Deb and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary last week. This means that equal marriage has been a reality in Canada for almost a decade. Honestly, I did not think we would see equal marriage a reality in my lifetime, if ever. It is amazing how quickly things can change politically.

What have been slow to change, however, are reflections of this reality in pop culture. This is now starting to change – at least in Canada. I recently watched an episode of Undercover Boss Canada[1] wherein a female employee was featured. They referenced her female partner as her wife. While I have grown accustomed to hearing this over the past 9 years, I still perk up and pay attention when that word is used in reference to same-sex couples. At first, the word ‘wife’, really bothered me. It made me think of notions of heterosexual marriage where the woman would slave away for the betterment of her family. Now, I am increasingly becoming more comfortable with the word even in reference to my own relationship.

The other show was Dragon’s Den. They introduced two women as a couple who had been married for 6 years and no one batted an eye. Ultimately, this is how it should be. A same-sex marriage should be treated the same as any other marriage – that is a marriage of two people who love each other.

Representations in pop culture are imperative. We must see ourselves reflected in our culture if we are to feel accepted. I suspect that as equal marriage becomes more of a reality in the US, we will see more positive representations. This will go a long way towards reducing the stigma attached to being lesbian or gay. This will have huge positive effects for youth. If you are gay or lesbian, imagine being able to see someone like Ellen or hearing the song Same Love? What if you could tune into a popular show and see a married same-sex couple who was the same as the other couples, facing the same life issues as their parents. Here is the crux of what it means to be different: you don’t have any role models. As a young teenager, I completely related to music made by men singing about women. I could sing along and dream and not have to worry about my secret getting out. Now, how would I have felt if Little House on the Prairie had a same-sex couple represented – it would have been huge. I may not have felt so isolated.

As time goes by, I look forward to seeing how equal marriage is further expressed within our dominant culture.

[1] No commentary on my TV choices please!!!

TV from the Swamp – the ‘I am trying to distract myself from current events’ edition

I am a TV addict – it relaxes me along with crocheting. Here are some of the top shows enjoyed at The Swamp:

  1. The Good Wife – if you have not checked this show out with Juliana Margulies you are really missing something great. The acting and the storylines are fabulous. It is now in its 4th season and the show continues its excellence. Even if you hate lawyers you should watch it for Archie Panjabi who plays Kalinda. Ahh, Kalinda!!
  2. Burn Notice – this show got me through the summer; I watched all 5 seasons that have been released. The show is about a ‘burned’ spy, Michael Westen, who is basically out in the cold. He can’t travel, he has no access to his money or credit and no job history.  He has a dysfunctional family including his mother, played by Sharon Gless. He takes on jobs for people with problems where he uses his skills to fix things. It took a bit for me to get into this show but by season 3 I was hooked. The best part of Burn Notice is Fiona and her ‘can we shoot them’ line.
  3. Parenthood – I watched the first episode of this show when it started and didn’t like it for some reason. Now, I think it is one of the best ensemble shows on TV. It can be a bit sappy at times but the rest of the content makes up for it. The character development is fabulous. They present current issues in an authentic manner and with compassion. The development of one of the children: Max has been quite astounding. Max has Asperger’s and they do not sugar coat it or have him be suddenly ok one day. Well done.
  4. Scandal – this show was a mid-season replacement last spring. It is another Shonda Rhimes show and it is good. It does feature that rapid-fire dialogue that she is known for. This show is about a lawyer who fixes things for her clients. She also had an affair with the POTUS and they continue to be drawn to each other.
  5. Homeland – this show is amazing! Clare Danes and Mandy Patinkin are fabulous. The content is very timely and it poses many dilemmas. How do you balance national security without killing people in other countries? It explores issues of mental illness, subterfuge, Islam and politics. It won a lot of Emmys for a reason.
  6. Dexter – has been one of my favourite shows for a very long time. Last season it started to lose its way with the ‘tableau’ season that was a big yawn. The ending of that season was anything but boring with Deb finally learning about Dexter. This season is showing promise for sure!
  7. Breaking Bad – hands down this is one of the best shows on TV. The acting and story development are outstanding. The show does a really good job of exploring how people can become corrupt and do things they would not normally do.
  8. In Plain Sight – this show is about 2 US Marshalls who work in the Witness Protection Program in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It has some of the best sarcastic dialogue on TV. While not terribly deep or meaningful, this show is good entertainment.
  9. Nurse Jackie – we love this show! Edie Falco is at her best as a drug-addicted nurse. The supporting cast is equally fabulous.

10. Blue Bloods – this is the show I love to mock. Deb would almost always rather watch a police procedural than anything else. We burned our way through two seasons of Blue Bloods this summer. Almost all of the episodes can be summed up as follows:

–       a crime is committed somewhere in New York City.

–       Danny Reagan, who seems to be the only detective in the city, catches the case regardless of the type of case: rape, murder, robbery, fraud etc.

–       Danny loses his shit as he bumps up against frustrations in solving the case.

–       Erin Reagan, who is apparently the only prosecutor in New York and Danny’s sister, is assigned the case.

–       A fight ensues between Danny and Erin as Danny doesn’t always do things by the book and Erin is very by the book.

–       There will be some type of ethical conflict involving Frank Reagan, the Police Commissioner and father to Danny and Erin.

–       Frank will hold on dearly to his ethics and morals and do the right thing.

–       In this season, Danny’s wife Linda has gone back to work as a nurse in the ER of a hospital. She will now be the only nurse and will treat all of Danny’s victims.

–       The episode will end with a family dinner after church on Sunday where one of the children will ask a question. Last week for example, one of the kids asked what would be done about a man who attacked a woman and Jamie (another son who is also a cop) basically stated that Danny would arrest the man, Erin would prosecute them and Linda would help make them all better (gag!).

–       There will also be some sort of pithy piece of advice thrown out by Danny’s grandfather who also used to be the Police Commissioner. This show does not do subtle in anyway!


Do you watch any of these shows?

Stephen Harper is Killing Canada – the ‘we only serve some Canadians’ edition

It seems like the Harpercons are on fire recently. Hot on the heels of the demise of Motion 312[1] we have Rob Anders infering that all transwomen are pedophiles. Oh and then the lovely gem from our Minister of Non-Public Safety cancelling all the contracts for non-Christian religious personnel in Canada’s prisons. Yup, if you are white, cisgendered, straight and Christian you will love Harper’s Canada.

Even though Harper pledged that he was not interested in re-opening the abortion debate in Canada, we have a second motion concerning abortion in 2012. Now, either Harper has lost control of his caucus or he is giving these motions his blessing. He knew he would never get his majority if he appeared like a whack-job who wanted to role back reproductive rights to the 1960s. Instead I suspect he mollified his Christian socially backward MPs by telling them they would deal with it one he got his majority. He is trying to do through the backdoor what he couldn’t do through the front door. We need to tell him to shut the fucking door – that it is over and decided and we will not stand idly by while he tries to criminalize control over our bodies. We also cannot let the Liberal Party of Canada off the hook either. They allowed a free vote on this issue rather than enforcing party discipline. Newly minted leadership candidate, Justin Trudeau, tweeted how proud he was of his party’s ‘enlightened’ decision. Someone had better school Justin quickly on women’s issues! The NDP are to be commended, even with their large Quebec, some Catholic for sure, they all voted against the motion. Oh, and last time I checked, it is usually female fetuses aborted in favour of sons. I wonder who is really making that decision?

Now on to the clusterfuck that is Rob Anders. In 1990, I sat behind him and one of his minions in Poli Sci 201 at the University of Calgary. They were not big fans of Professor Dickerson. They were rude and obnoxious. Then there was the incident where threats were posted on the door of the GLASS (Gay, Lesbian Association for Staff and Students) office in Mac Hall. So it is not surprising that Mr. Anders still does not understand anything outside of his sphere of straight[2], white privilege. A private member’s bill, Bill C279, which seeks to amend to amend Canada’s Human Rights Act to include gender identity. It would also add gender identity and gender expression as grounds as areas where hate crime charges could be pursued. Anders has now dubbed this the ‘bathroom bill’ and states that giving men (which transwomen are not) access to women’s bathroom facilities puts children in danger. Anders is an expert at pandering to the lowest common denominator. I have news for Mr. Anders: almost all pedophiles are straight men.

Even worse, Anders also accused current NDP leader Thomas Mulcair of hastening Jack Layton’s death. One doesn’t even know where to begin and nor should we. Harper needs to kick this idiot from caucus. He has no business representing any Canadians. Even when the riding Association tried to replace him as their candidate through a nomination vote, the party intervened and Anders was the Conservative candidate. I am beginning to think that he has something on Stephen Harper. At least Olivia Chow, ever the calm, professional, chose to not react. Good for her.

Next up we have Vic Toews who seems to have decided that all inmates in Canadian federal prisons are Christian. Citing the fact that the military uses non-denominational chaplains, he argues if it is good enough for the military then it is good enough for Corrections Canada. A one-size fits all approach to spirituality, and to be sure it is Christian, gave us things like residential schools. We have all seen how devastated our First Nations people are as a result of losing their culture, language and religion. In fact, great strides have been made with First Nations inmates through elders reintroducing these very important cultural touchstones. First Nations are overrepresented in Canadian prisons, however they are not the only other religious groups represented in Canada’s prison population. What are the Jews, Hindus, and Muslims supposed to do for spiritual guidance? And, if there is ever a time someone needs the support of their religion, it is when they are in prison.

In Harper’s Canada, life is good as long as you can check off certain boxes. If you are a person of colour, a woman, gender-variant, non-Christian, gay or lesbian, you are a second-class citizen. You will not be afforded basic human rights and you will be mocked viciously should you dare to stand up and complain. I fear for my Canada under this regime.

Stephen Harper is Killing Canada: Part One

[1] Although it now has a cousin – a motion to criminalize sex-selective abortion.

[2] Presumably although 40-something unmarried…