dog_bfast_logo copy


The Power of Victimhood

Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Politics/Current Events, Women's Issues | 0 comments

The Power of Victimhood

Today, everyone’s a victim.

Everyone. Like, everyone. Even over-privileged white men are happy to whine about how much it sucks to be them.

Y’all don’t know what it’s like, bein’ male middle class & white!

There’s a lot of power in being a victim. If love means never having to say you’re sorry, victimhood means never having to be accountable for your own actions or destiny. ‘Coz, you know, it’s not your fault.

Everyone wants power, particularly if they actually are disadvantaged, but the problem is it also comes with responsibility. No one wants that. Subconsciously, we fear that gaining real power might mean going from “It’s not your fault,” to “It’s all your fault.”

Adam & Eve Dutch painting

The original Stupid White People trick. Painting by Adriaen van der Werff, a Renaissance Dutch painter whose name couldn’t be any whiter if you bleached it. Photo by Tilemahos Efthimiadis on Flickr

Realistically, it’s somewhere in between. They’re a matched set.

The beauty of victimhood is that it’s always someone else’s fault. Some other a-hole or collection of a-holes are keeping you down.

True victimhood isn’t one-size-fits-all. Not all victims are created equal. Some people are victimized, but less than they think. (See: Aforementioned overprivileged white boys).

In truth, probably everyone can claim victimhood to one degree or another. Even white men, who may come across as whiny aging brats but they do receive outsized blame for everything wrong with the world. Speaking as a white person, if not a male, I say: Kim Jong Un, anyone? Xi Jinping? Robert Mugabe? Idi Amin? Saddam Hussein? Mao-tse Tung? Pol Pot? ISIS?

Don’t go entirely blaming America’s white males for those guys. People suck universally. You know it. The U.S. gets blamed for everything, including the Inquisition and the Punic Wars and original sin. Don’t believe me? Check out all those medieval and Renaissance paintings of the Fall. Adam and Eve were white. And you just know they were American.

The Power of Chicktimhood

Some of my self-styled feminist friends on some social media get mad at me when I express my feminist views because, well, there’s too much empowerment and shit. They don’t actually put it that way but that’s what they mean. We disagree on whether women actually have some decision-making power when it comes to how victimized they’ll be. (Guess which side I fall on.)

Related: Mama Didn’t Raise No Victim Feminist

Sure, there are still plenty of inequities and battles yet to fight, like the Trumpocalypse, surrounded by the stupidest white men he could find and one token dizzy blonde dimbulb. The Trumpocalypse got to that lofty height because a lot of white women voted for him, despite his well-publicized love of grabbing women’s nether regions without asking permission. Many of whom were apparently quite happy to have him do so, which brings up embarrassing questions about female psychology and power, but that’s a subject for another day.

Related: When Victims Take Charge

My feeling is that some women are more victimized than others but are overall more powerful than fifty years ago, or a hundred years ago when we first got the vote. Just because there’s still a power imbalance between males, females, and Gender Binary Hoozits doesn’t mean we’re still in the days when a man had to to co-sign a loan for us and we couldn’t get a birth control pill on demand because we might get up to All Kinds Of Things.

Too many victim feminists ignore all progress and believe inequities are just as bad as they ever were or maybe even worse. Like the Trumpocalypse, which is bad for women (and blacks and Muslims and Mexicans and gays and immigrants) but it’s not the end of the world.

Interestingly, my Power Feminist views go over better on professional social media sites, where, I guess, women feel more empowered, even if they’re not making quite as much money as men for the same amount of work and still have to deal with sexual harassment. My last post, Women’s Only Groups: Are They Archaic? did well on beBee and LinkedIn, although when I posted it to a women’s rights/spirituality group on Facebook, it was about as well-received as Jake Tapper at a presidential press conference.

It was kinda funny, actually, to hear them challenging me while defending their need for ‘safe spaces.’

Xena meme fighting the patriarchy

There’s a similar siege mentality among American blacks who are also blind to progress even if plenty of grievances about inequality and violence directed against them still remain. Outgoing President Barack Obama challenged this blindness in his last speech to the American people:

“After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. For race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10, or 20, or 30 years ago – you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum.”

Victimhood for everyone else

bell hooks black victimhood quote

Heretic!

