Tuesday, August 26, 2008

'Lympics Shlympics

I'm proud to say I didn't watch the opening ceremonies. I didn't watch diving, swimming, running, jumping; I didn't watch the closing ceremonies or follow the number of medals Canada won. It wasn't so much a boycotting issue (although I recall that in 1980 61 countries boycotted Russia's Olympics over its invasion of Afghanistan), and it wasn't only because I don't have a television connected to cable or the complimentary 4 channels Calgary offers. I don't give a flying fuck about the olympics. The papers were filled with gleaming and teary faces. Bush got drunk and stumbled about Beijing while Georgia and Russia faught for control of South Ossetia. I have always felt that the Olympics eclipse the news that actually impacts the world. ANYWAY, with all the attention on China's political history and past and current strategies, the world shakes fingers at a nation with dirty hands. But as Yves Engler rants in Rabble News, as Canadians let's take a look in the mirror at our own dirty faces:

So many words written or spoken about human rights violations, lip-synching, suppression of Tibet, taped fireworks, Communist dictatorship, evil Chinese nationalism and yet what about context? Or what about how Canada might seem to them?

Has any media discussed Canada’s decades-long support of British imperialism in China? Opium War anyone? Dividing the country up among European powers?

How about Canadian business, missionary and diplomatic support for Japan’s brutal invasion of China in the 1930s? What about the weapons and $60 million Ottawa sent to aid Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang fighting Mao’s forces after World War II? Certainly one of the outraged Canadian columnists could have found room to mention Ottawa’s refusal to recognize the Chinese Communist government for 21 years?

For many years this refusal to recognize the new government was justified by citing Chinese "aggression" in the Korean War that left four million dead. During that war Canada sent 27,000 troops halfway across the world, partly in response to China’s revolution the previous year. China, on the other hand, only intervened after 500,000 hostile troops approached its border with northern Korea.

From historical amnesia concerning Canada-China relations through Tibet and Sudan the media’s double standard is glaring.

Does anyone believe that prior to Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics we will see a media barrage about the British Columbia land stolen from First Nations? Interviews on all the TV networks with spiritual leaders of the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh? Does it take a graduate degree in history to see the parallels between the actions of the Chinese government in Tibet and the European settlement of Canada?

Or, how about comparing Canada’s role in the Congo to China’s role in Sudan?

Ultiimately, it's our own personal responsibility to know what's happening in the world and take whatever action we feel necessary. But whether or not we watch the Olympics or even, in 2010 & 2012, attend the Olympics in Vancouver and London, the chess games of military powers go on and in my opinion that very Chess Game is the ultimate and most important, world-impacting game of all.


First Person: Excerpts from the Beat Within
Personal essays from prostitutes, gang members, and other incarcerated teenagers.

Via Mother Jones

Prepare for Heart Wrenching.

Jekyl & Heidi

I found this book review on Boing Boing this morning and am intrigued:

Screenwriter/producer Lauren McLaughlin's YA novel debut, Cycler is just out, and just in time -- this is a book that the kids in your life really need to read, a gender-bending piece of speculative fiction aimed at young people that manages to say novel, useful, and challenging things about gender and sexuality without ever descending into squicky fluid-exchange or soapy romance.
Jill McTeague has a secret: every 28 days, at the start of her menstrual cycle, she...changes. Painful, graphically, her body transforms into an adolescent male form, and her mind is remade as Jack McTeague, an angry, horny teenaged boy who stays locked in Jill's room for four days until she comes back to reclaim her body and mind. Her stepfordwife mom is mortified by this, and bent on ensuring that none of their neighbors in their affluent Massachusetts suburb discover their family's dark secret, and her absentee father (moved into the basement years ago to practice meditation and yoga) is no help either.

Jill does everything she can to pretend that her four-day absences just don't happen, while Jack seethes and rages against his captivity, in chapters that alternate between both points of view. Both characters are flawed and likable, smart but dumb about emotional stuff in exactly the way I was when I was a teenager. McLaughlin does an admirable job of nailing the voice of Jack -- I know that hormone-addled, enraged teenaged boy. I was that boy.

McLaughlin's screenwriting background carries through well, too: the plot is faultless, building from the weird premise (and the concomitant weirdness) to a series of ever-more-desperate scenarios that have you rooting for Jack and Jill even as you facepalm yourself and peer between your fingers at the wreck they're making of their lives.

This is a book about sex and love, and it's got a lot of it -- but not steamy between-the-sheets stuff (though there's some of that). Instead, McLaughlin's sex and love happens between the ears, in the realm of the mind and its contradictory and embarrassing and fickle passions. Through it all, there's always something redeeming happening, some sense that these people might, somehow, muddle through.

I've got a few years before my newborn daughter needs to start thinking about these things, but this is one I'm putting on the shelf for when she does.

Dialogue about menstruation is lacking for young people and this book sounds like it hits a lot of the emotional issues of being an adolescent on the menstrual metaphorical nail!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Lilith Attack has turned One this month!Thanks to all my readers, visitors and those who take the time to comment and connect!

In solidarity,
Lilith Attack

Endorsing Anne Lagacé Dowson

This is the first I've read about Anne Lagacé Dowson (bio), but BoingBoing writer Cory Doctorow extols her virtues and offers his support. One to watch!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On Feminism

Published in the Calgary Herald and last week by Canwest in the Edmonton Journal, writer Misty Harris takes a look at the problem facing young women who are identifying with feminism: the stripper pole or social activism?

Bombarded by a dizzying array of ideas and images, individuals believe girl power is synonymous with short skirts as much as advanced education. They are demonstrating their independence through community involvement and at the stripper pole. And even as young females are equalling male achievements in math and science competitions, they're matching them shot for shot in bars -- studies show more college women are "drinking like men" and getting drunk more today than in the last 20 years.

It's all evidence of how young women are seeking to make their way in a culture of conflicting messages, experts say.

"They don't realize it's a lot more complicated."


Buh Bye, ugly american death sucker!

Krispy Kreme exits Calgary

and here.

Janes in Love

Via Boing Boing this morning:

Janes in Love: graphic novel is a call-to-art for young people

The P.L.A.I.N. Janes are an arts collective made up of high-school girls all named Jane, who stage daring, commando-style public art projects in the dead of night, transforming their tight-ass suburb into an outdoor art gallery. They're not just in it for the hell of it, either: their little suburb was the site of a terrorist scare and bombing that has everyone on edge and baying for authority.

The Janes won't take this lying down. They refuse to be terrorized, and continue making their art, even though it gets them in trouble with the authorities and their parents, and nearly drives them apart.

But the Janes aren't just serious art-guerrillas; they're also teenaged girls, and the art-shenanigans aren't doing much for their love-lives, or their friendships.

I've recently been reading woman-centred graphic novels/comic books and this is one I definitely want to check out!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


A news report, "Fit and Fat: It's Possible" by Reuters actually questions the West's linking of fat and health. I know a lot of slender women who have been on some very dangerous diets or eat poorly or drink nothing but powder drinks and are very far from healthy. Skinny is not necessarily healthy. (a) does not equal (b). Remember this!!!