The poster showed a darkhaired, bikini-clad, apparently American tourist – an image the group took from an old airline advertisement for Hawaii. Within 12 hours, a new Tropical Night poster instead featured a palm tree.
U of S student Erica Lee, an Idle No More activist and one of the event’s critics, said she might not have realized the problems with Hawaiian imagery had another student not brought it to her attention.
“It’s something that’s so pervasive in our culture. We think of Hawaii and we think of flower leis, we think of grass skirts and sexy hula girls,” she said.
“It’s like having any other racial or ethnic groupthemed party. It’s something that seems like a fun and harmless idea but there are Hawaiian scholars that feel really passionately about not being represented in such a commercialized way.”
The history of Hawaii includes aboriginal people who were violently settled and had customs banned, she said.
The hula dance was formally banned for a period in the mid-nineteenth century following pressure from Christian missionaries, and later regulated by the state.
“For so long we oppressed them and didn’t let them do it, and now people in the West will take that and commercialize it.”
Oh, for crying out loud. Let’s ban any event just in case there’s someone who might possibly be offended because of past injustices.
So long, St Patrick’s Day, as it might (and probably does) offend an Irishman (sorry, Irish “person”).
Skuttle all Dragon Boat races. Don’t you know the Chinese were culturally exploited?
Don’t you dare forget about the debilitating effects of alcohol on those indigenous people who were forced to sell their island to the Dutch the next time you order a Manhattan cocktail.
And considering the culturally-appropriated name of this shitty, racist, Eurocentric hellhole, if you want to set off fireworks this Canada Day, you should take off, you hoser.
I’d like to think I’m being facetious, but considering that this topic produced an “uproar” (which the media defines as one person making a big deal out of nothing), I wouldn’t put it past Ms. Lee to keep raising stinks on such matters.
Notice that she doesn’t have an issue with indigenous cultures appropriating and benefiting from the trappings of “European” culture, such as medical immunization, or forged steel, or parliamentary governance, or central heating. No, her concern is limited to the appropriations by the “privileged” from the “unprivileged”, regardless of how the unprivileged might have benefited from the exchange, as if they would be, by net, better off had the cultures never merged or conflicted at all.
Perhaps she’s right on this, that indigenous cultures are presently, on the whole, worse off because of colonialism, etc. And as such I patiently wait while the non-European indigenous cultures around the world shed their woven-textile garments, shut off their electric lights, park their cars, and return to the land.
In any event, the article noted that the images and language used by the Arts and Sciences Students Union wasn’t exploiting the indigenous Hawaiian culture but was pointing back to the idealized island culture of the 1950s or ’60s. Her argument is akin to criticizing fifties-era sock-hops because white kids like Sam Phillips appropriated rock ‘n’ roll from African-Americans. In other words, it is so removed from the actual incident of injustice as to be ludicrous.
Even if you don’t agree with her precise concern, one might argue that all she wants to do is “create a dialogue,” as seen below:
— R. Mowat (@robinmowat) January 17, 2014
But that doesn’t work either, because usually a “healthy dialogue” between two parties doesn’t start with a premise that one side is racist, QED.
In the end, Ms. Lee isn’t fighting for a “healthy dialogue” and her issue isn’t with the existence of disproportionate power, but rather that this power isn’t hers:
As a political studies and philosophy major at the U of S, Lee is living what she studies. She says her school work hasn’t suffered despite immersing herself at the very root of this national grassroots movement. Lee, who is the first person in her family to finish high school, refuses to let her grades slip.
“It’s important for me to finish and get into a position of power,” Lee said.
Indeed, and as this incident has shown, she’s well on her way.
UPDATE: Speaking of cultural appropriation, this is pretty funny.
As is this.
Considering the union’s public relations efforts, Canada Post didn’t pick the best time to stop home delivery:
What happened to the mail?
It’s a question occupying the minds of Isabel Ward, a retiree who has yet to receive her Metropass; Peter Stiegler, an accountant in need of tax documents to help his clients; and Russell Bennett, a self-employed father anxiously awaiting cheques to pay the rent and support his family.
They are three people who live or work in three different Toronto neighbourhoods — all complaining that they haven’t seen a Canada Post mail carrier in more than two weeks. But they are far from being the only residents who have gone with empty mailboxes since just before Christmas.
This being The Star, it is obviously the fault of Canada Post, not its workers:
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has accused Canada Post of overworking permanent carriers by expanding routes, leading to sudden absences, and of not having enough temporary workers on standby.
“We’re seeing people booking off on stress at levels like we’ve never seen before,” said Gerry Deveau, national director for Ontario.
