CBC Gets Too Friendly With Rusty And Jerome

by matttbastard

It seems that in this era of Viagra and retirement home STD crises, you really gotta keep your eyes on a pair of jazz-loving, septuagenarian hand puppets:

The children of the late Bob Homme – the Friendly Giant, whose children’s program appeared on the network from 1958 to 1985 – have reclaimed the iconic puppets from CBC’s Toronto headquarters after they were used last month in a comedy routine on the 2007 Gemini Awards without the family’s permission.

In a brief clip that aired Oct. 28, Rusty the Rooster and Jerome the Giraffe are portrayed by a narrator as smoking, drinking and having sex while living in retirement.

I’d heard the rumours of wild parties at Fred Penner’s place, but was unaware the situation was so grave as to warrant an intervention.

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CBSA Dziekanski Report: Jolicoeur “very, very sorry.”

by matttbastard

The CBSA report on the death of Robert Dziekanski is out, and–surprise surprise–the border service agency ain’t admittin’ nuthin’:

Alain Jolicoeur, the agency’s president, said on Monday that “we do not have all the answers” as to how Dziekanski could spend at least six hours loitering in the baggage area of the international arrivals terminal, waiting for his mother while she tried to get information about him from the public area of the airport.

But Jolicoeur said he will try to fix what went wrong.

“I’m very, very sorry and I really wish that we had found out about Mr. Dziekanski before.”

Yet Jolicoeur said in an area the size of two football fields, with upwards of 4,000 passengers circulating the night Dziekanski died, the officers on duty did what they were supposed to do.

“There is no action that in my view requires discipline,” he said.

Two adverbs! I’m sure that’s comforting to Mr Dziekanski’s family. Very, very cold comfort. JJ is dead on goddamn right in her bitter summation of this inaugural white wash: “The CBSA’s condolences: “We’re sorry, but we ain’t that sorry.””

Expect more of the same as the results from still-ongoing (internal) investigations continue to come in: hollow (non)apologies compounded by an all-too-apparent lack of accountability. “Responsibility” is apparently an alien concept to those who would (boldly erroneously) claim to represent our best interests. Therefore, we must continue to demand answers and accept nothing less than justice.

For Robert.

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Paradox and Hypocrisy

by matttbastard

Fatemeh Fakhraie examines the reaction garnered by the story of a female Saudi gang rape victim who was recently sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison as punishment for speaking to Saudi media outlets about the crime perpetrated against her. Fakhraie laments the subsequent no win situation Muslim women often find themselves in when situations like the Saudi incident arise, forced to choose whether to defend themselves “against Islamophobia, against racism, or against misogyny”:

This “triple threat” is one we often face as Muslim women (especially if we are also women of color). We always seem to be battling against one (or more) of these three issues: racism (for Muslim women who are also non-white), Islamophobia, or misogyny (not just from our own Muslim communities, but also from non-Muslim communities who think they know what’s best for us).

Being on the defensive all the time creates reactionary behavior. We always feel like we have to keep our guards up to defend our faith and our choices, and it gets tiring. Most Muslims don’t necessarily mind explaining stuff (that is, if you’re genuinely interested in understanding instead of starting an argument), but we can’t all be Encyclopedia Islamicas all the time.

Some of this “damage control” keeps us from having dialogues within our communities. Muslim women face a lot of problems within our communities as well as outside, but we’re afraid to talk about it because it can potentially be used against us. People in our own communities this power: for example, feminists in Iran are accused of being too “Westernized” by compatriots who have no interest in changing the status quo for women. Many women who seek their fair share are given this load of crap in order to guilt them into shutting up, because Westernization is equated with undesirable qualities in the Muslim world. Or, if we try to speak out to a non-Muslim audience, we are accused of “betraying” Islam or our communities by airing out our “dirty laundry.”

And this is a legitimate fear. We don’t want to reinforce negative ideas about Islam, Muslim men and women, or Muslims of any race. But if our own communities won’t listen to us or engage in a dialogue to raise awareness and potentially enact change (phew, a lot of buzzwords in there!), what else are we supposed to do?

