Posts Tagged With: media

Much Ado About Nothing

There’s been so much hullabaloo lately about NFL (and other professional and amateur sports team) players, in particular, Colin Kaepernick, kneeling during the playing of their own national anthem before their events.

Many feel this action or form of protest disgraces the national anthem and the country for which it is sung, as well as the team for which those players may play.

But we must take a step back and see different points of view before we judge so harshly the actions of others.

The United States has long defended peaceful protests, even upholding the privilege to do so in their Constitution, together with the freedoms of speech and personal expression.

Looking at it from another point of view, it is also easy to sit in judgment of protesters when you have not been victim of the injustices and unfair treatment being protested in the first place.

From a more practical point of view, consider that a form of protest is likely most effective when in a place like a stadium where tens of thousands of people have their attention fixed on one spot.  This is no different to politicians attempting to further their careers by hosting so-called dinners at several hundred dollars a plate.  The tickets for such dinners far exceed the cost of tickets to sporting events, yet no one seems to protest the fact that politicians are in effect attempting to buy their votes.

Moreover, how do you stand for a national anthem which you may believe in your heart of hearts no longer has the meaning it originally intended?  An anthem which speaks of freedom and justice for all can have little to no meaning for those whose freedoms are denied, let alone those who have not received justice from either the legal system or police enforcement.


It was Voltaire who said, “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”

He also said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Perhaps we should keep Voltaire’s statement in mind before we judge so harshly those who may disagree with our points of view, lest we suffer the greatest fate of all – REPEATING HISTORY’S MISTAKES.


Categories: Baby Boomers or simply Big Babies?, Random Crap, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Blame Game

Disclaimer: I’m no political pundit by any stretch of the imagination.  But I’ve got eyes and a fairly decent brain.  So bear with me.

For those of you unfamiliar with Canadian or Albertan politics, the current government in Alberta is the New Democratic Party, or NDP for short.  They were elected in last year by a majority vote of unprecedented and some would say, epic proportions and their election meant that the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party had been ousted after 40-plus years of power over Alberta.

Like any establishment after such a long reign, it could easily be argued that the PC’s were far too comfortable in Alberta having been able to maintain their political position more than four decades.  Some might even venture to say that they became complacent.  Lackadaisical, even.  I have lived in Alberta for nearly three of those four decades and in that time I have seen the ups and downs of their government.  Some good, a lot of bad, and mostly a lot of in-between.  Like any political party, they relied heavily on contributions from Big Business supporters, in Alberta’s case this is largely oil companies with a lot of clout and financial ability to buy the party which fits their agenda the best.

The trouble is that with such a long-standing relationship between a political party and its Big Oil backers, you lose sight of the ones who are in reality backing both.  The middle class not only votes in the people they feel are best suited to lead their provincial or federal governments, but also consumes the goods produced by Big Business and Big Oil.

Yes, it’s true that the PC Party was great at bringing in business and creating jobs, much of those jobs with the oil companies backing the party.  But ask yourselves this: at what cost?  We were all blinded at the prospect of a booming economy that we lost sight of the fact that the middle class was being stretched far too thin by their support of ridiculously large corporate tax breaks.  Much like an aging elastic band stretched beyond its capacity, it will start to show cracks and eventually break altogether.  Relying on one segment of the voting and tax-paying public to support not only the over-privileged rich and corporations, but also to support the social programs necessary to assist and raise up the lower income classes proved to be too much for most of us.

I believe this collapse primarily among the middle class was the impetus for such a landslide vote for a different party to have their kick at the political can.  After more than four decades ruling this province, the breaks promised to the middle class were rarely, if ever, delivered.  And many of us were far too jaded by then to think much of the small pittances promised regardless.

Worse, when then-premier Jim Prentice realised he’d lost the vote to continue, his outgoing speech was nothing less than childish and immature.  He pouted and walked off stage without so much as the grace to wish the incoming premier, NDP Rachel Notley, luck in her new endeavour in leading our province.

To many, this was classic Progressive Conservatism – they didn’t get their way and like any bully, they were unaccustomed to being shot down.

Now, this is not to say that I am naïve enough to think that the NDP (or Liberal, or any other) Party would have behaved any differently had the same thing happened to them had they been privileged enough to have retained power for that length of time.  What I am saying is that the game has changed and if you want to stay in it, you have to adapt to new rules and parameters.  The Old Boys who voted you in four decades ago are now dying off, figuratively and literally.  Your voters are younger but not necessarily less informed.  What’s more, they want different things than their parents and grandparents.

Further, regardless of who won the election, there would still be the same messes to clean up after having the same party in for the last four decades.  If we are, as we all claim to be, open-minded and progressive, should we not then by definition have the grace to allow the current government some time to get their footing and to deliver on their promises which got them elected?  Isn’t that the democratic process?  And yet, as soon as the NDP gained the provincial seat, the naysayers were already at it – claiming that things were better when the PC’s were running the show.

Remember, the older we are, the faster we used to run.  Sometimes you have to embrace change, if you want actual change to occur.

Besides, if you wanted so badly for the PC’s to stay in power, why didn’t you vote them back in when you had the chance?

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As you likely have also noticed, there has been much media and discussion focusing on issues of self-esteem, body image, and all manner of topics along that vein. I have been finding much of it has a negative undertone in that they focus on the problems and issues that result from one having poor self-esteem and a lack of self-worth. Much along the same lines as “evil begets evil,” I have found that focusing on the negative aspects of these issues has a counter-productive effect and results simply in more negativity. People become more focused, instead of less, on what’s wrong with them and go into a kind of manic panic toward self-improvement which may seem positive on the surface, but in fact has some very ugly and negative emotions and motivating factors underlying their efforts.

