Monday July 28 , 2014

Archive for February, 2007

Imagine

Stephen Harper has a majority New Conservative Government of Canada and expanded Anti-Terrorist legislation in his paws. I mean, claws.
Next up, Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Oprah, (whom she so chose as her only begotten one in order to take the “O” out of Obama) become President and Vice-President of the United States.
A little while later, Shimon Peres is elected Prime Minister of Israel.
Like an immaculate birth, out of the blue an agreement is reached with the newly re-elected government of the Palestinian people – Hamasbollahjelly – to denounce all violence and reach an accomodation with each other that is fair and equitable for everybody.
The Arab States look at each other suspiciously and decide on an across-the-Brotherhood consensus that any interference would make them look like the bad guys and agree to recognize Israel and never again is a threat to wipe it off the map uttered.
It even becomes common on the Arab comedy circuit to overhear a kind of oneupmanship as to who likes Jews more ending in much laughter, “We ALL like Jews more!”
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to anybody, a radical group of Russian Jews living on the West Bank plot to assassinate Peres and attack the White House, by doing that same thing the other terrorist group did that worked so well – flying American planes out of American airports into American buildings.
Except this time it’s going to be a direct hit on the White House.
They succeed, becoming only the second people ever in the history of the world to carry out a successful attack on the White House.
Canadian anti-Americans being the first, of course.
Peres is dead. Shot while shaking hands with Palestinians demonstrating (joyfully) in the streets – by an Orthodox Jew from Herouxville, Quebec. The United States is leaderless with Oprah in the bunker with her best friend, Gayle, while Steadman hammers on the door demanding to be let in to at least cuddle. Hillary is being flown to a safe haven in Arkansas, Bill to the rescue, a group of big-haired trailer park broads left behind to shake their fists at the passing plane overhead.
Moderate Jewish groups in the U.S. plead for calm, stating they had nothing to do with the attacks, but understand the anxiety felt by Russian Jews due to uncertainty about their property rights and the future of their settlements as a result of the agreement reached with the Palestinians by Prime Minister Peres. They express sorrow for the victims (mostly Mexican out-of-seasonal illegals responsible for the White House Christmas Special on account of the plane hit the Chocolate Room first) – but point out that there was a certain inevitability to the attacks as the Russian Jews on the West Bank were feeling abandoned in the new peace era that had been managed almost exclusively by Leftist interests in the West.
Financial records, travel documentation – all point to Canada as a source of funding for the group, which calls itself “Tel Haifa”. Suddenly, fingers are pointing at anybody who is Jewish and who has travelled to Israel in the past decade. Or who has associated with anybody who has travelled to Israel in the past decade. Or knows somebody who has known somebody who has known somebody…
Armed with the extended legal right to detain anybody without charge – Stephen Harper, Anti-Terrorist, goes to work.

 

What Colour is Your Lieutenant’s Toque?

