Saturday, November 26, 2005

Boys Without Dads
Illustration: Daniel Ferguson

I've been hearing the fuss about Maverick Moms by Peggy Drexler.
Lesbian and single moms who are raising boys with no male in the house.

What Drexler aims to prove in her book is quite provocative.


I've no doubt that children raised by gay couples are no less fucked up than children raised by heterosexuals.
For the simple reason that gay people have issues just like straight people do.

Children raised without a father (yin/yang if you like) in my experience have multiple issues. Maybe that's because of society's portrayal of the nuclear family.
Maybe it's to do with the religious right.
Maybe it has to do with potatoes in Poland...

Whatever the reasons, I think that the idea of "Maverick Moms" is an interesting one, since all moms are forced by their circumstances to be mavericks in one way or another.
My mom was a maverick too, only not in the way that Drexler describes.
What immigrant woman in the early 1970's leaves a man who treated her like shit, goes back to school, and raises a child with no support or welfare, or child tax benefit?
I think that single moms have always been mavericks, be they lesbian or not.

For Drexler to say:
"Yes, lesbians and single mothers can raise boys without a man in the house, and by doing so, these women are breeding a new kind of adult man sensible to family values and open to differences"

...is to suggest that it's almost better to do it without a man.
That men raised with men in the house, are not "sensible to family values and open to differences". Because what she says is that this "new kind of man" is better.
Not like the old one raised by both a mother and father in the house.
Which is pretty explosive, because it doesn't matter how hard you try to exclude the "father figure" (and child custody laws, and the legal system has), it's still fundamentally necessary for a boy to identify with his father.

Ask any boy raised without one.
Hell, ask any girl.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I Don't Like Teenagers. Who knew?

This is a terrible thing to say since I too was once a teen.
But, I don't remember swarming strip malls, and acting like a jackass for fun.
I understand that they are all going through Erickson's Adolescent Stage, but Holy Mother of Pearl, do they need to be such assholes?!?

Let me elaborate: Today I stopped by a 7/11 in a local strip mall. It's located accross the street from a high school. In this strip mall is a 7/11, a pizza place and a fast food burger joint. From my car, looking through the glass of the fast food place, I could see kids throwing things at each other, pushing each other around...and when I got out of my car, I could hear them through the glass.
It was like watching a pack of untrained, unleashed animals.

I ventured into the 7/11 and there were swarms of them in there as well.
The poor guy behind the counter could barely focus on what he was doing for watching the packs of kids pushing each other up and down the isles, surely watching for theft.
They were cruising the isles "fuckin'" this and "muthafuckin'" that, and being really loud and obnoxious.
What a crappy way for this poor man behind the counter to make a living.
Not to mention that some of these kids will stab each other for a slanty look, much less him for a chocolate bar.

What a shitty way to earn your Employment Canada enforced minimum wage.
You couldn't pay me enough to live through that shit every day between 11:30am and 2pm.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunday Click Around

Years ago, when I was a young and romantic girl, I used to love the art of Arthur Rackham, it appealed to my whimsical personality at that time. While I am certainly less whimsical these days, I still like his art.
I found this little site that shows the illustrations of Alice in Wonderland done by Rackham.

While we're on the topic of art, Diana Pakkala aka Mrs. Mystic is participating in The Gallery at World of Picture Frames on Tuesday December 6, 2005 from 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. It's at 133 Cartwright Avenue, (West off Dufferin Street, opposite Yorkdale Mall. Call 416-783-1896 for more info on that.

While looking around, I also ran into exactitudes photography done by Rotterdam-based photographer Ari Versluis and stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek photographing the striking dress codes of various social groups in different cultures and countries.
While we're on stereotypes of sorts, I link again to Eric Myers stereotypes a very cool interactive photography thing.
Another good link is A Picture History. It's an interesting place to go if you like history and pictures(duh...).
Flickr recently put together a tag related search which is kind of interesting if you've got an interest in other people's amateur photos.
Speaking of nosy like looking in to other people's lives, how about looking at other people's nasty houses in this link that I found over at Krysss.com
That site certainly makes my neglect to pick up and put away shoes in the foyer, paltry by comparison.

If you like taking tests, BBC Science and Nature has a bunch of interesting little tests to take.
Then, there is the New York Public Library Digital Gallery which is way cool.

That's all for today...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Gotdamn!

16 charged in sex assaults at city school
Nov. 14, 2005. 09:00 PM
CURTIS RUSH
STAFF REPORTER THESTAR.COM

In what is a shocking and disturbing case, more than a dozen students have been arrested for allegedly torturing and sexually assaulting a girl repeatedly for more than a year at a North York Roman Catholic high school.

