Thursday, 23 April 2009

Drug Douchebaggery

Now that I am no longer a peon in the mail room, I am a data entry clerk. People may blanch at this, but seriously, no matter how tedious the task, I am consistently grateful and mindful that it's not mail. Or filing. Or wrestling with that satanic inserter machine.

One of my new responsibilities is going line-by-line through the pharmacy fee guides for the various provinces to make sure that the version we have is the most updated one, so that the retarded processors on the 4th floor know what to pay the providers when members (i.e. refugees) get medications prescribed to them.

Right now, I'm working on the Atlantic Fee Guide, so if you want to know how much Resperidone costs in Halifax, I'm your huckleberry. I can always tell when a medication has been designed specifically for use by women, because it always has the suffix "vag". It will look like this: "Apo-Reallylonglatinword Vag".

This pisses me off. I cannot, for the life of me, tell which drugs are designed for men and their weiners, because none of these medications have "wang" or "rod" in the title. You don't ever see "Novo-EquallylongLatinword Penis". The closest we get to male-specific medications are the ones with the "procto" prefix. However, given the fact that all women have assholes (with the possible exception of The Queen. On the ther hand, she is married to Philip), we can't really make a case for those being boy drugs. Yet for some reason, drug companies feel the need to single out the creams, ointments and douches we use on our fairy pockets.

So, WTF? Is this information really necessary? And for whose benefit is it? Not the patient's. Gawd knows, if I have a yeast infection bad enough that I want to either

a) use a bottle brush on my box, or
b) let the doctor stick the world's longest Q-Tip into my hoo-hoo, or
c) all of the above,

chances are, I know that the prescription handed to me concerns my vajayjay. So is this for the pharmacist's benefit? Do they need to know? Just hand over the prescription and I'll be on my way. And don't bother explaining how to use the applicator, or my "VAG" product will become a "PROCTO" one.

Also? Most medications designed for kids come as a syrup and have a suppository option. If you can't stuff it down their non-compliant throats, you can always shove it up their asses.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Censorship Douchebaggery

Okay, so I admit: my guilty little secret lately has been my obsession with Lady GaGa's "Poker Face". The video is utterly daft and lacking in any redeeming qualities whatsoever (except the first 32 seconds: that's hawt, yo. Whew.) Her blue bathing suit is really goofy, and the skinny jerk with the package in his tighty-whities at about 1:45 is just repulsive. GaGa should stick to (inexplicably) lounging next to the pool in skintight black latex with enormous dogs.

(And before I go any further, I just have to go on record as saying that I must be getting old or something, because as sexy as the opening of this video is, all I can think is that a latex cat suit is not exactly loungewear, if you're fortunate enough to live in a place where it is feasible to have an outdoor pool. I mean, wouldn't you sweat like a pig in an outfit like that? PEW!)

The song imminently danceable though, which I think is why I like it so much. (Also, I'm a dyke, which means I have a certain weakness for power tools, plaid jackets and fluffy dance music. I can't help it: I also liked "Blue" by Eiffel 65. I'm not proud, but it's a fact. I look back on it now and shudder. And to my credit, I do not like Britney Spears. A girl has to have some standards.)

What puzzles me specifically is how the censors arrive at the decision to leave out certain lyrics.

For example, in the second verse, Lady GaGa sings, "Russian Roulette is not the same without a gun/And, baby, when it's love, if it's not rough, it isn't fun."

In the official music video, The Powers That Be have chosen to eliminate the words "Russian" and "gun", but left the entire phrase "If it's not rough, it isn't fun" intact.

WTF? What's up with "Russian"? Have the earth's Russians suddenly been really outspoken about not being associated with a stupid boy trick? We don't want to offend them ever since they lost the Cold War? What's up with that?

And I get the gun thing (I guess, for those who lack the brain cells to grasp the concept of metaphor), but if you're going to leave out the potentially violent imagery, how do you justify leaving in the explicit S&M reference? Is one less offensive/objectionable than the other?

You could, I suppose, argue that the various expressions of human sexuality are beautiful and natural (unless you count cake farts), whereas guns are instruments of brutality and destruction.
And you'd have a good point, except in the case of the "Poker Face" video.

See, there's a part in the bridge where she says, "I'm bluffin' with my muffin" (Best. Line. Evar.), and the censors also left in the line, "I'm just stunnin' with my love glue-gunnin'"?

