Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Why Do We Find the Ugly Funny? Should We Even Chuckle?

I saw a video of U.S. Senator Rick Santorum call down President Obama. In the video Santorum is about to say the forbidden Nigger Word*.  In many of the media debates that followed all sorts of excuses and other words came to light. It was in 2012 but this video clip didn't catch my attention until now. When I saw it I laughed. I laughed because I know one hundred percent that Santorum just caught himself. You know it was not a mistake, the "government nig" was a phrase that he must coined many times before in front of his contemporaries. That is why it flowed so easily from his mouth, and it is not a common phrase to say the "government nig-ha". I laughed at the excuses that followed. Me, I said maybe he was trying to say "government Ninja". 

Another thing I heard was about a cousin of mine who sells hand made jewellry at the local market. This White Woman was asking for 'Dream Catchers'.  My cousin had some that were big. The White Woman wanted some that were smaller. She wanted to put it on her car mirror. "I heard that Natives won't steal from your car if you have a Dream Catcher?."  That is what she said to my relative; who happens to be fair skinned. I laughed when I heard this about the Dream Catcher. My Wife didn't think it was funny. I thought it was hilarious. 

There is a park in Central Winnipeg that many poor people use. It is quite a nice park (Central Park); it has a nice soccer pitch, a couple of playgrounds for children, some super big slides and a splash park. I have been taking my grandkids there for a few years now (even though I don't live in the area). There are many kids of many different ethnic backgrounds. Lot of Native kids, and some new immigrants, along with poor white people.  I was driving past the park the other day with an old friend of mine. He was saying "what do they call that place again?"  Before I could answer he said, "I think they call it Nigger park, no! They call it Monkey park, that's what its called.  I heard it called Monkey Park".  I was shocked but kind of chuckled and shook my head. "Man," I said. 

I am sure you can remember many many times when something so repugnant was spoken that you just had to laugh. In our Reserve there are many that are laughing about the Residential school experience.  For many that experience was a horror of events. So now even talking about them some of these people are laughing about it. There were some settlements for the sexual abuse some of the residents went through. They got some money. So a few of them are laughing and saying you got a "pooch-tay-gay truck (pooked in the arse)".  In our Reserve there we some bad Priests that took advantage of many a young boy. Growing up we heard lot of teasing about being "washed" by the old priest. Today I wonder with all the re-opening of wounds about being raped or sodomised by the priest, if it will stop the laughing? 

Hey did you see Madonna of television? I guess she was singing at some awards show and her cape was suppose to let loose as her dancers pulled it off her neck. It didn't come undone and she fell down the stairs. She got up of course and continued to sing. I didn't see it until just now. It must have been funny.  People laughed of course. You know because she's old and trys to be young?

Watching at home, my heart stopped. Is that all it takes to kill a queen? Milanese outerwear?
The hateful hashtags #shefellover, #Fallenmadonna, immediately began toxifying Twitter: “I get it, Madonna. My grandma is exactly the same.” “I hope grandma’s ok. A broken hip at her age could be a death sentence.”

That is something we do often, laugh at the expense of others. Me, I am no fan of Madonna. I think she is a media whore. Can I say Whore? In any case I think she will do almost anything to get media attention. I am saying Whore not because she is a woman, Michael Jackson was a whore as well, and so is Donald Trump.

*Just for your info*, I deplore the use of the dreaded "N-word". It pains me to write, and to listen to it. But I use it here as illustration. I don't like it even when Black people are re-clamining that word. You know guys like 50 Cents and those guys. Maybe I can accept it only when Samuel L Jackson is saying it. And maybe only Denzel Washington as well. But no one else. Will Smith? No way, no how. I don't even think the coolest White guy can use the "N-word". You know that guy? Quentin Tarantino. He may seem cool or want to be cool, but he doesn't sound cool when he says it.  Johnny Depp thinks he's cool and all groovy but even he couldn't get pull off the N-word.  Brad Pitt?  Nope.

Anyway - - What is my point on bringing up these ugly statements and how the heck can they be funny?
I think we laugh because there is some funny stuff happening. It is not that we are accepting the ugly but we are laughing because IT IS UGLY. I think we can only shake our heads and laugh. Not with the joke but at the joke. You know what I'm saying?

But we do it all the time. "she's so muttly, she's cute".  "He's so fat, he's cute".

I'm don't use racist jokes at least I don't think I do or sexist jokes. Still I make many a joke that is upsetting. It gets me in trouble all the time. I can't help it. Or can I? It might be the timing of the rotten jokes I do. People seem to get upset. Like when I was giving eulogy for an Elder in our Reserve. I looked out in the crowd and told them that some of them would have to pay people to go their funeral. It didn't go good. People asked me after the funeral if I was talking about "so and so".
Or at the timing of my brother's hospital emergency when the doctor came in and told his wife to let him go. We asked her why she was shoveling dirt on him before he's dead. Or when at my friends Wake I told his brother that his wife was hitting on me and his body is not cold yet. It seems my sense of humour is not a funny one.

What do you get if you cross The Queen and Prince Charles?

Killed in a tunnel.

And a very timely ugly funny.

Just heard about the death of Ben E King.

Anyone know what he'd been arrested for?.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Insincerity At Its Worst: Canada and the Harper Watch

I give to people that are asking for money on the street. I don't give every single time, but enough to feel a little bit like I'm doing alright. I don't mind if I have a buck or two I will do it. I appreciate the "thank you" people give in return, makes me feel good. I'm not a fan of the over do it replies, but its my hang up and not their fault. You know the replies like "God Bless You".  I give because I want to hear thanks because it makes me feel good (I know selfish reasons).  I'm not really doing it to get favour from God, but if he will give it for a small gesture like that, well who am I to say no to it. My point really is that I don't know if God bless you is sincere?  Do you really mean it when you say, "I love you". This young man said that today to Suz and I. We went to a grocery store called No Frills that just open in the core of the City. Good prices on food, no frills. This young man was sitting outside when we were going to the care and he asked for spare change, so we gave him a toonie (Two dollars).  We were putting the granddaughter in the car and just about to put the food in the back of the vehicle. When he came over again and asked for ten dollars. He said it is for the shelter, that charges ten bucks for a bed? So we gave him ten dollars and the cart which you take back for a loonie (dollar).  He was happy and said "I love you".  So I said "Hey! Don't say that! Just say Miigwich?". So he smiled and said Miigwich. So I got into the car and started driving away he was by the store again and still smiling he waved a big wave one more time. My wife said "That's nice" and she smiled. Me I was almost kind of grumpy.  But I wised up right away. It was just a small gesture but it got me thinking about Prime Minister Harper.

PM Harper? Yeah, not because this young man was insincere but because he did seem grateful for the small amount we gave. You should have seen his smile.  I was thinking about insincerity and so started asking Suz about it as we drove to the North End of Winnipeg.  She said those politicians like Harper really don't care. I was talking about Haper because PM Harper did something no other PM did; he apologized to the First Nations in Canada. He apologized for the forced assimilation of Indian residential schools.  That was a good sign. The reaction was mixed of course. I think many wanted to believe, to believe that it was a true apology. That someone, the government actually said "We're sorry"- "We're sorry we tried to kill you".  I see some people cried when they heard that PM say, "We apologize".  Some said "who gives a rats ass?"  Me, I was happy to see Indians on television. I am always happy to see Indians on tv when they are not being arrested, shot, being charged or seen as doing bad things (whether its raising their voice for a cause the media paints them ugly). I had mixed feelings about the apology. I had no doubt it was a nothing speech but I also thought it was a slap in the face to the previous governments. Those previous governments like to portray themselves as a kinder government to the poor, to the immigrant, to the old, to the chilren and to the Indian. But they didn't say sorry to the Indian did they. Harper got up in front of the world and say "we apologize". No one else in government said that. Even our great Liberal party didn't.

Haper's apology has been proven to be a bad joke. It is insincerity in the puriest from, deceit, a bold lie is the most kind of insincerity you can imagine; it is a statement backed by hatred. We live in Interesting times. We are seeing evil in the disguise of a man.

I cringe when I see him speak at events. There have been the honouring of Canadian soldiers in the Netherlands. Harper speaking on the soldiers. Can you imagine how the Veterans feel to see him there? This Harper, the guy that is fighting every one of them at home? The Veterans are not the only ones that Harper is trying to kill. You name an issue, a cause, a living being and Harper and his team are hurting them: Lakes, the Air, civil service workers, the poor, the middle classe, the upper middle class, the new comer, the Indian, the science community, the public oversight people.

It is the sight of the insincerity that really bothers me. Harper can stand in front of millions and lie.  It is sad. Even his Ministers can stand up and say the same lies. It is disgusting. I wonder if people can really see how repugnant that is? I mean it is very embarrassing when he attempts to act like someone who cares.  It is down right pityful. And when he tries to be all tough?  That's a shame. He makes our country look very bad. Still Old White people with extreme views will vote for him.

I wonder if they feel bad?

Canada has become the ugliness in the world that it used to speak against. That is the sad and ugly legacy of Harper and his team. 

Investigative journalist Michael Harris, author of Party of One, the bestseller about Harper’s tenure, believes so. “There is something very Stalinesque about Harper,” remarks Harris. “My bottom line on this guy is, he hates democracy. He doesn’t care about truth and cares only about the perception of what benefits him. In that way he’s way worse [than his predecessors].

Friday, May 15, 2015

Putting Others First: Where Are Those Indians?

There are many people out there we admire. Those who speak up against tyranny (see Prime Minister Harper) and other bad stuff.  We applaud the public figure who is fighting the good fight (whatever the good fight is). The good words, the moment of media exposure. We "like" their status on Facebook and offer some good words like: you go girl, you are the one, keep it up, ______ for Prime Minister, and so forth. It's quite interesting how a few media sound bites and we are so enamoured with a new hero. We are so quick with our praise and then we go our separate ways.

I do hope our memories are longer than a media sound bite in the news. There are some out there that live that life; putting others first. Me I am not sure I can be that way honestly. I am a selfish person in many ways, and in many ways very generous. I think many of us are.

I am thinking about his lately as I look at the circle of people in Winnipeg and Manitoba. I have this friend that I normally think has been out there for the people. As I take a closer look I wonder if that is truly the case? I know these Traditional folk back home and I judge them. I see that they are the ones that never go outside of their little circle; only to help their immediate friends and family.  I guess that is good but really are they putting others first or just themselves? I mean they never have anything good to say about anyone but their own. They don't support anything or anyone in the community. You will never ever see them when others are struggling: Wakes, hard times, community events, protests.  If it doesn't have them in the circle well I guess its not on their agenda.  I see this one Teacher I know, who has seemly devoted a life to helping others. As I look closely I see that the life of helping others is confined to a very small circle which includes their place of employment and not much more.  Lot of folks out there like that. We only care if it has something to do with us.  So if we are living with the Teachings of the Bible, The Traditional Teachings, The Thirteen Moons, The Seven Teachings, The Four Direction on the Medicine Wheel, The Quran, Tanakh, Theravada and Mahayana, so why do we engage in such selfish behaviour? In each of these Spiritual tools they speak of others, putting others first. Are we truly putting others first?

When my Dad had his Wake and his Service I noticed. I noticed those Traditional folk, Teachers and Elders that did not come to see him off. I am not a fan or believe in that sentiment: "I want to remember as they were before, when they were alive".  That is such a bunch of fresh excrement, you know the kind. The service is not all about the deceased. It is also about the family and you're own conduct. Our community (speaking of the larger community as well as ours) is so filled with selfishness.  For example, the local gambling hall in our Reserve goes full tilt while just down the road people are grieving. Its funny how we cheerish our own wants, not needs, wants. I want to gamble so much that I won't let it be for an hour. I know this man that had worked with my Dad for years and another guy whos Dad worked with my Dad for years, did they bother to acknowledge?  Maybe they were busy. I don't know. I hope that's it and not that they thought so little of him that they couldn't be bothered to tell his family - condolences. My brother him, he doesn't give a "rats ass" of what others think.  He is like that, not there to please others or kiss ass. Just works for the best of what is best. There are many cliches out there that sound more elequant but mean the same thing as to what my brother saying of who gives a rats ass; "we can't change people only do what we can".

I try hard to be kind. Of course I fail. Its just the way it is. I will keep trying as long as I can, not sure I will ever reach that place but will work at it. It is a job to put others before ourselves.

So I was having a hard struggle with not being my cheeky self. My wife calls me by my Dad's name when I am being cheeky (not fun cheeky but rude cheeky). I have to really keep in check my behaviour and attitudes. I will mock people and give shots or backhanded compliments. My Dad was funny like that. I remember him saying something to this sanctimonious arse. The guy didn't even realize he was being taken down a few notches. So its you have to bite the inside of your cheek so as to not shoot at the high and mighty. 

I see people putting themselves on podiums and saying all the good stuff. I wonder if at night as they are being tucked into bed by their spouse and kissed on their cheek, do they say "fooled em' all again"?  I mean really? Who are we fooling with our talk of benevolence and caring?  Are we trying to fool ourselves? Do we mean it when we say to strangers "I love you"?  "I care for Mother Earth?"  "The Women are our Life givers?"  "The children, who will care for the children (one of my favorite quotes from the Simpsons)?" 

I was talking to this one girl (she grew up on farm) about farms the other day. She said you won't see plastic bags rolling through the fields on most family farms. You know why? They care for the Land. They don't want their live animals eating garbage and making them sick. They cheerish the land. How many of us can really say that? If you go to your community what is it like there, are we looking after our Mother?  Are our yards clear of floating garbage and stuff? If you are a smoker you are guilty of making the Earth sick. You throw your butts out of car windows, on the ground, and contiuously foul the air with your second hand smoke. Christ sake many of us smoke in the car or home with our babies? How is that putting others first? Don't get me started on drinking, smoking or taking pills/drugs while pregnant. That is not putting someone first. Go to a powwow, how many people stay after and help clean up? Or even bother to throw the trash in a bin? Or go to Ceremony grounds and see if people take care of their litter.  Do we?

Many of us like the good quote. The empty phrase. Because that is what it is, just a meaningless group of words. Really where are those Indians that are putting others first? "We are one with the land. It takes a village to raise a child. We are keepers of Mother Earth. I live by the Seven Teachings. Do on to others as you would want them to do to you. You are your brothers keeper. Be kind. Share food with people. Be honest."

Do you really listen to the Elders? Not just the Elders able to get to Ceremonies or to political rallies, but the ones that are up there in age?  The Old Ones?  How about Women? Do we treat them with respect? Or are we so selfish that we will fight our wives because we think they loved someone before we came along in their lives?  Do we listen to the needs or our children before we go and get our smokes or beer? Do we make sure they have everything for school - lunch -breakfast - clean clothes - enough sleep, before our own needs?

Do we really think ahead of the next seven generations?  Are we thinking of the Earth? Do we even like our people? Do we put others first before our own wants? 

Where are those Indians? 

 I don't know if we will find them on Twitter or Facebook. But who knows?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jo-Wolf Clan: I Hear You Babe.

and u get mad at us when we don't want this kinda of shit here....cuz we dont want raping to earth .... no to all pipelines...mining... fracking... logging .... and sell outs...and there lil puppet(apple) pacifists groupies that are every where now ......!!! love the lands waters and re connect to who we are ppls u r ur nations ....

 hell yeah.....! a Chilean brother speaks truth and no one can handle his words .... bunch fake ppl who are all pacified get all offended ...and you all hate ur own ppl who stand up here at home ...whats wrong with u apples and sell outs and pacifist im sick of all ur bs fear !!! and you even ignore the truth that oil spill kills u all want funding and believe in the lie resource sharing crap that these sell out chiefs are filling u with there lies !!! nothing but greed ...cant u see it . ....glad this man has balls to speak truth it goes for kkkanada .....harper is a freak ....trans kkkanda is his legacy ....shame on you harper and all industry ...and to the pacifist..... shame on you too ...

I have this friend that is a self-described warrior. Only thing is, She is more than that, she is an Ogichidaa.  Jo-Wolf is a woman that has taken up the fight for the Earth and for the Indigenous people.  She does it in ways that many of us do not. She is willing to stand up in the middle of the street and shout to the heavens, "Stop raping the Earth!"   It is a scary thing to do. To put yourself up for condemnation by both the corporate world and our own.  There are many Jo-Wolf Clans out there. All speaking up, standing up for causes. Some we agree with and some we don't. Some we agree with how they do it and some we don't agree with how they do it.

I saw this video of these people, sleeping on ropes on the side of an oil tanker. They are shouting to the heavens about how big corporations are going to damage the Earth with digging big holes into the ocean floor up in the North. Can you imagine the conviction? The courage these people have? That is what we have in the Jo's of the world. We have people that will live up to their convictions. We may not agree with methods or even their words, but you can't kill their convictions. That is something we all need to have, conviction. With conviction we can make things happen.

I may not agree with Jo calling others fake people or sell outs. I think her anger at other Indians is misplaced. After all people work in different ways for the same thing. I think she calls for the stopping of lateral violence but is guilty of that her self. I think it is out of frustration and anger. If I was to let the name calling of others get to me, I would be crying and angry all the time. But I know her frustration. I think we all do. I think we all want our voices heard.

I want the U.S. Canada and China to stop oil exploration in the Artic and in the Amazon. I also want Indians to get to understand the meaning of communal, to work and support each other, to shout to the heavens on the actions that Canada has taken. I want lot of things. The question is what am "I" going to do about it?

That is the thing isn't it? Do we have conviction? Just like PETA. I am not a fan of PETA. I support Fur as my Dad was a trapper and many Indigenous people still do Traditional harvesting.  I do think PETA are committed to their cause. I don't agree with their actions, but I can't deny their conviction. Green Peace, I admire their people but may not agree with every single thing they do.

So what do you think? Are you one of the Jo's out there? Willing to shout to the heavens? To earn some enmity, even some ridicule for your actions/words? For your commitment? 

So I feel for Jo and her frustration, her hurt when people don't listen. I share it and understand it. When people don't hear the sounds of the Earth dying. Being wounded. If we truly, if we truly believe that the Earth and all things are living then why in the Hell are we letting Her get beaten up, tortured every single day?  We look at the world and people are trying to develop ways to live on Mars. Mars for heavens sake? Why are we not looking at ways to live here, on Earth?  We know the affects of Global warming, the rate of forests being slaughtered, but yet we go on. And if you question it, you are told it is to create jobs?  What the fuck? Jobs? Its not about jobs! Its about corporate greed! Plain and simple. I mean how much profit does one need?  If it was truly about jobs and economy, they would come up with an equitable distribution of resources, wealth. Instead we have a few individuals having it all. Not caring about the consequences. That is why we need more Jo's in the world.

So I hear you babe.

 (oh by the way, I am being facetious when I say babe, it is a cheeky way to show how we try and undermine our women, our Life Givers and our Warriors with just one simple word).

Monday, May 11, 2015

When You Lose Respect For Your Hero

The Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has gotten his party of Ministers to vote for Bill c-51. The bill is going to be an attack on everyone that stands against the government and big money. "when implemented, Bill C-51 would mean broad and significant changes to national security measures." It is quite clear that Mr. Trudeau has fallen as the hero to moderate and liberal voters.  I don't blame them at all. The Bill is an attack on everyone who does not want to become herd sheep. But I think the gate on the pen has been closed for a long time. We think we are free because we can stick our hands and legs through the fence wire. The funny thing is we are already herded into a pen by the government and the Money. They are the ones who build the fence and we just walk in with our eyes open. Its funny because we actually think our votes matter. What joke on us. The Canadian (and U.S.) democracy is a flawed system that is in the control of Money. We all know it but hey if it makes us feel better to think we have say, well good on us. Trudeau was being shown off as the next "cool" guy leader. Turns out he is just part of a system that is all smoke and mirrors. Trudeau is a person that you could lose respect for even before he has any power. And get this, he is not even the offical opposition to the government. Yet the media treats him like he is next in power. Weird eh?

I don't believe that any one politician has earned my respect.  So there is no hero worship that I can recall. Although Obama is pretty high up there in terms of getting close to hero as can be, in this system geared for the rich. For me it is the close to home loss of a hero I feel bad for. I mean there are some people that we know are good folk but some how or for some reason they fall from grace. I think lot of people fall from grace. If we want examples all we have to do is look at the famous people that have come crashing down; they must have been someone's hero, you would think?

Look at Bill Cosby, man that guy was THE hero to many many people.  I liked his sitcoms and his stand up, but I was not a fan of his arrogance interviewing style. But look at him now. He is a pariah.  A hero no more. Mad Max, Michael Wallace hero Mel Gibson is a bully a drunk and a anti-semite.  Guess he fell as a hero to many people. If he wasn't your hero many people lost respect for him. Now Oscar Psitorius was a hero for sure. Overcoming no feet to become a National hero or international hero, only to fall from grace for killing his girlfriend. Take Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi. Go figure how we could lose respect for him?  Well the list goes on and on. Lot of people out there doing bad stuff. Falling from hero status to a lowly schmo.

How does that affect us personally, emotionally? Not sure if hero worshipping a celebrity, sports figure, poltician, scientist, ect., can damage us? But maybe it can; if we are emotionally invested in those heroes.

For me its the lose of respect for our local or our personal heroes; this is what hurts the most.  The ones we feel are our guidance, our Teachers, our friends, that can cause the most pain. Why do we feel pain when we lose respect for someone?

Me, I think its because we think of them as all that we imagine a hero to be. Be good kind strong, of having integrity. So when they do something that is normal, like behaving petty or jealous or vindictive, then we are hurt. I just lost respect for someone I hold in high regard. That person was my friend, my Teacher and a trusted confidant.  Its weird how that goes, losing respect. You become angry. But the anger is not based  on what they did but what they lost in our eyes. I guess its not fair to put them on a higher plane than yourself and other people. We do that with people, with heroes. We put them as being better. So when they fail. They break our image of what they stood for. And that is the shame. It is not that they are any lower than us, but it is because they are the same. They make the same mistakes. They can be hateful, stupid and petty as us. That is their crime. And it is our as well because it is not their fault we made them our heroes.

So that is going to happen. We will indeed lose respect now and then for our heroes.

The great news is - we can always find new heroes.

Russell Means ~ An American Hero Remembered

"The one thing I've always maintained is that I'm an American Indian. I'm not politically correct. Everyone who's born in the Western Hemisphere is a Native American. We are all Native Americans."

P.S. I never really liked Pierre Trudeau. (Justin's Dad and former Prime Minister of Canada) He was a true bastard.


Cherokee Fiddle, cause Good Whiskey Never Let Him Lose His Place

 Urban Cowboy is a 1980 movie with a soundtrack steeped in western songs that had great Redneck lines like, "single bars and good time ...