Thursday, September 15, 2016

A White Straight Cis Man's Opinion About [REDACTED]

(original post deleted before it was ever published)

Today I read something annoying on someone else's Facebook wall, all about ___________. I messaged a safe space friend to bitch about it (they're one of the handful of people I can say literally anything to), and when they agreed that I'm not being unreasonable I started writing a big long think piece about the annoying thing with the intention of publishing it on my blog.

Then I started wondering if it's a good idea to post my thoughts on _______, what with the general tone of things lately. I flip-flopped between playing it safe by not posting and standing my ground to speak my mind.

The frustration of not being able to state an informed opinion without being torn to shreds kept me writing.

The possibility of this blowing up in my face and affecting my musical career, even though my music and ______ are completely unrelated, kept me from posting.

The fact that deep down in my heart I know I'm being reasonable, and that I'm not being ____-ist or ____-ist kept me writing.

The knowledge that someone could screen-cap the juicy bits and show those around the internet to "prove" what a ____-ist monster I am kept me from posting.

The idea that maybe, just maybe, I could post my thoughts and then enjoy a healthy discussion about ________ kept me writing.

The frustration of knowing that my opinions will be misconstrued, regardless of how many disclaimers or detailed explanations I include to show how reasonable I am, kept me from posting.

The knowledge that I would get all sorts of hurrahs and high fives from my like-minded friends kept me writing.

The possibility that a certain number of my friends have had enough of drama and bullshit on their Facebook walls and would unfollow me as a result kept me from posting.

Then I realized that however valid my opinion on ______ is, it doesn't really matter in the big picture because I'm not directly involved in ______ and am not affected one way or the other by how it plays out. I'm just watching from the sidelines as other people annoyingly go about their business. ______ affects me exactly zero, so I decided to just leave it be.

However, I'm still frustrated. Hence, this post.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Besmirching My Good Name? That's A Paddlin'

Disclaimer: the title of this blog post should not be construed as pro-violence against women. It's a Simpsons joke, poking fun at corporal punishment against children. In this case, it's a verbal paddlin'. Please stop jumping to conclusions, people.

It's come to my attention that maybe some people are threatening the two people involved in this debate. If it's specifically about my blog post, or about Queersgate in general, let's set one thing straight: NOT FUCKING COOL. You're giving me and my other well-behaved white brethren (yes, I know you're a white male, I wasn't born yesterday) a bad name. Please don't do this.

I promised myself I wouldn't speak up. I comforted myself in knowing that the majority of people who know me recognize my good nature and think I'm pretty rad. But then I started thinking about the people that don't know me.

Click this link for some unbiased back story. For the people that don't know me, I'm the Greg mentioned in the article.

I've been very vocal about this, engaging the petition's authors and their supporters on Facebook. I've tried to keep it civil, I promise. I know that most times, taking the high road is best because it shows my dedication to reason and common sense. Trust me, the juvenile part of me wants to mock and tease and prod the social justice bear, but I kept to the high road to see if we could actually have a proper discussion on the subject.

Turns out, that doesn't matter. I woke up to some unsettling news today: someone was talking smack about me on the internet, and there was nothing I could do to defend myself. I'm blocked from their page, so I had to use someone else's  profile to view and take screenshots.

This person and I have many common friends on Facebook, but they also have well over 500 other friends who don't know me from Adam. That's a lot of people who, if they read this, will walk away thinking I'm racist and sexist. I should also add that the following discussion is actually between two people, both of whom have equal contempt for me due to my previous anti-social justice warrior ramblings.

I blacked out the names of all directly and indirectly involved parties. But I present the discussion in full, as well as some very important rebuttals. I care because this is a direct attack on me, in a public forum on the professional page of a local burlesque performer, full of people that know my wife through her important work in the burlesque community in Ottawa. I don't need people thinking she married me despite (and by association, endorses) my allegedly racist and sexist views. Also, I guess I do care about my own reputation somewhat. Ok, a lot. I'm only human.

1. You're absolutely right, we do not owe each other discretion. However, we do owe each other the courtesy of being able to speak on our own behalves in order to defend ourselves (comments are open to you on this article, by the way). In this situation I'm being called out by my full legal name, which is NOT my "public figure" name, in a thread where I'm blocked from viewing without having to use someone else's account, and am blocked from commenting.

I chose to black out the names of all involved because I'm less concerned with making them look bad as I am making me look not bad.

