Thursday, February 7, 2013

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Disclaimer: I am making commentary on the movie, as that is the most widely viewed.

Young liberals embrace far too much far too easily. In the process of being "cool" and "rebellious", sometimes, you embrace stupidity and immorality. As always, it's much more convenient to accept what is fed to you than to question it.

This is the issue I take with Rocky Horror Picture Show. This is a movie that "pushes the boundaries" as they say. Which is why, I gather, that young people and liberals are so fond of it. At least, this is the reason provided - I'm sure the actual reason is much more superficial. Mere perpetuation in and of itself is often enough.

My thoughts on the movie are such: it's filth. It both promotes reckless frivolousness (which is a dangerous course, but negligible on its own), and most importantly, sanctions immorality in the name of "pushing boundaries."

Believe it or not, but some boundaries ought not to be pushed. That's why some societal values exist, as they have legitimate, reasonable and sensitive purposes. One of those boundaries that our society trys to support (there are loopholes and doublestandards on this front, I admit) is, when it comes to sex, taking advantage of your partner - in any way - is, if not out right immoral, morally ambiguous. If you're sober, and you "court" someone while they're inebriated - that's probably (definitively) immoral. If you lie and trick your way into somebody's pants, that's also wrong.

It's hard to find disagreement over this, these days. Especially among feminist-sympathizing young people. But alas such moral considerations are overlooked when it comes to popular culture, naturally!

The most glaring example would be when the transsexual Dr. Frank-N-Furter (sigh) fools, in the same night, the witless couple - each individually - to sleep with "it". As this couple sleeps in separate beds, out of necessity, he sneaks into each respective room. As the lights are off, he slowly "makes out" with them while pretending to be the respective opposite sex partner - with this, he fools them. He pretends to be each respective lover.  And, as the movie displays, both the male and the female eventually consent to more intercourse because they're overwhelmed with pleasure "it" has given them.

But yet, of course, this is considered perfectly fine for a modern viewer. A host in an unfamiliar place initiating unwanted sexual contact, whilst pretending to be somebody else, to eventually get sex. Any modern feminist would have a hard time interpreting this as something other than rape, and at the very least misrepresentation (fraud) and molestation. Either way, pretty big moral lapses as far as I can tell.

This film was "subversive", evidently. Sometimes you shouldn't subvert this idea of "consent" and "honesty" - these are two values that ought to be esteemed above all else. To overlook this giant moral wrong in an otherwise stupid movie is still unacceptable.

I've had people tell me I'm "taking it too seriously" - to which I don't understand. There's a reason why rape jokes aren't funny: because rape isn't funny, and rape is far too serious an issue to make light of. Why is okay, in this instance, to "not take it seriously?" And shouldn't us young people be uncomfortable with any movie which sanctions or makes light of that?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Quotes from E.C.Drury's memiors.

"Political  advertising is an evil thing. It generates a good deal of heat but no light. Worse, it increases cost of elections tremendously, and hence the power of Big Money, whose design generally run contrary to the public interest, over the political parties and the press. Until elections can be run without campaign funds, democracy cannot function as it should. It becomes indeed a masked plutocracy" --Page 62

Context: Drury's thoughts on two proposals; "(1) the Initiative and Referendum, by which, without going before Parliament, on petition of a certain percentage of the electorate, legislation could introduced and submitted to the direct vote of all the people; (2) the Recall, by which, on petition of a certain proportion of his constituents, an elected member of Parliament could be forced to resigh and submit to a new election"

"...Both the Initiative and Referendum and the Recall I thought too capable of abuse. It is easy to get people to sign any sort of petition. My father told me of something that happened in the Ontario Legislature when he was a member: a certain member undertook to get a petition of five hundred names within twenty-four hours, asking that a certain other member be hanged, and he got them! With the Initiative, we might expect all sorts of frivolous legislation to be submitted to the people. So too with the Recall. As it is, Members of Parliament too often speak not according to their convictions but for the effect they they think it will have on their constituents. How much more would this be true if they had halters around their necks, liable to be pulled up at any moment? With the Recall a free Parliament, I thought, could not exist" --Page 76

