Archive for January, 2007
Heroes of Herouxville
Good Grief. Just when I was starting to feel like maybe the New Conservative Government of Canada WOULD lose the next election and the Liberals would self destruct in some sort of massive orgy of backstabbing and Jack Layton would ride into government on his bicycle (noticeably NOT built for two… Olivia..) and we could all start feeling hip and happen’n’ again like how we remember ourselves back in the Trudeau era (gawd, that old deathbed Jesuit sure had US fooled – eh?) – along comes Herouxville.
(I don’t know how to do zee French accents in moveable type so don’t sue Sooey, Frenchie, ‘kay?)
I mean, c’mon. It’s like Herouxville has a Declaration of Stupid on its welcome sign. And now – thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the world wide web – EVERYBODY KNOWS ABOUT IT!!!! Already this made-in-Canada latest angry white Christians movement – “Stupid R Us” – has spread to the next village.
Why, oh why does stupid travel faster’n smart?
But this all reminds me of way back when Sault Ste. Marie (hence “Sooey”, Dear Reader) declared itself unilingual English because it’s a typically bigoted ONTARIO town (although “typically” may be a bit harsh as there was only a minor spread of bigotry to other Northern Ontario towns where pretty much everybody was English speaking, too) and Premier David Peterson had just passed Bill 8 or somesuch saying that French language services needed to be made available in Ontario “where numbers warranted”. “Where numbers warranted” was apparently the part lost on towns like Sault Ste. Marie, etc.
Now, I wouldn’t mention this except it strikes me that where there’s smoke there’s fire and not only did Sault Ste. Marie’s Mayor Joe Fratezi and his spineless City Council (as you will see momentarily) declare the Sault unilingual English, he also declared himself, in short order, the City’s Chief Administrative Officer – WHILE MAYOR – and then left the Mayoring job to take the better paying one.
Yup. Chief Administrative Officer paid better, Dear Reader. And it was an easy job to get – if you were the Mayor appointing yourself to it.
There was a hullabaloo, naturally, except none of it was made by the City Council, who apparently lived in terror of incurring the wrath of Mayor Joe and were loathe to criticize him even on the most minor of questionable decisions -SUCH AS APPOINTING YOURSELF TO THE HIGHEST PAYING JOB IN THE CITY WHILE YOU ARE A SITTING MAYOR!
Eventually, two citizens took on the Mayor with the help of the only lawyer in town seemingly preoccupied enough with matters of justice to take the case. Long – very-embarrassing-for-non-bigots-and-people-who-keep-their-bigotry-in-closets-where-it-belongs – story short, a judge in Sudbury eventually ruled that City Council would have to quash a by-law in order for Mayor Joe to be in any wrongdoing – something, naturally, the lilly-livered City Council refused to do.
It’s all in “The Best Man for the Job” by Harvey Simms, one of the two upstanding citizens who got the whole legal ball rolling. The lawyer who took the case is now a Provincial Court Judge. So, in a way, the case did have a happy ending. Although Joe Fratezi still stalks the earth, no doubt looking for spineless specimens of humanity to torture.
Anyway, Herouxville put me in mind of Sault Ste. Marie because it is clearly another case of bigotry gone berserk. I mean, there is a quiet small town genteel Canadian bigotry, and then there is the big neon flashing arrow “BIGOTS R US!!!” bigotry. And I would offer, that – like Sault Ste. Marie – the Village of Herouxville probably has a politician or two who is… how shall we say… slightly less than legitimate?
Otherwise – what kind of politician does that?! I mean… he’s either an egomaniac, or an idiot. And, if he’s both, I’m telling ya – a sniff of the books will turn up somethin’. That’s fo’ sho’.
But I’m just guessing. Based on history and human nature. Still, you heard it here first at SooeySays, Dear Reader -any Councillor who is stupid enough to point a big neon flashing arrow at his probably pretty looseyay gooseyay on the old financialay accountingay village-ay, absolutely screaming: “BIGOTS R US!!!” probably has been up to some other stuff, and while he may have a book written about him one day, it won’t exactly be the kind his mother would have wanted to read aloud fo her fellow taxpayers at her Sunday afternoon KKK rally.