I have a co-worker who is British, spent some formative school years in Virginia USA, and agrees loudly with the War on Terror, George W. Bush, and Stephen Harper.
He is very fond of saying, loudly, that we are all Americans. By “we”, he means Canadians. Like me. He does it to provoke an argument, but he also seems genuinely to believe that people like me, people who grew up in Northern Ontario, in a border town no less, who exhibit every stereotypical Canadian anti-Americanism, who despise George W. Bush – mostly BECAUSE OF his War on Terror, and who despise Stephen Harper even more for his bootlicking toadyism of all things Republican and his not-at-all hidden agenda to break up Canada into a collection of tinpot provinces to be assimilated into The Great Satan – are just pretending to believe ourselves to be Canadian, to believe ourselves to be living in a country called “Canada”, to believe ourselves to have fought in two World Wars for King and country such that we established ourselves as a Nation, separate from Britain, and certainly not a satellite of the United States, with its late entries and latter day Cold Wars and nuclear weapons and C.I.A. dirty tricks all over the world that come to nothing except death and resignations.
He’s not alone. Many, if not all, of our rightwing pundits would agree with him. But that’s because they’re traitors and would probably be hung from the highest treetops if they expressed those same views in their beloved America for their country of convenience – Canada.
Americans cannot abide traitors to their brand of kneejerk Patriotism. To the point where even knowing the President is a corrupted scab of a barely biped isn’t enough to tempt the most powerful newspaper in the world – The New York Times – to defy his Declaration of Invasion and take him to task with what it suspected to be the truth. Oh no. That was left up to OUR left, thank you very much. No problem. We’re free. And apparently, the REAL home of the brave. And we put up with our Rightwing American Wannabes because we are Canadians and know that, were the Democrats to win the next election, cease and desist in this ill-conceived (for everybody except the individual leaders of the American Administration who will grow rich off it) War on Terror, and legalize Same Sex Marriage, the weasels would be singing a different tune. Suddenly, and this is if that Alberta Separatist Reformer, Stephen Harper, was still Prime Minister of Canada – they’d be resoundingly Canadian, urging him to reconsider the Firewall Letter and really put the separate, but equal, stamp on a federalist Canada vis a vis the United States.
And that this all might well come to pass in fairly short order seems not to have occurred to the Canadian Right. That the United States could well leave us behind in Afghanistan and stuck in Unhipsville with our Christian Evangelical Reformer of a Prime Minister while they catch up to the New Millenium and Diplomacy and ALL THAT JAZZ, seems to not factor into their treasonous ways. And, trust me, when I say “Canadian Right”, I’m not even talking about the Conservatives of old. I’m talking about all those Reformers in our midst, the current New Conservative Government of Canada, its media cheerleaders at Canwest/Global, all those narrow-minded stupids-at-large and LOUD Yankee Lurvers who vote for the assholes because they’ve left the Conservatives, the Liberals, the NDP – to park their idiot votes with a bunch of people who are really, truly, deeply awful – JUST LIKE THEM.
Myself, should the Democrats win the next American election, I look forward to never hearing from the likes of David Frum ever again for the rest of my life. I am, as a Canadian, so embarassed by his tenure in the United States, as if he is the best and brightest we have to offer, as if… he has ANYTHING in common with ME and the Canadians I hold in “regard” – to put it Canadianly, because we don’t want anybody getting a big head and thinking they can make it in New York or L.A. or worse – Washington – that it kind of makes me want to stop buying Vanity Fair and start buying… well… let’s see…. what is the Canadian equivalent of Vanity Fair? Certainly not Macleans. It’s been taken over by Ken Whyte – the worst of the American Wannabe Right-R-Us Clattering Chaps.
But it is quite something to have a Brit tell you loudly that you are American. That there is no difference between you and Americans. That you are the same people living in the same country – America. I don’t know how you would react, but I react with a rage most people reserve for people who walk beside each other on the sidewalk and not single file like you’re supposed to except instead of seething quietly and crossing the street, I explode with Canadianism.
It really is quite something. But I do have a deep and abiding contempt and loathing for the British, as well, so, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. They DO underestimate Canadian-ness – don’t they, though – the Reformed Rightists? What it is to be so essentially Canadian that only when some British blowhard calls you an American do you rise to the fore? They really don’t get that about Canadians. Personally, I have no objection to defining what I am, Nationally, by what I am not. I like it, in fact. It gives me a certain Canadian satisfaction, a Citizen-of-the-Worldliness. I am quite pleased in defining myself by what I am not. It is, to me, our strength, a right royal strong point, something to rest assured in that we are not that kneejerk powermonger south of our border. It’s better than Okay. It’s good enough.
Do I feel superiour to Americans because I am Canadian? Yes. One need only to look at the geography of the situation. We’re on top. Big, cold, hard rocks – on top. They are two-thirds tropical. A ridiculous country, really. I mean – who can’t live under a peach tree?
You know, I watch their tv, movies, I read their magazines – but I’d go to war against them, too. Just so long as you know. But first I’d storm our own Parliament Hill and ship our Prime Minister and his Cabinet down to Washington so they couldn’t turn over our Army to the Yankee Bastards. That’s how much I really don’t like this government. I literally would want it “to go down” in a National crisis and be replaced with a guerilla government. Of actual Canadians.
Don’t call me American. I don’t like it. It brings out the Canadian in me and you really don’t want to go there, girlfriend.

