What do you do when a tweet makes headlines when you’ve already been in the news for various, not so positive issues?

The case of Saint Mary’s University and social media

So what DO you do when several disrespectful tweets from students make national news where you are trying to avoid the spotlight?

Do you pursue legal action or advice? Do you do what you think will please the public or do you stand by your own policies and procedure which may be, for argument’s sake, outdated? Do you have a lockdown on social media on campus - no messages sent in or out? Do you hunt down the suspected journalist who is going to extreme lengths to deface your institution (but honestly, who checks undergrads twitter accounts just ‘cause?)? Do you claim no responsibility because - after all you cannot muzzle another citizen - free speech is a known right in this country - no matter the content…?

The solution to these issues is albeit complex but a simple duty of care can be taken into account. Yet, how do you control a student’s freedom of speech?

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Tips this holiday season

With the holidays around the corner and many people in a frenzy of buying, eating out and partying - I propose the following:

TIP THOSE WHO DESERVE IT - this means, look outside of the traditional financial tipping sphere and help those who are really in need - the working poor.

This tip came from a rather cold and insensitive interaction today:

To the waitress at Second Cup who gave me the dirty look because I didn’t tip you for a coffee you poured into a paper cup for me - Imma let you finish but - you don’t deserve the tip. I’m tired of tipping people who make more money than me… which is none, I’m poor. I’ve borrowed more money than ever this year to go to school. I was locked out of my apartment so I came to get a warm beverage for my hands. I buy a lot of coffee from you. You never smile and the service is shitty.

I’m gonna say this once, I am tired of tipping in restaurants. Build it into the tab. I’m not a terrible customer and I’m tired of compensating with my tip for others who don’t. I want to help out the local coffee shop or a new restaurant, but I can’t afford to supplement the staff’s income because the store owner pays shitty wages. This isn’t about Karma (cause if it was, the owners are the ones who have the worst Karma of all)… It’s almost like unfair taxation and when you live in a small city and you don’t have that many options for a decent meal - you shouldn’t have to lie and say something is good when it isn’t. Especially if your dinner out is a special event! Your server knows when it’s not good, they aren’t stupid. So many people here tip even when the service or when the food is off, horrid or they are being down right rude. You don’t have to. It’s a courtesy not a right in your server-customer relationship. This comes from someone who worked both in the kitchen and as a server. I’m not blind to the industry. If you wanted a job where you weren’t responsible for the happiness of your customer - you are in the wrong business - which is fundamentally sales. This is a direct sales relationship based on trust of opinion - so they complain, well maybe you should rethink your angle and audience, no? And if it’s that annoying - well good luck getting a job in any other business - people complain everywhere.

This made me think of WHO WE SHOULD be able to and consistently tip - how about the working poor: those in social work, agriculture and retail. I do NOT include people who get tips routinely in this category. I’m talking about the grocery bagger at Sobeys or Superstore, the greeter at Walmart (or anyone at Walmart), half of the people working in the mall for minimum wage and no benefits - those who do not have a “tipping option” but can still be some of the kindest and most helpful people you’ll ever meet. They help you find the specific light bulbs you need, make your holiday cards, find that bottle of wine suited to your taste or helped you pick out the perfect outfit for your work dinner. These are the people who have to go to food banks and don’t spend $200 on champagne for themselves to attend a friend’s party on a yacht (like one server from a local restaurant did for a “fun night out”). These are people who would be the first to take your sick day and work well into the night (so long as it doesn’t conflict with their two other jobs).

So you want to know who to tip this and every other season? Tip the disenfranchised by advocating for higher wages, donate to food banks and find out what you can do to help your local community - do a Google search.  But most of all, smile and complain less - there is always someone worse off working (probably harder than you) to make it better.

The problem with “Blonde”

"Blondes have more fun" "Blondes are ditzy" "Blondes are stupid" "Blondes have it easier" "Dumb Blonde"

Who hasn’t heard those sayings their entire lives? It doesn’t matter what your hair colour is, but you’ve heard and repeated those statements at least once.  Just pause for a minute… and think about those statements. If you take a minute and examine that… wait for it… What a generalization!

I know people who’ve gone “blonde” to “get more attention,” “feel sexier,” and to seem like they are “less serious and more fun.” All in all, most people don’t realize it but these statements are confirming many people’s beliefs about blonde-haired people; they are silly (possibly stupid), objectified sex symbols. Many who hold this belief also think people who have blonde hair of course know this and that is why they persist with this hair colour… to reinforce this belief. That could very well be true, looking at the example of Miley Cyrus, from brown hair to blonde - then she underwent her media spectacle of “sexualization” for all to see. Britney Spears’ gradual look change from black to blonde, Beyonce - a platinum blonde African American .. and the list goes on. The point is - these people are cultural icons and have become embodiments of a particular beauty ideal - blonde.  Those who stand against blonde, do so in stark contrast - Victoria Beckham as a fashion icon with almost black hair, the Duchess of Cambridge with her flowing brown locks, and even Michelle Obama whose bangs made America standstill for a day… Why won’t they put in some blonde? Because it would look “wrong.” That, as the social elite, they strive to be above just an object or sex symbol and lead “meaningful" or "exemplary" lives.  We don’t say that… they don’t say that… but their image (including chosen hairstyle and colour) does. 

I’ve had my hair several different colours and it has always affected how people speak to me, listen to me and view me - specifically my own gender.  Why is that?  This idea of hair colour VS hair colour is actually a historical marketing ploy. What better way to sell products than to pit one segment of customers against another in competition - a competition for the ideal of beauty?

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Art is about the market and for the market, sorry, its true.

After a series of condescending, unhelpful and disrespectful emails exchanged with a gallery curator, I have been reassessing my view of art.  The result is, that this view is valid.  

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Five Friday Fab Fun Finds!

This week is all about the power of music - to make you move (office, home, dance troupe.. whatever and wherever). Anyone can dance - so.. do it. I love these videos featuring awesome dancing:
It’s Five Fun Friday Fab Finds/Forgottens/Flailers:
1. Avicii: Levels http://www.youtube.com/
2. Fatboy Slim: Praise you http://www.youtube.com/
3. Black Keys: Lonely Boy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_426RiwST8
4. Daft Punk: Around the world http://www.youtube.com/
and my favorite is this following by “Phil” in my favourite city - Toronto.
5. Kylie Minogue: Outta My Way (by Phil) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM29SJspHhU

Miley Cyrus.. I’m over it.

She got my 22 seconds of attention.. and now I’ve gone back to actually good music (food stomping, body bumping) and musicians:

Aloe Blaac:  I need a dollar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFZP8zQ5kzk

Avett Brothers: Kick Drum Heart http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxIl4zGrFBA

Avicii:  Levels: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ovdm2yX4MA  (I just love the video

Joel Plaskett: You’re Mine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoVn9O2GOk0

Peter Gabriel: Solsbury Hill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OO2PuGz-H8




Stormy Skies
Victorian Dog Portraits…. awesome.

Victorian Dog Portraits…. awesome.

The question of a chant at a Maritime university…

So about this “Saint Mary’s” chant making headlines:

While the origins of the chant remain a mystery and its lyrics horribly misguided and offensive - the whole “media storm” about this speaks more to our conscious or unconscious mistrust and insecurity in this group of youths and how we’ve (I’m speaking generally here) raised this generation. It is the mere suggestion that perhaps the blame lies not with solely the short-sighted students but is shared with ourselves and our own embellishment… 

During a discussion I took part in today at another university - this was reviewed at length and let me share some thoughts…

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