(Of course, that might be a simple case of, "We don't know what the fuck she's talking about: Love glue-gunnin': what is that? Do people really use glue guns in a sexual context?" To which I would say, "They are very popular with the Michael's set. Those scrapbookers are a wild bunch. In fact, there's a whole raft of people out there who get off on popping balloons between their knees," and if you think I'm making this up for comic effect, you need to check this out.)

Anyway, all of that aside, I think eliminating words from songs is bullshit anyway. In Canada, there is no actual law against broadcasting songs with explicit lyrics or even swearing on the radio (it might be different on tv, I dunno). It isn't generally done because the conservative majority feels we need to protect the children or some such shit. So, in order to avoid offending the delicate sensibilities of the general public (read: unwashed masses), artists who have the balls to tell it like it is in the first place have to censor their own works if they want their shit to make it on air during prime time.

In the case of a music video, though--especially this one--it's pointless and stupid. A gun does not ever appear in the video. And although they blank out the word "muffin", GaGa reaches for hers as she says it, so the kiddies are gonna get the idea, even if the slower among them think she is saying, "I'm bluffin' with my piss flaps" or whatever they're calling it on the playground these days. (Vajayjay? Beef curtains? Fairy pocket? I have no idea. S. at work, calls it a "yang". A while ago, she asked the assistant manager of the call centre if they shaved her yang when she gave birth. It's a very liberal office.)

Anyway, it's confusing and retarded. Kind of like the song itself.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Hi Ho, Silver! Awaaaaay!

People--and by that I mean folks who barely know me--have an unnerving and unfortunate tendency to confide in me. I don't know what it is: maybe because I'm gay (therefore a minority or "oppressed" and likely to be sympathetic) and outspoken (and relatively openminded), they mistakenly think that I am also a nice person.

This is a mistake. I am not a nice person. Oh, I am staunchly loyal and protective of my friends, but that just makes me loyal and protective to a group of people I have stamped with my approval. And I generally live by the "live and let live" maxim, but I don't like people as a rule, can't be arsed with them most of the time and would just as soon live as far removed from society in general as possible. I have utterly no investment in the continuation of my species whatsoever. I have more sympathy and tenderness towards "dumb" animals than children, and while I think that most people should be able to do whatever the hell they want most of the time (providing it does no harm to the nonconsenting, children or animals), I certainly don't want to hear about it. Most of human existence is either painfully dull or a train wreck.

And yet, people--essentially strangers who have the most tangential acquaintenceship with me--repeatedly and unfailingly disclose deeply personal information about themselves to me. This invariably alters any embryonic friendship we might have in such a way that, many times, I cannot pursue a relationship with them thereafter.

Take, for example, this woman at work. I'll call her Hip E. Dippy. She's older than I am and has clearly been around the block a few times in terms of general experience. You'd think her social skills would be more advanced, but apparently not. It's amazing how much people get away with.

Anyway, Hip inhabits the cubicle behind me, and one day last week, I noticed that she was in late. I teased her about getting a booty call. This was my mistake, I admit it fully. But most people laugh and say something like, "Yeah, right!" and move on.

Hip emphatically denied a booty call and said that she had instead been waiting for a delivery. She was very, very excited about this delivery, which had come all the way from New Zealand. I want you to know right now that I did not ask for details. I was obviously quite prepared to let this whole matter drop. I don't actually care for what other people get in the mail. I know from experience that it is usually really personal or really mundane. The only mail that concerns me is my own.

Hip, however, did not pick up on my subtle physical cues, like turning away, staring fixedly at my monitor and responding in vague monotones. Hip went on to tell me that it has always been her dream to own this object. She never had one as a child, you see, and the desire to have it is so great that she dreams about it.

There was just something too intense about the way Hip approached her subject: I felt all ooky about it. Trepidatious, even.

Hip told me that she had searched long and hard for someone who would make this object for her. She even ordered plans from the States, but couldn't find anyone locally to build it for her. "There are no craftsman, anymore," she said with a dismissive sneer. "Just carpenters." That's why she was forced to order it from New Zealand. And she spent thousands of dollars on it.

Gentle reader, I know what you're asking: what is all the excitement about? What the hell did Hip E. Dippy get in the mail all the way from New fucking Zealand?

An adult-sized rocking horse.

