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the biggest loser

one of the reasons i love being in a larger city is because of the diversity of cultures around me. being the offspring of virtually every celtic tribe imaginable doesn't give me the widest variety in my own family. but there are times when i am decidedly so far across the cultural divide that i can't see the other side.

for instance, the united jewish appeal has recently launched a media campaign featuring images of dog tags belonging to three israeli soldiers who were kidnapped, one into gaza, two into lebanon, last year. the line they are using as a catch phrase for this campaign is "we don't leave our sons behind". yeah, we noticed that.

suddenly, toronto is polluted with images of dog tags, exhorting people to support the campaign to free the soldiers. this might have been a laudable goal in itself, if it had been voiced when the soldiers were first kidnapped. hell, it's a laudable goal now to remind people that those young men are still missing. but it completely ignores the intervening actions of the israeli government in the wake of those kidnappings- specifically their choice to level much of a country still emerging from the ravages of a lengthy civil war. in the "know the facts" sidebar to the uja site, they conveniently leave out the fact that israel did bomb lebanon, repeatedly. they also leave out the fact that, despite the damage inflicted by bombing on both sides, no progress was made in freeing the soldiers.

the problem is, it's very difficult to say those kinds of things without being called an anti-semite or being told that you support terrorists. everything that happens in political discourse on the middle east is predicated on the belief that one has chosen a side and that one's opinions are shaped by a need to adhere to that side. the fact is, i generally try to avoid picking sides, because i don't see a lot of good in the conflict. it's difficult to choose sides when every group involved seems more concerned about advancing their own political interests than in doing good for the people they purport to govern.

what is truly offensive about campaigns that pit the heroes of one side of the conflict against the monsters of the other is that they only serve to strengthen the polarities already in place. those who suffer are those who would seek to find a common ground. the biggest casualty is the hope for some kind of lasting detente.

the uja can wrap inflammatory rhetoric in seemingly noble causes all they want, but the fact is, they aren't helping anybody in the long run and they are contributing to a situation that will result in a lot of sons being left behind.

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jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

eat the pain away?

nearly twenty years ago, an emergency room doctor took a look at the crushing muscle tension i was experiencing [they were clenched enough that a doctor at my regular clinic couldn't get a reflex reaction on my left side and thought i might be having a stroke] and told me she believed that i had fibromyalgia. a couple of weeks later, i went to see a family doctor that a coworker had recommended to me. when i told him what the other doctor had said, he snapped that i was being ridiculous, because, if i'd had fibromyalgia, "i wouldn't be able to move". after i moved to toronto, i got a new family doctor and told her what the other doctors had said. she said that she couldn't be sure, but it was better just to deal with any symptoms i had one at a time. then i came back to montreal and got a new family doctor, who didn't really buy into the whole idea of fibromyalgia and said there was no way to do any definitive test anyway. that doctor passed away, and my …

long suffering

i've been meaning to write this post for a while, but, every time i get started, something happens that makes me rethink portions of it, to add or subtract or consider a different way of looking at things. the post was originally going to be my take on a #metoo statement, but i ended up making that post on my personal facebook page. [it's not that i don't love you all, but there are a few things i'm not comfortable putting in the entirely public sphere.] but beyond joining the #metoo juggernaut, i wanted to write something about the wave of sexual assault revelations that continues to swell over the north american media landscape that wasn't about me. then i realised that that was a little more complicated than just writing "so, lotta sex rapes happenin' these days, ain't there?" or whatever it was that i was going to say.

so i tried writing something about just a part of it: the media coverage or the entertainment industry or the politicians or …