Carleton update

November 29, 2006

Since my post on Monday night about CUSA‘s motion to ban all so-called "anti-choice" clubs from Carleton University‘s campus, the blogosphere has started to swarm. And the media is starting to pay attention, too: yesterday, the story broke on the Web sites of the CBC and the Ottawa Citizen. Today, the other Ottawa paper, the Sun, carried the story, as did local news/talk radio station CFRA, and in the West the Edmonton Journal picked up the Citizen‘s story.

I have yet to read a single blogger either praising or defending CUSA. Two student newspapers so far have reported on the motion, and both have written editorials that sharply criticize CUSA and defend the free market of ideas. One of these papers is Carleton’s own Charlatan, and the other is UWO’s Gazette (along with a pointed editorial cartoon). Finally, even Focus on the Family is starting to pay attention.

Whether CUSA passes this motion or not, the very fact they tabled such a discriminatory and anti-intellectual motion to begin with means that they’ve already lost. The only thing they have going for them is the fact that student politics make no difference to anyone else.

I think Tuesday night is going to be interesting.


Big Brother U.

November 27, 2006

Maybe the administration at Carleton University should stop moaning about their abysmal Maclean’s ranking this year, if these are the kind of bubbleheads their academic program is turning out.

A motion was recently tabled to be voted on at the December 5 meeting of the Carleton University Student Association (CUSA)1. Although I could find no primary source for the motion on CUSA’s own Web site, according to the Charlatan student paper, it affirms that CUSA is pro-choice and moves that "no CUSA resources, space, recognition or funding be allocated for anti-choice purposes" (full story). This motion bears a bland, Orwellian moniker: "Motion to Amend Discrimination on Campus Policy."

Apparently last month’s abortion debate was the catalyst for this instance of academic fascism. The motion was made by vice-president Katy McIntyre on behalf of the campus Womyn’s [sic] Centre, because

McIntyre said she received complaints after Lifeline organized an academic debate on whether or not elective abortion should be made illegal.

“[These women] were upset the debate was happening on campus in a space that they thought they were safe and protected, and that respected their rights and freedoms,” said McIntyre.

Oh, those poor, helpless womyn [sic]! Perhaps CUSA should move to purchase fainting couches for public areas. Then when these delicate flowers swoon after having their tender ears violated by horrible, dangerous ideas they don’t like, they’ll at least have somewhere to lie down and recover. Then, after their fainting spell has passed, perhaps someone of stouter constitution can explain that if they want a "safe space" where their own prejudices are protected, they shouldn’t be on a university campus, which at least gives lip service to the free exchange of ideas.

In Orwell’s 1984, the "Ministry of Peace" dealt in war and the "Ministry of Truth" dealt in lies and propaganda. Similarly, the brownshirts in CUSA and the Womyn’s [sic] Centre, in the name of tolerance and diversity, display their intolerance for diversity of opinion. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, so highly lauded by Tracy Davidson and Jeannette Doucet in the aforementioned abortion debate, guarantees "freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression . . . freedom of peaceable assembly; and freedom of association" (Constitution Act, I.2). In other words, on Canadian soil, you have the right to be pro-life, to say you are pro-life, to attend pro-life meetings, and join pro-life organizations. While technically a university is not a government institution, it receives government funding, and for that reason should protect the freedom of students on campus. And since the student union receives fees from students, it should respect the rights of even the pro-life students it supposedly represents.

In the meantime, however, CUSA earns itself the DIM BULB du jour. Katy McIntyre, in particular, receives her very own 15-Watt Special for bringing this asinine motion to the table. I’d like to be able to excuse her for an isolated "blonde moment," but since she also thinks that crappy kindergarten art created by adult university students is "fabulous," I’m guessing she’s probably a full-time airhead.

Footnotes

1 Oh well, there’s always this footnote: Or perhaps that should be LCUSA (Last Chance U. Student Association)?


KJV monkey-boy update

November 24, 2006

Probably my favourite TV show of all time is the science-fiction program Babylon 5. In one second-season episode, the newly promoted Commander Ivanova, is given a diplomatic assignment: deal with the escalating violence amongst the Drazi that inhabit the station. Every five years, the aliens draw coloured scarves from a barre – some green, some purple. Thus divided, the two factions beat each other senseless for a year for dominance. When Ivanova tries to figure out the rationale behind this completely arbitrary distinction, she is told only, "Green must fight purple, purple must fight green. Is no other way." "Just my luck," she says, "I get stuck with a race that speaks only in macros."

