It was 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9, 1964. Across North America, families gathered around their black-and-white TVs. In Rexdale, Jeanette Smith’s parents took the kids to their aunt and uncle’s house to watch “The Ed Sullivan Show” with their cousins. “All was quiet during the show till the Beatles hit the stage. Our parents did not know what happened.” Fifty years later, the Beatles are still one of the world’s most beloved bands. “They were the most exciting thing that any of us had ever seen or heard,” said Rob Bowman, a Grammy-winning pop music historian who teaches at York University. “You combine that with this fresh, seemingly radical haircut and attitude that they projected, and you combine it with … screaming fans shaking their heads in hysteria, and you’ve got a recipe for unbelievable, beautiful energy and excitement. It was a transformative moment.” Read full story.
Message to the oilpatch: beware Neil Young
Big oil has spent tens of millions of dollars in advertisements and public relations gimmicks to convince Canadians and Americans of the unambiguous merits of the oilsands, writes Eugene Lang, BMO Visiting Fellow at Glendon’s School of Public and International Affairs, in an opinion piece in the Toronto Star Feb. 9. Whatever positive effect this expensive PR effort has yielded, Neil Young could wipe out in an afternoon of inspired song writing. Read full story.
Somali group to use Gawker funds for mentoring
Abdulrahman Elmi has called a group of young Somali-Canadian men to a community centre in the north Toronto neighbourhood of Rexdale. They have a lot of work ahead, reported The Globe and Mail Feb. 8. The group owes its existence to the now-infamous – yet never publicly seen – video, the one in which Toronto Mayor Rob Ford allegedly smokes crack cocaine from a glass pipe. The Somali-Canadian Association of Etobicoke was one of four Ontario organizations that got a share of the $202,000 that US website Gawker raised in a bid to buy the video. The donation, about $47,000, has started to crystallize into a new mentoring program aimed at steering elementary and high school students toward college and university and away from drugs and gangs. “I think something like this is needed in our community because we have a lot of youth issues here. Basically, change is needed here,” said Elmi, 23, a recent graduate of York University. He was hired in December as the project coordinator. Read full story.
Ebook prices expected to drop after Competition Bureau steps in
Canadians may soon pay less for ebooks after the country’s competition watchdog moved against four major publishers they allege were setting retail prices, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 8. After an 18-month investigation, Canada’s Competition Bureau has struck a deal with publishing companies Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon &Schuster. Mike O’Connor, who teaches courses about book publishing at York University, said the bureau’s move will allow retailers to compete on price, which is good news for readers. “If I want to sell more books, one way to do it is just lower the price,” O’Connor said. Read full story.
How the Heenan Blaikie law firm collapsed
Forty years ago, three friends gathered over drinks at McGill University, their alma mater, and agreed to launch a law firm in Montreal, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 8. In what seemed like no time at all, the firm had 500 lawyers with offices across the country and in Paris. By any measure, Heenan Blaikie was a great success story. And then it came crashing down. Heenan Blaikie was not an outlier,” says Lorne Sossin, dean of York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. “There’s a lot of flux in the air. The winds of change are buffeting all law firms.” Read full story.
Changing Union Station’s name is a waste, say experts
The branding issue is on the radar now that Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong is pushing to rename Union Station to honour Canada’s first prime minister – an idea that is not exactly being embraced by locals on social media due to its iconic landmark status, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 8. “There’s enough change in our lives. We like navigating the world with some certainty,” says marketing professor Alan Middleton of the Schulich School of Business. He cautions that renaming Union Station is not as simple as slapping a new sign on the building. In fact, he says it’s a costly and time-consuming exercise that often confuses customers and, in this case, isn’t necessary since it’s not being prompted by a corporate takeover or sponsorship issue. Read full story.
The walking dead: 4 brain-blasting thoughts on zombies
With AMC airing new episodes of the popular TV series “The Walking Dead” starting this Sunday, CBC Radio’s “The Sunday Edition” offers you four brain-blasting thoughts about zombies, reported cbc.ca Feb. 9. One thing that zombie mania has shown us is that the walking dead make a convenient metaphor for all sorts of manmade ills, says Andrew Watson, a PhD candidate in environmental history at York University in Toronto. He points out that George Romero’s first film, Night of the Living Dead (1968), was about a zombie epidemic that was unleashed when a probe returned from outer space. “So this first movie is really a reflection of people’s anxiety during the 1960s about nuclear fallout and radiation, that kind of thing,” he says. Read full story.
Pope Francis’ message resonates on Canadian campuses
Timothy Keslick believes Pope Francis’s small gestures are making a big impact on Canada’s university students, reported The Catholic Register Feb. 8. “He is a great way to start a conversation with those who are Catholic and have fallen away from the church, people who are of a different Christian denomination or those who don’t practise any faith at all,” said Keslick, student president of the Catholic Chaplaincy at Toronto’s York University. Read full story.
Schulich dean interviewed on Mexican radio
Schulich School of Business Dean Dezsö Horváth was interviewed about responsible capitalism Feb. 5 on Radio Red FM in Mexico City, where York’s business school operates a satellite centre. He was interviewed by York alumnus Sergio Sarmiento (BA ’76), one of Mexico’s most distinguished journalists and editors. Listen to interview.