In any case, there is lots of ballyhoo on the internet about the Village of Herouxville regarding its Declaration of Stupid which reads as follows in Judeoscope (heheh – whose first reaction to the news of the Declaration was as follows: “HOLEY MOTHER OF CRAP!!!! The Islamic Menace has penetrated through to Herouxville?!” but when informed that no Muslims actually lived in Herouxville, cooler heads prevailed and it translated thusly from La Presse into Judeoscope – a great read if you’re Xtreme-Israel – otherwise, just go back to B’nai Brith press releases – there’s one every fifteen minutes or so):
For the record, and in case anyone is worried (or hopeful) that it is legal to throw acid in the face of a woman as long as she is wearing a veil (the wearing of which is banned in Herouxville – implying that it is fine to throw acid in the face of a woman wearing one… or something…) – it isn’t. It is quite illegal, in fact. Veil or no veil. Also, with regards to the apparent epidemic of female circumcisions in Herouxville, I satisfied myself with this bit of fact checking:
Whoa! Maybe Take It to the Other 36 States, Though, Herouxville!
That is all. Now unbury Uncle Fred and Aunt Ethel up to their necks and put down those stones because that’s not legal in Canada, either. Even in Herouxville.
Alarmed and Dangerous
I had planned to do an entry today about car alarms because I’ve noticed they exist and I have to ask – WHY? But then Warren Kinsella did his Top Ten Bloggers annual list on his Blog:
Where Are All The Bitches, Man?
So I’m doing car alarms, which are annoying to me – AND – Warren Kinsella’s blog entry, which is like “Annoying to Me, Part 2″.
Okay. I’ll do the car alarms bit quickly. Why is it okay, in this country of equality and fairness that we hear about ad nauseum from our various Liberal and Conservative governments, for some people – rich people – to buy cars equipped with alarms that can and do disturb the lives of other people – not rich people? Because I find it very odd that some rich asshole’s car is considered more important than this poor clerk’s sleep. And what, exactly, is it that we – the poor clerks of the world whose sleep is ruined by said rich asshole’s car alarm – are supposed to do when it goes off at 3:00 a.m.?
Save the rich asshole’s car’s life?!
Because, really – I am NOT going to do anything other than lay in bed praying that the owner will show up and then the car will explode and he’ll be found dead three miles away with a steering wheel imbedded in his forehead.
But more to the point – why are car alarms even legal? If I went around at night blowing a horn outside Mr. Rich Guy’s mansion – he’d call the police and have ME arrested. So why can’t I have Mr. Rich Guy arrested for owning a car with an alarm? It WILL go off, at some point. So, It seems to me, that I should be able to do that – OR – at the very least, take a baseball bat and, quite legally, smash the living crap out of his car when his car’s alarm goes off – as it inevitably will – at 3:00 a.m.
Cars are not people. I’m not going to rush outside and save a car in the middle of the night. What I DO think is going to happen one day, however, is that some poor hothead who is suffering from sleep deprivation is going to go out and wait – with a baseball bat – for the owner of the car to show up and turn off his alarm. Sure, it’s wrong to beat someone to death with a baseball bat. Usually. But if I were the judge – I’d let him off. With a warning. Next time – beat the car to death, too. For good measure.
Besides, it’s not like he stole the car or anything important like that – he just beat to death with a baseball bat another dumbassed rich fucker who doesn’t give a shit about other people.
Now over to Warren Kinsella and why he doesn’t think there are any women worthy of making his annual Top Ten Bloggers list. Except for one woman. One measly little woman. One bloggirl who is clearly “teacher’s pet”.
Traitorous Suckup. Running Bitch Capitalist Sow. MAN PLEASER!!
So here’s what I think The Sisterhood should do – All the other bitches an’ ho’s who DIDN’T make Warren Kinsella’s Top Ten Bloggers list (and that’s everybody EXCEPT precious little aingie ainge butt face Warren Kinsella toe jam lover) should diss her on their blogs – ALL DAY!! Call her fat and ugly and stuff like that until she cries.
