PC fools, empire and poppies

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I’ll spare you from undead flights of fancy today, and instead impose upon you with a laundry list of my petty gripes and barbs.

It starts at Queen’s University, where I got my degree. What a shock to find that university has gotten it abjectly wrong on an issue that revolves around political correctness: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/politically-correct-a-mugging-at-queens/article4746450/

I was being sarcastic, by the way. That school was a den of absurd Socialist and PC rhetoric when I attended and apparently not much has changed in the decades since. Although I’ll grant being a bit skeptical the prof’s choice of the word ‘mistresses’ was completely without mischief (but by no means a suspending offense).

Republicans and I differ on a number of issues, among them American military adventurism and exceptionalism. Even if one wants to argue the world is better off having a Yankee policeman, I’m not convinced the American citizenry is better off. And given Romey argued quite rightly that PBS is good, but it doesn’t make sense borrowing from China to pay for it, there’s something incongruous about his plan to add two trillion dollars to the defense budget over the next decade when the nation owes China one trillion dollars, and US defense spending is already more than four times what China spends: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/mitt-romneys-military-myopia/article4736755/

There is merit in having a big navy that can ensure trade flows. Robust domestic defense is, of course, vital. But the billions spent on foreign deployments and bases is a colossal mistake. The U.S. needs to radically shift its global role to regain a dominant lead as the planet’s economic superpower. It won’t do that saddled with an oversized military.

In case I haven’t made it obvious, I’m not much for cheerleading. So John Doyle’s column today put a mean-spirited grin on my mean-spirited mug: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/the-giller-prize-is-great-but-be-very-careful-what-you-say-about-it/article4737954/. It mocks the CBC, literary snobs and galas, none of which are all bad but all of which are fun to poke fun at.

What do we think of this? http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2011/10/26/ottawa-legion-poppy-trademark.html

Yeah, it’s a year old, but I don’t think anything about Legion policy has changed. My question is, is there a specific, logo image of the poppy that they have legal claim to – which would be fair enough – or is any logo-like depiction of the flower known as a poppy trademarked in their view?

Imagine this: I could buy a poppy today, look at it, draw a picture of it, then use that as the basis for making a stylized poppy logo. There’s probably a good chance my logo would look at least somewhat similar to the Legion’s. Would the Legion claim I couldn’t use that logo I’d created? My guess is they would, and I think that’s wrong.

I’m not a historian, but I am interested in history, and I’m somewhat aware of the sacrifices made by our veterans (while making no claim, as a civilian, to knowing everything they went through). Maybe it’s the least we could do: millions of soldiers died, we can at least give them their own flower, right? But it rankles me, I must confess. I think I should be legally allowed to draw my own poppy and put a copy of that picture wherever I please, thank you very much. 


UPDATE: Good news. Apparently my poppy criticism was a day late. Word was received yesterday that the Legion has revisited their policy, and will no longer be policing use of the poppy for non-commercial purposes or some such. It's progress, anyway, although I'm still not sure how anyone can own the image of a flower...


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