You are currently browsing The Arbourist’s articles.
Imagine if you would a salt shaker on your dinner table. Now imagine another shaker on your table, only filled with bullshit. Most of organized religion is this shaker filled with shit that people add (voluntary or not) to the various dishes and activities in their lives. Our happy thought experiment plays on the funny human expectations surrounding how we perceive concepts like ‘purity’ and ‘contamination’; the takeaway for our purposes is that it only takes a little bit of shit to ruin your meal or experience; if you still happen to be following the larger meta-thought that I’m artlessly crafting.
We can boil our fruitful thought experiment down even further and generalize. Take any situation, add
shit religion to it, and surprisingly(?) it becomes markedly worse. Take for instance the phenomena in American society known as “Black Friday”. The mythological notion that come the last Friday in November businesses are finally out of the red and into the black ink in their ledgers and to celebrate their profitability they are going to sell stuff at wildly discounted prices to demonstrate their thanks to the public for purchasing their stuff.
“Onward, Christian soldiers: Research shows the majority of states where shoppers are most likely to experience violence while shopping on Black Friday are located in the Bible Belt.
According to research recently released by Estately management the top ten states where people are most likely to get into fights over discounted deals on Black Friday are 1) Arkansas, 2) Tennessee, 3) Alabama, 4) Louisiana, 5) Missouri, 6) West Virginia, 7) Oklahoma, 8) Indiana, 9) Kansas, and 10) South Carolina.”
So in the home of the great Moral Majority you’re more likely to get into a fight for that last plasma screen TV at your local retailer. Now we shouldn’t read too too much into this unscientific poll, but the results hint at the notion that endorsing religious thought (aka delusional shit) makes you a more aggressive, more selfish, let’s just say it; less Christ-like, than people who don’t partake in magical beliefs.
Apparently, the religious table shakers come pre-loaded with a generous portion of irony as well.
This earworm will not go away. I cannot escape because I have to practice the damn piece for our upcoming choir performances. So what’s better than an earworm? Sharing one, of course. :)
This is the best version I can find on youtube, so until we bust out our version, this will have to do. :)
The notion we have a fair playing field, a balance, whatever you’d like to call it is quite patently false. We have not all just fallen out of some sort of Rawlsian simulator into a just society. Injustice and anti-egalitarian ideals are normative in society, they are the water we swim in, the air we breathe. Otherwise interactions like the below just wouldn’t happen.
Later than usual this year, but here we be in temperatures colder than -20 degrees centigrade along with our first 20 cm of snow. We’re walking in the Winter Wonderland now. *cheers*
I’m tired and not braining much today, so sit back and enjoy this astronomical short on Mars. :)
Welcome gentle readers. Today I ask of thee but a kernel of patience whilst I set up the topic at hand.
Religion and Patriarchy actively conspire against the female half of humanity. We have to look no further than Christian Patriarchy over here and Islamic Fundamentalism over there to see the corrosive effects of religion on females (and everyone else). We’ve missed talking about a segment of the world religious community that, despite a different set of ooga-booga beliefs, shockingly manages to codify and practice misogyny with great aplomb.
Orthodox Judaism. And behold yet another goldmine of misogyny in which to revel in! (?) Let’s take a peek at a small sample of what we are talking about:
“During the 1970s feminist critics began to expose the absence of women’s voices within the male-dominated structures promoted by Judaism’s exclusively male-authored texts. Feminists also strove to reconstruct the lost voices of women, trying to recover evidence of women’s history and self-understanding that would allow a more diversified picture of the multiple Judaisms that have flourished throughout the Jewish past. While Judaism traditionally defines itself as a divinely revealed religion, its beliefs and practices have been interpreted and regulated almost exclusively by male authorities until the modern period. Feminist analysis has pointed out that men have created the legal systems articulated in the Mishnah, Talmud, and codes of Jewish law, and acted as supreme arbiters of its interpretation by reserving the rabbinate for men. Courts of Jewish law were historically run by male rabbis, and women were excluded as witnesses in most court cases. In rabbinic law, men may contract a marriage or divorce a wife, but women can neither acquire a husband nor divorce him. Women enter into rabbinic discourse as objects of discussion, when their ritual purity, sexual control, or marital status impinges upon men’s lives.
Many Jewish feminists have suggested that the insistence on overwhelmingly male imagery for God was a deliberate effort to strengthen the male-dominated institutional arrangements of Jewish life and undergird male authority over women in the religious and societal realms. As a result, feminist analysis views Jewish texts with suspicion for their collusion with societal patriarchy in silencing women’s voices, or, even worse, as creating patriarchal oppression and endowing it with the aura of divine sanction. At the same time, some feminists have culled biblical and rabbinic texts to find counter-patriarchal traditions that support principles of justice and equality, or voices of trickster women seeking to correct halakhic inequities (Pardes; Adler). Even as D. Setel argued that the prophet Hosea’s metaphor of Israel as God’s adulterous wife was pornographic, R. Adler noted that God’s reunion with the adulterous Israel, which violates Deuteronomic law (20:4) mandating a husband’s divorce of an adulterous wife, might be understood as a “constructive violation” of Jewish law – “the metaphor that preserves the covenant breaks the law” (Adler, 163–64).”
