Category Archives: I Hate You

How Blasphemy Laws Kill

There were three incidents in Pakistan recently that I thought at first were the same story, they were so similar.

  • Thursday, August 6th. A shopkeeper in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province claims that a 60-year-old muslim woman “disrespectfully flung about pages of the Koran at his shop”, according to the BBC. The woman claims “it wasn’t the Koran she flung to the ground but a register in which the shopkeeper had listed her credit”. A crowd of people gathered at the woman’s house and threw rocks at it until police broke it up.
  • Two days earlier, Tuesday, August 4th. The owner of a leather factory in Punjab province takes an old calendar down from the wall. Unfortunately for him, a lot of calendars contain verses from the Koran. A factory supervisor got incensed and stirred up the workers and local residents. The owner and one other person were killed in the ensuing violence.
  • Three days before that, Saturday, August 1. A week after three christian youths in Gojra, eastern Pakistan are accused of burning a copy of the Koran, clerics call for their deaths. Fanatics stream in from surrounding districts. 40 houses belonging to christians are burned down, killing at least eight people, and possibly dozens.

So what’s happening here? According to local officials, none of the allegations were credible. But the BBC reports that there is “recurring evidence” that people are using Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and, in the case of the 40 christian houses, the government’s indifference to the rights of non-muslims, to settle personal scores by falsely accusing people of blasphemy. A shopkeeper and a customer have a dispute over accounts, and so the shopkeeper intimidates the customer by having people throw rocks at her house. Factory workers have a beef about their wages, so they incite violence and kill their boss. People don’t like having 50,000 christians in their town so they send thousands of them running for their lives.

This is what happens when governments pander to religious nuts. This is what happens when a government takes a stance that says “this portion of our population is better than the rest.” The saner religious folks are fine, but by and large they condone the extremists and people die. Whether it’s Najeeb Zafar in the Pakistani leather factory, or George Tiller in a Kansas church, or any number of genocides and “ethnic cleansings” around the world, or Aqsa Parvez right here in Toronto, religion kills.

Venn Diagrams FTW

An intelligently designed diagram

Seriously, though, Venn diagrams are a concise and satisfyingly geeky way to convey complex information. Instead of writing a paragraph about how some of the people in my life are geeks, and some of the people in my life are artsy, and explaining that those groups overlap , and further that some subset of the overlapping region will find my webcomic project viscerally satisfying, I can draw three circles in a square and you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I hated The Arcade Fire before it became cool to think they sucked

And Venn diagrams are versatile! You don’t even have to mouth off to anyone any more if you can just scribble some pithy circles on a bar napkin. Draw three interlocking circles titled “smart people”, “sexy people” and “talented people”, then enclose them in a circle labeled “people who aren’t you” within a larger rectangle labeled “everybody”. See? It’s that easy!

Yes, the Venn diagram could be the key to an new, utopic, entirely non-verbal society. Keep your eye on it!

An idle thought

I wonder who would be elected president of the US if the candidates were:

  1. a black baptist lesbian
  2. a straight white male atheist

Assume the candidates have equivalent platforms, and neither is trying to cover up their identity.

On the one hand, atheists are the most selected-against demographic in US politics. On the other, candidate 1 has a whole list of strikes against her.

I think the thing that might work in candidate 2’s favour is that he only has one “hurdle” to overcome; if he can spin his way around that he’s good, but candidate 1 will be accused of favouring each of ethnic minority rights, women’s rights and gay rights over the “real issues” — and will probably be unable to evade all three long enough to focus on whatever she’s actually campaigning on.

I like Jake‘s comment: “There would be no president that year”

Update: upon further inspection, being gay is not far off from being an atheist in terms of being selected against. Maybe it’s cuz nobody could be one a them fags iffen they believed in the Word, so they gotta be a devil-worshippin’ atheist! :P But wow, look at the breakdown by political ideology!

VPFH Petition

Note: this will probably be of interest only to UTSC students.

So I’ve gone ahead and started circulating a petition around campus. It lists the ways in which the current VP Students & Equity has not been doing his job properly, and demands that he resign. If he doesn’t, it demands that the Board of Directors remove his powers.

This comes on the tail of months of trying to get him to perform the duties outlined in his job description, with no appreciable progress. It’s ridiculous that this guy is being given 14,000$ of student money to sit on his ass and not represent student needs.

