Tag Archives: Politics

Why Sarah Palin Scares Me

If you read me, and you’re a fan of Sarah Palin? I’m offended by your ignorance, and the fact that you deem me entertaining yet take THAT THING seriously. Don’t read me, please. It’s insulting. And educate yourself.

She is ignorant, uninformed, inarticulate, and frankly, dangerous. If you support her? You are, too.

Let’s talk about all the reasons I hate this woman. As much as I dislike that word, hate, this woman prompts that feeling in me for all the things she stands for, that I stand against. Few brands of people fill me with as much terror as someone like her.

For starters, rape victims were on the hook for part or all of the rape kits in her town of Wasilla. Her chief of police did it, and she never tried to stop it. Some reports state her town had the highest rape statistics in Alaska, which had the highest rape statistics in America. Now, there’s no proof Palin ever argued in favour of keeping this policy, but she sure as hell never tried to repeal it — which you’d think, as a woman, she might feel like getting on side of women, and as a mother, that she’d want rapists off the streets–whatever the fiscal cost. Gee, if you’re not willing to spring for rape kits so you can properly investigate whodunnit, I guess the same rapists stay in business, huh?

On the question of whether she would allow a daughter who was raped by her father and made pregnant to abort the baby, she said she would “counsel” them to “choose life”.

The woman believes homosexuality is a choice. In 2008. In the same interview I’ve just hyperlinked to, from CBS, she said:

Continue reading

Obama by Way of a Detour or Two

I wrote this back in March. I don’t have the time, really, to write in the morning, got home late tonight after dinner out. A thing or two to say of that at another time, probably.

But in honour of the awesome happenstance down south today, when Obama officially accepted the nomination and made what was one of the greatest political stump speeches I’ve ever heard, I’m gonna throw this posting up. Since, like, the opening goes double for tonight’s fucking phenom of a speech. But bear with it, it takes a couple detours. You know me.

Feeling political hope? New. I like this.

***

I’ve now both read Obama’s entire speech on racism in America today and watched it, and, boy, I like this guy, man. I like him a lot. I think he’s the politician I’ve waited a lifetime for. I don’t think anyone could run on a platform of complete change and not achieve any. I don’t think you can articulate what’s so wrong with a country today and not have had ideas for a lifetime on what to do to fix them if a chance ever comes.

I have, for a while now, believed that Obama is, in some respects, a master manipulator, but I believe he does it for the right reasons — to make himself a viable candidate. By not polarizing people too greatly earlier in his career, he can stomp his feet a little louder now and achieve more through it.

He’s far from perfect and I have no illusions, but you gotta understand where I’m coming from. Continue reading

Edwards: The Politics of Infidelity

I’ve never been a John Edwards fan. Any guy who claims he’s a leftist for poverty activism but spends $400 a month on an unremarkable haircut just strikes me as being strangely out of touch with the very people he claims to be fighting for.

But, then again, I pay $15 for my haircut, so what do I know?

Haircuts aside, the guy’s in hot water and I feel for him and his wife. It’s come out now that he fucked up and had an affair in ’06. Is it the only one? No way to know for certain. Does it matter? Not sure it does. Is it really a scandal of this proportion? Really?

I mean, there are sex scandals and there are sex scandals. The Walter Mosley “Nazi” BDSM video, that’s a scandal. Governor Spitzer blowing thousands and thousands of dollars on hookers while married and in office, that’s a scandal.

A guy cheats on his wife? Scandalous, but not a scandal. It’s not worth much ink, as they say. Infidelity sucks, but it happens.

I don’t really see who gains from this story coming out, or how it should reflect on his ability to govern, or why we need to know or care.

As far as I’m concerned, there are three kinds of cheaters.

  • There’s the Accidental Cheater: The kind of partner who’s really invested in the relationship and has always been faithful, but who had a weak moment at a weak time where the chemistry and intensity was pretty insurmountable, and instead of being perfect, had the misfortune of being human and fucking up, in more ways than one.
  • There’s the Situational Cheater: The partner who had every intention of staying faithful and being “there” in the partnership, but with a lack of sex and poor communication and isolation developing and maintaining within the relationship, decides to seek companionship elsewhere to get what they “need” emotionally and physically.
  • There’s the Compulsive Cheater: The Compulsive would cheat no matter how good a relationship is and smacks of the sex-addicted type. This is kind of person who wants to sleep around but isn’t honest enough about it to be in a polyamorous situation, sometimes because they think they deserve sexual variety but don’t want their lover to have it.

