on CanCon

I’ve never been big on the CanCon kids, so it was with interest that I read an Andrew Coyne article in the National Post today slamming the organization’s upcoming revamps. You can get the gist of my dismay from this older 2010 post here, but I like that Coyne mentioned how an underlying premise of CanCon harkens back to an almost century old Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting report stating that programming from outside the country; “…has a tendency to mould the minds of young people in the home to ideals and opinions that are not Canadian.” Yep ….so in a nutshell kids; you’re kinda mindless and easy to influence so you need a Big Brother to steer you in the proper direction.

More or less.

This wonderful thing called “Canada” is first and foremost a land; a carved out space to which we people living in it (popularly known as canadians) go about our lives being influenced and indeed directed by this landscape/climate/environment …whether we realize it or not. Add to that an increasing number of similarly influenced peoples and their behaviours (popularly known as culture and/or neighbours) and voila – you have a national identity. It takes no more effort than that, and to presume it requires some sort of force-feeding of the material that it produces naturally to ensure its well-being …..well, that’s just wrong-headed.

It’s like that one dog my sister had that would always eat its own poo.
She spent thousands on it at the vet.

Greetings from the Tisdale

I made an impromptu trip out East again, as it seems the Grandpa has decided he won’t be able to go back to living on his own ever again. That’s sad ….but at 97 life owes him nothing, and I think he’s content with that. And so he sits in a local hospital bed waiting to mend, while the forces that be consider his extended care options in terms of placement; here, Melfort or some other local nursing home. Of course we’re all voting for here but we apparently don’t have much say in the matter. Fingers crossed.

The Cousin and her ‘groom to be’ made the trip out this weekend too so it was a family get-together of sorts. I’m missing the meals that the Chef Groom is making today (brunch and a salmon thing for supper) as I’m hitting the road early to make it back home to see the sister and pal who are visiting from here in Edmonton. Yes, it doesn’t make much sense really, but konfusion is king so they say (they don’t really ….I think I made that up) and all will be sorted after the long weekend when we all return to our rightful places.

More adventures later!

al

news from down south….

Roughly half of cancer deaths in the United States could be prevented or forestalled if all Americans quit smoking, cut back on drinking, maintained a healthful weight and got at least 150 minutes of exercise each week.” I know, I’m Canadian, ….but check, check, check and check. And so much for getting to use my ‘can’-sore joke when on my death bed. Damn. It would have been a classic though;

“Hey man, I heard you were sick. How are you feeling?”
“Fine. They say I have a sore.”
“A sore?”
“Yeah, a ‘can’ sore.” “Get it ….ha, ‘can’ sore… ha, ha….. hee, er…..”

-silence-

I thought it would have been funny. Oh well, I suppose that means I’ll bite the bullet in a horrendous, disfiguring car crash and have to think of something else tasteless to amuse my dying self. End of life sucks.


You know who else supports destroying history so that they can advance their own agenda? ISIL. Don’t be like ISIL. I urge you to vote NO.

This was kinda funny ….it’s a statement from a Republican Congressmen in regards to the possible passing of a law to restrict the use of the confederate flag being flown at Veteran Affairs events and functions. It seems the South is looking to rise again. And if they have their way, I’m sure our cousins down yonder will bring back slavery and keep those meddling women in their rightful place. C’mon, don’t be like ISIL kids!


google

Such a system would soften the initial blow, but more importantly, it would also stop pedestrians from being thrown forward by the vehicle. Secondary impacts, caused by hitting the tarmac or another object, such as a car, can often be just as dangerous, if not more so than the original collision.

This is from Google. It’s like ‘fly paper’ for your car, except it’s designed to catch humans. The car in this case will be Google’s driver-less creations, and this humanpaper affixed to the front will help in reducing injuries when the four-wheeled automatons eventually start careening into us soft, fleshy-type earthlings. Personally, I’m gonna love it ….especially when the skin is wrenched from my body as my fresh, cleanly exposed torso is thrown down the road. What a wonderful time to be alive.


Finally, the Donald (yes …he’s deserving of a determiner) has quipped he likes to pay as little taxes as possible because “the government takes your money and wastes it in the Middle East and all over the place.” That’s awesome, cause I wasn’t aware that you could base the amount of taxes you pay on the job you feel your country is doing with them. I hope he remembers this when he becomes president (and I certainly am hoping for it!) and all those peasants under him decide to stiff him come tax time for the debacle he’s got their country in.