During the first federal election where women are allowed to vote in Canada, with his wife: "I found it a very pleasent experience, going with my wife to vote."
Followed by: "On the way home we met James Thompson, who had shorn our sheep every spring for many years. Jimmy was a poor man, coloured, uneducated, but upright and honourable: and we were proud to call him our friend. I asked him why he had not waited for someone to come for him, for he [lived far away] more than four miles' walk from the polling place. He said "Well, if a man has a vote, I think the least he can do is get himself out to cast it." If all Canadians citizens thought the same, elections would be cleaner than they are and Canada would be a good deal better place to live in." --Page 84

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Children, happiness and discontent.

There's a belief out there that children ought to be happy. Such a optimistic belief in obligatory joy for children (and people) is problematic on multiple levels.

Nirvana

The first generally falls within the issue of happiness as a be-all and end-all to life. Many people stress that happiness is the ultimate goal in life, it is Nirvana. Media, movies and music all stresses this hedonistic message. Pleasure is the end-goal, particularly emotional pleasure that up-lifts you - negatives are minimized in your life, and all the positives are maximize to the point of perpetual bliss. A mental bliss of hedonistic proportions is the end goal.

Ignorance may be bliss to some, but it is still blindness- and by my books ignorance is a curse, not a antidote. Some of us in the first world may be able to afford illiteracy, but it comes at the peril of progress for others. A rich Canadian is likely unaware of the systemic poverty amongst Aboriginals in Canada - for a moral character may think their wealth unfair when others are in plight. A moral, sympathetic and empathic human may themself feel guilt and sadness when confronted with the poverty within ones country and world.

These feelings of empathetic sorrow are negative ones - they are not jocular. The mantra of a "happy mind" disregards empathy for those in dire and unfortunate circumstances - and furthermore evades those who truly need support. For a perennially happy mind you can block external stimuli in order to feel better - for most in it live in disproportionally bad conditions; and that is not a happy reality.

Those who are in the most dire straights can not be optimists, they can not afford to be ignorant like us privileged folk.

For this is the root of the issue. This ultimate goal of cerebral heaven ignores morality, integrity and humanity. With morality, you strive for the right thing - and this may not be the thing that makes you happy. This may be the thing that makes somebody else happy, or at least placates them. It's possible to rig your mind to reward moral behavior, but this is more of a temporary satisfaction. Some do it to avoid feeling glum and guilt, others do it to give them a temporary boost. It is not about oneself and personal happiness, it is about recognition that within humanity and civilization, there are some base codes and conduct you need to have with people and society.

Next is integrity, for without it morality would be hollow. Integrity is something you hold yourself to. It is a personal code - a code of consistency and fairness. When it comes to morality, you cannot pick and choose when to be moral. It is similar to the laws of a nation: all laws are laws. Though, perhaps morality is of more significance. Integrity tells you that a person who looks less desirable to you should be treated with the same respect to somebody you consider much more physically attractive Integrity tells you to put aside your self-interest in certain matters, and go for personal consistency in your dealings with people.

Do not strive for psychological paradise; but rather satisfaction. Satisfaction for a variety of legitimate reasons: pleasure and fun in life is necessary, but you must remember to have character. You must remember to be moral. You must remember to be humane. You must remember to have integrity. All of this must trump the hedonistic impulses and societal pressures to simply "be happy".

Obligatory

 This section will touch upon points and themes made in my earlier post "Be Nice" - you can read it here!

Smiling is good. Or so you'd think, right? Smiling is the true expression of happiness and social position. Women that smile are treated better. Women that smile are happy. You see it everywhere - particularly in dental related commercials, or cosmetically orientated products. Turn that frown upside down, be happy! Show your radiance to the world. Show the world you're confident. Show the world you're beautiful. Show the world you're happy.

