Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Do people still watch Fox News and like, actually think it's a legitimate and fair representation of the events unfolding around us? Or do people recognise it for the awful and vulgar parody that it is?

Take, for example, the above shrill interview/ expose!!! about an OLD Heather Mallick column in which she wrote about Sarah Palin on her CBC blog. Heather Mallick, who also writes for the Guardian newspaper over here, is a funny, fabulous, feminist and writer and so, I love her. She's outspoken and in a world where outspoken, independent and free-thinking women are viewed as suspicious, uncouth and bitter bitches, Heather Mallick is not free from such unfair judgements.

This isn't the first time Fox News has tried to fuck with Heather Mallick and even Canada. In 2004, Mallick went on the O'Reilly Factor to debate Canada harbouring two American soliders who deserted the military and headed for safety in Canada. You can read about her take on the experience here.

And if you ever want proof that sexism and misogyny is still thriving, you should just read some of the comments on her blog. Most of them, hopefully, will be deleted before you click over there. Nevertheless, I have a feeling that the sudden influx of hateful comments, might have something to do with the recent coverage of Heather's blog post about Palin on Fox "News".

Getting back to the coverage of Mallick's post on Fox "News", just a couple things stand out:

1. The CBC does NOT stand for the "Canadian Broadcasting Company", it's the Canadian Broadcasting CORPORATION

2. Mallick does NOT say Republican men are "sexually" inadequate; rather, she says:

'It's possible that Republican men, sexual inadequates that they are, really believe that women will vote for a woman just because she's a woman.'

Context, Fox News, CONTEXT.

Nor does she actually call Palin an "Alaskan hillbilly" but instead, writes:
'John Doyle, the cleverest critic in Canada, comes right out and calls Palin an Alaska hillbilly. Damn his eyes, I wish I'd had the wit to come up with it first. It's safer than "white trash" but I'll pluck safety out of the nettle danger. Or something.

3. The CBC is not solely supported by Canadian tax payers, as alleged by Fox News. Take a look:

4. Mallick does not solely accuse Palin of looking like a tone downed porn actress but rather, writes:

'Palin has a toned-down version of the porn actress look favoured by this decade's woman, the overtreated hair, puffy lips and permanently alarmed expression. Bristol has what is known in Britain as the look of the teen mum, the "pramface." Husband Todd looks like a roughneck; Track, heading off to Iraq, appears terrified. They claim to be family obsessed while being studiously terrible at parenting. What normal father would want Levi "I'm a fuckin' redneck" Johnson prodding his daughter?'

So, to be fair, Mallick accuses ALL of us ladies favouring a tone downed porn look (and sadly, Mallick is onto something there).

5. And nowhere in Mallick's post can I find her claiming that Palin is sewing up the "white trash vote". Or where she accuses Palin of not really being a woman. Or where Mallick calls out all Palin supporters as white trash.

Overall, the Fox EXPOSE!! is full of so many inaccuracies and hyperbole's, you should read Mallick's full article and then watch Fox News and decide for yourself. To put it bluntly, Fox News is a fucking disgrace to journalism and news programmes.

So, fuck off , Fox News, and stay out of Canada. K, thanks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Apologies for not updating but I was playing host to my visiting Mother last week as well as taking a quick jaunt over to Paris.

This was my second visit to Paris - the first being about eight years when I was a student and backpacking across France and Italy. At the time, I didn't feel like I experienced Paris properly. That is, I was a poor university student, struggling to scrape enough cash together for entry into all the museums and living off baguettes, cheese and nutella for dinner. I never experienced the full sensual Parisian meal and managed to only partake in the morning ritual of coffee and pain au chocolat, before trekking off to my next continental (mis)adventure.

I remember on my second night in Paris, I went to a screening of The Man on the Moon, which - thankfully - was in English with French subtitles. I don't know if it was because I was alone or because I just didn't look Parisian (or French), but I remember almost the whole theatre of sexy Parisians looking at me as I walked into the packed theatre and took the lone seat on the end of the front row.

Suffice to say, my first experience of Paris was a bit intimidating. All the museums, all the thin and equally gorgeous women, all the fashionable sophisticated people, all the world-renowned restaurants and pastry chefs. It can make even the most resilient person question their self-worth! But I loved it. And still do.

I'm delighted to write that my second trip to Paris was amazing - although a bit rushed and not long enough. Three days is just not enough time to fully appreciate Paris, especially when you are flying Ryan Air and need a full day travelling to and from Beauvais airport!

I love Paris and if I weren't so fat and could speak fluent French, I'd probably live there.

Of course, the best part of my second trip to Paris was seeing it all again with my Mom (and not sleeping in a hostel this time)! I was the designated guide and manoeuvred us from one end of the city to the other via the amazing metro system.

Paris, unlike Glasgow and Toronto (ESPECIALLY Toronto), has a brilliant public transportation system, which is subsidized in taxes and hence the cheap travel fare. I'm equally in love with VĂ©lib’ - the public bicycle rental programme in Paris.