Either that or get rid of him in some made up coup.

timing

As I said before I like the hot runs ….and the 26 today was enough to qualify in my books. It was a 15k that took me by Whitemud Park, across the Quesnell, through Laurier, over for a loop at Hawrelak and then back up to the humble abode. This time I uncharacteristically used the headphones for some distraction and had Dave Peck jazz me through the wonderful trail system we here in Edmonton seem to be slowly eroding for the sake of progress. There’s a few hills and what-not that keep you honest, and I managed 3 water stops along the way that had me sweating by the end of it all. It was nice though …and after the cool down, shower, food and little bit of rest, I grabbed a slurpee and stretched the legs on a little walk.

Timing is everything with junk food :)

15

Map courtesy Nike+ Running

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou

Coercive Control as a form of abuse is becoming recognized more and more around the world …and that’s a good thing.

I blogged about it back here and have followed its growth through various news and twitter feeds, and I thought I’d bring it up again considering the importance of the #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou hashtag that’s somewhat viral as of late. Not only that, but the U.K. has had its first prosecutions under its new coercive control law, while the BBC’s popular show The Archers recently entered the spotlight by reenacting a coercive controlling relationship to its millions of listeners. All good things when you understand that this behaviour is at the core of domestic violence, and it needs to be recognized as such if we’re to make inroads on ridding ourselves of this cultural cancer.

In Canada it’s been in the books for a while now, although I’m sure there are many who are unaware that our Department of Justice specifically outlines coercive controlling behaviours under the Family Law subsection on their website. Item 5.4.3 describes its details (if you care to scroll down a bit via this link) and offers an introduction as follows….

“Coercive domestic violence [….] is normally a cumulative, patterned process that occurs when an adult intimate or former intimate partner attempts by emotional/psychological, physical, economic or sexual means to coerce, dominate, monitor, intimidate or otherwise control the other. The two concepts ‘cumulative’ and ‘pattern’ are central to understanding. The terms refer to the fact that each incident of violence adds to the harm produced by the earlier incidents of violence in an ever, increasing, multiple, and accumulating way. Each additional incident reopens, adds to and magnifies earlier harm.”

The keyword here, as they mention, is cumulative. Without this, the acts themselves are singled out as simple, non-damaging and perhaps even trivial (that sounds familiar….) Strung together though, over months and years, the abuse breaks down a victim and paves the way to potential physical violence further down the road.

That’s the important aspect of #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou ….how it describes many of the behaviours abusers use to control their victims without resorting to violence, and in doing so brings an awareness of the problem to those who might not consider such low-level incidents worthy of their attention. Many of us still tend to view domestic violence as something physical, but it’s finally coming to light that DV follows a pattern, and physical abuse generally stands atop this pyramid (…with the headlines) while its roots are barely acknowledged. That’s changing though, and women (not exclusively, but predominantly…) are realizing that these ‘small things’ eventually add up to serious problems. Here’s a few sites featuring popular #maybehedoesnthityou tweets describing many of the forms non-physical abuse can take; here, here, and here.

Part of the reason coercive control has avoided the spotlight for so long is because abusers are difficult to spot. Amanda Perl mentions on this site…. “Emotionally abusive people are very concerned with their public image… They are often extremely charming to the outside world in order to undermine any case you might have to discredit them or bring a spotlight on their behaviour.” This ‘good guy’ public image is also why victims often doubt themselves and find it difficult to leave these unhealthy relationships. An abuser works hard on maintaining this front, and they no doubt convince themselves they can do no wrong; for they operate from a long standing tradition that has afforded them entitlements that they quite naturally and enthusiastically embrace. By virtue of them being them, they find no problem controlling and directing their intimate partners as they see fit.

And as #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou demonstrates, they don’t have to get physical to do this.