 

Thank Heavens, For Leetle Girls

My book club met at my place last night. We were supposed to discuss “Dead Girls” (my pick) but we didn’t really get around to it. Much. We commented on a few of the stories, how sad they were. Figured out a couple of connecting motifs. Decided on the main theme, that sex and low self-esteem do not mix.
Lesson: If you are a girl and you have low selt-esteem, do not have sex.
Also, if you are a girl with high self-esteem, do not have sex because sex will destroy your self-esteem. You only have self-esteem because you have not had sex. Because the only boys and men who want to have sex with girls are icky. Some, are even – serial killers.
So stay away from men, girls. Especially you girls with low self-esteem. Girls with low self-esteem only attract creeps. You should know this already, of course, if you have low self-esteem – that you will only attract creeps.
Oh – and if some guy says he wants to take you to a party and you are 15 and he is 30? DO NOT GO!!! Your self-esteem will end up in a trash can along with your dead body.
The big thing that I had missed when I read “Dead Girls”, however, is the “disappearing” thread running through all the stories. That a girl disappears in each short story, that the main drag in all the stories is Vancouver, and that the victims are all girls with low self-esteem who go on to be involved in the sex trade.
It’s true. I don’t read the newspapers. And the odd time when I do read a Saturday Globe, I don’t read the news. Just book reviews, fashion articles and opinion pieces. So I didn’t really get it until our book club meeting last night when one of our members who DOES read the newspapers said, “It’s loosely based on the Picton victims, I think.”
Oh. Well. That is sad. And then I really didn’t feel like discussing the book. None of us did. We commented a bit about one story where the girl, a little girl, has an extra tooth behind her front teeth that itches her sometimes and she gets in the habit of asking her father to rub it. Which he does. Then he realizes, that she realizes, at least one of them is enjoying the rubbing in a sexual sense.
Of course, she being the little girl, she is blamed. He never speaks to her again.
That story, the father, reminded me of a lot of middle-aged men when I was growing up. They’d interact with little girls, playfully, of course, but let me tell you, having been one, little girls are sexual beings by age 8. We know what feels good. We just don’t know why, how to make it happen consistently, and that we probably shouldn’t get too overt about it.
At some point, we must show signs of being overt about it, though, because suddenly, middle-aged men react differently to our little girlness. They start reacting to us like they react to feminists in the news.
Like they really, really, really don’t much care for us at all.
At least, that’s what the culture I’m from was like. W.A.S.P. culture. It’s different now, though. That’s because women today know perfectly well, in spite of Macleans and Ken Whyte and all of these middle-aged men on the right who think modern society has sexualized little girls in some way – that it has been ever thus. Except, this time around, we make sure nobody blames our daughters for what are perfectly natural feelings of sexuality. Whenever they start noticing them. There really is no specific age.
But, I’m leading up to speaking, of course, about the Conrad Black, then Asper boys years in which everything old isn’t new again because everything old is sacred and everything new is trash. The neo-con blowhard years which are now in retreat but not before we were graced with a Maclean’s cover story a couple of months ago featuring a twelve-year-old girl supposedly tarted up by her mother to look like a middle-aged man’s fantasy with the accompanying headline: Why are we dressing our daughters like skanks?”
Or something. I forget the exact wording. Although I do remember the word “skanks” jumping out at me. And not in a good way, either.
I don’t really know what the point of the cover was. To titillate the paedophile readership of Macleans? To point a wagging finger at the feminist readership of Macleans – all two of them? Who knows? All I know is that if Ken Whyte et al don’t know that twelve year old girls are sexual beings who dress themselves the way they want, then I guess he doesn’t spend much time with twelve year old girls.
Which is probably for the best.
Myself, I remember wearing the shortest mini I could when I was in grade five and nine years old because I wanted to attract the attention of our teacher, the lucky Mr. Goodbar. It took some doing, too, because he didn’t seem to care or notice the pretty ruffled panties I wore which I hoped he would appreciate when I raised my hand to write on the board.
Sadly, all he noticed was that I had spelled “embarassed” wrong. “Not, ‘embareassed’,” he chuckled. “Embarassed.” God. It was so humiliating. A classroom of ten year old boys taunting me at recess: “Let’s see Sooey bare-assed. Let’s see Sooey bare-assed. Let’s see Soeey bare-assed.”
Retarded dorks.
I dunno. Is it possible one of them grew up to be Ken Whyte?

