9:00 PM Comment0 Comments

Alright, let's get serious for a second. You've seen the toilet paper ads. They've been up for at the very least a year by now filling us with dread about leaving little white pieces on our backsides.

Now, I understand that some couples like to play around the nether-regions of the human body, and it's altogether likely that the average couple will occasionally at least accidentally encounter the white-piece-covered sphincter in question. Still, I don't think this warrants an entire long-winded advertising campaign praising the fact that a particular kind of toilet paper doesn't stick to your behind.

Even if the above were reason enough for this ridiculousness, the campaign doesn't seem to appeal to adults, with the latest having a mother(bear) inspect her son (of at least school age) for little white pieces before he goes out to play. AH! I've got it! All along they were advertising to the fringe market of nudist colonies, who are apparently huge buyers of hygiene products.

Anyway, all kidding aside, it's kind of odd how effective this campaign must be to still be torturing me daily with it's absurdity. I always thought that most people's buttholes would be out of sight and out of mind as soon as they stood up from the porcelain. It seems as though some folks, with their reader's digest and slightly heated cushiony toilet seats have all-together too much time to worry about the perfection of a part of their body few will ever see.

Thank you for indulging me, this has been bothering me as long as these ads have been on the air.

2:25 PM Comment0 Comments

For the cynic who seeks change, the best thing you can do is try to stay positive. Do not mistake apathy for antipathy because in reality no one is on the other side of the fight against hunger, poverty and injustice. Just do your best to be the best example you can be.

Very few people respond to hostility. To scream at others in order to guilt them and create fear about social justice is futile. These militant styles pioneered by long-dead revolutionaries have no place in a modern setting. Effectively, these techniques alienate people who would otherwise be sympathetic to the cause creating no net change. They fill people with worry and hopelessness which they ultimately direct, or misdirect, as hatred toward the messenger instead of the issue.

This is why I have been making an effort to reframe the way I tackle world issues, especially around other people. While I occasionally maintain feelings of hostility towards the 'apathetic', social change cannot come from hostility. It must come from understanding and we should treat each other with respect and courtesy. Most importantly, we must keep a positive attitude, without it, where is our hope for success?

Critical analysis of the world around us, or more simply put 'cynicism', and optimism are not mutually exclusive, either. The difference between pessimistic cynicism, and optimistic cynicism is that the latter can actually produce positive social change. The world to come must be modelled on hope for a better future, not fear of a worse one.

Stay positive but don't give up the fight.

4:15 PM Comment0 Comments

With this week's election results now firmly in the minds of Canadians we've begun the obligatory period of discussion about the consequences. It seems the only thing we can agree on is that there has been a big change in the Canadian political landscape. Some people are pointing to the "americanization" of Canadian politics as the main driver of this change. This idea assumes that some outside force has imposed American standards of politics on Canadians; however, the true source of this change is much less dubious and potentially more grim. This election has emphasized the americanization of the Canadian people, not of our politics. Specifically, it marks the americanization of Canada's elders revealing a vast and problematic generational split between our youth and our seniors.

As we move through 4 years of conservative majority, we can expect that Canada will come to look more conservative. We can expect that our politics will come to look more American. Consecutive conservative majorities may well lead to a diminished role for the federal government in Canadians' day-to-day lives, which is exactly what our seniors voted for but exactly what youth opposed. What is really going on here is a generational split. En masse baby-boomers voted for a government who would guarantee their pensions but otherwise stay out of their lives. They don't need national childcare, they don't need job security and they don't need interest-rate caps. Seniors seem to just want to be left alone. On the other side, we have a smaller population of youth who are very concerned and opinionated. They have different concerns. Unfortunately, they are not politically active because this long-standing generational split has caused an alienation which is not about to go anywhere.

Throughout consecutive conservative majorities we may see a growing conflict between these two groups, the baby-boomers and youth. As the baby-boomers grow older what we will see is the growth of a populist gerontocracy. As the issues which matter to youth go unheard our country will suffer fundamentally. Some people foolishly say that the youth must now care for the old with our aging population when really we must all care for each other. How can our seniors receive treatment for health problems if students can't go to medical school? How can people afford to take care of sick relatives if they can't afford child-care? Populist appeals to an aging population and a blatant disregard for the needs of Canada's young citizens will end in disaster for all Canadians.

That's not to say elderly voters don't care about youth and youth don't care about the elderly, (youth voted en masse for parties who expressed a strong desire to stimulate our health care system, which should be of primary concern to our aging population but not so much to the healthy youth). Unfortunately, in many cases the issues which affect each group are easily forgotten by the other. What we need is for Canadian's to rise up, not to overthrow a regime, but to make that regime know what our needs are, that regime needs to listen to all of us. It can't be either/or, seniors concerned for their children and grandchildrens future, as well as youth concerned with the health of their grandparents and parents must all make their voices heard to close this generational gap once and for all.

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