Is this the first winter these carriers have ever experienced? Didn’t someone tell them when they took this job that Toronto is in Canada?
“Stress” levels? Are these people for real?
Call or email your MP.
David Kocieniewski of the New York Times is guilty of some outrageously bad journalism in the form of a groundless ad hominem attack on the reputation of two professors for the sole purpose of reinforcing the prejudices of his misinformed readers.
Kocieniewski’s article is titled “Academics Who Defend Wall St. Reap Reward”, and insinuates that academic research produced by University of Houston Professor Craig Pirrong and University of Illinois Professor Scott Irwin was bought and paid for by financial speculators as “one part of Wall Street’s efforts to fend off regulation.”
(h/t Cafe Hayek)
The key rhetorical device for TED talks is a combination of epiphany and personal testimony (an “epiphimony” if you like ) through which the speaker shares a personal journey of insight and realisation, its triumphs and tribulations.
What is it that the TED audience hopes to get from this? A vicarious insight, a fleeting moment of wonder, an inkling that maybe it’s all going to work out after all? A spiritual buzz?
I’m sorry but this fails to meet the challenges that we are supposedly here to confront. These are complicated and difficult and are not given to tidy just-so solutions. They don’t care about anyone’s experience of optimism. Given the stakes, making our best and brightest waste their time – and the audience’s time – dancing like infomercial hosts is too high a price. It is cynical.
Also, it just doesn’t work.
Indeed. Read the whole thing.
(h/t Kathy Shaidle)
One of the easiest ways to create something that white people will like is to create something that will allow them to feel smart but doesn’t require a large amount of work, time, or effort. There is, however, a catch. Whatever it is that you create cannot be a shortcut. You see white people like the idea of getting smarter quickly, but they don’t like the idea of people thinking that they are lazy. It is a bit of a paradox, but it does explain why white people only like Cliff Notes if they are part of some sort of hilarious college story about last-minute studying for an exam. And why they consider it highly unacceptable to use cliff notes or Wikipedia to get a rough understanding of a book you don’t want to read.
Unfortunately being able to create something that makes you feel smarter without having to do a lot of work has been very difficult. So only a few ideas have ever gained traction with white people, the most notable of which being documentary films and public radio. However, in the past decade a new item has been added to this very short list-TED Talks.
Jordon Cooper links to your typical defence of mercantilism in the business section and concludes with despair:
I read this and I can’t help but think that the United States is going through a massive societal reordering because of horrible economic decisions made because of globalization…
I am not sure if the payroll tax increase is that big of deal but you get the point that stagnate wages are hurting America’s middle class who are leaving behind middle class stores in favour of deals online and in retailers like Wal-Mart which in turn hurts them even more as more and more of their products are made elsewhere. It’s a vicious cycle that could take decades to run its course.
Cooper works to help the poorest of the poor in this city, and he’s a great resource in highlighting the struggles found on the streets.
Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise, however, that he sees these great economic changes as being a problem rather than a net benefit to society, particularly to the poor.
Yes, the traditional business model is changing, and those who are not able to adjust effectively will lose business. But the consumer is the beneficiary, particularly the poor. With the changing business model comes lower costs, better quality, increased choice, more convenience or some combination of these.
There have been some horrible economic decisions made, but globalization isn’t one of them. It is the increased level of trade from around the world which has insulated our economy from being even more disastrously damaged by narrow, myopic government decision-making than we would have endured otherwise.
The alternative to this is economic stagnation. Does he truly believe that change is inevitably for the worse?
The cliche is worn, but Cooper might as well lament the demise of buggy-whip manufacturers.
Matt Ridley learns you a lesson:
With all due respect to the mayor, this should not be his first concern:
Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison wants to look at reducing speeds on the city’s freeway bridges after a car plunged off the Circle Drive North bridge and into the South Saskatchewan River.
A 23-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle while heading east on the bridge and her car jumped over the guard rail that had a window of snow built up around it. [emphasis mine--ed.] She escaped from her vehicle and was rescued off ice in the river, only suffering minor injuries in the process.
The guard rail didn’t build up the snow. City workers built up the snow along the guard rail, which changed a safety device into a ramp of death.
This unnamed woman should sue the city and any government ministry which implemented and enforced environmental regulations giving rise to this hazard.
She is lucky to be alive, no thanks to short-sighted government bureaucrats.
Name five impressive things about yourself. Write them down or just shout them out loud to the room. But here’s the catch — you’re not allowed to list anything you are (i.e., I’m a nice guy, I’m honest), but instead can only list things that you do (i.e., I just won a national chess tournament, I make the best chili in Massachusetts). If you found that difficult, well, this is for you, and you are going to fucking hate hearing it. My only defense is that this is what I wish somebody had said to me around 1995 or so.