My Mother mentioned that everything in Paris seemed so efficient and user-friendly. From the metro to early morning markets, just outside your front door; Paris is definitely a livable and cool city. If only I had kept up my high school French and didn't have such an insatiable sweet tooth!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fuck Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

I received my overseas mailing ballot for the October 14 election this morning and I'll tell you right now: I would sooner NOT vote than vote for Stephen Harper.

I don't like the Conservatives - especially Stephen Harper - and not just because I'm some flaky left-wing hippie. I don't like them and Harper because...well, I guess I'm just enlightened and socially mature. Seriously though, here are just some reasons as to why Harper blows:

- He promised to instate fixed election dates (he lied, and is no doubt, going to profit from calling a snap election)
- He refused to sign onto the Kyoto Protocol
- He is George Bush's lapdog
- He cut all funding from women's advocacy programmes
- He is against same sex marriage
- He is a cyborg

Even though the candidates in my riding (Parkdale-High Park, Toronto!) have yet to be announced, I already know who I am voting for: The NDP!

I love the NDP for many reasons but most of all, because it was founded by an awesome Scottish dude who was way ahead of his time and, not to mention, Keifer Sutherland's Grandfather: Tommy Douglas.

So, please, fellow Canadians: don't sleepwalk to the Polls on October 14th! Do NOT give Harper the majority he wants! If you do, we're officially through!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Other Election

Hey, did you hear about North America's other election? Yeah, probably not.

The lack of interest abroad in Canada's national politics is striking - probably partly a perennial stereotype of Canada as peaceful (read: boring) country, partly because the last eight years have required a heightened focus on the big bag of crazy that the institutional politics of Canada's southern neighbour has become. No one has benefited from this more than Harper: outside of Canada, there's barely been a mention of the fact that even calling this election is a violation of his earlier electoral promise to set fixed election dates, to stop politicians calling elections whenever they're in a favourable position in the polls (can you guess why Harper called the election now?).

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Yesterday, I watched an interesting (although somewhat dated) made-for-TV BBC movie, Just Another Saturday.

The film, written by Glaswegian Peter McDougall, was first broadcast in 1975 and explores sectarian divide in Glasgow. The film takes place on the day of the huge Orange Walk in Glasgow (July 12) and centres around 17-year old John, who is the baton twirler in the Muirhill Flute Band.

John, although somewhat aware of what the Orange order stands for, enjoys taking part in the pomp and circumstance of the marches. As the film progresses however, he slowly becomes disillusioned as his fellow marchers become drunk and purposefully march through a Catholic area of the city, playing offensive songs and as such, all hell breaks lose.

As bottles are thrown, John runs for cover and is pelted with shit (yeah, nasty). The men in the parade seem all too keen to take part in the fighting while John, thoroughly disturbed, retreats into the background. As John's mate exclaims that Scotland is a Protestant country and if they (Catholics) don't like it, they can go home. John seems the only voice of reason and replies, "They're Scottish just the same as you and me".

Watch above clip here

As much as I find Orange walks vulgar (not to mention un-Christian), I'm also kinda intrigued by them. I suppose because previously moving to Glasgow, I had never seen one - let alone, even heard of them, except maybe in passing on the news.

Honestly, the first time I saw an Orange march, I was standing in line at the check out of the Maryhill Tesco when I suddenly heard the booming drums. Turning to the old man behind me, I asked, "What's that?" and pointed to the parade of men outside.

"Aye, that'll be an Orange walk; Scotland's own KKK"

My Glaswegian boyfriend, however, does not share my bewilderment and quickly dismisses the Orange order - as do many Glaswegians. He tells me that most Glaswegians just "get on with it" and pay the Orange order and their walks little attention. He tells me that I seem to be the only one who is pre-occupied with sectarianism while everyone else just ignores it. And he's right.

And maybe that's the problem; maybe people accept that it's just a way of life in Glasgow. Meanwhile, I am totally perplexed by it all. I tend to think that if these marches and organisations were say, pro-Protestant and anti-Jewish, that shit would not go down. It just wouldn't. And maybe if these marches took place in say, New York City, they would just not be accepted. I mean, remember when the KKK marched in New York City and they got their asses kicked?

So, I wonder: are these marches better ignored in the hopes that they just go away (unlikely) or protested in the hopes of showing opposition and fighting for them to be banned from marching?

Again, since moving to Glasgow and realising that Orange marches still take place, I was even more surprised to learn that the Orange order used to be very active in Canada. In the last 40 years, however, the Orange order has become irrelevant to Canadian society.

In an interesting interview from 1984 (that I HIGHLY recommend you listen to), Professor Cecil Houston, author of the book, The Sash Canada Wore, describes why the Orange order has become insignificant in Canada (social maturing, decline of loyalty to the crown, and uhh, "video arcades" - that is, young people realised they had better things to do with their time).

