Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 19, No. 2, 2020
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
  Contributing Editors
David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nick Catalano
Chris Barry
Don Dewey
Howard Richler
Gary Olson
Oslavi Linares
Jordan Adler
Andrew Hlavacek
Daniel Charchuk
  Music Editors
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Jerry Prindle
Chantal Levesque Denis Beaumont
Emanuel Pordes
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Mark Kingwell
Naomi Klein
Arundhati Roy
Evelyn Lau
Stephen Lewis
Robert Fisk
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Mona Eltahawy
Michael Moore
Julius Grey
Irshad Manji
Richard Rodriguez
Navi Pillay
Ernesto Zedillo
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Nayan Chanda
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward





Donald Dewey has written some 40 books of fiction and nonfiction, as well as contributed scores of stories to magazines and other periodicals. He has also had some 30 plays staged in Europe and the United States. Dewey was editor of the ASME-award winning magazine Attenzione and was editorial director of the East-West Network, overseeing a dozen in-flight magazines and the PBS organ Dial. His most recent thriller novel is Red Herrings.

In case you haven't noticed, whistle blowers have become as much of a threat as suicide-bent terrorists. In their zeal for causing eruptions, they mock the institutional serenity of society, jeopardizing its government and corporate constituents. The whistle blower's violation of the eleventh commandment of don't-ask-don't-tell has become decadent habit, exposing a whimsical sense of loyalty and overly friendly relations with a demonic agent of the media. Most whistle blowers claim they act for such abstract principles as legality, honesty and truth, but that is also what a raccoon caught ferreting in a dumpster would say.

The most noted whistle blower of recent decades was undoubtedly ‘Deep Throat’ from the 1970s Watergate scandal. But whether the shadowy figure in the Bob Woodward-Carl Bernstein book, the Hal Holbrook character in its film adaptation, or the informant ultimately identified as associate FBI director Mark Felt, Deep Throat had something going for him that many whistle blowers of our day do not -- he was viewed as an anti-corruption force without which bad guys would have been free to continue their mischief. How tempus can fugit!

Nowadays a whistle blower is the obnoxious kid in fifth grade who told the teacher who in the class threw the spitball at him. In good part because of the moral deformities unleashed on the land around, oh, let's say, January 21, 2017, there has been increasingly more effort spent on prosecuting the identity of the whistle blower than on dealing with the evils denounced. This attitude stems in part from an understandable trepidation that the whistle blower might be an illegal alien or a pole dancer with a big black book. More generally, it
dovetails with the precept popularized by Bugsy Siegel that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. It says a lot about Siegel's perspicacity that his warning could be as applicable to strongarming Ukrainian politicians over millions of dollars in military aid as to denying intimacy with pricey hookers.

But politics have been merely one arena where whistle blowers have been an annoyance of late.

Coverage of the sign-stealing manipulations of the Houston Astros on their way to World Series victory in 2017 went into high gear after Mike Fiers, a team pitcher during the season, came forward with particulars about what had been going on in his dugout, this leading to an official investigation that ultimately cost three managers and one general manager their jobs. Fiers a force for justice? Not at all.

According to Jessica Mendoza, the ethical colour commentator for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, for instance, the pitcher broke an unwritten clubhouse rule never to tattle on the dubious activities of teammates, coaches, or front office personnel. The clubhouse, she insisted, should be sacred enough to accommodate the Torah or a Holy Communion chalice. Mendoza's contention was backed by, among others, Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez. The Jock Wall of Silence had to be maintained.

If this sounds slightly familiar, it's because you have heard about the Blue Wall of Silence endemic to police forces not attired in chartreuse. It is a given, as we have been told on 30 cop shows a day, that a cop doesn't squeal on another cop. More than that, when a cop does something at odds with the penal code, the Blue Wall of Silence is shipped to court houses on arraignment days so dozens of fellow officers can demonstrate ‘solidarity’ with the arrested one. Complaints that these exhibitions often resemble an attempt at intimidation are routinely shrugged off. Objections that the cops would be the first to criticize a similar gathering of teachers in ‘solidarity’ with one of their number accused of molesting a student nets only a reply of "that's different." And indeed it is: as brutal and disturbing as a case of child molestation can be, the victim usually remains alive, as opposed to a more than periodic occurrence of civilians killed during police actions.

But there is also the bigger picture. What do attempted coverups over military aid to Ukraine, knowing whether a fast ball or a curve is
coming, and solidarity thuggery have in common? It should be plain enough: Us. Policemen are civil servants whose first responsibility is to protect the public, not form a ring around one of their number who has been accused of a crime.

Baseball fans pay increasingly outrageous prices even for upper left field tickets and should have the expectation that the playing field they can dimly see is level. Elected governments are supposed to act in the interests of a nation, not in those of a would-be despot. The shriller the voices trying to block out these reminders, the more resonant the need for whistle blowers.



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Also by Donald Dewey:
Noticing Death
Passive Resistance
Not Playing It Safe
The Expectation Medium
Crisis in Critics
Words Not to Live By
Knowing the Killer
Racism to the Rescue
Punk Times
Not Playing It Safe
Meeting the Author
The Overwriting Syndrome
Writers As Ideas
Let Them Entertain Us
It's a Kindergarten Life
Being and Disconnectedness
History of Humour in the Cinema
Cartoon Power

Red Herrings by DON DEWEY

For years Charley Sylvester has buried himself as the Obituaries Editor of a major New York daily.When he decides to take a vacation in one of his old hunting grounds as a correspondent in Italy, the bodies resist complacent editing. Surrounded by suicides and murders, he finds himself in the middle of political intrigues involving three countries andold friends who are no longer the friends he remembered.

Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 x 9
360 Pages
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Private Investigators











Arts & Opinion, a bi-monthly, is archived in the Library and Archives Canada.
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