Sunday, July 16, 2017

The subtle menace


Doesn't that look like a tooth in there? The jaws about to open? It could be some tendril of the kraken, oozing up from a primordial algae-laden soup, looking for something to eat.

And once upon a time, this.

Dragonflies used to scare the crap out of me. Really. I thought that great long tail was a sting, and if you annoyed the dragonfly it would drill that into you and extract your innards, and probably lay eggs for more dragonflies.

Now I think they're beautiful, and this guy perched on my leg for a few seconds, while I frantically tweaked camera settings and found the focus. We don't see dragonflies very often.

We are finally seeing more and more bees. Maybe they were just waiting till their favourite plants were in bloom. This guy looked me over, then dived into the rose. He rolled and scuffled around in there, sometimes almost entirely hidden in the folds of the petals, then burst out and flew off. I love trying to photograph the bees. I think we're up to 5 different species of bees coming to visit, but to be sure I'll have to get a book on bee identification.

In a bit of a followup to yesterday's political rant, I've been thinking about the menace of changing public opinion. When I was growing up, being (in no particular order) gay, communist, or atheist was about the worst possible thing. Everybody older than a certain age should be married, or want to be, and of course only to the opposite sex, and childless married people were to be pitied.

Times change, though there are some people who don't. Once not that long ago in public spa in an unnamed country, I heard such vitriol about gay people I was surprised. The nicest thing they said was that, well, no point in repeating such hate. The point is that they thought this was the natural and correct opinion, and were offended that there was some push back. There was no doubt they felt threatened.

This is one of the reasons I love Canada. No, it isn't a perfect place, but by and large Canadians accept each other for who we are, grudging though that acceptance might be at times. It's one of the safest places in the world to live, I think largely because of that acceptance. We don't have a melting pot here, and are mostly willing to give people a chance.

Every now and then something happens to spark a discussion about opinion on a particular topic. Without trying I recall, in no particular order, the Vietnamese boat people, the FLQ crisis, gay bathhouse raids in Toronto (and probably other places), women's liberation, the Legion banning turbans, capital punishment, gay rights, the Robert DziekaƄski incident, and responses to South African apartheid laws. All have challenged the assumptions the public have held at the time, and in some cases opinion changed radically.

Gay rights are probably the best example of a radical change. Whether that's a good thing or not probably depends on how old you are, your wealth, and your ethnic background. I'm from a fairly well to do WASP background, and I'm embarrassed by the opinions held by some of my contemporaries, and those a little older. Younger, too, in some cases.  I see the changes as good things. I am baffled that some people apparently sincerely believe that gay marriage is a threat to other marriages.

Women's lib is a good example of an incomplete change. Nearly everybody is for equal rights, in theory. In actual practice, however, we still have women getting paid less than men in the same job, fewer women in corporate boardrooms than men, and all sorts of subtle or not so subtle aggressions against women that I probably don't even know the quarter of. That's one of the reasons I stood and cheered when Trudeau said with that subtle shrug, "Because it's 2015".

Part of the success Trump has had is by stoking fears of the other. People that are different in some way. We can see plain as day where that is leading in the USA, and I will say loud and proud that I don't want to see that happening here.

But preventing it won't happen by accident. There are politicians here who probably have wet dreams thinking of Trump's path to power. Ordinary people need to stand up and laugh when these politicians say laughable things. We need to fact check them, and push back. Not just on the politicians, but your buddy and your embarrassing uncle. What tennis pro Andy Murray did is a perfect example, "male player."

Do it. Be the change. Screw the menace.


  1. Yes! Love this, Keith. And of course I couldn't agree more. Love the pics, btw.


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