I Don't Know How to Ride A Bike... <BR>(and other ramblings): June 2006

I Don't Know How to Ride A Bike...
(and other ramblings)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Canada's Next Top...Racist?

In lieu of Canada Day, I wanted to post some patriotic words about our valiant and diverse country. One of the things I love about our fair country, besides the nominal legal drinking age, is the multi-cultural mosaic that makes us who we are. Interacting, learning, and sharing in different cultures is something unique and beautiful that we must never take for granted...

...unless you're vying for your fifteen minutes of fame on a reality TV show.

"Canada's Next Top Model" premiered last month to mixed reviews. Despite its disparagingly low production values and pool of budding "high fashion" models that have as much potential as the American version (which is to say: not a lot), "CNTM" still manages to bring on the drama. That's to be expected of any show that forces ten long-legged strangers to live together and compete against each other.

Unlike "America's Next Top Model," the show strives to be interactive by having each model wanna-be post on Yahoo!'s version of MySpace, Yahoo! 360 (not coincidentally, the show's "official" and scant website is also hosted on Yahoo! Canada). The blog entries themselves are not particularly interesting or enlightening, but the comments left on each of the girls' blogs can be quite eye-opening.

The most controversial contestant, by far, is British Columbia's Sisi -- who proclaimed in the very first episode that she was probably going to be a big trouble-maker in the competition. By the second episode, Sisi was cruelly mocking Dawn, a meek contestant who was gorgeous but was also unfortunately scared of her own shadow, and called everyone around her "boring." Obviously, none of the other girls really took to Sisi...but then again, Sisi never took to the other girls, either. In the fourth episode, Sisi faked being sick to get out of an intense surprise work-out (which some might recall has shades of "ANTM" written all over it), and then in a totally WTF? move, told the trainer (and eventual guest judge) that she had been faking her illness. When the girls went out for a night on the town, Sisi chose to talk to random strangers instead of hanging out with the other contestants...which was actually quite amusing, if only to highlight Sisi's total lack of interest in getting to know the other girls.

Let's take a look at the eeeeevil trouble-maker:

Did I forget to mention that Sisi is Asian? Well, she is. Sisi's the only Asian contestant in this season's "CNTM," and it hasn't gone unnoticed in her blog comments. Sisi's blog has the most comments out of any of the other girls. Let's see the stats: Sisi's 1st entry - 64 comments / Tenika's first entry - 30 comments / Brandi's first entry - 49 comments / Andrea's first entry - 48 comments; Sisi's second entry - 84 comments / Tenika's second entry - 22 comments / Brandi's second entry - 34 comments / Andrea's second entry - 46 comments.

The amount of comments isn't surprising, since Sisi is obviously made out to be the bitch of the season. What is surprising, though, is the amount of animosity geared towards her ethnicity, which is both astounding and disgusting. To retain the spirit of Canada Day, let's assume that everyone writing these comments is eight years old and has lived in a cave all their lives.

"I don't like you at all. I live in Vancouver and there are a hell of a lot better looking Asian girls here, not that I think you guys are pretty at all, personally I'm sick of this 'representing for the Asian race', go back to wherever you came from because you were NOT born in Canada and represent there. You should have been kicked off already. You think you take down all those girls one by one? GOOD LUCK, actually I don't wish you any luck at all. GO HOME."

"I thought it was Canada's Next Top Model....its not about representing ASAINS its about representing Canadian women...and I really don't want someone with such a terrible attitude as SISI representing Canadian women.....stop pointing out your race and BLEND with Canadas culture....thats what Canada is all about BLENDING! Its the ppl who constantly have to point out there race expecting special treatment for it, that are the true racists in this country. HEATHER IS A TRUE HOME GROWN CANADIAN!!!!!!!!"

To recap this eloquent post:

Racist person who just won't blend in, dammit

True Canadian!!!!!!!

"Nobody hates SISI because she is asn, they just hate her because she is very mean and condescending. If it were radio broadcast and not TV everyone would hate her (based on what she says about the other girls), even her own kind. I would honestly say that most asn ppl I know(which is half of my family) are very quiet and respectful ppl."

I was all set to accept this simple colour-blind scenario, but I know "my kind" doesn't like condescension. Alas, I'm too quiet and respectful to voice what I really think of this post.

"I luv asian girls, but "honger" style is wack!!! Dressing like a clown is not cool, funky, etc! Not hating but "honger style" is wack!! I'm doing y'all fobs a favor, that style is the biggest fashion faux pas of this century! Sisi don't take it the wrong way, I'd still hit it though.......lololol"

I'm sure Sisi is relieved to know that despite hating her style, you would still do her.

"Your oval-face shape is giving me creeps. You are a complete disgrace to the Chinese enthicity, and as a Chinese I'm actually saying that."

I must have missed the International Chinese Bulletin announcing Sisi's term as world representative for Chinese people. And yes, oval faces are creepy.