2. I don't know what my opinions RE Blackpussygate have to do with this, and you didn't make it terribly clear. When you refer back to Queersgate, you're implying that I said public outrage is invalid because slacktivism. Actually, I said THIS particular piece of outrage (the anti-Queers petition) is invalid because slacktivism. I said from the start that I have no opinion one way or the other on Joe Queer's attitudes or behaviour, and that this wasn't an anti-social justice warrior post, this was only about the validity of the petition, which I felt sorely lacked in any convincing evidence (both within and in the article linked within) that would merit cancelling a show. I understood from the get-go how my stance could be misinterpreted, and worded everything carefully so that I wouldn't be misunderstood. Clearly that didn't work.

3. The very essence of my initial complaint was "show me more proof". I read every reply of the thread obsessively, much to the detriment of my day job, hoping that I would find satisfaction. There was literally nothing. If you posted links, I never saw them. I never saw any anti-black stuff beyond the Darren Wilson stuff, I never saw a single mention of transmisogynist views and behaviour, and these two complaints where THE FOCAL POINT of the petition.

Either way, even if said links exist and I just missed them, that doesn't matter and here's why: the initial petition was never modified to show additional evidence. The petition was the only source of communication (to my knowledge) between Babely Shades and the promoter/venue. It's certainly the only widely public communication. Everything else is buried in Facebook comments or private messages (if it exists at all), which you can't expect everyone to read. So at the top of the pile remains the original petition, which calls out the band in a very specific way but continues to provide poor evidence in support of said accusation. THAT is what the general public is going to see and form their opinions on, not the ensuing discussion.

Look, I'm no lawyer but burden of proof is a pretty straightforward concept. If you make an accusation, the onus is on YOU to show guilt, not on anyone else to prove innocence. It's not my job to scour the entire internet looking for a negative result. The best I could do is say "I didn't see anything after 10 Google pages" whereas you can say "Here are 20 links supporting our claims".

Also, hyperlinking may or may not constitute defamation, depending on the statements accompanying the link, but I'll bet you whole lot of money that issuing a petition to the general public wherein specific claims are made against an individual and wherein there is a demand that this person should be barred from performing and getting paid... that is very much defamation should said claims be proven untrue in a court of law. The whole point of defamation law is to prevent the dissemination of falsehoods against an individual in such a way as to ruin their reputation and/or livelihood. This is exactly that, even without taking links into consideration.

4. Nice, thanks. That stings. Wait I don't care, I haven't told any lies to damage someone's reputation. I said weak evidence this and be responsible that, but I never told a single untruth, nor did I name anyone by... uh, name.

5. How did women of colour get pulled into this conversation? This is about anti-black behaviour, specifically RE Michael Brown's shooting death. You can make the stretch that Joe Queer is anti-black and that he's also anti-woman, and so is therefore anti-black women, but these are stretches that YOU are making, not me.

I can't defend myself within that thread, and anyone who doesn't bother to research what I've written on my website (I assume it'll be most people who are reading these comments) will now walk away with the impression that I mock women of colour, which is categorically untrue. If anything, THIS constitutes defamation.

6a. This is in reference to my not being part of the punk scene, or a fan of The Queers, which somehow invalidates my opinions. That's neither here nor there, because I'll bet you cash money that the majority of people reading that petition aren't punks or Queers fans either.

One might think that when I first saw the petition, I immediately set out to disprove it, but it's quite the opposite: I read it and thought "Oh geez, another fallen rock icon who's actually a terrible person", and scrolled down to the bottom of the page, expecting a bunch of links to back up the claims.

Instead I found one link, and was very disappointed by the lack of supporting evidence at said link. This is when I started questioning the validity of the petition, and here we are.

Fans of The Queers or members of the punk scene might know more about Joe Queer than I, but that doesn't matter. This petition is asking the general public, WHO DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE QUEERS OR OTTAWA'S PUNK SCENE, to pass judgement based on the "evidence" you provided.

6b. I can't believe this keeps coming up as an argument, but at the same time can I really be surprised? I stressed over and over that I was looking for MORE information, not less. I didn't want to silence them, I wanted them to speak louder and more clearly. Imagine a gathering with a big banner that says JOE QUEER IS BAD and me yelling "Speak up, we can't hear you in the back of the room!"

There's a foregone conclusion that I'm trying to silence women of colour through this entire debate, and it's making me crazy that no matter how many times I try to clarify that this isn't the case, this keeps coming up as fact.

