Category Archives: Canada

is it freedom of speech?

QC papers reprint cartoons

QC papers reprint Charlie Hebdo cartoons

Thirteen people are dead.

Most are writers and satirical cartoonists at a Paris magazine called Charlie Hebdo. The killers added two police officers to the list of dead during their getaway.

Headlines around the western world trumpet expressions of shock, sorrow, outrage, anger, denial and solidarity in something called  “freedom of speech”.

In Quebec, French-language newspapers repeat the insult — reprint cartoons of the prophet Muhammed — as though one outrage committed by murderers justifies repeating an insult to all Muslims.

Before this goes further, nothing justifies the slaughter of unarmed people. It’s a crime — a mass murder. For the news media, it’s too easy to identify every massacre of innocents as “terrorism”.

Maybe it is. For certain, this was carried out by extremists who threatened to kill the people at this magazine, firebombed it, and decided to wipe out those working at the magazine that mocked the sacred, their sacred. The question we must ask is: Why?

Why did Charlie Hebdo decide to shock, to push, to push beyond good taste into insult, to venture slightly and then more beyond political satire, to sneer at and insult, to promote racism and intolerance in pursuit of something — but not truth anymore.

When that happens, it isn’t satire. It isn’t to expose the criminal, the incompetent, the idiotic, the stupid, and the lying liar. It becomes something else. It turns into a deliberate and concerted campaign against an enemy; a magazine looking for a fight.

There’s no such thing as limitless free speech. We all know the example of the person who yells ‘Fire!” in a burning movie theatre. There are consequences for being an ass in public. But the consequence or reaction should never be murder.

Neither should the reaction by journalists be further provocation and insult. This isn’t responsible journalism nor is it defending or practising free speech.

It’s piling one stupid insult upon another.

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Lessons in the Senate Scandal

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It has only been a few days but this Wallin, Duffy and Brazeau thing is driving me nuts. What is going to happen to them? This horse and pony show is driving me crazy.

You’re not alone, my friend. This is being discussed in bars, lunch rooms, and in the back seats of taxis around the country. The whole darn thing has been driving a lot of people nuts for weeks and even months. But what’s this got to do with us Indigenous types, you ask? Everything. It’s a text book lesson in politics, from “the Hill” to the band office.

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alt = different?

The Dominion / Media CoopThat’s the question I wanted to answer before heading into Montreal last week. I was invited to a sit on a panel discussing Indigenous issues with an alternative audience and Q&A to follow.

The occasion was the launch of a special print edition of the Dominion Magazine. Leanne Simpson wrote the cover story: “Idle No More: Where the Mainstream Media Went Wrong”. So I sat down, scanned a dozen or so alternative and mainstream media (MSM) sites to compare their coverage of the same or similar stories. What I found surprised me. Continue reading

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what?! not possible!

“I googled “shmohawk,” the radio host says looking skeptically over the microphone. She says she did an online word search for “shmohawk” and came up with this description: “a horrible driver.” The look on her kisser says: “what’s going on?”  Google: "horrible driver"

I can only sputter – cuz it ain’t how I’ve described da Shmohawk here on my own blog.

There’s lessons to be learned from this exchange, mes amis. So listen up.

First, never believe everything Google tells you.

Google's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" referenceSecond, follow Google’s reference to “a horrible driver” and the trail will lead you to a skit on Larry David’s TV show, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (YouTube video here).

Larry David’s character (no relation) shouts “shmohawk” to some dumb ass behind the wheel of another vehicle on the road. He may or may not tell you that “shmohawk” and “shmuck” mean the same thing.

Third and lastly, one Yiddish dictionary (Bubby Gram) describes “shmohawk” thus:

Shmuck: Literally, “jewel” Another of the many Yiddish words for “penis.” (perhaps the same meaning as “family jewels.”) Although it has the same general meaning as putz, a shmuck often refers to someone with greater power or social/emotional status; someone who’s intentionally nasty or uses their power for ill, whereas a putz is more ineffectual, easier to dismiss because he’s beneath consideration or has no real effect on your life. (It’s the difference between “jerk” and “total a$$hole.” — It’s a very subtle difference, I grant you, and the line is often blurry.) Note: I recently had an almost Talmudic discussion with my brother-in-law about this subtle difference between a putz and a shmuck, and he summed it up perfectly: “One is erect, the other is limp.”

© 2003 – 2012 Adrienne E. Gusoff/Bubbygram.com All rights reserved – It’s not nice to steal!!!

Another Yiddish dictionary had a simpler description of the word “shmohawk”: a trouble-maker or a male appendage. I prefer this one.  I’ve used it in my profile (“About Shmohawk“) at the top of my blog.

There I am, Google: Da Shmohawk

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race – the final frontier

Social media protesters crash “Cowboys and Indians” party | Toronto StarIn Toronto, a group of people decide that it’ll  be fun to dress up like cowboys and Indians for a birthday party at the Rhino Bar & Grill. (Storify’d here) The owners apologize later for allowing the party in the first place.

Later, some of those who complained wondered whether anyone would’ve spoken out if the people at the party had  dressed in blackface? Or if it hadn’t been for Idle No More and social media? Continue reading

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Filed under Aboriginal peoples, Canada, human rights, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous rights, journalism, racism, Uncategorized, United States

open letter: gimme some sugar

Fightin' Whities TV

Fightin’ Whities TV

The Canadian media really should consider creating a special award for Indigenous peoples. We deserve it.  We make it so much easier for reporters and producers of the news to fill their pages and newscasts, real and digital. Continue reading

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alphabet words

BangheadI don’t like to use the “R” word. You know what the “R” represents, don’t you?  It may fit the person or group to a “T” but it’s usually better to use another word. There’s the “B” word but that has a lot of STFU baggage as well.  There’s also the “P”, “I”, “X” and “D” words but they sound mealy-mouthed. And we do like to feel that we speak cold, hard truth when it comes to this subject. Call a spade a spade and a… (insert the “R” word times 2). Continue reading

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