Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


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Political Correctness and the Art of Being a Grinch

I celebrate Chanukah, the more low-key Festival of Lights.  I appreciate it when people wish me a Happy Chanukah – really.   By the same token, if I know someone celebrates Christmas, I wish them a Merry one.  I don’t go for the Happy Holiday thing unless I’m not sure what that particular person celebrates.  I wish my Muslim friends an Eid Mubarak when it is their holiday.  I firmly believe that it is politically correct to offer wishes in the manner that the person celebrates.  I also know some people that are Jehovah’s Witnesses and I don’t wish them anything at the holidays, nor do I wish them a happy birthday.  It is about respecting people’s beliefs, not watering them down.

If you speak to most people who are minorities in Canada, most feel the same way.  My Jewish and Muslim friends appreciate and enjoy other people’s traditions.  If truth be told, it is extreme political correctness that is ruining the holidays.  I’ve written about my thoughts on this before (holiday trees?  Please, it’s a Christmas tree) but now, the sensitive, participation award winning people of the world are trying to ban “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (the cartoon).  “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is said to have questionable lyrics about consent and little Rudolph because it features verbal abuse and bullying.  

Here is the truth – “Baby It’s Cold Outside” does feature questionable lyrics, but who really pays attention?  Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt performed it on The Muppets with the Lady herself singing the traditionally male part of the duet.  Rudolph actually has an anti-bullying message with the one thing that makes the adorable little reindeer different being the very thing that saves the day (his bright red nose) – a positive message for any child who feels different.  

Can we not just live and let live?  It is up to the individual to decide what messages a song carries.  If those particular lyrics are an issue, how about some very misogynistic Rap or Hip-Hop lyrics?  Should we ban 80’s music too?  “Every Breath You Take” is about stalking if you read the lyrics as is “Hungry Like the Wolf” by my beloved Duran Duran.  Are you doubting me?  How about this:
Stalked in the forest too close to hide
I’ll be upon you by the moonlight side

A little creepy, isn’t it?  How about “Your So Vain” by Carly Simon?  It’s about Warren Beatty and if you think about it is bullying him.  How about any song Taylor Swift does?  It’s usually a revenge song against one of her ex-boyfriends – does that not qualify as bullying?  There is also “Cake By The Ocean” by DNCE with these lyrics:

Not so serious, girl, why those feet cold? 
We just getting started, don’t you tiptoe 
Tiptoe, ah 

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  I do not want any song banned unless it promotes hate.  Certain songs, like the ones I’ve noted or “Baby It’s Cold Outside” are of the time that they were created in and people should understand that and stop reading too much into things.  This hyper-political correctness is often to detriment of the causes that they are trying to support as a select few take it seriously.  Many causes, including the #MeToo and other Women’s Rights movement are so important, but what starts out in such a promising way, gets watered down when they take things too far.  It is about gender equality, not female superiority.  Many women have been harassed and you know when it is happening, but I have had male friends who are ardent supporters of women’s rights called out for innocently touching a woman on the arm or for opening a door for them.  

Why can we just not let people judge for themselves what is appropriate?  If you don’t like “Baby It’s Cold Outside” or “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” turn off the radio and TV respectively.  Vote with ratings – not by doing something that is not in the interest of anyone.  Remember, book banning and burning was part of the Holocaust and the Taliban rule of Afghanistan.  You might think it’s an extreme comparison, but when you start banning things, and subscribing to a mob mentality – this is the result.  I know that some smart aleck out there will say “What about if this was Mein Kempf if you believe in freedom of speech?”  Again, there is a difference between hate propaganda and freedom of speech.  I absolutely agree that people are entitled to freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression as laid out in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but that means everyone, not a select few who force their will on others.

Let people enjoy their holidays including Christmas and lives – and while you have the right to express yourself, remember that the message is lost when it’s taken too far, like it has been lately.


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Breaking News

In a one week period, there has been more breaking news in the USA than I have seen since 9/11.  Pipe bombs sent to public figures including two former Presidents, a former Secretary of State and CNN.  A grocery shooting in Kentucky, a hate crime that targeted African Americans resulted in the death of two people, one of whom was shielding his 12 year old grandson.  Megyn Kelly speaking about how dressing up in black face was acceptable as Halloween costumes when she was growing up and it is not such a big deal (huh?).  Finally, the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that resulted in the murder of 11 people with another 6 injured including, and this is important, 4 police officers.