Police told thestar.com earlier this afternoon that 16 young offenders have been arrested in the case, which has just come to light.

Police say they arrested a youth on Nov. 9 and made another arrest the following day.

Another 14 youths were arrested today.

The 16-year-old victim came forward about the assaults last week to school officials.

The incidents were alleged to have occurred at James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic High School on Finch Ave. in North York.

The allegations have already brought calls from school officials that some school boards should be assigning security guards in problem schools.

At a briefing this afternoon, police said the victim told them that throughout the 2004 and 2005 school years, she had been approached by boys at the school demanding sexual favours.

It is alleged that on Monday, Oct. 17, 2005, the victim was approached by a male student and forced into a school stairwell.

There, she was sexually assaulted and then forced to go to the second floor of the school with the student and into a washroom where he continued to sexually assault her.

Last Wednesday, a 17-year-old boy was arrested and charged with assault, sexual assault, forcible confinement and failing to comply with the terms of probation.

It is further alleged that in September, 2005, the victim went to a fast food restaurant and used the washroom in the basement. A boy allegedly followed the victim into the washroom and locked the door, where he demanded sexual favours from the victim.

A restaurant employee arrived and the victim was able to leave, police said.

Last Thursday, a 15-year-old boy was arrested and charged with sexual assault, forcible confinement and criminal harassment.

Today, police descended on the school while students were in class and school staff rounded up the 14 suspects. The teens, two of them girls, were then handcuffed and taken to the local police detachment.

Twelve male students were charged with criminal harassment and the two female students have been charged with threatening bodily harm.

Parents of those arrested descended in protest on the police station where their children were being held, while fellow students challenged the allegations as false.

Nevertheless, police officials were adamant the charges against the 16 youths were well-founded.

"We are not going to lay charges like this . . . with minimal information with minimal investigation," said Insp. Tom McIlhone, who added the school's video surveillance tapes were being scrutinized.

"We have conducted an investigation. There are a number of issues that we looked at, including her evidence and other evidence. We believe that this in fact took place."

Parents of the accused were outraged.

"The school board (has a) zero tolerance (policy). How come we didn't know this was going on for 18 months?" said the mother of one the 16-year olds charged.

"None of the principals, teachers called us to say your son is harassing someone. How come I never got that call?" said the 31-year old.

"For them to come now and just slap a charge on him is unbelievable."

School officials said there was no indication anything was wrong at the school prior to the girl coming forward.

"This was the first time that the student had the courage to come forward and report," said Mary Jo Deighan of the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

"In the last 18 months this girl did not come forward . . . because of fear (of) retaliation (from other students)."

Similar incidents of assault and intimidation are not uncommon in schools, police said.

"This is not an isolated incident," said Det. Jon Ling said.

"Similar incidents have happened at other schools in our division and throughout the city. However, I wouldn't say that this is a rampant problem."

Still, Ontario's education minister called the alleged conduct unacceptable.

"It is not inevitable that our schools have incidents like this. We can make our schools even safer," said Gerard Kennedy.

"There's a tremendous amount of effort being focused on that end and we will be making it even more effective because we can't rest as long as incidents like that are taking place in any of our schools."

While police remain concerned about the safety of the girl, who did not attend class Monday, they said she wants to return to school.

"The victim is upset, obviously, but she is determined that she'd like to go back to school - she'd like to go back to this school," said McIlhone.

"She feels it's her right and by not attending . . . she's victimized again."

The 14 students facing the latest charges were to remain in police custody overnight and were to appear in court Tuesday.

The names of the accused students as well as a victim cannot be released under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

with files from Canadian Press

This report hit me personally.
I was listening to the report when one of the mothers of the charged boys went on a rant about the fact that her son was put in a detention centre overnight.
Now, I know that they are innocent until proven guilty, but it made me think about my own experience.

This mothers reaction infuriated me.

