Back in the bad old days, before Pierre Trudeau saved Canada from the horrors of fiscal solvency and smallish government, school children, mostly girls, were taught something called home economics. The theory, terrible quaint though it sounds, is that since most women would become homemakers they should be prepared for that role. Some, no doubt, came from good homes where dutiful mothers ensured that their daughters knew how to cook, sew and deal with troublesome infants. Some did not come from good homes. Part of the point of public education was to make sure that all girls knew how to cook nutritious food for their families. More broadly it was to ensure that all children acquired life skills along with whatever algebra and Shakespeare they could pick up.
That was one of the goals of public education. Educating a self reliant, sober and decent citizenry. Not rationalizing every vice and undermining the founding tenets of Canadian society. There was plenty of propaganda, but it was mostly propagating positive values. A tad parochial and silly by our standards, but not without its merits. It was not a platform for allowing anti-capitalist and anti-industrial zealots like David Suzuki to pontificate.
If there is a problem with “food insecurity” it’s because many Canadians, especially among the lower classes, lack basic life skills. That, not incidentally, is why most are in the lower class. If the Pakistani cab driver with a scant English vocabulary can feed and cloth his family with some decency, what does that say about the Mackenzies who have been here since Simcoe? Some of the poor are poor because they’re physically or mentally incapable of fending for themselves. In an advanced society they comprises only a small fraction of the working age population. Much of the poor in Canada are poor because they exhibit poor behaviour.
Most of the long-term poor, this excludes those who are simply suffering from temporary misfortune, think in a much different way than those in the middle class. The long-term poor are short-range in their thinking. Their savings rate is close to non-existent. They can’t resist instant gratification, like junk food or gambling. This also extends to their sexual lives. They exhibit a strong tendency toward highly unstable short-term relationships based on fleeting desire. The notion of a long-term, emotionally stable relationship is either alien or absurd.
Richard Anderson, “Thinking of the Children”, Gods of the Copybook Headings, 2013-10-21
October 22, 2013
October 8, 2013
Rolling Stone digs deep into the video archives to come up with some particularly interesting (for certain values of “interesting”) Rush videos:
Geddy Lee is the first to admit that Rush do not have a great track record when it comes to making music videos, and their track record of picking stylish haircuts and outfits also leaves a bit to be desired. A few weeks ago, he sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss Rush’s new live DVD and their future plans. Towards the end, we took out an iPad and showed him 10 Rush videos on YouTube. Sometimes, he looked a little horrified at his videos and haircuts, but he had a lot to say about all of them. Click through to see the videos and hear Geddy’s memories. At the end, we also showed him a couple of Rush tribute videos by some super-fans.
The first video is a performance of “Working Man” in St. Catharines from 1974 … with their original drummer (John Rutsey) who was replaced by Neil Peart shortly afterwards:
“I haven’t seen this, ever. It’s not a bad recording, either. John was very much a mod, very much in the Paul Weller school of dressing. Alex and I were just long-hairs pretending that we were groovy.”
And commenting on a later video:
You can see the time period in everyone’s haircuts. . . Véronique Béliveau, the French singer, was awesome. . . This was bad, but it wasn’t my worst hairdo. My worst one was the coonskin hat period. That’s when I had my hair in a ponytail and this big poufy thing on the top. That was late 1980s/ early 1990s.
September 17, 2013
Tyler Cowen wraps up the rise and fall of “right” and “left” economics in the US since the 1960s:
Throughout the 1970s and most of the 1980s, the so-called “right wing” was right about virtually everything on the economic front. Most of all communism, but also inflation, taxes, (most of) deregulation, labor unions, and much more, noting that a big chunk of the right wing blew it on race and some other social issues. The Friedmanite wing of the right nailed it on floating exchange rates.
Arguably the “rightness of the right” peaks around 1989, with the collapse of communism. After that, the right wing starts to lose its way.
Up through that time, market-oriented economists have more interesting research, more innovative journals, and much else to their credit, culminating in the persona and career of Milton Friedman.
I’ve never heard tales of Paul Samuelson’s MIT colleagues mocking him for his pronouncements on Soviet economic growth. I suspect they didn’t.
Starting in the early 1990s, the left wing is better equipped, more scholarly, and also more fun to read. (What exactly turned them around?) In the 1990s, the Quarterly Journal of Economics is suddenly more interesting and ultimately more influential than the Journal of Political Economy, even though the latter retained a higher academic ranking. The right loses track of what its issues ought to be. There is no real heir to the legacy of Milton Friedman.
