Friday, April 10, 2020


1. As a citizen of Canada—one who counts members of the First Nations among his very best and most cherished of friends—I can’t help but feel a deep sense of shame over the fact that it took  the BBC to tell the story of the Red River Women. I suppose the slimmest of silver linings here is that a world class broadcaster has finally produced a substantial piece of interactive online journalism on this grisly subject, which has for far too long been like an invisible chorus of silent screams in the darkest frozen night-pits of Hell. The erudition, professionalism, and sensitivity brought to bear via this production goes a long way towards rectifying the near-criminal journalistic negligence that has for far too long been the norm in Canada regarding this subject. I won't be reproducing any portion of it here. Instead, I insist that you go to the BBC's Red River Women project page and read it in its entirety at your earliest possible convenience. Be sure to watch all the related videos. I consider it a duty for every Canadian, even if only to acquaint oneself with the mind-numbing numbers involved, and to look into the eyes of those tragic, beautiful souls that have already been lost. Dear friends... I am literally hereby begging you to read this website and begin trying to deal with the information it contains.

2. Okay then, after that brutal and traumatic information assault—or perhaps prior to it, in case you’re saving the BBC’s interactive Red River Women websites for later—maybe you can be excused for seeking out a small sliver of escapist fantasy. To that purpose, I give you an amusingly British audiobook recording of the classic Philip K. Dick science-fiction story, “Beyond Lies the Wub”, about an unfortunate alien creature who happens to be both an erudite conversationalist and indescribably tasty when roasted with root veggies.

3. Finally for today, the Open University and BBC Radio 4 (yes, them again) have combined forces to produce a quite excellent introductory level general philosophy course entitled The History of Ideas. The program's website is rich in information and resources, complete with archived radio programs and primary materials (most of which is in the public domain). It's a real treasure trove for anyone interested in uncovering the intellectual foundations upon which the world's most important human structures rest (or, occasionally, teeter). 

Eventually, the series is slated to span 60 episodes grouped under 15 general philosophical concepts. As part of this series, each concept gets four episodes, and each episode is accompanied by a 2-minute animation, narrated by Stephen Fry, Gillian Anderson and Harry Shearer, executed in a handsome and humorous style that really helps get the basic ideas across. You don't really need to listen to the whole series in order to appreciate the animations, so I've decided to present all four animations from each general philosophical concept at the end of every Suggested Reading List from now on until I reach the end of what they have for me to plunder. So let's get started!


"The Harm Principle"

"The Free Will Defence"

"The Libet Experiment: Is Free Will an Illusion?"

"Freedom and Security: Freedom at Any Cost?"