Then there are the people who don’t believe in cheating. And I’m one.

I think it’s a shitty fucking thing to do to someone. When I found out I’d been used as an “other woman” once many years ago, when the guy lied about not being in a relationship with an old friend of mine just to get me in bed with him, I actually told my friend about his infidelity. I’m just that way. Honest and old-fashioned, that’s me.

Still, I don’t know if I could get through 30 years of marriage without ever having an Accidental Cheating occur. You get that perfect storm of chemistry and sexiness and opportunity and timing and mood, and sex can be a pretty hard thing to turn down. Whew, can it.

Edwards slept with a woman making a documentary film about his campaign. You think she wasn’t fawning over him a little? There’s nothing sexier than someone who worships you a little but has brains and a life of their own. When someone smart, accomplished, and hot adores you a little but in a liberated and articulate way, it’s really a turn-on. Anyone who’s been on the receiving end of that knows what it’s like. Wild. Or maybe she was just empathetic on a tough day. Who knows?

I’m not laying blame on her, though. It takes two. I’m just saying it’s understandable that something might happen in some scenarios, that hormones are a challenge to overcome at times.

But it sure as hell beats getting a blowjob from an intern half your age in the Oval Office and lying under oath about it.

I mean, if the guy came clean long, long before it ever hit the press, and the family knew of it in entirety, and his wife says she was told very soon after it all… is it really our business?

Doesn’t it say more about the guy that he could have the affair, tell his wife, and then work with her to get past it? Doesn’t he get some credit for honesty? How long do you have to be married before you’re allowed to make a mistake you not only own up to, but repent to?

No relationship is without its flaws, and no person is without errors. We all make mistakes in a life that’s dictated by in-the-moment impulse decisions.

I may be very much opposed to cheating in all its forms, but that doesn’t mean I could never forgive a man for making that mistake. And it doesn’t mean I think I’ll never be above being human and making that kind of mistake, either. I’m a passionate person. I’m moral, honest, and loyal, but I’m also passionate and impulsive. I fear the latter two qualities might one day overwhelm my virtue, and I too could fall guilty of such a mistake.

If, however, I ever do fuck up like Edwards did, I would hope my lover could see more than just the mistake, and instead of just latching onto their anger and the sense of betrayal, they could take me at my word for my regret and self-disdain. I would hope for a chance at redemption. I would hope for the chance to prove my remorse and reestablish trust.

Edwards was lucky and got just that. Who are we to judge him more harshly than his lover and partner of 30 years? It’s their relationship. If they’ve made their peace and they’re working together to overcome it, then who the fuck is the media to second-guess it, and why do we care?

On Freedom and Fallacies

This is take two on this topic. I’m starting fresh a couple hours later, after a glass of wine and homemade chicken pot pie.

It’s the second take because this topic is really important to me and I don’t want to fuck it up.

Thank god I have quality guidance like that of Fame. Yes, you heard me, the ‘80s arts school drama. It’s on, and I’m chilling. Defragging my mind, as I like to say. Watching fluff is exactly the right fit, and has given me some interesting perspective as I crack this nut for a second time.

Funnily, a girl in this episode of Fame scoffs at the notion of writing her private thoughts and dreams in a diary at the teacher’s urging.

“If I wrote down my dreams,” she says, “I’d get arrested.”

Yeah. Huh. Ironic.

To that end, take note of the week that was in the world of the wide web. Proper fucked, indeed. It’s like a crash course in What Not to Do in the Intertubez.

A Montreal guy writes some shit in a forum then figures rifle + college = a good afternoon’s plan.

Like the motherfucking coward he was, he went out and tried to kill a bunch of people. Realizing he couldn’t even do a massacre right, he deprived us of the fun of letting cops kill him. The coward took his life. Fucking better off dead, anyhow.

But he wrote in forums.

