re: “Do We Hate On Taylor Swift Because We Actually Hate Ourselves?”

Bustle writer De Elizabeth made a critical point about psychological projection in her article, “Do We Hate On Taylor Swift Because We Actually Hate Ourselves?” De Elizabeth argued that, despite some valid and but overall negligible criticism of Taylor Swift’s activities and her career trajectory, if many of those critics were just honest with him or herself they would see that their criticism of Mrs. Swift was just borne out of personal resentment and self-doubt.

Could Taylor do better? Sure. But, more importantly, we all could do better, and if we put as much effort into our own activism as we do into insulting Taylor for what we perceive to be self-serving behavior, we’d probably see more progress than one celebrity can do with a single tweet.

–De Elizabeth

Taylor Swift, the artist, may never evolve beyond her trope, De Elizabeth wrote, and she may never be the cultural or gender “savior” that some critics have claimed she would be. Regardless, Mrs. Swift had the talent, ambition, and willpower to become hugely successful, and that’s much more than many people would even dare aspire to be. That Mrs. Swift also demonstrated her personal virtues when she defended herself in court against a man who violated her further set her apart from the keyboard warrior crowd that derides her as a fake or even worse.

In short: haters gonna hate.

Vogue’s Alexandra Shulman on Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne

When we meet Suzanne she immediately wins our hearts. Who wouldn’t want to be like her. From the very start she is unique and powerful. She takes the initiative when she “takes you down to her place near the river”.

You never feel that she gets her clothes from the Salvation Army because she has to. No. She chooses to. The rags and feathers she wears are surely light and sensuous.

Either way she is glorious. You just know that she is completely at ease with her appearance.

“The sun pours down like honey” and “there are heroes in the seaweed.” She has made a world that conforms to her own kind of loveliness. And everybody wanted a part of it.

Suzanne Was The Ideal Of The Age” by Alexandra Shulman in Vogue [UK]

Link: “Here Is The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read Aloud To Her Attacker” (BuzzFeed)

You cannot give me back the life I had before that night either. While you worry about your shattered reputation, I refrigerated spoons every night so when I woke up, and my eyes were puffy from crying, I would hold the spoons to my eyes to lessen the swelling so that I could see. I showed up an hour late to work every morning, excused myself to cry in the stairwells, I can tell you all the best places in that building to cry where no one can hear you. The pain became so bad that I had to explain the private details to my boss to let her know why I was leaving. I needed time because continuing day to day was not possible. I used my savings to go as far away as I could possibly be. I did not return to work full time as I knew I’d have to take weeks off in the future for the hearing and trial, that were constantly being rescheduled. My life was put on hold for over a year, my structure had collapsed.

Unfortunately, after reading the defendant’s report, I am severely disappointed and feel that he has failed to exhibit sincere remorse or responsibility for his conduct. I fully respected his right to a trial, but even after twelve jurors unanimously convicted him guilty of three felonies, all he has admitted to doing is ingesting alcohol. Someone who cannot take full accountability for his actions does not deserve a mitigating sentence. It is deeply offensive that he would try and dilute rape with a suggestion of “promiscuity.” By definition rape is the absence of promiscuity, rape is the absence of consent, and it perturbs me deeply that he can’t even see that distinction.

Read this powerful letter in full, here.

Link: “Keep ‘newcomer high’ at Greenwood, students plead”

As reported by Kristin Rushowy for the Toronto Star, today:

Greenwood is unique in that it caters solely to newly arrived teens, offering numerous English-as-a-Second-Language course offerings, as well as settlement and social supports until the students are ready to move into a mainstream high school. Newcomers typically stay for one to three semesters. The school has nurtured waves of immigrants, from Hungarian Roma to, more recently, teens from Syria.

Mike Gallagher, the area superintendent, said the board is under orders from the provincial government “to make better use of our space.” As enrolment declines, that means “the status quo isn’t an option.” The committee, comprising representatives from all schools, met many times and held six public meetings.

However, unlike the other schools involved in the review, Greenwood is not under-enrolled — in fact, it is at almost the ideal 80 per cent capacity, with a small alternative school also housed in the building. Danforth, by comparison, is not even half full, at 41 per cent capacity.

[…] Greenwood students wonder why they weren’t deemed just as vulnerable a population, given that many have fled war-torn countries and are adjusting to new lives in an unfamiliar country.

Afshar also pointed out the Greenwood students’ safety concerns, given ongoing disputes that included a carful of Danforth [Tech] teens coming to the school looking to fight.

