Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Cry Like an Egale

Well, you know me: I'm one of those anti-censorship and if-you-don't-like-it-don't-look-at-it types.  I wish everyone was like that.

I have no fondness for activists.  They're not fun people.  If there's one way to ruin a good thing, add an activist to it.  Activists are those rotten people that say they support a good cause, hoping that you'll think they're a good person too.  It's a ruse: they're still the obnoxious, demanding Karens that look like they're going to WalMart again to buy some more pink or blue hair dye.  These activists are only out to make themselves feel better; they couldn't care less about the groups they claim to support.  But when they get caught doing something they shouldn't (like when BLM got caught buying a 6 million dollar mansion), it's straight to the defensive and you're the problem.  You can insert any "group" in there and get the same results from activists.

What's starting this post is reading about who's raising a stink about having Fox banned from Canadian Cable packages ( and it's Egale Canada, another Feminist/Social Justice group that are really bad at pig-latin phobias.  If you’re having a hard time sleeping, read their open letter to the CRTC:

"People in Canada deserve to know that the news broadcast on Canadian airwaves is reliable and objective, and marginalized groups must be protected from malicious propaganda," the group's executive director Helen Kennedy wrote."  That, I had a laugh at because after Bill C-11's passing the other week, you'll only get the most unreliable and unobjective news now.  There's that equity the activists always pine about: we're all going to be lied to equally.

Kennedy specifically accused now-former prime-time host Tucker Carlson of provoking "hatred and violence" against trans people by making "false and horrifying claims" in a segment that also included Egale's name and logo.  I should say one example from Helen's letter to the CRTC which isn't a lie, was from the second paragraph: "The segment also contained a range of other malicious misinformation about 2STNBGN people, including that trans people are given preferential treatment in employment and other opportunities."  Well, they do.  Ask any Diversity Officer (also, it's part of the Employment Equity Act).

""The trans movement is targeting Christians, including with violence," Carlson said in a March segment following a mass shooting at a Nashville school.

"Egale has experienced firsthand the hate that is generated from a single segment aired on Fox News in Canada," Kennedy wrote. "This programming is in clear violation of Canadian broadcasting standards and has no place on Canadian broadcasting networks."

I didn't see the Tucker segment (or any examples of "hate" from Egale) but I've seen other "activists" get pretty violent over the last couple of years.  Perfect example would be Antifa, supposedly short for Antifascists (which would make them technically Communists; I've seen a little WW2 stuff too), and those guys are pretty destructive whether it's throwing concrete at people or super-looting stores.  I will say Antifa has some of the best arsonists in North America.

Now if the activists did start something with the Christians, then I could see why she'd be defensive because that would make her group the ones provoking "hatred and violence" and being abusive because it's really, really rare that Christians pick fights.  When was the last time you were bullied into going to the Loaves and Fishes Cookout?  Is Egale some kind of oppressive hate group?  Probably.

Anyways, someone has to talk to these activists.  Either you support a democracy (majority rule) or you support marginalized groups (minority rule).  You can't do both.  Life isn't Star Trek 2 where the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many... or the one.  We all know that doesn't work, or it doesn't work for long. 

"The public consultation, which began earlier this month, was triggered by an open letter from advocacy group Egale Canada."  And a whole 160 out of 44 million people signed a petition.

""Why would we want a broadcaster spreading falsehoods and damaging our democracy in the way that it has done to the U.S.," someone in Ontario wrote." 

Nobody's watching cable news anymore because no one's watching cable.  I don't watch Fox but there's no reason it should be banned.  As much as the CBC has nothing to offer and has spread their fair share of lies (I'm thinking of something as dumb as the Russians were behind the Freedom Convoy), I don't want it banned either.  The answer isn't to ban anything.  If something is meant to exist or die, that'll happen on its own.  

One comment was: "As a person who identifies as LGBTQ2SI, I firmly believe Canadians are able to decide for themselves which cable channels they want or don’t want, and Canadians are able to discern opinion from reality without options being removed on their behalf," a person in New Brunswick stated.

That's perfect, even though it's 2SLGBTQI and not LGBTQ2SI.  One year in the Gulag and some anti-something training for you, person from New Brunswick.


Thursday, May 4, 2023

How To Take The Fun Out Of Music

Oh, where to start.

I found this while I was going through my Long and McQuades Feed (yes, I still get RSS feeds).  Anyways, this shows up: Realizing Diversity (An Equity Framework for Music Education).  Here's the description:

Author: Karen Howard
Format: Book
Version: Text Book

Questions abound about diversity in music education. How can we engage with diverse populations, repertoire, and identities while upholding integrity and achieving equity? What are cultural appropriation, othering, tokenizing, and essentializing? How can we avoid bias in our teaching and repertoire selection? How do we create a more socially just music education?

