Misogynists in the frequent flyer lounge

While I’m on the subject of Air Canada flight attendants, I’m absolutely horrified at the blatant level of misogyny coming from posters on FlyerTalk. In almost every discussion about North American airlines and the in-flight service standards, someone will make a comment that “the crews are old.” This is really a shorthanded way to say “the crews are ugly,” but a more honest statement would be “the chicks aren’t hot.”

It gets worse when the comparison comes in between North American carriers and Asian-based carriers. Because we all know that “Asian chick” = “teh hotness,” and so NA-based carriers should immediately run to Thailand and scoop up the hot chicks to work their cabins, as well as institute mandatory retirement clauses at age 30. And, hey, Asians have better work ethic than Americans or Canadians, and they’ll work for less money, and maybe they won’t know about unions, and we can have a great airline for less with hot chicks serving us drinks.

Hoo boy. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to pick apart exactly how many problems there are in that position. Is it the misogyny? Is it the objectification? Is it the idea of outsourcing? Is it the notion of subservience of Asian women to white men? Oh, the thrills! (I’m not going to provide links to each one of those statements, but trust me, they’re in that forum in the threads dealing with the FA strike. Search at the risk of your soul.)

Ignore the disrespect of the cabin crews and their professional responsibilities. The level of objectification here is just staggering, and anyone who makes a statement like this:

Just wish SQ flew into YYZ so at least I will have smiling dolls onboard.

and thinks that it is (a) a positive comment about Singapore Airlines and their cabin crews and (b) a disparaging comment about Air Canada’s cabin crews and (c) is OK in 2011 is a piece of shit. (I’m posting this rebuttal here, and not over on FlyerTalk, because I’m not sure I can abide by the Terms of Service on that bboard and it isn’t fair to make the moderators delete a lengthy post from me that includes multiple uses of the word “fuck” and its derivatives.) The cabin crew is there for your safety. They are not there to serve you drinks, or for you to look at and think naughty thoughts. If those things happen, fine. But that’s not the primary focus of their role, and if you’re going to switch airlines because you think 110-pound Singapore Girls are better to look at, you’re a fucking asshole. Oh, you’re entitled to hold that opinion, and you’re entitled to make that choice, but you’re still a fucking asshole.

On the littler guys

You might have noticed recently there are a bunch of protests erupting all over the place. The arguments of the protestors are, to be sure, unfocused and confusing. I have some level of sympathy for these guys as a group, but that’s not really what I’ve been thinking about recently. Instead, I’ve been thinking about the people who are on the other side.

(Warning: Long, unfocused rant.)

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Soundcheck Sunday: Katie Herzig, “Wish You Well”

Please don’t judge Katie Herzig’s music by the fact that it has made it into a great many shows that you like making fun of. (“Private Practice,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” etc.) And it’s really OK if that’s where you found her. Personally, I blame the guys at Aurgasm for introducing me to her stuff last year, and I’ve been slowly adding tracks to my library in a piecemeal fashion. I noticed last week that “Lost and Found,” from the new album “The Waking Sleep,” was trending on iTunes and some skillful Googling reveals that it was, in fact, on “Grey’s” recently, so that explains that. Which annoys me, because “Lost and Found” was probably my favorite song off “The Waking Sleep.” And god knows I can’t profile something that just showed up on mass teevee last week. So let’s go back to the last album instead.

This particular track has a live version, from her concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco, which I think is just tremendous — but I can’t find it in on YouTube, so you’re stuck with the version from “Apple Tree.” Which isn’t bad at all!

Fail on fail

Vancouver Sun, Ex-MLA queries Christy Clark’s cleavage. This is the stupidest “controversy” I’ve seen or heard about in eons — it’s light-years beyond the whole Obama birth certificate nonsense — but the single worst part about it, in my mind, is the part where David Schrek, after picking on a woman’s outfit, decided to run and blame his wife for raising the issue in the first place.

“I’m not sexist! My wife said the sexist thing first, so it’s not sexist at all!”

Yeah. Nice.

New York

When I first got off the train in Paris at Gare de Lyon five years ago, I felt like I was home. It was the sort of place that was immediately familiar, even though I’d never been there before. I’m firmly convinced this was the product of a childhood steeped in French culture. It was like that in London, too, and for the same reasons: when you have these great cities as the touchstones of your literature and your movies, the sheer volume of media makes the geography real. New York was exactly the same way, except that it might have been even more real, in the sense that for my entire life I’ve been watching TV shows and movies set in New York City, and so much of what happens in those shows somehow seeps out into the wider culture — I think I knew, on an academic level, how much this was true, but I didn’t really understand it until I was riding up the approach to the Queens Midtown tunnel on a Friday night, looking out over the East River, and I realized that I wasn’t really going to encounter anything that was truly strange or dislocating.

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Soundcheck Sunday: Oliver Swain, “Big Machine”

“Who?”

This guy:

I first encountered Oliver Swain this past summer. Stephen Quinn was talking about CBC Vancouver’s series of lunchtime concerts — at which Swain played sometime in July — and played this track by way of introducing his music. Driving in the car when this came on, I had to sit through the entire thing, even though I ended up in the parking lot at Wal-Mart with no recollection of why I was there or where I’d been going in the first place.

This is the best version of “Big Machine” I can find on YouTube; unfortunately, most of the other copies are home video shot at concerts with less-than-perfect acoustics. Having said that, I strongly encourage you to run out and buy his album on iTunes right now, because it’s the kind of music Mumford & Sons wish they made.