Listen: I'm trying to help you use your social justice powers more responsibly by asking you to improve your petition. If you can't do that, you're silencing yourself.

7. See point 3, and point 6a. I'd like to repeat that my knowledge of the band in question has ZERO to do with the validity of the petition. Somehow, this became a sticking point for them. In fact, I've received positive comments along the lines of "I can't believe you're doing this and you don't even know the band". I'm fighting for fairness all around, as opposed to fairness towards everyone non-white/male/etc.

Also, we live in a day and age where I now have to clarify that the above statement should not be held in the same regard as those #alllivesmatter idiots. Don't lump me in, that's just lazy.

8. I was responding to the actions of someone who thinks they have the authority to police the fate of a concert with many, many willing participants in the crowd, of all shapes and sizes and colours. It's one thing to voice your opinion, more power to you. But knowing that your opinion, in the form of a petition that will likely pressure the show into getting cancelled? That's police brutality if you don't have a damned good reason to shoot.

9. I applaud the attempt to have their voices heard before the show. I'm not generally a fan of petitions to cancel concerts or speakers based on their previous comments or actions, but if you feel you absolutely have to, then do it right. Not once in my article did I ask them to take down the petition, even though I don't agree with this practice. I only asked them to write a better petition.

Incidentally, I named Babely Shades because they wrote the damn thing and put their name all over it. Don't talk like I singled them out. Hell, I'd never heard of them before this all started.

10a. I think it's pretty clear that my petition is one-off joke to conclude my much more detailed blog post on the subject, the one full of supposedly shitty things. Let's focus on that going forward.

10b. Again with the silencing. Don't paint with such broad strokes, it shows that you never really read my blog post, or if you did, you went in with your mind made up and nothing would ever change that. You're actually making yourself look bad by repeatedly claiming something that I denied right from the beginning.

10c. I tried from the start to have a critical discussion and was immediately shut out for being a white male. That's frustrating as hell, I want you to know that. I also know that most non-white/non-male/non-straights know all too well how frustrating it is. How the hell can we get anything accomplished if no one is listening to each other?

10d. And there it is, the direct accusation against me that a friend messaged me about, alerting me to this thread that I don't actually have access to or the ability to defend myself on.

Look, the words racist and sexist are highly open to interpretation as to their severity, but can have profoundly bad consequences if thrown around loosely (especially the race one, duh).

I don't have a racist bone in my body, but I also know that this statement is usually met with "Yeah that's what all racists say". What in the hell are people who actually aren't racist supposed to say, if the claim "I'm not racist" means "I'm actually racist"?

I'm not going to bang my head against the wall trying to prove I'm not racist or sexist. I've seen this fail so many times by other people because of an unreceptive audience.

And look, I'm not the type to try to follow this up in court. Everyone knows that I don't have enough money to even look up a lawyer in the phone book. Even if I did, I'd let this one go because it's not worth the drama or stress for either of us.

But I want to go on record to say that this statement is highly defamatory, as it's a direct and false attack on my character. It's bullshit and you have lessened yourself in the eyes of many in our shared community by making this statement when they all know it to be categorically untrue.

You know damn well that this is personal. We hate each other, and we both know it. But I've got the class to keep my mouth shut and let you live your life without calling you names on the internet.

And now, some Everly Brothers to take us home

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Social Justice Warrior? Or Social Justice Lazy Vigilante...

If anyone dismisses this as just another anti-SJW piece, you're missing the point. Read it again
UPDATE, Jan 31, 9:14pm, status: high as a kite.

I've been shown some further evidence that was dug up after my complaint. Some I've seen before, some brand new. It certainly doesn't paint Joe Queer in a good light. I believe that they hoped I would update my post with links to said evidence, in the spirit of fair journalism.

I appreciate the sentiment, it's a valid point. But I refuse, on the grounds that it doesn't matter that I have the evidence, what matters is that the general public still doesn't, because the petition hasn't been updated to reflect this. Nitpicking, I know. I don't care. I'm frustrated because I've taken every chance I could to be civil and was ridiculed and mocked the entire time, mostly behind my back. Now, finally a peace offering of sorts. I get it. But I won't do it. Call it a matter of principle, call it me being stubborn and frustrated.

It's YOUR responsibility to make this evidence public. You started it, you finish it. 

