Ponder putting things on top of other things. A Monty Python classic nailing my opinion of the United States……
Trump nation fosters acute disdain for Canadian perspectives. Blinders sewn of propagandist misinformation demand immediate dismissal of even the most respectful engagement, based solely on the fact it’s offered by an insignificant Canadian. Apparently I’m a “Libtard” fool living in a Fascist nation. Whoa. All I said was Canadians don’t take issue with mail-in ballots. Sheesh, settle down.
According to Pew Research Center, a survey of 13 democratic countries including France, Japan, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden reported U.S. approval ratings between 57-72% when Trump took office in 2016. Today favorable U.S. approval has fallen to 34%. Global consensus by 84% of respondents cited terrible response to COVID-19 by the United States as reason for failure to impress. More telling was confidence in Trump, a paltry 16% gave him approval. Less than that of Russia’s Putin ( 19% ) or China’s Xi Jinping ( 23% ). Compare that to Obama who left office in 2016 with approval ratings between 68 and 93 percent among surveyed democratic nations.
Trump nation doesn’t care about global opinion, as far as they’re concerned external trepidation is born of left wing indoctrination. Thumping patriot chests, they scoff at unsophisticated interlopers daring to challenge their lofty hubris. Good luck Trumpsters, mock this Canadian and the rest of the world with wild abandon. When the dust settles you can clean up the mess, no skin off my Liberal nose.
I leave you with Seriously, a video from the Lincoln Project. Former Republications united to oust Donald Trump –
Earlier this week reigning bobbleheads at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka, the Oscars), puffed out ever so pleased with themselves chests to announce new inclusion and diversity guidelines. Ostensibly the first stage of a five year plan to promote diversity on and off the screen. Translation – Oscar consideration will be reserved for productions where people of colour, women, persons with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community are included in minimum percentage quotas. From actors, marketing, pre and post production, catering and internships to location scouts, camera operators, lighting techs and extra wranglers, every aspect of production just became a box to tick.
Initial coverage centred on warm fuzzy kudos for Academy acknowledgement of trending social issues. Were we supposed to gush praise for enlightenment of an old guard white establishment? Sleep tight knowing another behemoth influencer feigned understanding or compassion for systemic injustice? What a farce!
Lets talk fine print before weighing in on the absurdity of hollow, insulting percentage quotas. New rules don’t apply to films vying for 2021 Oscar nods. Not until Oscar 2024 will films have to meet quotas in two of four standards. The four standards cover “diversity representation among actors and subject matter; behind-the-camera staff, such as cinematographers and costume designers; paid apprenticeships and training opportunities; and marketing and publicity.” Take your pick, no pressure. Pad the crew with a sprinkling of trans black lesbians, contract first aid to a immigrant Iranian doctor formerly flipping burgers to support his family because his degree isn’t recognized in America, hire amputee survivors of Rwanda genocide to sew costumes, recruit unpaid interns at predominantly black colleges, take a page from Netflix and script obligatory same sex intimacy in every production. Mission accomplished, standards fulfilled, business as usual.
What’s wrong with these people? Do they actually think spotlight posturing makes a difference? Believe marginalized people seek validation based on arbitrary quotas? It’s SO PAINFUL! News flash -we’re all the same. Black skin the same as freckled white, same sex union no different than traditional marriage, nation of birth, faith or lack thereof – all irrelevant. Diversity quotas prevail for purposes of corporate optics. Look at us, click, like, follow and share our trending abundance of social awareness. Shame on Oscar.
A recent poll conducted by Leger Marketing in partnership with the Association for Canadian Studies asked – “Up until now, is 2020 the worst year you have ever lived?” 50% of Canadians, 58% of Americans answered yes, 2020 is the worst year of my life. Canadians and Americans, 41 and 46 percent respectively cited death of a loved one as reason. (Not specific to COVID-19), followed by stress, anxiety and future uncertainty at 41% for both countries.
Sure, it’s been tough. Took some time to adjust, adapt and digest, but worst year of my life? Not even close.
Pessimism flourished along geographic and demographic lines. 62% of respondents living in southern U.S. states declared 2020 worst year of their life. In Canada 56% of those aged 18-54 declared 2020 the worst, compared to 47% over 55.
