- Pay attention to what is happening to The Morgentaler Clinic.
- Speak up about it.
- Consider the appropriate action when the time is right.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Friday, April 4, 2014
"So, where does that leave us then, in our present?
Maybe all any one of us can do is push against the baseline as it shifts.
We can be a tiny counterweight. We weigh almost nothing but generation after generation, that weight ads up. Sometimes in some places the baseline starts to shift in the other direction; in the direction of more beauty, not less, but that happens incrementally too. It can be hard to notice.
So picture that scene at JFK again, all those turtles. When Hornaday was born, they were closed to extinction, being hunted because they tasted so good in soup. We’re like those turtles: a race of stubborn little things that barely notices as the wilderness it migrates through, fills up with villages and lights and swells into an airport runway. Just keep migrating across it anyways, tucking the eggs of the next generation into the sand.
And we’re like the airplanes too, 'cause we have changed, we changed into something Hornaday could never have imagined: a species that at least tries to slow down, try to stop.
I like to think about those airplanes powering down, the lines of them parting like a shiny metallic sea, so this tiny tribe of turtles can pass through.
I get it. It looks funny in the present. But squint into the hazy panorama of history and those airplanes idling in place, that little moment of not moving forward, looks, unmistakably to me, like progress."
-Jon Mooallem from his book Wild Ones
You can hear an excerpt of it on 99% Invisible. I have listened to these final five or so minutes of that episode so many times since its release when I feel lost in all the future that is happening around me.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
- Share our donation page or this post on your social media
- Share something in support of choice in a post of your own
- Set up a similar campaign in your city
- Volunteer at South House
- Donate by cheque
- Donate again
Sunday, December 1, 2013
When people talk to me about Nova Scotia, they usually speak of lobster, sea breeze, lighthouses, and racism.
The last one took a while for me to understand and even longer for me to confront, because I, Allison Sparling, left leaning white girl, was decidedly Not A Racist Because I Have Watched Do The Right Thing And I Think Michelle Obama Is Cool am not racist and I am from Nova Scotia. Also, I am friends with people who Are Not Racist Because The Same Reasons And Maybe They Like Basketball (Right?) and they are from Nova Scotia. I mean, maybe there are racists in Nova Scotia but they are not in my social circle so I am a good person. (Right?)
Racism is so infrequently addressed in Nova Scotia because it is always someone else’s issue; someone who is less sophisticated than they are because sophisticated people aren’t racist. People from cities blame people from the people from rural communities and people from those rural communities blame other rural communities until the only racist in Nova Scotia is the one guy who lives on a dead end road in Meat Cove who hasn’t had a radio for the past 30 years. Oh, Fictional Stereotype, you devil you. Stay in your sea shanty. PROBLEM. SOLVED.
The polemic that has made me ignorant for much of my life is englightened white person that I was, I wrongfully assumed that a person was or was not racist. Racists are like old timey bad guys in comic books; they dress funny and talk slick. In reality, people do and say things that are racist, and the only thing that separates us from actually being 'a racist' from 'doing something racist' is acknowledging it and learning from it. I get that it isn’t exactly fun to admit that the potential for racism lives in all of us (just like the spirit of Christmas!) but white people, listen up, you gotta stop pulling the “it’s just a costume!” around every major holiday. It wears thin.
Earlier this evening, my MLA tweeted a picture of him celebrating aspects of his Dutch culture that involved someone in black face. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are many “nuances” to this specific, historic blackface, but he posted a picture of himself and his children celebrating Christmas next to a guy in blackface. The tweet was then retweeted by the provincial account for the Liberal party, and then promptly ‘unretweeted’ when someone realized that maybe they shouldn’t drink and do their work’s social media, I don’t know, whatever.
Here is how I see this incident going:
- Joachim Stroink will say he is sorry ‘if you were offended’
- Someone who is not white will attest that Joachim Stroink is a ‘solid dude’ or something
- Everyone who has a problem is a negative hater
Generally funny and very insightful Chad Lucas added: “2b) Some defender says "Why are you making this about race? I guess *you're* the real racist here."
Well, that kind of sucks.
Because here’s the thing. I can’t even begin to try to convince you why even ‘traditional’ blackface is a terrible idea. I am not the right person to do that, although maybe @RedLightVoices is, so consider that.
Instead, I have a modest proposal: instead of accepting when at 8 am people paid to distract and stir up stuff on social media try to dismiss this conversation as partisan rhetoric, you ignore them because they are being ignorant.
I work with government in my job and I deal with my MLA in my life, and I AM one of those people who asks their MLAs for stuff all the time. (Joachim, why don’t you return my calls, by the way? November 20th, 7 pm, according to my phone. It’s cool, you’re busy, but you or some intern is reading this now, so maybe find that message because my number is in it.)