The full text of the petition is below; you can also get this in PDF format, and if you feel inspired to spread the word, print out a few copies of the signature sheet and circulate the petition. Drop off the petition in the LGBTQ Lounge before 5 on Friday, March 7, so I can bring it to the board meeting. Note that this is for students of UTSC only — love and support from elsewhere is greatly appreciated, but reasons of legitimacy I need to limit the actual signers of the petition to current students.
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Like a cruel joke

A bit of background: I live in the most culturally and ethnically diverse city in the world. However, the university I go to is comprised mostly of people from a very conservative background. This creates weird dynamics, and contributes to an atmosphere of intolerance toward groups those backgrounds habitually marginalize. There’s lots of homophobia. I’ve seen some racism and a fair amount of ableism*, but I’m not in a position to gauge the extent of those.

So for various reasons I showed up at the latest meeting of the committee that oversees the member of student government in charge of equity issues. Actually, I might as well say what the main reason was: the member in question was found to be a religiously homophobic asshole. So I presented my case, and lo and behold, the committee that oversees the homophobic asshole are also a bunch of religiously homophobic assholes.

That’s fucked up, right? It’s not just me? That the member of student government in charge of making sure that everyone gets a fair shake, as well as the committee that is supposed to make sure he’s doing his job properly are uniformly (or almost) homophobes?

* on a side note, the campus is reportedly quite accessible, so go them!

Posturing

From the highly addictive browser game Travian:


KIDs 08.09.07 17:40:42
give Me little resources and I you shall not touch.

KIDs 08.09.07 17:49:37
I you destroy if you I shall not help!

[I check, and KIDs has a fraction of my population]


me 08.09.07 18:13:24
Go on, then. Destroy me.

KIDs 08.09.07 19:33:49
1 day and i you destroy.

me 09.09.07 16:16:11
I'm still waiting. You haven't destroyed me yet.

KIDs 09.09.07 16:18:11
I little mistaken.I it is necessary a little more time.

me 09.09.07 16:20:14
Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaa you suck

KIDs 09.09.07 16:23:49
I shall kill you.Remained quite little time.

me 09.09.07 16:28:28
Ha ha ha

KIDs 09.09.07 16:29:53
Afterwards not dialects that I you has not warned.

Am I Cool Now?

Now that I’ve done a “what kind of thing are you” poll:



I am a d8

No use trying to fight it, you’re an eight-sided die, a d8. A fine example of simple elegance, the d8 is one of the least appreciated types of dice, and is often neglected. You are known to be quiet and shy, outward traits that conceal viscous sarcasm and mean wit. You are very smart, yet wise enough to hide your intelligence the quicker they found out how smart you are, the sooner they’ll put you to work, which is something you can do without. People call you dark and pessimistic, or moody and cynical. You find little point in arguing.

Take the quiz at dicepool.com

This survey is completely scientific. Despite the mind-boggling complexity of mankind, the billions of distinctly different personalities found on Earth can easily be divided into seven simple categories that correspond to the five Platonic solids, a pseudo polyhedron, and whatever the hell a d100 is. The results of this quiz should be considered not only meaningful but also infallible, and pertinent to your success as a fully realized individual. If you feel the results of this examination do not match your perceived personality, you should take whatever drastic measures are needed to cram your superego back into proper alignment, as described by the quiz results.

Looking out my window

My window at work overlooks the street, one story up. This means that I get a good view of anyone approaching, and that they generally don’t see me.

So today a man in a suit is walking toward the building. First impression: “He has a really small head. Or perhaps his suit is just really loose in the shoulders.”

Then he scratches his cock through his pants. Fair enough, I think, sometimes that needs to be done. It was just a small adjustment, and he could reasonably have expected that nobody was watching.

Then he gets to the end of the cul-de-sac where my office is, as well as a couple more businesses. He looks around, confused, seemingly unsure whether the building that looks like a house is really where he’s going. He examines the surrounding buildings, then eventually steps toward this one, out of my sight.

I work for a bit, listening for the knock on the door. We have a big door knocker, so the entire building knows when someone arrives. But then I see him step back out, still looking confusedly at the doors around him. Then he fiddles with his littler head again. Then he opens his fly, reaches in, and spends the next ten or fifteen seconds vigorously shaking.

I’m not sure if he saw my “WTF” expression staring out the window at him or not, but he made a right-face and walked off.