Wednesday, March 29, 2006

True dat! Sort of...

I remember going to see Bowling for Columbine when it came out (and getting hit on by some middle-aged bureaucrat, which: just because I am at the theatre alone, doesn't mean that I am crusing for some tail that is older than my dad. Anyway, this dude thinks he met a nice economics student named Katherine who studied at Carleton, so whatev), and pretty much loving the whole thing.

Except for the one part where he goes to Canada, and goes opening people's doors in Toronto, and then is interviewing random city people, and then this pretentious hipster is all "In Canada, it's, like, locking your door isn't locking other people out but locking yourself in".

Now I ALWAYS lived in a home where the doors were locked, under penalty of getting THE LOOK, and also getting THE GROUNDED and what not. To be fair, I did grow up in one of the most dangerous towns in the country, if danger is measured in flower blossoms. But that's not what bugged me - it was more this "American's are X, and Canadians are Y" mentality, one favored by Michael Moore and devoted scenesters alike, where we get to take two diverse groups and sort them with a short, pithy truism like, d'uh, didn't you know how to tell an American from a Canadian? Just let yourself in to their house - if you can. Without getting shot.

But this is the joy and the curse of the social sciences - that of generalization. It takes a small bit of truth that applies to some and tries to spread it out to cover everyone, or at least as many people as possible, stretching it and thinning it until it's of no use to anyone. 'Cause it's true - Americans and Canadians are different. I mean, a)they're citizens of different countries. But any other statement - Americans lock their doors, Canadians don't, Americans like guns, Canadians don't, Americans like Toby Keith, everybody else wishes he would just shut his one-note, vitriol-spewing pie-hole, etc. are only true in general. Fortunately for Toby Keith, unfortunately for the rest of us with ears.

So - with that in mind - (OH! ASIDE! I'm currently watching Young Guys on APTN, and the guy who plays Locke on Lost is in it...also it's inspiring a future post entitled "From the object of my first childhood crush to walking STD catalogue: Why you do me so wrong, Charlie Sheen?") I'd like to engage in a little generalization of my own:

People who don't own dishwashers are dummies.

I am saying this as someone who did not live in a house with a dishwasher for the first 24.5 years of her life. It is the single greates invention of this or any other civilization (ooh, it's a generalization and hypberbole!).

But if you don't have one, you should put off buying little Jimmy's medicine and get one right now because it is the best investment you will ever make. Plus, if your kitchen faucet ever busts while your dishwasher is on, causing hot water to soak through your house, you will finally get to replace that busted 60s kitchen you hated so much, just like my mom.

Also: Battlestar Galactica is the awesomest show ever and you need to go rent the first season right now and then be prepared to scream in blood-curdling rage as you wait for the second part of the second season to be available in Canada.

Also: Stephen Harper is a scary, cranky man who hates all journalists, ever.

And: Conservatives like to scare little children on Hallowe'en and steal their candy and pray that some day all abortions will be stopped and there'll be more little children to steal candy from.

Okay...I don't know if that is even a little bit true, but I have my eye on you, Kenney. (Okay, I linked to his site, but just try googling "jason kenney stupid" and see what comes up).

Ooh - it's climactic gunfight time on Young Guns! Gotta run!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

How the Mighty Have Fallen (Prey to Flawed Arguments and Rhetoric)

As I have mentioned before, my job exposes me to pretty much every single publication circulated in the entire country. A lot of them immediately get filed in the big blue bin (sorry, Ontario Chicken Farmers), but some of them get read cover to cover as soon as I have a spare moment. And, perhaps because I am some sort of crazed masochist (I prefer to think of it as knowing my enemy but hey! po-tay-to, po-tah-to), this includes a trinity of newsletters from organizations whose very existence confuses and enrages me: REAL Women of Canada, Campaign Life Coalition, and LifeCanada.

So when the latter of these arrived today, a took a quick moment to scan through it, looking for irrefutable evidence that I am a shameless whore who God will punish with all forms of terrible STDs and cancers (if only those damn scientists would stop discovering treatments for them) (ASIDE: DD and I were going through customs together in Vancouver, and the officer was this, like, New Yorker with the accent and everything, and we were all "Oh, we're travelling together but we're not family and that's why we each filled out a declaration card" and he's all "So, living in sin, huh? Have a nice cruise!" and that was it. Maybe he didn't get the memo that I am a shameless whore).

Anyway, I'm looking through the newsletter, and it got me angry for approximately 30 seconds, then sad, then angry, then hopeful (they do actually have some good stuff in there, dealing with issues like stem cell research, euthenasia, rights of the disabled, and other topics that often get overlooked by other groups too caught up in the glamourous world of showing pictures of aborted foetuses), then angry again, then angst-ridden, and then I would have normally forgetten about it except for an article on the very back page. And I'm reading it, and it's an anti-abortion piece presenting about a half-dozen totally flawed arguments, but written with this folksy, down-home humour and gentle irreverence and I'm thinking "I know this writing style" and then I see the name and I'm all "No. Shit. Doctor Dave!"

Now, O-towners won't know this name, but back home, he was known to many as a doctor, a columnist, father of an crazy-talented and super sweet daughter who also played on my softball team, which he, incidentally, coached.