These are critical questions with accessible answers. But if we are to become better music educators, we must reflect on these questions, our own identities, and our relationships with the music and people of the world.

Realizing Diversity by Karen Howard is a ground-breaking and practical resource for crafting diverse and anti-bias music education in classrooms, ensembles, and studios at all levels -- from preschool to university and community settings.

At the book's core is an Anti-Bias Framework intended to help music educators gain confidence and comfort in designing music curricula that are just, equitable, and make participants feel safe and welcome. Structured around the four social justice domains of identity, diversity, justice, and action, this framework explores topics of anti-racism, gender and sexual identity, power and privilege, disabilities, economic realities, empathy, and critical consciousness.

Dr. Howard also includes discussion of educational movements in United States history, the challenging "world music" label and related authenticity, the hyper-prevalence of Western Eurocentric music, inclusive repertoire selection, as well as appendices with critical practices for educators and a sample curriculum.

An indispensable book for pre-service, beginning, and veteran music teachers of toddlers through adults, Realizing Diversity considers the many separate but deeply interrelated questions related to creating a more socially just music education.

Karen Howard is a frequent presenter working with teachers and presenting research related to creating a more socially just world of music education. She is Associate Professor of Music at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses related to children's music, sociology of education, research methods, ethnomusicology, and matters of diversity.

All for $41.50

I like when books have to prove their own existence.  "Questions abound about diversity in music education."  Personally, I didn't have any questions but Question One was "How can we engage with diverse populations, repertoire, and identities while upholding integrity and achieving equity?"  I'll answer that.  Achieving equity happens when you throw out integrity.  Next.  "What are cultural appropriation, othering, tokenizing, and essentializing?"  In a musical context, I think "appropriation" is a nasty way of saying "influence".  I would say my playing and songs are influenced by Blues because I like Blues a lot, but dim people would say I'm appropriating black music.  I don't get mad that Hip Hop for the last 20 years has been produced by Swedes and probably explains why it doesn't have soul, but I wouldn't say blacks are appropriating white European dance music.  And I can't be bothered to know what she means by Essentializing.  I think Dave Brubeck with Paul Desmond is essential listening, but who knows what Karen means.

"How can we avoid bias in our teaching and repertoire selection?"  Easy, don't read your biases into everything you do.  It's music, Dummy.  If something's good and worth learning, then it's good and worth learning.  Pretty easy.  I would say keep it simple at first if you're trying to teach kids.  "How do we create a more socially just music education?"  Sometimes you just can't answer a question that doesn't make any sense.  I would be thankful that there are schools that still have a music program.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that no matter what you look like, or what your cultural beliefs and backgrounds are, 440 hz is always going to be an A.  There.  I just taught Karen a lesson.  Who would have thought that a dumb guitar player like myself could be smarter than an Associate Professor of Music and only needed 1 sentence to prove it.  I just saved you, the reader, forty one dollars.

I'm not sure which lacks more credibility, this book or her bio.  Ethnomusicology?  I had to look that up.  It's basically how to stereotype other culture's music.  That's not cool, Karen.  I hope she learns that as a civilization progresses, so does its arts.  If the Western world, namely North America, didn't progress in the early 1900s, I'd be stuck playing a non-electric banjo.  Perish the thought.  When a culture stops progressing, so does its music and going by that, I'm glad I'll be checking out relatively soon.

"At the book's core is an Anti-Bias Framework intended to help music educators gain confidence and comfort in designing music curricula that are just, equitable, and make participants feel safe and welcome. Structured around the four social justice domains of identity, diversity, justice, and action, this framework explores topics of anti-racism, gender and sexual identity, power and privilege, disabilities, economic realities, empathy, and critical consciousness."

Karen, what the hell does that have to do with music?  ProTip, Karen: Diversity in music means different genres.  Music isn't structured around "identity, diversity, justice, and action".  It's structured around melody, harmony, counter point, rhythm, etc.  Music has nothing to do with sex, empathy or critical consciousness.  Privilege maybe.  Kids can learn how someone so mediocre like Taylor Swift, Kid Rock or Drake can achieve a music career.  Spoiler Alert: rich parents.  But that's the Music Business and a book on Equity in the Music Business wouldn't sell.

This book could never be "indispensable" or a "ground-breaking and practical resource".  She couldn't even put an instrument on the cover of the book. It's a tree with cliché terms written on it.  But, you know, why try when there's equity?

For you starting musicians out there in your early/mid teens, pretend people like Karen Howard don't exist and I'll give you the Coles Notes version of what it's like to be a musician in a working/playing band and why getting better is the complete opposite of Equity.

