Casual Sex and Casual Racism
May27

Casual Sex and Casual Racism

Kat and I were in India when Jyoti Singh Pandey (previously known in the media by various pseudonyms) was brutally raped on an unofficial Delhi bus by a gang of young men in cooperation with the bus’ driver. We were also in Delhi itself during the aftermath of this deplorable crime, when the news came down that young Jyoti had succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital. Even before the woman the Indian media came to call...

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Flying and Dying
May22

Flying and Dying

Most of the adult men in my family are pilots to one degree or another. My maternal grandfather was an Air Force gunner in the Second World War and became an avid flyer when he returned home. I remember old photographs of his prized “Champ” tail-dragger hanging on the wall in his stuffy basement hideaway, and the way he never tired of watching The Battle of Britain. Of his seven children three were boys, and each went on to fly...

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Did I mention that I’m gay?
May15

Did I mention that I’m gay?

In a recent television interview, comedian David Cross spoke about growing up as a Jewish kid in Atlanta, Georgia in the 1970’s: “I wasn’t bald when I was a kid…I had a little Jew-fro…so people knew I was Jewish,” he said. “Sure, there’s southern hospitality, as long as you’re not different.” (emphasis added) I think about this a lot when I hear terms like “southern hospitality”, “small town values”, “Middle Eastern hospitality,” or...

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Persian Pictures: Smoke, tea and Press TV
May08

Persian Pictures: Smoke, tea and Press TV

Travelling to Iran was always going to be difficult. My interest in the country goes back a number of years, ever since a fast friendship with a member of the Canadian diaspora introduced me to the combination of affability and seriousness that Iranians so often and so charmingly exude. The aftermath of the 2009 Iranian election further turned me on to the complexity of the country’s internal affairs and it was in this same aftermath...

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Iranian Girls’ Night Out
May01

Iranian Girls’ Night Out

In November  I had the pleasure of meeting a bright young pharmacy student in Tehran who told me that his country wasn’t as bad as people think. Sure, Islam had been “misused” by the government (I let him have that one) but it certainly wasn’t the dank, pitiless, theocratic wasteland that the Western media and, most frustratingly for him, members of the Iranian diaspora typically portray. If you accept that you have to give up a few...

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