No one wants to hear they need to grow up. Ever. But power isn’t for children. It means assuming responsibility and recognizing that lack of success isn’t all because of racism, sexism, or other forms of discrimination. It might be because one didn’t study hard enough. Or because one made some bad choices in life. Or bought into a mentality of ‘not good enough’ from parents, society, or maybe just one’s self. The reasons why anyone didn’t ‘make it’ are probably multiple, and maybe some of it isn’t their fault. But many don’t want to look too closely and ask what they or their tribe are doing wrong. It’s less personally threatening to blame others.

Chronic victimhood is wreaking havoc with our public discourse or ability to address or resolve any real inequities. Social and moral immaturity go unchallenged because the moment you say, “But I’m a PERSON OF COLOUR! I’m a WOMAN! I’m a GENDER BINARY HOOZIT! I’m a MUSLIM! I’m a GAY PERSON!” you shut down conversation and never ever have to ask more uncomfortable questions: How much is society, discrimination and whatever-phobia holding me back, and how much of it is myself? Am I doing a better job of keeping me down than The Man?

not putting up with your bullshit meme

Are you ready for real power?

I mean real power?

Are you sure?

business card tag

Nicole Chardenet is a freelance writer, language translation software schlepper and ideological pain in the ass to absolutely everyone. She agrees you’re probably a legitimate victim for one reason or another but still thinks you need to blame a little less and self-examine a little more. It won’t kill you. She promises. Vitriolic victimhood defenses or inquiries about her writing services may be directed to the contact info right next to this cheezy bio.

 

It’s All Your Parents’ Fault

Posted by on Mar 5, 2017 in Pop Culture, Science/Technology | 2 comments

It’s All Your Parents’ Fault
When you descend into your own unconscious, pack an extra lunch and an emergency kit. Things could get ugly. Photo by darkday on Flickr

When you descend into your own unconscious, pack an extra lunch and an emergency kit. Things could get ugly. Photo by darkday on Flickr

What’s wrong with your life? How screwed up in the head are you? How much of a major fark-up are you?

It’s all your parents’ fault.

Are you the God of Bad Judgement? The Goddess of Avoidant Men? The Gender-Binary Hoozit of Abysmal Interior Decoration Choices?

It’s all your parents’ fault.

Wondering how to change, make your life more meaningful, stop binge-eating Elvis’s PB-banana-and-bacon sandwiches, or get those damn voices in your head to shut up about how you’ll never make it as a world-class guinea pig proctologist, despite it being your lifelong dream?

The first thing to do is point your finger. It’s all your parents’ fault!

Hey! The index finger, not that one. No need to be rude.

I read an article written by a woman who apparently grooves on emotionally unfulfilling men with whom she has high chemistry. In the olden days we called it ‘thinking with your crotch,’ but in her case, it’s all her parents’ fault.

Because they were emotionally unavailable or something. So E.U. dudes ‘seem right’ to her. ‘Emotionally unavailable’ sounds like a description of most of the human race, but whatever.

People have been blaming their parents for everything wrong with their lives since, well, forever. And to be fair, there are a lot of parents who have committed some grievous parenting errors, like substance abuse, sexual/physical/emotional abuse, and, probably, a whole bunch of legitimately emotionally unavailable parents, and the poor kids are left to deal with the consequences, often in the same unhealthy ways.

But really, are parents responsible for everything? I have to wonder…

Why aren’t parents models of human perfection? What the hell business do they have having kids if they’re going to make mistakes and stuff? Like not teaching their daughter to think with her head rather than her crotch?

Like everyone else in the world, I’ve got my own issues and I’ve spent the last six months really working on them. Delving into your own unconscious to figure out what really makes you tick, really motivates you (or not), or what really makes you pig-biting mad is not for

But try as I might, I can’t find any good way to blame my parents for my own self-imposed limitation. No matter how I examine my childhood, I can’t find a way to pin this one on them.

It’s not like they ever told me there were limitations. It’s not like they hewed to the commonly-held World War II-generation notion that girls are best suited to hearth and home. They never bought the idea that there were just some things girls couldn’t do. Believe me, they wouldn’t listen. I kept telling them I couldn’t do math, I pointed out the studies showing that boys were better than girls at math, that they’re being unfair, and my ‘rents would ALWAYS go off on this irrelevant tangent about how I should actually try doing my homework instead of balling it up and stuffing it in my glasses case where Mom wasn’t supposed to find it.

