BOOMERBROADcast

Enjoy, laugh, disagree or simply empathize with those who lived life in THE sixties and are now rockin' life in THEIR sixties, and beyond.


1 Comment

From this day forth, all male citizens will be circumcised


Imagine if Parliament passed a law that required every male in the country to be circumcised. Or, what if getting a vasectomy required the written permission of the local Catholic priest, regardless of your religion. What would the reaction be if every male in the country was forced to undergo a rectal exam before he was allowed buy condoms. As bizarre as this sounds, that’s exactly the kind of obstacles and unwarranted control over their bodies that women in the United States are now facing compliments of a reactionary, misogynistic government.

There are reasons the original fathers of the American constitution insisted on separation of church and state.  Removing funding from Planned Parenthood has eliminated access for millions of women to assistance in health-related services like breast and pap examinations, STD testing, birth control and other counseling. Students, low-income women and minorities are not the only beneficiaries of services related to women’s health and particular segments of the population are totally dependent on them.

It’s difficult for men to comprehend the challenges faced by women on many levels in everyday life. We cope with lower pay, gender discrimination and general lack of support for “women’s issues”. Many men are oblivious and it’s our responsibility to educate and inform the men in our lives about the importance of fairness and equality. I wish I’d been more vocal when I was younger. If I had, I would have made more money and had a much fatter pension plan waiting for me upon retirement. But, it’s still not too late to make our voices heard.

This won’t hurt a bit. Trust us. We know what’s best for you.

Fortunately, as a Canadian, I live in a more enlightened society. We take care of our sick through universal health care and are more progressive in recognition of women’s issues than our southern neighbours. Canadian women are able to access maternity and health care services our American sisters only dream of.  Perhaps they should start lobbying for reciprocal restrictions on males in health, economic and social issues. Many health plans reimburse men for the cost of Viagra but do not reimburse women for birth control pills. Imagine the backlash if men earned just seventy-six percent of what women made? How would they react to being told they had to get the approval of a fusty old doctor before they could father children or alternatively, choose not to father children. The threat of mutilation or something physically invasive happening to their little boy private parts might get the attention of the alpha neanderthals running the country. Only then will they truly understand what it feels like to have a third party have the final say on what happens to their body, i.e. to be a woman. Religious dogma notwithstanding, men as well as women are the beneficiaries of freedom. America’s founding fathers understood this, but unfortunately the current government can’t read.

Tracey Ullmann captures the essence of women’s struggles brilliantly.

If you haven’t seen it already, you’ll understand the imbalance when you watch this YouTube Video by British comedienne Tracey Ullmann. Click here.

Click the “Follow” icon to receive automatic notifications of new BOOMERBROADcast.net postings.

Feel free to share this blog post via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or other social media links below or comment on this post (left column, above, below the date).

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


1 Comment

Caitlin Moran celebrates feminism


Moran's bravado has made me feel more comfortable with my own "smiley face".

Moran’s bravado has made me feel more comfortable with my own “smiley face”.

Ya’ gotta love a woman who is so self-possessed, during an interview in front of hundreds of people in a packed auditorium, whips up her shirt and grabs her loose belly fat to make a smiley face, complete with eyes drawn on her bra. In the course of reading her book Moranthology (written five years ago) I viewed a couple of interviews on YouTube and Caitlin Moran did just that. One interview I watched was at our own Bluma Appel Theatre here in Toronto and the other was in Denmark.

British author, columnist, feminist and married mother of two daughters, Caitlin Moran is totally without guile and her strong views on feminism have me rethinking some of my own opinions. Growing up in a three-bedroom council house in Wolverhampton, England, Moran is the eldest of eight children of a disabled father and stay-at-home mother living on social assistance. In her family’s unique interpretation of home schooling, the children were banished to the local library twice a day to read and learn whatever they fancied. “I spent days running in and out of other worlds like a time bandit, or a spy. I was as excited as I’ve ever been in my life, in that library: scoring new books the minute they came in; ordering books I’d heard of—then waiting, fevered, for them to arrive, like they were the word ‘Christmas'”, she writes. Her experience alone is a strong justification for never reducing funding or closing local libraries, particularly in underprivileged neighbourhoods.  Fortunately for Moran, what her education lacked in the basics, she compensated for in a love of reading, learning and personal growth.

caitlin2Through a series of serendipitous events, Moran landed a job as a journalist at a very young age. You can read more on her fascinating story in her other books How To Build A Girl and How To Be A Woman. Moranthology outlines her philosophy of life. Her coarse, no-holds-barred delivery is not for everyone but she is totally honest and sincere and I admire her for that. She is committed to the greater good, particularly for women and minorities.

