Sunday November 23 , 2014

I Live Here

There’s an old guy I’ve talked to a couple of times on the bus. He goes to a McDonald’s near my place to meet up with another old guy who he says, “buys a ticket for the group”.

He’s talking about a lottery ticket. “It keeps us going”, he says. “We talk about what we’ll do with the money if we win.”

Then he laughs. “Probably nothing. We’re too old. Some of us can’t even make it to McDonald’s anymore.”

He gets around pretty good though because I’ve seen him on two different buses coming from different parts of downtown, just like me, to head into my neck of the woods.

The first time he sat near me and asked to see the cover of the book I was reading. It was a conversation opener. When it came time to get off the bus I asked him, “Do you know where to catch the bus to get home?”

I didn’t really believe him about meeting up with a friend at the McDonald’s near my place. I thought he was just lonely and getting off the bus because I was getting off the bus. And I was worried about him being in our not really suburban but not quite urban part of Ottawa late at night.

“Oh yes. I do this all the time. See? It’s right there. My friend is probably already there having a coffee. We’re waiting until we win to have more than just coffee.”

So I walked the other way but then turned after a bit to make sure he was headed towards the McDonald’s and not just standing there alone on the sidewalk sadly watching me walk home.

I was reading about a comedian (I think) in England who decided to go and see for himself a comedian billed as the rudest comedian working in England today.

Rude apparently means racist/sexist against everyone except people who look like him (although he’s almost 70 and dresses up in a clown suit to do his act). It sounded to me like he should have to be a lot funnier than he is for my taste, and the author of the piece was certainly the odd person out in the yobience.

That’s mine – yobience.

Interestingly, while all the out-sized bigotry was awkward, the mid-show realization of his privilege relative to the yobience, being the well-educated and well-employed son of hard-working immigrant parents, was even more so.

As I said, the rude comedian dresses in a clown suit and looks for all the world like an angry old pedophile (not the Jimmy Saville kind, the British MP kind) but the yobience laps it up.

Free at last, free at last, free at last, to be angry white men sharing a laugh over an impoverished existence thanks to (fill in the blank).

Nothing says long line of prosperity achieving genetics interrupted like sitting in a yobience laughing bitterly at people born with vaginas and/or darker skin tones.

Oh, and people attracted to same sex partners, of course.

Hahahahahaha!

I used to encounter that more often than I do now, privilege, but my circumstances have changed. And I don’t mean I encountered it in the same way as the author in the piece, either, because I didn’t. It was kind of a reverse of that, actually, because I was living in a bit of a bubble for a while, so well insulated from life out here that I lost any street smarts I’d managed to acquire living in various parts of downtown Toronto.

Oh, and growing up in the Sault, of course, during the 60s and 70s, before parenting was a verb.

I remember once having to track down a doctor to check out a sudden rash one of my kids developed. But it was his turn at a clinic in Vanier, which is a notoriously incorrigible part of Ottawa, and because I have a tendency to park as far from my destination as possible, we did quite a tour before we made it to the clinic, which appeared to have a waiting room full of heroin addicts.

(No mere appearance, either. They WERE heroin addicts.)

“Ah, your first time in beautiful downtown Vanier”, the doctor joked.

But on our trek back to the car I noticed young women who looked more or less like me, too, out and about with their strollers, except that they were relaxed and appeared to be enjoying their lives and their day, they weren’t in an anxious panic to get home and safe, like I was.

They WERE home and safe, in beautiful downtown Vanier chock a block with heroin addicts.

When I left home, which is how I term it now, separating from my ex with whom I’d lived on and off for most of my adult life, I lived in a big, but not very nice, apartment downtown. It felt like quite a fall from grace at the time, and for a while there my kids were calling me the “Mayor of Crackhoville” (because we had a crack dealer on the first floor and therefore addicts buzzing at all hours of the day and night because crack addicts don’t have the same appreciation for who’s who and what’s what the rest of us do).

But in the course of that time I met a better class of person than myself living in even closer proximity to the dirtbag crack dealer our scumbag landlord (a millionaire who lives in the aforementioned Vanier, ironically) had let move in to our building because cash up front.

Of particular note was a man who lived next door to his dealership and while we were talking one day about the problem a couple of crack addicts showed up and he let them in before they could frantically buzz everyone else.

“It’s sad, isn’t it”, he said. “A hard and usually short life for people who get addicted to crack, the drug at the end of the addiction line.”

He was an educated person with a job at a social services agency of some kind. One of those people who does good for a living.

Still, I told my Beau, who eventually moved in with me, making us a family of five every weekend, “I can’t go lower than this”.

Except that I could and I did because now I work retail and take public transit to and from home in an area a lot of downtown people would find sketchy, I’m sure. I share space every day with people otherwise known as social problems.

And I’m in AA with addicts of all shapes and sizes, including from the old ‘hood, suburban matrons who make no distinction between their lives and the lives of others in the group.

Because, of course, the group includes former crack addicts, there not being much daylight between a person who suffers from an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind with one drug and a person who suffers from the same with another.

And lower doesn’t mean what I thought it meant anyway because living the way I do now feels better, not worse, and when I look at the older people riding the bus at night now I realize I’ll be one of them soon enough and can have my own bit of fun forcing communication from strangers.

I won’t be in an anxious panic to get home because I’ll be home.

I live here.

 

Unambiguous Ambiguity

While we’re on the topic, the Globe had a spread in the Focus section last Saturday about a new campaign to raise sexual assault awareness by stepping up “no means no” to “yes means yes”.

