Saturday October 25 , 2014

Archive for February, 2013

A Cunt By Any Other Name

There’s another fooforaw over a word and who used it and about whom. This time, it’s the Onion tweeting the following on Oscar night, apparently the night of nights.

I can’t believe I missed it. No wait, I can. I was at the home of a freak I met on the internet, several years ago now, eating and drinking.

Here’s what I consumed: jalapeno martini, cheeses, pates, artichokes, beer, wine, pork  loin, caesar salad, butternut squash, champagne, chocolate cake, scotch.

I clock in at more or less 120 pounds and 5’5″ and oddly enough I just felt very tired until about noon the next day (including a couple of hours where I pronounced myself clinically dead) and then a miracle was visited upon my good self and I felt fine.

My bad self felt even finer.

I put it down to a fried egg on toast, a fruit shake made with frozen fruit & water, a one hour walk with the dog, and defying the guilt and shame that is the worst part of every hangover – especially for Scottish Presbyterians.

Remember kids, guilt and shame kills.

But back to the Onion and its daring do on Oscar night – here’s the tweet:

“Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhane Wallis is kind of a cunt, right?”

Now, my beef with the tweet isn’t that it calls a nine-year-old girl a cunt (I know, I know, but I’m not in the running for mother of the year anyway, so eff off, haters) it’s that it’s not funny enough. If you’re going to call a nine-year-old girl a cunt, you’d better make effin’ sure it’s in an “lol” kind of way.

You co-opt, in other words. (I hope Seth MacFarlane is reading this.)

Now, my satirical genius better half thought the tweet was funny when I showed it to him, but he didn’t “lol”. In fact, it was worse than that because he had to explain to me why it was funny.

#Fail. No wait, #Epicfail. If you have to explain the joke, apologize.

My younger sister used to look dead on at my mother with a gleam in her eye when my mother would ask her to get wood for the fire (no, we didn’t live outside, we had a fireplace, and for some reason my younger sister took on the role of man-about-the-house) and say, “I’ll get it when I’m good and ready, ye auld CUNT”.

Well, I guess you had to be there, but it was, omigawd, so funny. And every time, too. It’s sad, really, that I might never hear it again because my mother lives in a senior’s residence now and there aren’t any chores to do.

I think it came about because my bachelor uncle, who came to our place every Christmas and often in the summer, too, had a real Eddie Haskell thing going on with my mother, but a real W.C. Fields thing going on with us. And we’d known him to call women cunts and ratted him out to my mother but she’d never do anything about it because she didn’t care about anything that didn’t directly involve her.

Omigawd, another breakthrough!

(Meanwhile, if you’re a psychologist reading this, please just eff off to another blog, thank you.)

But here’s the thing, Louis CK (I know, I know “Louis, Louis, Louis”) does a bit about hitting a deer, and in the bit he calls the deer every name in the book, including cunt and including nigger.

He’s a white man calling a dead deer a cunt and a nigger and it’s laugh out loud funny and there’s just no way to call him on it because he’s co-opted you into the joke. Or me, anyway. And I defy you to watch his hitting a deer bit and not be co-opted.

Back when I worked at the NDP caucus at Queen’s Park I hooked up with a guy who came from the Sun to be Bob Rae’s press secretary. Now, he was as rightwing then as anyone at the Sun is today, so I have no idea why he was hired, but he was very funny. He was normal height and weight but he reminded me of Henry VIII the way he’d eat and drink. It was disgusting, but fascinating.

(No, seriously – stop reading, EVERYBODY!)

He also made fun of me from sunrise to sunset and all night long. My clothes, hair, my teeth, how I walked, how I sat, my politics, my friends. He did almost all the talking because I didn’t want to say anything that would drive him away, I was so infatuated with him, so he didn’t have a lot to make fun of conversation-wise, but he had so much else to make fun of, it really didn’t matter.

Anyway, I was always trying to sell him to people (I mean, he was really really funny) but no one was buying, and then one day I was hanging out with my friend, B, who was always working hard while I was always hardly working and that’s how we became BFs, and my boyfriend (oh yeah… don’t tell my ex about this one, either) comes in and starts making fun of Today’s Child.

No, not Today’s Child – the advertising of Today’s Child.

(If you’re still reading, Today’s Child was an adoption feature in the daily newspaper that really went on well past its due date. The children advertised faced myriad challenges, of course, and were all well beyond the newborn stage after which ones chances of adoption dwindle down to somewhere close to zero.)

The funny thing was, he thought he could shock her, even though he’d never shocked me, and she was from Hamilton. He’d often lipped off to me about how politically correct our colleagues were and even though I knew better (the funniest people I’ve ever met worked at the NDP caucus at Queen’s Park back in the mid to late ’80s) he had the usual rightwing bluster about lefties and humour (also looks, fashion, yadda yadda blah blah).

The most fashionable women I’ve ever met also worked at the NDP caucus at Queen’s Park in the mid to late ’80s, too.