I gave up with the highlighting and bolding after the whole “objects of discussion” malarkey (lobe blown). Anyhow, now with a little background established we can talk about the Hunger Games.
First and foremost if you are experiencing Domestic Violence in Alberta check out these numbers from the Human Services branch of the Alberta Government:
“Talk to trained staff over the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in more than 170 languages. Chat anonymously online with staff from noon to 8:00 p.m., daily. Chat FAQ.
Family Violence Info Line 310‑1818 Begin chat
Bullying Helpline 1‑888‑456‑2323 Begin chat
Child Abuse Hotline 1‑800‑387‑5437″
The good news is that Deborah Drever, an Independent MLA representing Calgary-Bow, has tabled a private members bill that would make it easier for women to break a lease early to get them out of direct contact with their abusive partner.
“Drever’s Bill 204 would amend the Residential Tenancies Act to allow domestic violence victims to break a lease early and without penalty. If a person can demonstrate they or their children are in danger, they can receive a signed certificate from a list of professionals — such as a judge, nurse, police officer or social worker — compelling the landlord to terminate the lease. The law would also effectively allow a victim to remove an abuser’s name from a lease.”
Anything will help out the DV situation in Alberta as we have one of the highest incidence rates in the nation.
“Alberta ranks among the worst provinces for domestic violence. According to the most recent Statistics Canada report, there were 10,045 cases of intimate partner violence in Alberta in 2013 — a rate of 623 per 100,000 people and more than twice the national rate.”
That is a pretty terrible number, but it gets worse.
“The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters recent annual report showed that while 10,205 women and children found haven at provincial shelters between April 2014 and March 2015, nearly twice that number — 19,251 — were turned away for lack of space.”
This is a unacceptable state of affairs and this bill goes a small way in fixing what is a much larger problem in our society today. Maria Fitzpatrick, also an MLA, spoke of her experience with her abusive husband and the lack of support she had in dealing with this life threatening situation.
“Fitzpatrick told the house that at one point during her troubled nine-year marriage to her ex-husband, who has since died, she awoke to find he had pointed a gun to the back of her head.
She recalled hearing the clicking sound of the hammer as the trigger was pulled, and his hysterical laughter as she realized there were no bullets in the gun.
She said he threatened her that the next time, there would be bullets.
“He beat me. He raped me,” she told the silent assembly.
He told her he would kill their daughters first, in order to see her pain, and then he would kill her.
“I knew it would be just a matter of time before he followed through on these threats”
No one should have to experience this sort torture – especially nine years of it. Why didn’t she just leave? Is the question so often asked of women in DV situations, you see the thing is she did leave three times…
Through the course of their marriage, she said she suffered broken bones, black eyes, sexual assault and two miscarriages as a result of the abuse.
“Three times I left with my kids,” she said. “Twice I went to shelters. Twice I was forced to return or live on the street. Both times I returned and the violence got worse and the threats, which he could have carried out at any time, became more frequent and more intimidating.”
The supports are not there for women and the justice system is of little assistance. Look how helpful the police and judge were in Fitzpatrick’s situation.
“After the incident with the gun, she called police and her husband was finally arrested and a restraining order put in place. But there was no peace.
“I called the police 16 times in two weeks before he was arrested again. Not so much for assaulting me but because he broke the restraining order.”
Eventually, he was sentenced to a year in jail but was released immediately because of the amount of time he had spent on remand.
“He turned and as he was leaving the courtroom, he said he would kill me,” she recalled.
“I asked the judge how could he let him go, and the judge said to me it’s a marital issue, get a divorce and leave. He proceeded then to give me a lecture on how much it was going to cost to keep him in jail.
“When I returned to my house, he was there, holding my children and my mother-in-law at the point of a gun. At the end of a four-hour ordeal, his mother rose and asked God to help us, and he ran from the house.”
I can’t even… When is it ever okay to classify domestic abuse as just a ‘marital issue’? And such completely naive advice – as if just leaving, with three children, is a walk in the fracking park. Ms. Fitzpatrick says it best:
“My support for this bill comes from the middle of this experience and this trap, a trap that was intentionally or unintentionally supported by society,” said Fitzpatrick. “Silence, blame, guilt and little to no support grew this injustice for decades, if not centuries.
“This should never have happened to me or these situations to anybody else. “
Let’s get this bill passed Alberta MLA’s. It is but one small step in addressing a very large problem in our society today.