A Papal send off

Those of you who read me regularly may have noticed that I try not to use profanity within the confines of this blog. In this case, there is no way to express what I am feeling after hearing the news that Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation without being somewhat profane. Seeing that I would like to keep my reputation for eloquence in tact, I will let someone else do the swearing for me… as his sentiments, set to music, mirror my own.

So without further ado, may I present the very talented Tim Minchin singing The Pope Song.

 

 

And, may I add, good riddance to bad rubbish.

Can’t win for losing

melissa-nelson-cnnMelissa Nelson

This week brought us two seemingly different, yet surprisingly similar, court cases involving women. The first case is from south of the border in Iowa where a dental hygienist named Melissa Nelson was fired for being so attractive that her boss couldn’t trust himself around her. She did the only thing she could do. She sued on grounds of gender discrimination and the all male Iowa supreme court sided with her boss. Apparently it’s entirely understandable that her hornier than thou boss fired a long time employee and married mother of 2, who, from all accounts, he was in no danger of sleeping with, rather than act like a professional and keep his pants zipped. Sadly, the boss’s wife also plays a major role in this drama. When she found out that the dentist and his hygienist had sent text messages to each other, she demanded that Melissa be fired. I have news for you, lady. If he can’t be trusted around one woman, he can’t be trusted around any of them. And just exactly what does he mean that he couldn’t trust himself around his employee, who, by the way, had worked for him for 10 years? Does he mean that he can’t help but flirt with her? Or perhaps he means he can’t help but verbally harass her. Or maybe he means that, even if she says no, he won’t be able to stop himself from having sex with her. So this woman, who had done nothing wrong, gets fired because nobody bothered to consider that she actually had a say in who she decided to sleep with… or, in this case, not sleep with.

Then there was a case from this side of the 49th parallel where a Muslim woman wanted to testify while wearing a niqab.

Nahla Hashad N.S., a woman who wants to testify in court, while wearing her niqab.

The Supreme Court of Canada released their decidedly ambiguous ruling last week, basically saying whether or not a niqab would be allowed in court would be decided on a case by case basis. As a feminist, the niqab fills me with all sorts of anger. The niqab, is a garment used to cover the face of women (because the burqa didn’t cover enough) so that Muslim men are less likely to be distracted by a pesky erection in their daily lives. As much as I am entirely against the wearing of a niqab, in this case I find myself with mixed feelings. N.S. is charging her uncle and her cousin with sexual assault. She wants to wear her niqab in court. The lawyers for her attackers want her to have to remove it saying that they should be able to face their attacker in court. This seems to me to be purely a power move designed to stop N.S. from testifying. If she removes her niqab in a court room full of male strangers, she will be ostracized and humiliated by her community and branded a whore, which, to me, is basically akin to raping her all over again. Because the Supreme Court’s ruling passes the buck, N.S. might still have to remove her niqab.

There have been many countries who have banned the burqa and the niqab, including France, Belgium and even Syria. If the Canadian government had the balls to follow suit, instead of kowtow to a religion… a religion, whose text, I might add, does not say that a woman must cover her face, unless she is the wife of the Prophet, then this wouldn’t even be an issue. Even a Canadian Muslim group is calling for a ban.

So because these men won’t take responsibility for their own erect penises, two more women must pay the price.

Obsessed

The Great Rape Debate

In the wake of Todd Akin’s now infamous comments about “legitimate rape”, there have been quite a few rather offensive and uneducated bon mots in the news on the subject of rape.

Krista Ford

In Canada, the niece of the Mayor of Toronto, Krista Ford got into the debate via her twitter account by giving this bit if advice to women. “Stay alert, walk tall, carry mace, take self-defence classes & don’t dress like a whore. #DontBeAVictim #StreetSmart,”  Never mind that it is illegal to carry mace or pepper spray in Canada unless you work in law enforcement, or that not everyone can afford to take a self defense class. The fact that Krista Ford, who is famous for playing football in her underwear and teetering around Toronto in stiletto heels and mini dresses so tight that it looks like she’s trying to get toothpaste back into the tube, had the nerve to say don’t dress like a whore would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. This kind of slut shaming and victim blaming has got to stop. Why are we not teaching men not to rape, instead of preaching to women not to dress provocatively. This boys will be boys attitude is not helping the situation. 

