Appeared in the North Shore News – June 19, 2015
Hold on — is it possible that those demanding social tolerance are themselves harshly intolerant?
The news elites have chosen as our times’ biggest story the transformation of former male Bruce Jenner to female Caitlyn Jenner, with the triumphant media epiphany of a cover photo in Vanity Fair magazine. You can’t buy that kind of advertising.
But in the tsunami of media coverage, of course all zealously positive — who dares dawdle in the leftist/progressive parade? — I’ve found no comment on a simple question pertaining to the regendered Jenner: Will women accept him as a woman?
Above all, will Jenner pass muster with the only women who really matter in the court of media opinion — radical feminists — as one of their own?
Michelle Goldberg’s article last August in The New Yorker anticipated this question, or rather effectively raised it. In all its compelling nuances, the article should be read in full.
Goldberg begins with a quote from Robin Morgan, the keynote speaker at the West Coast Lesbian Conference in 1973, scorning transsexual (terminology then) folksinger Beth Elliott: “I will not call a male ‘she’; thirty-two years of suffering in this androcentric society … have earned me the title ‘woman’; one walk down the street by a male transvestite, five minutes of his being hassled (which he might enjoy), and then he dares, he dares to think he understands our pain? No, in our mothers’ names and in our own, we must not call him sister.”
Detect any tolerance? That was 42 years ago, but such hostility remains. Few feminists now share this view, Goldberg writes, but she found some prominent ones.
Their view is that gender is a caste position: A transgendered male “has a choice … he can never understand what being a woman is really like.” One declared at a 2011 conference that the transgendered wouldn’t have access to women’s sleeping spaces or bathrooms — less “progressive” than the Downtown Eastside’s Carnegie Centre in Vancouver.
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The replacement of the leafy glade that was the West Vancouver Memorial Library’s courtyard by a blaring white tiled deck, furnished with black post-modern metal chairs and computer tables, is an unbelievable stupidity, a secluded environment’s desecration.
That its opening was marked by a proud official ceremony beggars belief. It deserved a wake for what it replaced.
This is not a personal hobby-horse. The undersigned was in it only once or twice. The courtyard was not well known, or, past the fine pre-Raphaelite-style stained glass window, even readily noticed. That was its value. It was a quiet retreat inviting reflection over, or without, a book, or for writing a few notes or, who knows, a sonnet. Now the computer empire has overrun it.
Where the hell is plain good taste among this town’s presumed elites? Ah, right, the elites also wanted to tack a hideous addition onto the Ferry Building Gallery — even turn it to kneel worshipfully toward the lordly Grosvenor building. Canada’s wealthiest town, but, beyond the natural bounty are the monster homes and the lust for views. What crass blindness to charm and beauty.
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Short years ago, Capilano University grad Bria Skonberg played hot-jazz trumpet with her combo at one of the pay-what-you-can jazz concerts at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in West Vancouver. I lingered to bestow my shy praise and get her business card, which one day may be a collector’s item.
Dal Richards, Vancouver’s amazing living legend (is he sick of that phrase?), now a stripling of 97, hired the young graduate of Capilano University’s music program for his orchestra. Dal became a big mentor, as he was of singer Michael Buble.
Bria moved on to New York in 2010. Now her name crops up in Manhattan media. She’s received heady praise and multiple awards.
She’s coming home to play at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival next Friday at Performance Works, Granville Island, with her quintet, including fellow Cap students Evan Arntzen, scion of a family of Vancouver jazz aristocrats, and Sean Cronin. Local girl makes very good.
Not to overlook that Pierre Aderne performs tomorrow and Sunday at West Van’s Kay Meek Centre, also part of the jazz festival as well as the North Shore Jazz Series.
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I wish to report the driver of Blue Bus 994, No. 250, which left Horseshoe Bay at approximately 10 a.m. on June 10.
He was a model driver. He radiated conscientious attention to the job. He waited before starting forward until frail riders sat down. Some Blue Bus drivers do. You were expecting a complaint?
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Wrong figures blundered into my last column: Overwaitea tea in the 100th anniversary tin box at Save-On-Foods stores is 510 grams — or, for those still wedded to avoirdupois measure, 18, not the 16 ounces (i.e., a pound) common a century ago. Got that straight?
© Trevor Lautens, 2015