Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Worst: Margaret Wente

Another day, another gem from national treasure, Margaret Wente who this time sets her sights and in depth knowledge of non-neurotypical behaviour on Norwegian terrorist, Anders Breivik. She begins by addressing the growing concern that the vitriolic rantings of right-wing writers such as Mark Steyn have fed into a culture of Islamophobia and encouraged Breivik. Quoting terrorism expert, Mark Sagement, who said in the New York Times that "this rhetoric (the anti-immigration/multiculturalism/Muslim) not cost-free". But, Margaret Wente knows better than a silly old terrorism expert! She quotes another commentator  who wrote on Al Jazeera's English-language site that Breivik's rampage demonstrates “the extent to which reactionary bigotry has infected mainstream thought”. 

She follows up with her own deep, thought-provoking opinion that because Norway doesn't have an extreme right-wing political party, the constant stream of anti-anti-immigration/multiculturalism/Muslim can't be that pervasive. Good stuff. Wente is never all that in touch with her white, upper-middle class privilege but can she really believe that there hasn't been an increase racialized discrimination against Muslim people (and Arab people in general) since 9/11? Not to mention France's veil ban, talk in the Netherlands about banning the Koran, Switzerland banning  minarets, just to name a few major examples of Islamophobia in Western Europe, countries a stone's throw from Norway. 

OK, great, so far so good, Wente thinks y'all are just overreacting to a bunch of right-wingers who use their platforms to propagate hate. But then, not satisfied with her blatantly wrong assessment of how insidious and dangerous hate propaganda can be (at the risk of going full-Godwin: um, Margaret, open a history book and read about the Holocaust), she had to go full out Ableist and, informed by her vast knowledge of mental illness, suggest that Breivik is simply "crazy". 

My question is, what the fuck does "crazy" mean? Last I checked there was no listing in the DSM for "crazy". I guess Wente means that he suffers from a mental illness. Him and millions of other people in the world, like me. 

And what mental illness are we talking about? Depression? Schizophrenia? ADD? Anxiety? Which one makes a person more likely to murder 76 people? 

It's time to retire the exhausted habit of blaming mental illness for terrible things that people do. It's time to acknowledge that mentally ill people are statistically more likely to self-harm than ever harm someone else. It's time to stop equating violence with mental illness. This line of thinking lets people like Breivik (not to mention people like Steyn which I guess is the whole point) off the hook and it stigmatizes mental illness further.

Even if it is revealed that Breivik suffers from a mental illness, that doesn't excuse or explain why he murdered all those people nor does it explain his 1500 page manifesto. And it certainly doesn't absolve all those right-wing hate-mongers who have so influenced the rampant Islamophobia. 

Real Talk: Mum Edition

My mum -- Remember when you used to walk around with your vibrators in your robe pockets?

Me -- Wha? I don't even know what you are talking about. I have no recollection.

Mum -- You know you had vibrators in your pockets.

Me -- I kept them there, like hidden, but I was definitely not wandering around with them. Like I just couldn't be without a dildo at any given time?

Mum -- Oooooh, that makes more sense.

Me -- I'm so embarrassed that for seven years you thought I just had to be able to masturbate at any given time. In my robe.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Friday Fiction (On a Monday): The Homecoming by Alex Snider

Well, after all my whining about missing my family, in a few days I'm finally headed back to Winnipeg to see them. Although, I'm counting down the minutes until I get to see them all, there is always this anxiety about going back that sits in the back of my throat -- the homecoming jitters. There always will be changes (that new Shoppers where the old pool hall was) and yet things always stay the same. Have I changed? Has my family changed? Will everything be different? Partly it's because I'm a bit of an outsider now, having lived away from them for so long but mostly it's just having to go back and face my childhood, my roots.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Woohoo, New York!

Today hundreds of lesbian and gay couples lined up to be wed, marking the first day the legislation which legalized same-sex marriage was in effect. An amazing day for LGBT people as the fight for equal rights took a step forward, and a monumentally special day for those couples who were among the first in New York state to be legally married. 