Read the whole thing.
NEW YEAR’S Day marks the 55th anniversary of Cuba’s communist revolution. It is the only full-blown dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere. As Human Rights Watch noted in April, no other country in Latin America is ruled by a regime that “represses virtually all forms of political dissent.” More than half a century after Fidel Castro seized power with the promise that “all rights and freedoms will be reinstituted” — and more than seven years since Raul Castro succeeded his brother as tyrant-in-chief — Cuba is consistently rated “Not Free” in Freedom House’s annual index of political and civil liberties worldwide…
There is only one dictatorship in the Americas. On New Year’s Day it turns another year older. Cry, the beloved island.
The Castros are thugs and Guevara was a psychopath. The good people of Cuba deserved better these past 55 years.
From the StarPhoenix:
Following their investigation, police determined icy roads contributed to the driver’s loss of control and ensuing collision with the centre barrier on the bridge. The grey Acura then skidded across the bridge’s eastbound lanes and on top of the guardrail before crashing off the bridge and into the river. Investigators determined that a build-up of snow and ice along the guardrail contributed to the vehicle going over the bridge.
Well done, environmentalists. Well done.
Saskatoon’s most sensitive man lectures us on freedom of expression (published Dec. 28, 2013):
In response to my civil rights case about Saskatoon Transit putting Christmas messages on buses, local churches have purchased Christmas advertisements to be placed on transit vehicles.
I support them being able to do that. I think this is a good alternative to the city promoting Christmas and Christianity on its own. Now that churches are buying their own ads to promote their religion, they shouldn’t care if Saskatoon Transit Services doesn’t promote Christmas on programmable bus signs.
There are more than 10,000 religions, 150 of which have one million or more followers not including branches of each religion. The city can’t promote all religions or promote all religions equally, so it should promote none. Also, people’s taxes should not go toward promoting a religion they don’t believe in.
Like churches, if other religious groups or individuals want to buy ads that promote their religion, they should be free to do that. Likewise, the Centre for Inquiry Canada should be free to buy ads that promote atheism. That’s what freedom of expression is all about.
Mr. Solo’s support for freedom of expression would have more credibility if he wasn’t also threatening to use the power of the state to silence the voices of duly elected officials such as Randy Donauer.
Also misguided is Mr. Solo’s view on the so-called “separation of church and state”. He seems to believe that this principle ought to ensure the state has nothing to say or do with religion whatsoever.
This is completely wrong. What this principle suggests is that the state should not coerce citizens to practice a particular form of religious belief. If a government wishes to endorse a certain religion over another, it may do so as long as it does not hinder a citizen’s right worship as he or she chooses. If citizens feel the government should not observe religious practices, the remedy can be found in the ballot box.
It is this distinction which Mr. Solo fails to appreciate in his campaign to wipe out any form of religion in public life.
Be that as it may, the city of Saskatoon is hardly “promoting” Christianity with its bus banners as much as it is commemorating a beloved cultural institution which transcends Christianity and is celebrated throughout the community by Christians and non-Christians alike. (Note that this would be different if the banners read “Have a Merry Christmas … or else!”)
If Mr. Solo truly believed in his cause, he would focus his intolerance on actual state-coerced religious observances, such as the mandatory Christmas Day holiday. Good luck to him on that one.
This one’s for my relatives, in more way than one:
Glenn Reynolds, worth quoting in full:
SO THE TOPIC FOR MY USA TODAY COLUMN THAT I WOUND UP NOT USING was about how the story of the bogus translator at the Mandela funeral illustrates that everyday life is full of the kinds of inconsistencies and improbabilities that fuel conspiracy theories. Imagine if that guy had actually been a terrorist or an assassin, and had killed Obama and other leaders — suddenly his mental-health problems, his hiring by a fly-by-night company that vanished, his non-existent language school, the absence of security screenings at the event, would all look like some part of a coordinated plot, instead of general incompetence.
Just remember that in the future. Unless, of course, that’s what this was all about, which would prove that it really is a conspiracy!!!
Too bad he didn’t finish that column.
For a different example, I lived near Washington when the D.C. sniper attacks were happening in 2002, and I recall how we were told to be on the lookout for a white van that had been seen near several of the shootings. A friend at work tried an experiment while he was running errands in the area. He imagined hearing a gunshot, and he’d look around for a white van. He always saw one. Often more than one. The actual sniper had a blue sedan. The vans were just a coincidence.