Monday, January 29, 2007

I say, "Ah, Washinton" :-(

There's nothing like a good old insincere apology to let you know that someone is truly full of crap... And sometimes desperate. This year the media has been full of them. We've had what in my opinion was the least offensive which was Mel Gibson who apparently let some racist remarks slip while he was drunk. Then we had the most offensive which was Michael Richards who went on an awe inspiring tirade against black people later in the year. Then falling somewhere in between was Isaiah Washington who called one of his co-stars on Grey's Anatomy a derogatory word for gay people.

I find it interesting that the media chose to make an example of these people this year. But what's most interesting is the worthless apologies we get afterward as these celebrities desperately try to save their career. I don't know what Mel Gibson's apology was like but Michael Richard's was just hilarious. After saying that black people should be hung upside down with forks in their ass he claimed that he "wasn't even a racist." Of course, he doesn't have a job to lose. Isaiah Washington's going to some kind of counseling? That's interesting. It all reeks of desperation.

So what exactly are we playing at here? Are we pretending that we're a society of tolerant nice people when clearly we're a load of bigotted monsters? Do celebrities now serve the extra role of being a scapegoat for what's inside of us anyway?

I'll tell you what bothers me most. Rosie Odonnel says ignorant things every week! Most recently she said that American Idol was a show about making fun of the mentally challenged. Who is she to say the people on the show are mentally challenged? Who is she to say Clay Aiken is gay and Kelly Ripa is a homophobic? And if she's so righteous why was she mocking Asian people a few weeks back? I'd like to say this isn't another I hate Rosie rant... but for the record I hate Rosie.... rant. She can get away with being consistently ignorant now? Why? Because she's a gay, woman. The mantle of saying whatever the hell you wanted in the media used to belong to the black people. Anyone who's seen Eddie Murphy's delirious knows that. Oh, the things he said about gay people back in the day. 50 cent, Beanie man even P.Diddy have had lyrics in their music that would be offensive to gay people. But when Eminem used the "f word" he was quickly reprimanded. Ah yes, it was quite a time to be black not long ago.

But those days are over. Isaiah Washington (and Mel Gibson) was punished for saying in private what Rosie Odonnel says on a weakly basis in front of billions of people. What a world. I guess it's a good thing that we're more vigilant about what we say, but it seems like there's a lot of pressure building up. As if biting our tongues for so long is going to result in an unleashing of verbal hatred so foul it will destroy the world in one all encompassing slurr. Soon, all the bigots of the world will go into the streets and scream the word "ChakiNaggot-Bitch!!!" (that's my attempt at putting several racial epithets into one word. You like?) and all the minorities of the world will cry. Maybe everyone living in a multi-cultural society needs counselling.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Stephen Lewis

So last night Jen invited me to go see a lecture given by Stephen Lewis, a journalist/diplomat etc... who is very vocal about his dissapointment in the global community's failure to respond to the the continuing deterioration of the quality of life on the African continent. He's actually very interesting and I encourage anyone to read up on him and of course, if you feel moved make a donation to his foundation.

After a quick stop to pick up some non-perishable food items for a donation we went to the Hall Building. The lecture was being given at Concordia and organized by the CSU meaning the potential for a riot was already high.

I'm very wary of these politically vocal students, not so much because I believe that people shouldn't be politically active, but rather because I believe that many students are passionate about certain issues more because they need something to identify with, some place where they feel like they belong. Which is all good except I sometimes wonder if having a bunch of emo hippy types supporting a cause is more of a hinderance than anything else. I find they lack a certain amount of credibility but that's just me.

Sure enough when waiting in line all the usuals were there. The line was full of oddly dressed, socially akward individuals who seemed to be taking the entire event as a big social event. They were cutting in line, hugging each other and giggling away at anything and everything. They all seemed to be vegan somehow. I saw more than a few people putting humus on some kind of cracker. People were told to bring non-perishable food items to the talk but I find that the receptacle for such items was suspiciously empty. Way to go ya bong smoking, hemp wearing simpletons. You showed no love for the hungry.

During the talk there was a girl in back of us who really got on my nerves. She forced laughter at the oddest times. Any time Stephen Lewis used a big word she would blast this pretentious cackle. I believe she was trying to prove to her friends (or herself?) that she had a big fancy vocabular and in actual fact had NO IDEA what the guy was saying. Finally after the talk it was time for the question period, otherwise known as, "Let's kiss Stephen Lewis' ass."

One after another, students would get up and thank him for being such a compassionate human being, before asking there question. "Thank you Stephen Lewis for being such a humanitarian... I love you so much. I tatooed your name on my vagina!!! Please remember my name!! I dont' shower because water depletes the St Lawrence, home to many organisms that need that water to live... But I hope you'll marry me anyway."

The oddest question was when this white girl got up and asked a two part question (of course).

White Girl: "Stephen Lewis I want to have your baby!!"
Stephen Lewis: "That's not question."
White Girl: "My second question is, why aren't there more black people at these events??"