 

How About Anti-Fascist Legislation Before It’s Too Late

I was going to post this as comment on What a Wife, but it really deserves its own space. A few years ago I read a piece by a woman whose husband had come home from work one day to announce that he wanted a divorce, that he was in love with another woman, and he wanted out of his marriage with her so he could be with his new love.
She hadn’t seen it coming and was in shock. The shock evolved into a depression. Eventually she wrote about it. What struck me was her observation about kids and divorce. So many people had said to her, “At least you don’t have kids – that will make it easier” that she began to wonder – is that true? And came to the conclusion that it wasn’t. That divorce without children was harder on the person who was being left behind because you didn’t ever have any excuse to see the other person again, to mix it up a bit, even to argue.
There was no contact because there was no reason for any unless you became a stalker or something.
After I wrote my piece yesterday, I got to thinking about that and the society we live in where it’s supposedly all about the kids (or, at least, if you’re a parent, you have to PRETEND it’s all about the kids). Because I know couples who probably interact MORE in divorce than they ever did while married. And it’s because they have kids. We have managed somehow in our assumptions that divorce is too easy in this country, to gloss over the fact that people are often so desperate to get out of marriages they don’t want to be in, that they will divorce KNOWING they will forever and a day have to deal with their ex over their kids.
Divorce is THAT worth it, for some people. Well, 50% of some people, anyway.
It’s just the way it is. If you have kids with someone, there IS no divorce. Not really. There’s just a long period of not living together in holy matrimony while you figure out how to make THAT work without everybody losing their shirts in legal squabbles over – of course – money.
Speaking of money, banking has really not evolved much in this country, eh? I mean, for all the bells and whistles, it’s pretty customer unfriendly. Still. Now, I’m a real security nut so I’m willing to pay a certain amount of my income to keeping the system relatively free of fraud, etc. But I’ve noticed that no amount of banking fees can protect us from everything. And yet, they do go up, don’t they. It’s not like the bank doesn’t have the use of our money all the while we’re stashing it with them and they’re paying peanuts in interest on it, either, is it.
But it all comes down to what you’re willing to put up with, I guess. I wouldn’t even add this issue to my soapbox except I realized the other day that I was always exceeding my flat fee for a certain number of banking transactions because, not only is online banking counted as a transaction (and just try paying bills by phone nowadays), so is a transaction involving a teller on account of the teller will ask you to swipe your card before she (and it’s almost always still a she, isn’t it) will allow you to access your account.
Which brings me to the anti-terrorism legislation and Stephen Harper’s bizarre reference to an MP’s father-in-law who is a witness or somesuch to the Inquiry into the Air India disaster.
I ask you – do you really trust this man to be our Prime Minister? Because I don’t. I find him unbelievably… untoward. I believe him to be systematically altering the, well, system. In a bad way. In a way that leads to fascism. Why Conservatives can’t see this is beyond me. Perhaps they are stupid.
By the way, I lauded The Agenda for being neutral chic yesterday on my blog. Well, last night it featured Ezra Levant in full attack mode, so I take it back. I watched it with just one eye open and I squinted even then. Honestly. Obviously, I’m a fan of Alan Borovoy because I believe SOMEBODY has to keep an eye on civil liberties and free speech. It can’t be me. But I wanted to punch Ezra Levant in the face because of the way he kept talking over everybody else as if the feed from Calgary only worked one way and he couldn’t hear the others talking.
Free speech? Gawd. Maybe if we all get to punch the free speecher in the face later. And I’m even A-Okay with the Danish Cartoons being published. In fact, I think the Globe & Mail should have published them. Of course, so does Lewis Laptham and he’d disagree with Ezra Levant on pretty much everything else civil libertarian – as would I – so I guess I’m solid on that one.
I was even struck by how closely aligned against my views both the Muslim lawyer and the CJC spokesthingy were on free speech so I can safely say I’m not a tribalist because their views and mine left me feeling pretty everyday Canadian. Everyday Canadian apparently being the NDP’s latest replacement for average Canadian. Or ordinary Canadian. Still, I would have supported the CJC spokesthingy if he’d punched Ezra Levant in the face, so… It’s not like I’m THAT much better’n the tribalists-at-large, I guess.
Anti-terrorist legislation by its very name is wrong, sinister, and destined to expand. We can’t trust Stephen Harper not to behave like a Latin American Strongman one minute, a Senator McCarthy disciple the minute after that.
I really wish he had no power over my life at all.