Related: Laila Lalami reviews The Politics of the Veil by historian Joan Wallach Scott, which “examines the particular French obsession with the foulard [headscarf], which culminated in March 2004 with the adoption of a law that made it illegal for students to display any “conspicuous signs” of religious affiliation.” As Lalami notes, “both Islamic Sharia and strict French laïcité produced gender systems that essentially deprived women of the right to dispose of their bodies as they wished”:

[I[n Islamic tradition, women are urged to be modest and to steer clear of tabarruj. This Arabic noun has its roots in the verb baraja, which means “to display” or “to show off,” and the noun can be translated as something like “affectation.” In A Season in Mecca, his narrative book about the pilgrimage, Moroccan anthropologist Abdellah Hammoudi uses the term “ostentation” to translate tabarruj, “the invariable term for a bearing that is deemed immodest or conspicuous, a hieratic stance.” Similarly, the French law born out of strict definitions of laïcité warned schoolgirls about displaying “conspicuous” signs of religious affiliation. In short, the battle between the two modes of thinking was played out in women’s bodies.

The sexual argument against the foulard was common in France in 2003, although by that point the word “foulard” had all but disappeared from public discourse and was replaced by voile, or veil, which covers the entire face except for the eyes. This was erroneous but not entirely innocent, of course, because it made it possible for commentators to talk in terms of more general stereotypes of Muslim women in places like Yemen, where the veil is prevalent, rather than the reality of suburban Paris, where it is not. More recently, in an interview with a London-based newspaper, Bernard-Henri Lévy went as far as to say that “the veil is an invitation to rape.” It is perverse to suggest that a woman is inviting rape by the way she dresses, but such is the extreme that Lévy will go to in order to preserve the idea of a homogeneous female European identity. In this view, a European woman is uncovered, and that signifies both her availability to the male gaze as well as her liberation.

It is interesting, too, that Lévy demands for himself that which he is not willing to give others. In 2004 he hired the designer Andrée Putman to renovate his vacation home in Tangier. The home lies next to the famous Café Hafa, whose regulars once included Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams and Jean Genet, and which has unparalleled views of the Mediterranean. Patrons of the cafe can no longer enjoy an unobstructed view, however, because during the renovations Lévy constructed a wall around his terrace, where his wife, the actress and singer Arielle Dombasle, likes to sunbathe. Lévy reportedly wanted to protect her from the eyes of the men at the Café Hafa. Unveiling only goes one way, it seems.

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Quote Of The Day 2: High-Brow Panty-Sniffing

by matttbastard

sigh.jpg

The goal of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy isn’t merely to win — it’s to make the public feel that any Democrat who might attain real power is someone no decent person should associate with, someone we should cross the street to avoid, someone whose intentions and goals are dangerous — if not unspeakable. That’s the message being spread right now about Hillary Clinton in these linked communications. She is a lesbian agent of terror. Her vagina will get us all killed.

Steve M., nailing it.

Seriously, Matt Drudge and Rupert Murdoch, along with Beltway/blogosphere rodents who are always so quick to mindless scurry in line when the first few notes are breathlessly played by the aforementioned VRWC opinion-pipers, still personify everything that is wrong with contemporary political journalism. Welcome to the official kickoff to real 2008 campaign press coverage. Check your standards at the door, right alongside your brain.

Via Memeorandum

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Shifting Paradigms

by matttbastard

– speech by Naomi Wolf, author of “The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot,” given October 11, 2007 at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus.

– interview with Naomi Wolf re: “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot”

Related: Naomi Wolf on Blackwater and the “newly created thug caste” (h/t LadyBroadoak).

Flashback: David Neiwert: Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An Exegesis and The Rise of Pseudo Fascism: An essay (both PDF format); Chris Hedges: The Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism; Matthew N. Lyons: Is the Bush Administration Fascist?

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Quote of the Day: Equal Opportunity Electrocution

by matttbastard

“Obviously, (law enforcement agencies) don’t want to use a Taser [sic] on young children, pregnant woman or elderly people… . But if in your policy you deliberately exclude a segment of the population, then you have potentially closed off a tool that could have ended a confrontation.

– Sgt. Donald Davis, King County sheriff’s dept (Washington), commenting after a 2005 incident in which an electronic control deviceSM®OMFGWTFBBQ!!!1 was used on a woman (of colour) who, at the time, was 8 months pregnant. She had refused to sign a traffic ticket (shades of Jared Massey). fern hill has more (much more, sigh) on how some law enforcement agencies have a strict non-discrimination policy regarding the (indiscriminate) use of stun guns.

“I have a dream”, indeed.

Related: Do electronic control devicesSM®OMFGWTFBBQ!!!1 actually save lives? There are at least six families this past week who would contend otherwise.

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