 

Marathon Challenge

After the run today I googled around for something to watch while eating ….and stumbled upon a documentary from NOVA called Marathon Challenge. I ended up watching the entire thing (what I saw was apparently a shortened version of the original) but the 50 or so minutes was kinda informative. It takes a group of predominately sedentary ‘average joes’ and trains them, in nine months, to run and finish the Boston Marathon. They go through the trials and tribulations of training with all sorts of issues; from shins to knees to blisters to hearts to the wall etc, and eventually all but one complete the herculean task of running (mostly) the tough 26 mile Boston course. It was fun to watch and I ended up cheering for those who weren’t the most athletically gifted, and of course the finishing of the event was emotional for those involved considering the amount of time and work they put into the ordeal.

A great video to catch if you’re at all interested in challenging yourself …especially if you’re coming from a lifestyle that’s been somewhat remiss in the physical activity department. It’s inspirational, and it shows that the body can change when you force it to. Just force it gently :)

Some points of interest for the interested….

  • A person’s VO2 Max changes with training.
  • Body appearances don’t always indicate true fat/muscle composition.
  • The body will respond to the demands you place on it.
  • Physical training reduces arterial blockages in even the sedentary.
  • Running a marathon will not translate into losing weight.
  • You might only burn around 3,000+ calories during the 4+ hour run.
  • Mental toughness cannot be understated.
  • When it comes to losing weight; diet trumps exercise.

sexism

(Certainly sexism exists for men well as those from the LGBTQ communities and others – this post however, discusses sexism as experienced by women)


I picked up Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates when it was released earlier this month. I stumbled upon her twitter project a while back and have been following it for quite some time, so when I heard of an upcoming U.S. release (she works out of the U.K.) I was hoping to not only support her efforts by buying it, but gain some insights into just what exactly it is that women experience we men do not. Not being privy to the female form, I think it can be hard to understand what exactly concerns females ….and so the best way to go about things is to place myself in a woman’s position and imagine how I’d respond. The problem though, as logical as that sounds, is that it can never translate into an equitable positioning because men will never experience exactly what a women goes though. Ever. Sure, we can empathize with certain events or situations in a general sense, but the details of those encounters, combined with the sheer magnitude of their occurrence, can only be appreciated as a female.

In a nutshell I suppose, it’s easy for us guys to write off women’s experiences in sexism because the frequency to which we might experience similar things are so much smaller. It means little to us precisely because we encounter so little of it. Women, comparatively, are faced with an almost daily onslaught of sexist attitudes beginning even before puberty. It’s nowhere near as simple as them not being able to handle a poorly behaving male, but rather by being exposed repeatedly to this behaviour women develop a ‘concern’ that compels them to change their behaviours and at times, alter their lives and lifestyles to avoid future encounters …whether well intended or not. Male behaviours dictate female behaviours.

Even making the choice to avoid a situation can encourage harassment too for example, leaving the women to feel responsible for not ‘going along’ and then being made to feel guilty or at fault for overreacting or making a ‘big deal’ out of things. It’s a sort of damned if you do damned if you don’t scenario: Damned if you smile or make eye contact with a passing male because he takes that as some sort of invitation to open a dialog, or damned if you walk by while looking down or away because that same male attributes your lack of interest to a personality issue ….deciding you may be a stuck-up bitch and then letting you know about it. The possibility for an exchange exists in both scenarios regardless of whether an exchange is even wanted or not, and this unintended (and more importantly cumulative) passing of judgement sticks with the female over time, shaping many aspects of her life for years to come. Taken one step further …these experienced behaviours often become normalized, leading many women to believe it’s a natural and expected part of life. The repetition and acceptance of wrong behaviours does not change the fact that they are still wrong however, and having one sex ‘naturally’ proclaim or assume a superior role over another is blatant inequality.

The cover of the book states “A must-read for every women” ….but it should read “A must-read for every man” for only by having men realize what the opposite sex has to go through can there be genuine, meaningful and long lasting change in our culture. Men are best suited to change men after all, especially if we want our daughters, wives, sisters, mothers, girlfriends etc. to be treated as equals in what is a hidden and entrenched inequality that thrives beneath our collective male radar. It’s an issue not just because women experience it …but because men don’t.

I’m including a few quotes below from the book that I found particularly interesting. The whole thing is eye-opening of course, but these are the ones that caught my attention for whatever reason. If you’re a women, buy the book and realize you’re not alone. If you’re a man, buy the book because you may inadvertently be part of the problem …both you and the significant females in your lives will be better off for it.


