Scourge and Transparency

The Rise and Fall of Advanced Social Journalism during the Early Twenty-First Century

Archive for May 2009

Canadiana

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Part one in my two-part series on the Canadian identity. In this blog I comment on Canadian produced entertainment and comedy – the FIGHTING entertainment & comedy!!

Within Canada, for I can imagine many decades, there has been an impressive debate taking place on what it means to be Canadian; what is Canadian culture and the Canadian identity? Many, and somewhat justifiably so, will push away any suggestion that Canada is anything more than the 51st state of the US of A.  However, it is obvious to acknowledge that Canada is noticeably and uniquely bilingual and the landscape of this nation is larger and more diverse than many of the other nations on God’s green earth. But what the debate is about is the difference between Canadians and peoples of other nationalities. And furthermore the difference between Canadians within Canada. It is very easy to admit that Canada has a lack of identity. However, has this vacuum of culture been beneficial or harmful to Canadian society?

I, for one, take great pride in where I am from and where I was raised. Although, I don’t see me and the people I grew up with as true cliché Canadians. By this I mean the slow talking, Anglo-Saxon, polite, lumberjack, hockey playing beer-drinkers. Of course I’m very familiar with this culture but is it not necessarily who I am.  Unfortunately I have not traveled far and wide throughout this great land but it is my contention through deliberate observation that there is a great divide between rural and urban Canada. What an uninformed foreigner would think of as a Canadian is probably the rural Canadian – similar to the peoples mentioned above.

To reinforce my point on the distinct difference between rural and urban Canada I am going to attempt to use Canadian produced comedy as an arguing point. If there is anything besides hockey and beer that Canada is known for it is comedy and comedians. Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, John Candy and Norm McDonald are among other comedy legends who were all born in the Great White North. A lot of excellent sketch-comedy and sitcom television series have come out of Canada and have been more-or-less successful south of the border. But what comedy does to showcase the difference between small-town and big-city Canada is in who the show’s audience is. Earlier this spring Canada said goodbye to the somehow-successful Corner Gas. I’m from Hamilton Ontario, I’ve lived here my whole life and I do not find that show in the least bit funny. I, in fact, would rather spend the weekend in a dentist’s chair than watch one-minute of that god-forsaken television series. It’s just about how things are simpler in small-towns; I get it, move on and learn how to act! But I’m not the only one, I have yet to find anyone that is not from a town with more than 100,000 pop that does not completely loath that show. Nonetheless Corner Gas was somehow successful and one could only assume that the majority of its ratings came from small-town Canada.

The same could be said about other shows such as all the kife currently on CBC that I cannot bring my fingers to type and that horrible, horrible penis of a band Nickelback. Ironically maybe it is Americans who are buying Nickelback music but I have a seizure every time I hear that purposely-raspy and untalented voice.

On the other hand there has been some fantastic Canadian entertainment such as controversial shows like Kenny vs. Spenny, The Tom Green Show and The Jon Doore Television Show. And you can’t talk about Canadian genius comedy without mentioning Trailer Park Boys. Not-to-mention old school shows such as SCTV and Kids In The Hall. I find all these shows fantastically funny and entertaining. What I think is the big difference between Kenny vs. Spenny and Corner Gas is that KvS and other good domestic shows are not deliberately trying to be Canadian. I cannot fucking stand it when comedians on the Comedy Network make jokes about Canadian politicians and snow. It is not fucking funny and the majority of Canadians don’t want to hear this shit. Kenny Hotz said it himself when criticizing the likes of Royal Canadian Air Farce (which, ironically, was also recently canceled) to paraphrase he said: Dalton McGuinty jokes are not funny but fart jokes are funny. Mr. Hotz could not have been more right. There is no doubt that both Americans and Canadians share a very similar sense of humour, so that shows like South Park or The Simpsons are going to enjoyed by both countries alike. I agree with Kenny that it is pathetic and annoying to deliberately try and make jokes Canadian. Most Canucks don’t even follow domestic politics so why bring it up in comedy sketches? It is better to just make jokes about drugs, sex and alcohol similar to what was aired on Trailer Park Boys and Kids In The Hall.

There can be no more of a logical conclusion that the major reason for much of this purposely Canadian material is that there is a small audience for it in rural Canada. That part of Canada that some would argue is “the true Canada”. Similar to the American Mid-West that many Yankees see as vastly culturally different to the US of New York, LA and other coastal big cities.

As I get to the end of my observation I would like to honour Trailer Park Boys for not just being probably one of the funniest and smartest shows of all time but for also coming the closest to crossing the rural-urban divide in Canadian entertainment. TPB makes enough weed and piss jokes to make anyone laugh – no matter where you are from; it also uniquely has many aspects that only Canadians can appreciate – with out hitting you over the head with it. If an American with a sense of humour had watched the show they also would think it’s hilarious but to Canadians, of all walks of life, TPB is that much more enjoyable.

