Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's On

Nicolas Sarkozy has announced his intention to run for the French presidency saying "I feel I have the strength, the energy and the desire to propose a different view of France..." I believe he does too, a view in which Bitter Lemon can be in love with the President of France.

I'm currently reading his autobiography, which is a bit of a challenge because it doesn't come out in English until next year. So far, the introduction has taught me that cheesiness knows no national or linguistic barriers.

Bonne chance Sarko!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Go Shopping!

In honour of Buy Nothing Day (I'm leaving for the mall in a moment), there's an interesting interview with Andrew Potter, co-author of The Rebel Sell over at Torontoist.

I very much enjoyed reading The Rebel Sell, but since I've never had any sort of problem with consumerism, I didn't really need to be convinced that culture jamming doesn't work. But it's always fun to read about the hypocrisy in supposedly progressive movements.

... you respond to your critics regarding your argument against organic food. And while these issues might be trendy (or “cool”) in some ways, is it not better that people are somewhat aware and thinking critically about things?

No, I don’t think so. That’s not to say that I don’t think there’s anything worthwhile about various forms of ethical consumption. Joe and I both think that ethical consumption is a good thing. If you want to buy a [Toyota] Prius to save the environment, go for it. If you only want to invest in [particular] stocks- no military, no tobacco and that sort of thing- excellent. There’s all kinds of great things you can do. They’ll be minimally useful, but there’s nothing wrong with them.

There are a number of things where people say, “Well, isn’t it at least sort of good that we’re doing this?” Organic food is one of them. It’s not a good thing to do if what you have is a form of status competition masquerading as ethical consumption. And I think it’s fairly obvious that’s what’s going on with organic food. A lot of people disagree. I think that the best way to see this is to look at how advocates of organic food behave. And very recently Walmart announced that they were going to move in a big way into the organic food business. And if you genuinely believed that organic food was a good thing and that the more people who bought it the better, then you should’ve greeted Walmart’s announcement with unalloyed glee. Here was the major evil retailer in the world conceding that there was a mass market for this- it would be like the Canadian Pension Plan announcing it would only invest in ethical mutual funds. This is a major coup. Except that’s not how the organic food people reacted- they reacted with hostility. And the reason is because suddenly the masses have access to some ethical thing that had been a status good. So what they said was, ‘Walmart isn’t selling ‘real organic’, because the organic food they’re getting is going to be manufactured for use by industrial organic farming.’ [Now there’s] a battle between the organic movement and the local movement. The local people are saying, ‘The true spirit of organic food is found in the local movement. It’s not just only the inputs that matter, it’s where it’s made that matters.’

What you’re seeing here is a bald-faced moving of the goal posts. In the same way people moved the goal posts in music or in cool clothes or sneakers- a way of getting away from the masses. It’s a classic Rebel Sell moment. To me, the reaction of the organic food supporters on this has been disgraceful. In a way that has shown the entire world that their favourite organic food was entirely a function of the status it accorded them and not the benefits it has for the world.
I actively avoid organic foods, 'cos it doesn't seem like a very practical way to feed the over six billion people on Earth and I like the way chemical pesticides make me glow in the dark . Every once in a while I'll run into someone who claims I'm not a "real" vegetarian because of this. The trick is to ask them why they feel only the wealthy should be able to afford to eat, and then sneak away when they start their tirade against "the system".

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

First Lindsay, then Britney, now Belinda

Got a bit of a reputation as a bad girl? Sick of people ignoring your talent and only talking about who you're sleeping with? Want people to take you seriously for a change? Have you considered dying your hair?

Monday, November 20, 2006

What Can He Say, He Enjoys Being A Pariah

Everyone's favourite 80s dictator, Muammar Gaddafi is back in the news again. This time he is claiming that there is no genocide in Darfur and that it is just the West's attempt to get their hands on Sudanese oil. You know, because the Sudanese government has proven so reluctant to sell it.

Well, I suppose it is important for the nutjob pacifist left to have someone to rally around.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Live Blogging the Election

The polls closed at 8 o'clock. CityTV has already declared that David Miller has won.

That's all folks.