Do you know how many lectures I endured about how smart I was, and that I could pass if I really put my mind to it, and in fact I could do anything I put my mind to? My parents were totally into all that self-esteem crap that the Millennials grew up with, except they believed there was actual personal effort involved.

I didn’t listen. I dug in my heels because I knew better than they.

I can’t even blame them for bad relationships like Miss Uncontrollable Hormones. My mother, for reasons she could not explain at Christmas when I asked, taught me that I should never put up with a controlling, abusive man and especially one who hits. She comes from a generation where men ruled the roost, but believe me, neither my father, nor, I believe, her first husband, ever ruled her. She hated ‘women’s libbers’ back in the day but she was actually the biggest one of all.

It’s thanks to her I’m not with some uber-hot Rambo who grunts monosyllabically on his more coherent days.

No, any bad relationships I had – and they weren’t all bad – can be pretty much chalked up to bad decisions, bad judgment, and in one case, an inability to recognize alcoholism when I saw it.

Not going to make that mistake again.

My parents weren’t perfect, and there are a few neuroses I think I can hang on them, but I think I did get largely lucky in the birth lottery. Some things come up and they still make me mad. But my parents don’t surface with me every time I dive into that deep unconscious pool. As I study further the human brain (not just my own) I learn that we’re all wired to be farked-up headcases and you’d be better off blaming God or Darwin or genetics. Okay, blame your parents for bringing together two imperfect sets of genes in one wild night of unbridled lust. They shoulda just kept their pants on!

Feeling fearful, like something bad is about to happen right around the corner? That’s negativity bias, not necessarily something your old man did when you were three. Feeling unworthy deep down? Join the human club. So you’re depressed? Most people are, and don’t know why, and don’t know where to turn. People way prettier, way more successful, way richer, and way more accomplished than you feel just like you. Like, exactly. And they didn’t even know your parents.

trilobite fossils

Trilobite orgy, circa 500 million years ago. Photo by incidencematrix on Flickr.

Our brains have evolved over millions of years and we’ve come a long way since the days we oozed around happily with nothing more to mating than dividing ourselves or knocking up a fellow trilobite. (I have no idea how trilobites reproduced but I’ll bet it didn’t involve swiping right.) As any engineer or biologist can tell you, the more complex a system gets the more ways it can break down or malfunction. And there ain’t nothing much more complex than the human brain, which is still a bazillion times more impressive than the most sophisticated neural network programming and which STILL can perform tasks in a millisecond that the most sophisticated computer on earth can’t do (yeah, even the one that just won a poker game).

All those things that drive you crazy, and you are crazy, are the results of million of years of neuro-programming trying to keep you safe from large Neolithic animals and hostile bands of roving humans. You were born a fark-up, and you will die a fark-up.

There may really be a whole whack of things your parents did wrong. Maybe Moms & Pops were Mommy Dearest and OJ Simpson. I’ve heard a lot of scary stories from people who didn’t fare as well in the birth lottery as I did and I’ve seen parental behaviour that, even as an otherwise self-obsessed ungrateful teenager, made me occasionally thankful for my parents. But while you’re the product of your parents’ genetic integration, and their parenting skills or lack thereof, you’re also you, with your own brain, experiences, values and issues. Hold your nose, hold your breath, dive deep and look around at what’s really haunting you. Your parents may be behind a little or a lot of your demons. But sometimes we’re the victims of our own evolved brain, and it’s a lazy shortcut to blame the people or person who raised us. Sometimes our biggest life mistake is simply being born human.

This post originally appeared on beBee.

Nicole's contact info

Nicole Chardenet is a freelance writer and human brain victim descended from a long line of real headcases, just like you. When she’s not probing her own brain (ewwww) she writes stuff on the side and flogs machine translation software for her employer.

Women’s-Only Groups: Are They Archaic?

Posted by on Jan 22, 2017 in Business & Information Technology, Politics/Current Events | 0 comments

Women’s-Only Groups: Are They Archaic?

women's-only no-men sign

As we move into the most divisive era in modern times I find myself wondering: Aren’t women’s-only groups kinda retro? Even archaic?

It’s 2017. Yes, I know who’s in the White House. Forget that for a moment. No wait, don’t. Keep it in the forefront of your mind as you read this. Women are graduating from colleges and universities in greater numbers than men; more women are the main breadwinners in their household than ever before; the fact that a woman came a hair’s-breadth from entering the White House is still a far greater coup for women than the doomsayers, misogynists, and chronically-neurotic victim feminists would have you believe.

