Category Archives: racism

Ow!!

Arrrrgh! Almighty Zod really doesn’t want me to walk. My L4/L5 lumbar disc has re-herniated and I am in agony.

But enough whining.

Two things come to mind today. Have you heard the recent news about Hilary Clinton? Video here:

Essentially, a Congolese university student asked her about what Bill Clinton’s opinion on something would be, and Hilary snapped back annoyedly: “My husband is not secretary of state. I am… You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? If you want my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channelling my husband.”

There are several thoughts that arise from this event. First, the fact is that the student had actually asked about President Obama’s opinion, not President Clinton’s opinion. The translator had screwed up, apparently. One hopes that the student received an apology for undeservedly receiving Clinton’s wrath.

Second, now we see why Obama could never have chosen Hilary as his VP. The spectre of Bill would have always been present. It would have been a three person administration, with Obama’s being the smallest personality!

Third, yes, it was a sexist question… maybe. If it had been asked of any other woman, it would certainly have been a sexist question. But, Zod amighty, your husband is Bill Freaking Clinton! Everyone wants to know what he thinks about anything vaguely political! Hilary, your husband might not be Secretary of State, but I don’t think anyone doubts he would be an excellent one. This has nothing to do with your abilities, or with your status as a woman, but more to do with Bill’s enormous shadow and diplomatic greatness.

If Margaret Thatcher’s husband had risen to the equivalent post in the UK, you’d better believe he’d be constantly hectored about what Margaret would have thought, as well!

Lastly, the Secretary of State is supposed to be the USA’s top diplomat. A diplomat is supposed to be sensitive to the ways of thinking of othersrs. While visiting the Congo, Hilary was asked a question by a Congolese that is not an untoward question in that culture. Yes, she has a right to be offended, but surely she could have expressed her unhappiness a little more…. diplomatically?

If I were more clever, I’d work in a “ducking from sniper fire” comment somewhere. Instead, I give you leave to insert your own joke.

Item two today is the Chris Kattan miniseries vehicle Bollywood Hero. I haven’t seen it, and maybe it’s good. What I do know is that in New York last week, I saw the miniseries pushed heavily in the media. It was particularly heralded by Indians as further evidence of their “arrival” into the mainstream, that an SNL regular would choose to star in an overtly Indian vehicle.

The story, such as it is, concerns a failing American actor who chooses to restart his career by starring in a Bollywood production.

My problem is that this has nothing to do with the “arrival” of Indianness. It’s more of the same Orientalism dressed up in miniseries clothing. The star is not Indian, but American. It’s not even a real star, but a C-list Chris Kattan. The heart of the story is not the Indian production, but the journey of the white American. It’s the Razor’s Edge and City of Joy all over again, but without the depth and importance.

Okay, gotta go lie down again.

Until I Have Time For a REAL Post…

Check it out…

An sign of intelligence from space? Now if only we could find a sign of intelligence here on Earth. (BOW! HELLO! TRY THE VEAL, I’M HERE ALL WEEK!)

(Video of alien intelligence here.)

The BBC apparently stands for “British Broadcasting for Christ” because it’s received 115 complaint emails since announcing its new Head of Religion is a Muslim.

Um… why does the BBC need a “Head of Religion”?

I’m sure many of you have seen this:

Well, it’s a lie!!!

So revel in your pervishness, my droogies.

Remember my review of the new Star Trek movie? Recall that it’s a JJ Abrams project, much like two of my favourite TV shows: Lost and Fringe. Well, I just finished watchin the season finales for both shows…

…Wow! Now that’s writing! HOWEVER… JJ is showing his unmentionables. All three products –Fringe, Lost and Trek– rely heavily on either time travel or alternate realities. I’m a little sick of this science fiction crutch. Suddenly I’m not too optimistic about the continuing resolution of either of the TV shows. I’ll let you know.

I’ll leave you with some Facebook goodies. First up is my new profile pic, the Hasselwat:

And lastly, here’s the profile pic of my friend Sara F. Looks like he’s been out all night drinking, no?

Meanwhile…

Image courtesy of Dawn L. Does it count as a Daily Perv Link(TM)? Sure, why not.

From E.K. Hornbeck comes this story of John McCain’s idiot daughter complaining about her love life. Cry me a river, baby. Sample of her idiocy: “I am not only turned off by people who voted for Barack Obama, but I am also turned off by people that voted for my dad.” Really? So you’re essentially turned off by pretty much anyone who voted… unless he spoiled his ballot or voted for a loser third party candidate.

