You May Now Stop Chilling Out

Some time ago I wrote a post about the controversy concerning Philip Pullman's book The Golden Compass at the Halton Catholic School Board. The book had been pulled from shelves at the request of (a) parent(s), pending review by a committee, and I said that this appeared to be a system that could work to keep legitimately offensive material out of the library while not practicing excessive censorship.

Well, it seems that I was right as far as the committee goes. It came back with a recommendation to move the book to the Young Adult section. Unfortunately, the board of trustees has decided to override the committee's recommendation and ban the book anyway on the grounds that it is "not in line with our governing values," that is, it doesn't adhere to the board's religious principles.

All that ire and condemnation that was inappropriate and jumping the gun a month ago is now fully appropriate and timely. Please proceed.


Dear Meat Industry and its Supporters,

Please stop trying to kill our species.




Bakson. Bizy. Bakson

Had my last exam yesterday. My plans for the next couple days:


It's A Tiddly Pom Kind of Day

Any Torontonians who haven't yet, I suggest you look out your window.


Not about Aqsa's Hijab

I'm not sure how I feel about the current coverage of the case of Aqsa Parvez, the Mississauga girl whose father beat her to death recently.

There has been a lot said about his killing her "because she refused to wear a hijab" and, I don't know, maybe he saw it that way. But the thing is that abusers will abuse their victims for any and no reason. No one seems to be blaming the victim, which is nice, but I'm not convinced that the blame can be placed at the feet of Islam much more convincingly.

It's just not that simple. On the one hand, there's no doubt that a society that condones the use of violence by men to keep their wives and children in line will contain more abuse than one that does not, and that officially or de facto theocratic societies are more likely to hold such attitudes, and, among individuals, I suspect that devout practice of a strongly patriarchal religion is at least somewhat correlated with increased willingness among men to beat their wives and children, but even if these correlations hold there's no reasonable way to claim to know the causal direction, if any.

Are Western Europe and Canada more progressive than some other countries because we are less religious, or are we less religious because we are more progressive? Could even the most devout of Muslim men, if he had no problems with power or anger management, possibly beat his daughter to death?

Abusers abuse for power, for kicks, because it makes them feel bigger and better than their victims, and while it's possible that religious teachings and social approval can allow some abusers to reach extremes they wouldn't otherwise, and while religiously motivated peer pressure can cause otherwise loving parents to behave abusively in limited ways, I just don't think, ultimately, that we can draw any conclusions about this case other than that Aqsa Parvez's father is a lowly, scum sucking child abuser and should rot in jail for the rest of his miserable life.


No Fair!

How come Abbie gets to be "the most hateful, foul mouthed, frothing bitch in the biosphere?"

I work hard at being a foul mouthed, frothing bitch, and here Crazy Lady just hands over the title. Not that Abbie wouldn't qualify, mind, I just think there ought to have been a vote or something.



Rachel Maddow Hits It out of the Park

I've become familiar with Rachel Maddow through her frequent appearances on Keith Olbermann's Countdown show, which I watch through Crooks and Liars, and I'm a bit of a fan. At this Pandagon post we see Maddow going head to head with a crazy person who supports abstinence-only education, and she pulls no punches.

My favourite bit is towards the end:

Maddow: If abstinence programs are being used to substitute for programs that actually give people usable information about contraception, STDs and HIV, then they are killing people.
Thank you, Ms. Maddow.

It's also nice to see a host (in this case, Dan Abrams) who doesn't feel he has to be carefully neutral when faced with the choice between hard data and gibbering idiocy.