As all the black heads in the audience turned around grinding their teeth, she went on a tirade of how she always goes to talks about conflicts in Africa and finds that for the amount of black students at McGill and Concordia, they always seem to be underrepresented at these talks. I was hoping a good old fashion ConU riot would ensue but alas, Stephen Lewis in a pretty intelligent way. He suggested that one of the reasons for the low turn out of African students may be that they were suspicious of what a non-Africans motives are when they claim to be concerned about the situation in Africa. He even said that they might suspect Stephen Lewis of having some political agenda.

And for that I admire Stephen Lewis. Very sincere straight forward kind of guy and obviously very perceptive. I think it shows true empathy when you can even imagine why people might be suspicious of you and just take it in stride. You can tell by the way he speaks that he is very passionate and hurt by how people are being dehumanized on the African continent.

Then one girl got up and berated us all for not signing some petition for something... I can't remember. But again... the total opposite attitude. No empathy, just an accusatory, self righteous emotional outburst to an audience who was probably unaware that there was any petition to sign. I certainly hadn't been aware of any. Besides, I always wonder what happens after a sign a petition. What power does a petition have? Has a petition ever accomplished anything aside from alleviating the guilt of an over-priviledged North American population?

Of course there were lots of people there and not all of them looked like naive flag burners. Stephen Lewis' talk was really interesting. Of course a lot of the impact of the talk came from the details and the numbers he was able to throw at you. Did you know that the US spends more than 8.5 billion dollars a month on the war in Iraq? A MONTH! Lewis brought this up to emphasize the point that the war on Iraq has become an excuse to reneg on all the promises that were made to fight certain travesties that take place in Africa. To name a few, the maternal death rate, sexual violence, hunger, AIDS and other horrors that may or may not come as a surprise to you. It's worth learning about. I do hope people with some clout and some power can get on board with his kind of thinking and make a difference.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Spy Who Thugged Me

It was an odd day in the lab. Rather an odd half day. I had started relatively early to finish off an experiment when at about quarter to 10 a security guard came into the lab and said, "Don't wander off too far. We're looking for a 'suspect'."

I was showing someone how to do the experiment I was doing and we looked at each other. "Was that a joke?" Regardless I continued walking around doing my work as if nothing was going on then I commit the ultimate sin... I wandered off too far. I went to the third floor to make photocopies for the student I was working with while she went to her locker. The third floor was almost completely deserted. Then I hear, "Madame il faut sortir!"

Apparently someone had escorted the student away. I was left stranded. Lacking any better ideas and not wanting to go outside in the cold I went back to the lab where I spent the next few hours mostly alone. A guy from the lab next door gave me the summary of what was going on. Apparently a janitor called to say that someone wearing army fatigues was carrying a suspicious looking bag. A bag that COULD contain a gun.

Of course it could have contained a lot of things... Books, kittens maybe lunch. Anyway, whatever was in the bag, the entire school was evacuated leaving only a few zombie like scientists roving around on the fifth floor. It was funny how I ended up being the only person in the lab. I got a few phonecalls from people asking if I was alright. I heard ambulances and things in the background. Someone actually called to ask me to tend to their experiment, which I found somewhat inoble. My life could have been in danger after all.

My mind started to wander as I started to imagine what kind of heroic feats I could describe about how I dispatched with the gunman. Then I started thinking about James Bond and how cool James bond is and wondered what bond would do in such a situation.

Then I thought I should write and produce an "urbanized" James Bond movie called, "The Spy who Thugged Me." I like the word "thug" as a verb. Very versatile. I immediately thought of the Jay Z song where he says, "Yo I, Thug em', f**k em', love em', leave em' but I don't f**kin need em'!!!"

What does thug mean in that context? During my inexorable descent into madness I imagined all my friends outside, partying it up getting all excited about the minor drama taking place. I was trying to figure out how there was absolutely no one else in the lab at that time. Honestly I kind of enjoyed the alone time. Perhaps I should take the opportunity to... remove all my clothes? Sit in the lab naked??? This would be my only opportunity...

But before I could undo one notch on my belt my supervisor came into the lab and described to me what had been going on outside. Cops and guns and ambulances and a huge media circus. And what did they find out? The mysterious bag contained what appeared to be a pair of kendo sticks. Makes sense, they offer a kendo class across the street.

People are saying it's good that people are so vigilant, but i wonder now. All it took was a 9-1-1 call to basically shut down the entire school for the day. It doesn't seem very efficient. If I didn't want to go into work all it takes is a 30 second phone call to shut EVERYTHING down? I suppose it's better than people getting shot but then it also occured to me that if someone really wants to go on a shooting rampage, then there's really nothing anyone can do to prevent them from doing just that? I mean, the gunman just has to have better sense than to go into school with something as large as bazooka, maybe he could wear something less conspicuous than army fatigues like say... some unremarkable shirt from the Gap.

All this to say, all that hooplah for nothing. If someone was going to get shot today, I don't think all of this would have made much of a difference. I think the best prevention is to assign every school an emergency James Bond. And as I was at ground zero during this incident, I think I'm the most likely candidate for this position cuz ...

Noboday does it better
Makes you feel sad for the rest
But I'm MastaCSG
The spy who thugged thee
And I'm keeping all the students safe tonight!