And here I was thinking that school boards exist to serve the people….

Link: “Toronto travel bookstore’s trip is finally over after 40 years” (G&M)

As Mark Medley reported for the Globe and Mail today,

For the last 40 years, Open Air Books and Maps, which is currently housed in a cramped basement at the corner of Adelaide and Toronto streets, on the edge of the financial district, has been a lighthouse guiding travellers, a library for adventurers and the wanderlusty, a refuge for explorers and seekers. It will, at the end of this month, be closing its doors for good.

This morning at work, two undergraduates chatted in the elevator I took to the seventh floor about their weekend plans. One of the students couldn’t contain herself that she was jetting off to the UK after class. As the day continued, I would learn that many more of my students would be jetting off somewhere for March Break.

That flying across oceans, even among struggling university students, is as simple as turning a page now doesn’t surprise me. That book stores are shuttering across the planet doesn’t surprise me. The printed page is an endangered species today in this age of quick but summated e-answers, fast but scathing e-ratings, and instant but ruthless e-reviews. But it doesn’t need to be for sometimes a good indexed book and few maps are all you’ll ever need.

When Mr. Axler was preparing for his around-the-world odyssey, which took him through Africa and the Indian subcontinent, among other places, “it was just so hard finding stuff” about the places he was planning on visiting. “You’re in places like Liberia, in all likelihood, once in your life. It’s nice to know as much as you can.

“A book, as a percentage of your travel costs, is so negligible,” he says. “I always tell people: If you can enhance your trip by just one or two things, that’s worth the price of the book.”

Ain’t that the truth?

Bob Norris on “USAF Pilots vs USN Naval Aviators”

Young Man,

Congratulations on your selection to both the Naval and Air Force Academies. Your goal of becoming a fighter pilot is impressive and a fine way to serve your country. As you requested, I’d be happy to share some insight into which service would be the best choice. Each service has a distinctly different culture. You need to ask yourself “Which one am I more likely to thrive in?”


Rekindling the Fire

Coco – the devoted, unsung heroine of Bowie’s career – had its walls painted white as a private gallery for his dark images. She ordered in blank canvases and tubes of oil paint. She read Nietzsche beside him, beneath the fluorescent portrait he painted of Japanese author Yukio Mishima. Above all, she went with him to the Brücke Museum, to gaze at the works of Kirchner, Kollwitz and Heckel. The expressionists’ rough, bold strokes and melancholic mood captured a sense of the ephemeral, as well as Bowie’s imagination.

—Rory MacLean, Bowie in Berlin: ‘He drove round the car park at 70mph screaming that he wanted to end it all’, The Guardian, Jan. 13, 2016

Quoted: Rex Murphy (2015.10.16)

from “Tom Mulcair was always going to be the man in the middle

Next, though he (Tom Mulcair) held the rank of Opposition leader, and though he had a parliamentary caucus far superior in numbers to the third-place party, he was never seen fully to occupy the role [….]

The ancient cleavage of Canadian politics — Libs and Tories — held.

During his time as the Leader of the Official Opposition, Mulcair demonstrated

(a)ll very credible achievements, but none of it the stuff of excitement and flair. None of it a matter of style.

Style counts.

—Rex Murphy, National Post (2015.10.16)

“Surfacing” by Margaret Atwood, Ch.9, Para.1

The trouble is all in the knob at the top of our bodies. I’m not against the body or the head either: only the neck, which creates the illusion that they are separate. The language is wrong, it shouldn’t have different words for them. If the head extended directly into the shoulders like a worm’s or a frog’s without that constriction, that lie, they wouldn’t be able to look down at their bodies and move them around as if they were robots or puppets; they would have to realize that if the head is detached from the body both of them will die.

—Margaret Atwood

from “Immediately Everything Was Wrong” by Conan O’Brien

His hair resembled an ill-fitting vintage leather motorcycle helmet. His front teeth had a massive gap that looked almost painted-on as a joke. He was wearing the requisite broadcaster’s tie, but khaki pants and Adidas sneakers. His set looked wrong, as if he had thrown it together minutes before the show—strange photos of dogs decorated the wall behind him. And then there was his manner. His smile was not ingratiating, but mischievous and ever so slightly malevolent. He was not comfortable in his own skin at a time when everyone on television, by definition, was comfortable in their own skin. And on top of it all, he was doing a comedy show in the morning. What the hell? Who does a comedy show in the morning? What’s wrong with this guy? Who let this happen? […]

Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave’s seismic impact on comedy.

Read the full piece, here.