The New York Times and the Guardian are both featuring photo galleries of newlyweds and looking through them I feel such joy in my heart for all the happy faces. It brings tears to my eyes to see all the couples exercising their hard-won right.

I will never understand those who are against same-sex marriage, never understand endorsing discriminatory and hateful policies, never understand homophobia but today, all those people who count on the law to back up their bigotry have lost. And they will continue losing as more and more states, countries and nations recognize same-sex marriage. 

So, congratulations to all the newlyweds, to all lesbian and gay people who have seen their right to marry their partners solidified in one more state. 

Sunday Songs: Ice Cream You Scream We All Scream by Rebekah Hakkenberg

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lil' Lists: The Best TV Opening Credits or Way to Go, HBO

Lil' Lists: Because everything is better in a list. Mostly because grand blanket statements are perfectly acceptable.

Weeds -- The first season's credits were great, with Malvina Reynolds singing her hit, Little Boxes. But, then in the second and third seasons, other artists were brought in to sing, Elvis Costello, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Man Man and Joan Baez among them, with Reynolds' version bookending each season. Yep, Elvis Costello, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Man Man and Joan Baez. 

True Blood -- This might be my favourite; the song is awesome, the visuals are super awesome. Fills me with a desire to read some V.C. Andrews. 

Treme -- I get this song stuck in my head five times a day. Like True Blood, the images and video clips used in combination with the music is brilliant.

The Sopranos -- I feel like this was the first time I saw credits that didn't revolve around cheesy montages of previous episodes and featured a song that I would actually listen to. Gods bless HBO.

The Wire -- Um, Tom Waits sings the credits song for the second season. Yeah. 

Arrested Development -- I'm including this one based on just how excited I get when I hear it. Greatest comedy of all time.  

Boardwalk Empire -- Terrible show. Fucking terrible, yet every time I see the wicked opening, I get fooled into thinking that maybe it's not so terrible. But alas, once the credits end, that feeling of optimism is quickly transformed into a feeling of betrayal and anger that once again I'd been tricked. 

Dexter -- I know a lot of people are pretty grossed out by the egg part but the all the non-threatening imagery combined with the jaunty music really sums up the black-humour of the show.

Freaks and Geeks -- Just perfect. How is it that in the three seconds each character is featured, they manage to convey their personality so perfectly? And there's Joan Jett.

The Simpsons -- Holy crap guys, the Simpsons is twenty-two years old! Do I need to explain why this is included? Since the beginning is so ubiquitous, I've embedded a montage of most of the couch gags. Which is your favourite? I love the Monty Python one.

Six Feet Under -- Hot damn, this show! I love, love, love the shots and colours and orchestral music. They break my heart a little every time I see them.

United States of Tara -- Everyone (EVERYONE) keeps bugging me to watch this show and I will, especially now after watching the opening credits.

Carnivale -- Haven't watched Carnivale either but geez, judging by the credits and the magic of HBO I'd be so into it. Fingers crossed it's not another Boredwalk Empire.

Deadwood -- My well-documented obsession with Deadwood extends to the opening sequence. They tell more of the old west than the 400 John Wayne movies ever could.

Twin Peaks -- This has to be the most perfect pairing of opening and show ever. So eerie and spooky and weirdly melodramatic. Right now I'm listening to it while also listening to the Rebekah Brooks Parliamentary committee. Kind of amazing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Jack Sunday

