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Nov. 6: ‘Media satire and mockery of Donald Trump … do not win elections.’ Readers await U.S. election results, plus other letters to the editor – The Globe and Mail

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Washington.

Evan Vucci/The Associated Press

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Two solitudes

Re U.S. Outlook (Letters, Nov. 5): A letter-writer asks why half a nation voted for someone who is bad for citizens and bad for the country. I have an answer: reality television and social media.

Ken Cory Oshawa, Ont.

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Re Whatever The Final Result, Democrats Lost The 2020 U.S. Election (Nov. 5): As a political strategy, I believe the identity politics of far-left activists are ultimately counterproductive, alienating millions of voters who would otherwise be supportive of liberal causes.

Many left-leaning people do not agree with, or care about, the new dogmas demanded by progressives who live on Twitter. Social-media echo chambers, as it turns out, are not exclusive to the far-right. People are individuals, not mindless members of any monolithic identity.

Left-leaning Canadians would be wise to reconsider adopting the U.S. culture wars as their own. For the sake of liberalism, the sooner the better.

Mark Bessoudo Rothesay, N.B.


Far from signalling a move to the left by disconnected elites and identity politics, I believe Joe Biden’s candidacy clearly represented a rightward move, and an attempt to connect, compromise and find common ground with Republicans and the “common people.”

Rather, Donald Trump’s success was to rebrand his own class of disconnected elites and career senators as outsiders. As I see it, his identity politics are of white resentment at continuing social change – along with an unsteady rightward list and maintenance of the status quo – thus insuring the insularity of his base, and making Democratic outreach harder.

Allan Olley Oakville, Ont.

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The squeaker that should not be. Democrats better learn fast that endorsements from celebrities and elite Republicans, media satire and mockery of Donald Trump and his supporters do not win elections.

Dismissing his four years of rallies as gatherings of ignorant citizens (and, in particular, not taking concerns about job losses seriously enough) has made those voters even more enraged – and organized.

Cady Williams Toronto


Regardless of who wins the U.S. election, the loser will be the American people.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden are roughly splitting the popular vote. That means millions of Americans have not only given Mr. Trump a pass on his many transgressions, but are willing to indulge four more years of the same.

Even if Mr. Biden wins, the battle lines have been drawn. Are we watching the demise of the United States?

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Sean Michael Kennedy Oakville, Ont.


Re Trump’s Victory Claim Is A Nightmare Scenario (Nov. 5): “Pollsters blew it again.” They should write their own pink slips, then look for alternative careers where their experience might count – weather forecasters or stock analysts, for instance.

John Megarry Collingwood, Ont.


Re Donald Trump Is Not Going To Go Quietly (Editorial, Nov. 5): It appears that the country that preaches democracy (and sometimes forces it on others) cannot run an election that merely asks for a choice between two options.

Perhaps election methodology should be amended to reflect the state of U.S. democracy: Just count the lawyers of each persuasion.

A.S. Brown Kingston

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Re From Diversity In Congress To Worries Of Civil Unrest: Ten Highlights Of The 2020 U.S. Election (Online, Nov. 4): I’ll add another: For Canadians, thank goodness we live in a country that doesn’t board up stores in case there are postelection riots. Where every vote counts and most of us vote with our conscience, not with our wallets.

Until the election is decided, I’ll just be Biden my time. Trump that.

Steven Brown Toronto


It is clear from even partial election results that Americans remain deeply divided, and not even the challenge of a global pandemic can unite them. At the same time, many Canadians are caught up in the drama with a great deal of hand-wringing. We should keep in mind: Only Americans can heal their divisions.

The best thing Canadians can do is focus on strengthening our own democratic institutions, social safety net, public education and health care. We may be close with the United States, but we have our own unique values, sense of decency and place in the world.

Suzzanne Fisher Calgary

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My bad

Re Ottawa’s Claims About Pandemic Alert System Misleading, PHAC Staff Say (Nov. 5): Whatever happened to the concept of accountability? It would be refreshing to hear politicians and bureaucrats take responsibility for decisions, especially when the impact is negative. It may go counter to political culture, but isn’t it high time for a paradigm shift?

I speak generally, because no matter the party in power, and the staff who operationalize policy, we see this time and again. Put simply: Stand up, own up – then get on with repair and the business of the day.

Marilyn Minden Toronto

Growing pains

Re Ottawa Increasing Immigration Targets (Oct. 31): Here we go again.

Homeless people sleeping in city parks? Grow the population. COVID-19 causing business closings and unemployment? Grow the population. University graduates unable to get jobs? Housing prices out of sight? Canada unable to meet carbon-reduction commitments? Grow the population.

So far, folks, it ain’t working. Let’s think of other ways to make the economy fairer for all Canadians without plundering talented people from poorer countries – places that may need those talents in order to address their own numerous problems.

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Patty Benjamin Victoria

Art attack

Re Museums Need To Consider Their Duty To The Public When Selling Off Their Works (Oct. 29): I’d like to think there is a moral duty to art donors as well.

