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Electronics Recycling Fee Proposed, Budget Passes, Punch Andrews Passes

Photo by Miles Storey
Ontario considers electronics recycling fee. The proposed fee, already in operation in other provinces, would get tacked on when you purchase electronic items and would pay for provincial electronics recycling centres. It’s a simple, feasible solution to a problem we need to deal with, and we have evidence it already works, so six months from now it will likely be the focus of a maelstrom of public debate as people declare that an extra sixty bucks for a flatscreen TV is clearly the advent of a tyrannical nation-state.
City budget passes. (Insert boring budget critic-type joke here.)
Chris “Punch” Andrews dies at 43. The MIX-FM host had lung cancer, and he was well-liked and talented, and it sucks.
Rob Ford apologizes for calling Asian people “Orientals.” Ford claims that he did not know the term is offensive, which for him is probably the best strategy going, as it relies on people believing he is an ignorant buffoon.
Stéphane Dion’s popularity is, shall we say, not good. With an approval rating of only 11 percent, Dion is now slightly less popular than Dick Cheney, Robert Mugabe and that guy on the TTC who goes up to you and starts talking about how he’d like to “stab a little piggy.”
Finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs once again have a chance to make the playoffs, as their two losses to Boston have been nullified and the games ordered to be replayed based on admissions of referee collusion. More details on this sports scandal as they unfold!
Photo by Miles Storey from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Comments

  • Ben

    Thanks for the last link. :D

  • james a

    Oh Rob.. You finally apologize, but not before waving a No Frills flyer around and pointing out it’s use of the word Oriental.
    I propose Rob Ford be renamed “Councilor Butterball”, since No Frills also prints that term fairly regularly.
    Someone should start a Rick Mercer style petition.

  • dowlingm

    If I was a Habs fan I’d be really vexed that the Leads played Toskala on Saturday but are starting Raycroft tonight. Unless that was CHUM-FM’s sporting April Fool?

  • Bleb

    In related news, have a look at any of the featured videos on YouTube‘s front page today.

  • MariaPD

    The Youtube videos today are awesome. Thanks Bleb for pointing it out!

  • Doggiez

    Canadians as a whole have become way too sensitive to the issue of race. What is the difference between Asian and Oriental? There is a huge difference between calling a Chinese person Japanese and vice-versa, but Asian and Oriental? Give me a break!
    Yes, Ford’s comments were somewhat inappropriate, AND they were also a backhanded compliment, and should be recognized as such. Are Asians hard-working? Yes. Would you have preferred it if Ford’s called them lazy slobs?
    Time to loosen them tight shorts, people. Sometimes a “racist” comment isn’t actually racist, just a little misguided.

  • Robin Rix

    I actually agree with Doggiez that the real issue isn’t whether Ford used “Asian” or “Oriental.” Speaking as one, I find the debate about this point to be a distraction from the real issue, namely the content of Ford’s comments.
    This is what we should care about, and this is where I disagree with Doggiez. Ford’s suggestion that all members of a particular race share a particular characteristic is, whichever way you look at it, disagreeable. Alleging that a racial group is going to “take over” thanks to their unique possession of certain characteristics is symptomatic of a simple mind and will breed demonization and resentment. Not good.

  • Vincent Clement

    People do not have a problem with paying additional recycling fees or taxes. They have a problem when the money is collected and not used for what it was designed for. For example, how many artists have received their share of the CD levy?

  • Marc Lostracco

    The term “Oriental” isn’t out-and-out racist; it’s more culturally insensitive, ignorant and obsolete—reminiscent of an era gone by, so the people who use it sound the same way. “Negro” was once a widespread term, but it fell out of favour in much the same way.
    “Oriental” is indicative of a time when people thought Asia was this exotic, backward land of mystical customs, elaborately dressed Geisha, imperial dynasties, all coupled with a European colonial bent; where everyone had slanty eyes, buck teeth, pointy hats, and slurred certain consonants; where everyone ate rice and cast magical hexes. During wartime, it was a characteristic of the fearsome Yellow Peril and prostitution (is it any coincidence that the escort ads in the back of free weeklies sometimes tout “Oriental ladies” to appeal to the “exotic” curiosity of the greying fuckysuckytendolla crowd?).
    It is generally not considered problematic when referring to rugs decor, or certain foods (hence Rob Ford’s misguided supermarket flyer-waving), but in reference to people, it’s an archaic term, and people who use it sound like relics. Every time I hear someone use it, I feel there should be a gong sound, then everyone bows as (what Margaret Cho dubs) “chinky” music plays.
    Also, generally, if people tell you they don’t like to be called by a certain term (especially if they view it as a slur), the response shouldn’t be, “Oh, pshaw, don’t be so sensitive. I’ll call you whatever I want and you’ll deal.”
    I watched Ford’s apology to council yesterday and it was 100% insincere. He could barely fart it out of his piehole without trying to justify how he was in the right.

  • Jaime Woo

    Rob Ford is funny. I love how he backed up his statement with the fact that he had visited Hong Kong. I’m surprised he even went that far when there are Mandarin buffet restaurants across the GTA!

  • David E

    Even though it’s the day after, Ford continues to be the April Fool!

  • Doggiez

    Part of the problem of so-called racial insensitivity” is a lack of awareness, and this comes from conflicting messages on the part of ethnic groups themselves. We should all stop blaming one another for “slurs” that actually aren’t slurs at all.
    I remember the nightmarish beginning of political correctness when I was writing for The Star in the early 90s, and the many comments — some valid, others absurd — about being PC. Blind children were no longer blind, they were “visually impaired.” Retardation was no longer PC; instead, the formerly retarded were “developmentally delayed.” This gave rise to jokes about just how far being PC had gone. “Bob’s not bald, he’s folically challenged!” “Tom’s not short, he’s height-impaired.”
    While some consider “Colored” to be racist, why is one of the most venerated organizations – the NAACP – still using the word, as in National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People” (I defer to the U.S. spelling of “Colored” in this case).
    While out-and-out racist comments are obviously the product of an ignorant mind, how can everyone be expected to know that it is not OK to use words like “Oriental”?