Her name is “Ainge”, too – except she writes it “ainge” – as if she’s ee cummings’ or something. “Ainge”? Isn’t that like “Angel”? Barf. I guess “Mary, Mother of Jesus”, was taken. I bet she’s a real girlie-girl, too. Yup. That’s why he likes her, I bet. Because he’s all Irish and Catholic and she’s called “ainge” and he’s all like to his wife, “You should be more like ainge. She’s the only smart girl blogger in Canada, you know. And pretty, too. Smart AND pretty.” But his wife’s just like, “Shut your big festering gob, you pasty-arsed bucket o’ shite! I’m goin’ out with me bye’s fer a few pints!” And it just confirms it all for Warren Kinsella that women aren’t like men. Not at all. You can give them a whole blogoshpere but instead of rising to the occasion, they’re all just harridans and old cows.
Except for ainge. Ainge is all that is holy. A good blogger girl.
There is a scene in Seinfeld when Elaine is at a job interview and the interviewer is talking about Jackie O and she says, “Jackie had grace” and Elaine says, “I like to think I have a little grace” and the interviewer says, “Oh, but you can’t have a little grace. You either have grace. Or you don’t.”
I’m like that about torture, capital punishment, academic freedom, abortion rights – and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.
You can’t have a little torture. You either have torture. Or you don’t.
What about bad guys? Can you torture bad guys?
No. That’s because, you either have bad guys, or you don’t.
You see, if you allow a little torture of a few bad guys, all a government needs to do (and I’m talking about government sanctioned torture here – something many people seem to believe is a good thing in this post 9/11 back-to-the-middle-ages New World Order XXXVII we live in these days) to turn “a little torture of a few bad guys” into “murdering anybody it wants dead” is expand the definition of torture and bad guys.
And we’ve seen how much and how easily even a lightweight like Bush the Junior can and will successfully expand very entrenched government powers to suit his desires. I mean, the only cry one hears south of the border more than Reverend Lovejoy’s wife’s cry of: “But what about the children?!” is “But what about the Fore Fathers?!”
You can apply the same logic to all the other “hot button” issues (as they are called during elections). Interestingly, almost every other issue matters more than tax cuts – and yet – as Kim Campbell so famously said, “An election campaign is no time to debate issues.” To which most of us said, “Quite right.” But thought, “HUNH?”
Which leads me to a question asked of me by my daughter yesterday. We were talking about politics and I was equivocating in my allegiances but did allow that I was on the left. I guess she really just wanted to know how I vote but I wasn’t giving her a clear enough answer so eventually she asked: “Well, what don’t you agree with about the NDP”?
Brilliant. What don’t I agree with about the NDP. Not: “What DO I agree with about the NDP”? But: “What DON’T I agree with about the NDP?”
And, you know, Dear Reader – for a pretty wobbly NDPer, I realized: “Not much.” I had always thought I had a big bugaboo with the whole Labour allegiance thing, nationalizing banks, weird-looking-caucuses – but no longer, I guess. And I really thought about it. I tossed in the other Parties’ platforms – I’ve always thought of myself as a kneejerk Liberal, who secretly likes it when Tories slash and burn so a more competent government can come along later and redo everything better – BUT – there are so many things about BOTH Parties I DON’T agree with that it was really quite striking.
There just isn’t anything I can put my finger on re the NDP that I DON’T agree with – at least in principle. Practice? Well, if an NDP government stuck to its principles – I’d be one satisfied voter, I guess.
Kids do ask the darndest things. I am going to suggest she be a professional pollster when she grows up. Because wouldn’t that be a great poll for the NDP to conduct? It has a very well-defined Party platform. Decisions are made democratically at conventions. But most people really only know the NDP by what the other two Parties and the mainstream media say it is. I was shocked to realize there isn’t much I don’t like about the NDP. I had always thought I was rebelling against myself by voting for it.