Yes, we’ve got a self-admitted sexual predator in the White House. For once, ladies, we can’t entirely blame the boyz for this one. Women supported Trump by 42%; I don’t care that 54% didn’t – 42% is still far too high. (The other 4% were too busy defending Kim Khardashian’s robbery claims on Twitter to pay attention.) It wasn’t just uneducated working poor women who supported him either; plenty of college-educated women are also to blame.

And people wonder why I’ve begun holding women more accountable (or ‘blaming the victim’ in victim feminist parlance) for tolerating bad male behaviour.

I don’t think the answer is to separate from the other half of the human race. Women have been fighting male-only enclaves for decades now; critics have pointed out, quite rightly, that women’s-only gal-caves are nevertheless still considered acceptable.

I’ve belonged to plenty of women’s-only groups and discussion forums in the past, but I find myself less inclined with each passing day. Last year I joined a women’s-only Meetup group for freelancers and entrepreneurs, not because it disallowed men but because it was the only meetup in my area for such a thing (and without charging an outrageous fee like many meetups are doing, including most Toronto-area business groups).

While it’s a great bunch of ladies with interesting ideas, I can’t help but feel it’s only half the story. Why is it only for women? Why are we blowing off half the entrepreneurs in the city, many of whom will also have some great ideas, experience, advice, networking, and help to offer?

Is it because some women still lack the confidence to hold their own with a gender not unfairly charged with dominating conversation, shutting women out or patronizing them in subtle or not-so-subtle ways?

Some men are guilty of that. Others aren’t. Maybe we need to challenge ourselves more. Slay that mansplaining dragon, St. Georgina!

I admire the fact that men are more aggressive, more risk-taking, more confident, and more willing to state their case than women have historically been. Such virtues in the extreme become faults, but that’s true for any virtue. There are still some ‘male values’ worth acquiring.

I admire the fact that women are more easily able to express their emotions, communicate better, are more sensitive to other’s feelings and are more open to compromise than men historically have been. Also virtues that, in the extreme, don’t serve anyone well either. Men have much to learn from us, too.

You can argue I’m overgeneralizing but so are women who still prefer women’s-only groups.

As the gender gap divides further with a ‘Million Women March’ to demonstrate that some of those you-know-whats are armed, Mr. President, and bitter and angry ‘Men’s Rights Activists’ on the other side, I find myself thinking we need to connect more, not less, with men. Before more of the craziness sends good, rational, level-headed men into the arms of nutty extremist groups. And because some women still need to reject the victim feminist thinking of the ‘70s and ‘80s. It’s served its purpose; as women gain more financial, educational and political power, they need to put on their big-girl pants and move on.

If the world still looks dark and threatening to women, it’s because of negativity bias and everyone falls prey to it. It’s wired into our brains, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. We can recognize it for what it is, name it, and focus more on what’s right in the world, and how to improve upon it.

Yes, victimizing still exists but we don’t need to give the victimizers so much power. We can still Just Say No to much of it. Just ask Madonna! (Not safe for work!)

I for one, ladies, think the Mahnolo Blahnik is now on the other foot, and that we’ve got to stop demonizing men. It’s part of the reason why Trump performed so well with male voters, and not just the rednecks. Our President may think women are only valuable for their you-know-whats but my Prime Minister is a self-described feminist.

Some of us are finding it harder and harder to wear the victim label when we’re doing better in life than many men around us.

With power comes responsibility. And that means accepting and working with men the way we’ve been urging them to do with us for fifty years now.

What do you think? Are there still valid reasons for women’s-only groups?

 

Nicole Chardenet is an American/Canadian dual citizen, freelance writer and machine language translation software flogger who knows that two steps forward and one step back is still progress. She hangs with a bunch of guys as well as chicks from her artist’s hovel in the sky in Toronto. She owns a gender binary female-named cat who used to be a guy until that fateful trip to the vet, although in her defense she didn’t do it out of hostility to his maleness, but to save her furniture from chronic malodour. (Also it would make his permanent virginity easier to live with. For him.) Outraged un-neutered males and anyone interested in her writing services can reach her at:

Nicole's contact info

From Booth Babes to LinkedIn Lovelies

Posted by on Oct 26, 2016 in Business & Information Technology | 0 comments

From Booth Babes to LinkedIn Lovelies

Enjoy the view, ladies. This is probably the only time you’ll find me posting a business-inappropriate photo on LinkedIn. You enjoy it too, boys!