Happiness is the default of all humans - our culture decrees (and you cannot cross culture, for you will be ostracized, isolated or worse). Despite working two jobs to support a family, you must present a smile. Despite being kicked out of the house at age 16, you must be happy. Despite working under a shitty manager, you must present a professional smile. 

"Hey, how are you buddy?" "I'm fine" or so the exchange typically goes. Seldom does a true exchange partake. Nobody wants to hear about how you're struggling to the pay the mortgage you were pressured in to buying, and upon reflection maybe you shouldn't have bought the house. People would rather keep on walking after that brief exchange, they don't want to trouble themselves with the truth about people - that many people are miserable, and those miserable are ignored and pushed aside. 

They're pushed aside because they upset the natural balance. They upset the Happiness Is The Default. They upset the vapid culture that places emphasis on appearance, first impression, fashion instead of expression, venting and discourse. Smiling is your mask and you must wear it. To open your mouth to form words of a negative and distressing nature stresses people - please, form your lips to a smile to keep the order of ignorance in play.

There's a reason homeless people tend to congregate together, instead of around the residential areas where housed people are. Heck, there's a reason there's homelessness at all: we'd rather not deal with that harsh reality. We'd rather pretend there  isn't  homelessness, be happy, and push them somewhere so we can maintain our smiles. 

"Niceness is the recognition of grace over substance." --Me.

Children and unhappiness

Either you act nice, or be prepared to get a scolding. Parents are particularly pressing towards their children - or they can be. Some parents expect their children to act a certain way during certain occasions. Family events, holidays, public events or birthdays.

On these occasions, smile! Show recognition to everyone around you - like them, act cordial and friendly. Never frown, never pout and especially never be openly contemptuous. 

You are expect to grace them with the superficial accommodations expected of such events. You must put on a show. Do you think it fucking matters whether you care or not?

Some malicious parents may punish children for not acting the part. A child disliking his abusive uncle and showing it is anathema for Presentation Parents - that child needs a chiding to learn its lesson. Your asshole uncle should not be greeted with a frown, but rather a smile - or there will be no desert for you.

Besides this being disgustingly hypocritical and amoral, the implications facing the child are even more disgusting. This priority of many "guardians" places the shallow presentation of their children over the childrens actual feelings and concerns. This obligatory happiness and communal niceness takes precedence over the real emotions and issues that may be facing the child. It does not matter how much pain the child is in internally, he or she must suppress any ill feeling and take one for the team. 

Such an attitude ferments ill in children, as they are discouraged from expressing their true feelings and have parents would would prefer the aroma of nicness and happiness to actual happiness for the child.

The culture expectation of Happiness As Default creates sorrow for those who need to be heard. Amongst the disadvantaged, and amongst the powerless - children included. Those who deserve a voice; those who have negative experiences and conditions that need to be addressed rather than suppressed. Putting our hedonistic desire for ignorant bliss ahead of redressing the woes of those who need it is folly and harmful. Your shallow desire for niceness and happiness is a boon on society, not an availment.

Cast aside your cosmetic and desultory expectations, and replace it with a true compassion for humanity.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The first budget of an evil, incompotent and socialistic government in Ontario (1991)

Thanks to Archive.org, I've obtained and read through the:
Budget of 1991 in Ontario
The first budget of the first even NDP Ontario government.

So, how much did these Bob Rae NDP-socialists spend? "Total Government expenditure will increase by 13.4 per cent or $6,246 million [6.2 billion] in 1991-92."

Let's break this down, what exactly did this money go to? Here are the highlights.

Worker shit?
This Budget provides direct employment to thousands of people through the $700 million Anti-Recession Program announced last December. It also provides direct support to people who have lost their jobs... The Government will commit $175 million in 1991-92 to pay claims retroactive to October 1, 1990. The Minister has also announced a $32.5 million labour adjustment initiative to help workers re-enter the job market and improve their skills... We have increased Provincial capital spending to $4.3 billion to support employment and to provide necessary investment in schools, roads and other public facilities that will be enduring assets in Ontario communities.
Envrionment?
This year, the Government is providing an additional $28 million to municipalities to help them establish enhanced programs to meet the Provincial targets for waste diversion of at least 25 per cent by 1992 and 50 per cent by the year 2000. We are more than doubling Provincial support for municipal 3Rs programs over last year
Plus $10 million dollars committed to make Hydro Ontario more efficient.

