Wegierski: The passing away of traditional Canada

On November 2, 2019, I attended the Annual Alumni Dinner of the University of Toronto Schools (UTS), which I had attended for six years in 1973-1979 (Grades 7 and 8, and four enriched /intensive years of high school). (Four years at that time was clearly also an accelerated program, as Grades 9-13 were then standard in Ontario.) 2019 was the 40th anniversary of the Class of ’79. UTS had been founded in 1910 as a “model” school for gifted male students. (The plural in the […]

Wegierski: Structural issues of the Polish-Canadian community

Mark Wegierski argues that the Polish-Canadian community must somehow build up significant infrastructures – or find itself fading away. Mark Wegierski argues that the Polish-Canadian community must somehow build up significant infrastructures – or find itself fading away. It has to be said at the outset, that the lack of meaningful intellectual and cultural infrastructures for the Polish-Canadian community is particularly troubling. While the work of professor Tamara Trojanowska, who taught Polish Language and Literature at the University of Toronto has been considerably helpful (such […]

Wegierski: Exploring social alternatives through eclectic media — looking back twenty-five years at a 1994 game and magazine about U.S. civil conflict

Mark Wegierski examines Crisis 2000: Insurrection in the United States!   This magazine and game somewhat ironically appeared in the month when the democratic process was supposedly going to deliver a major change in the direction of the American polity – the election of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, as well as the Senate, with Newt Gingrich becoming the Speaker. However, as has so often happened since the 1960s, the promised (or feared) putative “conservative revolution” never really took place. As far […]

Wegierski: Comparing the Texts and “Realworld” Contexts of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit / The Lord of the Rings and Frank Herbert’s Dune

R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973) and Frank Herbert (1920-1986) have written works that are among the greatest achievements of the literature of the fantastic, or speculative fiction. I have used these two terms as a bridge expression for the rather distinct genres of fantasy and science fiction. Tolkien’s works are often collectively called “the Middle-Earth legendarium” or, more generally, the Arda mythos. Frank Herbert’s creation is commonly called “the Dune universe,” or, more colloquially the “Duniverse”. In this presentation, I will be looking mainly at J. […]

Wegierski: Canadian Thanksgiving 2019 – how bountiful is Canada for most of its citizens?

Mark Wegierski argues that the extent of Canadian prosperity has been exaggerated. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. Canada is certainly a country which has been blessed with great material bounty. However, these new troubled times may be appropriate for some somber reflections for both Americans and Canadians. There has been a perceptible downward trend in the Canadian standard of living and quality of life, especially when compared to the United States. The weak Canadian dollar is a very visible symbol of […]

Wegierski: In Search of a Voice for the Polish-Canadian Community

Mark Wegierski describes the unhappy weakness of an attenuated European fragment-culture in current-day Canada. It can be seen today that there are no opinion journalists in any major Canadian newspapers, and very few comparatively well-known authors of books of English-language literary fiction, genre fiction, or works of social, political, or cultural commentary in Canada, who could be identified as belonging to the Polish-Canadian community. Until a few years ago, a person comparatively well-acquainted with the community could probably think only of Eva Stachniak and Irene […]

Wegierski: Prophets of rootedness: Sam Francis and Friedrich Nietzsche

In his eulogy for Sam Francis in the Middle American News, Jerry Woodruff tells of Sam’s profound interest in Friedrich Nietzsche. In his office, Sam kept a framed print of his favorite words from Nietzsche given to him by Woodruff. The quotation comes from Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft (“The Gay Science,” today more usually translated as “The Joyful Wisdom” section 283 of book four). Woodruff cites part of the passage, which, he writes, “might provide a fitting epitaph”: I welcome all signs that a more virile, […]

Wegierski: Creative Writing and the Polish-Canadian Community

Despite the fact that there are over a million persons of Polish descent in Canada (according to the Canada Census) the community appears to have had very little impact on the political, social, and cultural life of Canada as a whole. During May 10 — May 13, 2012, I had attended the conference “Creative Writing in the 21st Century: Research and Practice” at Humber College, Lakeshore Campus in Toronto (in Etobicoke, a western suburb of Toronto). Located among many acres of green space near Lake […]

Wegierski: Some thoughts about a more effective Polish-Canadian community

Canadian Polonia (the Polish-Canadian community) seems to have a perennial misapprehension of what constitutes “objective” cultural influence and power in today’s Canada. Indeed, some representatives of Canadian Polonia have a rather curious definition of what “culture” and “cultural activities” actually consist of. Considering persons of Polish descent in Canada are said to number close to a million, it appears the community has a comparatively minor influence in Canadian society. The Polish community in Canada seems to have a larger number of prominent artists (such as […]

Wegierski: Canadian Speculative Fiction

Mark Wegierski looks at possible definitions of a distinctly Canadian “speculative fiction”. The term “speculative fiction” is said to be a Canadian invention. “Speculative fiction” is a term that is said to cover science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Science fiction is said to be a genre of the mind; fantasy, of the heart; and horror, of the body. Apart from Margaret Atwood, who tends to eschew the term science fiction in regard to her works such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake, and (most […]