dropping some rhymes on a snowy morning

by Rostock Frost

Which gloves I’ll wear I think I know
Without them m’hands would get wet and cold
I’ll not forget the toque, lest fear
I watch my hair pile up with snowRead More »

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women at the helm

Women are not pro-woman by nature of being women. The structures within which we navigate are intensely patriarchal and anti-feminist. Stronger women than you and I have tried and failed to break free of them. They have infiltrated our expectations and thoughts and behaviour and we have internalised the arbitrary boundaries of what is possible, feasible and achievable in gender equality. This does not change when one is in a position of power – especially political power. The political straitjacket is perhaps tighter still as she must prove that she belongs in this male-dominated sphere. God forbid the female leader be seen favouring her own kind – never mind that male leaders have been favouring their own for all history.Read More »

great expectations

Herbert:

I am very much afraid I must go, Handel, when you most need me.

Handel/Pip:

Herbert, I shall always need you, because I shall always love you; but my need is no greater now than at another time.

<3 Why are we so independent and individualistic nowadays? Whatever happened to sincerely telling a friend you love and need them and that not being weird?

apropos tar sands…

Comment of the day, from the CBC article: Transport of Alberta oilsands products risky, U.S. study warns

“The tar barons of Alberta have been able to hold the whole country to ransom. They have captured Canada’s politics and are turning this lovely country into a cruel and thuggish place.

Canada is a cultured, peaceful nation, which every so often allows a band of Neanderthals to trample over it. Timber firms were licensed to log the old-growth forest in Clayaquot Sound; fishing companies were permitted to destroy the Grand Banks: in both cases these get-rich-quick schemes impoverished Canada and its reputation. But this is much worse, as it affects the whole world. The government’s scheming at the climate talks is doing for its national image what whaling has done for Japan.

I will not pretend that this country is the only obstacle to an agreement at Copenhagen. But it is the major one. It feels odd to be writing this. The immediate threat to the global effort to sustain a peaceful and stable world comes not from Saudi Arabia or Iran or China. It comes from Canada. How could that be true?”

the good, the bad, and the obama

Those of us in positions of power are elected not just to serve as custodians of the present, but as caretakers of the future.

President Obama gave a speech last night at Georgetown University on climate change action. Reading the transcript fills me with inspiration and hope… until I remember that talk is not enough and action is the biggest challenge. And hang on – upon a closer reading, he actually says some very worrying things!

From a ‘we all have a responsibility to take care of our planet’ perspective, Obama hit all the right notes. Read More »

aye!

I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.

– Margaret Thatcher

This is both wisdom – to see something for what it is – and strategy – to see something for what it is, and to use it to your advantage. That’s why personal life is (or should be) completely off limits in political and policy arguments.

provocative choice

I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.

Cynthia Nixon, of Sex and the City fame, said this in an empowerment speech to a gay audience who, unsurprisingly, reacted negatively to it. While the statement itself doesn’t necessarily imply that she thinks being gay can be a choice, she explained in a recent NYT interview that being gay was, for her, in fact, a choice.

The negative reaction from people who are pro gay rights is unsurprising because Nixon’s assertion that she chooses to be gay at best implies that sexual orientation can be a choice and at worst is evidence that sexual orientation is a choice. Nixon’s response to calls for her to reword her statement is that no one else can define her gayness for her. Which is fair enough… or is it?

I support individual license to identify and define their own sexuality and sexual orientation… to others. Whether one is able to shape one’s own orientation – not the appearance of it, but the substance – is another question, and it’s the big question, the answer to which is often what draws the line separating the pro gay rights from the anti gay rights camps. Often. Not always. I think there’s at least one liberal hipster out there who thinks that believing orientation is a choice combined with being pro gay is sooo progressive and 21st century. No matter where you stand on the choice/not a choice issue, you’d probably have to admit that Nixon’s statement implies huge privilege of position. How many people do you know have said, “I chose to be gay”? I don’t know a single one. I don’t know of a single one. It’s hard enough defending one’s gayness; it must be harder still defending one’s choice to be gay.

The reason I didn’t frame the dichotomy as choice/born this way (and that does it for my monthly quota of pop cultural references) is because  I think our sexual orientations can change. We can’t change them, but they can change over the course of a lifetime. Whether and when change takes place is purely random, and there’s nothing we can do to help it along or stop it or affect it in any way.  That perhaps puts me in the minority (what else is new?!) of believing that Nixon could’ve been straight once and is gay now, while the majority sarcastically asks whether she’s heard of ‘bisexuality’. Well, she could be bisexual, but that’s definitely not for me or anyone else to say. All I’m saying is, it’s possible that she used to be straight and now she’s not. But I don’t believe it’s because of a choice she made. It just happened.

It’s a complex thing, sexual orientation, and identity, and choice. All we’ve got to go on is really just our own experiences. If you’re lucky you’ve also got honest conversations with other people to add secondhand experience to your own. I can’t be the only one having difficulty wrapping my head around the possibility of sexual orientation being a choice, simply because for me it wasn’t.

Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate? It seems we’re just ceding this point to bigots who are demanding it, and I don’t think that they should define the terms of the debate.

Legitimacy is in question because it smells like a metapreference more than a preference. Her “gay is better” comment makes it sound like she prefers to prefer women, rather than preferring women. In the spirit of Butler’s Gender Trouble, though, I’ll concede it’s possible. It just seems highly improbable. Oh, and Nixon’s point about problems with our discourse and letting bigots shape the debate is well made and well taken.