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On the uneasy satisfaction of prescience

This afternoon, I drove my sweetie to the airport. She's off to Europe for a couple of weeks, scratching her nomad's need to move. As we drove in, she noticed the Canadian flag flying above The MacDonald-Cartier International Airport's welcome sign was at half-mast. "Look at that!" she said, "I wonder who died."

It took me a moment, then I realized. "It's 9/11!"

And of course, that's who died, the special victims, our victims, to be mourned forever, because 15 years on, we are a nation at war. Sort of.

And I remembered that I had written what I thought was a pretty powerful piece of analysis not so long after the fact, and went looking for it when I returned home. Only to realize that, somehow, it was a piece of work no longer attached to my website. Somehow, gone, lord only knows when or how.

Thank god for Archive.org! There were my words (not to mention an even more primitive design than the one "gracing" my site now), preserved for posterity, and for me. Remind me to send them a donation.

In any event, what follows is (but for a half-dozen typos I could not resist correcting) exactly what I posted on October 8, 2001.

It is, if I do say so myself, almost frightening in its prescience. To quote H.G. Wells, writing (if memory serves) on the eve of the Second World War, "I told you so, you damned fools." Click here for my full, depressingly accurate look ahead from October 8, 2011.

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The first, regarding the upcoming Canadian federal election, posted as a response in canpolitk.

1&2. I think Harper is (will be) going to the polls because he figures it's his last chance at a majority because of the faltering economy.

3. I checked off the NDP because they already hold my riding, but ... but I'm not at all happy with the party and will be giving the Greens a serious look before I make up my mind.

And for the record (here and if anyone cares), I stand by my prediction that Dion's Liberals are going to shock the chattering classes and the blogosphere by winning a majority.

The second, regarding the upcoming US election, in my previous entry.
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Currently, about a minute left in the 2nd period. Philadelphia 4, Montreal 3.

Final score: Philadelphia 6, Montreal 4.

Al least I won't have to give a damn for at least another year. (Though why Carbonneau didn't pull Price after the 3rd goal is beyond me.)


Spelling and punctuation corrected at 2141 hours. Oh, and it's now 6-4 with 39 seconds to go. At least I have the (doubtful) pleasure of having been correct.
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New words: 1,255
Total wordcount: 87,392
Deadline: May 1

Seeing as how tomorrow is the first, I'm obviously going to miss the deadline.

Those of you (if any) paying attention will note that I've missed a few days. The novel's been giving me fits and, indeed, I had to force out today's production. Much like my characters, I feel trapped in the middle of nowhere with an uncertain road to the finish. At least, I had been. I thinkhope I've got a handle on it at last. But I seem to recall thinking the same a couple of weeks back, so who the hell knows?

Right now, I'm hating just about every word I type.

* * *

One of the dumber ideas to come down the pipe recently was something called "Open Source Booby" (google it if you want the details; I did and don't want to bother doing so again), which I know that some of you were aware of.

In a nutshell, the idea was hatched at (go figure) a comic or science fiction convention. As I understand it, the women in attendance were to wear little badges, I think there were three variants. One to say, in effect, "Yes, please grope my tits"; another saying, "Ask first"; and the third, "Hands off!"

And a whole whack of presumably desperate nerds all nodded in mutual self-congratulation at what a great idea they had, apparently never stopping to think that the vast majority of women attending an SF or comic convention are there because of their interest in the art and that they might, just maybe, not appreciate having every pimply-faced fan-boy ogling their chests even more than already occurs.

Anyway, like I said, a remarkably dumb idea and one which, as one of you pointed out in your own journal, could have come only "...from someone who doesn't perceive their place of relative power and security."

Unfortunately, to my mind, this person too that male sense of security and entitlement a step too far and also in the wrong direction, conflating statistical facts with and feelings in a destructive alliance. A longer quote is in order.

This whole Austria-incest thing has really got me thinking, and this is the thought: Women aren't safe. We aren't safe from our fathers, brothers, husbands, boyfriends, random acquaintances, strangers. We aren't often particularly safe wrt members of our own sex, either, or gay men, or transgendered people, or anyone. And I think the whole Open Source Boob thing demonstrates, if anything, how the N. American white male dork (I guess that means all white N. American men, sorry) doesn't even remotely get the reality of constant unsafety. You guys are so safe, comparatively. Everyone else is less safe, even if sometimes we think we're safe.

Leaving aside the blanket condemnation of "all white N. American men", the larger statement simply isn't true, at least by some standards. Like being safe from murder.

According to a recent Statistics Canada report, Homicide in Canada, 2006, very nearly three quarters of the murder victims were, er, men. (And, yes, 87% of the accused murderers were also men.)