Frick off Barb!

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Written by shanedantimo

May 31, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The kiss-hello: a bizarre and perverse ritual

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There is a time and a place for everything, from insane drunkenness to bingo with Nana. Under certain circumstances and with certain people one behaves differently. We try to be as appropriate as possible within the context of our surroundings. However, some people, for what ever reason, feel they need to break the social mode, make people feel uncomfortable and force upon the unwilling their selfish social constructs. The kiss-hello is the prime example of how one set of people purposely attack and invade an innocent person’s inalienable right to not be touched on the face.

I completely understand that kissing, as a greeting, in certain cultures is a perfectly expectable practice. I, myself, through out my whole life have done the double-cheek kiss with all my Italian relatives whether they are male or female. And I am absolutely fine with that. Many of my relatives have lived the better part of their lives within a community of people that are immigrants. Out of respect for what they done for my up bringing and because we are biological related and I am perfectly happy kissing those of Mediterranean birth on both cheeks when we meet. What I think is absurd and ludicrous are when middle-aged white bred Anglo-Saxon Canadians incite the kiss hello on people who are obviously not familiar and/or comfortable with that sort of greeting. These people didn’t grow up in Italy or France or the Middle East or where every these types of costumes are regular; they were raised and live within the same world as their kiss-hello victims – English-speaking suburban Canada. Everyone understands that the kiss-hello is not common among all segments of society. But, with little regard for those on the other end of the kiss-hello, many do it anyways.

I often get the inappropriate kiss-hello from middle-aged women. They are usually distant relatives on my mother’s side or friends of the family. I know they know that I don’t go around kissing my twenty-something and teenage friends when I greet them.  They also must be aware someone like me would feel awkward kissing them but when it comes time to greet them and I put out my hand for the cordial generic handshake they pull me in tightly close to their face and make that galling “mooah” sound. And then, when I think it’s over and try to let go of their hand they grab me back in again for another pointless cheek-touch on the other side! What the fuck? Don’t they get it? Can’t they tell from how my hand is instinctly pulling away, that it is very weird and uncomfortable for me? Of course they probably practice this with their other yuppie middle-aged married friends but I am a young kid, I don’t treat people from different demographics the same way I would my close friends. That’s like if I greeted a middle-aged white woman with props and said “what up nigga?” – I know that wouldn’t go over well so I politely go with the cross-generational handshake. This apparently isn’t good enough for them and they need to pretend like their European and fake kiss my cheeks.

And that’s another thing, your obviously not European – why are you pretending like you’re ethnic and kissing-hello anyway? Are we at a wedding? My mom is just introducing me to someone she bumped into at Shopper’s Drug-Mart and this lady is pulling me into the kiss-hello. Can’t she see that I haven’t shaved in days and that I’m very much hangover? Doesn’t she notice I’m wearing a Jim Morrison t-shirt? A person like me doesn’t kiss-hello people I don’t know. I went with the handshake, what the fuck is wrong with that? Show some courtesy.

Also to what I pointed to earlier – it’s not even a real kiss. My lips don’t touch your cheek and visa-versa. Why do we have to pretend like we’re kissing and make that stupid fake “mooah” sound? And some people do the double kiss, some people don’t…it’s all a fucking mess.

My point is if you’re not from somewhere else in the world and you speak perfect English, when you meet someone not from your age group or social construct and they put out their hand to greet you don’t forcibly pull them into touch your cheek. This is Southern Ontario and I’m in my early twenties – I don’t roll that way with strangers.

Written by shanedantimo

May 25, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The clear difference between David Bowie and Jesus Christ

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As I’ve been raised as Catholic, not Protestant, I inevitably and inexcusably view religion, faith and the Holy Bible as utterly and inescapably boring.  I, and many other follows of the Holy See, only understand church and all its rituals as completely dull and lacking in anything that could be considered in the least bit exciting.  However, this is not a criticism of the Catholic faith or any Christian denomination in general – it is just plain fact. Religion must be boring. Exhilaration is brought about with drugs, alcohol, danger and sex. Christianity is not fond of these traits and exercises. But that is fine; there is nothing wrong with being completely monotonous. There is no denying that politics (especially Canadian politics) is so lifeless and mundane that we sometimes forget it even exists. But of course the political process is important and I personally take a great interest in it. Which makes me wonder: why is that many Christians attempt to portray the word of the lord as “cool” and even go so far as to sing and dance to music referred to as “Christian Rock”?

bowie

If there is one thing that distinctly separates Catholicism from other dominations of Christianity is that we never go as far as to try and relate to young people by pretending that what is in the Bible and preached by the faith is directly tied to rock’n’roll. I realize that rock music came out of country, blues and gospel music and many early (and still modern) musicians sing about Jesus and God. However, these same rock stars probably have had many sexual transmitted infections from countless partners of both sexes and have most likely injected into their body countless forms of narcotics. This isn’t Jesus this is rock and roll.

