The Pinata Pages: Commentary on Our Times by Rachel Gladstone-Gelman is a collection of articles from the author’s former blog. Gladstone-Gelman earned an MA in Teaching ESOL and has previously published a poetry collection and two chapbooks. She is described as being fiercely political and a strong advocate of voter’s rights, the environment, animal rights, gun control, and other social concerns. She now lives with her family in Canada and can be found at pinatapoet.com
Many of us have a politician or political event that makes us examine our own lives or sets our path. My parents raved over JFK and for my grandmother it was FDR. For me, it was Ronald Reagan. My enchantment with politics didn’t last. By the time I earned my MA in International Relations, I was completely fed up with mainstream American politics. Glastone-Gelman’s moment came with the election of Stephan Harper as Canadian Prime Minister and she deleted her blog. From what I have gathered ,from the few Canadians I have talked to, Harper is an evil super-villain created by right wing American Republicans from the collective DNA of the George W. Bush Administration; I exaggerate, but, well, politics is hyperbole.
“However, those who will not be swayed are liable to kill a law that can save lives. When you wake up under hybrid governance, you don’t see Stalin or Mao, only fearful Americans bent on invoking those ghosts.”
The Pinata Pages covers a wide range of social issues and at times the hypocrisy that accompanies them. No one likes high taxes but complaining about taxes, and at the same time taking full advantage of all the tax payer funded services is a bit ‘hypocritical. Taking care of our planet is covered: “Fracking is goading Earth to crack and shake more often, and only the ethically challenged would see it as no big deal.” Airport security: Gladstone-Gelman gives America’s own TSA a working over when she compares it to Ben Gurion Airport or even Greyhound. Most importantly, it all seems to be money and how it is used.
Many political blogs make their stand with axes and torches slashing and burning not only what stands against their cause but anything in the area. Gladstone-Gelman takes on the issues with a laser. No matter the issue, she addresses in a straight forward manner and genuinely believes in what she is writing. She takes a strong stand and shows no hypocrisy.
Books (and blogs) like The Pinata Pages are important and necessary. Many Americans think of Canada as a liberal paradise (or hell, depending on your political posture). Canada is neither extreme leftist nor a product of conservative America evil doers. However, Gladstone-Gelman, along with many others, do not like to see middle or lower middle class electing governments that work against their interests. The word needs to get out, and The Pinata Pages does this in a very educated, level headed, way:
“When I look back at the ’70s and then at what civilization has accomplished/done until now, all I can say is that civilization took some really cool ideas and has been using them, mostly, the wrong way.”
I couldn’t agree more. Excellent read for both Americans and Canadians. As political commentary, it rates four and a half stars.