Research, science, education?
Ontario's Technology Fund will provide $131 million for research, development and technology diffusion in 1991-92. That includes $81 million for programs to support leading-edge research in such areas as robotics, telecommunications and biotechnology, and $50 million for the R&D Super Allowance to provide tax incentives for private sector research and development...
The annual funding for the Innovation Ontario Corporation will be increased significantly to almost $21 million. The ceiling for individual investments by Innovation Ontario will be raised to $1 million from $350,000, enabling the Corporation to invest inthe continuing growth of high-technology firms.
  • 10.9% and 7.1% increase for the Ministry of Education and the Minister of Colleges and Universities, respectively. Making post-secondary cheaper, as well as making schools more affordable for municipalities.

Relief and welfare?
  • "Expenditure growth in the Ministry of Community and Social Services isanticipated to be $1,804 million, an increase of 28.5 per cent over the
    interim 1990-91 level."
  • $40 million plus $50 million to two agriculture funds and loans, to provide direct relief to farmers.
  • "We will commit $215 million on a full-year basis to reform of the social assistance system."
  • $50 million dollar tax cut that gives 700,000 low-income Ontarians an elimination of income tax, or a reduction.
  • $1.3 billion investment in cooperative and affordable housing - leading to 35,000 new units and houses. Ministry of Housing to get more than $764 million to manage all the new houses. "
    Expenditures by the Ministry of Housing will increase by 39.2 per cent to
    $764 million in 1991-92."
  • $12 million more for woman's shelters.
  • $100 million will go to municipalities and counties so they can pay for the social services they provide.
  • Around $1 billion dollars will be towards pay equity adjustments for female public sector workers.
  • Over $48 million to improving Aboriginal land and claims. $20 million for infrastructure in Aboriginal communities. $5 million to go to child-care spaces.
  • "The allocation for the Ministry of Health will rise by $1,607 million or 10.6
    per cent."
Taxation
...an increase in the personal income surtax rate. This is intended to make the tax system more progressive by ensuring that those at the upper end of the income scale pay a greater share. Effective July 1, 1991, the surtax rate will increase from 10 per cent to 14 per cent of Ontario income tax in excess of $10,000. The surtax only affects taxpayers with incomes of $84,000 or higher. This action will add $60 million to revenues in 1991-92
  • Various taxes on gas, cigarettes increased. 
As everyone who is even vaguely (un)informed on this Bob Rae NDP government, this caused high Ontario deficits. Well, indeed. To pay for all this stuff they were investing in, without raising taxes significantly, they had to run a deficit. This is fairly standard procedure. Also, the deficit was not completely their fault. Consider:

The task ahead would be much simpler if the federal government had not begun a deliberate campaign in the 1980s to dismantle its commitments to social programs. These cumulative federal reductions in Established Programs Financing and payments under the Canada Assistance Plan will cost Ontario some $3.6 billion in 1991-92 alone-enough to wipe out almost two-thirds of our operating deficit. What's more, the federal government has announced its intention to continue to restrict its contribution to essential social programs for a further three years-with serious consequences for the well-being of our nation
Also, there was recession going on - the tax base slimmed, naturally. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Conrad Black - convicted criminal, bully and Lord - Part 2. AKA Buy Theives of Bay Street.


