Whiskey and Cream: Episode 005

Whiskey & Cream for December 23rd, 2020.

Host: Ari Shapiro

0:36-7:35: “A kinder, gentler brand of politics”

It always comes down to the fundamentals, that we’re different from them. That’s how it feels looking at the United States from a distinctly Canadian perspective. The pandemic has caused immeasurable harm to the very fabric of their society in ways that defies the imagination and begs the question: why isn’t more being done to help their citizens during a time when compassion is needed more than ever. And why does their culturally innate suspicion of government and resistance to being told what’s best for them – inevitably finds a way of steering them into the realm of greed, paranoia and conspiracy? Furthermore, one has to wonder if a correlation exist between populist and progressive governments when it comes to empathy in their political leaders?

Warren Kinsella (@kinsellawarren) is a celebrated Canadian lawyer, author and musician who has appeared in The Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen and the National Post. He’s collaborated and interacted with numerous prime ministers and political bigwigs during his time, and when it comes to understanding the true merits of effective governance, his take on the differences between Canada and the United States during this global pandemic is squarely focused at our existential differences and how having trust in government is essentially what separates our two democracies.

7:44-13:48: “The men and women of science were correct”

Toronto is heading towards a lockdown on Boxing Day, an announcement that sent shockwaves through those living in Ontario and across Canada. A first wave that was met head-on by the conservative government in the province has long been forgotten in the face of a second wave that’s exposed a shocking level of excuses, pivoting and the passing of the coronavirus buck. With Ontario averaging over 28 deaths a day, the sense of urgency has never been greater even if the credibility of the messengers seems minimized by their tendency to speak out of both sides of their mouths.

Mary Ormsby (@MaryOrmsby) is one of Canada’s most respected journalists who has covered Olympic games, World Cups, and major professional leagues across North America for over three decades while writing for The Toronto Star. She’s spearheaded features about concussions, women in sports, homelessness and clergy abuse with award-winning features spanning over three decades of investigative journalism. For her, Doug Ford presents two phases – or “faces” as she calls them – that’s tested her limits when it comes to political leadership. Whereas she felt he was the right leader at the right time for the first wave of COVID-19, his foot-dragging disposition and chronic insistence of ignoring the men and women of science who were correct is making her wonder why a lockdown didn’t happen sooner.

13:51-18:22: “Always eliminate the window dressing”

Vaccine-hesitancy has quickly become one of the most controversial terms of the day, and when you eliminate the window dressing, it essentially bogs down to a tempting desire to reach for conspiracies over having the gumption to explore the real truth. Behind masks, behind social distancing, behind a vaccine to help keep us safe and healthy. But in an era where the written word has caused so much harm, are we perhaps underestimating the power of the spoken word?

Adam Corsair (@AdamCorsair) is a professional baseball and basketball podcaster whose literary passion for the Toronto Raptors and Blue Jays makes him an instant favourite here at Whiskey & Cream. His heart may be Canadian, but his family lives in Rhode Island – where faulty information and propaganda remains a daily battle for sweet, lucid sanity. His craft is reflected nicely in the gorgeous tonality and dissonant manner to which he passionately explains his plight in a world where fiction becomes fact in the click of play button.

18:35-22:44: “The Coronavirus Athlete”

Living during a global pandemic as a sports fan means settling for a new reality where your season, playoffs, rules and regulations seem permanently amorphous and subject to change. And that’s left some armchair fans scratching their heads and wondering if an asterisk needs to be deployed as a reminder that these achievements are happening during exceptional times. But as the business side of hockey, baseball, football and basketball continue to forge ahead amidst all this societal doom and gloom, there’s immense solace to be found in the astonishing power of sport and what it can do for a stir-crazy, cabin-fevered audience that can’t leave the house to enjoy Pascal Siakam, Auston Matthews or Bo Bichette.

Jim Lang (@JimLangSports) is Canadian sportscaster, writer and radio host who has covered major sports… For him, escapism is about savouring the real stories of courage and fortitude that exist to help soothe our burgeoning layers of anxiety and depression. That means embracing the notion that things will get better if we support those who train, excel and overachieve in pursuit of sporting excellence. In doing so, he tips his hat to the modern day coronavirus athlete.

“Whiskey & Cream Theme” written and performed by Chris Henderson.

Shapiro’s League of Seven: Playing The Blame Game

Shapiro’s League of Seven: “Playing The Blame Game” (Episode #06)

Guests: Jon Reid, Chris Henderson and Marshall Auerback
Hosted by Ari Shapiro
Recorded: April 17th, 2020 (33:25)

With the coronavirus now fully entrenched as a permanent part of our lives, it has become painfully obvious that the most vulnerable, downtrodden and disenfranchised members of society don’t stand a chance in the wake of our lack of empathy and foresight. The League returns after a short hiatus to feature a lively round table where we discuss the concept of attributing and perhaps navigating the reality of how and why this pandemic is proving to be so difficult to overcome.

We discussed the legitimacy of the World Health Organization (WHO) throughout this pandemic, why the old world globallist institutions and post-1948 safeguards failed the world so miserably, the fiasco that reveals how poorly we look after nursing home and special care needs patients, how Donald Trump’s insistence on re-opening the economy has put him in the crosshairs of individual states and their autonomy, and how the cultural rot of media personalities such as Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil has fractured the psyche and innate confidence of all Americans.

Theme: Into The Woods (Tycho, Weather, 2019)

Shapiro’s League of Seven: In Search Of A New Normal

Shapiro’s League of Seven: “In Search Of A New Normal” (Episode #05)

Guests: Mick Sloniowski, Marshall Auerback and Jason Woodell
Hosted by Ari Shapiro
Recorded: April 4th, 2020 (41:45)

The League gathers a bevy of eminent members to break free from the cabin fever and swirling anxieties we’re all feeling during these surreal times. We discussed conspiracy theories, losing creature comforts, how the perfect wartime analogy doesn’t work when there’s little unity and cooperation between countries of the world, how this pandemic is exposing our supply chain weaknesses and a lack of basic political cognition and will, why Doug Ford looks like gold and Donald Trump continues to pretend it’s all about gold, how 30 million unemployed Americans will likely ensure that domestic abuse, suicide rates and general mental health challenges will likely remain our greatest existential threat. Trust me, it’s not all doom and gloom.

Theme: Peaches (The Presidents of the United States of America, 1995)

Shapiro’s League of Seven: No man or woman is an island

Shapiro’s League of Seven: “No man or woman is an island” (Episode #03)

League members: Jon Reid and Chris Henderson
Hosted by Ari Shapiro
Recorded: March 27th, 2020 (30:32)

Another day, another lockdown.

Most of the western world is losing their respective battles with the coronavirus while other smaller nations continue to impress us with their fortitude, fastidious ways and transparency to their local communities. In lieu of this powerful variance between how different countries have handing this pandemic, it’s abundantly clear that the idealistic notion of cooperative globalism has been reduced to a cynical mantra of everyone for themselves and let’s hope fear and anxiety doesn’t destroy the best laid plans of mankind.

It makes me wonder: what will happen when this period of life is over and is this really an opportunity for humanity’s reboot in the areas of kindness, compassion and empathy while making health care the absolute most important political issue of our time moving forward – or will it be back to business as usual with 2% less humans and significantly less civil rights and freedoms?

Theme: Lovers In A Dangerous Time (Bruce Cockburn, Stealing Fire, 1984)

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s.

Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.”

-John Donne (1624)

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