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Enough about COVID

Except to say that Ontario seems to have overstepped the mark, turning themselves into a Draconian society where everyone is pissed off by measures that don’t have any measurable impact. So much for being driven by science. (Doug Ford seems to have woken up since.)

Safeway fraud

Useless Safeway coupon (2019)

Useless Safeway coupon (2019).

This has bothered me for a long time, at least a couple of years but maybe more. (I first scanned one of these coupons in 2019 for this post, but the first website screenshot is from 2018.) Safeway prints out a fuel coupon for “4 cents off/litre” with just about every receipt. But where can I, as a resident of the Greater Vancouver area, use this coupon? According to their own website, the only Safeway with a “gas bar” (as of yesterday) is at “South Trail Crossing” in Calgary! There did used to be a gas bar in Aldergrove, but if I’m out that way I’m usually driving further east, in which case I drive a couple of miles further and I’m out of the Vancouver fuel tax area (or whatever it’s called) and I save even more at one of the fuel stations deliberately set up there. However, according to their website the Aldergrove store doesn’t exist any more.

Useless Safeway coupon (2021)

Unusable Safeway coupon (2021).

A couple of years ago I literally threw the coupon back at the cashier and told them it was a “waste of paper and a fraud”. I have to get back into that habit, as it’s dishonest of Safeway to “gift” their customers with something they can’t even use.

Shaw

Speaking of customer feedback, Shaw called me recently to renew my two-year contract with them. I immediately launched into how pissed off I am at their cable service, and how I will become an ex-customer if their merger with Rogers goes through. The guy actually had the balls to tell me that the merger was not his responsibility! So I told him how I don’t have the ear of Brad Shaw, so the only thing I can do is talk to his employees and tell them how pissed off I am. It’s then his job to tell his supervisor, whose job it is to then tell his manager, who passes it on up the line to Brad Shaw.

Are employees not taught any more how customer feedback works, or do companies rely completely on leading survey questions that always lead companies to conclude that they’re the most wonderful thing since sliced bread?

Robert Dziekanski

I noted that it would have been Robert Dziekanski’s 54th birthday on 15 April. If the RCMP hadn’t murdered him for no reason.

Racist attacks on Asians in the US

Did anyone notice a couple of weeks ago that the attacks on Asians in New York City caught on video where perpetrated by Blacks? Am I allowed to say that? I thought only Whites were racist? I’m so confused.

“Do you identify as an Indigenous person?”

Speaking of race, I noticed when registering for a COVID-19 vaccine recently that I was asked this question. It’s emblematic of Canada’s relationship with the country and people they colonised, but it exposes the weaknesses in “politically correct” use of language. I am fully supportive of trans-gendered people, but I can decide today that I “identify” as female; if I do, it will be politically incorrect to question me and ask to check my shorts, but I can guarantee that if I answered “yes” to this question, I’d be questioned at the vaccine site and sent away.

Off-duty cops pulls gun on unarmed arsonist; arsonist wins

In the keystone cops department, we recently had a case here where an arsonist set two fires at Masonic Temples in North Vancouver, in broad daylight, then drove across the bridge and did the same at another in Vancouver. He was brazen about it! At the last a bystander videoed him walking away from the front door with a jerry can back to his car. An apparently off-duty police officer approaches his with his drawn pistol. You’d think that would be the end of it, according to the NRA in the United States, where armed members of the public are supposed to keep the world safe from criminals. But no, the arsonist shrugs off the cop, and goes home to boast about his escapades on social media. He was later arrested somewhere other than one of the scene of his crimes, where he was “threatened” by the cop.

If there was an opposite of a police medal (booby prize?), this cop should get it. But first the cops should be trained on what to do in that situation. Step 1 should not be to draw your weapon. That’s going nuclear from the get-go, and we all know that cops are absolutely incapable of backing down, or de-escalating, a situation. So if you’re going to open the confrontation by drawing your gun, the only option then is to shoot the guy if he doesn’t comply with your orders. As moronic as the arsonist is, arson in and of itself is not a capital crime. (We can argue whether or not stupidity should be.) But if a cop really thinks that a brazen arsonist is just going to get on his knees and kiss his boots as soon as he has a pistol pointed at him, the cop is almost as moronic.

BBC News website

BBC registration pop-up

BBC registration pop-up.

I get my news from a variety of websites, but one of the main ones is BBC News. However, they have taken to harassing me lately with pop-ups (see image) and banners, insisting that I register … which I see as an ominous sign. One banner or pop-up states that “you can get the news you want”, or words to that effect. I don’t know how an international organisation with the reach and expanse of the BBC can’t see how fucking stupid that is. The reason the whole world is becoming and has become more polarised is precisely because people are being siloed into news bubbles, never seeing anything that “disagrees” with their view of the world. This is, apparently, how they’re trying to sell me on the concept of registering with them.

Prince Philip (10 June 1921 - April 2021), BBC

Prince Philip (10 June 1921 – April 2021), BBC.

In other BBC news, they had the dates of Prince Philip’s life as “10 June 1921 – April 2021”. Yes, no actual day in the date of his death. The BBC is good in their coverages of world news, but their Web team is letting them down.

Prince Philip

Speaking of Prince Philip, I noticed a woman (not a CBC journalist) on the CBC (I believe it was) professing, quite proudly, her ignorance of Prince Philip. This is how low the CBC has gone; they now give air time to people who are mindfully ignorant of world affairs.