Anyway, in no time at all she had him on the ropes, upping him at his own game until he started protesting she was going too far, not cool, off limits, no fair. It was the beginning of the end for us because he got kind of weird about it and started hugging the walls whenever she’d pass us in the halls and eventually he started bitching about her more than mocking me and it was all over except the sex that had never been our strong point anyway.

Okay, reading that back, even I’m a little perturbed by the relationship now.

Oh, but before that time came, I was at his place and he was playing music and the “lesbians” downstairs showed up at his door as apparently they regularly did. So they’re having a back and forth and I’m in the background because I hate confrontations (and also people who play their music too loud) so I was sort of cringing, I guess, and pretty soon they were demanding to know why I was cringing in the background and what kind of monster was he and so on and so forth. The two parties gave out back and forth, some seriously hilarious accusations as to the supposed sexual practices of each were made, and eventually, after turning the music up even louder, he turned it way down.

Then, after slamming the door, he turns to me, all happy, and says, “Gawd I  hate those two bitches”.

And I said, “Don’t you mean cunts?”

Well, he looked at me as if I’d just lifted my skirt and shat a pancake on the floor, “I would never use that word to describe a woman – ever.” Something more about his father, yadda yadda blah blah, and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

Luckily, just before he could start thinking he was too good for me, I went on a trip to Venezuela where I fell in lurve with Ramon – who didn’t speak any English at all, so it was hard to have any verbal misunderstandings, and the laughs came as cheap and easy as everything else.

What I mean to say is, it’s not the word, it’s how you use it.

 

Comedy’s Catch-22

I didn’t watch the Academy Awards, but I’ve been following the stories about Seth MacFarlane’s comedy routine as host.

I’m not a fan, actually, but I’m not a ten-year-old boy so why would I be. Family Guy is more often not funny, to me, whereas The Simpsons is always a laugh.

Are you a Family Guy, or a Simpsons gal. Well, I’m a Simpsons gal, I guess.

Humour is personal, and not really universal, it seems, and it’s been dominated by men since forever because women aren’t supposed to be funny, say men. We’re supposed to be the butt (teehee) of the joke.

That’s after we were even allowed into the clubs, of course.

(I say that about humour not being universal although I was in Venezuela for a while almost 30 years ago, living in a shack on the side of a mountain with my boyfriend and his family, who had not been expecting me, but that story will be in my book. One night, they got the old black & white tv working and who comes on screen but Magnum P.I. We laughed so hard. I spoke no Spanish, they spoke no English, but we were all in on the joke, whatever it was.)

The thing is, there’s an element of bullying to the humour of the Seth MacFarlanes of the comedy circuit. And also political correctness, because if you dare to say you don’t think his schtick is funny, you’re just being a woman (cue cupped hands indicating boobs accompanied by in-the-know eyeroll).

And yeah, what could be worse than being a woman.

So most of us just go along, haha, Mr. Song & Dance of boobdom, you so funny we love you longtime.

But I run into this all the time with male friends who appreciate a certain type of humour that, quite frankly, I just don’t think is funny. And it’s not because I can’t laugh at myself, either, because Louise CK is one of my favourite comedians and making fun of his audience is what he does best.

Louis CK makes fun of feminists and it’s funny, yes, even to us, because it’s true.

Other comedians make fun of feminists and it’s not funny to us because it’s not true but we’re supposed to laugh or it’s not them being not funny to us it’s us being not funny to them, the catch-22 of Seth MacFarlane’s act.

By all means, laugh if you think it’s funny. But I’m not going to pretend I think Seth MacFarlane is funny when I don’t.

And, well, I know funny. I do. I’m an easy laugh, too. I just like a little more honesty and a lot less bullying with my comedy than some other people do, I guess.

 

Madly Spinning

Well, I just got into it a bit with a couple of Facebook “friends” who have turned out to be climate change deniers, as if we’re all imagining the melting arctic sea ice and violent coastal storms, drowning islands and droughts, temperatures that go way way up and way way down with an overall warming trend that should have us in jorts by mid-winter.

Not me, I’ll never wear jorts. I doubt I’ll even wear shorts again. I dunno, I’m a pants girl now, I guess. In fact, on a recent trip to the thrift store I came home with two pairs of jeans, one brand new, the other nicely worn, and the pockets were up where they’re supposed to be, if you catch my drift. I also came home with several summer tops, none of them black, that I’m looking forward to wearing. As I fade with time, I need colour.

The one fellow uses expressions like “green mafia” and “feminazis” so I’m not sure why I bothered. He’s not actually a friend, he’s a friend of a friend. And while one shouldn’t judge another by his name, it’s “Raif”. He swears the government won’t get a dime of his if it brings in a carbon tax.

Imagine, a carbon tax is his line in the sand. Good grief, the government has turned us into a petro state, with production costs outpacing sales, and he’s worried about a carbon tax. I mean, without even factoring in the long-term effects of fossil fuel development on the environment and human health, we have the short-term economics to tell us what a stupid strategy it is to want to be an energy superpower.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

But I guess Albertans would say I’m just mad now like they were mad then, you know, when Trudeau came up with the cockamamie idea of a national energy program.