We shoulda seen it coming.

A dickhead in Seattle decides he’s going to act like a fucking 13-year-old and reposts another city’s craigslist ad by some dirty-minded femme, and gets a couple hundred responses or something, then figgers he’s got rights to publish that private correspondence in an attempt to expose those apparent sickos to the world.

But they answered a public ad.

They shoulda seen it coming.

A young mother in Florida writes her secret other self dark thoughts on a public blog, and then her child goes mysteriously missing, improbably snatched from their window. Young mother kills herself 16 days into the toddler’s absence.

But she wrote dark shit on blogs, then her kid vanishes.

We shoulda seen it coming.

A video diarist on the world wide web is exposed as a professional actress working off a script. The show is produced, directed, and written, yet has duped the majority of its viewers, primarily through YouTube.com, into believing the so-called lonelygirl15 was a teenaged girl locked in her bedroom and homeschooled by orthodox religious parents. Doh.

She’s a fake.

Like ohmigod. But she, like, really talked to us, man!”

You shoulda seen it coming.

It’s happening. It’s really fucking happening.

You know what I’m talking about.

For some godforsaken reason, it’s starting to occur to people that this, like, internet thing might just be a way of seeing what’s really going on in the noggins of little people everywhere.

And, um, uh-oh, but what’s going on in those little people’s noggins everywhere is something that’s not very pretty.

Some people, it would seem, are angry.

Some of them even feel disenfranchised. And, look. They’re acting on this shit.

Yeah, well. When the odds are stacked, you ought not be surprised at the outcome. Probability and logic being what they are and all, yes?

I’m part of the generation that got schooled in Orwell’s classic 1984. We were raised to believe that someday, one day, the government would hear every word we would utter, and freedom would be a thing of the past.

I’ll be honest, the Digital Age scares me.

The ease with which people can access information about me is frightening. It should frighten you, too. Unfortunately, the time is coming nigh where voices on the web are not just an anonymous blur with little impact on the real world. Now, we’re not so anonymous, and now this world is more real than it is virtual.

There’s coming a time where what you say here is going to come home to haunt you. This is the age of insinuation, and anything you say can be manipulated and used against you. Decide now if you plan to live in fear of that, or if you have the balls to play the game my way, and own your ability to say what you think and how you feel.

In forums such as this, someone such as me might decide to write a little bloggie in which the entire contents of our deepest darkest other selves are posted up on virtual walls for the world at large to indulge in.

In essence, it’s a voice. I have a voice, you have a voice, we all have voices.

It’s idyllic. A virtual Utopia in which we’re all given voices and identities, something that ironically clashes with our seemingly democratic lives – lives spent living in societies that claim to be governed by the people, of the people, for the people.

Only they’re not like any people I’ve ever known.

And I don’t feel like I belong.

And I’m tired of feeling this small because I’m just an ordinary gal.

I thought I’d take my voice and use it. I’m not alone. You’re doing it too. And him, and her, and hey.

We all took our existences online, where we thought we’d have the right to say what we think whenever the fuck it pops into mind.

Unfortunately, when such vocal freedom is enjoyed by a world at large, some of those voices will be beyond dissent. They will be voices of rage and fury and vengeance. Or maybe they’ll be coolly quiet.

And that’s a risk we take by allowing open dialogue.

Every now and then, though, those voices will be warning signals. Intervention might occur, and it might segue to prevention.

Just because assholes and the disenfranchised like these can use the web to serve their fucted means doesn’t necessitate that the rest of us should have to watch our words.

Sadly, the voice of reason doesn’t seem to resonate these days. I fear that the talking heads of today might soon decide that there is such thing as too much free speech and they will indeed succeed in legislating the internet.

In which case now might be the time to, like the good hunter Elmer Fudd suggests, be vewwy, vewwy qwiet.

Only we’re not hunting rabbits.

The Fine Art of Schmoozing

I have the rather freaky-ass opportunity to run with a different crowd now.

The people I’m working for are politically connected. It’s an entirely different world. I once fancied the idea of running for politics. I was probably 16 or 17 at the time and was volunteering for the Liberal party as a member of the Young Liberals. I helped campaign for an East Indian guy in a Vancouver suburb. I, I’m sorry to admit, was part of a Burma Shave.

(Kind of marketing done in pieces at roadside. Originally, billboards that would write out one well-developed sentiment over several clusters of signs. In politics, a bunch of yahoos standing roadside, wearing sandwich-board signs for any given politician. Hi, I’m Steff — resident yokel and yahoo.)

It’s fuckin’ ‘zarro, man.

Whew. Deep breath in, strong breath out. Yeah, it’s a real headtrip. I once wanted to run, y’know? Now I’d be the fringe freak candidate, though. I’m in the right fuckin’ city for it. Enter: The Sex Party. Oh, yeah. I want their convention to have the acronym O.R.G.Y. Hey, if it’s a bonus anywhere, this is where redundancy works. “The Sex Party’s convening now. The O.R.G.Y. aspires to take things to an entirely new level, but they say they’ll have to sweat it out this weekend if the right climax is to be found.”

Yeah, okay, you caught me: I also always wanted to be a news copy writer. Ah, well. Chasing ambulances proved to not be my thing. Nothing like showing up on the scene of an accident because it’s your fucking job when some gaping onlooker turns and calls you a “sick bitch” for liking that kinda thing. Nah, dude, it’s the grade for glass, y’know? Report from scene of an accident? What’s yer fucking excuse, bub? Whew. So, yeah, I learned to not like that one in a hurry.

Point is, there was a time when my life could’ve gone a couple other directions. Like, seriously different directions. It fucking STUNS me, BAFFLES me to be this person now, writing about the things I have, considering the type of aspirations I’ve always had. I’m outed, man, my name is OUT there. I can be Googled. I can be found. I can be deciphered — piece by bloody little piece. Like, it’s over for me. There are jobs I will never, ever have. There are positions I will never, ever have. It sort of disappoints me to know I can probably never get it on merit — like I damned well should. I can schmooze, man, but I can’t live that life, I don’t think.

There’s so much carefulness, you know? There’s been about a dozen times now in work-related (including tonight’s party) situations where I’ve said really politically incorrect things, like calling the entire Middle East sexist when I’m surrounded by Iraqis and other folks in that region. (I qualified it quickly by saying it was an easy dismissal by people who didn’t understand the culture so much — which is true, to an extent, as they do adore women, but I think that’s in the same ballpark as saying you love the kid and that’s why you hit them, to teach them… I don’t think it’s meanspirited, but I still think it needs updating).

Anyhow. Schmoozing. The fine art of.

Schmoozing, in essence, is the art of faking sincerity. Now, you can be sincere and schmooze, but it’s just easier to not give a shit, because then it keeps you neutral, all right? Keep it current, keep it simple, and keep it neutral. Don’t get involved, just have an opinion and a well-timed smile.

Eye contact. Need I say more? Fuck, man. Eye contact. All about the eye contact.

You gotta learn to listen with your eyes. You wanna focus on them so intently that they can tell you’re really being drawn in. It forges an intimate bond. You lean in ever so slightly. Tilt your head slightly to one side, and just soak ’em in. Be attentive. Listen, and more importantly, hear.

When you talk, think about what you’re saying. If you’re short on an idea, don’t hem or haw, or um or uh, ‘cos it makes you seem like a bubblehead. Do a simple “I don’t know” hand guesture as you try to find the right word. Focus then. Silence, good. If five seconds passes, it’s “I’ve lost my thought,” and you move the hell on.

If conversation falters, just tell them you’re just going to make the rounds but you’ll check in a bit later. Thank them for the chat, nod, and move off with a toast of the glass and a slow, searching stride.

When you’re speaking, don’t talk politics or religion, if you can help it. Don’t discuss money problems, ever, when you’re schmoozing. It’s about impressions, not bad ones. Ask where they’re from, who they know, and if you think they want to tell you, ask about their job.

You need yourself a 10-second introduction. “Hey, I’m Steff from Vancouver, born and raised. I fancy myself a writer, and when I need to pay the bills, I work in a consulting firm. The rest of the time, I blog, photograph, ride a scooter and a bike, cook, and slack.”

