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Jon Kay’s Weekly Deeply Problematic Newsletter: October 1, 2022
The CBC’s new talking-tomato anti-racism variety hour; Lia Thomas, disc-golf-style; truth, reconciliation, politics, and snark; an update on Prof. Hentai Boobs; and the ratio I got after my 4th vax.
The CBC has a new kids-style variety show featuring anthropomorphic tomatoes that lecture viewers about racism
I wish that sub-headline were an exaggeration. But no, it’s true. The taxpayer-funded media colossus known as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has unveiled a new show called Lido TV, in which a pair of talking tomatoes (they look like testicles, but apparently they’re supposed to be vegetables) deliver woke sermons to whoever is so unfortunate as to hit the play button. You can get a taste of it by checking out the tweet below.
Oh and it gets better. After video clips from this self-parodic mess went viral, it emerged that Lido’s production company has been bankrolled in the high-five figures (at least) by public funds. Your (Canadian) tax dollars at work.
Disc golf’s Lia Thomas moment
I’ve made no secret of my passion for disc golf, a sport that attracts its fair share of nerds, hipsters, beatniks, and, more recently, biological men seeking to compete in female-protected divisions. In my latest for Quillette, I describe how a male-bodied disc golfer named Natalie Ryan is now winning Elite-class female tournaments despite having played the game for only a few years. (Oh and, surprise, surprise, Ryan is also the reigning distance champion in the female category.) Much of my reporting is based on two pro female players who came forward to me with their concerns— though they chose to remain anonymous (being described in the article as Jane and Mary) because their corporate tour sponsors are anxious not to appear off-side on the trans issue. Here’s an excerpt:
The PDGA’s own reported data suggest that performance differences between males and females are stark. In the “Advanced” amateur division (a classification that is technically open to all amateur players but which is almost entirely male), players typically are capable of throwing a maximum distance of between 300 feet and 450 feet. In the case of “Advanced Women,” on the other hand, the corresponding figures are a third lower: 200 feet and 300 feet. The world record for longest disc golf throw by a man is 1,109 feet. For female players, the record is 569 feet. And it is worth noting that Ryan, the female tour’s only trans player, also happened to win disc golf’s 2021 US Distance Championship in the female category with a throw of 458 feet.
Nor is the male-bodied advantage in disc golf confined to full-throttle open-field drives. According to Jane and Mary, the disparity also manifests itself on densely wooded holes, which sometimes require players to contort their bodies in awkward positions while shooting around trees from a standstill.
“I would say that one of the biggest advantages of the [male-bodied] players is their ability to scramble in tight situations when a disc goes off the fairway, to just stand there and blast a shot through the woods,” Mary tells me. “I’ve seen both [trans player] Chloe [Alice] and Natalie [Ryan] do this. They’re just standing still and throw the kind of [forehand shot] that I’ve never seen a female throw even under perfect conditions.”
“What makes it worse is that Ryan’s form isn’t even that good,” says Jane. “If it were, she’d be out-throwing us by even more. So while the rest of us spend years refining our form, trying to keep up and get more distance, she’s been in the sport only—what?—three years or something. And she’s already said [publicly], ‘Oh, I’ve got my form down. I don’t need to practice that.’”
Truth, reconciliation, politics, and snark
Yesterday was National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, a day honouring the legacy of my country’s residential-school system for Indigenous children. It was a system that, in many cases, forcibly removed boys and girls from their parents’ care for most of the year; and which resulted in at least 3,200 deaths (and likely more). Indigenous peoples in Canada often were treated in a wicked manner by Canadian governments, and it is fitting that there’s a day for this fact to be acknowledged.
Unfortunately, it is still difficult to disentangle National Day for Truth and Reconciliation from the political circumstances in which it was first observed. The statutory holiday was created by Justin Trudeau just last year, two months before he called a federal election in which he would play heavily on his posture as a devoted anti-racist who will heal the country’s divisions. Then, when the first occurrence of the big day arrived on September 30, 2021, Trudeau jetted off for a beach vacation in Tofino, B.C.
All of this took place amidst the explosive social panic that accompanied the widely claimed discovery of 215 child graves at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. But in fact, no graves have been found in the 16 months since that story broke, notwithstanding Trudeau’s own maudlin gestures to the contrary. As I wrote on social media recently, “There are many horrible things that happened to Indigenous peoples since the arrival of Europeans. So why do we have to make up lies when it’s time to recite them?”
I confess that the air of pious, often performative self-recrimination that now suffuses this issue in Canada is something I find off-putting. It’s been several years now since governments and educators have been making a full-court press on teaching Canadians about these evils. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that much of this is necessary, as I can attest that my own 1980s-era education was woefully negligent on anything to do with Indigenous topics. But when the tone becomes accusatory and hectoring, there comes a point of diminishing, and even negative, marginal returns. I am thinking in particular of a prominent CBC journalist asking Canadian “settlers,” “What are you doing today as a settler” to cast out original sin—followed by a church chorus of responses.
I am sure many of these people are acting on good intentions, but for those of us who have experience with organized religion (or communist struggle sessions), the entire thing can feel creepy and unsettling (especially the trite demands for “discomfort”).
That said, I will give the last word to Melissa Mbarki, who politely reminded me that yesterday was supposed to be about the victims of residential schools, and that sometimes my snark becomes an off-putting sermonizing performance all of its own.
An update on Professor Hentai Boobs
Last week, Deeply Problematic brought you news of the Manufacturing Technology instructor at Trafalgar High School in Oakville, Ontario who enjoys dressing in the pornographic style of Bakunyū (爆乳)—a Japanese term that literally means “exploding milk/breasts.” As I noted in that article, school-board officials initially jumped to Prof. Hentai Boobs’ defence on the basis of protected “gender expression,” which itself attracted outrage. Even the provincial education ministry eventually got involved, kicking the issue to the Ontario College of Teachers to review how the teacher’s “attire” matches up with professional conduct provisions.
Online, meanwhile, a popular theory is that the teacher is engaged in a deliberate trolling campaign against the school, with the goal being to launch a discrimination suit after an (expected) job termination. But if that’s the case, I gotta say that this is one deeply committed troll—not only wearing this outlandish get-up in school, but also at the local store and pool.
As I told listeners on Toronto’s 640AM during one of my semi-regular radio appearances, it doesn’t really matter what this person’s motivations are. Every profession has its loose screws and weirdos. And the fact that a single teacher in Ontario is a troll or a perv isn’t a big deal. What is a big deal is a society that is so terrified of violating anyone’s right to gender expression that it can’t enforce common-sense norms about how adults should act around minors. Here’s an Instagram capsule of my radio appearance that makes the point.
And that’s about it for this week. There probably won’t be any Deeply Problematic newsletter next week, as I’ll be on vacation at ASLOK in Cleveland. But there may be updates on my parallel boardgaming substack, Let’s Get Board.
Before I go, let me leave you with this little Twitter manifesto on my centrist science-centric politics. It’s something I wrote on my phone after just getting my fourth COVID vaccine shot—a medical step that was not popular (to put it mildly!) with some of my (former) followers.
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