This whole week saw President Trump acting anything but presidential.  He blamed the media, which is where I have worked for the last 20 years, for the domestic terrorism in the US that I referenced.  The media is made up of many people who work behind the scenes to make the news, morning shows, lifestyle shows and entertainment shows happen. The people that had the greatest potential for injury were the people in the mail room or the security guards, not the “fake media” that the President so loves to reference.  This very man did not even reference the shootings in Kentucky.  He managed to tweet about the World Series, but not even a word about this particular shooting.  I am not sure if it is because “only” two people died or if it is because the two victims were African American.

The President identifies himself as a nationalist.  Think about someone else that identified himself in the same way – Hitler.  Last year, it was shocking seeing to see the white supremacists march the streets of Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us”.  People in the community held a counter-protest resulting in the death of a woman and the President said that was blame to be had on both sides.  While I do not believe that Trump alone is to blame for the environment of intolerance that I am seeing now, he has allowed people the platform to be open about their hatred.  He is also supported by the National Rifle Association (the NRA).  Here was his response to the tragic shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh:

“If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better. If they had some kind of protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation,” Trump said. “They didn’t have protection. They had a maniac walk in and they didn’t have any protection. If there was an armed guard inside the temple they would have been able to stop him.  Maybe there would have been nobody killed except for him, frankly,” Trump continued. “Isn’t it a shame that you have to think of that inside a temple or inside a church? But certainly, the result would have been far better.”

Can we please get real for 1 minute?  The shooting still would have happened, in fact, the armed guard would likely have been the first casualty.  More guns are not the answer to gun violence.  No one should have to be at a house of worship with armed guards regardless of your religion.  Armed guards just mean more bullets and more targets.  The answer is twofold – tolerance and gun control.  No one needs an automatic assault rifle to defend themselves.  We have strict gun laws in Canada – and yes, while shootings do happen, because if you really want to get a hold of a gun, you will, it is not a daily event. How many more mass shootings do there need to be?  How many more candle-light vigils and marches need to happen before current administration in the States gets a clue?  Barack Obama and Bill Clinton both tried to pass gun control laws.  It’s time to stop pandering to a gun lobby and show value for life.

What happened in Pittsburgh was so devastating.  I have written about my own experiences with Anti-Semitism before (https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/being-different-in-a-trump-sort-of-world/) I mentioned that in this article that when I do go to synagogue, that I often have to go to security before I am allowed in.  It is my normal, but imagine having to do that.  Imagine, for a moment, if you will, being a 97 year old Holocaust survivor going to Sabbath services in your adopted country.  Surviving the brutal death camps only to be shot and killed by an anti-Semite?  Imagine how this makes other survivors feel or children and grandchildren of survivors?  Imagine knowing that because you are a minority, that this could happen to you?  Imagine looking at social media today and seeing your Jewish friends send out messages of hope to the community of Pittsburgh, but only your Jewish friends?  I remember seeing so many London Strong/Paris Strong/Boston Strong/Istanbul Strong/New York Strong photo frames going up, but today, I see only a few Pittsburgh Strong frames.

We all have a duty to speak out against hatred.  I watched CNN this morning, for the first time in a long time, and Jake Tapper ended his panel with this quote from Mister Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in this world.”

There are more good people than bad in the world, and I have seen these helpers first hand, but here is another quote from the very same man that spoke to me:

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

Be a hero – speak out against hatred and bigotry and intolerance, wherever you see it.  Don’t just like this post – act.  If someone around you spouts hatred of any kind towards any race or people of any sexual orientation, speak up and let them know that you will not tolerate this.  When Jews say confession on Yom Kippur to atone for our sins, we say it as a community, because if one of us is guilty, all of us are guilty.  We also believe that if you save one life, it is the same as saving all of mankind.  Think about that…if you speak out against one type of intolerance, you are speaking out against all types of intolerance.