Blog # 70…June 2017
Hard to keep up and balanced with all that’s going on in the world, isn’t it??? As there’s more and more to cry about, I find myself more and more appreciating a good laugh. And I love encountering people who are smart and know how and when to be funny, offering a fresh view and putting serious matters in perspective.
Reading always helps me centre myself so it’s not surprising that I’ve found some solace in some new books that take us backstage to look at current issues and help us make some sense of them.
The first is by Scaachi Koul, who uses her razor sharp humour to share the fears and indignities she felt every day growing up as an outsider in Calgary. The essays in One day we’ll all be dead and none of this will matter take us from rape culture to racism with many stops in between to occasionally laugh in the midst of misery. The current influx of refugees and migrants offers Canadians a chance to broaden our notion of what and who we are and struggle to accept people who look, dress and act differently. Scaachi’s glimpse of how it feels to be marginalized in a white culture points out how some feelings are common to us all whatever our situation.
I remember Al Franken from Saturday Night live and was curious to see how he’d handle his entry into US politics. Elected as the Senator (D) from Minnesota in 2008 - reelected in 2014 - Al is a serious advocate for the citizens of his state, with an eye on national and global issues. He’s particularly passionate about the environment and the health of rural dwellers in his state. Although he’s never lost his comedian’s view of the world, he’s totally conscious that he wants to be effective in his current position and avoids easy cheap shots at the current administration. In Al Franken, Giant of the Senate he explores truth and laughter in his serious role representing Minnesotans on the national stage.
And as science is buffeted by deniers, two physicists, Neil Degrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry) and Lawrence Krauss (The Greatest Story Ever Told…so far) do us the favour of making their knowledge and views available in language clear and often funny - treating us as equals in a curiousity about the mysteries of the world.
Those are recent books; I have some old standbys when I need a laugh, My Family and other Animals by Gerald Durrell, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome and just about anything by SJ Perelman or David Sedaris. I hope you have yours too, keep them close, I have a feeling we’ll be needing them more and more.
And, after almost two years, here’s a tiny bit of movement on the file of our refugee family…stay tuned.