Why are Albertans so mad at everyone except Conservatives? I don’t understand how you could live in Alberta right now and think that Conservative politicians have done a good job of managing either the province or the country. I mean, what is the point in electing politicians to prop up what is already the most powerful energy monopoly in the world? How are we supposed to diversify the economy, which as everyone should know by now is the cure for Dutch Disease, when we’ve got a government using our tax dollars to advertise tar sands development to us on behalf of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers?

That’s an egregious waste of tax dollars. Why can’t the grassroots see that an “Action Plan” isn’t much of an action plan by the time it’s been reduced to advertising the exploitation of our natural resources to us. Talk about throwing money at a problem. Geez Louise.

Pay attention, grassroots! Your confidence should be shaken! The government is advertising your natural resources to you with your money!

And it’s calling it an “Action Plan”!

And really, I want to know what was in Laureen Harper’s portfolio that she cashed out last year. Does the Prime Minister know something he should be sharing with the rest of the country? Why do Albertans think Stephen Harper is the bees knees when he’s so clearly compromised by either plain bad judgement or an uncanny knack for picking a loser.

Er, I don’t mean Laureen, I mean all the criminals he’s hired to work for him.

Is it me? Or is this government always firing the good guys and hiring the bad?

Anyway, I excused myself from the debate. It’s such a tedious distraction that even I can’t be bothered to argue it anymore. But it’s so telling, isn’t it, that it continues, that some people are still wasting their time and ours ignoring all evidence of economic and environmental catastrophe in favour of proselytizing partisan political spin for the sake of the party.

Why? Why are Albertans, let alone any other Canadians, still supporting Conservative politicians?

 

 

Government Charity

Just read a Hill Times piece that quotes Stephen Harper doing another character assassination drive-by on a public servant just doing his job, in this case Kevin Page, our Parliamentary Budget Officer.

“We will go forward in a way to ensure we have an officer and an office that are non-partisan and credible in their economic appraisals,” said Mr. Harper in the House recently.

 

Incredible, isn’t it, what the guy who racked up the biggest deficit in Canadian history gets away with saying of others.

Really, I wish he’d follow Canadian news a little more closely than he claims not to at all, so he’d know that we taxpayers would be more than happy with someone exactly like Kevin Page.

But that’s not what this entry is about. This entry is about Philip Cross, research director for the Macdonald Laurier Institute who apparently joined the Conservative Stephen Harper’s pile-on with his opinion that while Mr. Page may not be pro-Liberal or NDP, the way he has run the office has been generally anti-government.

Meanwhile, a quick google search of the Macdonald Laurier Institute reveals that it gives out tax receipts for charitable donations: http://www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/about/support-mli/

I mean, really, it’s like these people don’t even have to try in Stephen Harper’s Canada.

 

Yabbut, Who’s “our party”, Mr. Prime Minister?

I just read a recap of what we know so far about the electoral fraud perpetrated on the Canadian public either by somebody or somebodies within Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party or by somebody or somebodies with seemingly wanton access to its CIMS database (which would be quite the security breach, don’t you think?) in an o.canada.com story.

The byline, of course, is that of Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor, once of Frank magazine, but I digress.

Omigawd, can you imagine the fun a satirical press would have with this government, but I digress again.

Hey, just realized we haven’t had a satirical press since Stephen Harper became Prime Minister. Coincidence? Or just more 2008 fallout, the gift that seems to keep giving to Conservatives.

Ouch, tinfoil’s tightening with all these digressions.

Part of the story has to do with Sun Media’s Brian Lilley claiming his Ottawa sources (“the party”?) pointed to Michael Sona, some twerp from Guelph whose career with Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party has been up and down ever since, although definitely down now.

That’s because he’s obviously obtained legal counsel that isn’t Arthur Hamilton, so he’s pointing the finger back at, well, looks to me like the same Ottawa sources Brian Lilley once cited for his absolution of “the party”.

Except Michael Sona seems to be alluding to certain individuals within “the party”, not just “the party”.

So what then caught my eye is this old quote:

“Our party has no knowledge of these calls,” Harper told reporters a year ago.

I mean, who is “our party”? It’s all so deliberately imprecise, isn’t it. “Our party” isn’t specific to actual individuals. A party is like a corporation, and a corporation isn’t a person either, so a corporation can’t have knowledge.

Although increasingly “the party” sounds more like “the family”, doesn’t it…

So forget “the party” – somebody or somebodies perpetrated the electoral fraud that sought to disenfranchise non-supporters of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party – an actual person or persons.

Meanwhile, it’s not enough for justice to be done, it must be seen to be done, too. And this government just looks more illegitimate by the day, doesn’t it. Particularly when you start paying attention to what the public face of “the party”, Stephen Harper, doesn’t say.