When I was 12 years old, I was supposed to sleep over at my girlfriend Lisa's house.
She lived in the apartment behind ours on Dufferin Street. I was supposed to go over there before dark on an April evening, but I dawdled and left our apartment to head over to hers after dark.
I took a short cut behind the apartments on Spencer Avenue, and as I walked through the parking lot, I was accosted by a couple of boys I went to school with. Next thing I knew, they had pushed me to the ground and there were more boys that came out of nowhere.
I struggled.
One put his hand over my mouth...I was paralyzed with fear.
When one let his hand slip, I screamed...I howled an unearthly howl and someone...a saviour...came out on their balcony and shouted "WHAT ARE YOU DOING???!!!".
The boys dispersed.
Ran.
And so did I.
I ran home.
I never told my mother, because I wasn't supposed to be out after dark.
I was afraid. I didn't understand what was happening. I thought it was my fault for not listening to my mother, and not going out after dark.
It never occurred to me to go to the Principal of my school.
But, had that person not come out on their balcony... hadn't scared those boys that I went to school with...
Do I think that I was the only girl who had this happen to her and didn't tell?
No.
I don't.
Whoever this 16 year old girl is...I applaud her courage.
To those boys...fucking suck it up you little pricks.

To the leader of the boys who attacked me that night (Peter E*v*l*n)...I hope you have daughters.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Young girls regularly talk about guys and how it’s hard to find a good one that doesn’t lie, or cheat, and is responsible and good.

I was talking to a guy the other day who is currently playing push me/pull you with a woman he’s in love with who is batshit crazy.
She jerks him around, and he breaks up with her, and then she weasels her way back in somehow.

Now, I’m not talking about a guy who’s not “with it”.
I’m talking about a guy who makes a good living and is in charge of bossing people around in his job.
A guy who's outwardly, "together".

While he was relaying his latest drama of Greek tragedy proportions about his ex/current/soon to be ex again…and it suddenly dawned on me:

This is where the decent single guys are.
Wrapped up in fucked up chicks…just like decent girls are wrapped up in fucked up guys.

But, then…when you say that out loud…who’s really the fucked up one?

Just food for thought.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Social Cripple Enabling

A while ago I was visiting Orinthology for Beginners and ran across Dorothy's Rant on Salon.com took me over there.
I've never been all that interested in Salon, but on occasion I would find myself there through some link or another.
Well, since Dorothy mentioned this article on men who purchase and love their "real dolls", I went over to read it.

Well, call me naive.

I know that all kinds of crazy shit goes on in this world, and I know that the internet has helped freaks find other freaks who are into the same freaky things...and then freaky things get normalized to a certain extent, and magazines like Salon interview the freaky people who participate in these freaky "lifestyles", and allow the freaky deakies to try to justify their bizarre lifestyle choices to the general public.

But, it doesn't make them less freaky deaky.

It just means that they've spent too much time locked up in their parents basement in front of a computer, sharing photos and stories about their plastic girlfriends.
When I read the article, I thought..."Oh gimme a break!"
The article says that there are scores of guys who "have no interest in "organic" women", but I have a feeling that organic women would have no interest in them either.

I'm not sure if this is the ultimate "the end" of the unattainable models body for the socially disabled, or what...but I must say that it's really, really funny.
And I don't mean in a "ha ha" way.
I mean peculiar. Flaky. Outré to the extreme.
No amount of rationalizing or pruning the story is going to make a fantasy relationship with a piece of plastic normal.

As I was reading, I was thinking...this is ridiculous...so I went on a little search.

It appears to be a huge business.
There is a Real Doll Doctor.
You can buy real doll parts on e-bay.
There are message boards and websites used by these guys to give each other "tips" on caring for and dressing their girlfriends, so that they can post pictures of themselves and their "girlfriends" watching TV together, or playing video games together.

I. Kid. You. Not.
No.
Really.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sunday Click Around
This photo is from this cool site called Grapefruit Moon Gallery. There is some really nice vintage ad art there.

While on the topic of ad art, I found Advertising/Design Goodness through J-Walk Blog. There is some very clever ad work there.
While we're on the topic of photography, there are so many great photographers out there. Check out this Scott Stulberg on Southeast Asia Site.
Also, just by chance I found this Areal view of Niagara Falls. Being a Torontonian of Serbian descent, Niagara Falls...is like the Mecca for all Slavic relatives who visit.

You can also check out International Webcams.
Now, a Security Guard's life is available to you.
You too can look at empty rooms and hallways to your hearts content.

Is your life boring? Not getting enough attention? Why don't you make up a story about yourself, and let By Accident help you fabricate a more interesting life by making shit up about yourself.
That's right, you can stress yourself out for life, trying to keep a gigantic lie straight!

This is an interesting art project. It's called Look at a Book.
Scrapbooking always looks more interesting when Artists do it.

Ever wonder how long stuff in your fridge will last, and can't be bothered finding the "Best Before Date" on the product, or perhaps it's been rubbed or torn off..or worse, put in a stupid place by the company so that it gets torn off when you open the product...Check out the Table of Condiments.

Like taking tests? Here's the site for you. Or maybe this is the site for you.

That's all.