You Have To Be Taught

You’ve got to be taught

To hate and fear,

You’ve got to be taught

From year to year,

It’s got to be drummed

In your dear little ear

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate,

You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote a heart-wrenching song for their musical South Pacific in 1949.

My mom loved South Pacific.  She was born in a harbour of a bay of the North Atlantic.

©2006 Marion Pennell

©2006 Marion Pennell

My mom was the least racist or prejudiced person I have ever known.  Her father was a bigot, in the typical way of his generation (he was born in the tail end of the 19th century).  In the 1970s, in the hospital, dying, she told me he didn’t want any black nurses to attend to him.  I thought, lucky for the black nurses that they didn’t have to attend to such a grumpy verbally-abusive patient. Continue reading

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I.Am.Woman.

©2001 Marion Pennell

©2001 Marion Pennell

I do know why I read the comments on all the news stories.  It’s the same reason I watch ‘Jack Van Impe Presents’ every Sunday.  I want to know the “arguments” from the other side.

So far (summary of Ray Rice, Jian Ghomeshi, Bill Cosby, et al. defenders, that’s just this news cycle, there will be more, with similar “arguments”, pick any time, any place):

Women are evil and want money.  (So if a women is abused by a rich man, and she has access to his money, there is apparently no crime. As if wives are essentially prostitutes leeching off men, and if he paid for it, he owns it.)

Feminists want to prevent men from receiving college degrees. (That is “apparently” why there is an uproar about rape culture on campuses).

Women deserve what they get when they “go after” a powerful man, after all they had nefarious reasons in the first place. (Women are apparently predators, when they are not prey.) Continue reading

Walk On

sthenri7134

When she came to, she was walking. And crying.

She took inventory as she walked. Body parts ached, really hurt. She tried to understand how she could gain consciousness and actually be walking. She decided that she hadn’t been unconscious, just in a blackout, and then, now, not in a blackout. Is that the same as “coming to”?, she wondered. She kept walking.

It was chilly and by the light it was early, very early. Maybe 6 a.m. The last memory was late, very late, and dark, and drunk, so very drunk. She didn’t know where those hours went, but obviously something very bad had happened. Continue reading

Rescue Me

Yoshi and Jacob

Yoshi and Jacob

Yoshi is about six.  He was rescued from a kill-shelter by a woman running Refuges St-Chatques (a play on words for St-Jacques).  I found Yoshi last year on http://petfinder.com .    

Jacob is about seven.  Jacob came from the Montréal SPCA Annex over three years ago – one of the last of the colony of around 90 cats from a hoarding situation in a 3-1/2 apartment in NDG.  (Montréal speak – a 3-1/2 is a one bedroom.)  

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Tramps Like Us

I have two musical “moments” in my life.

The first was around 1971 in Discus record store in Fairview Shopping Centre in Pointe Claire.  The soundtrack album of The Harder They Come was playing and I had never heard anything like it.  I hung around the store browsing while they played the whole album.  It was my introduction to reggae.

The second was in 1975, when the musician of our teenaged group brought Born to Run to a party.  My memory is so vivid – I know who brought it, whose house we were at, even what I was wearing.  We played it over and over that night.  I soon bought a copy for myself, and then the two previous albums.

I missed the tour in Montréal when he played Place des Arts.  Somehow the concert date passed me by.  (Concerts were so affordable then.  My first show at the Montréal Forum was Bad Company backing up Edgar Winter.  My second show was Eric Clapton with 461 Ocean Boulevard.)

Mooooooose shirt, 2003

Mooooooose shirt, 2003

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Will I Ever Use This In Real Life?

People question the value of an education.  I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Minor in Mathematics (1985), Qualifying Status as a Customs Broker from the CICB/Revenue Canada (1990), and a DEC (College Diploma) in Special Education (1995).  (Of course, I live in Québec and I didn’t have to go into exorbitant debt to do so.)  I am currently an artist/writer with a day job washing dogs, getting by and living in a poor part of Montréal.  Don’t regret any of it.
Montréal

Montréal

My time at Concordia University was formative.  Living in the city for the first time, meeting people from so many places studying so many things!  Optimistic enthusiastic ambitious people at the lunch table (very different from a workplace lunchroom).  We were going to change the world.  Our professors dared us to.

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