And then she said, "And I can hardly wait to get home and ride him!"

So, at that point, my skull exploded and I was stuck with a visual image of this lumpy, shapeless old hippy in thigh boots (white fat oozing over the tops) and a leather corset (more fat oozing over the top), crop in hand, riding this poor rocking horse to a furious and explosive orgasm, as all the while the Wm Tell Overture blared in the background.

Although I must have visibly blanched, Hip just kept waxing rhapsodic about her new acquisition ("I've even named him!"), detailing why she chose an English saddle over a Western one ("I was afraid I wouldn't fit a Western saddle"), how big it is (36 inches from nose to tail), and how she made her daughter promise that when she dies, her grand-daughter will inherit it.

The last part squicked me right out: I mean, is a child ever really old enough to get the keys to Grandma's tickle trunk? And, I've checked this with several of my friends--there's NO WAY this thing with the rocking horse isn't sexual. I'm not sure Hip E. Dippy understands that, but it is.

My friend, B., collects carousel horses. That's not weird. And I'm sure there are lots of people out there who have rocking horse collections, too. That's not weird either. But an adult-sized toy? That rocks?

That screams "FETISH!" to me.

And I'm afraid that, knowing that and being saddled (pardon the pun) with the visual of Hip astride her mount, we cannot be friends. That's just Too Much Information.


Thursday, 2 April 2009

Democracy Douchebaggery

So, the Canadian government has its panties in a twist about the new law passed in Afghanistan wich makes it illegal for Afghan women to refuse sex to their husbands or to leave the house without their husband's permission. It also grants custodial rights to fathers and grandfathers.

Everyone--politicians and average Canadians alike--are jumping up and down and foaming at the mouth about this barbaric outrage on behalf of Afghan women, and how this violates the sanctity of what our troops are supposed to be doing over there.

What a crock of shit.

Oh, don't get me wrong: the law is horrific and appalling. It pisses me right off.

But let's look at the facts here: the Afghan president, Ahmid Karzai, is facing an election coming up. This law that he has signed off on is part of his strategy to win the votes of conservative members of his nation that will allow him to stay in power. It's about votes, people. It's about democracy, the very democracy that we "civilized" Canadians are supposed to be bringing to that barbaric and backward country. The fact that the law is morally bankrupt and oppressive goes without saying, but to insist that they vote and make legislation as we do makes us equally as oppressive.

And let's not get carried away in our moral righteousness and rectitude: not all of our legislation guarantees the rights of minorities either. Harper's Conservatives have closed down all but two Status of Women offices and removed "equality" from that Ministry's mandate. The Conservative government has been subtly working to re-open the abortion debate again. You know what pisses Harper off about the Afghan rape law? That, as much as he'd like to, he couldn't get it passed here.

Canadians who think that we are in Afghanistn to bring democracy to them are either naive or misguided. Oh, we're fighting the Taliban alright, but not out of any sense of chivalry or altruism: we're there to protect the poppies and the pipeline. Before the events of September 11, we didn't give a rat's ass about the Afghans or their uncivilized ways or how oppressed their women were. We were content to let them live amidst their tribal warfare and let their women trot around the dusty desert in thier burkas, uneducated and ignorant. And if money wasn't involved, we still wouldn't care. Do we give a shit about Darfur? No, you don't see Canadian troops being sent there.

To think that we have any right to invade a nation--because let's remember, we weren't invited into Afghanistan--in order to impose democracy on a people that have no historical or cultural tradition of it is arrogant. It smacks of colonialism. Harper has recently said publically that this war in Afghanistan cannot be won, and he's right for once: no-one has been able to successfully invade and control that region, not the British in the 1800s, not the Russians in the 1980s and not the British, Canadians and Americans of 2009. To say that we are providing security for the very women the Karzai government is oppressing is pure, unadulterated bullshit: the only thing our government gives a shit about is keeping filthy Taliban hands off of the opium and oil revenues.

And now that we've "brought democracy to Afghanistan", we have no right whatsoever to bitch and complain that they're doing it wrong. We have no right to these expectations that 111 Canadian lives has bought us the right to tell these people how to run their country: we cannot simoultaneously give them freedom from their tribal past and insist that they exercise that freedom with our values and priorities.

Is the rape law wrong? Yes. Unequivocally.

But so is our being there to start with.