I’ve always been opposed to quotas in hiring of women and minorities as being a form of reverse discrimination but Moran’s argument has me rethinking my position. She writes, “But Cate—if you insist fifty percent of your workforce is women, and force employers to hire them, that means you’re gonna get women who are wildly ill-qualified desk-meat . . . . That can’t be right! . . . Well, it’s not right. It is, however, totally normal. After all, in an office that’s seventy percent men, at least twenty percent of them are going to be wildly ill-qualified desk meat . . .  People who are anti-positive-discrimination are ignoring the fact that we’ve been giving jobs to MILLIONS of stupid, unqualified people for millenia: men.” Boom! I never thought of it that way and as someone who has witnessed many unqualified men over the years being promoted to positions senior to me in business and making a lot more money, Moran definitely has a point. It was more common when Boomers were building careers than it is now to watch men being promoted to Office Manager, Bank Manager, Principal, Supervisor, Vice-President or even President when there were more qualified, capable women sitting in the wings and being bypassed.

caitlin3Moran also challenges young women who claim to not be feminists and casually dismiss the subject. She reminds them that unless they work in a sweat shop for barely subsistence pay, have been denied the right to marry whomever they choose regardless of gender, unless they are not allowed to vote or drive a car, or are denied birth control or the right to a legal abortion, then they should be thanking the feminists who worked on their behalf before them and therefore they are feminists. I share her frustration. There’s more work to be done in raising women’s salaries to equal that of men and changing the current laws that punish women who have been sexually assaulted or otherwise abused by men, along with a host of other issues.

One of the most fascinating aspects of reading Moran’s book for me, however, is how some women rise above circumstances that ordinarily would be considered dead-end or at the very least challenging to become successful beyond their social and economic origins. Moran likens the yoke of poverty to being “passed down like a drizzle, or a blindness . . . if kids from a poor background achieve something, it’s while dragging this weight behind them . . .  it takes ten times the effort to get anywhere from a bad postcode.” One of my favourite authors, psychologist Catherine Gildiner (author of Too Close To The Falls, After The Falls and Coming Ashore) is currently researching this subject for an upcoming book she is writing. Jeannette Walls author of The Glass Castle is another example of such a woman. None of Moran’s siblings achieved the level of accomplishment she has despite being raised in the same home, in the same circumstances by the same parents. It’s a fascinating subject and Moran is a fascinating woman.

blogger3Click the “Follow” icon to receive automatic notifications of new BOOMERBROADcast postings.

Feel free to share this blog post via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or other social media links below.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


Leave a comment

Lena Dunham IS that kind of girl


notI should say up front that I was a Lena Dunham fan long before I read her book “Not That Kind of Girl” so I approached it with a sense of eager anticipation. Prior to publication, Dunham received a hefty advance which generated bitchy comments suggesting that the book was probably over-hyped and would not deliver. After all, she’s only twenty-eight years old and writes, directs and stars in her own HBO series Girls but how much does anyone really know at that age. So the content may be considered a tad thin and self-indulgent.

