Friday, August 17, 2012

An "Angry News" Week

Sea lions Sandy and Baker
It's too bad my neck's been so sore the past few days that I've barely been at my keyboard, because it's been one hell of a week for awful news and I feel like I've missed the chance to have some pretty important discussions. I've already posted about Toronto's ignoramus of a mayor thinking it's ok to drive while reading a speech (although we may have found him a new driver, if he'll be crazy enough to move here from Edmonton). I made a short, passing mention of the horrific goings-on at Marineland (former trainer Phil Demers has put together a short video which also was featured on the Star's website; now comes news that the Niagara Falls Humane Society will be inspecting Marineland and even singer Suzie McNeil wants her jingle pulled from their ads). I know I need to write a much larger piece on this story, but I haven't had the stamina to pull everything together this week. It's coming, trust me.

Demonstrations were held globally today
Today the hits just kept on coming with the news that Russian all-female punk protest group Pussy Riot has been sentenced to two years in prison for "hooliganism". Their "crime"? An anti-Putin and anti-Orthodox Church flash protest at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February of this year. This really shouldn't have come as much of a surprise to anyone in Russia; it's what they do, after all. However, it appears that Putin has started to become a bit worried by their activities and is beginning to crack down even harder than his normal methodology. The protest was broken up by church officials, but the three women (of the four involved) were not arrested until March, after this video was posted online of their performance:

It doesn't really matter what you might think of their musical abilities; it doesn't really matter if your sensibilities have been offended by their actions; the important information is that this was a peaceful protest that involved no destruction of property, caused physical harm to no other person and lasted a total of just fifty seconds before security broke it up. The global outrage is deep and I think Putin has made a big mistake here in the eyes of much of the world. There was a gathering in Toronto today, as in most of the rest of the world, and Amnesty International has gotten involved. If you share my outrage, please visit that site and make your voice heard.

Ethnically neutral? Or just another white woman?
And then comes this news out of Ottawa: the Bank of Canada changed the image on the back of its new $100 bills before they went into circulation last November because focus groups said the woman depicted was "too Asian". According to a 2009 report, "Some believe that it presents a stereotype of Asians excelling in technology and/or the sciences. Others feel that an Asian should not be the only ethnicity represented on the banknotes. Other ethnicities should also be shown." The Bank of Canada decided to go for "neutral ethnicity" instead. Which, of course, means Caucasian, for as the terrific Edward Keenan points out, "there is no such thing as ethnically neutral". Have a look at the new image, posted above. Just because the woman now appears to be white does not make her "ethnically neutral" and it's far, far beyond the time when we should have disabused ourselves of that notion. As Keenan says:
An ethnic Asian woman, standing at a microscope, does not represent diversity. She does not represent multiculturalism. She does not represent, even, equality of the sexes. She is a Canadian, doing her job, which is science. She represents Canadians doing their jobs. Or she should.
Some days it really does feel like we reached some kind of critical mass of social acuity many years ago and now we are starting the long, slow slide back into the Dark Ages.

But I have something here that might help cheer you up. It's a video of Lil BUB in full purr:

Don't know who Lil BUB is? She's an internet sensation, born a dwarf "perma-kitten" with no teeth, extra toes on each foot and a tongue that just won't stay in her mouth. She has her own Facebook page and is just about the most adorable creature you will ever come across. I'm glad I've discovered her and today I'm even extra glad.


  1. I hope some good comes from the efforts to raise awareness about the situation of the animals in Marineland, and also the plight of the Pussy Riot members.


I've kept my comments open and moderation-free for many years, but I've been forced to now review them before they post due to the actions of one member of my family. I apologize for having to take this stance, but that's the way the world is headed, sad to say. Thank you for your understanding.

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