(I could have selected a photo waaaaay way worse than this one, you know. A photo so hypermasculine it would have made a Marine sergeant blush. But I didn’t. You’re welcome. Or, sorry!)

From what I’ve read, men actually objectify men as much as they objectify women. This explains rather a lot about ’80s action films, in which mostly dudes went to see movies featuring sweaty, oily, muscular, badass brutes like Stallone and Schwarzenegger and Van Damme, with barely a female in sight – barely or otherwise. Bromance, indeed. Brorgy, anyone?

And on LinkedIn, more men than women seem to appreciate the photos people keep posting of beautiful, often scantily-clad women, although I’ve noticed a fair amount of men complaining about it as well.

What I notice more recently is that women are posting sexy female photos too – sometimes of themselves.

There’s no quicker way to start a flame war on LinkedIn than with a photo of a good-looking gal, if she shows enough skin. Except maybe to say anything, however neutral or non-partisan, about Tr–p or Cl—-n.

“This doesn’t belong on LinkedIn!” the battle cry goes. “It objectifies women!” “No, it’s empowering!” “Women have to fight hard enough to be taken seriously!” “I’m a woman and I approve of beautiful women.”

I wrote about this earlier in Keep Your Clothes On, LinkedIn! I was against posting provocative pictures. Now I confess that I’m beginning to question my position as LinkedIn grows and I find myself increasingly uncomfortable with not only focusing so much on how people look, but why we can’t all learn to just get along and try not to stare too much if a lady’s cleavage is showing (or your colleague’s bulging pecs) without feeding the lawyers or at least driving the HR manager into an early retirement.

It’s interesting, at least, that women seem to be posting these salacious snapshots as well. Et tu, Brenda?

Or maybe should we begin recognizing that sometimes a lack of clothes is business-related?

Why do women’s bodies provoke so many strong feelings? Why do we go as ballistic over a burkha as we do over a bikini?

Would men appreciate it if they had to log on to LinkedIn every morning and be confronted with a muscular man’s impressive package (the kind you can’t get from FedEx)? Who would complain more, women or men?

Part of me agrees that LinkedIn isn’t Facebook and there are a lot of posts I’d like to see go away – political and stupid non-business-related memes, especially badly spelled – but even there it gets fuzzy. Politics and elections affect business, but I also see a lot of non-business-related posts I love – my LinkedIn friend Mansour Rad has posted some lovely photos of Iran and Persian artwork that I often save to my hard drive because they’re so beautiful.

In the olden days, before the rise of the Internet, technology trade shows often featured ‘booth babes’ – scantily-clad hotties – to compete for the attention of the largely male attendees and draw them to the booths.

Photo courtesy of Sergey Galyonkin on Flickr

In the mid-’90s no one complained too much, but as of a few years ago I heard gripes about the few remaining booth babes. Today, we’ve got the LinkedIn Lovelies to raise a firestorm (and they will fan the flaming fuel for years, long after the next contentious President is elected).

The remnants of my old-school feminist wants to scream, “This doesn’t belong on LinkedIn!” while my French bloodline cries, “Vive la difference!”

The businesswoman in me whispers, “Nearly-naked breasts are inappropriate in a business setting,” but then she adds, “And who will be posting bikini blow-ups if she ever finds herself working for a swimsuit company?”

I do understand the confusion sown when the lines are blurred with sexy selfies and gorgeous graphics, but I also wonder if, as we move deeper into the 21st century, we can learn to look beyond the externalities, however clad, to the human beings within. Because don’t, in the end, we all objectify everyone? The person who cut you off (a jerk!), the attractive woman who draws the male gaze (wanton wench!), the manager who snapped at you (he’s an a-hole), the woman who bumped you on the street and brusquely told you to “Watch where you’re going!” (b—h!) Are these not people with problems like we all have, with insecurities we all have, who are trying to put food on the table as we all do, who live lives you don’t even think about because they’re not people to you, just annoying objects?

Remember the old ’90s movie Starship Troopers, set in the future where men and women were truly equals in the military, and even showered together with all the professionalism of a board meeting?

Do you think that can ever happen some day?