Better yet, ECR – Enthusiastic Consent Required.

Cue the groans from all and sundry who pretend that nonsensical quips like “boys will be boys” trump the right of other citizens to go about our lives, not just free of sexual assault, but free from having to worry about it.

Fact: When my Beau goes out for a walk alone at night, he does it free from worry about being sexually assaulted. But no matter how hard I try to ignore years of official and non-official warnings that the very least I can do to protect myself from sexual assault is to not go out for a walk alone at night I can’t.

Rape is a crime of opportunity, don’t you know. She gave him the opportunity by (fill in the blank).

A pundit for the Calgary Herald, Susan Martinuk, recently wrote a column that blames Rinelle Harper and her parents for the sexual assault perpetrated against her that would have left her for dead except that she lived.

I wonder, is rape more often followed by murder or charges, do you think.

The insult is to everyone, of course, but so particular to Rinelle Harper and her parents that I had to check my computer clock to make sure it was 2014.

“I’m not blaming Rinelle Harper, but why was she out late, where were her parents and why did go off with two men?”

Of course, Michael Coren, now of Sun Media, once used the rape and murder of a little girl to proselytize for school uniforms, so I don’t know why I’m surprised when other Conservative pundits exhibit the moral code of their political leaders.

Have we ever had a Prime Minister capitalize on death due to sexual assault like Stephen Harper did in the tragic case of Rehtaeh Parsons? He used her bereaved parents to flog his shut-the-barn-door-after-the-horses-have-fled ideology and the Canadian media lapped it up like milk from a grass-fed cow.

Speaking of which, the grocery store near us now sells milk specifying on the carton that it comes from grass-fed cows.

Imagine being from a time before factory farms started force-cannibalizing their captive sentient products and wondering why the hell farmers were wasting money advertising the obvious.

Forget all the missing children (missing because they’ve been raped and murdered by men) advertisements, the milk is from grass-fed cows!

Milk that goes better with your shade grown organic fair trade coffee that tastes like justice!

Screw you, shareholders of companies that sell milk from the captive species birthed for human consumption and force fed cannibalism.

Another by the way, I was watching CBC’s The National the other night and I forget the story now but all of a sudden I found myself looking at sows in pens not big enough for them to turn around in and I swore off pork forever.

Fortunately, the maple bacon appetizers at the place in the market aren’t actually tasty enough to tempt me to compromise, either. In fact, they were kind of not tasty at all. Or maybe it’s just me being no fun.

“Every time we spend money we vote on what kind of world we want.” Anna Lappe, O Magazine.

Conservatives, I guess, believe that men are incorrigible savages.

Which begs the question as to why they give them tax cuts and not the rest of us who have to protect ourselves from them but I digress.

I know, I know, and women can’t be in charge because it would mean the end of fun.

Speaking of digressing, since we only have the word of Stephen Harper’s staff that he a) raised the issue of human rights with Chinese dictators, b) told Putin to get out of Ukraine when he shook his hand, I’m not sure whey the CBC would report either as if they actually happened.

Oh, and while I’m here, Stephen Harper will resign prior to Mike Duffy’s trial.

You heard it here first on Sooey Says.

But back to “yes means yes”. It’s easy to scoff if you think you don’t have any skin in the game, which scoffers so often think they don’t, but to my mind “yes means yes” puts even more of the onus on young women, which is maybe where the onus for consensual sexual activity has to be, until “boys will be boys” is finally kicked to the curb by a smarter generation of human, and men become men and women become people.

Now I’m going to skip ahead, though, and make it even harder because there was a conversation in the Globe piece that got me t’inkin’. One of the interviewees was questioning her behaviour in the light of day re a friends with benefits situation in which she’d had sex she didn’t really want to have.

Before you get your dander up, she was doing what a lot of young women do and have done since forever, long before date rape, or even marital rape, was a twinkle in the justice system’s eye, and realizing that, no, she didn’t want to have sex. And she’s not blaming the other party to it, she’s blaming herself.

That’s what fair leapt off the page at me, as someone once put it, and brings me to up the ante in the discussion because we’re not being entirely fair to young women if we don’t complicate matters further for them.

Ready? Here it is. Now, hang on to your bonnets and grab hold of your knickers because it’s a doozy:

It’s okay to have had sex you weren’t that into having so stop beating yourself up about it. And it’s okay to do it again, too. And this is going to sound outrageously politically incorrect but I promise you it isn’t at all. In fact, it’s actually very empowering and good to know because even while I’m typing this I’m looking back and thinking (in quotation marks, as I do) “Well there. That was nice of me.”

Because sometimes, that’s all it is, so don’t let everybody turn it into another big bad that you have to worry about doing or not doing and just let it be.

And always remember, no wait, never forget – just because Conservatives believe that men are savages doesn’t make it true. In fact, Conservatives are well known to be liars, cheats, and thieves, so you can be quite sure that men are not, in fact, savages at all, but quite capable of being as civilized as women.

Otherwise, we really should be the ones getting the tax cuts.

 

 

 

Jingoism, Crank It Up To 11

Okay, at this point, Franck Gervais dressing up in soldier drag to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies this year isn’t news, the Canadian media’s reaction to it is news.

It’s also bullying, a kind of unconscionable hounding of a private citizen that should be called out.

So consider yourselves called out, Canadian media.

Anyway, count me out of this jingo circus where we all support the effin’ troops so hard we drive their groupies to suicide.

When did the word soldier become interchangeable with the word hero?

One of my daughters works in an office. The other day she told me, just in passing, about a staff member off with post traumatic stress syndrome.

