Now we are six .. a few things we know about her anniversary, in Canada, France, UK, USA and wider global village

Aug 19th, 2010 | By | Category: In Brief
Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne — the “ third book in the Winnie-the-Pooh series” — was first published in 1927. It is still very much in print today.

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne — the “ third book in the Winnie-the-Pooh series” — was first published in 1927. It is still very much in print today.

Our very first counterweights article, “John Ibbitson’s next Canada,” appeared on August 19, 2004 — exactly six years ago today. Since then the “next Canada” Mr. Ibbitson was talking about has actually arrived, with the accession of the Stephen Harper minority government in Ottawa, in February 2006.

Our own assessment in August 2010 (like that of more than a few others) is that the new Harper Conservative Party’s next Canada has proved a rather dull journey back to the future of the 1950s. Whatever else, it lacks any ultimate potential to move the country ahead, despite a few half-hearted gestures (a parliamentary resolution on the Québécois nation in a united Canada, a few failed proposals for step-by-step Senate reform, and what else?).

Has the Pierre-Trudeau-inspired counterweights itself done any better? Of course not. But we have tried — which is the luxury you can afford when you have no power or influence. Or a great many readers. On that front counterweights started as a drinking project in the Southern Ontario cottage country in the summer of 2004. The thought was to try it for a while, and see if it could attract enough readers to carry on.  It seems that it still hasn’t attracted enough readers. But what we lack in quantity on this front, we clearly make up in quality. And so we’ve carried on.

Jennifer Aniston arrives at the premiere of “The Switch” on August 16, 2010 in Los Angeles. She has not in fact sent her best wishes for the 6th anniversary of counterweights three days later. But we wish she had.

Jennifer Aniston arrives at the premiere of “The Switch” on August 16, 2010 in Los Angeles. She has not in fact sent her best wishes for the 6th anniversary of counterweights three days later. But we wish she had.

Some readers have shrewdly guessed that some contributors operate under various nommes de guerre or pseudonyms. And some of these have even inquired about which contributors are real, and which just pseudononymous, etc. To pursue all this further would be to rush in where angels fear to tread, with our hearts above our heads. Or, as the near-great Canadian historian Harold Innis once said, the “social scientist in Canada must have a sense of humour.”

It is yet another irony of our first six years that although counterweights aspires to be a chiefly political blog and e-magazine, with special reference to Ontario, Canada, and the related wider global village, its most popular articles have tended to focus on crime or sex. Crime and sex are often related to politics, of course, but there is usually a difference in principle. Our excuse for continuing to concentrate on politics is that we are not JUST interested in popularity. (Which is a good thing, no doubt, since even our articles on crime and sex are not all that popular.)

The great Zoot Sims in his youth. He painted houses for a time as a day job. And among various other memorable things he once said he liked Las Vegas best when the mob ran it, because “it was more human.”

The great Zoot Sims in his youth. He painted houses for a time as a day job. And among various other memorable things he once said he liked Las Vegas best when the mob ran it, because “it was more human.”

It has finally been suggested that in celebrating our sixth anniversary, we should turn to the British author A. A. Milne’s 1920s children’s book, Now We Are Six. A number of us are familiar with this volume from our anglophone Canadian childhoods. And we almost thought this reflected the historic British (as well as French and aboriginal Canadian and other) influence on Canada, until we discovered that the excellent Massachusetts-born saxophone player Phil Woods has written a “‘Children’s Suite,’ which was carefully crafted when he discovered that the words in his kids’ A.A. Milne books would make splendid songs.” (At the same time, Massachusetts is at least part of New England, etc.)

In any event, something about the title verse from Mr. Milne’s book of 1927 seems to summarize how we feel about counterweights’ anniversary on August 19, 2010: “When I was One, / I had just begun. / When I was Two, / I was nearly new. / When I was Three / I was hardly me. /  When I was Four, / I was not much more. / When I was Five, / I was just alive. / But now I am Six, / I’m as clever as clever, / So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.”

Halle Berry and her Canadian ex-husband (and father of her young daughter) Gabriel Aubry. Who said Canadians never do anything interesting?

Halle Berry and her Canadian ex-husband (and father of her young daughter) Gabriel Aubry. Who said Canadians never do anything interesting?

Two other quotations round out our meditations on this commemorative day. We bumped into the first on Phil Woods’s website: “As tenor sax giant Zoot Sims said as he watched the astronauts land on the moon, ‘Look at that! Wow! And I’m still playing Indiana!’ … That is how I feel about the new technology. (I still play Indiana, but to quote Zoot’s partner, Al Cohn, I am using my own changes.)” Our second quotation apparently came quite recently from the lips of the unsurpassable North American beauty of our time, Halle Berry (who was briefly married to a French Canadian): “If the world wouldn’t persecute me, I’d take nude pictures every day of the week.” (And note that our latest most popular article, according to Google Analytics, is the globalization study: “June in Jakarta 2010 .. or Edison Chen’s naughty pictures part deux, with Ariel, Luna Maya, and Cut Tari, on the world wide web.”)

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