I am genuinely confused.

business-card-tag

Nicole Chardenet is a freelance writer who doesn’t intend to set the women’s movement back fifty years, but does think we should all maybe calm down a bit. She’s never been a booth babe but she does appreciate beauty in all its forms. You can reach her at nchardenet@gmail.com.

Sex Assault, Reverse Donald Trump-Style

Posted by on Oct 22, 2016 in Politics/Current Events, Sexy Stuff | 0 comments

Sex Assault, Reverse Donald Trump-Style

donald-trump-ted-cruzSo you think the exchanges between Donald Trump and Billy Bush were just ‘locker room talk’? That that’s the way a lot of men talk? I’ll bet the ‘locker room talk’ defenders would change their tune if the Trump-Bush exchange had gone down like this:

 

 

 

Donald Trump: You know and I moved on him actually. You know he was down on Palm Beach.

Unknown: He used to be great. He’s still very handsome.

Trump: I moved on him and I failed. I’ll admit it.

Trump: I did try and fuck him. He was married.

Unknown: That’s huge news.

Trump: No, no, Nathan. No this was — and I moved on him very heavily, in fact, I took him out furniture shopping. He wanted to get some furniture. I said I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture. I took him out furniture. I moved on him like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there, and he was married. Then all of a sudden I see him, he’s now got the big phony pecs and everything. He’s totally changed his look.

Bush: Sheesh, your boy’s hot as shit. In the purple.

Various: Whoa! Yes! Whoa!

Bush: Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!

Trump: Look at you. You are a cock.

Trump: Maybe it’s a different one.

Bush: It better not be the publicist. No, it’s him. It’s —

Trump: Yeah, that’s him. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing him. You know I’m automatically attracted to handsome — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.

Bush: Whatever you want.

Trump: Grab them by the cock. You can do anything.

Bush: Yeah those legs, all I can see is the legs.

Trump: Oh, it looks good.

Bush: Come on, shorty.

Trump: Oh, nice legs, huh?

Bush: Oof, get out of the way, bad boy. Oh, that’s good legs. Go ahead.

Trump: It’s always good if you don’t fall out of the bus. Like Ford, Gerald Ford, remember?

Bush: Down below. Pull the handle.

Trump: Hello, how are you, hi.

Hot-Looking Man: Hi Mr. Trump. How are you?

Trump: Nice seeing you. Terrific, terrific. You know Billy Bush?

Bush: Hello, nice to see you. How you doing?

Hot-Looking Man: I’m doing very well, thank you. Are you ready to be a soap star?

Trump: We’re ready, let’s go. Make me a soap star.

Bush: How about a little hug for the Donald? He just got off the bus.

Hot-Looking Man: Would you like a little hug, hot stuff?

Trump: Absolutely. Melania said this was OK.

Bush: How about a little hug for the Bushy? I just got off the bus. Here we go. Excellent. Well you’ve got a nice co-star here.

Trump: Good. After you.

Trump: Come on, Billy, don’t be shy.

Bush: Soon as a hot man shows up he just, he takes off. This always happens.

Hot-Looking Man: I’m sorry, come here.

Bush: Let the little guy in here, come on.

Hot-Looking Man: Yeah, let the little guy in. How you feel now? Better? I should actually be in the middle.

Bush: It’s hard to walk next to a guy like this. Yeah, you get in the middle. There we go.

Trump: Good. That’s better.

Hot-Looking Man: This is much better. This is —

Trump: That’s better.

Bush: Now, if you had to choose honestly between one of us. Me or the Donald?

Trump: I don’t know, that’s tough competition.

Hot-Looking Man: That’s some pressure right there.

Bush: Seriously, you had to take one of us as a date.

Hot-Looking Man: I have to take the Fifth on that one. Yep, I’ll take both.

 

 

 

Nicole Chardenet is a freelance writer and rogue sales chick who thinks some guys wouldn’t think sexual assault is so funny if they had to live with it themselves. Obviously, she’s not talking about you because you would never do that and have too much class to talk that way. Nicole can be reached at nchardenet@gmail.com if you’d like to engage her for freelance work.

A Babel of Asian eCommerce

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 in Business & Information Technology | 0 comments

A Babel of Asian eCommerce
asian-ecommerce-floating-restaurant

Photo by Roberto Faccenda on Flickr

Japanese may be one of the easier Asian eCommerce languages to translate – it has a considerably less challenging alphabet although there are five different writing systems to deal with – but it still poses its translation challenges. Any Asian language will, and not just because of the vastly different alphabet, more so even than European languages with unfamiliar letters or largely different alphabets.

