Tuesday, July 29, 2008

CBC: One baby step at a time...

It appears as though researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island are having a hard time recruiting womyn to participate in research regarding domestic violence. The researchers, who received funding from the Canadian Institute of Health Research, have found it nearly impossible to recruit participants as womyn on the Island fear for their privacy and confidentiality.

As someone who works with survivors, this doesn’t surprise me in the least. Womyn who are experiencing abuse or who have experienced abuse are incredibly aware of their boundaries and their privacy. Imagine living with an abuser who then discovers that you’ve been telling others about what it’s like to live in your house. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Now take those womyn and place them on a province as small as PEI and you’ve got a serious issue. The issues of privacy are exacerbated in small or rural areas as everyone knows everyone’s business.

So if this is common knowledge to moi or anyone who knows anything about working with survivors, why am I bothering to write about it here?

Because I’m really freakin’ impressed with the fact that this made the news. CBC.ca in particular has been incredibly bad as of late for writing about pointless shit and essentially making up the news. Of course, I’m not so impressed with the internet trolls who deem it necessary to bring out the ole “But what about the men? Men get abused too!” bullshit but you know, baby steps.

I'm still incredibly impressed with the CBC's ability to still talk about news items from time to time. Now if they'd just quit writing about goddamn Maria...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Smooth Criminals

Being the raging lefty feminist that I am, I make it a general rule to reject prison sentences as the ultimate answer to crime. The prison industrial complex is a reality and there is very little if any rehabilitation in prison and the makeup of the current prison system is appalling.

At this point in my life, I wouldn’t call myself a prison abolitionist as I am not 100% decided on what I think an alternative would be. But I do know that the prison system is messed up and a microcosm of the racism, sexism and overall discrimination that exists in this country. Not to mention our archaic beliefs about sexuality, drug use and definition of “crime”.

Exhibit A: We have two young womyn in New Brunswick who made “A poster-like image of a young boy accompanied by writing that said he had been sexually abused and killed” and left said poster on the grounds of a traveling carnival. A full blown homicide investigation ensued which involved a forensics lab in the US of A.

Turns out, the whole thing was a scam and there was no young boy. In fact, the whole thing was the harebrained idea of a couple bored teenagers.

Talk about horrific. These are the kinds of people who make youth look bad. These are the bad apples that ruin it for all the others. And these are the kinds of people who should be punished harshly. They’re young, they did this for fun and they wasted precious police time and resources.

And their punishment? Well, there is none. According to police Constable Stephane Roy

“The teens, who are older than 12 but under the age of 18, received a verbal warning. They haven't been in trouble with the law before and won't be facing criminal charges, he said.”
But, grow some weed and you’re in hella, hella deep. (Speaking of which, shut the hell up, Margaret Wente).

I’m not saying straight up jail time for these young womyn but something needs to happen here. Otherwise we’re setting people up to think that it’s okay to pull stupid pranks like this because “Hey, all you’ll get is a visit from the cops” which I’m sure makes for a great story at your next party.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Seriously people.

Can someone, somewhere not do something about this taser business?

Jeebus..

Enough is enough.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Culture For Sale

So I’m sure most of you can deduct by now that I’m a really shitty person to watch television with. I comment on everything and there is very little that doesn’t irk me in some way. Last night was no exception.

Last night was The Miss Universe 2008 competition. Obviously this is just a cesspool of misogyny, objectification, racism, capitalism, etcetera. Don’t preach to me about a “scholarship” program and all that jazz. Sure, the Miss Universe gig is prestigious and you get a lot of free swag, but you also get the same by being voted Playmate of the Year and nobody calls that a goddamn scholarship program.

They are grown womyn called “Miss” who strut around in their underwear, wanting world peace and if that wasn't enough, Donald Trump owns the franchise. And to quote David Letterman, why is it called Miss Universe? Shouldn’t it be Miss World? I haven’t seen anyone competing from Jupiter.

But I digress.

My issue last night was not with the competition per se, as I knew what I was getting into when I flipped to it, but with the “National Costume” portion of the show. This year, each contestant strutted in a “costume” that represented their “nation” and online voters decided which was best. Ironically enough, I made a guess before that part of the show even started as to what Miss Canada would be dressed as. And it turns out, yours truly was correct.

Miss Canada was dressed as... an Aboriginal.

Now, on the surface, that’s pretty damn stellar. Samantha Tajik, Miss Canada, was born in Iran and raised in Canada and was representing Canada in Aboriginal garb. Diversity as its best!

Except of course for the fact that it's example number 871267234 of Canada appropriating Aboriginal identity for its benefits and completely negating their existence as human beings (and yeah, I’m bitter that the costume was also incredibly inaccurate. But I’m a stickler for details).