What is “white fragility”?

I posted the following as a comment on the “What is ‘white fragility’?” article on the Oxford Dictionaries blog, but that was a week or so ago and the moderators have not approved it, so I’ll post it here instead.


TL;DR: You’re damned it you do and damned if you don’t.

The problem with inventing a pejorative, racist phrase like “white fragility” and then defining it as any possible reaction a white person can have to being presented with information that casts his or her race in a negative light in a discussion he or she knows she or he cannot win — including silence and the simple act of “leaving” or not participating in the discussion — is that it’s a blatant attempt at actively marginalising a definable group in a “damned if you do and damned it you don’t” way. So then, you might ask, what’s the point of inventing the phrase and defining it? It’s to be “reverse” racist! So yeah, since I’m white my reaction is yet another “textbook example” of my “white fragility” because any reaction, including clicking the back button and choosing not to engage, is (by definition) “white fragility”! There’s nowhere to hide in this maddening circular argument in which there is no possible way for a white person to save face or even ameliorate the position presented, and it’s designed to pre-emptively cut the legs out from any possible position a white person might take by allowing every non-white person to dismiss their position, no matter how valid, as just another “textbook example” of “white fragility”.

In the “textbook example” given, Captain Scott Arndt is simply ignorant of the statistics and a denier of (I can only assume) valid statistics collected using valid scientific methods. That just makes him an idiot, and idiots come in all hues. He then responded in a typically American fashion, which is to whine and file a complaint over something that could have been resolved in minutes if more mature and intelligent people were involved, and the American media responded in typically American fashion by making a mountain out of a molehill. If the statistics he couldn’t stomach only involved transgender people and not “transgender people (of color)” (one wonders why the author bracketed those words, when they aren’t bracketed anywhere in the media release [not “scholarly data”] to which she links) then this whole “textbook example” of “white fragility” would fall apart! It is not, in fact, a “textbook example” of “white fragility”; it’s a “textbook example” of two police officers who have poor interpersonal skills (and probably other undocumented issues between them) and as much an example of “cisgender fragility” as it is “white fragility”! But the latter doesn’t conveniently feed into the author’s racist narrative.

And let’s not even get into how it should be “politically correct” for people to issue “trigger warnings” to their fragile, white friends to whom they might be about to say something that will trigger “white fragility”! On the one hand political correctness demands that we be super-sensitive to others’ feelings, and on the other just blatantly and gleefully tramples all over my feelings of “white fragility”! Oh the irony!

The struggle of life

Life is about struggle. Whether you’re an amoeba or a human, life is a struggle. For some organisms, it’s simply a struggle to stay alive for another second. Just this morning I’m watching two doves outside my office struggle with a crow over territory, and as I write this reinforcements from the crow side have showed up to gang up on the doves. (Perhaps this murder of crows have murder on their minds.) The highlight of an African safari, for many, is witnessing the struggle of predator and prey — the predator struggling to get another meal, the prey struggling not to become that meal … to stay alive.

Human history is all about struggle. Much of that struggle is unjust in many ways — the struggle between a weaker, unprepared victim and a stronger attacker that has prepared for the struggle. In a civilised society we are, as a collective, supposed to protect the weak and discourage the strong from taking advantage of them.

But despite this, humanity is not likely — ever — to become one homogenous mass of people all thinking the same way, reacting the same way, believing the same things, shunning the same negatives and embracing the same positives. And most people, including me, would argue that this is a good thing.

So I get that people rail against other people. It’s part of the struggle. Only today — in 2015 — most of us tend to do so with our pens … or keyboards. Relatively few of us take up arms, either as individuals or groups, or against individuals or groups.

But some do. And we rightly rail against them using our keyboards, and we use the tools of our civilisation to deal with them in one way or another.

However, some people then go past indicting the specific perpetrator of the specific injustice and commit further injustices against people who had nothing to do with the crime. If the criminal was black, they blame all black people. If the criminal was Muslim, they blame all Muslims. If the criminal was white, however, they blame the entire white race, from whoever the very first white person was down to the newest white person born within the last few seconds. Even that seconds-old white baby is tainted by the white man’s Original Sin, and blessed (or scourged) by the “privilege” of his or her white skin, with no hope of ever redeeming him- or herself in the eyes of the people who attack the white race for the sins of their forefathers.

I understand their anger. So much of the aforementioned human history has been a struggle between whites and non-whites. (Of course, there has been struggle between people of all races and within races, but many people tend to focus on that between whites and people of colour.) But if all you’re going to do in your ranting is paint all whites (or any group) with the same brush, you’re no better a bigot than the Dylann Roofs of this world — you’re just a different bigot, perhaps with a different colour skin than Roof’s — and your collective punishment is certainly not contributing to a solution to any problem.

So rail all you want against whites and “white privilege”; you’re part of the daily struggle of life. Just don’t pretend that you’re above it, and better than the rest of us struggling in this cesspool of multi-hued humanity.

 


 

Written (despite the date of publication) in late June 2015 after reading Dylann Roof is not an extremist, but really, the thought has been formulating in my mind for the last ten days since Roof’s (alleged) shooting and the reactions to it, especially those that reference Rhodesia.