I frequently feel the same way as Cmdr. Ivanova when dealing with KJV-onlyists.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Crustier Curmudgeon

November 24, 2006

Time to come clean. I’m seeing another blog behind the Crusty Curmudgeon‘s back.

Well, not really. But not long after WordPress.com went online, I registered mcclare.wordpress.com – partly because, I was thinking, at some point I would probably want to migrate to my own domain and perhaps use WordPress for the blog, so working with it on a regular basis struck me as a good idea. But since Blogger also has the occasional (and not-so-occasional) maintenance difficulties, I was also wanting to create a “backup” blog where I could keep working even when Blogger wasn’t.

Hence The Crustier Curmudgeon was born. It’s still a bit of a mess, because it was intended mainly as a secondary repository for blog posts, not yet for public consumption. But following (I assume) some sort of software upgrade on the hosting site, it seems that it inadvertently got switched from a private blog to a public one, and posts have started showing up on search engines. Inevitably, this means comments have also started showing up.

So it’s time to bring CC2 out of the closet, as it were. If you prefer reading blogs on WordPress to Blogger, I’ll be spending some time over the next little while making the interface presentable. I’m only using the default template here because even if WordPress did allow customization of the templates, I don’t know enough PHP yet to make it look anything like my custom Blogger template. I’m also not going to be rewriting posts to customize them for a particular platform (i.e. rewriting styles, links, etc.). So while the Blogger blog still remains the “official” one, as of now I’m actively maintaining (and watching comments on) both.

Pardon the dust.


And now . .. this – Nov. 22, 2006

November 22, 2006

See if I eat toad-in-the-hole ever again

A SPICY sausage known as the Welsh Dragon will have to be renamed after trading standards’ officers warned manufacturers that they could face prosecution because it does not contain dragon.

The sausages will now have to be labelled Welsh Dragon Pork Sausages to avoid any confusion among customers.

[Full Story]

Another bit of marketing brilliance is brought to us by the same lawsuit-shy people who gave us “WARNING: This costume does not enable flight or super strength,” and “WARNING: Coffee is hot.”

The inevitable comparison:

Read the rest of this entry »


Letter to a skeptic

November 21, 2006

During his sermon this Sunday evening, our senior pastor mentioned that our church receives piles of emails denouncing Christianity’s claim to exclusivity. As it happened, two weeks earlier I had received a copy of one such email, forwarded by another pastor in the hopes that I would be able to formulate an appropriate answer.

The message was articulate, though I can imagine that many such emails are not. But it reflects the sort of mushy-headed, relativist thinking that tends to hound truth claims these days. I won’t copy the original email to this post, since I don’t have the author’s permission. Basically he had visited our church’s Web site and was provoked to criticize the supposed intolerance that comes from a particular religion claiming an exclusive path to God. He called such thinking “ethnocentrism” and “supreme spiritual narcissism and arrogance,” that such a mindset leads to such actions as the abuses in the residential school system, and is the same kind of thinking that drives radical Islam.

Here is my response (edited to remove personal details).

Read the rest of this entry »


And now . . . this – Nov. 19, 2006

November 19, 2006

There’s never a Sith Lord around when you need one

With their vast intergalactic knowledge and ability to harness the Force, the task of convincing UN officials to recognise their cause should be a walkover for a pair of Jedi Knights.

But self-proclaimed Jedis Umada and Yunyun, better known as John Wilkinson and Charlotte Law, have adopted a more conventional approach in their pursuit of recognition – delivering a protest letter.

The unconventional pair are calling for the UN to acknowlegde what has become Britain’s fourth largest ‘religion’ with 390,000 followers.

No, really.

But wait! There’s more:

Umada, 27, and Yunyun, 24, both from London, want the [U.N. International Day of Tolerance] to be renamed the Interstellar Day of Tolerance to reflect millions of people across the globe who have chosen to follow the Jedi code as a religion and truly reflect social diversity.nbsp;.nbsp;.nbsp;.

“We therefore are calling upon the United Nations Association to change November 16 to the UN Interstellar Day of Tolerance, to reflect the religious make-up of our twenty-first century civilisation.

“Tolerance is about respecting difference where ever [sic] it lies, including other galaxies. Please don’t exclude us from your important work. May the Force be with you.”

In the 2001 UK Census 390,000 people listed their religion as Jedi Knight making it the fourth biggest belief in the country.

There are also an estimated 70,000 Jedi knights in Australia, 53,000 in New Zealand and 20,000 in Canada.

[Full Story]

In the UK, 390,000 people got beat up a lot as kids and now live in their parents’ basements.

(H/T: Hot Air.)

Read the rest of this entry »