One of the clearest messages to emerge from the Everyday Sexism Project has been that everything is connected: Inequality is a continuum, with the minor and major incidents irrevocably related to one another as the attitudes and ideas that underlie one allow the other to flourish. This isn’t to say that one directly leads to another; rather, the culture created and sustained by each incident is part of the fertile ground from which the others spring. Loc. 920

When we end up justifying and normalizing and getting used to everything, telling young women that this is the world they will have to navigate and the way they should expect to be treated, we leave them with nowhere to go. When we tell them that everything they are is what they look like—that their bodies and their sexuality and their sexiness comprise their sum value—and then bully, repress, criticize, and censure them for their bodies and their sexuality, we create a society that has no place for them in it. Loc. 4862

By the age of thirteen, this intelligent, thoughtful girl had been taught by society to be polite, taught not to offend a stranger or to disturb other people on the bus. Because girls are socialized into submission and into acceptance of others’ behavior—even when it invades their personal space. But nobody had ever taught her that she had the right not to be touched without her consent. Similar stories repeatedly suggest that not wanting to cause a scene or upset anybody silences young women into feeling unable to protest. Loc. 1337

They’ve just grown up in a world that teaches them that this is the way things are. All the same tiny cultural signifiers and media messages and behavioral norms that affect young girls impact their male peers too. Teaching them that it is their job to be strong and macho and masculine, that women should be treated as objects, and that putting girls down, or harassing them, or making sexist jokes is a way for men to prove their manliness, particularly to one another. So if we are (rightly) to be aware of the huge impact of these subtle influences on women, we must also, fairly, acknowledge that some of men’s sexist behavior is not intentional, or deliberately prejudiced, but simply the result of being immersed in a very patriarchal culture too. Loc. 4468

Why make such a fuss? Because street harassment is perhaps the clearest manifestation of the spectrum of sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault that exists within our society. Yes, it starts out small, but allowing those “minor” transgressions gives license to the more serious ones and eventually to all-out abuse. We’ve heard the same words and phrases crossing over and echoing and repeating from women who are shouted at in the street to women who are assaulted and women who are victims of domestic violence in their own homes. The language is the same. And if we say it’s acceptable for men to assume power and ownership over women they don’t know verbally in public, then, like it or not, we’re also saying something much wider about gender relations—something that carries over into our personal relationships and our sexual exchanges. Because this is a line that doesn’t need to be blurred. It should be clear and simple. Take it from the women whose experiences started out with just a little “harmless” street harassment—a sexual “compliment” or a wolf whistle or a “Hey, baby”—but then turned nasty, became full-blown attacks. Ask them what the problem is with a harmless bit of fun. Loc. 2188

… it comes down to defense of privilege. [….] There is also a sense of tradition—of men’s entitlement and expectations being handed down from one generation to the next—which is accepted unthinkingly as just the way that men are “supposed” to behave. This is an idea many project entries corroborate… Loc. 4455

The everyday becomes the accepted norm, accommodated in the way we live. By making this allowance we reinforce the idea of acceptability and compound the sense of entitlement; that assumed prerogative is then exercised to an ever-increasing degree, and naturally we then find ourselves with even more of an everyday problem … To tackle street harassment, we have to break through that pernicious circle. We have to abandon the mistaken idea that street harassment is nothing more than a minor inconvenience, or a compliment taken the wrong way. Loc. 2248

But it is also important to acknowledge three things that make men and women’s experiences of sexism, in the main, different: frequency, severity, and context. In the United States and around the world, most women face disproportionately far greater sexism than most men do—in terms of both individual incidents and the general cultural climate. The incidents themselves are (again, in general) more severe. And within the framework of a patriarchal social structure—that is, taking into account the wider context of social, economic, professional, and political gender imbalance—sexist incidents often have a far greater impact on women’s lives than they have on men’s, both individually and in combination. Loc. 4276

There are a lot of myths that exist about street harassment, including that it’s a compliment and that women secretly love it. The thousands of stories shared on #ShoutingBack disprove those myths. I doubt that anyone who reads story after story about men groping, grabbing, flashing, stalking, or making sexually explicit comments at women can see it as anything other than gender violence and the human-rights violation that it is. Loc. 2376