Oh, Doctor Dave...I wish LifeCanada had this recent issue up so y'all could read along at home, but you'll have to read now and fact-check later. Thing is, I have a ton of respect for this man, and he's done a lot for a lot of people, and he really is a likeable guy, and so it pains me to no end to have him write things like:

Every child is wanted. Every pregnancy is not [...] Doctors constantly
receive requests from those who would love the opportunity to raise a
child. Every child is wanted... by someone.

Which - nice sentiment, but try telling that to these kids. And then, this gem:
Q)What about a woman's right to do with her body as she pleases?
A: It is against the law for a woman to sell her body or do certain things
to or with it [maybe it shouldn't be, then!-Floyd]. But a growing fetus
is, in fact, not her body...An appendix or a toenail is part of our body but a fetus is a distinct society.
Dude - you are...a doctor. Like, an actual medical doctor. And, I have heard, a good one. So, this? Is a little weak, coming from you. This one reminds me of an argument I had in high school with Rikki about whether or not one could "fall off" of one's shoes, which she said one could, whereas I maintained that one could only "fall out" of one's shoes, and said argument went all the way to our English teacher, who soundly crushed me by siding on the "fall off and/or fall out" end of things. "Part of her body", "in her body", see above: po-tay-to, po-tah-to. (Also see - "Straw Man") Bottom line - HER BODY.

Also - man, is Quebec going to be le pissed when they realizes that foetuses everywhere beat them to the "distinct society" sucker punch. Also - man, are women everywhere going to be la pissed when they realize that their is a distinct society inside their wombs and the government starts to try to fund heritage and unity events up there ("Please, ma'am, just one "Canada" banner?" "NO!").

There's more, but this post has already taken me through half a Law & Order: SVU, a brand-new Lost, the inevitable Kevin Covais elimination and now the latter part of Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life (honestly? I think I am kinda in love with the awesomeness that is Angelina. Her hotness transcends all known sexual orientations. Huh... sort of like this guy's), and threatens to take me all the way to the midnight rebroadcast of The Daily Show.

So, unlike the comprehensive lists of arguments against abortions with appropriate rebuttals which I had intended, I will leave you with the thought that even smart, generous, and educated people will often sacrifice accuracy in favour of humour (no, I don't mean me...well, not just me :)); that even the best of us can fall prey to fallacious arguments when our most sacred beliefs are being debated; and that Angelina Jolie is like, way hot.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Seal of Approval!

Dear Celebrity of some note,

It's that time of year again: the glamourous people of the world are flocking to Canada for the nation's signature cultural and economic event. No, not this one. Or this one. Or even this one. No, the one that brings together musicians, tv stars, and aging European sexpots:

SEAL HUNT 2006! The place where all the most CARINGEST famous people go to care!

Looking to branch out from "celebrity" to "celebrity who cares about something"? Aspiring to be a recognized humanitarian with all the prestigious awards and glamourous events that entails? Trying to find that perfect cause that only lasts a couple of weeks and affects one of the most stable, if not overabundant, species in the world, so that when it never goes extinct or even gets so much as edangered you can give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back in between hot stone massages and rolling in a pile of money? Well, this is the one for you!

Bring your hip waders! Wear your fanciest toque! Remember, EVERYTHING goes with white! By which we mean the adorable white fluffy baby seals that you will be photographed with! They're so helpless, they can't get away when you want to shoot them - with a gun or a camera! And fortunately, only the former is illegal, so you can get still get your pictures with them instead of their big ugly parents who'd probably just swim away or try to bite you, and who would look terrible during an awards night photo montage.

Here's what our satisfied customers have to say:

"I love all animals. That's why I'm a vegetarian. That's also why I'm protesting this hunt. Also, my hot, much-younger, former- model wife and I sure looked fab next to those adorable baby seals! Thanks, seal hunt, for giving us an easy out in the field of eco-activism! I'd love to do more to help the plight of the tens of millions of animals brutally butchered in slaughterhouses, but I don't fancy smelling like dung. Cheerio!"
Paul M, England

"These seals are a beautiful gift to the world. Beautiful things must be protected. I should know. If only I'd worn sunscreen when I was young and super-hot. Now, if the world runs out of seals, they will be coming for my pelt."
Brigitte, France

"I wish I really was the characters played on my hit shows, because then I could build a gate to another world using only an empty TicTac box, a spoon, and some ductape. Then my military unit and I would take all those precious baby seals with us to safety. Of course, once they outgrew their cute stage, we'd dump them back on Earth to take their chances with all the other animals, and Fred Savage."
Richard, USA

What are you waiting for? Sure, you could pick something a little more pressing, like third-world debt relief or AIDS, but those are wide-reaching, complex issues with no easy answer and real consequences to the earth and humanity. Maybe some people want the fates of poverty-stricken masses on resting on their shoulders, Bono , but do you? Maybe some people want to piss off the global-military-complex, Michael Moore, but wouldn't you rather just piss off a group of people that can't actually retaliate in any way, like economically-disadvantaged Canadians? 'Cause they don't get much more economically disadvantaged than the Newfoundland fishers and Inuit hunters who participate in the hunt!

Time is running out - for you to get that photo of a lifetime next to an ungodly adorable creature! This year, pick the cause that fits your busy lifestyle - pick Seal Hunt 2006!


Whoever it is who keeps organizing this goddamn thing every year