And my heart started racing.

“Okay, if he shows up unexpectedly I want you to suddenly have an urgent matter to attend to outside the office.”

“Mom! I can’t do that! I’m reception!”

“Yeah, well. You’re not getting danger pay so screw it.”

“Mom!”

Then she said she shouldn’t have told me because now I’ll just worry which is true because I will. This is nuts, what we’re doing, pretending we can train young men to become killers, call them heroes for donning a uniform, then turn them loose into civilian society as if nothing has changed.

Stephen Harper, who has been called out – how many times now? – for playing soldier (wearing the apparently sacred uniform and even firing off the apparently holy weaponry for which I doubt he is licensed) is doing so well in the polls now for coming across as Captain Security in a Crisis (that’s right, Canadian kids, you don’t stand a chance against a nut with a gun, so head to the nearest closet and hope the bullets don’t penetrate the door ala Oscar Pistorius vs Reeva Steenkamp) that the Hard To Watch panel on CBC’S The National last night discussed whether or not he’d break his own law and call a snap election.

It’s funny because the panel consists of people I theoretically shouldn’t be inclined to agree with except that I practically always do, resistance not being futile but reality not being something one should deny.

Two out of three panelists agree the optics would be insurmountable and so he won’t. But the third argued that after the first day of campaigning (I’d argue that thanks to the “new” Conservative Party, campaigning is all we get by way of government now, but that’s a given, I guess) breaking its own law would be yesterday’s news.

Heart racing, stomach churning. Grr. Yup. Brain agreeing with her.

By the way, the American military has an awesome new recruitment strategy targeting kids now. Indeed, they’re using video games and whatnot to get ‘em while they’re young, hooked on America’s military industrial complex, er, playground.

Have fun! Join the army! Kill people! Die a hero! Next!

It’s ironic to me that the great death cult south of the border is calling out ISIS for being a death cult, but there I go, refusing to recognize Islam as THE MENACE TO SOCIETY!

But is it just me or has the incoherent violence being perpetrated by ISIS in the Middle East resulted in the Canadian government (led by a Prime Minister who may dress up in soldier drag but who at least has the good sense to hide in a closet while real gun violence plays itself out in the corridors of his Parliament) making equally incoherent declarations of war on behalf of we the people who will be left to pay for it.

And I’m not even talking about financially, since our tax dollars are probably better wasted on incoherent bombing campaigns as exploring for minerals to exploit in the Arctic.

Oh, didn’t you hear? The Minister of the Environment, the weakest link of our anti-government government that more Canadians than do, don’t want, but whatever, is using our money, public money, to save mining companies the expense.

Which should beg the question as to who’s collecting her public pay cheque for protecting our environment, but I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for the Access to Information request that may or may not bring forth an answer to it.

The Canadian Family Circus, another go ’round the yard with Stephen.

 

Crazy People Ain’t Got No Reason

As I said in the comments, I thought not giving a rat’s ass would make the job easier, but it’s made it harder instead.

Who knew I was such a professional?

Also, my hips are hurting now, which is so old lady even I can’t believe it.

Please tell me I don’t look like one of our customers.

The manager is stalking me around the store because she can see that my sales technique has shifted into neutral.

I didn’t actually have a sales technique before, I just have one of those engaging personalities that doesn’t frighten reluctant shoppers (like myself) out of the store.

But I work lame now with my bubble leaking and leaving a puddle of disappointment on the cold hard floor that tires my back and hurts my feet.

It’s funny how differently we all interpret the same world, eh?

Her boss used to show up once a month seemingly to terrorize shoppers into buying now to terrorize us into selling too.

Shoppers leave the store and staff quit and it’s all very demoralizing but I guess it must work or why would she do it?

She claims to love her job and I hate mine so she must be right.

Still, passively aggressive is no way to go through life, so I should probably write it out. I already have three friends promising to buy a copy of my book fictionalizing (maybe/maybe not) my year in retail.

I told them, “Yay! Three thousand dollars!”

A friend is trying to deal with a friend who (I’m pretty sure) suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, speaking of interpreting the same world differently.

It’s kind of ass backwards to say that the person with paranoid schizophrenia suffers from it, though, isn’t it. It’s more like friends and family suffer from it.

From where I sit, there’s no help for it, either, because the person in the psychotic state (if that’s what it is) can’t be reasoned with and yet that’s what reasonable people try to do, reason with crazy.

I’m listening to him describe what’s happening and it takes me back and I’ve carried so much guilt around because of it that I just want to scream, “He was crazy and no one would admit it!”

Admit him, more like. My gawd that would have saved everybody a lot of hassle. Especially me.

Yeah, I know, I know, all about Sooey.

The real danger of mental illness is how reluctant friends and family are to acknowledge it to the person/people stuck living around it. Because that’s what we do, we live around it. Our lives become insignificant while the crazy person’s life looms larger and larger and larger until it’s all there is.

The crazy person shouldn’t be in charge but that’s what ends up happening and that’s what ruins lives. The people who aren’t crazy (yes, that’s me, because I count myself as sane, thank you very much, haters) get caught up in the swirling vortex of psychosis because we’re told all our lives to “be reasonable”.

So much wasted reason, I can’t tell you.

It only takes one crazy to cancel out any number of reasons.

Hear me now, listen to me later, but somewhere out there, maybe even in here, an entire country is being held hostage by just one crazy person.

You know it.

Old timey days.