It’s much, much easier for many, many people, myself included, to sweep this under the rug and pretend this didn’t happen until the next time, and then the next time, and then the next time until we wonder why new immigrants don’t stay here very long and our culture suffers and the province shrivels up like the lobster industry, but here’s the thing: I really like Nova Scotia, and I’d like it a lot more if our leaders didn’t give fodder for hundreds of white people with time on their hands to defend Julianne Hough on Facebook because local media thinks race is a surefire way to page hits.
Now, with my weird little corner of the internet, after the dust is settled and a bunch of people have tried to subvert the gaze from the original picture with questions to stretched from the actual issue that they sound like a rejected plot line for Quadrophrenia ("But what even IS racism, guys?), now I can collect this moment and say “Yes, this actually happened” when someone tries to pretend it didn’t in approximately 4 years.
It is now almost 11 pm. In the morning, something will happen.
I suggest you ask yourself:
- Is this acknowledged?
- Is this acknowledged respectfully?
- Is there an apology? Is it actually an apology?
- Is anyone trying to change the subject?
And then I suggest you ask yourself:
- Does this bother me? Why doesn’t it?
A bunch of things are partisan issues, like the Maritime Link unfortunately. I don’t think racism is one of them, and I don’t think calling it out should be. How the people we have elected react to what has happened is far, far more important than what happened. And even if nothing does happen, officially, on the record, at the very least you and I right now are finally thinking about race.
Monday, October 28, 2013
There is a park near my apartment to commemorate Sir John Sparrow(???!) David Thomspon. You know, the former Prime Minister. Yes, on a little, residential street. It is a few meters of grass behind a store that sells wood chippers, chain saws, and bubble gum, so I think we can all forgive ourselves for not noticing. Except we can't, because there is a plaque.
Nova Scotia is a province of plaques. I have seen plaques for spots where the Queen has stopped to admire the view, plaques for where beer was brewed, plaques for where important works of literature were written, and plaques for where people have gotten the crap kicked out of them in bar fights.
Started by 99 percent invisible & The Atlantic, READ THE PLAQUE was not a project created with Nova Scotia in mind, but it should have been. Let's be super nerdy in the best possible way and honour the drinkers, fighters, lovers, etc. who made our hometowns great by submitting photos of local plaques. Seriously, if there's one thing my province excels at, it's putting weird words on weird metal to commemorate the weirdest people ever. To all the non Scotians: I'd love to see if your immortal beer tales could rival ours. (Doubt it.)
» Put your plaque on the map.
» Hear the funny story that started the project.
» I've submitted a few from our neighbourhood and Cleveland that I hope will be on the website soon. I've decided I will find the 5 best bronze Halifax history hotspots and will have them sent in by next Sunday. I'd be happy for your suggestions, as well as nearby places to eat, because that's one of my favourite parts of any adventure.
Finally: name your kids Sparrow because that's awesome.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Sunday, July 28, 2013
- When I discovered that Daria: The Movie wasn't actually being made I might have cried more than a little bit. Still, love Aubrey Plaza.
- A dress too wonderful for words.
- While researching a potential autumn road trip to Cleveland I found this lovely vintage poster. It seems I've missed it by 77 years, so... any recommendations?
- I've only recently learned that lobsters are almost immortal until we Annie Hall them. Now I discover they're cannibals. Yep. Nope. Not okay. Sea freaks...
- My iPhone background is always a series of either lines or dots. My current favourite.
- This house fits perfectly into surroundings & I think that's kind of magical.
- I don't think social media makes people dumber; I think dumb people are revealed by social media. (Hilarious.)
- Planet Money explored plans that failed Detroit while Fresh Air talks plans that can succeed.
- The Real Dazed and Confused of the 1970s.
- A gentle reminder as I try to get rid of my stuff instead of cramming it back into my bedroom.
- This interview with Amy Poehler can only be described with this series of Parks and Recreation gifs.
"Well, Offerman and I would be great “mama” and “daddy” of a cult. He would do all of the hard work and I would be good at keeping up morale."
-Amy Poehler, teasing about my dreams coming true
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I am an anxious person masquerading as someone who is laid back. Only those close to me see that my toe starts tapping within the twenty minutes of having to catch the bus mark and the weird stress faces I make when forced to do something unproductive when there are deadlines. Living in a house where CBC was always on, I grew up with serious sounding jingles as a means of telling time. (As It Happens meant supper soon!) In fact, my early meanderings of the Internet were mostly spent seeking clips of Peter Gzowski’s wonderful voice in its hey day, before he became a guest on other up and comer’s shows and eventually passed away.
Performers tell their stories. Some are good, some are bad, some are campy, some are inspiring. When they are good, they are very, very good. When they are bad, they are the people who think they are legally entitled to a cronut or some crazy New York crap like that.
Please note that my two favourites for this show are possibly by favourite 40 minutes of anything ever. Both stories make me nostalgic for things I don't understand.
Maybe coming soon:
Badass female podcasts / Reporting to make you feel things / Sports with humour or Why Grantland is the best and nothing will ever compare...