September 15, 2013
All I can assume is that my RSS reader needs a good, swift kick every now and again because this post from Labour Day just showed up in my reader now …
I needed a job, bad, in LA, 1980-ish. I moved there with next to no money and no plan. I was only old enough to drink because they hadn’t changed the law yet. I’d had a dozen jobs or more already. No one was hiring nobody for nothing nohow. If I see another person compare today’s economy to the Depression I’m going to show them a picture of 1979. When a mortgage on a house reaches 17%, unemployment is right around 30% in the construction industry, and inflation looks like it’s going to touch 20, you get back to me. Car companies did more than just talk about going bankrupt back then.
I was sleeping on the couch in an apartment shared by two girls, neither of which I knew then or know now. You can distill painful shyness into a kind of brazenness if you try real hard.
The only job opening I could find was a classified for a welder. I had welded under a microscope before, so I was prepared to say I was qualified. A ship in a bottle is still a ship, right?
I drove 66 miles dead east from LA to get there. Outside the place looked like Ingsoc owned it, and inside it looked like Beelzebub was renting it. Medieval. A metal corrugated roof in the desert. The concrete block walls could just barely hold in the amount of crazy required to be a welder in there.
It was a terrible job and the pay was about the same as begging in Calcutta or maybe a dental assistant in England. There were — I remember because they told me — 135 people there that day applying for the job. There was a person sitting on every horizontal surface you could see making out an application. I was the only one wearing a suit and holding a resume. They took me out of the scrum, up the stairs, gave me the man what are you doing here act.
I lied. I lied like a politician. I lied like an infomercial. I lied like four hundred sermons played backwards. You bet I can weld your thermocouples. They sent 135 people away that very minute.
(to be continued)
I switched the Sippican Cottage RSS feed to NewsBlur instead and this story really does continue…
You couldn’t get an apartment in LA without a bank account and a job. You couldn’t get a bank account without a fixed address. I couldn’t get a job without an apartment. I can’t remember who was governor of California at the time. It might have been Jerry Brown or maybe George Deukmejian. At any rate, Franz Kafka was actually running the place. I picked a day, and simultaneously told the apartment landlady I had the job, told the bank I had the apartment, and told the job I could TIG weld thermocouples all the live-long day, baby. The Million Pound Bank Note is just a short story to you; it’s an instruction manual to me. You guys should read less Rand and more Twain if you want to get on in this world. By “less Rand,” I mean “no Rand,” and “all Twain,” actually.
August 5, 2013
Elizabeth sent me this link, saying “this video kind of gives a feel to the whole experience”. I asked her to write a bit about her trip on the Pushkin:
I’ve never visited a communist country but I got a real feel for it while travelling on this ship. I was twenty-two and going to live in England for a year.
Before embarking, I was given labels to put on my baggage. Cabin luggage was to be marked “Cabin” and other stuff was to be marked “Storage”. As I already had my storage stuff delivered earlier in a steamer trunk, the only luggage I had was marked “Cabin”. Imagine my surprise to find no luggage in my cabin. A tiny cabin with a small toilet/shower and handbasin with a porthole blocked by a ruddy great North American car. I went down to the Purser’s Office to enquire on where my luggage was. A grim looking pair were managing the booth and after checking the records the conversation went thus:
Them: “Your luggage is in hold”
Me: “But I had it marked ‘Cabin’”
Them: “No, it marked ‘Storage’”
Me: Can I have it delivered to my cabin?”
Them: “Is impossible”
Them: “Hold cannot be opened when ship is sailing”
Me: “All my clothes are in there”
Me: “What am I going to wear?”
Them: (more shrugs, waves me off)
I spent nine days wearing two sets of clothing and three pairs of underwear. Luckily, a kind young lady at the same dining table lent me a sweater and spare underwear and even more luckily I had a washroom in my cabin to handwash through the clothes I had just worn (most cabins didn’t have attached washrooms).
The ship was full of students going to Europe to study. The crew of the France had gone on strike and had forced many of the students to take the Pushkin instead. The crew hated us. We were a ship full of under-thirties who drank, played cards and liked rock’n'roll music — everything the Russian crew were not allowed to do. Three days out on a nine-day journey, the booze ran out. As the students were not real heavy drinkers and still getting their sea legs (the smell of vomit on the lower decks was awful), I suspect the crew or the senior officers had absconded with the alcohol.