In my mind, 2020 as worst year of life represents collective misappropriation of frustration. Worst year of life internalizes external circumstance, it creates dismay rather than sparking unity. Worst year of life is a personal declaration, it’s lonely and depressing. Granted, I speak from a Canadian perspective. ( 121,00 cases, 9,004 deaths compared to 5.15 million cases, 164,000 deaths in America ). That said, cause and effect can be debilitating, or it can facilitate a fundamental shift in perspective – reevaluation of priorities leading to social awareness, empathy, government foibles and personal responsibility. Is that so bad?
COVID-19 is a cautionary tale, how humanity responds defines our future. Unexpected, devastating, inconvenient, sobering, contentious, political, alarming, needlessly fatal – yes. Worst year of our lives? Only if its lesson eludes you.
As quarantine restrictions ease across North America, restaurant owners leapt on reopening despite regional restrictions on capacity and seating distance. On May 19th British Columbia allowed restaurants to open at 50% capacity. Enthusiastic public response filled patios to the brim, patrons wait in long lines hoping for a seat at normality’s table. Overnight, a palpable transformation played out across the city. Akin to getting out of jail, an inch of freedom gave way to miles of opportunity. I can so I will took root.
Yesterday, youngest son returned to work at a trendy Yaletown eatery. Normal need not apply, patrons are splurging on bottle service, tipping with wild abandon and filling available seats until closing bell. His observations aren’t unique, permission to sit at restaurant tables amounts to viral imperative for familiar social surroundings.
Rejoice, sit with friends, drink draft beer, take comfort in health regulations requiring service staff to wear face masks. So great, right? Not so fast. What about the rights of service staff? Patrons don’t have to wear face masks, they’re not touching plates, glasses or cutlery of others. They don’t languish in a steamy dish pit, sweltering behind mandatory face masks as scalding steam covers them in particulate moisture. No big deal, what’s a handful of service staff compared to optics of economic revitalization?
Actually it’s a very big deal and frankly I’m appalled.
Incel stands for involuntarily celibate, hash-tag/moniker of a profoundly misogynistic online community united by feelings of sexual rejection. Long simmering Incel hatred of women took root years ago in shadowy forums and alt-right chatter hubs. Amid a plethora of mass shootings and violent crime the Incel movement went largely unnoticed until now. Today, Canada elevated Incel aggression to criminal act of terrorism.
In February 2020 a 17 year old machete wielding male entered a Toronto massage parlour, killing Ashley Noelle Arzaga, seriously wounding two more women. Ontario police arrested the suspect on site, initially charging him with first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. Further investigation brought in the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team when evidence indicated the attack was motivated by Incel ideology. On May 19, 2020 RCMP updated charges to, “murder – terrorist activity.”
Incels favour “Chad” and “Stacey” as namesakes for hate and envy. Chad men are attractive but intellectually flawed, Stacy are women who reject incels for Chads. Don’t scoff, this is deeply messed up psychology. Serious enough for Canada to lay terrorism charges against a young man attacking women at a Toronto massage parlour.
Incel motivated violence against women isn’t new. The link below illustrates numerous atrocities directed at women by awkward inductees of this murky online movement. What’s new, dare I say historical is Canada’s interpretation of the offence.
Ours is not a Chad and Stacy world. Ours is a online world where Chad and Stacy loathing involuntary celibates bloom in basement solidarity. Right, wrong or knee jerk Canadian perspective, as of May 19, 2020 intel motivated violence is an act of terrorism in Canada.
This article by Shannon Gormley appears in the June 2020 issue of Maclean’s magazine. It begins –
“On a rainy day in late April, in a once-storied democracy now ruled by a certifiable madman who gives senior positions to his simpleton children because he wants to, who boasts of grabbing women by their private parts because he wants to, who uses the highest office in the land to enrich his gaudy hotels and let off his thuggish friends because he wants to, who threatens the press corps and Mexican people and his political opponents and his ex-wife because he wants to, who slathers gold paint on his MDF furniture and orange cover-up on his face because he wants to, who tells lie after lie after lie for no other reason than just because he wants to, during a global pandemic when the same madman’s dazed inaction has resulted in more people dying from the virus in his country than any other in the world – on that day, an armed militia drove up to the Michigan state government building, stormed the visitor’s gallery and stalked the balcony, assault guns brandished as legislators sat below.”