Oh. Crap. Okay. I was tagged by Sheena of SheenaVision to list 6 things about myself and then tag six other bloggers to do the same thing. It’s a blogger chain letter, I guess. I don’t want to break the chain (although if this were a paper chain letter, I’d toss it – no problem), so, here it is:
1. I rebel against myself.
2. I defy all standards of beauty by being asymmetrical and yet, if I do say so myself, I’m hot stuff.
3. Once I notice a pattern (I’ve used the word “myself” in #1 and #2 already) I have to continue the pattern.
4. I am constantly trying to re-invent myself but I always revert to type. For instance, I tried not to use the word “myself” in this entry to prove #1 and put the lie to #3 but I couldn’t do it.
5. I have “all or nothing” beliefs and behaviours. See the above entry. About myself.
6. I feel tremendous pressure not to let people down – but I often do. SO, even though I don’t know six bloggers, myself, I have such faith in people, that I know someone – many someones, perhaps – will come along and help me out.
I was going to do an entry EARLY this morning about Danielle Crittenden and her views on womanhood but I was sidetracked into moderating comments on yet another of my Middle East entries. Or rather, an entry about academic freedom that (d)evolved into a Middle East entry in the comments section.
Sorry, eh. I hold myself responsible. But I won’t delete myself, either. It’s my blog, afterall.
So, Danielle Crittenden. She’s the author of a book blaming mothers for being feminists instead of REAL women. Or something. I haven’t read it because I don’t like to waste my time. Time is precious. LIke babies. Unless they’re bad babies.
Gasp! Did I say that out loud? Because here’s the thing – last night I went to my monthly bookclub meeting (it’s just like menstruation) and we sat in the hot tub (it’s a suburban bookclub) discussing “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin.
So there we were, boiling away in 20 below weather (cripes, and I’ll be damned if I haven’t done as many Environment entries as Middle East entries – I guess I don’t really care about the Environment, either) discussing “The Awakening” when I said, “Hey – how come none of us seemed to like the main character very much? Or any of the other characters? And yet… we really seemed to like the book.”
That’s when it hit me. The main character is an early feminist. She’s described as handsome rather than pretty (the lesbian overtones, we realized, the 8 of us in the hot tub, and we’re a good-looking bookclub, were deafening) possessing a singularity of nature such as women were not really supposed to have in those days. Or now. To the point where, I realized later in bed (WITH MY BEAU!!!) that she wanted to live like a man.
And that, dear reader, is why – I think – we didn’t like her. She was honest. She told the truth. She loved her children but didn’t really want to look after them. She wanted someone else to do it. Her husband wasn’t anything negative, really – in fact, he was quite accommodating when the marital crunch was on – but she insisted on not wanting to be with him. She wanted to be with men who seemed… well… “poncy” was the word that came to mind for me. That she was infatuated with by turns. Eventually, she even moves out of the marital home. So her husband is left to pretend they are having renovations done. To save face in that “what will people think” way that is usually – women’s worry work.
I like that – “women’s worry work”.
In any case, our collective reaction to her shocked us a bit. We are all feminists – sort of. But, with the exception of myself until very recently, we have all lived very traditional lives as women. The bookclub started, originally, with a group of us being stay-at-home mothers with younger working mothers gradually coming in to top us up from five members to eight.
I was the one, having defied convention recently, to realize that we were uncomfortable with this character because she was a woman living as she wanted. Being honest. Telling the truth. She was essentially a woman wanting to live like a man. (My fellow bookclubbers, by the way, have (d)evolved from feeling sorry for me regarding my situation to being increasingly jealous. That’s just a bit of a side note. I’ll leave it there.)
Scary, eh? Because women really don’t do that very often. Honest. I know you don’t want to believe that, Dear Reader, but it’s true. Women care what other people think to the point where they live lives that are completely dishonest. They are fine, upstanding, womanly lives. They just aren’t even remotely truthful.
And this brings me to Danielle Crittenden. Although, really, it brings me to Barbara Amiel. (I’ll never get around to talking about Danielle Crittenden, so if you’re reading this piece for that reason, give it up. Why would I waste my time talking about Danielle Crittenden? Get a grip, Dear Reader!)