Granted, donors give up rights to their works, likely in exchange for tax receipts. But some may want to see their donations enjoyed by all in perpetuity, which is why they made gifts in the first instance.

Perhaps institutions could consult donors where possible. Works could also be offered back for repurchase on a slightly advantageous basis.

Failure to treat donors with due respect may affect future donations.

T.B.K. Martin Toronto


Re Artist Finds Hope in Recreating Paintings (Oct. 30): Georgia Youngs gives me hope and a sense of Canadian pride. To create such beauty while alone during a difficult time is admirable, a remarkable tribute to the Group of Seven.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have an opportunity to see her paintings in person.

Shea Miles Vancouver


Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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Are You Missing Life’s Moments Because of Social Media?

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Recently my wife and I watched the movie Before Sunrise [1995], starring Ethan Hawke as Jesse and Julie Delpy as Celine. While travelling on a Eurail train from Budapest, Jesse, an American, sees Celine, who’s French. It’s Jesse’s last day in Europe before returning to the US. Jesse strikes up a conversation with Celine, and they disembark in Vienna to spend the night wandering Austria’s capital city.

 

Summary: Before Sunrise is a back-and-forth conversation between a romantic [Celine] and a cynic [Jesse].

 

During the closing credits, I turned to my wife and said, “That wouldn’t have happened today. Jessie and Celine would have been staring at their respective smartphone throughout the train ride, which in 2021 would have free Wi-Fi, not noticing the passing scenery, their fellow passengers or each other, let alone start a conservation.”

 

How much of real life are we trading to participate in the digital world?

 

I have this problem; actually, it’s more of an addiction I need to keep in check constantly. I suffer from FOMO [Fear of Missing Out].

 

You’ve probably heard of FOMO. Odds are you suffer from it to a degree. FOMO is that uneasy feeling you get when you feel other people might be having a good time without you, or worst, living a better life than you. FOMO is why social media participation is as high as it is. FOMO is why you perpetually refresh your social media feeds, so you don’t feel left out—so that you can compare your life. FOMO is what makes social media the dopamine machine it is.

 

FOMO has become an issue, especially for those under 40. More and more people choose to scroll mindlessly through their social media feeds regardless of whether they’re commuting on public transit, having dinner in a restaurant, or at a sports event. Saying “yes” to the digital world and “no” to real life is now common.

 

Your soulmate could be sitting a few seats over on the bus (or Eurail train), or at the diner counter, or in the doctor’s waiting room. However, you’re checking your social media to see if Bob’s vacationing in Aruba with Scarlett or if Farid got the new job and may now be making more money than you. Likely, your potential soulmate is probably doing the same.

 

Look around. Everyone is looking down at the screen in their hand, not up at each other.

 

We all know Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, et al. [even LinkedIn] doesn’t provide a very well-rounded picture of people’s lives. Most of what people post is cherry-picked to elicit self-affirming responses, such as likes, thumbs-up and hand-clapping emojis, retweets, shares, and those coveted comments of “Congratulations!”, “Way to go!”, “You’re awesome!”, “Looking good!”

 

The Internet, especially its social media aspect, equates to “Look at me!”

 

Sometimes I wonder, if bragging and showing off were banned on social media sites, how much would posts decrease?

 

“Stop paying so much attention to how others around you are doing” was easy advice to follow pre-Internet (the late 90s). Back in the day, it would be only through the grapevine you were a part of that you found out if Bob was in Aruba with Scarlett and that be without pictures. Evidence of how others are doing, strangers included, is pervasive because undeniably, most of us care about status. In 2021 how people are doing is in the palm of our hands, so we tend to give more time to the device we’re holding at the cost of neglecting the real-life happenings within our immediate surroundings.

 

Social media has made us a restless, anxious bunch underappreciating the present moment. With lockdown restrictions lifting and more social activities taking place, people will be hunkering down on their smartphones more than before to see what others are doing. They’ll see the BBQ they weren’t invited to or people they consider to be friends having a few laughs on the local pub’s patio or camping or at the beach without them. Loneliness, questioning self-worth, depression will be the result.

 

Trading engaging with those around you to feed your FOMO angst is what we’ve come down to. In my opinion, Guildwood is the GTA’s most walkable neighbourhood. You can choose to take walks around Guildwood, getting exercise, meeting people or stay addicted to the FOMO distress social media is causing you.

 

Instead of catching up with an old friend or colleague in person over lunch, coffee, or a walk in Guild Park & Gardens, people prefer to text or message each other on social media platforms eliminating face-to-face interactions. Instead of trying to reconnect with old friends verbally, people would rather sit at home with their technology devices and learn what their friends are up to through social media platforms, thus the start of a slippery slope towards anti-social behaviour.

