So, okay, I’ll play along for now. But don’t think I’m going to forget about your Let’s Lock Up More Poor Men in Prison bill.

My MP, Bev Oda, has done the only thing I think I’ve ever approved her doing. She’s restored funding to International Planned Parenthood (it’s not all good: for those who don’t recall, abortion is not one of the services that IPP is allowed to provide with the money–kinda like that old Bush ban). But even the whisper of a hint that women in Afghanistan or Sudan might be able to control their own reproduction with the help of Canadian aid money has Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost’s boxers all in a twist (there’s a video of an interview with him there, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it).

But it makes me wonder, does Brad Trost have a quiver full of kids? I mean, if his wife isn’t being a good Christian brood mare and popping them out at the rate of one every eighteen months or so, they must be using contraception. Surely he wouldn’t object to oppressed and starving women in Africa managing the size of their families? Oh, just took a closer look at his website. He’s <b>not married</b>.* And here I thought he was just being a privileged Westerner trying to impose a rule that he’s not even following himself. But his hypocrisy goes even beyond that: he’s trying to impose his religious dogma on women everywhere when he’s not even at risk of becoming a parent himself (after all, as a good Christian, he’s not having pre-marital sex right)?

He writes on his blog about how he and the other forced-birthers in the Conservative caucus worked to get the IPPF funding dropped in the first place:

“Many, many Conservative MPs pressed the PMO to stop the funds from flowing. Federal funding did stop for a time. Funds allocated to IPPF were considerably reduced. Furthermore, federal grants for IPPF also had more strings attached.

This only happened because of the pressure applied. “

Yes, Mr Trost, you got away with pulling funding for Planned Parenthood because you did it behind closed doors. You want to bring your women-are-just-animated-incubators agenda out into the open? Bring it on. We’re ready to crush your iron age thinking into the dust where it belongs. In case you haven’t heard, women now have the vote. And men who acknowledge that women are people too will stand and vote with them.

*I assume, given that there are no pictures or mention of his family and he wears no wedding ring.

Tim Hudak (the leader of the “Progressive” Conservatives in Ontario, currently in the running to be the next premier), wants to establish an online sex offender registry. This is for families he says (though apparently had to pull in fake ones for the photo op).

I don’t think such a thing would even be legal here in Canada, thank goodness and the Privacy Commissioner. (Has he even checked it with the Privacy Commissioner? I wonder…)

Records that are accessible by law enforcement is one thing, but an online registry that can be accessed willy-nilly by irrational parents? That’s just asking for trouble. We know that will lead to harassment and vigilantism against people who have completed sentences and probation and no longer pose any threat to society. “Sex offenders” include people who have solicited prostitutes, people who’ve exposed themselves when drunk at parties or outside of bars, kids who sent sext messages/pics to their boy/girlfriends, those boy/girlfriends who then shared the pics with friends. It’s not just serial rapists and child molesters.

We have a “dangerous offender” designation if the government thinks someone poses an ongoing risk to the public. The government should avail themselves of due process to have the perpetrator declared dangerous and not allow them to be released. Not publish the names of ex-convicts so people can harass them or attack them out of anger or irrational fear.

Sexism Alive & Well in TV Land

September 13, 2011

So apparently, a game developer got in trouble for being misogynist assholes. They apologised and fired the scapegoat, so we’re all good.

But surprisingly, the software programming world is not the only entertainment production industry where sexism is condoned and cherished. According to a study by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, only 15 percent of the writers of broadcast network, prime-time programs were women in the 2010-2011 season, a number that has dropped by more than half since the 2006-2007 television season. The wage gap isn’t any better.  The Writers Guild of America reports a rise in the difference in earnings between men and women television writers from $4,735 to $17,343 between 2000 and 2009.

A great article by Maureen Ryan at AOL TV tries to get to the reasons why (though the reasons are, sadly, the same old same old). One thing that she brings up is the influence of the advertisers:

“We’re not making art out here, we’re making programming that allows networks to sell ad dollars,” says Jill Soloway (‘Six Feet Under,’ ‘United States of Tara,’ ‘How to Make It in America’). “The only ad dollars that appeal solely to women only are diapers and cleaning products. The expensive ad dollars, like cars and air travel, must appeal to both genders.

So the sexism in the corporate world is reinforcing the sexism in advertising*, which in turn reinforces sexism at the production level, which reinforces sexism at the product level (i.e. the shows themselves), which reinforces sexism in society at large, and so it goes.

One thing mentioned as an adjunct to this advertising issue, is that the TV audience (at least the one that counts to advertisers) is males 18-49. My mother pointed out the other day that television, along with movies and other forms of entertainment, are made for men because women are too busy to watch. I guess its all the diapers and cleaning they’re doing.

*Srsly? Women are only interested in buying diapers and cleaning stuff? While men wouldn’t be caught dead shopping for dish soap?

I have a few things to post about tonight and I’ll begin with my response to this open letter to atheists written by Paul Wallace. First, a disclaimer: I honestly didn’t get through the whole thing, it was taking the guy so long to get to his point. No worries though, I’m pretty sure that I got the gist. You see, it’s all about sophistimacated theology.

God is in the metaphor/story/whateverthefuck. Humans are good at making things sacred (or taboo–two sides of the same coin): places, objects, activities, people. And of course, stories. We say this isn’t just a good story that reveals something about the human condition, oh no. It is more than that.  It’s [fanfare style=”trumps and chorus of angels”]divinely inspired[/fanfare].

When I practised religion, this is exactly the type of religion I practised–I never said “believed” because I didn’t have faith in any myth as factual, I just looked at myth as Real, if you follow me. Unlike Wallace though, I always had a distaste for the Abrahamic mythos, it being as sexist, cruel, immoral, racist, and anti-animal/anti-environment as it was.

Moby Dick? Far superior a story. The myths of Greece and Rome? Far superior. Arthurian romances? Far superior. Shakespeare? Far superior. The Mahabharata? Far superior. Jane Austen? Far superior. Hell, Star Trek or Doctor Who or Star Wars? Far superior.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to pray to Ahab, sing hymns to Othello, or worship Captain Kirk. Why? Because in honesty, there’s no value added by the sacralisation. It obfuscates the meaning, and allows for little discrimination. I can’t toss out a bad episode (yes, George Lucas I’m looking at you) or decide that  I’d get more from an entirely new genre.

A person doesn’t need to sanctify myth (or “story”) to make it worthwhile. If Wallace wants to play pretend, to make believe that Jesus or Santa or a boy named Sue is real so he can feel fulfilled, that’s fine. But he oughtn’t to be insulting those who don’t bother.

So I’m reviving this aborted attempt at a bloggy blog. I hope it will go better than the last two times I tried. It really is tough to spend an amount of time in a regular fashion writing oneself rather than reading other people’s stuff. Wish me luck.