We had a “talent” night where we had to listen to the crew perform Russian dances and folk songs. When it was the students turn, four or five had brought their guitars with them and started playing rock music. The audience was getting right into it singing along, clapping and dancing to the music when the Russians stomped onto the stage with “enough!”, “no more music”, and shut the performance down.
While playing pinochle one day, I met a young Scotsman from Long Niddry. He had just spent the last five years in the lumber camps of B.C. and to prove to his father that he wasn’t a layabout, he was bringing his car back to Scotland as a trophy of his success. Yes, it was his huge North American car strapped to the deck outside my porthole. How he proposed to drive it around the streets of Edinburgh, I have no idea.
And so, we spent nine dreary November days going from Montreal to L’Havre and then to the Tilbury docks in London. If the students had had rotten fruit they would have thrown it because on docking at L’Havre we were berthed alongside the France. The boos and catcalls were loud and I’m sure the people on the pier were wondering what the problem was.
This is my personal recollection of sailing on the Alexandr Pushkin. So much for the “queen of the Russian cruise ships”.
July 11, 2013
An editorial in New Scientist (which I can’t quote from due to copyright concerns) claims that using a new “measurement” called the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), human progress peaked in 1978 and it’s all been downhill since then. Anyone who actually lived through 1978 might struggle to recall just what — if anything — was better about 1978 than following years, but the NS editors do point out that the GDP measurement generally used to compare national economies doesn’t capture all the relevant details, while GPI includes what they refer to as social factors and economic costs, making it a better measuring tool for certain comparisons.
I can only assume that most of the economists who believe that 1978 was a peak year for the environment hadn’t been born at that time: pollution was a much more visible issue in North America and western Europe than at almost any time afterwards (and eastern Europe was far worse). Industry and government were taking steps to cut back some of the worst pollutants, but that process was really only just in its early stages: it took several years for the effects to start to show.
In the late 1970s, the world was a much dirtier, poorer, less egalitarian place than even a decade later: China and India were both much more authoritarian and had still not mastered the art of ensuring that there was enough food to feed everyone. Behind the Iron Curtain, Soviets and citizens of their client states in Europe were falling further and further behind the material well-being of westerners (and becoming much more aware of the deficit).
No matter how much emphasis you put on nebulous “social factors”, the fact that the world poverty rate — regardless of how you measure it — has been cut in half over the last twenty years, lifting literally billions of people out of near-starvation makes an incredibly strong case that the world is doing better now than at any time since 1978. You can prattle on all you like about “rising inequality”, but for my money it’s a better world where the risk of people literally starving to death is that much closer to being eliminated. Give me an “unequal” world where even the poorest have enough food and clean water over an egalitarian world where billions starve, thanks very much.
July 6, 2013
The St. Paul Pioneer Press raided the National Archives to find this clip of President Nixon talking to his attorney general about the outrageous NFL TV blackout policy:
Football populist Richard Nixon was furious at the NFL and wanted to flex his political muscle to end television blackouts.
At 2:06 p.m. on Dec. 18, 1972, Nixon met with Attorney General Richard Kleindienst at the Executive Office Building and railed against the league’s policy that prevented fans from watching their team’s home playoff games on TV.
The 37th president of the United States wanted to intervene because the Washington Redskins-Green Bay Packers postseason game at RFK Stadium on Christmas Eve was going to be blacked out in Washington, D.C., even though it already was sold out.
In a conversation secretly recorded by the White House bugging system that helped doom his presidency, Nixon threatened to sue the league if it did not lift blackouts for the playoffs. The devout Redskins fan ordered Kleindienst to “get busy with your lawyers” and take the fight to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and Redskins owner Edward Bennett Williams.
June 15, 2013
In Maclean’s, Stephen Skratt talks about a new book on prog rock:
Let the hating begin. ELP are often cited as the reason punk had to happen. After the Beatles and before the Sex Pistols, they, along with Genesis, Yes, King Crimson and Pink Floyd, sold millions of records, topped critics’ polls and ushered in a golden era of prog rock. There were capes, songs about supernatural anaesthetists, a trilogy of albums about a “radio gnome,” and King Arthur on ice — literally, with skating pantomime horses (courtesy of a Rick Wakeman show). Prog virtuosos fused rock, classical, folk, jazz and Renaissance music, and took little from blues. The music couldn’t get more white — or more unfashionable. Twenty-minute songs performed by earnest young men trying to sound like an orchestra, hopping from one instrument to another, or playing several at once: this was large-scale, ambitious music meant to accompany grand lyrics and stage spectacles. Gone was sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll, replaced by Kubrickian space-outs, Eastern philosophy and walls of synthesizers — or guitars trying to sound like synthesizers.