As for the general public, you can also contact Babely Shades on Facebook (there's link the text below somewhere) and ask them for the list of links. You really should, it'll make you think twice about the whole thing. Might not change your mind but it'll nudge it a bit.

original blog post
Here we go again.

This time around, it's someone who doesn't want The Queers to play in Ottawa. They made an online petition and have posted it on the Facebook event page for the show. Take a look, then come back and we'll talk.

Voila le link

Welcome back!

You're probably expecting me to be all "This is bullshit PC police bullying, let the band play, freedom of speech, neener neener", but I'm actually not.

Not that I agree with these people. Fact is, I don't know who to agree with, because I know literally nothing about Joe Queer and the things he's said and done in the past. But here's what I do know: this petition does DIDDLY FUCKIN' SQUAT to convince me. I read the whole thing and, based on the meat of their argument ("This band is known for holding and perpetuating anti-Black and transmisogynist views"), I thought hey let's click the link they provided to see what proof they have.

Here's their proof:

Un autre link

To sum up their proof that The Queers are spreading anti-Black and transmisogynist hate speech, we have:

1) Lead singer Joe Queer has indicated that he maybe supports Darren Wilson after the shooting death of Michael Brown, and posted a link to a fundraiser in the policeman's honour.

DISCLAIMER: I think the cop is an asshole who should burn in fuck hell for eternity

2) Joe Queer sort of defended Ben Weasel for punching a lady who may have had it coming.

Their complaint specifies transmisogyny yet there's no mention of it at all in either the petition or the linked article. It seems that this accusation is either a) because he associates with Ben Weasel, who has used the word "tranny" in a derogatory way (but there's no direct instance of Joe defending Ben Weasel's alleged transmisogyny) or b) they think that Ben Weasel and Joe Queer are the same person. I'm going to go with A, which means the petition is based on the fact that he's friends with a person who used a derogatory slur in a blog post.

As for anti-black preaching, there's only the instance of Joe Queer offering some level of support for Darren Wilson. While I understand that supporting Darren Wilson might seem a little sketchy, it doesn't immediately equate to racism or the preaching thereof. That's an awfully dangerous leap to be making, especially when you're trying to cancel the band's performance.

It's one thing to think "This man is an unsavoury character, I would not give him the time of day if I met him because he has ugly thoughts, and I certainly wouldn't go to his show if it puts money in his pocket". It's another thing to say "This man in an unsavoury character, I'm going to go out of my way to stop him, as well as his band, the opening bands, the venue and staff, from getting paid because I don't agree with his ways". If you're going to go that far, you'd better damn well have something to back up your complaint besides one flimsy article that really doesn't say much.

What I'm trying to say is: if you're gonna fuck with people's shit in your self-appointed role as social justice warrior, be prepared to do it responsibly. Think about what you're posting, think HARD; baseless accusations make you look like an asshole and give proper social justice warriors a bad name.

The group responsible for the post is Babely Shades.  This Ottawa group exists for the purpose of dismantling "the white supremacy in our communities in order to allow more folks of colour to participate in local arts". A commendable goal to be sure, but I have beef with their methods.  When they posted the link to the petition on their own page, the expanded the claims against The Queers:

Violent artists shouldn't make a cent off of this city. Artists who support and promote white supremacy, police murders and transmisogyny are hurting marginalized people. 
Now the band is "violent". The entire band. Because Joe Queer is friends with Ben Weasel. Now this band supports and promotes white supremacy, because of one link posted on a Facebook page.

These are VERY strong words in today's extra sensitive climate, and they're being used with the utmost irresponsibility by people just looking for a fight. Well I gave it to 'em.

I asked them to provide further evidence of Joe Queer's evil ways:

 I was met with immediate hostility. I was mocked and ridiculed, or told to do the research myself.

-that article is pretty comprehensive and has a lot of damning evidence if you actually read it over
-I don't think you understand how racism works
-where did u study law [in response to my claim that they're committing defamation and could be sued over these kinds of things]
-perhaps my disdain for you was clouding my perception
-it shouldn't be an expectation that every time someone sputters 'fascist!' people should rush to provide receipts for said person, especially when the links are within 3 cm of clicking space
On top of all that, here's a delightful photo essay that a trans woman put together for everyone's benefit:

Uhhhhh... I don't even know how offended I'm supposed to be, because I still stand by the very words that they're using to mock me, so... ?