Recently I had the opportunity to take part in a project with two very dear friends of mine which involved us having an open and earnest discussion on the topic of what, exactly, is beauty. It came about one day as my friend S and I were chatting as we quite often do about our own struggles with beauty and self-acceptance. As our discussions normally go, it became quite long and drawn out and evolved ever further. So, as S had been struggling somewhat with finding things that she found beautiful about herself, I decided to help by listing the things which I found beautiful about her. At first, the list started with physical characteristics. She has, for instance, the most irritatingly and perfectly dimensioned nose. But, the list quickly grew to other things which are far less tangible but which are still uniquely her own. Her ability, for instance, to see the humour in her daily battle with MS.
And so, S continued with her research and that’s how we became involved with @UnsungLilly and their #JustBe Campaign. The question then was “how” to participate. @UnsungLilly explained that they were creating a campaign to promote self-acceptance among the masses, be they young or old, male or female, from every walk of life. We then recruited our friend T to join us and one night we all got together and started video-recording our thoughts and discussions on what we believed defined “beauty” and “self-acceptance.”

Through this exercise, we each had our own revelations. I will share only my own as S and T have their own blogs and will, if not already, be sharing those insights in their own inimitable ways. For myself, I can say simply that the simple exercise of discussing this with two friends, through the vessel of @UnsungLilly and the #JustBe Campaign, has altered my own take on my personal definitions of beauty and self-acceptance and I can honestly say that I am deeply affected and forever changed for the better.

Like most people, there are things about my physical self which I always saw as negatives. After bouncing these things off a few close friends like S and T, I can see now that those negatives are not negatives at all, but the things that define me as an individual. My ethnic background is primarily Scottish and Inuit. I have, therefore, a very large and sturdy body which in the past caused me dismay as it does not fit the “normal” size charts and clothing and thus, I automatically turned this into a negative as I had been convinced by society and media that if you did not conform then you were somehow less than perfect. But now, I finally realize as I approach my 44th year, my body has not once broken a bone larger than a toe, despite the best efforts of my childhood adventures. I have never suffered a major illness, either. I have by all accounts a rather wicked sense of humour and a very large laugh which comes from somewhere very deep. While I tend not to dwell on any of these attributes in any way, I have been told that they make me unique and attractive and so rather than feeling that I should tone down my laugh, or reserve my humour, I now simply embrace them for the things they are and don’t wish to change them in any way. There’s not another one like me, and I’m fine with that. So, I have resolved to simply… #JustBe.

To learn more about the #JustBe Campaign, check out @UnsungLilly on Twitter and elsewhere. Their first video (in which I am honoured to be a part) can also be viewed at

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Be the Change

Over the weekend, I was flipping channels and noticed something terribly, terribly wrong with how men are portrayed in the media.

[Insert overbearingly vocal and usually misinformed female dissent here.]

A diaper commercial I saw portrayed a group of men watching a football game together with friends and each of them had their respective infant in hand.  The suggestion of the commercial was that men would not be capable properly care for their children while the game was in play on television, and so the diapers with which the mothers had thought ahead to wrap their babies’ bottoms in prior to leaving them with their hapless fathers would last until the game was over, thus absolving the men of any responsibility for leaks from the diapers of their unsuspecting children.  Presuming, of course, that men are incapable of compassion or concern over the welfare of their children given the distraction of a televised game.

There are a number of things wrong with this advertisement.  Primarily, the suggestion is that without women, men would not think of anything on their own, let alone the well-being of the infant children left to their care.  Yet, in reality, we trust men to help provide for us and our children, to make decisions which women sometimes cannot or will not, and to provide shoulders on which to place our heaviest burdens, literally and otherwise.  So, it would seem that men are good for all that, yet in media we portray them as being more helpless than children, incapable of reasonable thought.

Much of media has followed this line of thinking and, as a woman with several decent and lovely men in her life, I take offence on their behalf.  While we are forced to suffer an endless barrage of women portrayed as VICTIMS of anything from breast cancer to heart disease and depression, there is very little coverage of men’s issues aside from baldness and erectile dysfunction.  And even these sensitive topics are commonly insensitively portrayed.  Moreover, men are often blamed for oppressing women, for perpetuating the unrealistic expectations women feel they have been subject to.  Yet I don’t commonly see men buying fashion magazines or attempting to fit into Size 00 clothing (what, exactly, is a Size 00?).

The hypocrisy of this tainted female mindset is mind-boggling.  Many of us complain that we are downtrodden, we have it so much harder than men, men don’t understand and do not even try to understand.  Yet, in the midst of all this vocalization about how we women deserve fairness and accurate portrayals of what life as a woman is or should be like, we take every opportunity we can to negatively portray as much as possible any man who dares come within range.  How can we expect equality from the viewpoints of men, when clearly, we do not regard men as equals?  I refer you to George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ in which the pigs in the story point out that while all barnyard animals are equal, some are “more equal than others.”

Further, while many women have young sons, they apparently see no correlation between the negativity they project to the grown-up men in their lives as having any impact on their sons’ perception of themselves.  How do you suppose a son feels knowing that his mother/sister/grandmother/aunt regards other men in this fashion?  As a parent, you will expect him, of course, to treat women with respect and kindness.  But how can he adequately learn this when he sees the women in his life showing little to no respect toward men, a member of which population he will ultimately become?

Bottom line, treat others how you would wish to be treated.  Be the change you wish to see in the world!  Even if they happen to be a man. 

To quote a great man named Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

NB: In order to foster the heretofore unheardof notion that men are, in fact, capable of great sacrifice for the betterment of others, I recommend the following movies:  The Next Three Days (Russell Crowe) and Dear Frankie (Gerard Butler).

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