Wednesday Night #1305 – Examiner Editorial

Written by  //  March 8, 2007  //  Special Wednesday Nights, Special Wednesdays  //  No comments

25 years of Wednesdays
Commentary
(Editorial from The Westmount Examiner signed Wayne Larsen)

When David and Diana Nicholson marked their 1,000th consecutive Wednesday Night salon in 2001, the formidable milestone was celebrated with a huge, happy party, the likes of which residents of Rosemount Avenue had never seen.
The unprecedented occasion was reported not only in The Examiner, but on websites and other electronic media throughout the world. From Hong Kong to Westmount, messages of congratulations flowed in. The couple had achieved the seemingly impossible; if you can imagine hosting a party in your home for anywhere from 20 to 60 people every week for a thousand weeks, you get an idea of what they accomplished.

Now, six years later, the Nicholsons have reached another milestone—an entire 25 years have passed since the first Wednesday Night salon back in 1982. During that time they have not missed a single Wednesday, despite any number of obstacles from ice storms and blizzards to 9/11.

The longevity of their weekly discussions is not only a testament to their tenacity, but by discussing important matters they are, in their own way, making a valued contribution to the intellectual level of our community and society in general.

Though many people hate to admit it, we live in an age dominated by lowbrow ‘tabloid’ values, where untalented, unaccomplished people are given celebrity status and puff pieces dominate news headlines. Nowhere has this been more obvious than the death of Anna Nicole Smith—one of those ‘famous-for-being-famous’ people whose actual resumés are best described as negligible. The deaths of former U.S. presidents Reagan and Ford received much less media attention; even CNN got caught up in all the ‘Anna’ hype—despite the ongoing war in Iraq and other infinitely more important news events. Passing off such stories as news does not make us think; it makes us question our own values.

That’s why we’re fortunate to have people like the Nicholsons and their friends in this community, for the subjects they bring to their table are always relevant and important. With one eye on the economy and the other on the political climate—and a few fingers in various other stimulating subjects—they don’t care if Britney shaves her head or where Anna is buried, and neither should we. As long as these basic values are maintained, we will never completely succumb to the mass ‘dumbing down’ of our society.

Congratulations to the Nicholsons for 25 years of Wednesday Nights. May they continue for many more.

Dear Wayne,
David and I were touched by the glowing editorial tribute to Wednesday Night. You have encapsulated the essence of Wednesday Night, as did Martin Barry with his reference to the Fred Friendly quote which Peter Trent and David often cite. But, of course, we are only the catalysts for these evenings, it is the thoughtful and thought-provoking contributions of the participants that guarantee the success of each evening and the longevity of the institution. We are particularly proud that in recent years a whole new generation of 30-somethings has joined us. They contribute so much knowledge of the newer topics and a fresh perspective on some of the older ones.
Sad, but true, we are all fascinated/repulsed by the “famous-for-being-famous”. Moreover, even the good works of some of the famous, like Brad & Angelina, are tainted by the tabloid coverage of their private lives (oxymoron?).
We are so sorry that you weren’t able to be with us for the Silver Anniversary – it was even better than described by Martin and Stanley Baker, but all went by in a flash. Fortunately, David made a real nuisance of himself beforehand, insisting that there must be videotaping of the proceedings. The precious tapes will allow us to savour the memories over and over.
David joins in sending our very best regards,
Diana

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