“Nice Bitch, Dog!”
The other day, as I was minding my own business, walking Bernie (aka, Bern, Bern McGern, the McGernster, Bern the Gern, Bern Bern the Dancing… Lagern), enjoying the summery October breezes of Ottawa, a crew of young louts drove by, one taking the time to hang out the window to shout, “Nice Bitch, Dog!”
Now, I do admit to being hot stuff (okay, totally steaming, like wowzers, hubba hubba, rwwl) but I’m also 53 and a couple of years ago had to go to hospital to have chest pains checked out, chest pains which turned out to be medically “not real”, but which led to me having a panic attack in a stroke doctor’s office (because she was such a Mean Mean Doctoring Machine) followed by a further battery of tests, until eventually I found myself in a waiting room surrounded by people with the flu, at which point I gave up on life being all that worth living anyway and went home.
That is to say, I discourage easily. Also, I have to push myself to go outside (agoraphobia may run in the family, as I grew up with a grandmother who never went outside) so I don’t need the hassle – dig?
Does it ever end, the hassle, I mean. The “just because you’re XX” harassment from the XY set, regardless, it seems, of their age to ours (dear Sooey Says XX reader(s))?
And if it’s not going to end, could it at least come with a modicum of wit? Because yeah, I get it, who’s the bitch and who’s the dog. Except that Bernie’s a male dog, so the bitch has to be me, which is fine but is it really necessary to shatter my peace and quiet by yelling it at me as you whiz past in your car, you clean cut young men?
In any case, when I told a couple of male intimates about it, they both sort of shrugged and said, “that’s funny” (as in funny ha ha) and made out as if I was some kind of serial complainer about every little transgression by the more brawn/less brain gender.
WHICH I AM NOT!
But that brings me to my chum, Dr. Dawg, (not related – http://drdawgsblawg.ca/2012/10/enabling-bigotry.shtml) with whom I have an on again off again sparring relationship on the internet (but not in real life, of course, where I’m so fucking demure it’s probably like having beer and wings with the friggin’ queen for him). He’s upset about the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) weighing in as intervenor in a case out in Alberta. In a nutshell, a hate-filled bigot who identifies as Christian (and really, isn’t Christian just a matter of opinion, Christianity more or less an excuse?) had a hate-filled screed against homosexuals (and one could argue it was aimed particularly at children) published in the local newspaper, in this case, the Red Deer Advocate.
Then, as would seem to any reasonable person, an incident involving a homosexual teen at the receiving end of violence some two weeks later was linked back to the green light such an established authority as the Red Deer Advocate would give to the less enlightened among us that, “yes, Virginia, there is a biblical state sanctioned homosexual hunting season”, and issue was taken with the author of the screed (although, I think issue should have been taken with the newspaper for publishing it, but that’s just me).
Alas, on appeal (the Christian feller actually lost at an earlier junction, so there is occasionally justice, even in good ol’ boy Christian Alberta) the CCLA intervened, no doubt smarting from criticism of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, loudly opposed by our majority federal Conservative (i.e. Christian) government led by the best Christian Alberta apparently has to offer, and the rights of Christian haters to have their inciting muck published in local rags and to hell with the consequences faced by homosexual children, prevailed.
Anyway, the commentary to Dr. Dawg’s outraged entry (he calls the CCLA shameful, enabling, now-discredited) is equally outraged (free speech rights sacrosanct, how dare anyone criticize the CCLA for defending free speech rights, yadda yadda blah blah).
The political is personal, in other words, especially on the internet when the first up to comment is acquainted with actual members of the CCLA…
I mention the two instances together because, here’s the thing, the commentariat at Dr. Dawg’s is almost exclusively straight, white and male. Don’t ask me how I know that, because I don’t, but my women’s intuition tells me that it probably is. At least it mostly probably is. And here’s the other thing, there’s always a certain lack of appreciation for how it is for anybody who isn’t the accepted standard by which we measure who should be in power in this country (straight, white, male and, it seems to me, Christian, and currently, Conservative Christian) and what real actual life might be like for us.
In other words, the forever powerless because, as Malcolm Gladwell has made quite clear, tall white (I’d add straight) men automatically win. Everybody else starts in second place.
I mean, I don’t expect anyone to do anything about young men shouting drive-by putdowns (compliments?) at middle-aged women (and my heart really did jump – in a bad way) when we’re out walking our dogs in broad daylight, but I pay taxes, too. As do homosexuals. And the Conservative Christian straight white male contingent is more than represented by the state, it IS the state.
My point is, either words have meaning or they don’t. This same Conservative Christian state has labeled ordinary citizens “terrorists” because we’re liberals, environmentalists, whatever – we’re Canadian citizens not in political agreement with the state, which is, by any measure, more extreme in its politics than any Canadian government in recent memory, and I’m including the B.C. government of Bill Vander Zalm here. And calling someone a “terrorist” in this day and age can have very real life consequences. The tall white men we elect have enacted crazy laws, dangerous laws, laws designed to respond to the label “terrorist”, to ensure a Canadian citizen can be imprisoned, held without trial, abandoned to a regime like Syria to be tortured as a political prisoner, ferchrissakes.
So really, is it the best use of the CCLA’s time, to intervene on behalf of citizens who use theirs to spew hateful rhetoric at other citizens (via some sort of inalienable right of publication in the newspaper) when those citizens are basically indistinguishable from the all powerful Conservative Christian straight white male state that uses much of its time to make the same sort of “drive-by” putdowns at other citizens, too?
Okay, load off, time to brave the great outdoors and steal myself against any drive-by compliments. Bern the Stern says it’s time for his walk.