“Their demand: that they too be able to do what they want, no matter what others want. What they want is, they claim, liberty.”
“Liberty: In their view, it is the freedom to threaten others; in reality, it is they who threaten freedom. They want to do what they want to do and they want to do it whenever they want to do it, however they want to do it, and here is the key: It is not that they want to do what they want to do in spite of the fact others may get hurt, they want to do what they want to do because others may get hurt. That they are scaring people is no accident. It is the point. It is what they want. They imagine liberty is being taken from them and must instead be taken from others. To maintain their own parched little plot of freedom, they rain fear down upon everyone else.”
“And so, in and around the Michigan statehouse, some have waved rifles because they believe they have the God-given right to subject lawmakers to reasonable fear of getting their heads blown off; some have carried the Confederate flag because they believe they have the God-given right to subject Black people to the reasonable fear of being lynched.
Some have threatened to incarcerate a female legislator because they believe they have a God-given right to subject women to reasonable fear of all manner of retribution. And all have swarmed public spaces in a mass because they believe they have a God-given right to subject other people, their own societies, their own country and beyond, to a reasonable fear of a deadly virus.”
I’ve quoted snippets from a thought provoking read few Americans are likely to ponder. Gormley’s article deserves consideration. Full article linked below – what does liberty mean to you?
Bill Maher nailed it with New Rule: Panic Porn. In a nutshell – if news media doesn’t tone down apocalyptic coverage of COVID-19 Trump will seize inevitable easing of restrictions as consequence of his great management during pandemic times. Take five minutes to ponder panic porn…..
Yesterday Google and Apple announced partnership details pertaining to development of a COVID-19 tracking app. When launched, the opt-in platform would use Bluetooth to keep tabs on your whereabouts and interaction with personal contacts. Ostensibly to send email alerts if anyone you’ve had close contact with tests positive for COVID-19. The fine print explains –
“It works a bit like exchanging contact information with everyone you meet, except everything is designed to be anonymous and automatic. Instead of contact info, your smartphone will periodically exchange anonymized tracing keys with nearby devices. Both devices maintain a list of the keys they’ve collected on a cloud server, and when one person reports an infection, they have the option of sending an alert to people they’ve recently been in contact with. That alert will share information for what those people should do next.” From https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/4/10/21216675/apple-google-covid-coronavirus-contact-tracing-app
In a perfect pandemic world, unprecedented solidarity between competing tech giants might be considered admirable. Trouble being, ours is anything but a perfect world and red flags flap in the wind. Second phase of the Google/Apple partnership involves contact tracking functionality built in to Android and Apple phone operating systems. Excuse me? I urge you to read the link above.
Americans in particular are quick to froth constitutional freedom of speech. Trouble being it’s become increasingly evident they only want to hear themselves or their miniscule gang of devotees speak. In the past week I’ve had comments deleted, access blocked and content reported over a dozen times. My transgression? To dare contradict, however polite or reasonable the manifesto of opinionated closed minds. Geez, what was I thinking?
It’s alarming, consider the magnitude of free speech silenced by the click of a block icon. Reasonable attempts to initiate dialogue muzzled by knee jerk block bravado. Typically I’m chastised for ignorance. Ridiculed, mocked, sworn at or warned to mind my own business before the block hammer strikes. WTF? It’s fascinating. These are the same people who spew constitutional freedom of speech. Silly me, free speech is their right, anyone taking exception will be blocked.
Not once have I blocked a site. Last week I reported a particularly venomous wing-nut for promoting home remedy coronavirus cures, a first in 8 years of blogging. In my mind deleting comments, censoring content, including dialogue out of context excluding verbal abuse prompting such dialogue and aggressively blocking those who dare take issue is cowardly. Blocking doesn’t prove anything other than spineless ignorance. We can ignore content, mark it as spam, read it for perspective or choose not to follow the author, but the moment we block it is the moment we surrender the right to free speech.