[. . .]
Now the music is crawling out from under its toadstool in Yes Is The Answer, edited by Tyson Cornell and Marc Weingarten. Cornell, founder of L.A.-based Rare Bird Books and a musician himself, admits the idea of having respectable writers challenge the accepted gospel about prog was far-fetched. “When Marc and I started doing this,” he says, “everybody we talked about it with was just laughing at us. But then people started to tell their stories, and it just unfolded.”
[. . .]
The book — a tribute to what Weingarten identifies in the introduction as “prog rock’s grandeur, its mushy mysticism, its blissed-out mystery” — is a high point in a renaissance that’s been building: a reverential 2009 BBC documentary (Prog Britannia), a magazine (Classic Prog), and a growing number of festivals, including Prog Angeles, organized by Cornell and featuring members of Weezer and others. Tastemaking online music journal Pitchfork drops the P-word on an almost weekly basis in describing some impossibly cool band’s music, from metal monsters Mastodon to French electronic duo Justice — an admission, finally, that someone was listening. And there is the full-on revival of the band responsible for a concept album about hemispheres of the brain: Rush. As Nirvana’s Dave Grohl said in his speech inducting Rush into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “There’s one mystery that eclipses them all: when the f–k did Rush become cool?”
For all this, it’s unlikely prog will get the reappraisal its supporters feel it’s due. The biggest strike against the genre has long been that it’s bloated, corporate, the antithesis of punk — even though in spirit prog may not have been all that far off from punk. They shared a broad political ideology. Henry Cow and the other bands make up “rock in opposition,” a popular subgenre of prog, which, aside from influencing avant-garde jazz musicians over the years, make the Clash look like weekend protesters. King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man opens with the snarl of, “Nothing he’s got he really needs.” Prog explored dystopian worlds of environmental apocalypse and corporate greed, occasionally with more subtlety and whimsy than punk. And prog rockers were as committed to their outlandish musical vision as punk was to its three chords; far from all being pampered middle-class kids, they too struggled for an audience and money during their formative years. The average punk band just imploded within a few years of forming — they never stuck around long enough to be derided as “dinosaurs.”
May 17, 2013
April 14, 2013
April 11, 2013
I hear quite a bit of that these days — almost like a local version of East German “ostalgie“. Old British friends say to me, well, say what you like about the 1970s — nothing worked; if you wanted to buy a new car, it was as if post-war rationing was still in effect — but all the same life in the village seemed a lot more pleasant back then. There’s something to this: the benign side of oppressive statism is often a kind of public restraint. And more than a few folks seem to feel, with the benefit of hindsight, that it’s better to have unionised thugs nutting scabs on the picket line than freelance yobs in hideous leisurewear infesting ersatz-American high streets catering to their every frightful whim from one end to the other. For the modern liberal, this is a new dilemma: an underclass that’s too rich.
Mark Steyn, “The Unfinished Revolution”, Daily Telegraph, 2004-05-04 (link goes to Steyn’s own site)
April 8, 2013
Megan McArdle explains the temper of the late 1970s in Britain:
To understand the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, you need to understand Britain’s “Winter of Discontent,” in which striking public-sector workers nearly paralyzed the nation. Actually, you have to go back a bit further, to the inflations of the 1970s. Americans remember the “stagflation” of the 1970s as bad, but in Britain it was even worse — the inflation rate peaked in 1975 at over 25 percent.
Governments on both sides of the pond decided that the solution to inflation was to simply declare, by fiat, that prices would not rise so much. In America we got Nixon’s wage and price controls. In Britain, they got the government’s 1978 vow to hold public-sector wage increases to 5 percent — at a time when inflation was running to double digits.
