The Jian Ghomeshi Saga and Root Causes of Violence Against Women

The following is a letter I submitted to the CBC program The Current, hosted by talented radio personality Anna Maria Tremonti. In the letter, I have put to pen my increasing frustrations about the nature of the discussion surrounding violence against women and why it is that our public conversations never seem to get around to the root causes of the problem, and to exactly why we’re seeing the behaviour that we’re seeing. For the record…

The Jian Ghomeshi Saga and Root Causes of Violence Against Women

I’ve listened with great interest over the past few months to your podcasts and especially those about violence against women. From the #YesAllWomen campaign to the Jian Ghomeshi saga I’ve listened to a number of podcasts and even blogged and tweeted about some of the issues, myself.

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CAN vs SVK 18-0: Do you feel like a (wo)man now?

Sigh. My apologies for turning on my broken record player but it looks like I have to shine an uncomfortable light yet again on the idiocies of competition. Canada’s women hockey team beat Slovakia 18-0. At least that’s nothing compared to Slovakia’s 2008 blowout of Bulgaria 82-0. You heard me. That’s just stupid.

Sigh. My apologies for turning on my broken record player but it looks like I have to shine an uncomfortable light yet again on the idiocies of competition.

Canada’s women hockey team beat Slovakia 18-0. At least that’s nothing compared to Slovakia’s 2008 blowout of Bulgaria 82-0. You heard me. That’s just stupid.

“It’s not a game you want to play in, and you don’t take a lot of pride in a score like that,” Hefford said. “But it’s the Olympic ideals. We train for four years, and we’ll hopefully play five games in this tournament. So, to take one night off, that’s unfair to us.”

I’m embarrassed by that statement. Olympic ideals? Wow. Just wow. And this “unfair to us” business? Or point differentials? Utterly lacking in regard for your fellow human being.

Trust me, I’ve played on losing teams all my life. I’ve also played on a few occassions on championship teams. In hockey, ten goals is about the limit. There’s something about double digits that reeks of disrespecting your opponent.

Especially in a sport where you’re trying to help other teams you’re doing more harm than good with a hopeless game. At least give them their dignity by winning your game in a modest fashion and letting it go.

But, no, somehow, somewhere, this idea that blowouts are a necessary evil has gotten us actually convinced. Where did we learn this from? That our sports organizations are teaching young people these insane ideals is atrocious. Leaders who do not respect their pupils lose the respect of their pupils and no longer act as leaders. They are simply viewed as pompous asses.

And, hey, if you don’t like hearing it from me, Don Cherry has made similar comments about making the other team look bad. You just don’t do it. It’ll come back to haunt you.

Are women getting more beautiful?

Slashdot.org is a site I’ve been visiting since forever. It’s like the geek mecca online. They recently had an article entitled “Are women getting more beautiful?”

Slashdot.org is a site I’ve been visiting since forever. It’s like the geek mecca online. They recently had an article entitled “Are women getting more beautiful?” Here’s the excerpt,

“Scientists have found that evolution is driving women to become ever more beautiful, while men remain as aesthetically unappealing as their caveman ancestors. The researchers have found beautiful women have more children than their plainer counterparts and that a higher proportion of those children are female. Those daughters, once adult, also tend to be attractive and so repeat the pattern.”

Now, slashdot has a lot of science related discussion. They’ll often post articles or studies discussing the latest and greatest advances in science.

I’m sure most readers of slashdot will have already forgotten about “New Zealand Tree Stuck In Evolutionary Time Warp“. Here’s the excerpt:

“A eucalyptus-like tree from New Zealand is still waging a battle that should have ended over 500 years ago. The tree continues to sport evolutionary adaptations, such as barbed leaves, to protect it from a large, flightless bird known as a moa. There’s just one problem: the moa went extinct around 1500 AD.”

Why are these two at all related? Well, if you read the comments, you’ll see arguments along the lines of “500 years is a blink of an eye in geological reckoning.” And, indeed, it is. That argument is consistent with evolution.

So, when I see the article about female beauty, which is about 8 times more popular in terms of comment volume, I wondered who was going to point out the obvious like they did with the other article. Someone to say, “Hold on a second, this science is bogus. Evolution takes a great amount of time to accomplish even small things. We can’t possibly see great change on such a small evolutionary time scale.”

All of this is not to mention that previous generations would view our supermodels as grotesque.

I bring up these two articles because Slashot, although a geek mecca of sorts, is also part of mainstream popular culture. It will not always be logically consistent.

Always be on the look out for logical inconsistency. Science and evolution are full of it. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself, as science is the process of refining knowledge. We should, however, always strive for logical, reasonable answers, even amidst the incoherence of all the ideas we’re hit with from popular culture.