Anyone familiar with hardcore social justice warriors already knows the problem: the colour of my dick. Because I'm a cis white straight dude, I'm immediately ignored or mocked. The worst kind of social justice warriors will immediately dismiss my comments and opinions, and if I call them out on it (ie in a post like the one you're reading now), then here come the mocking cries of "Oooh look at the white dude who's all butthurt because no one listens to him".

I don't believe in some Original Sin that I've committed by virtue of having a white dick. I have helpful thoughts and opinions too, much like many of my white dicked brethren. If you want white cis dudes to fall in line, you have to listen to what they have to say. This is what you want them to do for you, isn't it? To listen to you instead of dismissing you?

A few lines back I said "the worst kind of social justice warrior", meaning there must be a best kind, right? I happen to be friends with one. Not "getting coffee together" friends, but online friends who occasionally bump into each other in public. We disagree on quite a lot of things, but we also respect each other's general level of intelligence, and our discourse shows it. When it comes to social justice issues, she's very good at listening to what I have to say, and then telling me her point of view in a way that makes me think about what I just said in a different context. She has the ability to sway me because instead of brushing me off, she engages and enlightens. It's amazing and I've frequently referred to her as my favourite social justice warrior.

Listen: if you're going to use your social justice powers to make change, by all means do it. Your voice has every right to be heard, as does mine and anyone else's. BUT if you're going to the go the extra step and start an online smear campaign in order to remove money from a professional musician's pocket (as well as all the collateral damage listed earlier), you'd better damn well back up your claims.

This Queers petition is slacktivism at its worst, and an outright abuse of social justice power, and it needs to be rectified: please sign my petition

Saturday, December 26, 2015

An Open Letter To Jeff From Season 2 Episode 17 of Doogie Howser M.D.

Dear Jeff,

You were hired to paint an inspirational mural in the hospital alongside a bunch of children. Doogie's best friend Vinnie was enlisted to document the entire process on video.

Early in the episode, you admitted to having AIDS.  Despite having been fired from the mural project over parental concerns, you took the high road and taught Doogie that instead of getting even with those who scorned you, he should use the opportunity to educate.  You also taught Doogie's parents to live for the moment, which they took to heart by cancelling their yearly Hawaiian vacation so they could go white water rafting in Colorado. You taught Vinnie's girlfriend that she shouldn't let indecision prevent her from having a future, and that it's ok to take chances when you're young. Doogie put it best in his diary entry:

Funny how a guy who's dealing with death showed us all how to live.

Jeff, you are an amazing person and your strength in the face of adversity is an inspiration to us all. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, for predicting that the story would play out with Vinnie busting in on you to capture a candid moment, only to discover you molesting one of the children.

Monday, November 23, 2015


My mind was blown today. Thought I'd share.

I was trying really hard not to stare at the sun this morning. It was especially bright, making driving hard but making the walk in the cold a bit more pleasant with its warm radiant glow. I started thinking about how neat it is that life on Earth exists only because we're just the right distance from this gigantic perpetual explosion so fierce that light takes 8 minutes to travel here, yet we can still feel its warmth and not burn up and die. We're on the luckiest rock in the loneliest place, to quote a song by Hollerado.

Then I started thinking about light. Light comes in many forms on Earth, but the only naturally occurring source of regular light is the sun. Before fuckin' flashlights and stuff, we used the light of the sun (be it direct or bouncing off the moon) to make our way through this world. It's pretty neat that higher life forms have adapted eyesight as a way to passively observe our surroundings, as opposed to actively like bats using sonar to "see". Light is already there and we just take advantage of it.

Then I started thinking about the nature of light. It's made of photons, we all know that. Photons zip through the universe at the speed of light, and when they bounce off of things and into our eyes, our brains recognize the stimulus of incoming photons and, depending on the wavelength, interpret them as different colours or shades. The ability to distinguish between different colours and shades is what allows us to see this stuff.

Then I realized: all these photons were around for billions of years before the first eyeball ever evolved. Before the first light-sensitive cells evolved. So... what in the hell were photons doing before we arrived to observe them? We take for granted that light is there to show us what's up the road, but never to stop to think that if we weren't there to observe the different wavelengths of photons being bounced off that dead cat, the dead cat would still be visible in the sense that photons are bouncing off it at different wavelengths no matter what.

So why are the photons even there? What's the point of the different wavelengths? We observe them daily but this phenomenon wasn't put there for our benefit. We adapted to an already existing system in order to take advantage for evolutionary and survival purposes, but those photons have been bouncing around the universe on their own since forever, for no good reason that I can think of.

