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We don’t put out fires with gasoline.



There were Nazis in Britain prior to World War Two. They were also in Canada and The United States. Their presence made none of those nations Nazi nations.

There are people her today with attitudes we all could better do without.

They are not the people. Their voice is not the voice of the people.

The idea of race is a fiction. There are no races. There is one race, the human race. It comes in a wonderful rainbow of colours.

Yes, the actions of some are horrendous.

They are not the nation.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his books THE BLACK SWAN, ANTIFRAGILE and SKIN IN THE GAME, recommends we ignore the media. I second the recommendation (  ). He states, “This business of journalism is about pure entertainment, not the search for the truth.” .

When I came to Toronto in the mid 1960s I was warned the people her are cold. I said, “I will warm them up.”

As a young queer man I was told if I was open and honest about my sexuality not only would I get beaten up I could also get arrested.

I knew only one way to find out.

Similarly my high school principal had told me I had the wrong attitude and would starve in two weeks if i left school that day.

As a result of leaving school that moment I met Judith Merril, the mother of modern SF. As a young girl Judy had been told men would not read SF written by women. Judy said, “That’s not true.” She revolutionized the medium.

As a result of leaving school I also met Jane Jacobs, author of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES. She became a lifelong friend and mentor. In an interview in THE GLOBE AND MAIL Mrs. Jacobs stated , “”I had wonderful teachers in the first and second grades who taught me everything I know. After that, I’m afraid, the teachers were nice, but they were dopes…I have a lack of ideology, and not because I have an animus against any particular ideology; it’s just that they don’t make sense to me…they get in the way of thinking. I don’t see what use they are…University and uniformity, as ideals, have subtly influenced how people thought about education, politics, economics, government, everything…We are misled by universities and other intellectual institutions to believe that there are separate fields of knowledge. But it’s clear there are no separate fields of knowledge. It is a seamless web.”

Yes, it is.

The mass media treats us not as individuals but as a collective.

We, the best of us, are not a collective. We are individuals.

I came out as a LGBTQ man at a time when it was not safe to do so.

Why? Because it is easier to be honest than it is to lie.

I learned that, yes, a few took umbrage with my honesty but by far the majority respected it.

Judy could easily have agreed with the false idea men would not read science fiction written by women.

She didn’t. We are better for it.

Jane Jacobs could have accepted the common wisdom we can’t fight the government.

She didn’t. Not in America. Not in Canada. We are all better for it.

For decades the media have fed mass hysteria with tales of Moslem atrocities including beheadings and worse.

We are told these were and are done by the Taliban. How many of us know that the word “Taliban” simply means “student.”

What happened last week in London, Ontario was as hideous an atrocity as it gets.

Lay responsibility for it not at the feet of white people. We are as outraged as our Rainbow brothers and sisters.

Lay it at the feet of the media.

I know what it is to face hatred. I’ve been facing it all of my life.

I know what is to go out my door and not know if I will return. I was told years ago money has been offered to have me killed.

The flyers I post for my programs are routinely destroyed. Death threats have been left on my phone.

I refuse, however, to live in fear.

I also refuse to hate.

We don’t put out a fire with gasoline.

Let my example be yours.

In THE LAST JUDGMENT Jesus says what you did to the least you did to me. When you helped them you helped me. When you passed by the homeless, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the jailbird, the stranger you passed by me.

People say, “If only I had more money.”

I left home with just enough money to buy a beer. I was underage. I did not let that stop me. I thought I had a friend in Toronto. The friend I thought I had wasn’t.

On my second night here a man who had offered to help me said he would kill me if I didn’t give him what he wanted.

I have been down as far as it gets.

As Jesus fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes so I have done much with the little I have.

In part two of this post which follows can be seen a small bit of that.

Said one writer, Rob Salem, “Reg Hartt has had an amazing impact given the size of the venue and the esoteric nature of the programming. He’s had an incredible impact on the city. No one else is doing it. No one else has ever done it.”

He’s not kidding.

Douse the damned fires of hate.

As for Egerton Ryerson, stay out of school.

“School is an institution built on the axiom that learning is the result of teaching. And institutional wisdom continues to accept this axiom, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary,”–Ivan Illich

–Reg Hartt

“Reg Hartt teaches like Neal Cassady drove a bus.”—Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star.

Like the belief of the terminally ill in medicine the belief of the legitimately frightened in the educational process is a comforting lie.” — David Mamet

David Mamet: “The American educational process prepares those with second-rate intellects to thrive in a bureaucratic environment. Obedience, rote memorization, and neatness are enshrined as intellectual achievements.”

“Where in the wide history of the world do we find art created by the excessively wealthy, powerful, or educated?”— David Mamet

There doesn’t seem to be much creativity at the top. It seems to me that Toronto has a split personality, a civic schizophrenia. On one level there is the spirit of individuals and small groups who do things…what you might call the vernacular spirit. This is all very informal, ingenious, quite romantic and full of fun, a great deal of fun. It seems to me that the official spirit of Toronto is stamp out fun. It’s pompous, impressed with mediocrity if its very, very big and expensive,”–Jane Jacobs… . The wonderful Mirvish Village was destroyed so that this simulacrum out of THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS can take its place just like what happened on Gerrard Street, Yorkville, Queen West and too many others.…,

“You will encounter in your travels folks of your own age who chose the institutional path, who became administrators rather than doers. These folks chose to serve an institutional authority in exchange for a paycheck, and these folks are going to be with you for the rest of your life, and you who come up off the street, who live without certainty day to day and year to year are going to have to bear with being called children by these institutional types; you will, as Shakespeare tells us, endure ‘the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes.’ “It is not childish to live with uncertainty, to devote oneself to an idea rather than an institution. It’s courageous and requires a courage of the order that the institutionally co-opted are ill equipped to perceive. They are so unequipped to perceive it that they can only call it childish, and so excuse their exploitation of you.”– David Mamet, TRUE AND FALSE. (Edited)

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