  • David E

    @ MariaPD
    —————-
    I looked at the video and posted a comment:
    I find him objectionable and I recommend that in a similar light, federal and provincial subsidies be removed from Canada Christian College and Canada Family Action Coalition lose any tax exempt status.
    To follow on his analogy, his school teaches a brand of christianity that is at odds with mine. I find his treatment of the non-born-again, women, Arabs, Palestinians to name a few repulsive. Therefore I make the recommendation that his funding be cut.

  • MariaPD

    David E (#13)
    I’m sure we’re talking about different things. I looked at the featured videos today, and clicked on all of them. I enjoyed them. I’m sure you’re talking about some other video that I didn’t see, because none had anything to do with Canada Christian anything.

  • Jaime Woo

    Doggiez, I think you’re right in that awareness is the first step. I also think that instead of going deeply into how Ford’s other comments were racially insensitive, the media focused the attention on Ford’s use of “Oriental” as a short-cut.
    Still, can’t we afford a group of people the right to determine what is offensive to them as a group within reason? Otherwise, we would still be calling the aboriginal people “Eskimos” and “Indians.”
    What underlies the “Oriental” term is inherent stereotyping: Asians work hard! Asians are good at math! Asians speak funny! Someone who is bald or short is in a dissimilar position. What are the stereotypes for bald people? Short people?
    To be honest, racial naivety is widely spread. (I wouldn’t know the difference between a person who was Croatian or Romanian, for example.) However, there’s an underlying meanness to Asian stereotypes, probably because Asians look different than Caucasians. I’m unsure how much as changed since I was a kid and people thought going “ching-chong, ching-chong!” was funny.

  • Marc Lostracco

    Diggiez: If someone tells you that calling them a Nip, Paki, Jap, Negro, coloured, homo, Oriental is a slur, believe them. It’s not up to you to override the person on the receiving end of a potential slur. Those words above come from an innocent root word, but have a whole other meaning in cultural context. Part of being culturally sensitive is understanding why a particular group doesn’t want to be called by a certain term; not complaining that they are overreacting.
    As for “blind” and “retarded,” those words fell out of use because they negatively classify an entire group of people, focusing on the handicap rather than the person. Remember that “cripple” was used until relatively recently, and nobody would dream of using it today.
    As for the NAACP, there are many, many people who believe that it is in dire need of a name change, and the issue has been discussed heatedly for years. So far, the resistance has been due to two major factors: (1) that the term “NAACP” is very familiar and has a strong, brand-like recognition factor, and (2), that it’s one of the oldest and most important human rights organizations in American history, and the name is an almost ironic reference to why the organization is so necessary and how far we’ve come. By the way, the NAACP these days also includes other minority groups (like Hispanics, for example, who are the largest minority in the U.S.).
    I hear older people use “Oriental” every now and then, but most people should really know that the term is outdated these days, since it’s been archaic for decades. If people don’t know it’s not OK to use those words, then they should be grateful when they find out rather than reacting defensively. Like I said, it’s not racist as much as it is culturally ignorant or insensitive. If this is new to people, no big deal, but learn from it.
    Also, short men and gingers should never be trusted.

  • David E

    @Maria PD
    Please go to YouTube and type in McVety. You’ll find the interview with George Stromboulopoulos.
    I thought that’s what you were referring to.
    Apparently, the featured videos rotate.

  • Robin Rix

    Jaime: an interesting choice of examples, seeing as Torontoist seems ok with “Eskimo” and our country seems ok with “Indian”!
    Marc: while I completely understand where you’re coming from, I suggest that the test of a word’s offensiveness is the intention of the speaker when saying it, rather than the connotations of the word itself. In the right hands, “colored” (NAACP) or “Negro” (United Negro College Fund) are not offensive; in the wrong hands, normally innocent words like “Asian” or “ginger” can be made offensive.
    This is a roundabout way of saying that we should focus less on Ford’s cluelessness for his choice of word, because this runs the risk of sidetracking the debate. Rather, we should focus more on his intentions underlying his words: alleging that members of a particular racial group possess special characteristics that will enable them to “take over.” That’s the real problem, and history is full of examples where this type of thinking didn’t lead to happy consequences.

  • Jaime Woo

    Robin: Indian is a legal term leftover from before. I personally wouldn’t use it in a conversation. Would you?

  • Robin Rix

    Jaime: Personally, I would not use that term in a conversation. But, if someone were to use it in front of me, I would attempt to gauge whether their intention was innocent (in which case, I’d perhaps suggest an alternative term) or malicious (in which case, I’d criticize—or more).

  • spacejack

    Calling someone a racist for using the term oriental is actually a form of ageism.
    YES I’m kidding. Sort of.

  • Doggiez

    Methinks the reinstatement of anti-jewish native leader David Ahenakew is a joke.
    Mehopes, at least.
    http://www.paherald.sk.ca/index.cfm?sid=122320&sc=12

  • Sammy

    Damn, you guys RickRolled me good.

  • furandloathing

    Doggiez, I wish:
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2008/04/01/senate-ahenakew.html
    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2008/04/01/ahenakew-wall-draude.html
    I’m completely disgusted. I’m from Saskatchewan, sort of wish I was back home to witness the shitstorm first hand.

  • Doggiez

    So, we’re all in agreement about disliking pale, freckled, and red-haired ginger kids, right? :)