Equity isn't something to strive for because it takes striving out of the equation.  When I was learning, all I wanted to do was get better by learning, and even though I'm not that competitive, I secretly wanted to be better than my peers (can't get the gig if you're not better than the other guy).  It doesn't hurt to try and be good at something for its own sake either.  And I kept practicing.  Soon enough, I was playing with better players and that made me better.  While I was playing with better players, I was still practicing even though 1 gig is worth 10 practices.  I was lucky enough that the better people asked me to play with them and then all of a sudden, I'm in a group of excellent players.  That, in short, is called progress.

Equity is the opposite of that progress.  Equity is when the best person doesn't get the gig.  So why strive?  Why try and be a better player when it's up to who has a certain appearance?  It fundamentally doesn't make sense and not all excellent musicians look alike.  I find that people who are pro-equity are all under-achievers that want the rewards but don't want to do the work.  You can spot them when they try to dress the part; they look like their stereotype of a musician from the early 2000s.

Unfortunately, what happens all the time now is the most qualified person doesn't get the job.  The last place this needs to happen is in music, and last time I looked, you need ears to listen to music, not your eyes.  Unless that changed too.

This book doesn't need to exist.  A Vegan microwave cookbook would be more useful.  It's trash and Dr Howard sounds like she's been hanging around Dr Fine too long.  Don't be a Karen.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Coming Soon from D & D

D&D has really gotten progressive over the years.  The latest is the removal of the term Race in the game.  Lots of nerds can sleep better in their parents' basement but more needs to change.  I got the Time Machine out and got a hold of D&D's Feature Update from 2025.  Let's have a look:

Greetings, Dungeon Masters

Here at D&D, we're striving to make our game even more Diverse, Inclusive and Equitable.  While we know that Equity defeats the purpose of playing any game, we're still taking bold steps in this exciting new direction.  As a result, we will be updating some of the D&D rules.

Our first step years ago was to eliminate the word Race from being used in our literature and we replaced it with the word Species in order not to offend people who don't buy our products.  In continuation, to reflect our new philosophy, we have changed the rules of D&D to be a more updated game for everyone, and we mean everyone, to enjoy.

In our desire to make D&D more equitable, our first change to the rules will be every character will be the same level, whether you're starting a brand new Bard or you've have had the same Paladin for years.  Players that have super-strong, skilled and wealthy characters from years of playing and grinding it out will be now capped and will have to distribute anything above that unspecified threshold to newer, lesser characters.  While that may be a slap in the face to those that stuck by our product for years, we're sure you'll understand that here at D&D, we want a fair and equitable game that reflects a society based on how blue and pink haired lesbians think it should be.

While we all struggle with making opposites like diversity and equity work together, all classes will now have the same abilities.  We found that Wizards never had the strength of a Barbarian and that is hurtful to all wizards' feelings.  WLM.  Wizards can now take on an Aarakocrian Monk just like a Barbarian and Barbarians can cast spells just like a seasoned Wizards  Aasimars rejoice since every character’s stats from now on will be based off of Shriekers.  

We are removing Experience from the game.  Players all have their own unique experiences which makes us all truly diverse.  Through this lens, we believe that the Experience stat to be offensive as it only marginalizes players who have less experience.  Henceforth, leveling up will be removed from the game.  

There will be the removal of gender on all characters.  Now all characters will be sexless and unappealing, like real-life "non-binary" people.  You will still have the option to make your character unique, although we highly recommend against that line of thinking.  Player's characters will be able to wear either black, brown or grey clothing.

Collecting gold/treasure will be removed from the game.  In its place, a new QR code system will be introduced and everything will be based on a Social Credit system.  You will own nothing.

Depictions of species in the manuals will now be drawn by their own species.  In the past, sometimes 4 or 5 humans were allowed to draw all sorts of species: ogres, dragons, orcs, etc.  Now, only Goblins can draw Goblins, Skeletons can only be drawn by other Skeletons, etc.  This way they are accurately able to share their own personal experiences and tell their own stories.


More-sided dice.  We here at D&D feel there could be more room for dice.  Normally in D&D, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20 sided dice are used.  We feel that leaves many other dice, most notably 3 and 7 sided dice, marginalized.  We are expanding dice usage to include 3, 5, 7 and 11 sided dice.  While we debated about having a 1 sided die represented, the term Mobius Strip is highly offensive to the players without a sense of humour.

We are so excited and we hope you'll embrace the new changes we've made to the game!  By focusing on making the game more inclusive, diverse and equitable, we're also making any D&D dungeon a Safe Space for everyone to enjoy.

- the D&D Team, Q3 2025