I remember looking out the window after he left the house. He so in the right. The doctor even told him I was a slut, although what that had to do with his behaviour wasn’t really clear, not even to me, the slut.

Even his walk was different, strutting up the street, so full of himself, beyond grand, and it was a momentary relief but then I wondered, “Where’s he going?”

Did me being a slut drive him crazy?

He never ever went for walks. Anyone else looking on would have sworn for all the world that he had a destination, but I knew he didn’t. It was also when I knew he was not himself. And I was lucky for even that visual clue that I could so easily have missed had I not been looking out the window.

And, you know, I didn’t look out the window much in those days because I had to watch my back.

There. I said it. I had to watch my back. Slut doesn’t cancel crazy. And there was the threat to take us both out in a car crash. I didn’t imagine it. He said it.

Why else would I have been afraid to be alone in a car with him, without our kids?

Nobody has the right to terrorize another person like that, right? So why do we let them do it? It is our fault, isn’t it, that part, the letting them do it part, the sticking by them while they do it part.

I tried to get help and none came because I wasn’t asking for it from the right people. When the pastoral care center told me to get out of the house I did.

But I was in my nightie, standing in the schoolyard across the street, my kids in bed in the house with him, and I couldn’t see the future so I gave up and went back inside.

Do not, do not, do not involve the police.

Because, of course, I was guilty, too, wasn’t I, being a slut, living with one foot out the door, hoping someone sane would happen by and trip.

And then he did.

Later, when I told him I’m guilty, he said, “We’re all guilty.”

And I dumped a shitload of it right there on Elgin Street it was such a surprise to hear the truth.

Alas, not before some of it managed to go to my hips, I guess.

But I’m lucky. I was telling one of my AA friends about the situation at work and she said to read a certain chapter in the Big Book and then pray for  prosperity for whoever is causing me distress and if I can’t do that then pray for the willingness to pray for prosperity for whoever is causing me distress. And, of course, we laughed about the leap from passive aggression and maybe taking legal action to prayers for willingness. I mean REALLY laughed. Like doubled over laughing.

Seriously. I’m laughing right now just typing this. That’s why your screen is shaking.

But don’t listen to me, take my advice instead. Involve the police. Involve lawyers. Involve everybody. Leave. Quit. Get out. Get away.

Scream for help over the shushes of friends and family.

Always remember, no wait, never forget: Professionals get paid to deal with crazy.

Only sluts do it for free.

 

It’s the Water, Stupid

I know I’ve asked this before, but why is everyone and her Uncle Tom so mad at Kim Kardashian just because she has a big butt?

Geez Louise, people. Get lives, eh.

As an internet celebrity, I can say that.

But you’ll be pleased to hear that I had a brain fart today that could make me tens of dollars in the real world.

That’s right, I’m going to write a book about my year in retail!

I know, eh? Brilliant much, Sooey?

Finally, a topic with parameters as opposed to the infinite circles within circles in the life and lives of Sooey Says.

By the way, that’s Ms. Says to you, haters.

But enough about me, what do you think of me? Do go on…

Anyway, speaking of retail, it’s getting pretty ugly in the justice department so I’m not sure how much longer I can put out before I need to up my rates to a category unheard of except at Harry Rosen where they make commission.

No, seriously. Shop at Harry Rosen. You won’t have any money left in your wallet after you do but you’ll be as well dressed as the person who sold you your suit.

And I don’t know if you’ve heard or not but every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.

Jerks. Of course we know how to use our legs! It’s not our fault that most of us have to wear high heels to feel the power that height naturally bestows upon a body in this sexist ol’ world. Slouch not, girls, but rather pretend an invisible string is hanging from above to hold your head erect, shoulders down and relaxed, and ruin your feet from wearing high heels because the money you’ll make is worth it.

That tip about the string comes from a former government colleague who had a devil of a time getting a security pass because she’s Russian. And army. I told her to give up and go back to where she came from but she couldn’t because her sons would have been conscripted if she had, and life in Canada had made them too soft for such a fate.

Speaking of armies, it’s like Remembrance Day is all year now, isn’t it. Yesterday a woman came into the store still wearing her poppy. She glared at everyone and then left. I don’t know if her glaring and our lack of poppies were connected but it felt like maybe they were. I didn’t work Remembrance Day itself, which was nice. I would have looked down on people shopping on our holiest of holidays.

I’m fickle that way.

Also, don’t you hate how Stephen Harper makes Remembrance Day all about him every fucking year?

Christmas music has started playing in the store and it’s enough to make you want to remove your ears. There’s one particularly annoying song, “SAAAnta Claus is coming to town, SAAAnta Claus is coming to town, Santa Claus is coMING to to-ow-ow-own!”

It’s either a young Justin Bieber or an old Michael Jackson. Hard to tell but I can’t imagine why anyone who isn’t either a child or a pedophile would want to listen to it.

I am neither, thanks for asking, so move along fellas.

Speaking of which, that’s a lot of male MPs around children, isn’t it.

Just kidding, just kidding. I’m sure if there were pedophile MPs on Parliament Hill the Canadian media would have reported on it.

Madonna sings a cutesy Christmas song, too, that makes you hate her for being such a corporate sellout. From “Get Into the Groove” to “Santa, Baby”.

You suck, Madonna!

But I’m hoping that by landing a probe on a comet the nerds will finally prove that Jesus Christ is just a made up character in a made up story but Mother Earth is real, baby!

Ironic to think that money, which is as made up as the bible, is more valuable to democratically elected governments than the water we spend grabillions of dollars trying to find out in space, though, isn’t it.

 

The Next Right Thing

Oh hey, I forgot to tell you I was going to be away visiting a very old lady for a week. I don’t blog when I’m staying with the wrinklies because nothing seems so important that I have to pontificate about it in real time to the cyber universe.

Also, I lied to my mother that I wasn’t blogging anymore so that I would write a book instead and become another rich and famous Canadian author.

No, I cannot get out of here. She lied to me plenty over the years and can just suck it up.

So, yes, Jian Ghomeshi was in the Sault on a book tour a while ago and got a standing ovation because he’s such a good faker and/or who knew the Mother Corp was such a liar.

Awkward, all those suddenly past their best before date feminist essays he delivered via Q.

Imagine how weird it is to be one of the three Canadian media insiders who had no idea Jian Ghomeshi was sucker punching women behind closed doors.

Is it me? Or does he even look like a serial assaulter now.

Apparently the Iranian Canadian community is feeling victimized (re-victimized? re-re-victimized? again?) because he was one of theirs made good, although I seem to recall him referring to himself as Persian, which maybe should have been a clue that all was not as it appeared chez Ghomeshi.

A couple of my mom’s friends went to see him in the Sault when he dropped in to flog a book he’d apparently written that I can’t imagine anyone being interested in reading even before we all knew he was a total faker.

They were laughing at themselves for giving him a standing ovation.

“There we were, standing and clapping. We thought he was charming.”

“Although, now we look back on it, he really went on about himself.”

Omigawd. Justin Trudeau, eh? Too funny. On the one hand I’m thinking (in quotation marks) “Booyah! Next!” And on the other “Gee, hope those two mooks, like, actually, you know, sexually assaulted somebody? Somebodies, hopefully?”

I mean, yuck – right? Hoping it’s serious?

Politics makes sickos of us all, doesn’t it.

If I was a political party leader I’d axe everybody and start over.

“Yer all outta order!”

I worked in politics so I can say that. Seriously. They’re all guilty.

But I wish women would stop making heroes out of men and focus on the stuff that matters, like getting me a guaranteed annual income so I can stop selling ladieswear at the mall and stay home and bake pies.

No! Write a book. I have to write a book. I promised my mother I’d write a book before, well, she’s ninety, so, soon.

No, seriously. I have to stop blogging soon because I’m putting it all out there for free and since no one is giving me a guaranteed annual income I’ve got to get cracking on making some writing money.

I’ll blog later about what’s going on at the store, which is not good.

Why are women expected to report sexual assault and/or harassment to their employers and/or unions instead of calling the police, anyway? I mean, we call the police when it happens at home.

Why not when it happens at work?

To protect the sanctity of the workplace?

What sanctity? Omigawd, women are suckers.

Also, why do women making allegations of assault need to be anonymous? Putting your name to an allegation matters. It makes all the difference, if you ask me (which no one ever does so untie you knickers, all ye haters).

Certainly a couple of MPs should be willing to stand up and show the way.

Of course I would say that, wouldn’t I, lurving a Frank magazine writer as I do.

In case you haven’t been following, Frank magazine outed the two NDP MPs, having been given their names by all and sundry on The Hill (I assume, not being anymore in the know that any other subscriber, not that I actually read it and don’t just look at the photo phunnies).

And so now the conversation on my friend Antonia’s Facebook page, where I go for all my Feminist news, has been derailed by that distraction, with non-subscribers vowing to un-follow: @FrankMagOnline.

You go, grrls.

Omigawd, the internet is one giant suckhole for money-making, isn’t it. I mean, seriously. Fuck you, Al Gore, you piece of shit.

You’d think Canadians would be mad about a media so insular that Jian Ghomeshi could end up hosting all our awards ceremonies, instead of a shoestring satirical press that shows up a media so insular that Jian Ghomeshi could end up hosting all our awards ceremonies.

Never forget, no wait, always remember – Mike Duffy used Canadian libel law to successfully sue Frank magazine for calling him a fat-face liar. Something to do with claiming to be speaking at a university when he was actually at a fat farm, though, nothing to do with being a fat-faced lying senator appointed by Stephen Harper.

(By the way, every single time in this blog entry that I’ve meant to type “Jian”, I’ve typed “Jean”. Every single time. Make of that what you will, The Old Monster.)

Anyway, one day while I was visiting my mom we went to her friend’s house (she needs to lean on someone younger than any of her friends to get to and from places) who was hosting their knitting group, which is like a book club except for knitters.

(Learning to knit something other than a scarf is number two on my bucket list behind writing a book of anecdotes. Number three is becoming a reliable baker of pies. But that’s enough for my bucket list. Really. I need to get on number one – and soon – she’s ninety, ferchrissakes!)

Over lunch the subject of Jian Ghomeshi came up and one of the ladies, known for being more Catholic than the Pope, as they say, a mother of ten and a retired teacher, opined that a woman who goes back to a man’s house, alone, deserves what she’s asking for.

Which to me says that she doesn’t think much of men, but whatever. I didn’t actually get to say anything, so hammered was she from all sides of the table, her forty some odd year friendships suddenly not so much.

The ladies were mostly retired teachers, one retired Conservative Party backroom girl, another retired accountant, but (almost) all women who had husbands, children, careers (the most financially successful of them had a career first, husband second, no children – although lots of stepchildren – the CPC backroom girl is single and childless) and they’re all women who experienced and stood up to a lot a lot a lot of sexism, both in public and in private, and, as it turns out, they’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.

So they don’t know why women younger than them are.

They don’t know why women and men don’t act in the interests of each other, either, instead of the sexist perverts engaging in criminal behaviour, by standing up to them, publicly. Because it’s the public part that shows the way to the next generation of women.

And so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

Also, the hostess made a lime mousse that was to die for, although she said she had a devil of a time finding plain gelatin.

But anyway, my mother and I watched Justin Trudeau’s presser announcing the suspension (and didn’t you just know when he said two MPs from another party that it was two women from the NDP) after which she said “Holy shit, he’s only got 19 members!” And it suddenly came to me that he doesn’t care if he wins, that’s what confounds the competition, because win or lose he still wins.

That’s just it about doing the right thing. Or, as a friend in AA puts it “All you have to do is the next right thing.”

When my daughter was sexually assaulted, after going alone to a man’s house, not anticipating that he was a rapist, she called the police. Alas, there wasn’t enough evidence for charges to be laid. But to determine that they had to do an investigation. And they believed her, they even told her that they believed her, but it didn’t change the she said/he doesn’t have to say anything problem of laying charges for the purpose of securing a conviction.

In the meantime, doing the next right thing has to do.

 

 

 

#Beenrapistneverreported

The first time I came across Jian Ghomeshi being characterized as a powerful man was after he stood accused of sucker punching several women.

No wait, it was after he made his now infamous Facebook post (no seriously, if he paid Navigator for that advice he should demand his money back) tipping us off to the sad fact that he had only ever dated lying bitches out to destroy him.

I don’t think I ever actually listened to Q, and I didn’t really know of him until I saw a couple of his interviews on The National, one with Joni Mitchell, another with Neil Young.

And yes, I felt sorry for him both times, but I didn’t know he would turn out to be this Jian Ghomeshi.

Both were fairly recent, too, long after his bosses must have heard that there was at least one complaint against him, a complaint that should have given them pause to pad out The National with his interviews from Q.

Yah, yah, I heard something about Billy Bob Thornton walking off his show because he asked him about his movie career instead of his rock star career.

I can’t care about a grown man named Billy Bob. I’m sorry, but you’re an adult, William Robert. Or shall I call you Mr. Thornton.

I think whoever thought it would be a good idea to showcase Jian Ghomeshi on The National so that more Canadians would know who he was when the shit hit the fan that he sucker punches women should be promoted to president of CBC and Hubert Lacroix should be shown the door.

And they should let it hit him on the way out so he knows how it feels to be sucker punched, if he doesn’t already.

Oh wait, he’s a more powerful man than the powerful Jian Ghomeshi, isn’t he. Of course he has no idea what it’s like to be sucker punched.

A surprising number of people have advised women sucker punched by Jian Ghomeshi that their younger selves should have seen his sucker punches coming.

No, I cannot get out of here.

I wonder if he ever sucker punched a younger man. There are a lot of young men working at CBC, I’m sure. I wonder if he sucker punched any of them.

For me, the best answer to critics of the women sucker punched by Jian Ghomeshi (for not doing anything much about his assaults) comes from Reva Seth, who puts it, “Equally important, however, was that it also didn’t feel like it was worth my effort.”

Time is money for young women, too.

But my friend, Antonia Zerbisias, started a twitter revolution today under #Beenrapedneverreported. It seems it was her last day at the Toronto Star, too. It’s all gone viral, I guess, with women (and men) shouting their rape experiences out into cyber space.

Be cool to match it with #Beenrapistneverreported.

There’s something about the unanticipated violence of the sucker punch, which is how I want to term rape right now, in case you haven’t noticed, that paralyzes a young woman’s judgement.

A while back there was a guy commenting here, a pilot, who insisted women sometimes asked to be sucker punched by a man. It was weird. (He also insisted women weren’t up to being pilots, which was a surprise to me, having noticed women piloting flights to Sault Ste. Marie.)

There were a couple of years of back and forth and then when one day he commented about a girl (I believe she was a girl, not a woman, but it doesn’t really matter) looking hot and I shot back, “So did you rape her?”

He termed it a low blow and I haven’t heard boo from him since.

But it took me a couple of years because I didn’t want him to not like me even though I didn’t like him.

Like I said, it was weird.

It’s all weird. We think we can make men who don’t like women in general like women in particular.

Anyway, back in the day, I didn’t react any differently to a sucker punch than the women being criticized by every other Tom, Dick, and Mary today for not going to the police about that Jian Ghomeshi, the one who sucker punched them. And I continued to give men the benefit of the doubt, a generosity that backfired on occasion, but I was born with a horseshoe up my ass so it all turned out hunky dory.

A boyfriend I had for a while, a damaged but safe character who was not highly thought of by the caucus, was almost sucker punched by a member, now dead. I wonder if he remembers. Certainly I do. It was quite a scandal at the time, a scandal kept so successfully under wraps that I realized I was probably being unfair a while back tsk tsking people for being saddened by his sudden death.

Of course, when I say quite a scandal I just mean it was awkward.

Anyway, a lot of this stuff is pretty fuzzy, remembrance-wise, and not connected to me anymore. I don’t even care much about it except to be annoyed that we don’t just spend our young women years dodging sucker punches, we spend our older women years explaining ourselves when we don’t report every sucker puncher who lands one.

But it’s changing because young women have slogans “stop rape – don’t rape” and slut walks and evidence like #Beenrapedneverreported to prove to the skeptics that no one asks to be sucker punched.

Still, I’ll feel better when #Beenrapistneverreported goes viral.

 

 

Tastes Like… Yucky

I’m a little chuffed, quite frankly, that I was able to see past the pretty face to the cynical attempt at manipulation that has worked to put his accusers on trial and Feminists off balance.

