Latest Drivel for Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016

Almost as maddening as having mommy put you in imaginary conversations in the newspaper
The first day of school is fast approaching and I for one could not be more excited. With it comes the return of my other child…. That child, whom my husband and I call School James, is the apple of my eye…. Quiet but confident, outgoing but attentive to others, helpful, diligent, creative, enthusiastic, consistently cheerful and an excellent listener, School James…“always follows the rules” and “is a delight to have around….” The problem is…I’ve never actually met the kid. That’s because he is the alter ego of my other son, Home James…a child who enjoys testing boundaries wherever possible. By which I mean he…regularly is…an absolute bloody nightmare.

For example, Home James and I had this conversation at 10:45 p.m. recently after what must have been my 25th attempt to put him to bed.

James: Mummy, when everyone is sleeping, do you know what I do?
Me: Tell me.
James: I fly out my window and swim under the sewers to Kidworld where I have my kid job. And do you know what my kid job is?
Me: No idea.
James: I’m the boss of the entire city. I make all the rules and everyone else has to follow them. Everyone. Even you and Daddy and all my friends and teachers at school.
Me: That must be exciting.
James: It is. Now get me a spoonful of Nutella and glass of fizzy water in the green cup.
Me: But, darling, we talked about this, Nutella is not for bedtime –
James: Mummy, just do it. Otherwise I’ll start to cry again. And you don’t want me to cry. You know why?
Me: Why?
James: I can tell from your forehead wrinkles you’re very tired.

This is life with Home James: Unpredictable, emotionally arduous and funny when it isn’t maddening.
—Leah McLaren, Globe and Mail, Sept. 1, 2016.

It’s also why the bees are dying
But instead of hanging around in those anonymous echo chambers of anxiety [aka, looking things up on the Internet], I contacted my go-to parenting expert Andrea Nair…. Turns out James’s Jekyll and Hyde routine isn’t so special at all—it even has a name. “It’s called After School Restraint Collapse—it’s a thing!” Nair responded immediately, directing me to a recent blog post ( she’d just written on this very phenomenon….
—McLaren, op. cit.

Billy, stop pulling Susie’s pigtails or you’ll grow up to be a serial killer!
Rape culture exists. These are the three little words that administrators at Carleton University are having such trouble including in their sexual violence policy…. Carleton, and other universities…seem so confused about what rape culture means….   Rape culture is what kept women on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside from speaking freely with police, and it’s what kept police from taking their stories and allegations seriously when they tried to talk about serial killer Robert Pickton…. Rape culture is when you tell your daughter that the boys on the playground are only teasing her because “they have a crush on you….”
— “Strategic foresight consultant and novelist living in Toronto” Madeline Ashby, Ottawa Citizen, Aug. 23, 2016. |

Not the only thing that’s swinging
Across the pond, the Evening Standard declared, “Free the Nipple” was this summer’s biggest fashion trend…. Celebrities like Kardashian-sister-turned-model Kendall Jenner have made headlines for going bra-free—in her case, following a blog post where she wrote, “I really don’t see what the big deal is with going braless.” Plenty of Toronto women agree. Some cite fashion, others feminism, and many just basic comfort…. “The pendulum is swinging the other way,” says Catherine Hundleby, a professor of women and gender studies at the University of Windsor.
—Lauren Pelley, Toronto Star, Sept. 6, 2016.

Oh—this is so confusing—you mean Kendall Jenner isn’t addressing systemic sexism?
That’s raising eyebrows among some feminists. Jean Golden, a professor of sociology at Ryerson University, says the bra-free trend isn’t a substantive feminist issue, or a political movement. “It is a personal choice, especially for young women, framed by the hyper-sexualized media portrayal of young women’s bodies, including their breasts and nipples,” she says. “It does not address systemic sexism. It could be argued it feeds into it.”
—Pelley, op. cit.

Let’s make the world safer for half-marathoners
Summertime and the living has been easy. It has been that wonderful kind of summer—sunny and hot—for panhandlers to ply their trade all over downtown Toronto. I’ve literally bumped into all kinds of them while walking to or from the subway and during my long training runs for my next half-marathon…. Why should the panhandlers worry? They know there’s very little standing in their way to prevent them from plying their trade and very few consequences if they do….
—Sue-Ann Levy, Toronto Sun, Aug. 29, 2016.

Clichés are my rock
After 15 years of covering TIFF for CTV’s etalk, Mulroney is a seasoned pro. “I have learned how to cut out the noise, trim the fat and find pockets of time to reconnect with my wife and kids and hold on to my sanity in the process,” he tells the Star.
—Reported by Jonathan Forani, Toronto Star, Sept. 7, 2017.

The good news? He’ll likely be back for the weekend. The bad news? He’ll be two feet shorter
He also expects left-handed reliever Francisco Liriano to be fine for the weekend. Liriano, who pitched two excellent innings in relief against New York on Monday, was pulled after his back ceased up.
—Steve Buffery, Ottawa Citizen, Sept. 7, 2016.


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3 comments on “Latest Drivel for Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016
  1. gormab says:

    I don’t understand how someone who calls herself a “Strategic Foresight Consultant” could possibly also be a novelist.

  2. John MacLachlan Gray says:

    No, now, Strategic Foresight really is a thing. Ms. Ashby holds a Master of Design in it: “Creating a new kind of designer: A strategist who sees the world from a human perspective and re-thinks what is possible; An innovator who can imagine, plan and develop a better world…” Hack, barf.

  3. daveS says:

    OMG, I just “read” an article by Emma Teitel from the Tsar, as repeated in the local Metro freebie owned by the Tsar across this nation.
    It was supposedly a column about Niki Ashton, NDP MP for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, filled and stuffed with long long phrases and other non-meat parts to fill out her 800-word quota.
    There is obviously no editor, nor taste in the depleted Star copy-desk to clean it up and shorten the column by what they call “national affairs columnist with the Toronto Star who writes about anything and everything.”

    Drivel indeed. She is training to be the next Sue-Ann Levy? Or aging into Barbara Kay?

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