Scott Masson is Associate Professor of English Literature and a public intellectual.
Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) in Halifax recently came under criticism because a non-indigenous scholar, Martha Walls, was chosen to teach Selected Topics in North American History: Residential Schools. Consequently, the university called for a meeting between Indigenous faculty and staff and Martha Walls to "discuss a way forward".
Evaluating a piece of information's validity is an essential Twenty-First Century skill with society simultaneously experiencing an information age and rise in anti-intellectualism. Google searches produce hordes of pieces written by pseudo-professionals doling out medical advice, commentary on international affairs, and capitalizing on historical conspiracy theories, like the TV series, Hunting Hitler.
Movie-goers reason that “this is a movie, it is not meant to be an accurate representation of history, that’s for a documentary or a book.” However, historical inaccuracies in films can have a dangerous impact on their audiences, and there are two factors that make them far more dangerous than historical inaccuracies in most other types of medium.
The Canadian Armed Forces's (CAF) subsequent eleven-year deployment to Afghanistan was a primary battleground against terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and the Taliban. The new war challenged traditional military doctrine, but a historic enemy followed soldiers home plaguing them with nightmares and panic attacks—the internal struggle of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It is tempting to elect an individual that agrees with the present whims of society that might have little to do with the economic, defense, public, international, or educational health of a nation. Some voters may lean towards selecting a candidate with familial pedigree or financial influence, which is not problematic until it becomes the primary factor in the decision-making process. The World Wars emphasize the need for careful selection of leaders, as part of making “real the dreams generations of men died to save.”
We have a duty to remember the Past for the sake of our future. And neglecting this duty undermines our ability to face possible future crises by destabilizing the moral fibre of our citizenry. It also does a great dishonour to the individuals who served, many who are far too humble to question your right to tread on their great sacrifices.