Jeez.

Meanwhile, Nadya “Octomom” Suleman‘s story is so ridiculous that I found myself talking about her to my class of first year undergrads today. Here’s an interesting take on our own hypocrisy when dealing with her.

Speaking of Octomom, I think I found my Hallowe’en costume for next year:


And here’s the “Octomom” Denny’s special: “14 eggs, no sausage, and the guy next to you has to pay for it.”

Meanwhile, know of an interesting immigrant in Canada? Why not nominate him/her for the Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards?

Meanwhile, Brad Parker sends us this great collection of art work done by prisoners in New Delhi. Here are two of my favourites:


By the way, everyone and his/her dog has been sending me this article about inter-racial dating. I’m not sure why. I have no comments.

I have no more meanwhiles for you today.

Football Team With Guns

You know, in the past four days I’ve been given three traffic tickets. One of them I really deserved: I was parked illegally in a campus lot, and they caught me red-handed. Another, I was definitely innocent, parked between two parking signs (confirmed by my passenger).

In the third, I made what appeared to be a legal right turn in downtown Ottawa, but was pulled over and dinged for an “illegal right turn”. While waiting for my ticket to be written, I sat in the car for about six minutes, during which time I watched the same cop pull over about five other vehicles for the same infraction. Clearly, we all can’t be blind. Was there really a sign?

Then I took a good look at each of the other drivers as he (they were all men) was directed to park near me and await his ticket. We were all visible minorities, more precisely men of dark skin. Coincidence? Quite possibly. Maybe we darkies are all visually impaired when it comes to street signs. Or, to be more demographically precise, maybe non-white men between 30 and 55, traveling alone, are more likely to be scofflaws?

In Toronto a week ago, I was pulled over by a cop for no particular reason. He later stammered out a weak explanation of, “Um, you’re driving a rental car and I thought I should check it out.”

Really? Driving a rental car is now grounds for being pulled over? And remember this story about being interrogated by a traffic cop over a lost passport three years earlier? How does a traffic cop get access to my federal travel documents from his vehicle computer, and why does he feel the need to express his power trip by bringing it to my attention?

Another common characteristic to all of these incidents (minus simply finding tickets on my windshield, of course) is the attitude and behaviour of the policemen involved. Gruff condescension is the norm, not respectful concern for society.

I don’t know what’s going on. I do notice however, that something has changed within me regarding my perception of policemen. When I was younger and saw a cop walking or driving by, it made me feel safer. I was happy to see him. Now when I see one, I get tense and try to avoid eye contact.

These experiences are almost akin to those continuously experienced by non-white people at borders and airports. Just last November, as I was the only non-white person traveling with a medical team to Guyana, I was stopped four times in one leg alone, consistently the only member of our team singled out for scrutiny. Random search, my ass.

Do keep in mind that I have never been charged or investigated for a crime, beyond traffic violations. Few would argue that I’m not an involved and visible member of civil society.

As a friend put it, something has changed in the way our society selects and trains policemen (and customs people), it seems. Years ago, he argues, they were chosen for their paternal characteristics (they were all men, after all). Middle aged, wise-cracking dudes were the norm. Now they mostly seem to be 25 year old thugs with brush cuts. A more discourteous description is, “a football team with guns”.

Mind you, I’ve had some very positive experiences with policemen, as well. But, as in all things, when enough negative experiences arise, those are the examples one remembers and that one slots into a pattern. (Is this unscientific? Let’s let Nasty Nicky B figure that one out for us.)

All of this is weirdly in contrast with my experiences dealing with members of the military in pretty much every country I’ve visited, including the USA. I have found soldiers to be remarkably well mannered and deferential.

Perhaps this is all yet one more reason I should consider running for public office one day…. if the questionable content on this blog hasn’t already disqualified me!

In Other News…

I had an interesting visit to a student massage clinic last night. The therapist I was assigned was blind. Well, good for her. What a great career for a visually impaired person, since she can feel her way through it quite well. We had a good laugh about her having to struggle to “drape” me appropriately. Frankly, why should I care whether or not I’m exposed to a blind person?

It did get a little weird, though, when she tried to give a happy ending to my big toe.

(Kidding! I’m kidding! …mostly.)