And don’t argue!

If you’ve ever wondered why Chinese dominates the hilarious world of bad foreign translation websites and memes, it’s because Chineseis one of the most challenging languages for anyone to translate in either direction. It’s not just that the West’s languages are largely alphabetic and Asian languages like Chinese are pictographic with sometimes thousands of characters; the whole structure of cultural and historical reference, communication and thought is completely different.

Palace of explosive loin bad menu translation

Photo by lawtonjm on Flickr

Arabic is no walk in the park either, with its different alphabet, its lack of vowels in writing, unfamiliar sounds, and starting a text at what Westerners would call ‘the end’.

No appetizer for me, please…

But hey, guess where nearly a trillion and a half American dollars can come from in the eCommerce world. If you guessed “All the places where the language is least like English”, please join me in a Hai Five!

Asia’s eCommerce potential isn’t just because they’re so populous, but also because many of the countries are just beginning to get online, or adopt mobile, or are losing their wariness of eCommerce marketplaces and payment systems. You can catch the early- to mid-adopters before the waves crest.

Read more here…

 

This post originally appeared on the Yappn blog Yappn About.

Top Ten Ways To Celebrate International Translation Day!

Posted by on Oct 18, 2016 in Business & Information Technology | 0 comments

Want to have some foreign fun this Friday? Below are ten devilishly diverse ways you can celebrate the International Federation of Translators’  64th annual International Translation Day, September 30th. This year’s theme is Connecting Worlds, bringing together the world of translators and interpreters “…dedicated to one goal: Facilitating communication between people.” As the world becomes more globalized and integrated, the need to understand each other grows more critical every day.

Celebrate your international translation skills by getting massively multicultural and merrily multilingual on Friday!

1. Enroll your children in a foreign language immersion course or vow to raise your future children bilingually, even if you aren’t bilingual yourself. It’s been a trending topic for several weeks now that bilingual kids do better in life and are better prepared for a globalized world. And they may grow upsmarter than monolingual kids, too. You want your daughter or son to grow up to be CEO of a global company, right???

2. Watch a foreign family-friendly bilingual movie (with subtitles, not dubbing.) Learn five phrases from it. Amaze your friends at cocktail parties by saying, “The pink unicorn from the Land Beyond The Clouds refuses to eat his sushi,” in Japanese.

3. Visit a strange land where English isn’t the first language. Fortunately, that’s often just a short drive across town.

4. Learn how to say “My hovercraft is full of eels” with Google Translate so you don’t embarrass yourself.

 

 

This post originally appeared on the Yappn blog Yappn About. The rest of it can be found here.

Moon Over Toronto

Posted by on Oct 17, 2016 in Canada, Science/Technology | 0 comments

Moon Over Toronto

moon-over-toronto

I walked out to my balcony just a few minutes ago, fresh from my shower. The not-quite-full waning Moon over Toronto displayed the Man’s dark face. The one that people have been staring up at for generations. The one my mother first pointed out many years ago when I was a small child growing up in Orlando, Florida.

I stared up at the moon on my own, a few years later, in the middle of the day, because I knew there was something truly remarkable about it that week, even though I couldn’t see it. I knew there were men walking on that moon. I’d seen them on TV, lumbering about in their funny spacesuits, bouncing and sounding crackly on their radios. I knew this was the first time any human being had ever walked on the moon, and I think I even waved to them even though I knew they couldn’t see me.

Thank you, John F. Kennedy!

Every time I’ve looked up since, I’ve done so with the knowledge that those men left a flag planted in the lunar soil. I say that not out of a sense of pride for being an American but for being a human being – I belong to a remarkable species of primates that not long ago were still living in trees and now have walked on the moon. And left their marks. A flag, footprints, a plaque commemorating, to this day, still the most momentous thing human beings have ever accomplished.

I’ve read that India wants to go to the moon. Do it, folks, do it!!! Leave another flag up there. Right next to ours. I don’t care about nationalism or the fact that Americans won’t be any longer the only humans who’ve been there. In fact, if it’s going to piss us off that’s all the more reason to do it. We so need to get over ourselves. And maybe it’ll light a fire under our asses to accomplish something great again, just like a Russian satellite lit a fire under a progressive-thinking and perhaps a slightly Russia-obsessed president.