We watched Mario Van Peeble's 1991 classic New Jack City last night and oh, man... this movie is such a mess, but god damn I love it! Mario Van Peebles sure is pretty, but I'm not totally convinced he knew what he was doing with this film. Now don't get me wrong, it's incredibly entertaining, and about a very important subject: the crack epidemic of the '80s and the drug lords behind it. But. Why is Van Peeble's suddenly holding a baby in that scene on the beach? Why are they on a beach? Why does Ice T suddenly decide to berate Chris Rock's Pookie, the reformed crackhead, after spending months helping him get clean in a bizarre Rocky Balboa-like montage, thus sending him right back to the white rock from which he just broke free? I don't get it. Still, this movie is totally worth it for the soundtrack and fashion and set design alone - Nino Brown's mansion looks like a cross between the U.S.S Enterprise and Dracula's castle. And the Kangol hat that looks like hair! And also, for the scenes when Judd Nelson just hangs out in the background, hoping nobody will notice that his character doesn't actually have anything to do. Ahh, but I digress... the music! I love me some New Jack Swing, the first three video's are from the official soundtrack, the rest are my new jack picks:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Fiction: A Toast to the Fictional Bar by Alex Snider

Whew, summer, amirite? About what you ask? About all the patio time, the money spent and the amount of booze consumed! All for the greater good (ie super fun hangouts and, in my and Rebekah's case, a reprieve from the volcanic heat of our apartment) of course but shit yo, I've been imbibing a lot lately. I'm drinking right now actually! On a patio! Fun times had by all (except it's just me. But I'm expecting. More people! Haha).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Cens(less)us Conversation

I finally filled out my census! Online! It was so easy! Well, not that easy, as the access number they gave me was missing 2 digits, but we got it sorted out. Now, the girl that comes around who I usually hide from will only be harassing our neighbours, and I will be able to walk right past her with my head held high! I am the World's Greatest! What follows is the actual Facebook conversation I had with Alex while attempting to do my civic duty:

25 minutes ago
Alex Snider
  • this is the access code that's on the other census form we got: 5xx 3xx 6xx 2xx 5xx

12 minutes ago
Rebekah Hakkenberg
  • Thanks! It worked! Weird, it's a totally different number from the one I had...
  • now, what's my phone number?

10 minutes ago
Alex Snider
  • 416 520 0xxx
  • goofball

7 minutes ago
Rebekah Hakkenberg
  • shit, I put down 520 5xxx, thought it might be wrong, so I put your # down instead! Your bday is sept 2 1983? or 84? If I'm wrong you can't be mad cause I don't even know my own phone number!
  • yeah, it's on your profile. Also, I was totally right!
  • should i put down common law?

5 minutes ago
Alex Snider
  • I don't know what to say to any of this.

CovEtsy: Shawn Knight by Rebekah Hakkenberg

Oh my gosh, it's Thursday! What happened to Wednesday? Where did it go? Well, I'm breaking from routine a little bit this week, both by posting a day late, and by profiling one artist in particular, rather than choosing etsy items based on a theme. But whatever, it's (partly) my blog, and I can do whatever the heck I want! So, I came across Shawn Knight's screenprinted collage posters recently, and I have not been able to stop thinking about them. I want then all. Not only do they look really, really cool (sorry Shawn, but they do), but they're also posters for some really fantastic bands.  I wouldn't mind if someone decided to give me one or ten for my birthday (which is next month, by the way, mark those calendars!)...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Top 10 Words I Use At Work, In Ascending Order of Frequency: Edition Alex

10. Ugh.

9. Sweaty.

8. Versatile.

7. Hideous.

6. Sale.

5. Meh.

4. Sold-out.

3. Shimmylingus.

2. Gah.

1. I-need-a-new-job

Top 10 Words I Use At Work, In Ascending Order of Frequency

10. Logistically

9. Manifest

8. Accommodate

7. Liason

6. Colleague

5. Certainly

4. Aquire

3. Spreadsheet

2. Confirm

1. Awesome

Dear Lady Soccer Players, Make the Fans Respect You! by Alex Snider

I was going to write about Shania Twain's Party For Two today (seriously) but that's going to have to wait because instead I came across this infuriating article in the Toronto Star, Finally we find the hate in the women's game. Cathal Kelly writes about the Women's World Cup game between Brazil and America and what I gather was a rather intense game stirring many emotions from the crowd. Kelly sees that as a step in the right direction for women's soccer, a step towards being taken as seriously as the men.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Repeat After Me:

"...contrary to pervasive narratives about women who "feel guilty" after a consensual act inventing rape charges, the reality is that women who feel shame, or fear, or regret after an actual rape frequently re-imagine the encounter as consensual, because admitting rape even to themselves is so difficult. Rapists are exponentially more likely to indirectly benefit from women "consenting" after the fact as a survival strategy than are innocent men likely to be victimized by false rape charges."
(Via Melissa McEwan at Shakesville)

Summer in The City

I know I know I know, okay? Summer is supposed to be all about light colours and shiny things. But right now, all I can think about is how effortless this stuff looks. OF COURSE I'm still all about the easy, breezy, floaty fabrics and feeling as close as one get get to naked in this heat without getting arrested. And I'll save the black, opaque tights for fall, thank you very much. But nothing screams "I just don't give a fuck about this heat" like a matte black suede shoe in the summertime, when everybody else is wearing sandals and showing off their pedicures, am I right?
Source: via Rebekah on Pinterest

And yeah, I probably will be wearing all my feminine, flowery sun dresses come the fall. I'm such a rebel, I know.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Defying Gravity - Raúl Esparza



"She would have been a good woman... if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life"

Oh my goodness! This is the greatest thing of ALL TIME! And y'all know how I feel about grand sweeping statements! But seriously this time, I really, really, really mean it! It's a recording of Flannery O'Connor reading her masterpiece A Good Man is Hard to Find in 1959 at Vanderbilt University, in all the glory of her Georgian accent and all the humour and all the tragedy and all the horror. I think I'm going to spend the day reading her stories. Seriously, how amazing is she?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Songs: Phyllis Hyman

This week's Sunday Songs is just a Sunday Song, actually. Because I knew I had to post this video of Phyllis Hyman performing Living All Alone on "The Night Life" in 1986, but absolutely nothing could hold a candle to it. So here it is. If you listen to one song this week, make this the one, even if just for the amazing hat and shoulder pad ensemble. Even the shoes! She can sing, AND she coordinates!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Fiction: Overly Ambitious or NABO-KOOOOV by Alex Snider

The other day I talked to someone who suggested that although they liked my Friday Fiction, it might be a bit "ambitious". I was like, "challenge accepted!" and have decided to out "Friday Fiction" Friday Fiction by listing the last one hundred books* I read and how they made me feel. I'll try and keep it short and sweet but, you guys know me -- short and sweet, never! Interesting side-note, though, all my life (since I was like fifteen or so) I thought I was 5'4" I'm actually taller! So literally, neither short nor sweet. Fun fact.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

CovEtsy: This Ain't No Picnic. Yes It IS! by Rebekah Hakkenberg

I found so much amazing picnic gear on Etsy this week, it was hard keeping my list down to just 10 things! The weather this week is perfect for a leisurely picnic in the park (under a nice, shady tree, of course). So grab a book and some food and maybe even a few friends (and ice cold refreshments, if you are so inclined) and spend an afternoon en plein air sometime soon.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Songs: Get Off Your Aaah and Dance

Well, most of you should have already been dancing your aaah's off last night for Pride, but it doesn't end yet! The parade is this afternoon, so there should still be a lot more dancing to come. If last night left you a little bit worse for the wear, then hopefully these classic boogie and disco tracks will get you back in a dancing mood in no time!









Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Fiction: Happy Barfday, Canada! by Alex Snider

How convenient that Canada Day has fallen on a Friday! I can't be the only one who is feeling like they're living in a Tim Horton's or Canadian commercial? Right?! So, if we can just side-step the long history of genocide and betrayals and broken treaties that led to the creation of the Dominion of Canada (and we manage to the rest of the year so why not today, too, right?!), a country located on stolen land called Turtle Island, I would like to use this opportunity to list some wonderful Canadian reads, and hey, I've got the platform so I'll be taking that opportunity! Huzzah!