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Letters: week of Nov. 29

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Black Friday is a black hole of consumption


Sir: The influence of our U.S. neighbour is clearly evident as we are lured into the black hole of Black Friday.

It is so sadly ironic that the concept of giving thanks for what we already have is “celebrated” with flailing elbows, rushing to outrun others in consuming even more, thanks to Black Friday specials.

The observation of former clerk of the Privy Council Alex Himelfarb that we have become far more consumers than citizens is well supported in the book Brandwashed, by Martin Lindstrom. He notes that in the average life cycle we will each spend over 25,000 hours shopping.

Perhaps we all should take a moment to ponder how much time we will personally spend in a lifetime to sustain our democracy?

Too often we find occasional moments to make blood sport of condemning elected representatives of every sort at every level, before returning to our real sport of consumption. Rarely, if ever, do we find a moment to be thankful for all that our democracy has brought us and continues to bring us, in spite of its shortcomings.

Again ironic, at the time of 9/11 one of the first things the U.S. president suggested that Americans should do to keep their country strong was to go shopping.

That country continues to flail and polarize as its democratic process continues to erode. It is time to go beyond shopping to find better solutions.

Chasing the next best deal into the bottomless black hole of consumption will never bring us the contentment or the kind of society we demand of our political leadership. Unless we can become less the consumer and more the active citizen, the democracy that has given us so much will continue to erode while we hit the road…to shop.

When one day in the future we stop and wonder what happened, will we be capable of realizing that the problem might have been us?


Bob Sutton



Opening night of South Western film festival was memorable one

Sir: The opening night of the South Western International Film Festival was a memorable experience for me, and I would like to commend executive director Ravi Srinivasan for his talent and gifts in making SWIFF a success.

Unfortunately, the venue for the reception was not accessible for my friend who uses a scooter for mobility, but when Ravi saw our plight he graciously asked, “How can we make this work?”

We quite happily accepted a couple of plates of delicious spring rolls and headed to an adjacent restaurant, which found a place for us to sit despite the crowd. Then off we went to SCITS to see the film Eighth Grade.

I was intrigued by how the eighth grader’s YouTube videos aimed at her peers helped her mature, but especially by the portrayal of her dad, whose genuine love for her kept her strong and safe through some very difficult incidents in her life. A brief clip where she uttered a heartfelt prayer and another in which she straightforwardly affirmed her belief in God were meaningful to me.

Before the film, Ravi invited those who were fathers of a daughter to raise their hands. From where I sat, I didn’t see any hands go up, but I would hope and expect that after viewing the film many fathers’ hands would have been raised.

Marie-Paule Wilkinson
Bright’s Grove



Don’t write off this hard-working Sting team just yet

Sir: The Sarnia Sting are rebuilding after a fantastic, 46-win season, but with a second round exit from the playoffs.

But that’s junior hockey these days. You build up to make a run for it every three years. Lose, you’re a bum; win you’re set for life. It’s kind of like a game of snakes and ladders.

Hat off to the Sting, though. They went for it and fell short.

But sports is funny. When a team starts to pull together its confidence grows stronger.

I like this club. They skate hard, are young and have nothing to loose. I think they could put something together this season, and maybe even go to round three.

Just like in a beehive, it takes work, communication, unselfishness and everyone doing their job. Come on Sting. Keep working, keep dreaming and keep skating.


Cam Ross


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