Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dating Discourses and the Truth about men and women.

Found on Cosmopolitan’s website, Comedian Amy Schumer outlines ten ways in which woman can win over the heart of any man in under 10 seconds! To give a brief example, one tip she gives women is to cry uncontrollable in front of your man without explanation because “men love mystery”. I find this interesting because in my head I have decided what she is saying is totally absurd. Without even thinking, I recognize her advice as more of a joke than anything. Despite its comedic take on dating, this article brought up a legitimate point; there is a right and wrong way to date. As soon as I read the article, all I could think about was Foucault; I couldn't help but think of his notions of discourse and Truth. I wanted to understand the productive discourses of proper dating practices.
        For Foucault, the concept of discourse may be explained as a social process which involves the production of knowledge (Foucault, 1971). Certain forms of knowledge become known as Truths, those "common sense facts" which are taken for granted. When discussing the proper form of dating, a Truth could be that men always ask the women out. When asked why women and men act this way, the answer is often "because that is how it has always been". This practice is repeated and soon becomes a Truth. Similar to discourses surrounding homeless peoples, there too are discourses and Truths which center around dating. The fact that I have decided this article was written in satiric form is enough to prove Foucault's theory.  
            Back to Amy’s article now. It is very interesting to see such an ironic article posted on the website of one of America’s leading female publications. As I have already mentioned above, the article was meant to be a joke, however it was published for a reason. Perhaps women also find it a joke to constantly be worried about the proper way to date. Does it not seem odd that there are guidelines which women must follow in order to be date-able? This is not to say that women are once again the victims to men, however. Amy has taken a bold step to bring forward a trend in North American dating, where women are expected to follow certain rules in order to become attached. I wonder about the men who do not want to date women who follow guidelines and the women who have no interest in those men who expect them to. Could there be two or more sets of guidelines to be followed to meet your sweetheart? Is there even truly one proper guideline?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Homeless Body, critical ref. # 5

The Homeless Body
        When I was really young, maybe seven or eight, I witnessed an extremely violent fight between three homeless people in front of the Sheppard’s of Good Hope. Two men were brutally beating a young woman on the streets while many people watched. My mom grabbed my arm and pulled me away and we left very quickly, along with many other people. I remember thinking “why didn’t anyone try to stop them?” I asked my mom why these people were fighting and all she could say was “because they’re homeless”. Despite being very young, I knew that assumption was wrong.
        As Samira Kawash (1998) suggests, the homeless person does not have a face, but instead is an imagined figure who is innately dangerous, filthy, dependant, and intrusive (Kawash, 1998). This imagined perception of the homeless body could explain my mother’s explanation for the fierce attack we had witnessed. It may also explain the lack of aid given to the woman who was being beaten by the two men. It is just assumed that this sort of behaviour is typical “homeless” behaviour. What the general public tends to forget, as Kawash (1998) points out, is the reasoning behind these individuals state of being (or not being). Over the past three decades, since the 1980s, states around the world have decided to cut funding and social programs for those who need them the most. Many scholars have argued that the same State that supposedly protects the public has also created the body which threatens it: the Homeless Body (Kawash, 1998). The safe streets act found in many cities throughout Canada (Hitchen, 2005) as well as the recent “Tent city” in response to the Vancouver Winter Olympics are perfect examples of this argument. In the safe streets act, the homeless body is assumed to pose a threat to the success of local businesses and their clients. The proposed act wishes to ban these bodies from inhabiting the streets surrounding these commercial properties. What this act seems to have left out is an alternative housing and economic plan which will be needed to support the homeless bodies elsewhere.

The Olympics as a Political Space

        Once again, the Olympic Committee is under the world’s magnifier. This is not a recent problem faced by the committee, however. We do not have to look too far back to notice the reoccurring pattern of political strife. In fact, in the history of the Olympic games, the world has witnessed many controversies. The 1972 Summer games in Munich, Germany, functioned as a stage for the political opposition between Palestine and Israel proper when members of the Israel Olympic team were murdered. More recent is the example of the tent city that went up in Vancouver to host- or more accurately to hide the city's homeless population. We look to the future now, where criticism surrounding the upcoming 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia has already surfaced.
        The latest buzz surrounding the 2014 Olympics focuses on the Russian venue which hosted the 1864 defeat of the Circassian people, who were brutally attacked and murdered by the Russian Tsarist military (Zhemukhov, 2009). Many Carcassians feel the defeat should be labelled as an act of genocide, for up to 97% of the groups population was believed to be systematically murdered (Zhemukhov, 2009). The focal point of the criticism is centered around one of the main venues of the Sochi 2014 winter games is said to be one of the historical battlefields where many Circassians were collected and deported to the Ottoman Empire. Even if one does not know much about the political history surrounding the Circassians, it would seem highly insensitive to host an international event at the same site where an act of genocide has occurred in the past. When confronted, the Sochi organizing committee released a statement where they said it was not their place to comment on the political or historical events of the 2014 venue (Reuters, March 2010). I realize the committee members may not have been directly involved in the genocide, but they are indirectly influencing the present situation by refusing to comment on the issue. Personally, as public figures in the global lens, I believe it is as much their responsibility to comment on the issue as it was Canada's responsibility to comment on our own nation's problems at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

How to Win Over a Guy in 10 Seconds

How to Win Over a Guy in 10 Seconds

Posted using ShareThis

Environmentalism: Religiously Ecofriendly in a Secular Nation.

        I must admit the only Television I watch these days is online. Of course even online T.V involves commercials (how else will people get paid right?). One of the commercials revealed the new "Cascade Extreme", a 100% recycled, chlorine free paper towel which will change your "environmentality". The purchase of this towel is apparently going to clear the air, save the trees and protect the lakes and rivers, says Cascade.
        I brought up this commercial for two reasons. First, I would like to applaud Cascade for being "environmentally friendly". However, why can't we all just use a washable cloth instead? If Cascade truly wanted to save the trees, clear the air and protect the waterways they would realize that paper towels are absolutely wasteful. They should learn a thing or two from the people over at
Now, before you go and call me some freaky hippie chick- hear me out. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

In light of the recent Oscars, 2010.

I have found an interesting article discussing the existance of racism, inequality and imperialism in highly successful motion pictures. The author argues that while it is great to shed light on issues that would otherwise go unseen, they are once again told through the middle-class man's story.

The state of Exception

 Law without Law: the State of Exception

       The October Crisis (1970) rattled the bones of many Canadians. The war measures act was put into place, allowing police officers to arrest without warrant. Martial law was also put into place, allowing the Canadian Military to temporarily rule the country. What is interesting is the general public’s willingness to cooperate, despite the fact that they themselves could possibly be stripped of their rights
(ClĂ©ment, 2008). After the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, the Bush Administration administered similar measures to that of the War Measures Act, which exist almost ten years after it’s installment; Guantanamo Bay for example detains international prisoners, providing them with little knowledge as to the crime they have (or have not) committed ( Irons, 2009). In both cases, it is easy to see the potential for human rights violations by those in power. Knowing this, why is it that the public so freely gives its consent? As Antonio Gramsci (1971) suggests, the key to submission is found in the "spontaneous consent" of the masses; the Intellectual is used by the dominant group as a medium to render support of the masses (Gramsci, 1971).