Barbara Amiel has made a career, risen to the top of the macho pundit heap, telling women to be good. Don’t have an abortion (she’s in the money and power telling you that hers was a big mistake, doncha know), stay home and raise your babies (she would if she wasn’t childless and busy making bags of money and pursuing rich men having just the best life of luxury, doncha know), don’t get into the workforce (leave it to her, doncha know).
Barbara Amiel has lived her life like a man.
BUT – here’s where we realized why we had this reaction to the main character in “The Awakening” – a reaction that took us somewhat aback. Feminists that we all think we are:
What would happen if ALL women lived their lives like men and did what they wanted to do? Without caring what people think of them – as women? I mean, I can talk a good game because I’ve actually followed all the rules. Me. I am a good woman. Very much so. Until very recently, anyway. And the day I do what I want is the day… I don’t know… the world will come to an end? (It didn’t, but I still haven’t accepted that it won’t.)
WHY WON’T WOMEN BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT THEY REALLY WANT? Because we CAN be. It’s just that I, and many other women, I suspect, equate doing what we want with being Bad Women. It’d be okay if it was just “Bad”. But “Bad Women”?
Be honest. I have a friend who once said to me: “I hate my daughter. I don’t like her. I don’t want her.” I. Was. Shocked. And. Appalled. But not surprised that she thought that. Her daughter was quite awful. I was surprised that she would SAY it. Out loud. I played along, a bit, then recommended she talk to a professional. A REAL professional. Someone who would understand her feelings better than I could. That’s because I was really thinking the whole time she talked – honestly – and I pretended to play along – honestly: “Wow. Poor kid. You are one Bad Mother.”
Now, I realize that doesn’t say much about me as a friend. But I’m trying to be honest, here. And truth be told – she WAS a bad mother. But she was a good friend. For a while. The friendship hit the rocks over something – seemingly – unrelated.
But honestly? It could be that I’ve tucked that conversation away and everything else she has done since, has been coloured by it.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say here, really, is this: While the truth may set you free, if you’re a woman, you’d best prepare yourself to spend a lot of that freedom – alone.
Oh yeah – Danielle Crittenden. She thinks women should have fewer choices because choosing is hard. Or something. There. Happy?
I know – who cares what Danielle Crittenden thinks?
Easy Come, Easy Go – Opinions
Who is John Ibbitson and why does he call himself a journalist?
Because he was on The Agenda last night speaking out against academic freedom.
It’s true. A real live journalist, going by the name, John Ibbitson, was on The Agenda last night speaking out against academic freedom.
The show was in two parts, Part 1 was about a Professor Dossa or somesuch who went to a Holocaust Deniers’ Conference in Iran. Part 2 was about an attempt by a couple of teachers to put forward a motion to their union to have Israel vs. the Palestinians added to the public school curriculum.
Now, by way of full disclosure, I have to admit that I had an opinion regarding both instances prior to the show. And my opinion on each was reversed by the end.
That’s because of one Professor Stan Fish. He was right. I was wrong. In fact, I realized, I didn’t even agree with myself at the time I held the opinions that I did. Sure, if I had Professor Fish living in my head – I would have known this. But I don’t. So it took listening to his opinions to change mine.
It took listening to John Ibbitson’s opinions to NOT change my opinion that rightwingers are stupid and should not be allowed out in public.
Now, I didn’t pay much attention to the Holocaust Deniers’ Conference in Iran. I mean, I wasn’t surprised that Iran would hold an HDC (that’s short for “Holocaust Deniers’ Conference”, dear reader – “HoloDeCon”). Afterall, Iran’s President once wrote an 18-page letter to America’s most illiterate President ever, George W. Bush. Plus, he’s crazy. A real whackjob. Nutso facto. The President of Iran, I mean. Not George W. Bush. He’s just stupid.
And I wasn’t surprised that a couple of Orthodox Jews would have everybody’s tongues wagging because they attended the Conference, either. All the other Orthodox Jews I haven’t met seem pretty “out there”, too. That’s why I haven’t met them, I guess. How would I meet one? I’m unclean for two weeks of every month and a radical leftwing feminist for the other two.