Which all leaves me wondering, can it happen here too?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008


Yesterday was the first Celtic v Rangers game of the new football season and shockingly, my boyfriend had an extra ticket and even more shocking? He took me (i.e. a dirty immigrant who is not emotionally invested in football)! Actually, I was really dying to go because I have heard that Old Firm games are nuts and besides, I've never seen a (near) riot so I thought, "what the hell?"

To be honest, I thought it would be a lot more chaotic and medieval, with people ducking for cover and charging at one another in drunken fervour. However, it was all pretty civilised. Until "the other team" took to the field.

Going to the Old Firm game was unlike anything I have ever experienced; it was wild. Initially, although I was excited to attend, I was also a bit anxious because I fucking hate the whole sectarianism bullshit that is rampant in Scottish football.

Also, I'm sensitive and didn't want to start blubbering (again) in front of Scottish people- like that time in Pollokshields.

Anyway, if you could somehow encapsulate the raw energy within the stadium of an Old Firm game, you could probably solve the world's energy crisis. That shit was FIERCE.

Directly across from us in the stadium: "the enemy"/ Rangers fans.

It was somewhat interesting because Celtic and Rangers fans went to great efforts to antagonise one another. Celtic fans were wandering around with beach balls and sombreros - to highlight the fact that Celtic are still in the European Champions League while Rangers are not. When I dared to point out to my boyfriend that actually, sombreros are Mexican, he glared at me and told me not to be so literal.

Rangers fans, meanwhile, win the award for douchiest banner ever. I don't know if you can see it in the picture above, but some fans painstakingly made a banner that read:

"The Queen's 11
God Save Our Queen
God Save YOUR Queen"

On the one hand, I gotta give 'em props for creating a banner that would piss a lot of people off but on the other hand, she's "our Queen" only via murder, rape, pillaging and war. So, really, I'm not sure that's worth pointing out to people? It's kinda like if I went up to a group of Native Canadians and was all, "hey dudes! God save the queen!" They'd be all, "the Queen?! That old goat and her inbred family stole my land".

Also, there was another banner with little men on it, wearing Celtic jerseys and running after an ambulance. I was totally lost as to what it meant and even fellow Celtic fans around me were as equally confused. An "ambulance chaser" as far as I know, is a personal injuries lawyer (see Jim "the Hammer" Shapiro) and so I'm left to assume Rangers fans are implying Celtic supporters are ...trial lawyers? You got me, Rangers fans!

And the game begins!
Celtic banners
Empty stadium before the game (we got there early - too early!)
Overall, it was actually kinda fun (apart from the tension and fans calling players various four-letter words in thick angry Scottish accents) and like I said, unlike anything I have ever experienced. I think it would have been a lot funner if Celtic actually won - they lost to Rangers by an embarrassing 4-2. Ah well, everyone loves the underdog, right?

The first time I ever heard about Allan McGregor, the goal keeper for Rangers Football Club, was last February when Paul and I were in Arran for the weekend. There's not a lot to do in Arran when it's raining, so I was sitting around reading trashy tabloids (i.e. The Sunday Mail). Initially, I wasn't at all interested in reading about the after hours activities of some overpaid pituitary case who stands in a net for a living. What piqued my interest, however, was only a minor detail in this story.

Allan McGregor has (had, rather) a Canadian girlfriend?! And even more shocking? She had heard of Allan McGregor? Or maybe she hadn't - who knows? I had never heard of him until I read about all his escapades in the Sunday Mail.

You see, I am always interested in finding out why other Canadians live in Glasgow. What brought them here? What made them stay? I'm curious as to what makes fellow Canadians move from a glorious country with four distinct seasons to Glasgow.

Anyway, after that rainy weekend in Arran, it seems that every Sunday Mail since then, features a story about Allan McGregor. At this rate, I think it's safe to assume he has shagged half the women in Glasgow.

My boyfriend, a die-hard Celtic fan, mocks me for reading about Allan McGregor's trashy exploits in the equally trashy Sunday Mail but honestly? It's so trashy, it's good. Take this most recent (and cringe worthy) article. It's almost like something out of a John Waters film!

Another reason why I'm so drawn to these tacky tabloid stories is because as a Canadian and hockey fan, you rarely hear about multimillion dollar hockey players and their exploits off the ice. Apart from that whole Tie Domi and Belinda Stronach fiasco, it seems that the Canadian media rarely report on such affairs. I'm not sure if that's because there's little demand for such stories or if the papers have some unspoken rule or if hockey players are just boring and married to their high school sweethearts (a la Curtis Joseph).

Perhaps all these trashtastic stories in the paper has something to do with British media glamorising WAGS (for all your Canadians, that means "wives and girlfriends" of soccer players), thereby lending credit to this phenomenon as a legitimate aspiration in a girls life. It's a sad state of affairs when six out of ten women want to be a wag - a role defined by who your man is and what material goods he can buy.

It all leaves me wondering who these women are and why they sell themselves to tabloids after sleeping with famous footballers? Even worse, it makes me wonder when we, as women, became subjugated to money-worship.