Chief Prosecutor Paul Richwalsky

Then there is a case out of Louisville Kentucky where a 16 year old girl was sexually assaulted by two boys who thought it would be funny to get her drunk, expose her breasts and genitals, penetrate her with their fingers and take pictures of the event with their cell phones. The two boys plead guilty  to charges of first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, and misdemeanor voyeurism. For their crimes they are required to do 50 hours of volunteer work and attend treatment. As if the 16 year old girl’s violation and humiliation was not enough, the Chief Prosecutor of the case, Paul Richwalsky, actually told the girl, when she complained about the plea agreement being too lenient, to “get over it and see a therapist. … The jail was for ‘real’ rapists, murderers and robbers.” This from the man who was hired to serve the best interests of the victim! 

Victoria Jackson

SNL alumnus and Tea Party darling, Victoria Jackson, came out in defense of the aforementioned Todd Akin’s legitimate rape comments. She was quoted as saying, “The Todd Akin thing was so blown out of proportion — it’s a joke. How many times do people get pregnant from rape? It’s point zero zero one percent. It’s a joke. I read lots of articles. I know people, because I’m 53. I’ve know a lot of people, and I’ve actually never known anyone who got pregnant from being raped.” She went on to say, “If I got raped, I would have the baby. And if I didn’t want to keep it because I had these [mocking tone] horrible nightmares, I would adopt it out. But I think that God can turn a bad thing into a good thing. And that, if I got raped and a beautiful baby who was innocent was born out of it, that would be a blessing. The DNA of a baby is individual. It’s not the mother’s DNA. It’s not the father’s DNA. And that’s why I believe abortion is murder, because it’s not the woman’s body. It has it’s own DNA. If there’s a boy baby inside of me, he has a penis. That’s not my body.” Good for you, Ms. Jackson, but not every woman feels the same way. To deny others a choice just because you think that everyone should believe what you believe is the antithesis of what the pro-life movement should be doing more of… live and let live.

With a tip of the hat to Bill Maher, I would like to suggest my own New Rule. Unless you are a woman or a man (yes, men get raped too) who has been through the violation, humiliation and emotional toll of the crime of rape, you must keep your pie hole shut. All you are doing with ignorant statements like the ones above is opening wounds and putting the responsibility for the crime on the victim instead of the criminal. It’s attitudes like these that make rape the most unreported crime on the planet. You are only showing a lack of compassion, empathy and humanity when you vilify a victim of rape, not to mention giving rapists the message that you are on their side.

A Wedding Dress to Die For

Your wedding day. You’ve scrimped and saved and planned, so that everything will be perfect. You’ve spent thousands of dollars on the event, not to mention the dress. The hours of searching, trying, rejecting and finally finding that perfect dress of your dreams could rival the search for Mister Right. Now, due to a new trend, you’re dead in a river before your honeymoon.

That’s what happened in Laval, Quebec (just minutes from where I live) on July 24th, 2012. The beautiful blonde bride, Maria Pantazopoulos, drowned in her wedding dress because she wanted to take part in the latest wedding fad, “trash the dress”.

Trash the dress is a relatively new phenomenon where the bride (and sometimes the groom too) take part in a photo shoot wherein the wedding dress is trashed.

Some brides go the artistic route.

Others go for hangover chic.

Then there’s the ‘From here to eternity’ look.

There are all sorts of creative ways in which to ruin a wedding dress, but some brides feel they must risk their lives for the shot.

I can only hope this was done with Photoshop

Simple math: rushing water plus a wet wedding dress equals disaster

Maria Pantazopoulos decided to go with a very popular scenario of wading into water. In this case, the Ouareau River which is rife with many drop offs. Maria slipped on the wet stones, her dress, now soaking wet, weighed her down and pulled her under the water. Both the photographer and a good Samaritan tried their best to rescue her, but were unable to save the bride from drowning.  Her lifeless body was found by a scuba diver about 100 ft. from where she fell.

Police spokesperson Sgt. Ronald McInnis said the spot where Maria perished wasn’t particularly dangerous. “There’s not a very strong current there, and not much water. Her dress became full of water. It became too heavy.”

Maria was quoted as saying, before the photo shoot, “I want to have fun with my wedding dress. I want to have great pictures and memories of me in my wedding dress”.

This trash the dress thing is stupid. It’s not artistic. It’s not punk rock. It’s just a huge waste of a very expensive dress… and for what, a shot at the next Darwin Award?

