Friday, October 25, 2013

His Holiness, A Saint, and Being Frank

Closing time, last call!
Let us imagine the year is 2008. I'm off to college, fresh out of high school, and someone in my class sparks the concept of religion. Round and round go the vagaries of discussing such a thing in the modern public sphere. Someone who knew more than most about such things spins the topic more seriously than most and shoves it in my direction.

"Hey Zac, what would be a more important quality in a priest? Celibacy or Poverty?"

I have to admit I didn't know what he was talking about. I knew then that some particular religions and denominations required celibate men for the priesthood - everyone knew that. What I didn't know was that some particular religions and denominations require vows of poverty, as well, which isn't to say that all priests must be horribly poor, but simply, as I understand it, that they are not inappropriately rich.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Fortnight of Photospam: Idle Hands are the Devil's Castinets, or Something.

Violet Likes Feet. IDK.
Ellie couldn't believe I wasn't out here to kick her off the couch.

After I turned my back for a moment, instant Zonko.

Road Trip!

Federal Inmates On Strike: Wait-What Friday

Issues taken Seriously!
Federal Inmates in a number of penitentiaries, having started with the Atlantic Institution in my very own NB, are striking from their work-related duties to protest low pay. Inmates, who do the jobs you might imagine, are paid, on average, $3 a day. Until, that is, about a week ago, when they took a 30% pay cut as part of the Federal deficit reduction plan.

It is to laugh!

Okay, for the uninitiated, labour strikes are a huge part of Canadian culture. The publicly schooled hear from a very early age how fantastically wonderful it was that unions did what they did and the existence of a Federally-Mandated Minimum Wage is a pretty good argument in their favour.

But in economics a labour strike only works if there isn't enough of a labour pool to counterbalance the impact to the employer of his workforce suddenly evaporating in a puff of self-determination. In the free world, this condition exists because the law demands it. In a prison, these conditions only exist if those lucky enough to work can convince those whom they were preventing, by their existence, from getting work detail to join them in their strike.

There's an argument among some that the money is primarily used for surviving the initial jobless period that comes with a release from prison - without the money, the only path would be back to jail, through the courts, and back to prison. Bullpucky. Most of that money is getting used for commissary.

Do I think prisoners could make more money? Only if it's economically viable. I'm sorry, but you're under criminal detention for a reason.

And I know it's not economically viable, because they just took a pay cut to help reduce the deficit.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Single-Issue Advocacy I: Sexism

I've said here before that advocating a single issue at a time is a waste of time, but I need to recant that. Obviously, you can only ever actually advocate one issue at a time - that is, one issue per conversation. The actual waste of time is in being a single-issue advocate - focusing on one issue, ever, and leaving it to other people to take care of the rest. And so, without further adieu, I want to have a conversation with everyone about sexism.

Statistically, I fall into one of the most sexist demographics in the west: Single White Males in their Twenties. I run into this demo quite a bit by virtue of being a gamer and a self-admitted net junkie, and the prevalent form of sexism in this demo isn't the "Get in the Kitchen and Make Me a Sandwhich" variety, though that mentality is prevalent and is sexist. The primary problem is just a denial, in general, of the reality of sexism as a facet of their culture.

Now, this year, sexism seems to be the "it issue". The natural reaction of the SWM/20 demo? Form a movement called "Male Rights Activism".

Speaking as a SWM/20 whose known no other life, even at my most disadvantaged, I've still had more "rights" (by which, of course, they mean opportunities and privileges) than many who don't fall into that category. Not so, say the MRAs. Women (and other minorities, but mostly women) who are preaching feminism are doing so to become the dominant gender.

Granted this problem is exacerbated by the occasional woman who genuinely qualifies as a Feminazi, but for the most part, women are basically out there saying "Hey, stop treating me like my inherent differences make me less than you." It's a general reaction against the objectification, subjugation, and otherwise "cheating" of women from their dignity, by men. It's getting grumpy about sexism run rampant in games like GTA V just as much as it is being annoyed by "chainmail bikini" armour for female characters in RPGs.

Both of which, for the record, annoyed me, sexism or no sexism. Who wants to see people being treated like they are in GTA games? What the hell kind of protection is armour offering you if it only covers your genitals?

The fact the remains that women, in popular media, are still portrayed just badly. Impractical shoes for women who are working in the field, untoward attention paid to "how awesome it is" that given-female-character outranks given-male-character, and so on. The fact remains that women make less on the dollar than men serving in comparable fields. The fact remains that western society still has vestiges of sexism.

And that's not okay.