Featuring: Social Engineering Religius Debate (esp. re: Islam) Humour A film festival about killing Bush and Blair More on Valery Plame Reflections from Queerspawn (Is that Queer's Pawn or Queer Spawn?) Some Little Green Footballs commentary
I was walking around today during my lunch break when I ran into a childhood friend who I happened to go to Dawson College/CEGEP with. We walked down McGill College (the street) where some other old Dawson friends we ran into told us there had been a shooting at the CEGEP.
From what friends who are still at Dawson tell me, and from what I saw on the news of a distraught girl, the shooters (or the one who came through the De Maisonneuve entrance anyways) were members of the goth community. The girl on TV answered a question as to what they looked like almost apologetically. She said that she knew it sounded stereotypical, but that the shooter she saw was in the big black clothes and metal studs [associated with goths, though she didn't use the word herself].
From my time at Dawson College Radio (CIXS), I met some of those goths, and people in big black robes, studs, all black makeup etc. Most of them were generally nice kids, noticeably different from others only in their dress. Their taste for heavy metal (and playing heavy metal LOUD) wasn't my own taste, but I came to appreciate it somewhat through their explanations of the music.
However, I also saw a truly frightening side of these fellow Dawson students: a simmering hatred for those who were different. Black jokes abounded and the n-word was used profusely. A cartoon of "the Spades" (various black rappers/generic black characters) was posted in the club hangout. Jew jokes were also common, and while this was covered by the "just kidding around" excuse, it felt more like half-joking. By that I mean the sort of joke that has a hint of what someone really thinks in it.
These culminated one day with the "I wish this was Marc" cartoon. A picture of a seal being clubbed (the club atmosphere was very reactionary ... gays, rap, the Italians (there's a strong representation of Italians in the student body) animal rights, etc. were all put down) had a kippah/yarmulke drawn on it and the caption "I wish this was Marc" was added. The Marc being referenced in the cartoon was/is an orthodox Jewish student. I can understand that the cartoon may have been motivated by Marc's being annoying, but it's also obvious from the association with the kippah that there was a religious aspect to things.
Yet other times I was treated with respect, as were black DJs and staff at the station. Which suggests to me that the people there at least knew what society expected of them, what social norms are. I think and hope that it goes beyond this too, though, and that this respect is the basic relation the goths I've met have with other members of society, the other behaviour simply being an aberration.
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Today, September 11th 2006, I'm paying tribute to September 11th 2001 victim Richard Barry Ross as part of the 2996 project. Richard B. Ross of Newton, Massachussets, USA was a caring 58 year old father who'd met with success in both his personal and public lives. 5 years ago today, on September 11th 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists fueled by fanatical hatred hijacked American Airlines Flight 11, which Richard was flying on. It crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
The Boston Globe published an editorial obituary for Mr. Ross. It turns out that while the September 11th terrorists may have killed a man, much of Ross was left intact that terrible day. Ross' family, The Brain Tumor Society that he founded, and several other groups and organizations he was a part of carry on his work. The September 11th Legacy website describes the establishment of The Brain Tumor Society:
"When his youngest daughter, Alison, developed a brain tumor as a child, Mr. Ross and a friend formed a foundation, the Brain Tumor Society, to provide information and support. 'He lived his priorities,' Ms. Ross said. 'He always told us that we were the most important things, and he always showed us that.'"
As part of the 2996 project, I'll be one of several thousand bloggers posting a tribute to a particular victim of the September 11th attacks. My assigned person is Richard Ross, of Newton Massachussets, co-founder of The Ross Group and a devoted father.
Some blogs that signed up to participate have since gone AWOL (away without leave - they're no longer being updated or no longer around) and more bloggers are needed. Please go and sign up to post a tributeto one of the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
It would be shameful if we couldn't muster enough energy to honour all of September 11th's victims. It would be shameful to forget...
You'll be seeing less Canadian politics, foreign affairs, environmental issues and all that other good stuff I tend to write about here, over the next few months. I've just entered McGill University. So this is to let you guys know my posting frequency will be down, though I don't know yet how much.
To make up for it, I'll try and highlight interesting things from the archives you may not have known about. Also, I'll be doing linking to blogroll partners and others in the political blogosphere in order to showcase material elsewhere. I welcome suggestions either in the comments or by email.
You just won't see lots of fresh writing on Canadian politics here, as I focus on my studies.
If you want to read more/follow our coverage of Canadian politics, consider our free newsletter, though that too won't be going out as frequently.
It's a valid question that's important to ask. If they are reasonable, perhaps there is hope for achieving peace. If not, we need to place our hopes in the next generation. Ultimately, though, it's really a question of educating people to respect each other.