The public-sector workers, as you might imagine, did not like that. And in Britain, the public-sector workers had immense power. Trash piled up in the streets. The truck drivers who ferried goods all over Britain went on strike — and the ones who didn’t, like oil tanker drivers, began feeding their destinations to “flying pickets” — mobile groups of strikers who would go from location to location, blockading them so that workers couldn’t get in and goods couldn’t get out. The BBC called them the “shock troops of industrial action” and that’s an accurate picture; effectively mobilized, flying pickets can grind the wheels of industry to a halt. Which is what they did in the winter of 1978-79.
In Liverpool, the gravediggers went out, leaving bodies unburied for weeks. By the end of January, half the hospitals in Britain were taking only emergency cases. Full of righteous fury, the unions flexed every muscle, demonstrating all the tremendous power that they had amassed by law and custom in the years since the Second World War. Unfortunately, they were pummeling the Labour Party, which had given them most of those powers. And the public, which was also suffering through high inflation and anemic GDP growth, had had enough. They elected Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative grocer’s daughter without roots in the working-class power structure of the labor movement, or the elite power structure of Britain’s famously rigid class system. She systematically went about dismantling the two main sources that gave labor the power to essentially shut down the United Kingdom: lenient strike laws and state ownership of key industrial sectors.
[. . .]
Her detractors should remember that as terrible as it was for the miners when the pits were closed, these mining operations were not sustainable — nor was it even desireable that they be sustained so that further generations could invest their lives in failing coal seams. The work was dreadful. The coal was too dirty for the environment, or the delicate pink tissue of the miners’ lungs. And even if Britain had wanted to keep mining the filthy stuff, it was getting too expensive to dig it out. The mines were playing out, not because Margaret Thatcher was mean, but because the cradle of the Industrial Revolution had burned through much of her coal.
In short, Margaret Thatcher destroyed an industrial system which had yes, provided workers with a secure livelihood, but yes, also done so at an unnacceptable cost. These two things are the same legacy. They cannot be parted.
Her achievement was not inevitable. But looking back at the Winter of Discontent, I’d argue that it was necessary. The alternate future for a United Kingdom where the labor unions hung on was another decade or two of failing state firms and economic decline. By the early 1980s, the UK’s per-capita GDP was lower than that of Italy. You can maybe argue that there was some alternative Social Democratic future, Sweden-style, or perhaps the discovery of an alternative path to capitalism. But it’s hard to look at the convulsions of 1970s Britain and argue that this was a happier past that the nation should pine after. And I find it hard to argue that Britain’s economy could have been modernized without taking on the unions; their veto power made even such obvious steps as shutting down failing mines effectively impossible.
As I wrote a few years back:
My family left Britain in 1967, which was a good time to go: the economy was still in post-war recovery, but opportunities abroad were still open to British workers. My first visit back was in [mid-winter] 1979, which was a terrible shock to my system. I’d left, as a child, before the strikes-every-day era began, and my memories of the place were still golden-hued and happy. Going back to grey, dismal, cold, smelly, strike-bound Britain left me with a case of depression that lasted a long time. It didn’t help that the occasion of the visit was to attend my grandfather’s funeral: it was rather like the land itself had died and the only remaining activity was a form of national decomposition.
March 28, 2013
Explanation of the headline: gaming in the 70′s was like being into punk because it was very much an outsider interest, you had to go well out of your way to find it, and it was cool (at least to you, not so much to your family and non-gaming friends). Peter Bebergal finds online caches of some of the classic gaming magazines of the day:
The Internet Archive is one of the great treasures of the internet, housing content in every media; texts, video, audio. It’s also the home of the Wayback Machine, an archive of the Internet from 1996. I thought I had explored the site pretty thoroughly — at least according to my own interests — but recently came across runs of some of the great gaming magazines of the 1970s and 80s; The Space Gamer, Ares, Polyhedron, The General, and — temporarily — Dragon Magazine. These magazines represent not only the golden age of gaming, but expose the thrill and excitement of gaming when it was still new, still on the margins. It was a time when gaming still felt a little, dare I say, punk.
Today, finding members of your particular community of interest is a Google search away, but in the 1970s the only way to be in contact with others who shared interests was through magazines. For many gamers, even finding the games could be difficult. Discovering the gaming magazines revealed an active gaming industry that still maintained a sense of being on the vanguard.
