A Happy 80th Birthday to one of Canada’s, and the World’s, Greatest Living People – Margaret Atwood

“War is what happens when language fails.”
― Margaret Atwood

“Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.”
― Margaret Atwood

A Brief Comment by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted November 18th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

One of Canada’s greatest, Margaret Atwood, turned 80 this November 18th

Whenever I hear someone say Margaret Atwood’s name – and I know this is going to sound so silly given all the rich rewards she has brought to our lives through her writings – one of the first things that comes to mind is the role she played with others eight years ago to stop Doug Ford and his now late brother Rob from cutting funding for Toronto public libraries.

When asked about Atwood’s involvement in fight against library cuts, Doug Ford – then a Toronto city councillor and now premier of Ontario – was quoted telling a reporter; “I don’t even know her.”

Blathering on as if he were proud of himself for saying something that might impress a bunch of old school pals sitting at a bar, Ford punctuated his naked stupidity with the obvious follow-up; “If she walked by me, I wouldn’t have a clue who she is.”

Sad to think that it was episodes like this that endeared Doug Ford to enough Ontarians (“I like him cause he sounds like a regular guy,” I’ve heard more than a few of my fellow Ontarians say) to plunk him in the seat of the most important political office in the province.

For those of us who at least know who Margaret Atwood is, the Canadian author who has become known and celebrated around the world for  critically acclaimed, award-winning books like ‘Cat’s Eye’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, and her most recent runaway bestseller, ‘The Testament’, turned 80 this November 18th, and a very happy birthday to her.

Margaret Atwood is not only a great writer. She has shown herself to be a great humanitarian for at least as many years as people began reading her work some five decades ago.

For this long-time environment writer, I also became aware earlier on that she has been passionate spokesperson for protesting and preserving the life-sustaining gifts of our mother earth.

On that score, Margaret Atwood has been among a growing number of others who have called out for action on climate change.

Here is just an excerpt of an article she wrote in 2015 on the subject –

Says Margaret Atwood of 16-year-old Swedish climate active Greta Thunberg – “She’s wonderful and she’s impervious to people slagging her off.”

“The laws of science are unrelenting, and they don’t give second chances. In fact, that bill is already coming due.

“There are many … effects (of climate change), from species extinction to the spread of diseases to a decline in overall food production, but the main point is that these effects are not happening in some dim, distant future. They are happening now. And in response to our growing awareness, there have been some changes in public and political attitudes (though not universal).

“Some acknowledge the situation, but shrug and go about their lives taking a “What can I do?” position. Some merely despair. But only those with their heads stuck so firmly into the sand that they’re talking through their nether ends are still denying that reality has changed.”

Happy Birthday Margaret Atwood, and may there be many, many more.

To read the full article that  Margaret Atwood wrote three years ago on the climate emergency we are now facing, click on – https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/margaret-atwood-on-climate-change-time-is-running-out-for-our-fragile-goldilocks-planet-10425406.html

To watch a great interview with Margaret Atwood, broadcast on CBC’s program Q this November 18th, 2019, click on – https://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/from-backwoods-bacon-to-half-hanged-mary-13-things-we-learned-about-margaret-atwood-1.5361066

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“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

3 responses to “A Happy 80th Birthday to one of Canada’s, and the World’s, Greatest Living People – Margaret Atwood

  1. Wasn’t that a great interview Tom Powers gave Margaret Atwood on CBC Radio’s “Q” this morning? I’ve been an Atwood fan since her first book of poetry was published; her wonderfully ironic sense of humour cannot hide the fact that she has one of the sharpest and most observant brains around…She is like a breath of winter air: bracing and energizing.


  2. at that time, I remember well one of the Ford Bros saying to the media mics that they needed more Tim Horton’s and fewer “libaries’. Something like that. I wish I could source this, but as a former Librarian (with the R in it) I wondered if anyone in the Ford family had ever availed themselves of a public library. Bet not.


  3. I am currently watching the Handmaid’s Tale series. It is very hard to watch. Although written in the 80’s it is still, if not more, pertinent than ever and very frightening. It deals with fanaticism, distortion of well intentioned religious beliefs into evil societal rules, misogyny, xenophobia, sexism, destruction of the environment, homophobia, demagoguery, slavery….basically so many ills that seem to be reviving in the present day. Gilead could become a reality. It has existed as other names before (and still does in some places)and can again. It is an illustration of the old saying…”First they came for *** and I said nothing. When they came for me there was no one left to speak for me”. She is prophetic, ahead of her time and “impervious to people slagging her off”. We need more Margarets and Gretas.

    People like Ford and Trump are proud to be ignorant and denigrate wise, educated people. It makes them feel superior somehow…heaven knows where the logic lies in that. The problem is too many of their ilk are running the show and, worse, we are letting them.


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