Even his hair looks manipulative to me now.

I know, I know, we don’t have proof, all the facts, he said/she said, it’s not rape rape it’s Hollywood, consensual adult sex.

No. Wait. Not consensual adult sex, consensual adult hitting. One way.

Bill Clinton got away with it, too, didn’t he, although minus the pretty face.

Handsome hands.

We still have a hard time copping to that one, don’t we, Grrls.

Imagine. Bill Clinton’s political record was at one time thought to be worth the compromise of denying – for him – multiple rape accusations.

Bill Clinton couldn’t be a rapist. Women dreamed about him, swooned over him, threw themselves at him.

State troopers in Arizona claimed there were thousands of women while he was state governor. Thousands.

I know, I know. Consenting adults. The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation. Sex work is just another trade, the new normal, empowerment.

You can make a vitamin but you can’t make a hormone.

Bill Clinton’s on our side!

There’s nothing wrong with having sex with thousands of women anyway! It just means he likes having sex with women! A lot of women! A lot of sex!

Hey, shut the front door! Republicans don’t like sex with women at all!

Seriously, did I just imagine a story about Maggie T getting off a plane and sporting a black eye? Because I’m sure it happened. I remember my Feminist mother saying something about wanting to give her a black eye herself.

Her behaviour, doncha know. Sex with men. Not even lots. Just some.

Cripes, she had to give herself mental illness to live that shit down, didn’t she.

Prince Pierre was a Jesuit in a beret and a cape. What the hell is normal about a fifty year old man scouring the land in search of a woman to marry and settling on one thirty years – thirty years! – younger to be your brood mare?

That’s how my Conservative uncle, a confirmed bachelor, referred to Margaret Trudeau. And he was right.

She had to give up her kids to get free of him, you’d better believe it.

We’re not a nation of peacekeepers or warriors.

We’re a nation of codependent enabling freaks.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

It’s not rocket science, ladies. It’s just standing up to a charmer.

Just say no to violent men, please.

I mean it when I say that I’d forgive Stephen Harper everything if he stood up in the House of Commons and admitted that he hid in a closet (yes, I know, was escorted to a closet by RCMP officers, as per Steve’s clarifying comment on “A Closet Too Far”) out of fear for his own life, terrified and defenseless, prey, because a young man with a gun was hunting humans just a couple of doors and a caucus full of Conservatives away.

He should admit that, there but for the grace of publicly funded security, goes he, while so many of the Canadian women who pay for it are left to fend for themselves.

But he won’t, because he’s their charmer.

Well, all I can say is – get used to a yucky aftertaste, Steve.

 

JudgeMental Presiding

Just read a comment on a friend’s Facebook page telling everyone to leave the truth for his and her lawyers to determine.

Er, no. Lawyers defend their clients. It’s up to judges to determine the truth.

I didn’t know anything about Jian Ghomeshi’s personal life until just recently  and I’ve only seen a couple of his interviews (I felt sorry for him during the Joni Mitchell one – she’s one crabby old lady) but I think we’re done here.

I don’t care what he says he heard before he (allegedly) punched a woman in the face.

See: “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”

 

 

No, Good Is Good

Customers are even chattier than usual these days. They want to talk about recent events in Ottawa. But store management doesn’t want us discussing politics, mostly for commerce’s sake, but also because it can get tricky.

I don’t want to, anyway. It’s tiresome. Work is where I go to get away from it all. Besides, this is just so much wallowing, a pretense to something more than it is, the senseless deaths of a couple of decent people who had everything to live for at the hands of a couple of indecent people who didn’t.

One woman came into the store the other day to monopolize our time with her theories, waving away mental illness as an excuse when a colleague suggested the guy with the gun was crazy.

I was on the periphery of the conversation and so took it as a cue to find something pressing to do in the stockroom.

What I’ve learned from arguing with my Conservative friend is that there’s no point in arguing with my Conservative friend.

Speaking of Conservatives, I’ve long wanted to ask Mark Steyn, “Okay, if a tribe of human beings is the problem, as you seem to be saying it is, what do you propose is the solution?”

My Russian colleague got into it with a Ukrainian customer a while back. I suspect even our tyrannical management didn’t have the stones to tell her upfront that we’re not supposed to discuss politics with customers (because she’s Russian).

Anyway, it was left up to an old timer sales associate to break it up, management being out for lunch at the time.

She speaks a bazillion languages and said to my daughter who popped by the store (haha – I typed “pooped by the store” the first time – but I’d like to poop in the store some days!) when I wasn’t working – our schedules are unconscionably random – “Tell your mother she deserves to be very proud”.

Naturally, I’m on her side regardless of her politics.

And I have no idea what they are, but I imagine they’d be fairly fatalistic (because she’s Russian) and so the opposite of mine.

I have a friend who thinks Stephen Harper looks Ukrainian, by the way, which is interesting since Pierre Elliot Trudeau bears more than a passing resemblance to Putin, doesn’t he.

Stephen Harper’s desire to be somebody, to make his mark, shouldn’t be so under-estimated, I don’t think. We need to speak up.

The Prime Minister of Canada is crazier’n a bag of hammers.

It’s not good and we’re behaving like a very naive people if we think it doesn’t matter, his belief in war. My mother says my father never talked about his actual experience in it. I mentioned this to my son last night, by way of reminding him that he had a grandfather even I never knew who fought in the Second World War.