I filled the gap in my arrow

So I did my civic duty. It's a lot less fun when you know what the outcome is going to be ahead of time (and you don't like that outcome).

Did the Toronto ballots look like this last time?

I thought it was rather strange and it would seem like I would have remembered. The fact that they change the ballot design every election is very strange. Are there a lot of ballots not getting counted due to voter screw up? Was the 2000 election in Florida more typical than we would think? What is wrong with simply ticking a box? It always seems like it has to be a puzzle. Filling in an arrow? Maybe they're just trying to make it more exciting for us. Next time, I think they should have stickers with the faces of the candidates, and we will move them to the appropriate box for the office we want them to hold.

Miller for school trustee!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sim Country


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lest We Forget

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them

Friday, November 10, 2006

Northern Democrats

I suppose if the Liberals are fine with considering a man who is essentially American to run their party, there's no reason why they shouldn't select an American to deliver the keynote speech at their convention.

I can't wait to hear the crazy noises that Dean will make when Belinda gets her hands on him!

Ralph Klein Was Wrong

Ralph Klein is in hot water for a joke that he made about Belinda this week saying: "I don't think she ever did have a Conservative bone in her body, well except for one... Speaking of Peter MacKay . . ."

That is completely unacceptable! Belinda will have you know that Peter Mackay is by no means the only Conservative man that she has slept with. Why is there no honesty in politics anymore?!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Municipal Elections

Do you feel the excitement Toronto?!!! No? Neither do I. I have looked into the matter, and it is actually not possible for me to care less about the municipal elections than I do. My lack of concern has actually become a health risk, as any time someone mentions the upcoming vote I lapse into a brief coma.

I am voting for Jane Pitfield, because even though she's annoying, I didn't support David Miller the last time around and watching him in office hasn't convinced me otherwise. Bitter Lime and I are still deciding who we'll be supporting in the anyone-but-Rae race. It's down to Chris Reid and Cam Johnson because, according to their websites, they don't oppose development (the number of people running in our ward who oppose condo developments is astonishing -- "Vote for me and I'll make sure that in five years, you won't be able to afford to live in this neighbourhood!"). The twenty minutes I've spent looking into the matter has been entirely wasted of course, because Kyle Rae will win.

Inspiring, ain't it?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Why Demand Action When You Can Demand Empty Words?

With Saddam set to hang, we can now turn our attention back to those genocidal maniacs who have not yet been tried for their crimes.

NATO had said that Serbia would be denied membership in it's Partnership for Peace until those responsible for the Balkan war crimes had been caught. Now there is talk that the Europeans may be going soft. I'm sure this is just rumour mongering on the part of Europhobes, as we all know that Europe has a strong history of resisting genocide. However, the suggestion is that the Europeans would be willing to consider Serbia provided Prime Minister Kostunica goes on Serb TV to announced that he must arrest Ratko Mladic. The unilateralist Americans on the other hand have some crazy idea that NATO should stick to what it originally said.

[Serb newspaper] Vecernje Novosti said the United States, which dominates the Atlantic Alliance, strongly opposes granting PfP membership to Serbia before it has handed over Mladic, while European Union members of NATO are in favor of an encouraging gesture.
I have a few gestures of my own I'd like to make in response, but I'm not sure how "encouraging" they are.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I Hope it Hurts

Saddam has been sentenced to hang.

Human rights groups and international "watchdogs" are complaining that Saddam didn't get a fair trial because it was held in Iraq, rather than in Europe (which is what they mean when they say "international") where the people are wiser and capable of being impartial when faced with genocidal lunatics. I've already made my views on this subject known. Since the Europeans opposed the war in the first place, I'm not entirely convinced they wouldn't have sent him back to Iraq untried using the argument that the Americans had no authority to capture him.

While I have no objection to them hanging Saddam, or putting him through a plastic shredder or feeding him alive to wild boars, I am concerned that he will be punished before he has faced trial for his genocide of the Kurds. I understand the political pressure to kill him sooner rather than later (and I'll celebrate on whatever day they choose to do it), but the Kurds too deserve justice. And while he can't be hanged twice (or at least, not 'humanely'), he should die knowing that he is being punished for all of the many crimes he committed, not simply for the one it was most convenient to prosecute.