 

Social media’s irony is it has made us much less social. How Jesse and Celine meet [you’ll have to see the movie] and the resulting in-depth conversation they have as they gradually open up to each other, thus beginning a postmodern romance wouldn’t have happened today. They’d be too preoccupied with their smartphones feeding their FOMO addiction to notice each other.

 

Social media will always nudge you to give it attention, but that doesn’t mean you have to oblige. Take it from me; there’s more to be had in enjoying life’s moments outside of social media.

______________________­­­­­­­___________________________________________

Nick Kossovan is the Customer Service Professionals Network’s Director of Social Media (Executive Board Member). You can reach Nick at nick.kossovan@gmail.com and him on Instagram and Twitter @NKossovan.

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Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck pictured kissing as ‘Bennifer’ returns

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Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck have been pictured exchanging passionate kisses, apparently confirming weeks of fevered rumors that they have rekindled a romance that dominated celebrity media almost 20 years ago.

Paparazzi photos printed in the New York Post on Monday showed the two actors kissing while enjoying a meal with members of Lopez’s family at Malibu’s posh Nobu sushi restaurant west of Los Angeles on Sunday.

Representatives for Lopez, 51, declined to comment on Monday, while Affleck’s publicists did not return a request for comment.

Lopez and “Argo” director Affleck, dubbed “Bennifer,” became the most talked about couple in the celebrity world in the early 2000s in a romance marked by his-and-her luxury cars and a large 6.1-carat pink diamond engagement ring. They abruptly called off their wedding in 2003 and split up a few months later.

The pair have been pictured together several times in Los Angels and Miami in recent weeks, after Lopez and her former baseball player fiance Alex Rodriguez called off their engagement in mid-April after four years together. Monday’s photos were the first in which Lopez and Affleck were seen kissing this time around.

Celebrity outlet E! News quoted an unidentified source last week as saying Lopez was planning to move from Miami to Los Angeles to spend more time with Affleck, 48, and was looking for schools for her 13-year-old twins Max and Emme.

Max and Emme, along with the singer’s sister Lydia, were also photographed walking into the restaurant in Malibu on Sunday.

Lopez married Latin singer Marc Anthony, her third husband, just five months after her 2004 split with Affleck. Affleck went on to marry, and later was divorced from, actress Jennifer Garner.

 

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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TikTok debuts new voice after Canadian actor sues

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TikTok

After noticing a new female voice narrating the videos on the popular video-sharing social networking service, users of TikTok were baffled as to why. It actually turns out that the Canadian actress behind the old voice filed a lawsuit against the platform for copyright violation as her voice was apparently being used without her permission.

Bev Standing, a voice actor based in Ontario, is taking China-based ByteDance to court. TikTok’s parent company has since replaced her voice with a new one, with Standing reportedly finding out over email after a tip-off from a journalist. On the matter, Standing said: “They replaced me with another voice. I am so overwhelmed by this whole thing. I’m stumbling for words because I just don’t know what to say.”

TikTok is said to be considering a settlement for Standing outside of the courts, but nobody knows whether or not this is true. According to legal experts, the fact TikTok now has a new voice on the popular social media app suggests they acknowledge Standing’s case and potentially understand that she may have suffered as a result of the company’s actions.

Thanks to the emergence of the powerful smartphone devices of today, alongside taking high-quality images for Instagram, getting lost down YouTube wormholes, and accessing popular slots like Purple Hot, people are turning to relatively new platforms like TikTok. The service has 689 million monthly active users worldwide and is one of the most downloaded apps in Apple’s iOS App Store. This latest news could harm the platforms future, although many of its younger users potentially aren’t aware that this type of scenario is unfolding.

For Bev Standing, the ordeal is a testing one. She wasn’t informed of the voice change, there is no mention of it in TikTok’s newsroom online, and the development is news to her lawyer also.

 

This all comes after her case was filed in a New York State court in early May after the voice actor noticed a computer-generated version of her voice had been seen and listened to around the world since 2020. Speculation is rife as to how TikTok managed to obtain the recordings but Standing believes the company acquired them from a project she took part in for the Chinese government in 2018.

(Image via https://twitter.com/VoiceOverXtra)

The Institute of Acoustics in China reportedly promised her that all of the material she would be recording would be used solely for translation, but they eventually fell into the hands of TikTok and have since been altered and then exposed to a global audience.

According to Pina D’Agostino, an associate professor with Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and an expert in copyright law, the fact that the hugely popular social media platform has now changed Standing’s voice could result in a positive outcome for the distraught voice actor. She said: “It’s a positive step in the way that they are mitigating their damages. And when you’re mitigating, you’re acknowledging that we did something wrong, and you’re trying to make things better.”

When assessing social media etiquette and how both companies and users should act, this type of news can only do more harm than good. Not only does it make the company look bad, but it could have an effect on revenues and, ultimately, TikTok’s reputation.

With a clear desire to move on and put this whole process behind her, Bev Standing is eager for the case to be resolved and get back to the daily work she loves and has been doing for a large part of her life. TikTok has until July 7 to respond to her claim.

 

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