What distinguishes this scandal is Black's jaw-dropping sense of entitlement. By almost every account, he thought of shareholders as sharecroppers, bugs on his corporate windshield. He ran Hollinger as a personal fief, doling out favors to directors while accumulating the usual clutch of mansions, private jets and billionaire baubles. He intimidated inquiring journalists with lawsuits; when the Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien moved to block his entrance into the British House of Lords, the combative Black sued him, too. (1)


A fraudster of considerable importance, Black also defrauded the public in - other - ways. Ways in which he will gleefully admit to. A pretty disgusting example would be using his paper ownership to attack political candidates he disliked and mislead readers to vote for a particular political party and candidate he would prefer. From Conrad Black himself:
We had a good time with the election in Sept-Iles. All my local opponents ardently supported the Parti Quebecois candidate, the local head of the Steelworkers. Our reporting was fairly balanced for most of the campaign, but we did an editorial sand-bag job on the P.Q., complete with publication of a poll indicating a Liberal victory. There was no indication of the number of people sampled so the fact that I consulted only seven people (including myself) never came to light. (2)
And he talks about it with such amusement, which makes one "doubt his ethics". An act such as this is really indicative of the kind of person Black is. He's dishonest, and doesn't mind using his privilege and wealth to affect outcomes in his favour.

**

As I promised before, let's talk about some lawsuits of Conrad and why he's perusing them. Below, an excerpt from Thieves of Bay Street describes the amount of money Black swindled out of Hollinger International. This was the main reason Conrad was brought to court and ultimately convicted of fraud:
As Hollinger International began posting huge deficit, losing US$337 million in 2001 and another US$231 million the following year, Black and five senior Hollinger International officers were compensated with about US$110 million for this two year period.
...[an investigation] uncovered US$32.2 million in previously undisclosed payments to Black, Radler and other Hollinger International executives that hadn't been authorized by or even known to the board, a discovery that cost Black his position as CEO and chairman and send Radler and other executives packing.
 ...Most dramatically, investigators found that Black and and Radler and their associates had taken out more than US$400 million in "management fees" over a seven-year period. This was on top of the already generous salaries they collected from Hollinger International.
 People of the internet, the reason I bring this up is because Conrad Black is now suing Bruce Livesey, the author, for 1.25 million dollars. Not nearly a year out of prison, not nearly a year back in Canada, and Conrad Black is already in the process of suing someone for bringing up the fact he was convicted and the fact he took millions of dollars from Hollinger.

And he's still trying to get the other author who wrote about himself, Tom Bower, for 2.5 million dollars. He's suing Bower for the same reason - bringing up the fact he took a lot of money from Hollinger International and was convicted for it.

So I say, do you part and defend these authors. Buy Thieves of Bay Street. Now only are you helping an investigative journalist pay for a defence against Richie Rich Conrad Black, you're going to have good material in your hands.

(1) BURROUGH, BRYAN. "'Wrong Way' and 'Lord Black': Board Game." The New York Times 2 Jan. 2005
(2)Conrad Black, A Life in Progress, p.125

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jesse Brown gets it.

He's a quote from him, on The Agenda regarding the Wentegate.

"It's not Darn Trends. It's not Darn Internet [that caused Wente's plagiarism]. We're talking about a specific thing here.... It's not so much the  [Wente] response, but is the Globe [and Mail] okay? And this brings up questions about the Globe that needs to be addressed. Why is their public editor a Globe and Mail lifetime employee? Other places don't do that. The CBC ombudsman is an outsider, the NYT public editor represents the reader. It is very hard to do that job effectively if you have lifetime careers relationships with the entire newsroom. How deeply do you want to dig, I guess is the question? Because we may see some uncomfortable things we don't want to talk about. There are cultures in Canadian media of entitlement and hubris and cronyism and some nepotism. There some ugliness here. There's stuff here we don't talk about in the field because we want to play nicely with each other."

This is probably not completely accurate, but this is essentially what he said.

This perfectly supplements my post on this whole affair.

Monday, October 1, 2012

RESIGN.

Asking for a Minister to resign in 2012 is about as useful for asking a backbencher to resign. If a Minister had some autonomy, such a call would make sense. Don't fool yourself, though, the Prime Minister is the puppet master - he should be the one who you direct your calls to.

Yes, Harper - he should resign, obviously.