If a tree falls in a forest...

Neat side note: have you ever noticed that when you look at a picture of the sun online (or in a magazine, Grandma), you perceive it as extra bright, when in reality it's the exact same shade of white as the background of the Google page (or the paper, Grandma)? Go ahead, scroll up and try it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

All Y'all Need To Check ALL Y'all's Privilege

A few things to make clear from the get-go: 
-This is not an #alllivesmatter protest;
-This is not an attack on the PC police;
-This is in no way meant to poo-poo the daily struggles of the disadvantaged or oppressed;
-This is an attempt to get you to think of inherent privilege as a broad spectrum of advantage and disadvantage that has been and always be a big part of society, instead of just my "my people vs. yours".

Here goes, and apologies for the lack of snark you were probably expecting:

I am the most privileged of them all: a physically able, white, cis, straight, male with no disfigurements and with decent hair. I could use some more money, but I'm mostly ok. Next in line is all of the above except female. It's possible she makes less money than I, depending on her field. Otherwise, she's ok.

I recognize my privilege, I do. Still, it really grinds my gears when my privilege is used against me in an argument or debate, as if the colour of my skin, the shape of my genitals or the number of my limbs negates my opinions or makes me unable to empathize with someone less fortunate than I. But whatever, you can't expect every internet debate to be rational on all sides.

Here's the thing about privilege: we all have it. ALL. Privilege is contextual, and only works if you frame it within the context of another person's station in life. Privilege is a case by case basis, and there will always be someone with more or less privilege than you. Heck in some situations, you and the guy next to you can swap amounts of privilege based on particular circumstances.

An example:

A) A white man, born to dirt-poor parents and of average intelligence, can't afford to go to college.
B) A black man, born to middle class parents and of average intelligence, who can afford to go to college but just barely.

Who's more privileged? The white man might be when he walks into Starbucks or is stopped by the police, yes. But the black man is when it comes to getting a leg up on the job market. No guarantees that it'll land him a job and a great life long career, but you can't deny that his chances are much higher than the poor white guy with no degree.

I chose black and white for the above example because it's a hot topic right now: you've got your #blacklivesmatter people and you've got your #iamwhiteanddonotfeelguiltyaboutit people.

But privilege has SO SO SO many different forms that are unrelated to racial/ethnic or gender differences.

Let's look at a few. These will seem obvious on their own but I'm going for a big picture kinda thing here so bear with me...

  • Ablebodiedness: There are really obvious differences in privilege when you're talking about number of limbs and/or ability to use them, but there are subtle things too. Some people are disabled in ways that you can't see, and it seriously fucks with their lives. Diabetics who starve because they can barely afford insulin. People with chronic pain disorders, the cause of which is often a soul-crushing mystery. They'll always have struggles that you can't even begin to imagine, despite their privileged outward appearance.
  • Attractiveness: Besides the unrealistic standards foisted upon us by media/fashion/etc, there's a basic level of human attractiveness that drives us all in our mating rituals. And attractiveness equals privilege in non-sexual ways too. Pretty girls and handsome men will get better service, favourable treatment, that sort of thing. We all know it to be true, as ugly as it is.
  • Body weight: Skinny people have it made, we all know that. Assumptions are made about the obese, regarding their life choices or genetics, without ever knowing the true picture. And within the obese population, you've got privilege if you're at least conventionally attractive. 
  • Skin: Do you have nice skin with no blemishes or acne problems? Congratulations, you're privileged. I recently started getting red spots on my face that come and go at random, which could be eczema or rosacea. I sometimes have red blotchy cheeks when I leave the house and I'm kind of embarrassed about it. It blows. I feel super bad for anyone with a skin condition that they can't do anything about.
  • Bald vs not bald: Self-explanatory. Some bald guys can rock the Bruce Willis shaved look, but that's usually because they're tall, fit and handsome. Think about George Costanza rocking the Bruce Willis and get back to me about whether you think he's really pulling it off. He can't, because he's not tall and handsome. Sad but true.
  • Mental health/personality disorders: If you have a hard time talking to people, strangers or not, you're going to have to expect a rough ride through life.  You'll have to work harder to get and keep jobs and friends. Hell it doesn't even need to be a disorder - you can just be socially awkward and shy and BAM you have less privilege than the personable and friendly guy who just sold you a pair of weird loner pants.
  • Gender reassignment: A person who was born a man but chooses to live her life as a woman faces some non-obvious obstacles: how feminine will she ultimately look, after all the surgery and hormones? Hell, maybe she can't get the procedures and has to remain biologically male the rest of her life.  You can only go so far, and not everyone's gender reassignment ends up on the cover of Vanity Fair. As a result, her struggle for acceptance will be marred by the fact that no matter how hard she tries, she still looks like a man dressed as a woman.  Caitlyn Jenner has privilege over the person in this example, regardless of fame. She pulls off woman better, plain and simple.
  • Skin colour: Ok I said I'd stay away from race but I have to at least offer this up: no matter how much we hate to admit it, people of colour have a leg up in our society if their features are less... non-white. Lighter skin colour, skinny/pointy nose, lips that don't protrude too much, round eyes... people with these types of features have privilege over others of the same race. Look at your Denzel Washingtons and your Halle Berrys. This is another ugly truth about society, and I don't like it any more than you do.