Once in a while, a poster will inject some Canadian history into his post to teach us all a valuable lesson:

"Sorry if Canada was founded by white people, its the truth, RESPECT them and their values cause if they didn't make this country the way it is today, our families would not have wanted to immigrate here."

"I'm not asian, but if I were I would be embarassed to have you representing the asian race of Canada. Cause you really are a horrible representitive. Oh and lets learn how to speak English so that someone can understand you."

Is it wrong that I'm secretly glad this person isn't Asian?

"You type better than you speak ENGLISH, oh sorry, i mean ENGRISH."

And this concludes our lesson about ignorance and prejudice in Canada.

It's appalling to know that one measly reality show contestant can bring so much anger and hatred out of the woodwork. Frankly, Sisi is not the nicest person out there, but no one deserves this type of loathing, the kind that is purely based on ethnic make-up. Let's not forget what makes our country great. This Canada Day, go hug your neighbours and tell them they're beautiful.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monday Mania

I hate being sick. It always happens to me at the most inopportune times, like during the summer or over the Christmas holidays. And what's worse is that this is a simple case of a miserable cold, which means that I'm too healthy to skip off work and read magazines all day, but I feel like crap and every moment that I'm not curled up in bed in the fetal position is pure agony. I'm always getting colds, but what I'd really like is to change it up with the flu. I know the flu sucks, but at least everyone coddles you, brings you soup, and is always ready to buy you some DVDs or books to keep your mind off of the pain. I'm currently in my stuffed nose phase; yesterday was the sore throat, and this morning was the runny nose. At work, I seriously felt like I had snot dripping down my chin every five minutes, which it probably was, but I was in too much of a daze to notice. If all goes according to plan, this evil bug will next give me headaches and the chills. Yay.

But enough about my complaints regarding my ailing health. Let's complain about something else.

I watched two films over the weekend that have been sitting in my room for a while (courtesy of Ben, whom I bug endlessly for films that I never get around to watching). The first was Shop Girl (2005), with Steve Martin, Claire Danes, and Jason Schwartzman. I really like Claire Danes -- I thought she was simply gorgeous and raw and brilliant in "My So-Called Life." I don't really have any opinion whatsoever on Steve Martin or Jason Schwartzman, but I will say that I haven't watched a Steve Martin film since Grand Canyon.

Shop Girl was unexpectedly depressing. I remember shutting off the DVD player and feeling a sense of unnerving sadness wash over me. I guess I'm used to life being erratic and unpredictable and strange, but in my films, I still yearn for a happy ending. That's probably why I try to steer clear of disturbing and surreal David Lynch and Larry Clark movies. Pluses: All of the major characters are deeply flawed, which helps to keep interest when the script is wonky and too heavy-handed at times, and the editing leaves many open questions. Claire Danes shines even when she's crying over stupid older men, and Jason Schwartzman cleans up well. Minuses: Steve Martin employs a voice-over at (I believe) three intervals in the film, and I could have done without it. I don't particularly like narration as exposition, and this one was blatantly trying to tie everything together. Show, don't tell! Also, I couldn't help but be distracted by Steve Martin's heavy use of purple eyeliner. At least, that's what I think it was.

The second film was Pride and Prejudice (2005), with Kiera Knightley and a whole cast of British actors that I have never seen before in my life, and a couple of non-British actors that I vaguely recognize. For some reason, Jena Malone is there as the flirty and flighty Bennett sister. Oh, and there is Donald Sutherland, whose great and immense career gives him too much of a leeway when it comes time to bust out the British accent. He mumbles a lot throughout, which kind of gives the illusion of a lazy accent but is probably a result of him being bored with the part. Although there are about 1,287 versions of Pride and Prejudice floating out there, I'd never seen any of them, although it's pretty clear that by the first frame of Kiera Knightley's angelically stunning face that no one in Georgian England could possibly resist her. Despite the predictability of the plot, and Judi Dench's really mean Lady Catherine de Bourg, the film was overall an enjoyable diversion, and I got my happy ending fix. Also, I learned many things I would not have previously known, like: English people love balls (as in dance balls, not the other kind, you cheeky freak), English women live for balls, everything happens at a ball, and if you look like Kiera Knightley, some rickety but dashing gentleman is still going to call you "plain."

And lastly: What's the scuttlebutt? I can't wait for this. I'm about as excited as the time I went out and bought the first Ace of Base cassette.

Signing off now so I can drug myself and have some sweet, sweet slumber,

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Workday Diversions


From People Magazine:
Is something brewing? Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal are all smiles after eating at an English pub in New York City's West Village recently. Reps for both actors have no comment on the status of their relationship.


(Photo: http://www.teddyandmoo.com/)

And in other news...

You can't fool Kevin Federline: "The same day Dick Cheney shoots someone, they've got me on the cover of MSN [Web site]. It's life they're diverting attention from what's really going on."