Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rights vs Tactics

Earlier in the evening I was getting angry as reports began to emerge about Coulter's speaking engagement at the University of Ottawa being cancelled. To be fair, the earliest reports were kind of hysterical, citing a violent mob of 2000 protesters. I should have known better than to take certain social media streams seriously, especially in the early stages of a story. After all, I'm a Gemini not a Scorpio. Scorpio's are well know for their dishonesty under pressure.

I still don't totally know what the tone of the protest was. Violent? Intimidating? I rather doubt it, but the truth will come out. At first I was thinking that mobs are poor tactics to counter bad thinking, even hate speech. Shouldn't we as liberals and progressives operate on a different level?

Then I started thinking about our rights and freedoms in a broader sense. Under sections 2a,b and c of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the students were entitled to free expression, peaceful assembly and freedom of association. Now I see that those students were right to get in Coulter's face and let her know what they thought. It was a perfect demonstration of free speech and what most Canadians think of the trash of the far right. I would give anything to have been in that protest.

The problem is that conservatives will poodle hump this leg for some time to come as yet another example of liberals being violent, against free speech, and generally demented. It's bullshit of course. Coulter has said so many violence-inducing things that you could not list them all in one place. Yet the QR77 talks shows and the Calgary Herald hate speech advocates will be all over this, framing it as a problem with the "left".

So my problem is weighing those bad optics and expected distortion against the fact that the students exercised their free speech in a beautiful and effective way.

I'm proud to be a support of rights and freedoms. Less proud to be from a city where media pundits support Coulter, not because of free speech, but because they like what she says. Please recommend this post

Buy a Condo Screw a Waitress

About to do my Rage Enabler thing again... Avert your eyes @b... on Twitpic

This is a Condo ad in Calgary. Somebody posted it in my Twitter stream today. If you can't read the text:

A $20,000 downpayment is easier than scoring on a 4 minute 5 on 3. And way easier than scoring with your waitress.

Yeah. Great marketing. This must have come from the creative class that I keep hearing so much about. Also I think it's down payment. I'm not sure I ever would have found this funny or interesting, certainly not now. Other people will though.  Ann Coulter is coming to Calgary soon. Please recommend this post

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Springsteen is a Classic.

Normally, I wouldn't blog about someone like Glenn Beck.  As a Canadian I find him kind of a waste of time. Probably most American's do too. For most people who are reasonably intelligent these kind of people are low value targets. Sort of like Monte Solberg or Charles Adler if you need a Canadian reference point.

However, attacking Bruce Springsteen and his iconic song Born in the USA struck a raw nerve.

(Young Turks Video)

I wasn't overly interested by Beck's recent attacks on the social justice teachings of Jesus.  It was funny in the sense that he dragged a whole bunch of pundits into an argument about a person who probably didn't exist, and if he did exist likely didn't say those things.  The social teachings of Jesus as presented in the Sermon on the Mount, for example, are insipid.  They seem to be established religious teachings, or proverbs, that predate the time of Jesus. They can be viewed like a set of minimum expectations for a society. And yet here were are 2000 years later still arguing with Jesus' followers about the basic rights of people.

Beck's attack on Born in the USA hits much closer to home and rings a bell about the feelings many of us had growing up. The singer asks a very powerful question about where his country went wrong by referencing poverty, hopelessness, urban decay and the pointless and tragic Vietnam war.

Growing up in Edmonton I was certainly not sent off to war and had a remarkably lucky life. But I  remember vividly driving through the industrial waste land and urban sprawl of Edmonton late at night with my friends and being afraid of the future. What the hell were we supposed to do with our lives?  Songs like Born in the USA were very meaningful. They were rare anthems that rose above the emptiness of pop music.

Beck "gets" the lyrics a few years later than everyone else and determines there is some kind of America hating going on. Call out the flying monkeys. Too bad.  History will rank this song as an American Classic, ranking with the best songs of Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan.  Kids in school will study the lyrics 100 years from now.  Beck's insanity, not so much.

Note: Background on Ronald Reagan's imbecilic references to Springsteen in the 1984 re-election campaign, here. Please recommend this post

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Twisted Narrative of Calgary West (Redux)

Poor Donna Kennedy-Glans has been reduced to writing 3 paragraph op-eds in the Calgary Herald, bemoaning the fact that Rob Anders is the preferred CPC candidate in Calgary West and not herself. Throw in a gratuitous and probably offensive reference to the Berlin wall and you have yourself a real howler.  And yes, of course the euphoria of the Vancouver Olympics means  that all Canadians want her to be the MP for Calgary West.  Because democratic reform of a  dysfunctional CPC riding association equals broader democratic reform, right? Wrong.

Here's a news flash for Anders, Kennedy-Glans, and the Calgary Herald. I don't care one single bit what happens with the Calgary West Conservative riding association. It's completely irrevelant to me and I wouldn't care in the least if your grade nine soap opera fell into a  deep dark hole and disappeared forever. Reform or don't reform, I do not care.  I'm still going to fight  for an electoral change, and that's the only change that counts.

The old guard of Calgary West repudiates and smears Kennedy-Glans by calling her a liberal and a feminist, as usual, using those labels as pejoratives.  If she was serious about being a feminist she wouldn't be in the Conservative party in the first place. So the labelling, whether accurate or not, means very little to me given the sexist retardation of the Party as a whole.  This party will smear anyone that doesn't fit in their plans. They would smear Ronald  Reagan if he showed up and had the nerve to challenge their little boy's club.

I don't want Kennedy-Glans OR Rob Anders as my Member of Parliament. I want another party to represent my riding. I want to see a culture shift that makes it possible to elect an adult from an adult party. It may not happen on the short term, but it's important to keep trying.  The arrogance of these people can only be cured by having them sit on the sidelines learning how hard it is to be out of office. Who the hell cares about how their board works.

We need a serious media fix on this issue. We need new media that will coalesce and run over the old school Tory media and not be afraid to leave tire marks. The idea that the contest in Calgary West is only between Anders and the nomination challenger of the day is a big fat piece of propoganda. Smart people know better. Start speaking up. We need to hear stories about other people and other parties that are active in changing the sick political culture of Calgary, and this riding. Please recommend this post