Monday, December 31, 2007

Battling xenophobic and reactionary feminism in Quebec

This is a really excellent article (in French) concerning the opposition of the Conseil du statut de la femme (CSF) to the wearing of veils by Muslim women in Quebec. I've been keeping a real close eye on this debate, as it's quite disturbing to witness a stirring up of xenophobic and racist sentiment, all under the banner of feminism. No more or less than a pathetic spectacle of enlightened white women teaching those poor helpless brown women how to behave like civilized humans – like themselves, of course. I hope this blows up in their faces.

It's about time something of worth was published in Le Devoir, that sorry excuse for a Leftist paper.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beautiful crime-free Montreal

Looks like Karla Homolka has moved to the Carribbean.

[insert really intense hair metal]

I am forty multiple-choice questions away from winter break. Oh shit yes.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Maman

Good morning, Mother.
We're getting hit with a pretty major snow storm at the moment. The snow seems to be falling upwards, such is the wind (gusts of over 80 kilometers per hour, though I can't say that the word "kilometer" conjures up any sort of image in my mind). So, since I am all but trapped in my apartment for the day, I thought I'd take this time to write you and ask if you are planning on joining us for some fine holiday festivities. I am confident that you'll make the correct decision. Listen to your heart. God told me to tell you that He thinks it would be most appropriate for you to spend some of the time that He gave you on this earth with your dear son (that's me) and daughter-in-law (that's my wife, whom you haven't seen in, what, a year and a half?). There will be feasting and dancing! For to us a child will be born, to us a son will be given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
We love you,

Matthew and Danica

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bobbin


I think I was happier when I believed this little action was performed by way of magic or gnomes or a God-of-the-gaps.

"I've got hate running through my veins"

Could someone please explain to me why we're supposed to be supporting the Democrats? I really don't get it. But we'll go ahead and vote for them just the same. You know, for kicks.

Also, why the hell is this half-assed agreement to maybe talk about something or other to do with climate change in a couple years being hailed as an "historic breakthrough"?

And then, to top off this otherwise rosy morning, we have this.

I am angry to the point of nausea.

"The earth is utterly broken"


Thomas Cole, The Oxbow, 1836.

Many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century artists and writers felt that the only way to combat the negative (physical and spiritual) effects of industrialization was through exposure to wilderness in its pristine and awe-inspiring state, untouched by the hands of Man. Nature with a capital N. This exposure to things outside the realm of human control served as proof that there were limits to the destructive force of industry.

These artists and writers spoke too soon, as the only thing left to inspire in us a sense of the sublime is the destructive force of industry itself. Whereas before Nature caused people to forget themselves and contemplate the infinite, now we are left with infinite industry (humanity itself now being merely a cog, nearly replaceable) before which a finite "environment" lies wilted, defeated. We're doomed to stare ourselves in the face.

The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and
withers;
the heavens languish together
with the earth.
The earth lies polluted
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the
earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for
their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the
earth dwindled,
and few people are left.
The wine dries up,
the vine languishes,
all the merry-hearted sigh.

- Isaiah 24.4-7

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Ivan Ilyich screamed for three days."


We walked down the middle of a steep and winding street. There was no one around. The houses were old and looming, set above narrow stone stairways in partial disrepair.
"Do you believe love is stronger than death?"
"Not in a million years."
"Good," he said. "Nothing is stronger than death. Do you believe the only people who fear death are those who are afraid of life?"
"That's crazy. Completely stupid."
"Right. We all fear death to some extent. Those who claim otherwise are lying to themselves. Shallow people."
"People with their nicknames on their license plates."
"Excellent, Jack. Do you believe life without death is somehow incomplete?"
"How could it be incomplete? Death is what makes it incomplete."
"Doesn't our knowledge of death make life more precious?"
"What good is a preciousness based on fear and anxiety? It's an anxious quivering thing."
- Don Delillo, White Noise [p. 284-5]

Monday, December 10, 2007

Shopping


Philips Jet Clean electric razor cleaning solution
500 grams Inari brand organic arborio rice
Montalto 2005 Grillo-Sauvignon Italian white wine
yellow onion
white onion
Neutrogena daily facial cleansing pads
Lavazza Qualita Oro espresso
Lavazza Crema e Gusto espresso
Melitta 100 natural brown cone coffee filters
Compliments Greek pita breads (2)
large whisk
113 grams Fleischmann's Quick-Rise instant yeast
Mitchum Smart Solid deodorant/antiperspirant stick

L'Enfer

Anyone want to buy me a plane ticket to France? I'd really like to go see this.

I once met a fellow amateur of French eroticism in a barmaid at the Bluebird Bistro in Kansas City. It was quite a shock to meet a stranger who was reading The Story of the Eye at the same time as me.

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's the end, friend of mine


The semester is quickly coming to a close. I have three final exams and one compte rendu critique to write of the play my class went to see a couple nights ago, Eugene Ionesco's Rhinocéros, directed by Jean-Guy Legault, at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde. I don't care too much for Ionesco's play, with its apolitical humanism. A theatre production of Kafka's Métamorphose is playing in town tonight, but tickets cost $30, so that seems a bit out of the question. I'll take Kafka over Ionesco any day of the week. Ionesco plays right into the hands of that which he's supposedly critiquing, namely, authoritarian governments and conformist masses. Dumb.

I'm a bit nervous about my climate and water exam on Tuesday. The class has covered so much material. It is very difficult to keep it all straight. Multiple choice and a 3-4 page essay on something obscure as hell like capillary water in the soil or downwelling in the North Atlantic Ocean. I've definitely learned a great deal about weather systems in this class, as Danica can attest. I feel like an old man, talking about air masses and precipitation. Now I wish the Weather Network would lay out more information than they do, so that I could put it under my own brand of scrutiny. I was invited to a potluck exam study party on Sunday at this dude's place in Charlevoix. I'll probably end up going. He said he was preparing flash cards.

On the 17th I have an exam to write for my geography of globalization class. Should be pretty straightforward. Multiple choice, short answer, 7-8 page essay on like structural adjustment programs or measuring structural violence or something.

The last exam I have is for my Place, Space and Identity class, on the 19th. Piece of cake. This class is kind of silly. The exam should cover things like the geographies of cemeteries, malls and gardens. Vernacular architecture in British Columbia. Immanuel Wallerstein's world systems theory. 16th century Dutch eco-colonialism. Inuit navigation (can you use this word to refer to land? Navigatio is Latin for "sailing." What's the word I'm looking for?) by means of snow drifts. Quebec's dabbling in ethnic nationalism.

My other class, Correction phonétique, doesn't have an exam. I had to do an exposé oral en classe sur la francophonie a week or so ago, so now I'm done with that.

So I just have to give one final push and I'll be through with this semester. It has been a rough one. Five classes is quite a bit of work, I have discovered. Next semester I'll only have four classes, although my French class will be six credits.

Yesterday Danica and I spoke with a dude from the legal clinic at my school about immigration issues. He told me that I should drop out of school and become a baker or a butcher. If you ever find yourself wanting to move to Canada, just get yourself a one-year vocational degree in baking and you'll be welcomed with open arms. Seriously. I'm thinking about looking into summer baking programs for when I don't have university classes. Canada is in serious need of blue-collar workers.

I think I'm becoming a Marxist, but recognizing this makes me feel like a poseur. I also have a beard and smoke a pipe, drink good beer. I am Cornudet, though I have no inheritance and cannot whistle.