At Disney exhibits demonstrating “Nations Around the World”, you go to Canada and you get totem poles. You go to tacky tourist traps in Canada, you can buy headdresses for your rearview mirror and little totem pole statues.

I’m all about the celebrating of aboriginal cultures but the commodification of cultures does not do this. It homogenizes them and keeps them somehow frozen in time, denying them the ability to actually you know… exist. There's no dialogue, no celebrating. There's this "Aww, aren't they cute?" quality to the whole thing that is gagalicious.

But what can you expect from a competition that places equal weight on your bikini strut as your ability to answer a question on the spot.

(For the record, Miss Venezuela won).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

BREAKING NEWS!

The Quebec Cabinet is quite possibly revoking their 21 year ban on yellow margarine. Woo!

Quebec still doesn't like the mocking of poutine, the spread of bilingualism, or reasonable accomodation, but they are now down with butter-looking-margarine.

Soon, we will hear Quebecors all across La Belle Province exclaiming "I can't believe it's not butter!"*

* Oh yeah, I went there.

Monday, July 7, 2008

This Ain't a Scene; it's a Goddamn Arms Race

So as the ole adage goes “You learn something new everyday”. And today is proving right for this raging blogger.

Did you know that the company that is paid to process the Statistics Canada Census Information goes by the lovely name of Lockheed Martin?

I didn't until today. But yup, Lockheed Martin.

Yes. That Lockheed Martin. The American arms dealer company. You know, the people who makes shitloads of money from the killing of others overseas and nationally as well?

Yeah, those classy bastards.

And well, two Canadians found this out and refused to fill out their census sheet as a form of protest. Very Ghandi-like, don’t you agree? Well in Canada, we take our censuses very, very seriously. No Ghandi for us. We take censuses so seriously in fact that these two Canadians are facing up to 3 months in jail and a 500$ fine.

Do we not have better shit to do with our times? Are we really going to go through the process of prosecuting these people who quite frankly, have an amazing point. Reknowned Arms Dealers should not be given Canadian contracts. Period. Especially when they are companies which fall under the Patriot Act and therefore allow the American Man to check their records if it fits their fancy.

And you know what? As a Canadian, I’m really saddened that this contract would go to an American company at all. Even if it were a kickass one. But you can thank NAFTA for that one, as the rules of NAFTA dictate that the contracts must be open to any company in North America.

Lesson for Today: Canada loves gun toting American corporations and hates passive-aggressive Canadians.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Oh Canada...

Around the same time as Canada Day, comes a major victory for pro-choice advocates in this lovely country of mine. Henry Morgentaller was awarded the Order of Canada this week, which is a huge dropkick to the anti-choice crowd. I say HUZZAH! The man is a Concentration Camp survivor who performed abortions and advocated for their availability, knowing it would get him jailed (which it did, several times). He fought the good fight and he’s getting some serious recognition for it.

The awarding of Orders is usually pretty quiet and only when bigwigs like Morgentaller get one do people pipe up and have an opinion. And of course, on this one, the opinions are just rollin’. CBC.ca has this great PRO – CON thing on their site which I love. Mostly because Heather Mallick *swoon* actually writes about the pros of giving him the award whereas batshit crazy Stephanie Gray (I’m not linking to her, feel free to Google her yourself) goes on about the perils of abortion and how Canadians need to answer whether “It is right to do what is wrong”. She makes the ABORTION IS MURDER argument but is smart enough not to follow that line of reasoning and flat out call Morgentaller a murderer because well… he isn’t one.

But quite frankly, without calling Morgentaller out his so-called murdering ways, her entire article is ridiculous and out of place. Mallick states the pros of his award and Gray goes on a rant about… zygotes. Smooth move, sister! But I gotta give Gray some credit because she at least follows through on her crazy logic. She thinks that abortion is wrong in all cases including rape and incest. I’ve seen her speak at a campus “debate” and she came out and said it there, too. It’s a ridiculous line of argument and it’s not often spoken because it’s so contentious so I honestly give her credit for stickin’ to her guns. Even if her guns are way, way, way off.

But you know what, the fact that Morgentaller is in need of constant security and the opposite equations like Stephanie Gray are not just goes to show who the crazies really are.

And while we're on the topic of crazies, check this guy out. A Priest who is returning his Order of Canada because he does not want to be associated with Morgentaller. Like Gray, I say word up on stickin' to your convictions. But the guy is a priest. Who is associated with Catholicism. Yeah. Okay.

So this Canada Day, I say congrats to Morgentaller and his hard work and constant dedication. And boooo to Stephanie Gray and her desire for “Bio-Ethical Reform”. Oh and while I’m at it, word up to CBC.ca for creating a forum on the issue and booo at the same time, for the lovely heading “Missing Escort Found Buried in Yard”. Do you people know nothing by now?