The Mediocre Gazette. 5 January 2013
Greetings readers and welcome to the 2013 New Year; I trust your celebrations were both enjoyable, and memorable. Now that the New Year has begun, it is time to return to the schedule of the gazettes; to which I will welcome you back to the mediocre gazette for the 5th of January 2013. My name is Vincent, bringing you the latest round of news from the games industry, as well as from the – now snow encrusted – city of Montreal. You can leave suggestions for future editions in the comments section below this edition, or in the suggestions tab at the top of the page. In the headlines today: a town in Connecticut plans on burning violent video games, STM did not seek legal advice on English requirement, more police officers to walk the beat this year, and Montreal is cited as being one of only a handful of unique cities in this world.
A town in Connecticut – Southington – plans on hosting a day where they would collect and destroy violent video games. The story on IGN details how the event would take video games – willingly forfeited – collect them in a rubbish bin, and later incinerate the disks. Now the story goes on to quote a few, what I assume to be, spokespersons for the event in which all they want to do is encourage parents to speak to their kids about violence in video games. This is a classic example of a small town overreacting to recent events, in which the paranoia has fueled rather questionable actions. There is no correlation between violence in youth, and video games. Credible studies done thus far, show no correlation, and as such the media is simply cashing in on recent events like the unfortunate school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I suppose this is somewhat directly linked to the event, with Southington being in the same state as Newtown, though I question the soundness of such an action. Should Southington then proceed to destroy DVD and blue ray films? What about Nerf guns, Star Wars light sabers, and toy M16s sold in Dollar Stores? South Korea has a massive video gaming culture, and how many school shootings have they had? Zero!
This sort of behaviour – and no offense to my American readers – is typical of small town USA, conservative minds who probably never learned how to analyze situations before coming to conclusions or jumping into rash actions. Ultimately, the NRA need a scapegoat for the masses, and the video games industry is the most obvious target. What better way to protect gun rights than to attack digital entertainment right? The link to this story is located in the address below, along with a couple of Youtube videos from commentators detailing just how ridiculous this backlash against video games is, and as a final note before I end this story; please THINK before you jump to conclusions when the old guard media – Print news, and Television – reveal a particularly sensationalized story.
The Societe de transport de Montreal – the transit authority in Montreal – told the newspaper, Montreal Gazette, that it had no ability to require frontline transit workers to speak English alongside French. However in this story, the Gazette filed an access to information request, and discovered that the STM did not even seek legal advice with regards to Bill 101 and the exceptions within the bill when it comes to requiring another language other than French at the work place. The article goes on to reiterate some past stories of STM employees mistreating English-speaking customers, in one instance head locking, and punching the customer all while demanding that they return to their country as French is the only language spoken in Quebec. Now this issue over language started when Bill 101 – The Charter of the French Language – came into effect in Quebec. Many major businesses uprooted and moved to Toronto when the bill became law, as businesses over I believe 35 employees – correct me of I am wrong – had to operate in the official language: French. One interesting story related to this issue is the Bank of Montreal. Now the name itself suggests that the bank has its headquarters in Montreal; the truth is the headquarters is in Toronto. After Bill 101 became law, the bank moved to Toronto from Montreal due to the language laws imposed upon large companies, and at one point BMO even contemplated dropping the ‘Montreal” from its’ name. Now the charter does have exceptions to the law of: “an employee cannot be denied employment on the basis they did not speak another language other than French,” such as if the job requires the knowledge of another language. When it comes to the Montreal Metro, there is an exception to be made as customers in Montreal speak either English, or French, sometimes both. The employee must be bilingual as the duties of the job require it, and it is in the best interest of the STM to seek legal advice on the matter rather than hide in the shadows, fearing the OLF. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon, but due to the nature of the linguistic battle, it will take a bit of time, and the turtles’ pace is what will cause the most frustration amongst the people. The link to this story is located in the address below:
The Commandant of the Montreal Police Service wants to have more of a significant presence on the streets. In an interview with The Examiner, Commandant Stephane Plourde wishes to have more officers walk the beat in order to teach them how to handle incidents without escalating violence. Foot patrollers will be a mix of uniformed and undercover officers who will be deployed with the purpose of deterring car thieves, as well as learning how to handle potentially dangerous situations. Social workers will also be attached to the patrol teams in order to aid the officer in working with the homeless, drug-addicted, or mentally ill in a more productive manner. Aside from that – says Plourde – the officers will be there to deter such behaviours as public drunkenness, urinating in public, screaming, fighting, and interfering with vehicular or pedestrian traffic. Now this is an excellent initiative set forth by the Montreal Police Service; what better way is there to gather data on the situation on the ground than to have ‘recon teams’ walking the beat and keeping an eye on things. Now this particular move might make some uneasy, as there is a fear of police officers becoming overzealous, or perhaps even pursuing an alternate agenda; to which I must ask: What sort of alternate agenda? A Police officers’ job, more often than not, is reactionary. What the Commandant wants to do is simply respond to the requests of Montrealers for an increased police presence on the streets to make them feel safe. Reactive policing ladies and gentlemen; they will not bother a citizen if he or she is not breaking and entering, attacking, or intoxicated in public. More often than not, a person can ask how is their day going, and will not fear being cuffed for speaking to an officer. I apologize to those unfamiliar with the paranoia surrounding an increased police presence; that would be the criminology-side of me lecturing on the need to be reasonable when analyzing a police departments’ plan of action. The link to this story is located in the address below:
Montreal has been noted in the “Spirit of Cities,” published by the Princeton University Press as one of a few distinctive cities in the world. Cities on the list besides Montreal include: “Paris, associated with romance; Hong Kong, with materialism; New York, with ambition; Jerusalem, with religion; and Oxford, with learning,” (Marian Scott, The Gazette). The article recalls some opinions the authors had with regards to Montreal and the other cities: that being cities are better forces to resist globalization, than national governments. It goes on to explain some of the anti-nationalist thoughts that the authors uphold, but in general the message of the article is clear: Montreal is labelled as a unique city, one with a unique identity. In the face of globalization, and the sudden emergence of homogeneous cultures, and cookie-cutter architecture; cities like Montreal, Paris, Hong Kong, and Oxford, are better equipped to resist this trend and emerge as unique dots on the world stage. Now this is a fairly interesting article, as it highlights some key aspects related to urban geography. What I mean by this is we live in an age where the majority of the human population lives in cities, and that was something I touched upon in a class back in early 2012. It was fascinating to explore this new reality, of which I have come to realise that cities are the new marks of glory for a nation. The article details just how a city, with its’ unique environment and architecture, could develop a distinct culture of its own, and in turn counter the ‘standardization’ – if I may be allowed of the phrase – that has been occurring to cities around the world in the past decade or so. What interests me the most, is that Montreal is unique, based on not only the historical architecture, but also the bilingual environment in which people go about their daily lives. Such an interesting aspect to touch on, in which we take for granted, and yet it is what makes Montreal unique and loved by its people. This article was somewhat of a mess to dissect – I will admit – but I believe I was able to extract the message that was communicated towards the audience. Montrealers, be proud of your city: for despite the frustrations with city hall and the occasional radical running about; Canadians from other provinces – especially BC – notice your unique kindness towards others, and your willingness to speak to others. Here in Vancouver, when you attempt to strike up a conversation, people are either too proud to speak to you, or they think you are about to ask them for money, in which they look at you with such a hostile facial expression. Moving towards the international level, the city is loved by those from other nations wishing to come and learn from your excellent universities and colleges. They arrive to learn, but they also learn to love: if that even makes any sense. I just hope that I am not late to the party; the link to the story is located in the address below:
Well that about wraps it up for this edition of the mediocre gazette. Now I am going to take this time to discuss what is going to happen with the blog over the next few months. Due to the new schedule being fairly packed between the days of Monday to Wednesday, it will be quite difficult for me to publish a gazette on Wednesday that is polished as I have previously done. Therefore I think it is time to adjust the schedule slightly and make it so only on Saturday will the gazette editions be published. There just is not enough time in the evenings between Monday and Tuesday to be able to collect meaningful stories, write on them, edit the entire paper, and subsequently publish it on Wednesday. Now I realize that I usually publish in the evenings, but the past four months I have had time to edit them, and ensure that they are polished and ready for consumption. This time around however, my mornings are no longer free, and my evening hours are reduced due to the demands of school and work; thus I doubt it will be possible for me to make the Wednesday publication. The Saturday edition of the gazette will still roll out as per usual, and I hope that you – my audience – will understand my situation and why I am doing this. I just do not have the time required to make two gazettes per week. Nevertheless, I will make the Saturday edition as news filled and as meaningful as I possibly can, to compensate for the loss of the Wednesday editions.
Thank you all for reading today’s edition, happy New Year, and I will see you next time.