Day three of my exile is ending, and I'm faced with the prospect of returning to the office with my lungs more-or-less back in their proper places in my chest. So I'm lying in bed listening to jazz, trying to keep enough cool air on my skin that I might be able to get some sleep tonight despite the sticky Toronto heat and the cough that hasn't quite gone away, and I'm also trying to write something.
I guess "trying" isn't really the appropriate term anymore; since recently my job has been to write every day. And I think I'd like to take a minute and discuss something that happened today pursuant to that, because I found it a little shocking.
So I've been guest writing over at State of Affairs. It's been fun. I get to write about things that piss me off, and I get to do so in a semi-humorous way, with pictures, and I get paid to do it. Right on. I try to make my stuff at least somewhat topical, because I think it's more interesting for people to read about stuff that's actually happening right now, so there's some kind of dialogue that can happen about the event or the issue. Well, up until now people have enjoyed my rants about fast-food, the war on drugs and the recent bullshit election in Iran, among other things. But today I managed to piss off several hardcore liberal friends of mine by writing about the recent to-do in France over banning burqas. If you're really interested, go read the post.
Granted, I was a little overreaching and I deliberately wrote in such a way as to cause some kind of reaction, because otherwise I'm just another bland, pedestrian blogger. But I absolutely did not expect to be called a racist, particularly not by people I know. The point I was trying to get across in my article was not that Muslims are bad (they aren't) or that freedom of religion is bad (it's not), but merely that I take serious issue with women being forced by some people's interpretations of their religious texts to take on a second-class citizen role. I like women, and I don't like it when they get abused -- that was the thrust of my argument. I applauded the French government's decision to frown upon burqas because I think that style of dress represents a step in the wrong direction for women's rights.
And for my troubles, I got told I'm an ignorant bigot. Huh?
Don't get me wrong -- I don't have any issue with criticism. I'm a writer and a musician full-time -- it's my job to take criticism. But it's one thing to attack my writing or even my opinion -- it's fully another to attack my system of values as a human being. Let me go on record saying that as far as my own bigotry goes, I see two kinds of people in this world: cool people and assholes. If you're a cool person, regardless of what colour you are, who you like to pray to and who you like to fuck, we'll get along just fine. If you're an asshole, I don't attribute that characteristic to any of the above traits -- I just think you're an asshole, and we won't get along.
I refuse to print a retraction, because I stand by my decision -- if supporting women's rights makes me a bigot, then I'll fly that flag. But I did want to address the issue, even here on this little blog that probably gets less hits than SOA, just in case any other friend reads -- or misreads -- my other post. I promise I don't hate you based on anything other than whether or not you're an asshole. You can douse the torches and put the pitchforks back in the greenhouse now.
And with that I'm tapped. I have to write another post tomorrow, and I guess I'll have to pick my topic a little more carefully if I want to avoid pissing more people off. Oh wait, I don't care about pissing people off, so I'll write what I want. But get your fucking facts straight, and don't ever call me a racist again.
Dolores Catherino - Mixed Songs (2012-2016)
4 days ago