Uninspired

 

 

Lately I have been feeling very uninspired. Oh, it’s not like there’s nothing going on in the world, just nothing that is sparking my interest. In the past week, we’ve been bombarded with a lot of “news” that I couldn’t care less about.

For instance, I don’t care if some young “actress”, that I have barely heard of, cheated on her overrated actor “boyfriend”. This only answers my question of who she had to sleep with to get famous… directors, apparently.

 

Who are these people and why does anyone care?

 

 

And pardon me if I yawn when I see yet another “story” about Tom and Katie and how they parent their precious Suri differently.

 

While Katie chooses the, down to earth, taxicab option…

Tom buys his daughter’s love with a helicopter ride.

Oh, and why exactly am I supposed to give a damn about the publicity seeking Jackson family and their so called drama that seems to be occurring just before young Paris’s first movie is about to debut?

The Jackson kids with their Grandmother/guardian/missing person/ not guardian/ co-guardian, Katherine.

Now I may be jaded, but I am just so sick and tired of all of this manufactured celebrity drama creeping into my consciousness. It’s everywhere you look. It’s impossible to escape knowing all the intimate details of these attention whores’ lives. The best part is when they say they want us to respect their privacy. Meanwhile they are tweeting, calling TMZ and giving interviews to US Weekly and People magazines.

Enough is enough. Isn’t there any actual news worth reporting? Isn’t anyone on the planet doing anything worthwhile? If anyone knows of such a person or persons, please let me know, I could really use some inspiration.

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Usain Bolt

Not only is he the world’s fastest man, but Usain Bolt is one of the most good natured as well. Today, after he won yet another race in Oslo, a young girl ran directly into his path  with a bouquet of flowers, as he was still slowing down. Bolt nearly ran the girl down, but made every effort to make sure she never hit the ground, smiling the whole time. This girl ran across the lanes, directly into Usain Bolt. A thoughtless action like this could have caused Bolt a career ending injury, but  Bolt (at the risk of making a bad pun) took it all in stride and even looks as though he is more concerned about the careless girl than his own safety. He was perfectly within his right to get angry at the girl, but instead he showed the world that he is a true sportsman and a real gentleman.

Usain Bolt shows grace under pressure

Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, we have yet another entitled rant from Charlie Sheen.

Charlie Sheen

Also, in today’s news, actor Charlie Sheen blew a gasket during the Stanley Cup Final at the Staples Center. After he left the venue to smoke he was denied access back into the arena. Apparently Sheen was not aware that the Staples Center has clearly designated indoor smoking areas, or that the policy of the venue clearly states, if you leave, you are not permitted back in (no matter who you are or how much you swear). He also forgot negotiation rule number one. When you are trying to get someone to do something for you, you don’t yell expletives at them, you charm them and perhaps, slip them some cash. This entitled bad boy routine was tolerable when he was in his twenties… but now that he’s nearing 50 and has children of his own that he should be setting an example for, it’s just pathetic and sad.

Charlie Sheen’s temper tantrum- courtesy of TMZ

Driven to distraction by distractions

Ashley Judd’s “Puffy Face”

One of the most effective ways women have been kept under ‘control’ in western culture has been to make sure that no matter our age, or stature that we remain as insecure about our looks as we were when we were teenagers. One of the ways this is achieved is by insulting the most beautiful or famous of women in the media. This kind of bashing beautiful/famous women comes in many forms. From saying Christina Aguilera is too fat,

to saying that Angelina Jolie is too skinny,

from criticizing Jessica Simpson for gaining too much weight during her pregnancy,

to claiming that Nicole Kidman didn’t gain enough weight during her pregnancy.

Poor Kate Middleton is deemed to skinny to even get pregnant.

Recently, the media slammed Ashley Judd for having what was described as a puffy face. Speculators were saying it was due to everything from plastic surgery to alcoholism. It seems the media finally picked on the wrong woman. Ms. Judd wrote a 1500 word rebuttal to her critics that you can read in it’s entirety here

She is absolutely right to stand up for herself and for women everywhere and I largely agree with her editorial. After all , if women are focused on how we look, then we won’t notice when our rights are being eroded right in front of our noses. In the United States the law makers are very busy trying to lessen women’s rights. Just a few examples include:

 A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.”

 In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that couldmake it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care.