KingJesus

I can never wrap my mind around the concept of “Christian Rock”. It is, in fact, an oxymoron. Christianity cannot be rock and roll and rock and roll cannot be purely Christian. That doesn’t mean one needs to choose between the two but when you’re backstage at a rock concert it is highly unlikely your pastor would approve of goings on there. Furthermore when one is at church they will usually separate themselves from brutal vices they partake in frequently.

Maybe it is a completely personal issue for me. Baptized, educated and confirmed within the Catholic faith, I never understood “church youth groups” or when people would tell me that their church is “fun.” Religion is important but there is nothing fun about it, especially to anyone between the ages of 13 and 25. Young people are just beginning to experiment with different forms of sexual arousal and artificial contentment. There is little room for doctrine in a young person’s mind. Jesus is very far from the house parties where you vomit in front of everyone and someone else looses their virginity to a guy twice their age. That is rock’n’roll and trying to connect that with Jesus is obviously impossible.

Of course, at this point in my life I am very much agnostic. However, I still appreciate faith, especially Christianity. However, I still appreciate faith, especially Christianity. In this day-and-age religion is constantly criticized and chaffed. But I would argue for the importance of faith in one’s life and I do not deny that there has been and will continue to be moments when I turn to God and Jesus for security and enlightenment. But like many inside and outside any organized religion I realize a lot of what I do to be incredibly distant from what Christianity preaches. I would not try and link some of the best Saturday nights of my life with the sermon on Sunday morning. They are simply two different worlds that co-exist separately from one another. One is cool and one is boring but both can be exceptionally necessary. Dreadlocks, cocaine and premarital sex are on one side and getting up early on Sundays, robes, and clean-cut hair dues are on the other.

Written by shanedantimo

May 18, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

How can you say “I’m just saying…”?

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I’ve noticed over the last few years that many people (especially young adults) when they something derogatory, offensive, obvious or otherwise inappropriate and the person they are speaking with reacts with anything less than open arms their immediate defensive response is to utter the meaningless phrase “I am just saying….” What the fuck does that mean? Because you only said something no one should be angry with you or react to your point of view. I, Shane D’Antimo, am saying something right now and I would hope that this has purpose and that those reading this will react to it in some way.

I understand that those whom frequently use the aforementioned phrase are trying to express their surprise or shock at their adversary’s angry excitement towards their original point.  However, bringing to light that you only said something doesn’t make what you said any more wise, informed or necessary. It’s not like one could just utter “I’m just saying…blacks, Jews and other minorities are what is wrong with the world,” or on a more personal level, “I’m just saying you… you are a very unattractive, poor and uneducated person,” without getting a very heated retort. By just putting the words “I’m just saying” before your point of view doesn’t mean your expression is not going to garner some sort of response.

Furthermore, individuals that use this meaningless phrase often use it as a counter-reply to someone’s reaction; they usually don’t repeat their original statement, which of course means that they’ve already realized the stupidity of their words. What do they expect?

Idiot: “Hey friend, did you know your mother is a slut?”

Common man: “Fuck you, douche bag!”

Idiot: “Hold on a second! I’m just saying the woman that gave birth to you has sex with many different men”

Common man: “Ohh of course, than that is completely fine, and I am deeply sorry for having acted in such a regular way. I completely didn’t realize that saying something no matter how offensive or ridiculous it is should only be praised and appreciated”

I will now move on to my second complaint on contemporary human dialogue. Many in today’s society are often mistakenly using the word “how” in a question when they should be using “why.”

Often, when someone is surprised at the actions of another they don’t ask “why” they did so but instead ask “how.” This is usually incorrect.  I often get “how can you still be awake?” or “how can you not have your driver’s licence?” or “how can you take the bus everyday?” It is obvious that those who ask me these questions actually want to why or why not, not how, I do these things.

(I’d like to point out here my confusion towards everyone’s beef with sleeping in past noon.  People are always telling me I’m “missing the whole day.” What the frick is everyone doing in the early morning? Reading to the blind? Falling in love? Flying a fucking a kite? I can do that shit in the evening if I had the ambition.  Most people, if they have nothing else to do, get up, go on msn, look up pornography or watch television – god forbid I do shit like that later in the day.)

Those of you that speak something inappropriate or foolish and get an annoyed response from someone and instead of trying to explain yourself or apologize you point the obvious and answer, “I’m just saying…” without even trying to rebuttal sound like you are farting and denying it. Also, it’s not “how can you watch such a shitty movie?” Or “how can you sit on the computer all day?” it is “why are you doing these things?” By asking how you’re just inquiring into the manual movements or lack-there-of that led to what that person has done.

Please everyone, I know besides working we all just creep facebook and watch downloaded movies but let’s try and aim for a silently higher bar in the oldest remnant of human intelligence – conversation.

Written by shanedantimo

May 10, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized