Opinionated Lesbian : Mediahttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/category/17.aspxMediaen-USCommunityServer 1.1 (Build: the junkies: Media madnesshttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/06/22/4831.aspxThu, 22 Jun 2006 19:38:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4831eleanor7http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4831.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4831The Canadian Senate's <a href="http://www.parl.gc.ca/39/1/parlbus/commbus/senate/Com-e/TRAN-E/rep-e/repfinjun06vol2-e.htm#TABLE_OF_CONTENTS" target="_blank">"Final Report on the Canadian News Media"</a> is out. I'd call it a heckuva doorstopper, but that's sooo old technology. It's a memory hogger. (See my past report on the committee <a href="http://www.opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2005/02/15/257.aspx" target="_blank">here.)</a><br><br> There's not a single mention of the queer press in Canada in there. I haven't finished reading it (that'll take hours), but searches for "queer," "gay," "lesbian" and "GL" turned up nuthin'. GLBT publishers ignored this commission at their peril. You're part of the milieu, and hiding your head in the sand won't work. (And the fact that out senators <a href="http://www.parl.gc.ca/common/senmemb/senate/isenator_det.asp?senator_id=165&sortord=&Language=E&M=M" target="_blank">Laurier L. LaPierre</a> and <a href="http://www.parl.gc.ca/common/senmemb/senate/isenator_det.asp?senator_id=2775&sortord=N&Language=E&M=M" target="_blank">Nancy Ruth</a> helped out for the hearings isn't enough. Neither has a foot in the queer community press.)<br><br> "Blog" is mentioned once, by a reporter who told the commissioners: "The information on the Internet may not always be just the unreliable, opinionated bloggers. I think that, increasingly, people might be turning to more mainstream or established websites like the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/" target="_blank">New York Times.</a> Personally, I almost never watch television any more because it is so slow to sit through a newscast when I can go to the <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/" target="_blank">CBC</a> or the <a href="http://www.ctv.ca/" target="_blank">CTV</a> website and find all the stories on the line-up and just scan them within a few minutes."<br><br> Bloggers also ignored this commission at their own risk.<br><br> Oh wait. That's me. <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4831" width="1" height="1">Gayness sells outhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/06/08/4668.aspxThu, 08 Jun 2006 21:52:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4668eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4668.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4668Congrats to Toronto's Rob Sands, who <a href="http://www.365gay.com/Newscon06/06/060806announcement.htm" target="_blank">has sold</a> his tiny Canadian business, the <a href="http://www.365gay.com/" target="_blank">365gay.com</a> online news service, to the bigshots of the mainstream media monster <a href="http://www.viacom.com/" target="_blank">Viacom,</a> via its subsidiary, the queer American <a href="http://www.logoonline.com/" target="_blank">Logo TV</a> network.<br><br> Rob founded the site in 2000 and worked like a crazy man. I once had coffee in his home-slash-office and watched him methodically chain smoke and go online multiple times while we chatted. (He also, for a time, bought a biweekly column from me that I wrote for very little money, out of a belief in the import of the gay media.)<br><br> So again, congrats to Rob. As for the rest of us media consumers, well, I'm worried. I hope the Yanks won't dump 365gay.com's Canadian coverage, an important resource for us Canucks. Much of the copy came from the wires, certainly, but Rob dug it up and posted it immediately, providing an invaluable service.<br><br> Also sold to Logo: the terribly smart and fun <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/About/logo-letter.html" target="_blank">AfterEllen</a> and <a href="http://www.afterelton.com/about/logo-letter.html" target="_blank">AfterElton.</a><br><br> The continuing loss of independence of the North American queer media brings with it some good -- more resources, for example -- and lots of potential bad. We shall see.<img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4668" width="1" height="1">What? You mean just say it? Out loud? Well, I never...http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/06/02/4620.aspxFri, 02 Jun 2006 17:34:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4620eleanor3http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4620.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4620Ah, euphemisms and snark. There was a time when reporters were <a href="http://www.opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/25/4544.aspx" target="_blank">happy to be snide.</a> Nowadays, it seems it's just irrelevant to mention someone's homo private life.<br><br> And so we have film writer <a href="http://www.topten.ca/content/thepanel/johnson.html" target="_blank">Brian D. Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.macleans.ca" target="_blank">Maclean's</a> mag mentioning <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/programguide/program/index.jsp?program=Definitely+Not+The+Opera" target="_blank">CBC radio</a> host <a href="http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/Artists/L/Lee_Sookyin/" target="_blank">Sook-Yin Lee's</a> ex boyfriend in a piece (not yet online) on Lee's <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367027/" target="_blank">new flick</a> and <a href="http://www.festival-cannes.fr/" target="_blank">Cannes</a> appearance.<br><br> (Movie gossip first: the CBC <a href="http://www.macleans.ca/culture/article.jsp?content=20040126_73994_73994" target="_blank">threatened to fire Lee</a> in '03 if she took the acting job, given that Lee "performs graphic, non-simulated sex on screen." Er -- "non- simulated." Gotta love bad writing. The CBC backed down after the likes of <a href="http://www.yoko-ono.com/" target="_blank">Yoko Ono</a> and <a href="http://www.salon.com/people/bc/1999/10/19/coppola/" target="_blank">Francis Ford Coppola</a> stuck their noses in. Interestingly, the enviro-god and host of the MotherCorp TV show <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/programguide/program/index.jsp?program=The+Nature+of+Things" target="_blank">"The Nature Of Things"</a>, <a href="http://www.davidsuzuki.org/" target="_blank">David Suzuki,</a> in a Montreal speech that I attended last week, said the CBC threatened to can him a few years ago if he got arrested in a <a href="http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-73-1238-6854/politics_economy/aboriginal_treaty_rights/clip4" target="_blank">Haida blockade</a> to save a chunk of B.C. forest. So a worried Suzuki skipped the demo; his aged dad went instead, hoping the family name would garner attention. Gotta love the national public broadcaster.)<br><br> Back to Sook-Yin Lee. Johnson writes: "What Lee found most 'nerve-wracking' about it all is that she had a boyfriend at the time, a cinematographer. But she was more anxious about it than he was. 'He said, "go make some good art." I'm not with him anymore. I was dumped the same week my cat died.'"<br><br> And later in the screed, the cutesy but meaningless phrases: "Lee had declined to attend the <a href="http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/marieantoinette/index.html" target="_blank">"Marie Antoinette"</a> bash. She wanted to hang with her <a href="http://www.macleans.ca/culture/news/shownews.jsp?content=e052027A" target="_blank">Shortbus</a> crew at the 'Queer Lounge' party just down the beach, an informal crush with a cash bar." Just hanging with the hipster pervs, eh?<br><br> More like, checking in with her peeps. Lee was on the cover of <a href="http://archives.xtra.ca/Story.aspx?s=3135268" target="_blank">Xtra</a> a few years ago as an out and proud bisexual (though that cover story's not online, sadly).<br><br> Ya know, this stuff matters. It should be upfront, just like the opposite-sex dating.<br><br> Grrrrrr-rump. At least we got some discussion of female sexuality.<br><br> In the olden days (meaning for anyone older than me - heh heh), if you knew the lingo, you got the info you needed. "Lifelong bachelor," eh! That was a fave in the dailies. We don't see that kind of code anymore. Now it's less than nuthin'. In the mainstream, anyway. Coverage is all very proper (unless it's about attacking Prime Minister Stephen Harper <a href="http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060524/harper_media_060524/20060524?hub=TopStories" target="_blank">over media access,</a> in which case the reporters' ego-driven bitterness goes into overdrive. Not that the rest of us care.)<br><br> At least there are alternatives to the proper media. The <a href="http://www.rrj.ca/online/588/" target="_blank">recently resuscitated</a> (and scurrilous) Ottawa-based <a href="http://www.efrank.ca/home.html" target="_blank">Frank Magazine</a> was and is the queen of euphemisms. Like "avid pianist." The "coruscating" Frank publisher <a href="http://www.ideacityonline.com/2001presenters/michael_bate.html" target="_blank">Michael Bate</a> (he says he likes to send readers to the dictionary -- only to then have them discover they can't sue for being called "brilliant") is unable to recall how "avid pianist" came about in his pages. It's onomatopoeic, he says, "and a good alternative to 'gay.'" Help the lezzie out: there's a penis gag in there somewhere....?<br><br> "Avid pianist" first appeared in Frank some 15 years ago, to describe newly ascended <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/" target="_blank">Globe and Mail</a> editor <a href="http://www.rom.on.ca/news/releases/public.php?mediakey=hdo6wz3slu" target="_blank">William Thorsell,</a> amid suggestions that his new publisher boss didn't know.<br><br> Says Bate: "At the time people were outraged that we were outing him. But Thorsell himself wasn't hiding the fact." If so, no one in the mainstream seems to have asked Thorsell, cuz it wasn't in the papers. Did everyone assume silence was best?<br><br> Mind you, Thorsell didn't make it into the anti-outing <a href="http://www.xtra.ca" target="_blank">Xtra</a> newspaper in those days, either. I don't recall specifics, but I expect he never returned my call, though he was well-known in the community. Sort of like Canadian cabinet minister <a href="http://www.johnbaird.com/" target="_blank">John Baird</a> these days -- seen in gay bars dancing the night away, but never to be publicly identified as queer in the papers. Hey, silence is best! Gives people complete freedom to do whatever, in public, without consequences.<br><br> Of course, Frank is all about the consequences of getting the gossip out. But once all the insiders know, it's no fun anymore. "We used to have a [regular] Who's Gay cover. Now we should have a Who Isn't Gay cover," sez Bate. Nowadays, Frank's phrases of choice are "confirmed --" or "avid heterosexualist." So I guess Frank's days of queer gossip are over, too. It's the heteros who make the news.<br><br> But at least in Frank the queer shout-out happened. In the mainstream, first came snideness, then came earnest acceptance, then came sssshhhhhhhhh! Weird, eh?<br><br> Bate isn't sure why the mainstream doesn't seem to report so much on the "who's gay" thing -- Bate says it's not like anyone can sue for that sort of accusation anymore, though he adds that Tory political strategist <a href="http://www.internationallawoffice.com/directory/Biography.aspx?r=1068959" target="_blank">Guy Giorno</a> once threatened him with legal action over a suggestion of same-sex skin-flute tooting.<br><br> Bate's probably right on the legal aspect. A 1994 issue of <a href="http://www.fusemagazine.org/" target="_blank">Fuse magazine</a> recalls a old English decision from 1942, from whence our own jurisprudence comes: "It is easy enough to dredge up historical cases where allegations of lesbianism have been held to be defamatory. For instance," in something called Kerr vs. Kennedy, the judge "asserted that an accusation of 'unnatural relations with other women' was even more abhorrent than an imputation of adultery or fornication. But, as the antiquated language of this case suggests, our courts are always alive to changes in community standards and have insisted that we must consider 'the temper of the times' in determining whether the statement is likely to be taken as defamatory by 'right-thinking people.'" One "leading Canadian text on the law of defamation [notes that] with the dramatic changes in attitudes regarding homosexuality during the past decade, it is difficult to envision any proliferation of decisions in favour of [that judge's 1942] view."<br><br> Which brings me to Frank's lesbo insinuations. They're dull dull dull. Boys get piano talk. We get tuna, fish, sushi, munching carpets. Booooooooring. Surely we deserve some better euphemisms, you <i>bastards!</i><br><br> Uhm, there's more than just the gay stuff, of course. Like Frank's "over-refreshed" and "moist and garrulous." The dailies used to be full of "florid" politicians, and the "tired and emotional." Even Wikipedia has an <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tired_and_emotional" target="_blank">entry on that one:</a> "'Tired and emotional' is a euphemism for 'drunk.' It was coined by the British satirical magazine Private Eye in 1967 in reference to Labour Cabinet minister George Brown, but is now used as a stock phrase; the law of libel makes it unwise ever to directly refer to someone as drunk. Its use has extended well beyond the magazine."<br><br> Bate says one description that he's quite pleased about is the Frank-generated nickname for <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/black_conrad/" target="_blank">Lord Black of Crossharbour:</a> "Tubby." "That one," says Bate, "really stuck." I've even seen it used tongue-in-cheek in the mainstream media. If only... if only queer sexual orientation stuck, too. <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4620" width="1" height="1">B'bye QTNhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/26/4554.aspxFri, 26 May 2006 14:18:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4554eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4554.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4554Am just darned busy right now, thus -- yesterday's nooze, today! Over and out: The United States is <a href="http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release_html_b1?release_id=131365" target="_blank">now minus</a> one <a href="http://qtelevision.com/" target="_blank">queer broadcasting network.</a><br><br> Over here, still no call-back from <a href="http://www.opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/11/4473.aspx" target="_blank">OUTtv's Bill Craig</a> on how things are going in the Snowbound North. <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4554" width="1" height="1">No fig leaf -- maplehttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/19/4523.aspxFri, 19 May 2006 18:32:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4523eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4523.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4523Enviro-god David Suzuki, host of TV's <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/" target="_blank">"The Nature of Things,"</a> first posed <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/greatest/top_ten/nominee/suzuki-david-know.html" target="_blank">nude in 1999.</a> Now 70 years old, he's done <a href="http://www.recorder.ca/cp/Entertainment/060519/e051941A.html" target="_blank">it again.</a><br><br> That is all.<img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4523" width="1" height="1">You laugh, I complainhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/17/4504.aspxWed, 17 May 2006 14:58:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4504eleanor2http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4504.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4504....and then then there are the people who, out of chagrin, remove what others consider offensive.<br><br> <a href="http://www.straightgoods.ca/" target="_blank">Straight Goods</a> isn't some sort of hetero power thing, it's a leftie Internet publication (I receive its mailouts, though, shamefully, I've never subscribed monetarily). There's always a joke or two -- to prove that politics isn't humourless, I suppose. Though the yucks <a href="http://www.straightgoods.ca/ViewFeature6.cfm?REF=327" target="_blank">are inevitably painful.</a><br><br> From today's e-blast: "Last week, Straight Goods inadvertently offended some of our readers with a joke about transsexuality. We apologized and took the joke down. Since apparently there's quite a lot we don't know about trans-life, we went out and found a comprehensive Canadian website with tons of information. <a href="http://www.fsw.ucalgary.ca/ramsay/gay-lesbian-bisexual/3a-transgender-resources.htm" target="_blank">Here</a> is an abundance of resources on Transsexual, Transvestite, Transgender and Intersexuality." (Link added to the body of the quote.)<br><br> I don't suppose anyone has a copy of that gag?<img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4504" width="1" height="1">Paper chasehttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/16/4497.aspxTue, 16 May 2006 20:15:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4497eleanor1http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4497.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4497On April 13, the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan also did the right thing. A three-judge panel unanimously <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/sask/story/ad-court060413.html" target="_blank">told a group of gay activists</a> that a newspaper ad expressing dislike for homo sex was legal. But sadly, we yet again have <a href="" target="_blank">a decision</a> that allows free speech only in the very specific context of a different decade.<br><br> But first, the 411: A git named <a href="http://www.christianlegalfellowship.org/Interventions/hugh_owens.htm" target="_blank">Hugh Owens</a> bought an ad in the June 30, 1997 <a href="http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/index.html" target="_blank">Saskatoon StarPhoenix,</a> in direct response to all the positive Pride stuff he was being forced to see and read that same month. Owens' ad featured references to various homos-are-bad Bible passages, and two male stick figures holding hands, with a line through them (for "no gays").<br><br> Is this hate? Is this hate illegal? Is it acceptable hate because of its religious basis?<br><br> A human rights panel, and then a Saskatchewan court, both declared the ad to be illegal. Owens was ordered to pay $1,500 to each of the three (presumably) queer complainants.<br><br> But the appeals judges decided otherwise last month.<br><br> From the ruling (written by Justice Bob Richards): "Part of the context which must inform the meaning of Mr. Owens' advertisement is the long history of discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-identified people in this country and elsewhere.... At the same time, it is significant that the advertisement in issue here was published in 1997 and, thus, in the middle of an ongoing national debate about how Canadian legal and constitutional regimes should or should not accommodate sexual identities." "Sexual orientation" was added to The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code four years earlier. And two years before the ad, the Supreme Court of Canada had agreed on "sexual orientation," too.<br><br> "Parliament would not pass legislation to make government programs and benefits available on an equal basis to gay and lesbian couples until three years after the advertisement appeared." And same-sex marriage was nowhere. "[I]t is important to consider Mr. Owens' advertisement in the context of the time and circumstances in which it was published. That environment featured an active debate and discussion about the place of sexual identity in Canadian society. Indeed, the advertisement at issue here was published in connection with gay pride week – an event promoted by the gay community as a celebration of diversity and used in part as a platform for the advancement of gay rights. Seen in this broader context, Mr. Owens' advertisement tends to take on the character of a position advanced in a continuing public policy debate rather than the character of a message of hatred or ill will."<br><br> Ironically, under this logic, the more secure gay men and lesbians become in Canadian society, the more easy it will be for us to cope with hatred, the less legally acceptable it will be to diss homos.<br><br> And, while gays considered that the Pride timing was particularly offensive, the justices see this as making the message particularly relevant. It's a fascinating exercise, to see the world from another viewpoint.<br><br> The ad is "jarring," yes. But does it "involve extreme feelings and strong emotions of detestation, calumny and vilification"? Cuz that's what the law requires.<br><br> "For his part, Mr. Owens says the advertisement simply means 'God says no to the behaviour of homosexuality' and, as a result, he submits there was no violation."<br><br> The gay complainants "expressed the anger, hurt and frustration caused to them by the message in the advertisement. [One man] believed the advertisement gave licence to people who wanted to discriminate against gay men and a licence to people who were inclined to harass or assault gay men. [Another] said the overall message he received from the ad was that 'God instructs us that intimacy between two people of the same gender is inappropriate or some type of religious crime and those who engage in such acts should be put to death.'"<br><br> Certainly Owens believes gay sex is a sin. The ad directs readers to the Bible: <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=52&chapter=1&version=31" target="_blank">Romans 1:26</a> (which mentions carpet munchers, I'm pleased to say -- why should the boys get all the attention?), <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=3&chapter=18&version=31" target="_blank">Leviticus 18:22</a>, <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=3&chapter=20&version=31" target="_blank">Leviticus 20:13</a>, and <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=53&chapter=6&version=31" target="_blank">1 Corinthians 6:9-10,</a> all of them stating that homosexualists are very naughty, indeed. (Most notable is the grand old cliché of the Holy Book: "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death.")<br><br> So. Is a listing of Biblical passages considered hate speech? The Good Book is actually full of messages, many of them contradictory, from kill-the-homos to love-thy-neighbour. In fact, notes the ruling, "love, tolerance and forgiveness" are its key concepts.<br><br> The judge actually works up a way of ensuring that the Bible is not considered hate propaganda: "[The] objective reader of Mr. Owens’ advertisement would see it in the context of the other concepts popularly understood as flowing from the Bible.... A second point concerning the Bible passages cited by Mr. Owens is that an objective observer would understand that their meaning and relevance for contemporary society can and would be assessed in a variety of ways." For example, gay sex is like adultery -- a sin, but... whatever, eh.<br><br> "The fact that the passages referred to in the advertisement can be seen in such a variety of ways makes them significantly different than the hypothetical present day message referred to above, i.e. a message that 'Homosexuals should be killed.'"<br><br> Next, the hand-holding stickmen with the line through them. "They are not," writes the justice, "depicted in a way which suggests undesirable characteristics such as dangerousness, untrustworthiness, lack of cleanliness, dishonesty or deceit. They are presented in a neutral and straightforward fashion."<br><br> "Accordingly, in my view, the [Human Rights] Board of Inquiry properly concluded that the not permitted symbol 'may itself not communicate hatred.' [...]<br><br> "Indeed, the stickmen element of the advertisement can be seen as understating the literal meaning of the most extreme parts of the Bible text in that it suggests certain kinds of activity are not allowed rather than suggesting that gay men should be killed."<br><br> So, the ad is not hate speech. At least, it wasn't back then, in '97. Today? I guess someone would need to file a human rights complaint, then fight through the courts for a few years, to find out. <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4497" width="1" height="1">&quot;Fag&quot; -- come on, say it with mehttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/16/4496.aspxTue, 16 May 2006 18:13:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4496eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4496.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4496"Fag" is okay on TV! Sometimes.<br><br> Yes, the <a href="http://www.Cbsc.ca/" target="_blank">Canadian Broadcast Standards Council</a> -- the busy body industry umbrella group that exists in order to deflect complaints filed to (and criticism placed by) the federal regulator that is the <a href="http://www.crtc.gc.ca/" target="_blank">CRTC</a> -- has ruled that words must be understood in context.<br><br> This <a href="http://www.Cbsc.ca/english/decisions/decisions/2006/060419.htm" target="_blank">older decision</a> -- dating from January 20 (and brought to my attention <a href="http://www.xtra.ca/public/viewstory.aspx?SessionId=3e9bbfdd-f5a2-4896-97a2-9158e1a51e30&AFF_TYPE=1&STORY_ID=1600&PUB_TEMPLATE_ID=1" target="_blank">here)</a> -- is about the use of the word "fag" on <a href="http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/" target="_blank">The Comedy Network</a> at 8:30 at night.<br><br> The show was <a href="http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/servlet/an/comedy/2/20051011/TCN_Show_ComedyNow/?hub=ComedyAllPrograms" target="_blank">Comedy Now,</a> a stand-up showcase that this time featured <a href="http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/2001-03-08/stage_comedyfeature.html" target="_blank">Gord Disley.</a> And here's buddy's shtick (as transcribed in the ruling):<br><br> "So Pride Day's coming up, huh? I'm not a fag myself; if I was, I'd tell ya. I can't, so I won't.<br><br> "I mean, really, homophobia in the year 2000 looks particularly stupid, doesn’t it? 'Cause it's the year 2000. And we're all in the same freaking boat, so just get over it. This is what I tell people that I come across that I don't want to bother with, who are homophobic."<br><br> There's still more "fag" talk: "Fags renovate like a [muted phrase: "son of a bitch"]. Me, I'm not good with tools. I mean, renovating for me is putting a candle in a bottle, you know. Am I in the right apartment? Homosexual men have projects around the house. You hand a fag a square foot and say "make it attractive", no problem. I mean I know men with bachelor apartments and sliding doors. Like French doors. Window boxes, hardy cacti. Man, you walk into a house full of straight boys and suggest a project, you know what you get? 'Uhh, you m'ean like take the empties back? I've got some popsicle sticks; you can build a birdhouse. What?"<br><br> The Comedy Channel responded to a viewer complaint by stating that its programming "tends to be more risqué and controversial" than that in the mainstream. Or at least, they hope to goodness it is. Cuz why would anyone pay extra for Comedy Channel otherwise, for the same-old, same-old?<br><br> The defence reads: "In this piece... Mr. Disley begins by condemning homophobia. Mr. Disley uses his comedy to push socially accepted boundaries and deal with touchy subject matter. Although it is not always dealt with in a politically correct fashion, it is his style of humour."<br><br> Damn straight.<br><br> The final decision sides with The Comedy Network: "Much modern comedy has a discriminatory edge, taking advantage of the propensity of individuals to find humour in difference." And, quoting from a previous ruling, "It would be unreasonable to expect that the airwaves be pure, antiseptic and flawless. Society is not."<br><br> "The goal... is not to ensure purity on the airwaves; it is to protect against harmful speech.... In the matter at hand, the humour appeared to be aimed, if anywhere, at straight men, rather than gays, at the creatively-challenged rather than at the creatively adept."<br><br> Some argue that the word "fag" is always nasty (like the complainant, eh). Well, it is nasty. But are we to allow this word to control us? A straight guy who's trashing bigots on stage doesn't let it control him. That's got to be healthier than our reaction -- fear.<br><br> In the end, the broadcast council announced that the word was acceptable. Of course, adjudicators couldn't quite bring themselves to approve of a censorship-free television environment: "This is not to suggest that there might not be circumstances in which it might be presented in a sneering, derisive, nasty tone but that is not what the Panel considers the present usage to be. It is benign, light-hearted, distinctively tickling. The Panel finds no breach of the Human Rights Clause in any aspect of the broadcast under consideration."<br><br> I suppose this will have to do. <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4496" width="1" height="1">More is betterhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/16/4495.aspxTue, 16 May 2006 17:09:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4495eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4495.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4495Catching up on media nooze today. Tranna Star media columnist Antonia Zerbisias <a href="http://thestar.blogs.com/azerb/2006/05/the_ultraconser.html" target="_blank">blogged about</a> the need for Arabic news network <a href="http://english.aljazeera.net/HomePage" target="_blank">Al-Jazeera</a> to come to North America. Would Americans who hate Al-Jazeera "prefer to rip up the U.S. constitution and muzzle all the media -- or just the (non-American-controlled) media that originate from Arabic countries and might show a different perspective than the lapdog corporations stateside?"<br><br> Zerby writes: "Al-Jazeera International <a href="http://news.independent.co.uk/media/article484048.ece" target="_blank">is negotiating</a> cable and satellite distribution in the U.S. right now, and you can bet the same thing is going on in Canada. But odds are, the same forces that prevented the Arabic-language original from getting on our dial (legally) are already lobbying to ensure we don't see the English version.<br><br> "If you care about getting this channel on your dial, write your cable and satellite operator NOW." <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4495" width="1" height="1">How many eyeballs...http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/11/4473.aspxThu, 11 May 2006 17:28:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4473eleanor2http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4473.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4473...are fixed on OUTtv? Given the money woes, the answer is not enough. The cable network has managed to avoid declaring bankrutpcy, <a href="http://www.xtra.ca/public/viewstory.aspx?SessionId=3e9bbfdd-f5a2-4896-97a2-9158e1a51e30&AFF_TYPE=1&STORY_ID=1596&PUB_TEMPLATE_ID=1" target="_blank">it sez here.</a><br><br> I finally ditched a channel in favour of OUTtv, but gotta confess that I never watch it.<br><br> "At an April 18 meeting OUTtv's unsecured creditors voted in favour of the network's plan to pay off part of its debt. The plan will reduce the network's unsecured debt to about $400,000 from $2.7 million, says <a href="http://www.canadian-tv.com/forums/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=Programming&Number=207673&page=19&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=6" target="_blank">Bill Craig,</a> the majority shareholder and president of the company that runs both <a href="http://www.outtv.ca/" target="_blank">OUTtv</a> and <a href="http://www.pridevisiontv.com/" target="_blank">Hard On PrideVision,</a> its adult-content sibling network."<br><br> Geez. When porn don't pay, you're in serious doo-doo.<br><br> "'We were the first gay and lesbian TV network in the world,' says Craig, 'and now we have avoided becoming the world's first bankrupt gay TV network.'"<br><br> Craig -- who hasn't called me back -- needed creditors to okay the restructuring, and enough did to keep on keeping on. "The plan has the company paying most of the creditors 19 percent of the debt owed. Some of the creditors, including shareholders, agreed to forgive their debts in return for keeping equity in the company. Those creditors include <a href="http://www.xtra.ca/" target="_blank">Pink Triangle Press,</a> which publishes Xtra, and Craig himself, who was owed $340,000." Ah, the interconnectedness of indy queer media....<br><br> A judge still has to okay the scheme. And Craig's looking for people with big pockets to invest. "Once the deal is finalized, the company can go back to doing the business of running a television network, including developing programming and increasing viewership. Programming has languished in rerun-ville while the restructuring was taking place."<img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4473" width="1" height="1">To arms! Destroy Mary Worth!http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/08/4463.aspxMon, 08 May 2006 13:30:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4463eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4463.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4463The reason we all hate the comics pages of our local daily paper is quite simple: they're trying to please everybody. And so every ego-obsessed reader scowls angrily at what they despise. The more segregation in media, the more we can program for ourselves and our interests, the less patient we are with the interests of Those Who Are Not Exactly Like Us. <br><br> Thus "legacy" comics -- like <a href="http://www.blondie.com/" target="_blank">"Blondie,"</a> <a href="http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/peanuts/" target="_blank">"Peanuts,"</a> <a href="http://www.familycircus.com/" target="_blank">"Family Circus,"</a> and <a href="http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/mworth/about.htm" target="_blank">"Mary Worth"</a> -- are on the same page as <a href="http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/getfuzzy/" target="_blank">"Get Fuzzy,"</a> <a href="http://www.comics.com/comics/pearls/" target="_blank">"Pearls Before Swine"</a> and <a href="http://www.rhymeswithorange.com/" target="_blank">"Rhymes with Orange."</a> (But not <a href="http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2006/03/boondocks.html" target="_blank">"The Boondocks"</a> any more, which is on a six-month break. The TV series was on <a href="http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/" target="_blank">Comedy Network</a> -- the very first episode featured a nekkid grand-dad's fuzzed-out groin -- but seems to have <a href="http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/servlet/HTMLTemplate?tf=comedy%2Ftcn%2Fhub%2Fhub.html&cf=comedy%2Ftcn%2Ftcn.cfg&hub=Search&query=Boondocks&x=74&y=1&atoz=Shows+A-Z" target="_blank">gone AWOL,</a> as well.)<br><br> <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/books/05/03/sidebar.comics/" target="_blank">This story</a> has the <a href="http://www.ajc.com/" target="_blank">Atlanta Journal-Constitution's</a> Frank Rizzo saying: '"It's sort of like programming for a TV network. You can't target just one audience.' ... Younger readers complain about older-skewing strips, says Rizzo, and older readers don't understand the humor of something like 'Pearls.' Meanwhile, his newspaper, like most in this time of shrinking circulations and aging newspaper demographics (the average age of a newspaper reader is 55, according to a 2005 Carnegie Corp. study), is trying to attract new readers -- an area in which comics can play a key role.<br><br> "'They do help sell newspapers,' says Rizzo, pointing to surveys ranking the importance of newspaper features to readers. '[Comics] are one way of having readers get attached to the paper.'<br><br> "But some newspapers are nervous about taking on edgier strips, says 'Get Fuzzy' cartoonist <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03322/240984.stm" target="_blank">Darby Conley.</a> He observes that he's received complaints from papers about using the word 'butt' in his strip, 'but then you turn on <a href="http://www.southparkstudios.com/" target="_blank">'South Park,'</a> and you go, what? It's a really weird situation,' he says.<br><br> "'Newspapers are, in my guess, in 1959 in terms of morality,' he says. 'They'd rather have a dead comics page than have people writing in.'"<br><br> Sez Rizzo: "It's a tightrope. How [can you] be cutting edge for one generation but not upset the sensibilities for other readers? There's got to be a balance."<br><br> That's right, fisticuffs over the 'toons. Yup, it's always easier to argue over the window boxes and the colour of the trim than having a nice long chat about the major reno that's gonna require smashing some walls and redoing the basement. But everybody still needs a comfy chair and a reading lamp. Unless as readers we really do want to kick some people out? Only hang out with the cool kids? <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4463" width="1" height="1">Welcome to the 21st centuryhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/05/03/4453.aspxThu, 04 May 2006 00:34:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4453eleanor4http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4453.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4453Ahoy! The CBC has finally worked out <a href="http://www.publicbroadcasting.ca/" target="_blank">the sillies.</a> I'm talkin' podcasts!<br><br> Oples readers will be aware of a certain... contempt... in this corner for the slowpokes at the MotherCorpse, <a href="http://www.opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/01/31/4139.aspx" target="_blank"> busily pushing busy Canucks into listening</a> to the fershlugginner Americans on their -- on our -- Mp3 players.<br><br> But we can now come in from the cold! Twenty-two <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/podcasting/index.html" target="_blank">Canadian podcasts,</a> eh. Up from a measly three. Yippee!<br><br> Please, sir. May I have some more? <br><br><br> ADDENDUM 9pm: Radio guy <a href="http://todmaffin.com/blogs/radio/2006/05/03/cbc-radio-answers-public-demand-for-podcast-content/" target="_blank">Tod Maffin's readers tackle the changes.</a><img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4453" width="1" height="1">Too easy?http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/04/27/4436.aspxThu, 27 Apr 2006 16:05:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4436eleanor0http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4436.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4436The Ryerson Review of Journalism's newest issue <a href="http://www.rrj.ca/issue/2006/spring/616/" target="_blank">has a go</a> at the <a href="http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/index.html" target="_blank">Montreal Gazette:</a> "To expand readership, The Gazette has made some impressive editorial improvements. Sadly, they may not be enough to attract the one audience it needs for long-term survival." <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4436" width="1" height="1">The perils of meaning wellhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/04/25/4429.aspxTue, 25 Apr 2006 21:39:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4429eleanor1http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4429.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4429The problem with goodie-goodies who use comics as way of educating the great unwashed is simple: the propagandists of safe sex, or who're battling spousal abuse or female circumcision, often don't understand the joy and artistry of comics. So they -- they being the often well-intentioned non-governmental organization -- produce bilge. And they're shocked when no one pays attention.<br><br> There's the damned preaching, of course. But it's worse with <i>bandes dessinées</i>, because some still think that a comic is a picture surrounded by text: Draw me a happy face and a word bubble where I can fit 700 words on animal husbandry!<br><br> That's not a comic book, that's an illustration. In a novel. (My current fave illustration portrays <a href="http://www.sc.edu/library/spcoll/britlit/rls/rls.html" target="_blank">Robert Lewis Stevenson's</a> infamous, <a href="http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/SteJekl.html" target="_blank">mustachioed villain</a> clutching a walking stick in threatening fashion. The caption reads: "Mr. Hyde listened with an ill-contained impatience." It's from an abridged, ESL version of the classic text. Oops; tangent.)<br><br> So yeah, pop a righteous message into something hideous, and the message itself becomes suspect -- because the creators have no respect for the medium, nor for the people who are(n't) reading it.<br><br> Journalist <a href="http://www.africultures.com/index.asp?menu=affiche_redacteur&no=32" target="_blank">Sebastien Langevin's</a> presentation "Vue d'Afrique: bandes dessinés et savoirs partagés" (again at the recent <a href="http://www.opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/04/06/4366.aspx" target="_blank">comic book con</a> for librarians that I attended) took a quick look at the emergence of an indigenous comic book scene in French-speaking Africa over the last 20 years. Sadly, NGOs are leading the charge.<br><br> And Langevin had lots of examples of beautiful pictures overwhelmed by static design, by endless text, by.... Nobody in North America or Europe would bother with this crap. Why should Africans? Cuz it's good for them and we said so?<br><br> For liberals living outside of Africa, it's far too easy to blame outsiders. But that turns Africans into mindless victims. Yes, some of these NGOs are staffed by Europeans who seem unaware that, whatever the specifics of the local aesthetic, the concepts of narrative and dynamic drawing aren't culturally specific. But social workers of any colour undoubtedly suffer from the same paternalism.<br><br> And in fact, some African comic book artists are themselves <a href="http://www.africatime.com/niger/nouvelle.asp?no_nouvelle=233181&no_categorie=4" target="_blank">learning as they go.</a> Langevin offered a quick tour of the evolving African cartoon scene, focussing on the bad. There's <a href="http://www.worldcomics.fi/campaign_congo_01_baobabcover.shtml" target="_blank">A l'ombre du baobab</a>, <a href="http://categorie.francite.com/fr/index.asp?catego=2687&cla=1&pays=&page=2" target="_blank">Koulou chez les Bantu</a> ("didactic"), the painful environmentalist tracts "Le temps d'agir" and "Objectif Terre," the confusingly illustrated <a href="http://www.senghor.francophonie.org/" target="_blank">Senghor Cent Ans</a> (recalling the life of the Senegalese poet and politician), the tediously anti-booze "Plongée dans l'alcool" (from Gabon), and <a href="http://www.enda.sn/ecopole/ecop7A2.html" target="_blank">Farafina Express</a> (called simply "a catastrophe" of a book). Then there's the circumcision-related <a href="http://www.univ-lille1.fr/pfeda/Infos/1999/ce1075.htm" target="_blank">"Le choix de Bintou,"</a> which never quite manages to decide who its audience is.<br><br> But there's art, too. "Tchounkousouma" is "great," said Langevin. It's a bit of a soap, a slice-of-life comic that reflects the realities of teenagers and, just at the end -- surprise -- AIDS shows up.<br><br> In Cote d'Ivoire, far from the helping hands of an NGO, there's <a href="http://www.gbichonline.com/syndica.htm" target="_blank">GBich</a> (the sound made as a fist hits its target), where recurring characters tackle politics with humour and zest. It's published in and by a populist newspaper staff.<br><br> Langevin's moral? The end doesn't justify the means. Cuz people just won't read your ends. <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4429" width="1" height="1">The rabble at babblehttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/archive/2006/04/19/4404.aspxWed, 19 Apr 2006 16:17:00 GMT1699ad35-f2dc-4638-baa9-b4a122144f8e:4404eleanor1http://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/comments/4404.aspxhttp://opinionatedlesbian.com/bulletin/opinionatedlesbian/commentrss.aspx?PostID=4404Some media nooze. Background: <a href="http://www.rabble.ca/babble/" target="_blank">Babble.ca</a> is the cyber-forum section of the leftie current affairs site, <a href="http://www.rabble.ca/" target="_blank">Rabble.ca,</a> the favoured child of feminist <a href="http://www.rabble.ca/about_us/bios.shtml?x=3194" target="_blank">Judy Rebick </a>(among others). I check it every couple of days, but much of the content is reprinted from union newsletters... at least the bias is upfront. Now t'other big online Canadian leftie news source, <a href="http://www.straightgoods.ca/ViewNote6.cfm?REF=67" target="_blank">Straight Goods,</a> reports that Babble's moderator was fired -- by e-mail. That <i>does seem</i> a titch tacky. But there's always another side.... <img src="http://opinionatedlesbian.com/aggbug.aspx?PostID=4404" width="1" height="1">