This is not a men-versus-women issue. It’s about people versus prejudice. Loc. 4251

Some people tweet using the hashtag #KillAllMen. I hate it. It’s offensive, distasteful, and not conducive to progress, particularly when used by those who identify themselves as feminists. It doesn’t matter if they choose to describe it as “ironic”—we wouldn’t accept that as an excuse for a trending #KillAllWomen hashtag. Loc. 4195

Under the Department of Justice’s definition then, every one of the thousands of women who have reported being touched, stroked, grabbed, or groped in public spaces was the victim of sexual assault. Yet we are living in a society that not only downplays and accepts this crime but also deliberately normalizes it—telling women not to overreact, not to make a fuss out of nothing, or even to be glad of the attention. It is only when you really spell out the definition that the realization begins to dawn, even for many of the victims. Loc. 2392

Many of the men writing to the project said they thought they knew about sexism when they imagined a catcall or a wolf whistle but had no concept of how it actually affected women’s lives, living it every day, influencing every choice and thought. Because it isn’t just about the individual incidents; it’s about the collective impact on everything else—the way you think about yourself, the way you approach public spaces and human interaction, the limits you place on your own aspirations, and the things you stop yourself from doing before you even try because of bitter learned experience. Loc. 4034

And no: Of course this isn’t to say that men’s mags and song lyrics and video games turn innocent men into rapists, or that a single image of a scantily clad woman in a newspaper directly causes immediate harm to the viewer; of course it’s not that simple. But these are not a few unique examples. This is a culture steeped in misogyny and the objectification and subjugation of woman—and yes, it does have a real impact, both on the way society sees and values women and on the way women feel about themselves. Loc. 2832

…take, say, a man who, every six months, witnesses just one instance of catcalling, after which he goes about his business without giving the matter a second thought. And then take a woman who every day experiences several such instances of harassment and has also on more than one occasion ignored the catcalls only to have the situation escalate into something more aggressive. Those two people would, understandably, react very differently to a hypothetical description of an isolated instance of harassment. The man would probably consider it minor, insignificant, and even harmless, while the woman would likely view it as more serious and potentially damaging. This is partly why it’s so hard to discuss the problem of sexism—and why, when we do, the narrative (often led by those in the first category) turns so frequently to whether the problem in fact exists at all, or whether it’s simply exaggerated. Our limited ability to view things through the lens of another’s experience is even more pertinent when considering the intersection of sexism and other forms of prejudice. Unless we’ve experienced something similar ourselves, it’s virtually impossible to imagine how it feels to experience multiple forms of oppression at the same time. Lo. 3794

On the misguided assumption that perpetrators must be overt, lecherous monsters, people often believe that nothing could possibly be going on in their own workplace. Frequently there are significant power dynamics at play: Victims may feel unable to report the behavior of a senior colleague, manager, or boss; they may be afraid to risk losing their job or being branded “troublemakers” for speaking up. The inherent difficulty of proving a pattern of what can be very subtle behavior, often with little evidence, gets weighed against the cost of a legal claim and the potential resulting career suicide. Consequently, only a tiny number of cases ever go to court or even come to light. Loc. 2899

As the thousands of entries we have received from working women testify, workplace equality laws and initiatives have yet to truly make a dent in the stony conviction that it is a woman’s career that should take the hit for the price of parenthood. And after all, people still ask, What “real” woman wouldn’t care more, deep down, about her child than her career? It’s natural for men, of course, who have worked so hard and put so much into their prized jobs, to want to maintain a balance and not allow new fatherhood to derail a promotion or an ascending career path. But for a woman to voice the same priorities? Cold. Hard. Selfish. Loc. 3641

when researchers at the University of Melbourne reviewed 88 studies involving 74,000 women, they found that continual and repetitive low-level sexism in the workplace was just as harmful as overt incidents and could have serious psychological consequences. Writing in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly, they referenced sexist jokes, repeated questions about women’s competencies to perform their roles, lower pay, and fewer opportunities to progress. The researchers said: “The pervasiveness of these experiences makes them very harmful over time and with repeated exposure across situations. Our results suggest that organizations should have zero tolerance for low-intensity sexism the same way they do for overt harassment.” Loc. 3037