The Moon over Toronto – created billions of years ago when a planetary object named Thera crashed into our own planet which was covered over with fiery lava at the time, the collision resulting in our only satellite. While some claim there’s a Man on the Moon, Pagans and Witches associate it with a silvery Goddess and will assure you the Moon is feminine.

I looked up at the Moon over Toronto tonight, thinking of the small child who’s seen it with and without a flag, who used to watch rockets go up into the atmosphere while living an hour away from Cape Canaveral Kennedy, when everyone would watch it go up on TV and then race out to street to watch for the ball of glowing orange light in the sky. It’s been up there billions of years, revolving around us as we revolve around the Sun, always beautiful, never caring a whit whether we live or die. And some day our Universe will bite the big one, although scientists can’t agree how (The Big Crunch is out, maybe a Big Freeze, but at any rate the Earth will be burnt to a cinder when our Sun burns itself out in about five billion more years and expands to become a white dwarf, engulfing our planet).

Scientists are apparently quite worried about this scenario and fret about how it’s going to affect us and what we’re going to do about it and how quickly we can leave our solar system (as though this event was going to happen next year instead of so far into the future we may not even exist as a life-form anymore!)

Me, I don’t care. Que sera sera. I gaze up at the Moon over Toronto and am just glad it’s there, I’m here, the Earth is (still) here, and that someone will get up there again. It might be Elon Musk, since he has grand plans to go to Mars and we’re still light-years (ar ar) away from having the knowledge and technology to pull that off, so we/he may need to arrange for many more exploratory and experimental lunar visits before he even thinks about sending humans to Mars.

But I wish him, and Richard Branson, and the Indians, the best of luck.

50 Awesome Language Facts

Posted by on Oct 13, 2016 in Business & Information Technology | 0 comments

50 Awesome Language Facts

millennials-language-facts

What do you call the secret language between twins? Which Far Eastern language became linked to a Native American tribe, whose members turned out to be linked to them genetically? And why is the Ayapaneco language in danger of dying out in Mexico? Answer to the last: Because neither speaker is speaking to the other. The rest of the answers are on an awesome visual display created by the UIC London Language School – 50 awesome facts about language. Some facts you may already know, but there are so many cool languages – too many, unfortunately, on the endangered species list – that we promise you’ll learn something new.

It’s news to us, for example, to learn that the Bible has been translated into nearly 2,500 languages (for some languages, only parts of it). Or that Pinocchio is actually a close second. Or that some hardcore Star Trek geek spoke to his son only in Klingon for the first three years of his life, which the kid then went on to completely forget. (Young man, Gene Roddenberry is turning over in his grave right now!)

Other fun facts about language we found around the Internet:

  • You didn’t have to be a scholar on ancient Middle Eastern languages to view Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ back in 2004, but it helped. The entire movie was spoken in three languages: Aramaic (Jesus’s language), Hebrew (spoken by the priests for religious purposes) and Latin spoken by the Romans. However, it did offer subtitles in many different languages. (Excuse us, Google Translate: You do not cannot currently offer Aramaic so we can ask an ancient Nazarene, “Please pass the popcorn.” Fix this!)
  • Forget Mary Poppins. The longest word in the English language is:

    volcano-300x225

    This will give you a hint of the answer. Photo by bnpositive on Flickr

Ha! The rest of the post is to be found here along with an awesome infographic. It originally appeared on Yappn’s blog Yappn About. 

Multiple Languages Critical for the Global CEO

Posted by on Oct 11, 2016 in Business & Information Technology | 0 comments

Multiple Languages Critical for the Global CEO

Why should your child learn another language? Because multiple languages are no longer just a key component in global business, they’re quickly making a huge financial success difference. Especially for the future CEO of a global company. Knowing different languages isn’t a required piece of knowledge (yet), but it is a strong advantage.

Many top global business leaders speak multiple languages. Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, speaks Chinese along with his mother tongue. And he doesn’t just kinda sorta muddle through it either – he gives speeches and takes questions in it.

Leo Apotheker, former CEO at SAP and Hewlett Packard, is fluent in German, Dutch, French, English and Hebrew. His multi-fluency was one reason why he was chosen as CEO of Hewlett Packard. Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke, fluent in six languages, says on their website, “Being multilingual creates a strong connection with peers, employees and consumers, which is critical for a business like ours.”…

 

The rest of the post can be found here. It originally appeared on the Yappn blog Yappn About.