The point I'm trying to make here is that you can't paint the privilege issue with broad strokes. Generalizing based on skin colour or gender is all well and good, but it's a generalization - the same people that cry foul over someone saying "All black people have bla bla bla feature or characteristic" turn around and say "All black people are less privileged". Instead of generalizing and spinning our wheels, let's focus on individuals, what their lack of privilege is, and how we can help them.

Look, whatever your station in life, no matter your skin colour or whatever, recognize the privilege that you have and do your best to give a leg up to those less privileged, but don't fuckin' feel guilty that you have two legs that work. And if you get your jollies yelling at "middle aged cis dudes" for their privilege, don't forget to check your own privilege, which you most definitely have - you need to recognize that you still got it made over the paraplegic transgendered latino woman with facial hair so thick that no amount of estrogen can hide her five o'clock shadow and also she's got Asperger's, and admit to yourself that you're thankful for what privilege you do have.

Friday, November 6, 2015

For This One Little Thing, Rogers Is An Asshole

First off: I'm kind of a fan of Rogers. I've had various dealings with them over the years and they've always been helpful and whatever. Sure it's a bit more expensive, but their shit is reliable and I'm ok spending what I spend with them.

But I have serious beef with their ridiculous mobile data plan schemes. Like SERIOUS beef. Enough beef to write the very thing you're reading right now.  That's a lot of beef.

Their scheme is this: if you pay for 1GB of data a month and go over your limit, they temporarily upgrade you (for that month only) to the next tier of plan, which has a 2GB limit and costs $15 more a month.

So what happens is, no matter how much you go over, they charge you $15. 1MB too much? $15. 1000MB too many? $15. I recently noticed "Oh shit I'm getting close to my limit, better be careful" and tried really hard to stay under my limit. I failed, to the tune of 5.64MB. That's 3 or 4 photos worth of data. One mp3. $15. For the mathematically challenged, that's 0.6% of the total amount of gigabytes I'm being charged for.

Why am I pissed? Because there's no good reason for Rogers to do this besides "...because we want to".

Rogers has clearly demonstrated that they have the ability to count every single MB of data that I use. I get a text message the minute I hit 75% of my cap, and another the minute I go over, this one telling me "Hey, why don't you upgrade your data plan?". Do they just somehow lose the ability to count individual MB between 1 and 2 GB? Of course fucking not, because if I had the 2GB plan they'd sure as shit count every single MB hoping I go over and they can charge me for 3GB.

Why in the hell can't they just have a flat fee for every MB I go over in a given month? The math is super easy, I'll show you: $15/1000MB = fucking charge me 15 cents for every MB I go over.

Remember in the old days when people actually used their cell phones for telephonic purposes? You'd get 200 minutes a month or whatever, and when you went over, you got charged by the minute for all the extra time. Hell, some telecom companies advertised that they billed by the second, so if you talked for 5 minutes and 30 seconds, you paid for that, not 6 minutes.

Bottom line, Rogers needs to implement this sort of fee structure, anything else is completely unjust.

Imagine if you went to your local Esso and pumped $20.01 worth of gas and they rounded it up to $25. First off, you'd be pissed because that's fucked up. Second, if that was just "the way it is", you'd pump the next $4.99 if you had room in your tank because what the hell, you're paying for it.

But if Rogers is going to charge me $15 for 999.5MB of unused data, what the hell am I supposed to do? Stream porn until I reach the 2GB ? I mean that sounds fun and all, but that's what McDonalds WiFi (Powered by Bell) is for.