Reviewing her book in the context of being authored by a young, successful and very smart young woman, I must say that I agree and at the same time disagree with the range of response. I adore her way with words, her metaphors and the way she articulates her stream of consciousness. Admittedly, she’s exceptionally self-centered and has a number of neuroses that require constant feeding but at the same time she possesses exceptional powers of perception and analysis—no doubt the direct result of years of therapy beginning at a young age. In fact, she tosses around many of the pop-psychology phrases she has become accustomed to over the years. She also enjoyed the uncommon benefit of having both her parents together in her life who provided copious amounts of love and validation throughout her growing up years.

lena3Dunham has been around the block. I admire her utter lack of self-consciousness and she is one of the few people who presents herself as a role model for normal-bodied people. Critical of the portrayal of sex in television and movies she says,  “Between porn and studio romantic comedies, we get the message loud and clear that we are doing it all wrong.Our bedsheets aren’t right. Our moves aren’t right. Our bodies aren’t right.” She clearly understands the problem of young people watching porn on line with perceptions and expectations that are way out of line with reality.

Dunham has no personal filters and those of us who watch “Girls” understand this. But parts of Not That Kind of Girl are graphic and will make non-appreciators squirm. We could have done without the summary of her diet diary for several days when she was being a good girl; it seemed rather a waste of paper and ink. Otherwise, it’s a fun peek into the mind of a clever twenty-something who grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth and is willing to share.

 


2 Comments

Dear John: I love you


John’s Doyle’s regular column in The Globe and Mail is always an interesting read. Despite my cranky relationship with TV service providers, I genuinely enjoy watching television—well, certain programs anyway. I despise the usurious rates charged by the cable, internet and satellite companies which cost more per month than heat and hydro for my home and rank far lower on the scale of necessary utilities.

Back to my buddy John Doyle, the Globe’s TV critic. We seem to be like-minded in our television tastes and opinions. I don’t like reality shows. I love PBS which fortunately is free. I do enjoy Canada’s basic networks like CBC, Global and CITY but I hate that we can’t live-stream angry old woman2their news programs when we’re visiting in the United States. (I’ve been e-mailing everyone under the sun about this issue for years, to no avail.) I also love HBO, the History Channel and even the Military Channel with its excellent documentaries on World War II. And I’m going to miss Stephen Colbert not being Stephen Colbert any more.

According to Doyle it’s just as well I missed Seth Meyers’ interview with Lena Dunham. I’m a huge fan of Dunham because she’s so (and I hate to use this overworked word) authentic. She’s also incredibly smart, creative and energetic and I’m surprised she didn’t stomp all over Meyers.

In his May 1st column, John Doyle laments the inattention paid by the TV media to white males of a certain age. Do the program decision-makers actually make use of market studies? Why is it that the 18-45 demographic is still targeted as the holy grail. Their market research must date from 1971. Boomers are a much larger slice of the pie and we probably have more money to spend on the drugs, step-in bathtubs, vacations and incontinence products touted by their advertisers. Therefore, we deserve to be catered to and listened to—white males and females, crones, codgers and boomers alike.

tv1Back to my beefs with the cable and satellite sharks. I’ve tried by-passing the service providers by watching via my laptop but that’s not yet a perfect system. A friend gave up on cable years ago and relies on rabbit ears with a fair level of success. But the only way to get HBO and other programs I like is to send Bell Xpressview a gigantic slice of my pension and a pound of my wizened old flesh every month. I’m watching with interest to see what happens with Amazon getting into the movie and TV show rental business.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the current proposal is passed by the government to force service providers to unbundle television channels. Consumers deserve a break and being allowed to pick what programs we are willing to pay for should be a given. Although I’m confident even then they’ll screw us by charging more for what we want.  I currently pay about $25.00/month to PVR programs that are on too late at night or that I’m not home to watch. In the U.S., much as I have my list of beefs with Comcast, I can call up any missed program free on channel 1 or 300. I asked Bell about whether they had that option the other day when I was talking to them about another issue and the guy didn’t know what I was talking about. Nothing is free here – not even choice. All I’m asking for is the ability to watch what I want, when I want and to pay accordingly for those choices.

And in closing, John, I feel so validated to think that you share my opinions. Obviously you’re very smart.


2 Comments

TV or not TV – that is the question


My relationship with my television satellite supplier is a love/hate thing. Most of the time I hate them for the usurious monthly rates they charge – more than I pay for heat and hydro who provide a more valuable service. However, after years of resisting, I finally caved in a couple of years ago and Continue reading