Nor, dear reader, was I surprised that a Professor or two attended the Conference. Professor Dossa, even, to give a paper. That’s not because I know thing one about Professor Dossa, because I don’t – I’m just not surprised that the odd Professor, and odd Professors, might want to attend such an event. Even give a paper at one.
But whereas I would have thought it within the rights of his University to fire him for attending such an event (thereby lending it credence and impugning the reputation of his employer, the University), Professor Fish convinced me that academic freedom took precedence and that firing someone for such a thing is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
He’s right, of course. Because if academics have to fear losing their jobs in pursuit of whatever Professor Dossa was pursuing, then there really is no thing as academic freedom and it’s all just a bunch of talk not backed up by action. Democracy, I mean. Freedom. And we may as well be living in whatever fascist regime John Ibbitson would seemingly prefer.
As a journalist, at least. I don’t know what he’d prefer as a human being. He appears to reek of privilege, so I assume – order. And lots of it. Applied to the lower classes.
Meanwhile, with regards to Part 2, I had thought, “Well, why not? What are we so afraid of that we can’t discuss Israel in the context of Palestinians, that we must keep this important discussion out of the classroom?”
Professor Fish, whatever he said (it’s terrible – but I can only ever remember the outcome, never how I got there), convinced me that the classroom was, indeed, the very place to keep such discussions out of – in order to protect academic freedom. That to include such a topic in the curriculum would be a violation of academia as it would introduce political bias into the classroom – where political bias absolutely should not be.
I like that. And it’s pretty clear that the very attempt to introduce the motion to the union was political and the content so politically biased that there is no way even the best teacher could impart the subject matter – academically. And while I realize that part of the reason for this whole exercise (which was picketed by B’nai Brith, by the way – the union meeting – along with a telephone campaign aimed at teachers with a view to having the motion defeated, and some teachers in tears, reportedly) was an attempt to balance the equation due to the perception by many (of us) that Israel is treated deferentially in the news and in politics – attempts at balance should not be done in the classroom.
Naturally, John Ibbitson liked that one. Probably not for the same reasons as I did. More likely because he believes Israel to be good, like truffles. The Palestinians, not so good, like grits. Although, I may be giving him too much simile credit.
So, there you go. I changed two opinions because, as I realize, much to my surprise, my belief in academic freedom trumps my political leanings. It’s a religious thing, I guess, for me now. Freedom is Gawd. Or something like that.
Meanwhile, as I was watching the show, my mind wandered a bit as it is prone to doing (I mean – c’mon – the topic was “Academic Freedom”) and no sooner had I put a name to my new religion than I thought, “Now, am I just being contrary with all this “Freedom is Gawd” nonsense?”
Because it IS possible that my opinions have nothing to do with “Freedom is Gawd” and everything to do with the fact that I just can’t stand the stupidness of rightwing arguments. Is it me? Or are they all just based on race? Particularly this whole Middle East thing – which was really the bottom line of both Parts 1 and 2 of the academic freedom segment on The Agenda last night. I mean, I figure rightwingers support Israel, not just because it has the same sort of rightwing government as does the United States and now Canada – which they like – but because all the Jews they know are white. And let’s face it – all the Muslims they don’t know, aren’t white.
Same goes for me. All the Jews I know are white. And all the Muslims I don’t know are brown. Arabs, to be exact.
Arab taxi drivers, terrorists and terrorist suspects.
So am I just “counter-balancing” to deny my tribal instincts? Just as the two teachers were attempting to “counter-balance” their perception (and mine) that our news and politics is unfairly biased in favour of Israel? Or have I – as a feminist – successfully trumped my tribal instincts with intelligence to come to the genuine realization that “Freedom is Gawd”?
I mean, I find almost all rightwing opinions appallingly racist and tribal and their rightwing opinion holders quite willing to deny themselves and others academic freedom – heck – freedom of any kind. Although, I don’t read them very carefully. Still, I really don’t want to be like that, so it IS possible my opinions are just “counter-balanced” to not be stupid. Like John Ibbitson’s.
Whatever. Tomorrow’s entry is already in my head so before I forget how I got there – I’m writing here and now – it involves Danielle Crittendon (den?) and her stupid rightwing opinions.