How is the outpouring of emotion that greeted the death of NDP leader Jack Layton reminiscent of the days and weeks after the 911 attacks on Manhattan and the Pentagon?
In an op ed in today’s Toronto Star, Jill Scott, a professor at Queen’s University and the author of A Poetics of Forgiveness: Creative Responses to Loss and Wrongdoing draws interesting parallels between the two events – both the community-building that they inspired, and the fiercely adversarial reactions that surfaced as well.
Given her relevant subject-matter expertise, Scott was asked in recent weeks to give context to the massive public engagement around Jack Layton’s death by a number of media outlets. Her op ed was a natural extension of the views she articulated in those interviews.
In the lead up to the 10th anniversary of the fall of the twin towers in New York City, a lot of media are looking for new ways to make sense of the decade-old events.
In fact anniversaries of significant happenings often provide would-be commentators with an opportunity to provide analysis of a related matter — a means of hooking their knowledge to a current news story. I’ve noticed op ed writers capitalizing on the past via anniversaries of historic elections, sporting events and natural disasters as a means of illuminating the present. Doing so can give sometimes tip the balance, giving the editor you’re pitching one more reason to publish your piece now.