When someone tells you what they do, you have an in for asking for their business card. “Oh, I’d like to hear more about that sometime” or “Hey, I’ve been in the market for one of you” or “Oh, great. Say, can I get your card?” I favour straight-up, but in case you’re feeling pussy… you know.

You can touch if you get the sense they’re into that, but understand that different people have different personal space issues, and to assume that everyone’s cool with being touched is foolish, and in the case of some cultures, flat-out wrong.

Limp handshakes are creepy. Lose it. Be firm. Never more than three seconds for a handshake. Clammy hands? Find a way to dry them. Nerves are for pussies.

So, there’s a good introduction to the world of schmoozing. It works well for picking people up, too. Instead, you lean closer and closer. When you take a sip, always make eye contact over the rim of your glass. It’s sexy. When they can’t hear you, don’t speak up, lean into their ear and speak more clearly and maybe even softer, so they have to also lean in. It’s sexy. If you’re trying to pick them up, then definitely touch them, but just on the back of the hand or forearm, or possibly the elbow. Anything else can feel forward, I find. (Taking the elbow’s a bit more sensual, though.)

And that’s how ya do it. Go off, my minions, and schmooze this weekend. In my part of the world, we call it networking.

Politics As Usual? You Gotta Be Kidding Me

Don’t look now, but the fuckers are coming out of the woodwork.

I make a point of not judging people. Or trying not to. I speak my mind, I say what I really feel, and I let it fall where it may. On this, I can’t pretend to be openminded.

In the Netherlands, a political party has decided to fight for their right to be pedophiles. They want child pornography legalized, they want sex with animals legalized, and they want the legal age for sex to be lowered to 12 years old.

Most 12-year-old girls don’t even own a fucking training bra, all right?

Every now and then I hear about someone who was 11 or 12 when they had their first sexual encounter with an adult, and they go on and on about how it was so great and how wonderful it was to be christened in such a way, and yada, yada, yada. Personally, I shake my head and wonder what the fuck they’re thinking. I know they’re all well and good about their past, but I wonder sometimes if they really didn’t miss out. I wonder, too, if their take on sex is as healthy as they want to believe it is.

There’s the awkwardness most of us go through as we fumble our ways to ecstasy, as we learn about the boys and girls who sit across from us in school, get teased and taunted into sexuality, and so forth. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s a way of life and it’s how we grow.

For an adult to take that away from a child is just wrong, in my books. It’s unfair.

The one thing these “Yeah, I lost it when I was 11” types tend to report is just how long it took to find someone that didn’t disappoint them after all that time. They don’t talk about the confusion that must have ensued when this adult who was interested in them for a fleeting time just up and disappeared. They don’t talk about the strangeness of trying to account for what their daily life really was as opposed to what that surreal encounter must have been like.

Most kids can’t handle the oddness of that mix. Once in a while, someone comes along who truly does grow from a Mrs. Robinson encounter, but it’s not often.

A political party trying to pass all this shit off as moralistic, trying to label the rest of society as behind the times strikes me as laughable, and even as dangerous.

It’s not as if kids aren’t being exposed to enough sex as it is. It’s not as if teen pregnancies haven’t been a problem. It’s not as if the suicide rate for teens isn’t high enough without throwing more complications into their mix.

These laws they’re proposing are not for the good of the kids. They’re for the party members’ benefits, so they can fuck whoever they want, so they can look at pictures of kids looking terrified and scared and exploited. It’s so they can enjoy fucking a goat or sheep.

Who’s speaking for the kids? How do kids even have the emotional makeup to admit that they’re uncomfortable having these photos taken? How do we judge where the line is, who’s mentally stable enough to decide he or she wants this for the right reasons?

We can’t judge it. The kids aren’t emotionally prepared for it. And these fuckers sure as shit aren’t speaking for the kids. If kids want to explore sex, let them play doctor like we did, or have a round of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” like I did in the forests behind our homes when I was 10. That’s how we learn.

I deplore child pornography. I loathe people who seduce children. I’m not much of an animal rights’ activist, but I sure as fuck bet a sheep would rather have a say in whether some guy’s cock enters its ass.

Yeah, I believe in free speech, but there are some people I sure wish would shut the fuck up.