Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Born Again

I feel like a child again, except that the people who are behaving like my parents have no right to treat me that way.

My landlord and especially my landlady have a lot of rules about what I can and can't do in their house. I respect that they leave part of their house untouched except for visitors and I can even allow that they charge money for laundry, even though their ad said that utilities were "all included." I can even understand that they would rather not see me too much (or at least that's the impression I get from them).

But I feel like they're going too far when they indirectly tell me that my sister can't visit me. They haven't actually said that yet, but I feel like they might. And even if they do let her stay, it's like they're making a huge sacrifice and doing me a gigantic favour. It's not a favour and I'm an adult and I have the right to let my sister stay with me in my room that I'm paying rent for. She's not loud and she doesn't use a lot of utilities (and I even offered to pay for what she does use).

I don't like paying people that make me feel like it's an honour that they let me stay here at all. If it wasn't such a good deal (compared to other places), I would be out of here in a second.

(Don't get me wrong; they're nice people, but they are not my parents and even if they were, I'm 23 and paying them for the space I use, so I think I should have a few more rights.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Let's Lie to the World! Whee!!!

It's scary. Sun TV is set to start off sometime soon. Sun TV is Harper's propaganda channel, sort of like Fox News in the States. It was supposed to be obligatory for all cable companies to provide it and for public funding to support it, but people got up in arms around it and quickly shut that one down.

So now they're going after the journalism laws. They want to change it so that journalists are allowed to broadcast or report information that they know to be false. If that doesn't scare you, then sit back for a second and think about it. If this goes through, we won't be able to trust any news source again. It'll be pretty hard to discern truth from lie.

Also, it will be easy to publicize propaganda, as well as almost impossible to keep an eye on the government. That's one of the main jobs of the media, by the way. Letting the public know what the government is doing in their name.

Not anymore.

At the same time as all this, CBC news is suffering staff and funding cuts. No biggie, right? Well, essentially, since radio and TV have now been combined, there's no competition between the two, which means it's more regulated from the top, which means there's a lot less independent journalism going on. Which means, we don't get as much information and it's much more selective.

The Harper government isn't stupid. It's so clever, it's scary. Really scary. It's surreptitious and doesn't seem to be related, because it doesn't seem to all be happening at once or in relation to one another. Even though it is. Which is what gives them away.

Oh. And they have a little sub-clause in the proposed amendment to the journalism laws that says the misleading or incorrect information can only be reported if it's not obvious that it will directly harm anybody. Pretty thin protection, if you ask me. Anyone with a good legal mind can argue that they didn't know it would harm someone, at least not directly.

Avaaz has this to say: "The proposed changes to regulations protecting Canadian airwaves would require any complaint to include proof that the broadcaster knew that the news was false AND that the lies spread could endanger the lives, health or safety of the public -- so a journalist could tell any lie they liked as long it didn't kill or sicken anyone. Proponents within the CRTC are claiming that this change is in reaction to a Supreme Court decision, but that ruling was made fifteen years ago and has almost nothing to do with TV news standards.

Television news is regulated by the CRTC precisely because news that spreads lies degrades public discourse and destroys the ability of Canadians to cast an informed vote. These kinds of lies may not directly threaten our lives or personal security, but they do threaten our country and our democracy."

Sign the petition here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/canada_fair_and_balanced/?cl=944297857&v=8398

Friday, February 4, 2011


Everywhere we go, we follow paths. Our cars drive along paved pathways, many of which were once horse or dogsled trails. When we walk, even when we take shortcuts, we follow the same trajectory that others have followed. Over time, these trajectories become physically apparent. Grass wears down to dirt; the streak of dirt widens. Eventually, it gets covered in gravel or concrete. The path has been institutionalized, petrified. It is now a physical reality.

Snow covers our pathways so completely that an outsider would never know there is a path at that spot. A fresh white blanket obscures where we walk, making it difficult to take our normal routes. But humans are obstinate and plow their way through (sometimes literally). At first, a single person plods through the snow, creating a trail of footprints that marks the way. Others follow and soon the trail of footprints begins to blend into a wider, packed path. If it doesn't snow again too soon, the trail widens and becomes more packed (and more brown).

Paths are a collective effort, a group expression of pedestrian travel across a certain distance. We take them for granted and yet we follow them with precision, even when obstacles appear. We are determined to recreate our paths. Recent newcomers are shown the pathways and pass on that knowledge to later newcomers. Paths are engrained in us and yet very rarely do we stop and contemplate the many footsteps, the many single instances of recognition that have gone into creating them.