 In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

In Wisconsin, the Governor just repealed the equal pay law.

It’s time for women to stop wondering about whether or not Beyonce’s pregnancy was real,

or what Rihanna’s new hair colour will be.

We need to focus on the things that matter before we let our vanity marginalize us out of our basic human rights.We fought long and hard to obtain these rights and I say it’s worth fighting just as hard to keep them. After all, it won’t matter what we look like if we are all forced to wear burqas.

Ashamed of my country

 

One of the things I love about Canada is that we are proud of our multiculturalism. When it comes to race, Canada is one of the more enlightened places to live. Which is why it sickens me when I see an ugly thread of racism still running through this country.

Yesterday, the Huffington Post reported on a white pride rally being held in Edmonton. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/24/edmonton-white-pride-rally_n_1377368.html

White Pride??? Really??? I thought we had come a lot further than this.

The only conclusion I can draw is that even the two dozen or so demonstrators were somewhat ashamed to be there as most of them were wearing masks to hide their identities. This puts me in mind of the KKK who all wear sheets and hoods. If you know what you’re doing is wrong, why do it at all? If you truly believe in what you’re rallying for then why not do it out in the open with your faces uncovered and your head held high? Your cowardice disgusts me almost as much as your white supremacist dogma. This rally comes under hate speech according to Canada’s Criminal Code and never should have been allowed to happen in the first place.

Canada has worked hard, as a nation, to avoid looking like this.

 

 

We prefer our public image to look like this.

 

 

 

 

It’s the little things

 

I quit smoking a little over 6 months ago. I was a pack a day smoker for 33 years. It was my choice to quit. No one else forced me to make that decision, try as they might over the years. I was just at a point where I was ready to stop, so I did. I still think that if people want to smoke, that it is their right to do so. I am a firm believer in my body, my choice. So when I read this article  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/14/cote-st-luc-smoking-bylaw_n_1276604.html?ref=canada  it put the wind up my skirt (or, in this case, the smoke). I understand banning smoking in indoor public places, what with ventilation being an issue and all, but OUTDOORS? I could even get on board with no smoking in playgrounds, if only to keep parents quiet. This smoking ban surprised me most of all, because it was put in place in a Montreal adjacent municipality. Yes, French Canadians are banning cigarette smoking outside. The last time I went to France (admittedly, it’s been a while), I got off the plane in Paris, went to the service desk, cigarette in hand, asked for a light and was immediately obliged. Smoking is practically mandatory in France. Have French Canadians been so watered down by Canadian political correctness that they are okay with banning smoking OUTSIDE? I expect this kind of erosion of personal freedoms in laces like California, where you are not allowed to smoke on the beach anymore… yes, the beach, nature’s ashtray. But Montreal? Really?

Then, on the very same day, from the other side of the very same country comes this story. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/14/former-bc-attorneys-general-pot-prohibition_n_1277040.html While I think this is potentially a good thing, what I would like to know is, if we can’t smoke cigarettes indoors or outdoors, just where will we be allowed to smoke pot? While one hand gives us freedom to do what we want to/with our body, the other hand takes it away by telling us we can do it, but only in designated areas, which are getting fewer by the minute. So for those of you who are excited by the prospect of legalized marijuana, don’t think you’ll be seeing this sign anytime soon.

 

 

Maybe the news should follow the news

On January 13, Reuters reported on a story about Sarah Ferguson and there being no possibility of her being extradited  to Turkey to face criminal charges there. Two days later, ABC news is reporting that the Duchess of York is afraid to travel because she may be extradited to Turkey. http://ca.news.yahoo.com/video/world-22186928/fergie-s-fight-27891717.html

Which story is correct? Somehow, I think it’s Reuters. Their story mentions only facts and quotes and not how the Duchess is “feeling”.

Now on to the story itself. I applaud Sarah Ferguson for exposing the horrible conditions in Turkish orphanages. I’m less impressed that she apologized to Turkey for the “embarrassment the documentary might have caused Turkey”. As far as I’m concerned, Turkey should be embarrassed, so much so, that they improve the way these orphans are being “cared for”.  As Turkey is bidding to enter the EU, they should be trying to improve all aspects of life in their country, not just the financial ones. Turkey has accused Sarah Ferguson of smearing their image. It’s not Sarah Ferguson smearing Turkey’s image… it’s Turkey.