Now, I'm not (really I'm not), trying to negate the shit that women all too often have to go through while living their lives, but to say simply that "women aren't safe", from their "...fathers, brothers, husbands, boyfriends..." etcetera is simply wrong. The fact is, most fathers, brothers, husbands and boyfriends (&ct) are nothing at all like the Austrian guy who locked up his daughter for 20 years, and fathered (clearly, via rape; there's no question of consent in this one, folks) six or seven children by her to boot. Most men are actually no more and no less than the flawed but basically decent human beings that most women are.

Neither my mother nor my niece is "unsafe" in my presence nor, as a number you, Gentle Readers, can at attest to from personal experience, if only provisionally.

The point being, people aren't statistics. People are individuals. While most murderers are men, in actual fact, most men are not murderers. And most individual fathers and brothers are actually people in whose company most individual daughters and sisters are safe.

The problem with murder is murderers, not men; the problem with rape isn't men, it's men who rape; the problem with the drunken lout who beat the shit out of me a couple of winters ago isn't men, it's that particular drunken lout.

Ultimately, none of us are completely safe. And yes, statistically, a man is more likely to kill you than is a woman. But we are not statistics and neither are the people in our lives. We are individuals and we live and interact with other individuals.

All right. Enough ranting. Onwards.

* * *

Sunday actually saw me out of the house for a change!

I got a call from my brialliant and beautiful ex, Siya, reminding me that Sunday was the last day of Soundeye, an exhibition of film and music she had been involved in organizing.

And so I hoped on my trusty bicycle and navigated the remarkably crowded downtown streets (if any of you drive a car, you should pray to each and every god/goddess you have for The Toronto Transit Commission!) until I reached the University of Toronto's Hart House.

And soon found myself "volunteering" to stick around until 8:00, when a feature film on Chinese rock and roll was to be presented. Without sub-titles.

So I had my first experience as an "interpreter", speaking into a microphone as I tried my best to provide translations for a film I'd never seen.

Now, I don't speak a word of Chinese, Mandarin or the other one, so I was utterly dependent on Siya's laptop, which contained a typescript, along with the number of seconds each section occupied.

But even so ...

Even so, I think I did a decent job, given the circumstances. Towards the end of the first half (there were two of us who had been dragooned into doing it) I was getting fairly good at the timing. But still, "translating" something when you don't actually have any idea of what's been said is not an entirely comfortable experience.

But I'm very glad I did it. I miss hearing my dulcet tones through a microphone.

* * *

What the hell, I'll make it public.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination in the States (and, until today, I thought Obama had it wrapped up) is going to get creamed by John McCain.

Believe me, it gives me no pleasure to say this, but I think we're looking at a landslide not seen since Nixon's second victory back in 1972. Between the divisive Democratic race and a significant number of voters who, in the secrecy of the ballot booth, won't be able to vote for either a black man or a white woman, I fear it's a lock. Worse, I fear McCain is only just enough smarter than Bush to be able to competently lead the US down the Bush path of bloodshed and economic suicide.

* * *

To comfort myself, I'm going to shortly (as how else?) sack out on the couch and see if Montreal can figure out how to win a fucking hockey game whilst stroking my kitty.

And by "kitty", you pervs, I mean my cat, who deserves no end of praise, come to think of it! I awoke this morning to find a dead mouse by his litter-box. And my father keeps bitching about the feline ...
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No doubt to the disappointment of some of you, I will be casting a ballot this evening, neither declining it, nor even simply refusing to show up at the poll.

Though I am not excited by what I expect to be the outcome - a Tory government whose degree of neoconservative, self-loathing, Republican America worship remains to be seen - I still hope for a minority government, one which may be kept somewhat in check by a stronger NDP prescence.

That said, I would not expect revolutionary change even if it were an NDP government - what was once a (relatively) radical democratic socialist movement has become a left-liberal party, spending too much of its time defending such self-evident Good Things as universal medical care and fundamental human rights, without a corresponding vision of what might this an even better country in which to live. Any thoughts of challenging the economic status quo - as opposed to reigning in its worst excesses - are put aside for another era. I'll vote for the NDP because I believe they are an effective opposition party - and will be especially so if they hold the balance of power in a minority situation - not because I believe they have a vision for the future.

As befits the end of a campaign of much vented heat but little directed light, I too have placed my bet on the outcome of tonight's race.

For the record:

Conservatives:---> 132
Liberals:--------> 85
Bloc:------------> 47
NDP:-------------> 42
Green:-----------> 1
Independent:-----> 1

You can all have a good laugh at my expense in a few hours.

July 2017

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