COLUMN: Perry Bergson — March 31, 2014

Perry
Perry Bergson
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One of my goals every weekend is to set enough time aside so that Mrs. Bergson and I can have date night.

Sometimes date night turns into date afternoon, like when we went recently snowshoeing at Little Red River Park, or date weekend, like when we went to Saskatoon for a couple of days.

We’re pretty laidback people so it’s more about the time together than the activity.

That’s become abundantly clear to me as we’ve somehow turned into the people we swore that we never be when we got married a couple of decades back. Early in their time together, a lot of people are convinced that it’s going to be big constant fun.

I’m convinced that plays a key role in Canada’s divorce rate. When one member of a couple is OK with things slowing down and the other wants them to speed up, you’re in a bad place.

Mrs. Bergson once told me that she never wanted us to be the couple that sits and watches movies in their sweatpants on a Saturday evening.

Guess what we did on Saturday?

I don’t think it’s a case of lowering our standards. I think it’s a gradual move to the realization that any time together is a good time, regardless of the activity.

One of my favourite weekend activities is poking around secondhand stores looking for CDs and DVDs. If I find a DVD that I like, it’s added to the date night pile for some future evening.

We’ve powered through some cinematic classics recently -- Giant, The Deer Hunter, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They, American Graffiti, Misfits -- and bad romantic comedies. (I’m a firm believer in handing out a cube of sugar with the cod liver oil.)

After some of my late nights during the week, the TV has a way of finding its way to the reality TV shows that don’t me think like Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, American Restoration, Counting Cars, American Pickers, Canadian Pickers or any number of home renovation shows.

Mrs. Bergson watches them with me, even though I don’t think she really loves any of them. I think it’s more of a nod to the giant red-headed zombie sitting beside her on the couch shovelling down supper.

After weathering 20 years of me working nights in Brandon, her expectations have changed. We have a nice meal out once a week and the rest of the time fills itself in.

Lots of readers have more experience than me in the marriage game but it’s a thought worth hanging on to if you still have that new couple smell. If you stay together, a few decades is a long time.

Relax and enjoy it.

 

• • • 

 

People are funny.

The source of that newsflash is an American radio show (and podcast) called On The Media, a longtime favourite of mine.

In their last episode, they talked about something called trigger warnings, which are disclaimers warning about something that’s about to come. We’ve seen them from many years on television.

The discussion stemmed from a wonderful story written by Jenny Jarvie in the New Republic.

The intent of trigger warnings is noble. They are used to shield people from things that could potentially trigger trauma in people who encounter.

For instance, if you have been sexually assaulted, you would want to know if the thing you’re about to read or watch has graphic rape scenes.

That’s the best part of human nature. Unfortunately, we’re complicated critters and nothing good is ever allowed to remain that way.

We’ve become an increasingly sensitive species and less willing to put up with anything that we disagree with.

I’ve noticed this recently on our website. Readers at www.paherald.sk.ca have the ability to leave comments on stories, and also to flag things for vulgarity or racism.

Lately, readers have been flagging a bunch of things. As soon as that shows up in my email, I hop into action because I don’t have want terrible things on the website.

Every single time, I’ve arrived at the scene of the “crime” only to discover that the item was flagged because somebody didn’t agree with the viewpoint of the author.

That’s kind of missing the point and it’s not unique to Prince Albert.

Jenny Jarvie provides some examples in her well-written story in the New Republic, all culled from the rarified air of university campuses.

• At the University of California, Santa Barbara, students asked school officials to use mandatory trigger warnings on class syllabi. In other words, professors would have to warn students in advance of something that might cause post-traumatic stress disorder.

• At Rutgers University, a student suggested a trigger warning for the literary classic F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby that would read “TW: suicide, domestic abuse and graphic violence.”

• At Oberlin College, faculty were warned to “be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.”

I’m not even sure what some of those are but they’re apparently awful enough to upset the delicate flowers that now populate university campuses.

Jarvie makes the point that we diminish ourselves by objecting to everything we come across. It makes us out to be weak and infinitely sensitive. We’re better than this.

Or at least we should be.

 

• • • 

 

Something we’ve had enjoyed doing in the last while here at the Daily Herald is checking up with people from the city who have gone on to great and interesting things elsewhere.

Whether they are young people -- like Breann Kozun who is going to be a doctor -- or people making waves in the business world -- like Michelle Zatlyn from Cloudflare -- we enjoy doing them.

If you know someone from the city who has gone elsewhere to do noteworthy things, please let me know. My contact information is below.

 

Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at perry.bergson@paherald.sk.ca

 

Organizations: Oberlin College, University of California, The Media Daily Herald Prince Albert Rutgers University

Geographic location: Little Red River Park, Saskatoon, Canada New Republic Brandon Santa Barbara

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