the most sententious phrases you can utter in politics, a sure tell that the person using it has no plan that will immediately have an impact on the children – yours or anyone else’s – or the future. So it’s reasonable to raise an eyebrow at a book that makes some dire claims about the dim prospects of future generations if ... (Continue reading)

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Jian Ghomeshi and the sexual revolution hangover

Jian Ghomeshi and the sexual revolution hangover

Former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi leaving a Toronto courtroom with lawyer Marie Henein. As I write this, the trial of former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi is in recess until the judge hands down a verdict later this March. What was supposed to be an open and shut indictment of the onetime media darling turned out to be ... (Continue reading)

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Hollywood goes boldly pro-abortion

Since I began writing this column almost seven years ago, I have had a few mantras – dictums that I’ve thought you can rely on when judging popular culture and its baleful evolution. One is that cheaper usually beats better (as in mp3s or video on cellphones versus high end audio gear and movie theatres). Another is that there’s no such thing as a period film; every film is ... (Continue reading)

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