 

What a Wife

I was watching my new favourite show the other night, The Agenda, and lo and behold, who was there on a panel discussing marriage but Michael Coren.
Which made me wonder, but not hard enough to change the channel, who was hosting HIS show while he was a guest panelist on The Agenda.
I’m not much of a tv watcher and when I’m alone I would never think to turn it on. I don’t turn anything on. (Insert Sexless Sooey joke here.) I just sit in the dark and stare. You should try it. It’s like all those new age things without the books and lotions. Just sitting there. Staring.
But I’ll watch what someone else is watching and often that’s The Agenda. I used to stay after work and watch Coren, but now I watch The Agenda. (I quit happy hour and then Coren changed his timeslot anyway so the one dovetailed quite nicely with the other.) It’s amazing how much I prefer informative to punditry. In fact, whenever guests try to introduce partisanship on The Agenda I feel a knot form in my stomach, “No!No!No! Don’t make it all about you and your stupid opinions! Just the facts, please! Pleazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!”
On a side note and speaking of tv induced stomach knots, there is a show I sometimes watch on the decorating channel that’s about people renting or buying a space they want to renovate and run a business out of and the whole show is this mad dash to opening day and honestly, if you didn’t know it would have a happy ending, there is no way you could watch that show without getting cramps.
Anyway, they were discussing marriage and there was big ol’ Michael Coren on The Agenda, as I say, which was a lot like the time I saw a little insert of Don Cherry on the cover of Chatelaine on account of there was a whole interview with him inside – about gardening. Or maybe it was more like seeing the guy on the corner who shouts obscenities at passersby all day – at the opera one evening.
Although… I suppose it’d be pretty unlikely for me to be at the opera one evening, either…
The most interesting thing, though, about Michael Coren on The Agenda was the silence. He really didn’t say much. And I know why. Because his views are so garishly plaid that he would have come across as quite insane on a show that is essentially neutral chic. (Hilariously, on his own show, he is often the voice of reason – his guests are that… polkadotted.)
I’m sick of opinionated, I guess. All that bombast. It’s why I can’t watch Question Period. It’s a stupid waste of time. I know it’s political theatre, but I just don’t care, anymore. My thing is civil rights, I guess, and as long as we have lawyers who haven’t all gone over to the terrorist-behind-every-bush side – I’m gonna go with that and my various spell casting potions.
But even though Michael Coren wasn’t saying much, the other guests were saying lots, and one of them even equated marriage with having someone to cover your back. Now, I’ve been married and we were very bonded, but when trouble hit – it wasn’t with the rest of the world. It was with the two people who’d barricaded themselves in their house against it – complete with three kids and a dog.
I don’t believe marriage is a good thing for society. I really don’t. I think it was a thing, is a thing. I wouldn’t qualify it as good.
I’d be more inclined to qualify it as bad, in fact. That’s because I don’t believe “you and me” against “the world” is sane. I think it’s quite mad. And yet, that’s how marriage is still sold. It’s a lot of the reason why people previously not allowed to marry, want to be allowed to marry now. And who can blame them? The media is constantly alerting us as to what a dangerous world we live in and how we need to protect ourselves however we can, that we need to have someone in our corner, that we need to elect a government to protect us, that we should view the rest of the world as – TRYING TO TAKE AWAY OUR FREEDOMS!
Meanwhile, most marriages I’ve been around would indicate to me that the trouble comes from within, not without. The world isn’t out to get you – your partner is. And not even necessarily with intent. It’s just a vague, “well, if I’m not having any fun, I’ll be damned if s/he is”, that goes on for years. And years. And then more years. Because in spite of all the hand-wringing – separating/divorcing, even when you’d both be better off, is the hardest thing in the world to actually do. It’s certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I would never have done it if I couldn’t. So the Back to the Biblers have that right. I’d have stayed married and no one’s life would have suffered the… the what… what is it that people other than the couple suffer? Inconvenience? Upset? Sadness?
Anger that now they feel that much more pressure to stay or go themselves because even those two Bickersons managed to do it?
I don’t know. I’m just guessing. Because I can’t imagine anyone who’s ever actually been married, thinking it’s better than not being married. I personally don’t believe it is. I think it’s a trick of lighting, in fact. Certainly for some people, being in control of their own lives comes naturally. Marriage is having your cake and eating it, too. And that’s really… lucky. For those people. But without a doubt, they would be exceptions in my experience.
Most people, I believe, get married because they’re afraid of being alone. They grab whoever is there at the time the fear hits and call it being married. Why we, as a society, pretend, go along with, promote that as the right way to live – for the good of us all – is beyond me.
But look at how we view the rest of the world as a society. We believe the media when it tells us the rest of the world is out to get us and then we elect politicians who claim they can protect us from it.
It’s pretty insidious. Because when we see what that government then does to protect us, it’s pretty clear who the real enemy is.