While our society claims to be making progress toward a more peaceful spirit, the popularity of “Ultimate Fighting” and similar bloody sports gives evidence to the contrary.
More than 18,000 spectators packed the Air Canada Centre in Toronto for the much-anticipated evening. As match after match progressed, the excitement, the energy, and the injuries intensified. The Toronto Star closed its live-tweeting of Ultimate Fighting Championship #206 by describing every fight as “memorably violent.” Should we be concerned about a society that has come to accept, and even glorify, such brutality?
Once a banned sport in Canada, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) was legalized by Ontario in August 2010. In 2013, Bill S-209 placed MMA alongside boxing as the only exceptions to the criminal code banning prize fighting. Even prior to nationwide legalization, its popularity in Canada flourished as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events took place in several provinces. The first UFC event hosted in Toronto resulted in 42,000 tickets sold on the first day. Per capita, Canadians consume UFC through various media more than any other nation (“Kids Getting Involved in Mixed Martial Arts,” Toronto Star, September 21, 2013).
For those unfamiliar with the so-called sport, you may be picturing something similar to the wrestling or judo bouts conducted during the Olympics. However, few Olympic matches have the ability to draw an audience to their feet in the same manner as a UFC bout. Why? The Olympics are far less brutal. In the lead-up to a UFC event, the Ottawa Citizen published a guide in the form of a Q & A for those unfamiliar with the sport. Their answer to the question “How do I know when it’s over?” paints a stark picture:
Studies show younger generations increasingly consider the elderly to be a “burden on society.” Is that true? What does God’s word reveal?
Most people accept average life expectancy as a general gauge of a country’s overall health. In most parts of the ancient world, life was short—especially in cities. Average life expectancy in the Roman Empire was around 25 years. Flash forward to the 20th century, where improvements in sanitation, medicine, and nutrition increased average life expectancy to 50 years in many developed nations—like Canada. By 2011, that number had reached 81 (“Life Expectancy,” conferenceboard.ca).
Today in Canada, the number of people 65 years old and over exceeds those 14 years old and younger. According to the National Post, “StatCan said the latest figures were driven by a trend that took root in 2011 and has continued to accelerate—the aging of the baby boomers… Baby boomers now account for 30 per cent of the senior demographic, the agency said” (McQuigge, Michelle, “Canadian seniors outnumber children for the first time in recorded history, StatsCan says,” NationalPost.com, September 29, 2015).
The ever-growing baby boomer population strains Canada’s pension support system. The eligibility age for Old Age Security (OAS) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is 65 years, just a year younger than the average lifespan in Canada when the plan was first introduced. Since then, the average lifespan has increased by almost 20 years.
The fads that determine our schools’ educational approaches are often ideologically driven—and do more harm than good to our children!
In an article in The Province (June 12, 2014) entitled “The Guys Crisis: Boys are falling badly behind the girls at school,” author Paul Luke states, “By high school, girls’ grade point average outshines that of boys. In Canada, women make up almost 60 percent of university students.” He explains the phenomenon by suggesting that for too long the needs of girls were overlooked in school and now that things are more equitable, girls outshine boys in learning. But is this really the case?
Recently Dr. Jim Dueck, author and former Assistant Deputy Minister of Education for the province of Alberta, and former head of Accountability and Student Assessment, performed a revealing analysis on current practices in student assessment. The results were not only remarkable but very disturbing, exposing what might well be an institutional suppression of the performance of male students.