There’s familial pride in that he did. Why? My mother always said that young men had to go and in many cases wanted to go. It was an adventure. Life was much harder on the men who couldn’t go for one reason or another. It hinted at inadequacy, a lack of commitment, a failure to do one’s duty.

Did Stephen Harper’s father fight in the war?

What is all this glorification of The Soldier on Remembrance Day (which is every day nowadays, it seems) really about?

I wonder at the Conservative reaction if the tragic events of last week (and the week that includes the other off duty soldier) had felled a couple of female soldiers, if it would be that women don’t belong in uniform.

That Feminists are to blame.

And I have to ask, have there ever been female soldiers ceremonially guarding the war memorial?

I know, I know, now’s not the time to be asking questions.

Not a question, but certainly there has never been a female sergeant-at-arms.

Okay, okay, I’ll stop.

At the entrance to our house I have a photograph of my father standing beside my mother, who is sitting on a fence. It’s down at our farm, which was only a working farm because our neighbour grazed cattle on it, otherwise, it had been a generation since it was farmed, and he would have set up the shot. He’s wearing a white tee-shirt with a coat of arms on it. But what you notice right away is how narrow his shoulders are. He was 6′, my mother 5’3″ with a perfect petite figure, and yet her shoulders are broader.

It’s hard to imagine him charging in to do battle, that’s all. Maybe he didn’t. I don’t know anything about his war years except that he was overseas for them.

But I wouldn’t engage my Russian colleague in politics like I engage my Conservative friend (it’s not really engaging, we just talk over each other, getting louder and louder, until I can’t stand it anymore) because she’s from the Old World and I’m from the New.

I know, I know, politically incorrect much, Sooey?

Christopher Columbus didn’t so much discover it as bump into it.

Here’s what I mean, I think. I didn’t enjoy my honeymoon in Paris so much as endure it. At the airport, when we were scheduled to fly home, I had a meltdown that would land me in Gitmo today. We were a little short of the two hours pre-boarding requirement and when the snooty waiter at the gate told us we couldn’t board, I fell to the floor and had such a hissy fit that he changed his mind, just like that. Snap. Here are your boarding passes. Now please get out of my country.

No, I wouldn’t be in Gitmo, I’d be shot dead, wouldn’t I. Stapler or no stapler.

But I’d just had enough. The weight of European history and politics and war was crushing me and I took refuge in the cold hard here and now of the airport floor until we were quickly moved along and closer to home and the memory of lining up with my mother to see the centennial train in 1967.

Of course, it would turn out that I was a couple of weeks pregnant. Also, instead of getting out of a relationship that I knew wasn’t doing either of us any good I was on my honeymoon.

You can take the girl out of Northern Ontario, but you can’t take the Northern Ontario out of the girl. Even my new in-laws, who would bite off their own lips before they’d reveal a family secret, were a stark contrast to the let it all hang out openness of the great white North just a few hundred miles, I mean, kilometres away.

When I was in Paris, a snooty salesman asked me, “Where are you from?”

“Canada!” I said, proudly, because in those days I felt it because I thought it carried a certain cache. World War II heroes and Holland liberators turned peacekeepers, multicultural unilingual bi-culturalists, a Liberal haven thanks to secret agent Lester B and New Democratic Party moralizers, a just society turned police state at the snap of a Prime Minister’s fingers, a leap of faith forward to a Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“No, where are are you from?”

“Canada?”

At which point he shook his head, annoyed, “Nobody’s from Canada – where are you from, where do you come from.”

“Scotland?”

“Ah yes, okay. Yes. That’s what I thought, Scottish, not English.”

And no, he didn’t spit when he said English, but he might as well have done.

It struck me later that it’s no wonder we see ourselves as not having a great influence in the world, an influence our immigrant neighbours to the south have because they can drop, not one, but two, nuclear bombs on another country, killing thousands and thousands of civilians, and never question the morality of it.

Worse, declare it an Act of Good.

Or God, I guess, which is the same thing south of the border, isn’t it. God is Good.

Alas, Allah is Great.

But while Europeans may recognize me as one of theirs, I’m not, I’m from here.  The weight of their history and politics and wars is as foreign to me as the lighter than air amorality of our neighbours to the south.

Ian Mulgrew has a column in the Vancouver Sun about recent tragic events in Ottawa. He says they reveal gaping holes in our social safety net, not our security apparatus. The shooter tried for years to get help for his drug addiction, mental instability, failure to thrive.

He’s right and it’s true but it doesn’t matter because anger is the easiest emotion and makes some people feel important, which they do at the expense of others.

Just imagine if resources were put into violence prevention instead of slamming barn doors shut after teams of horses have already taken off down the road. I wonder if it would be as easy, seriously, as putting young men to work on updating and improving our country’s physical infrastructure, built by the generations of Canadians who fought in real wars and neglected ever since by the generation that doesn’t want to pay what it costs to live here.

“I have engaged the suspect. He is now deceased.”

Suicide by sergeant-at-arms.

All we can do is thank him that it wasn’t a lot worse and hope the best for his own mental health now, I suppose.

Still, and it’s not nothing and maybe it’s everything, we’ll always have the image of Stephen Harper hiding in a closet (bringing to mind poor Reeva Steenkamp, lots of women, hiding in the bathroom, knowing she didn’t have publicly funded security to come to her rescue from the man trying to kill her with his gun) while his unwitting Conservative caucus fashioned spears out of flag poles, no doubt minutes away from cannibalism, to sustain us in argument.

Some truth, at least, and thank you, Conservatives, for letting us in on it.

You know not what you do, I’m sure.