It’s extraordinarily unhelpful to suggest that it is women who must take responsibility for workplace gender imbalance, and women who hold the key to fixing it. The notion that women must simply be stronger, or somehow learn to “deal with” these incidents, is ridiculous. To imply, as people frequently do, that women are too shy and retiring and do not push themselves forward professionally is nonsensical. And all of these things serve as an enormous kick in the teeth to the thousands of hardworking, talented, and committed women out there who are stepping up, who are putting themselves forward—who are, in fact, fighting tooth and nail for a seat at the table—and nevertheless finding the door closed in their face. Loc. 3205

Like the normalization of street harassment and the multilayered media culture that so desensitizes us to the use of women’s bodies as currency, the frequency of many of these occurrences in a single workplace can lead to a wider acceptance of such sentiments—whether in company policy or around the boardroom table. The more such incidents crop up—from a “little” sexist joke here to a “cheeky” pat on the bottom there, a “tongue-in-cheek” comment about the hassle of maternity leave to a “joke” about a colleague’s sex life—the more they lubricate the wheels of a system that comfortably maintains the male-dominated status quo. And, just like any hierarchical status quo, the more it repeats itself, the more comfortable it becomes for its beneficiaries to maintain it, whether as perpetrators or passive bystanders or ostriches with their heads in the sand. And the harder it becomes for its victims to speak out, as they stand on ever shakier ground. Loc. 3056


WTM @ Sideliners

It was a small but appreciative turnout for the Minty gig this past weekend kids. Pat sang songs, John beat drums, Russ played guitar and I did whatever it is that I do. It all kinda worked out when you put the pieces together, although I seemed to think the pieces went together a little nicer during the second half of the show – but that’s me. Beers were drank too of course ….ditto for video shot and pictures taken. The Mints get a chance at the lovely Ironwood in Calgary in a month or so, and I’m kinda looking forward to hearing the group on a professional stage.

Something we haven’t experienced for a while.

pattt

 

hot and heat

I enjoy the hot runs.

No ….not the diarrhea variety, but the longish and steady tests you put your body through when the temps reach close to 30 Cel. and you’re on the trail for over an hour. That was today. To be honest it was fun, and my prize at the end of it all was some bacon and eggs. I know lol …the breakfast of champions in the late afternoon. I took a preemptive headache pill too as I always get a doozy when I do anything long ….and so after the food and shower and general rest, the body feels tired but relaxed. Success. I did a 12k a few days ago as well, so I think I’ll keep to some smaller routes for the next week and find my way to the gym a little more.

Speaking of heat, Gwynne Dyer had an interesting climate change column lately about something called ‘non-linear’ temperature fluctuations. “But March was not only hotter than February – it was hotter by an even wider margin than February over January. Indeed, each of the past 11 months has beaten the highest previously recorded average temperature for that month.” Judging by the start of this month, May isn’t looking to change that trend – which means we’re in store for an unprecedented summer heat wave; one that may carry on and on and on and on…… Switching to an electric car or recycling or walking to work isn’t going to do squat either if Gwynne is correct, for this non-linear change isn’t something that can be tamed back. It’s an abrupt shift in the global temperature that once started has to run its course. The heat may be here to stay kids, and things like Fort McMurray have all that much more chance of happening again, sadly.

Stay cool….

snow

fingers crossed

I took a little trip out to Tisdale this past weekend ….and it wasn’t planned. Grandpa took a fall. He didn’t break his hip though, but instead the second most frequently broken bone in the elderly when faced with a fall; the femur. He decided for the surgery and I saw him about 3 days after things were done. He’s fine, and not in any real pain now, but the fact that he’s 97 and lying in a hospital bed with limited capabilities of getting up and moving about (physio just once a day M-F) …I have a bad feeling about it all.

He hopes he’ll get to go back to his apartment, but he’s also aware that he might not and instead get placed next door in the extended care wing. It was here where his wife died about 10 years ago now. I sure hope he recovers enough, but I have a feeling he’s going to succumb to some bedridden disease like pneumonia or something. You never know though, and being tough enough to make 97 and still be on your own says something about his will to live …so here’s hoping he proves me wrong and regains some semblance of his earlier, elderly lifestyle.

Fingers crossed.

tisdale

His daughter and great, great granddaughter are crossing fingers too.