The earliest issues show off their newsletter origins. The Space Gamer and The General started off on plain paper in black and white. Even the first issues of Dragon look like a teenager’s fanzine, but the enthusiasm and energy are infectious. Who couldn’t love the introduction of new monsters for your campaign such as the Gem Var, a creature composed entirely of gemstone and that cannot take damage from bladed weapons. The artists, editors and letter writers were the best friends you had never met. Gaming in the 1970 and 80s felt a little like being into punk rock. You knew it was offbeat, knew that outsiders didn’t get it, but you also knew that this was cool. Even the advertisements and listings of conventions expanded the universe of gaming a thousandfold. Not unlike ordering 45s of unknown bands from punk zines, was sending away for microgames, miniatures and supplements from tiny game publishers.
While I wasn’t as much into the early roleplaying games, I was very much into wargaming and that was in the “respectable” part of the gaming ghetto until the boom in RPGs pretty much took all the oxygen out of the room. Of course, even in the “respectable” area, there were the Napoleonic grognards and the frisson-of-insanity East Front fanatics…
March 12, 2013
In Maclean’s, Stephen Gordon illustrates the classic case of burying the lede for popular economics:
So Dutch consumers are roughly 10% better off than they would have been, but companies have been able to compete only by paring their profit margins.
“The Dutch disease,” The Economist, November 26, 1977
Talk about burying the lede. That sentence appears at the end of the 10th paragraph of the much-referred-to but rarely read article in The Economist that coined the phrase “Dutch Disease.” In the normal course of things, a 10 per cent increase in consumers’ purchasing power would be the stuff of banner headlines, but, for some reason, The Economist chose to hide that point deep into the story and qualify it with a caveat about how hard it had become for companies to compete. (The answer to that, by the way, is: “So what if producers are struggling?” What really matters is consumer welfare.)
My take on the Dutch Disease debate can be summed up as follows: Why are we calling it a disease?
February 25, 2013
In Maclean’s, one of the American diplomats who took part in the actual hostage drama in Tehran provides a bit of supplementary material to the film Argo:
Ben Affleck’s Argo has stormed box offices, collected awards [. . .] yet Canadians of a certain age may find themselves thinking: This is not quite how I remember those days. I was there when Iranians took over the American Embassy in Tehran, and it is not quite how I remember them either. Argo is terrific entertainment, but it tells only a part of our story, and says nothing at all about many of the real heroes — most Canadian — who helped rescue us. Before Argo came along, our rescue was routinely called the “Canadian Caper.” It still should be. The operation consisted of four distinct phases. Three were almost entirely Canadian, and only one involved significant U.S. assistance.
For those not of a certain age, a brief summary is a good starting point. Nov. 4, 1979 brought cold rain and hinted of trouble of a different sort. Two weeks earlier, then-president Jimmy Carter decided to admit the former shah of Iran to the U.S. for cancer treatment. Iranians were outraged; many suspected it was a plot by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to remove Iran’s new ruler, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and put the shah back in charge. Protests outside Tehran’s U.S. Embassy had become daily occurrences. That November morning, demonstrators climbed the gate and soon controlled the compound.
[. . .]
Phase four always receives the least attention. The U.S. government was desperate to keep the CIA’s role secret, rightly fearing its disclosure might endanger the hostages (who weren’t freed until 1981). This concern was sufficiently real that we were asked to live under false names in Florida until the hostages were set free. I was looking forward to seeing how many speeding tickets my alter ego could accumulate, but La Presse decided to publish Jean Pelletier’s story once the Canadian Embassy in Tehran had closed. We came home to a rousing reception and the Canadians were asked to claim complete credit for our escape. That job understandably fell to ambassador Taylor, who spent the better part of a year on the rubber chicken circuit at receptions to honour the Canadian government and people for helping us. Some have said he did the job too well, or failed to share the credit with other embassy staff. My own experience contradicts this. I heard Taylor speak several times. He always mentioned his staff. I also tried, during press interviews I gave, to mention others, particularly the Sheardowns. My comments were edited out. It seemed the press could handle only one hero at a time. Unfortunately, this meant John Sheardown, who was indispensable in phase one, became invisible in phase four. I truly believe John did not care. He did his duty as he saw it. For those who loved and respected him, it was painful.
[. . .]
As I wrote at the beginning, Argo is a wonderful film. Not because it is historically accurate, but because, aside from its technical brilliance, it reminds us of a time when ordinary people performed great deeds, and two neighbours that feud over many small and not so small things came together and did something magnificent. Maybe it didn’t change history, but for we six house guests it was truly life changing. And it was, and should always remain, the Canadian Caper.