Music
2 min

REM, gay Republicans and child porn

BY MATT MILLS – It's been a heavy few days for humanity, so let's start off with something light…

REM is still one of my favourite bands. Still, as I watched, I couldn’t help but think of this…

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And now for something completely different…

Jon Severns, the chair of the Colorado College Republicans, is 20, gay and speaking out for gay people by speaking out for the Republican Party.

"The older conservatives grew up in a time when they needed to be in the closet, when it wasn't okay to be gay,” Severns told the Boulder Daily Camera. “It's a different world.”

That is the only quote from Severns in the whole story. Odd. Also quoted is another Colorado gay Republican student, Troy Ard, who says:

"The belief that Republicans are homophobic is something that's portrayed more in the media than in reality."


 

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While I've got you, let's talk about your favourite subject and mine: child porn.

Halton Regional Police last week announced the arrests of four men for possessing and making available child pornography. This is a heck of a thing to write about because, naturally, the victimization of defenceless children is awful. These matters cause an immediate emotional response in many people, one that can easily lead to hysteria. But they are critically important issues. Consider this…

The Globe and Mail account of last week's arrests leaves out any examination of the civil liberties dimension to the story, but it reasonably does not identify those charged. The Toronto Star account reasonably explores some of the civil liberties issues but identifies the men charged.

Notice that there is an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old among the charged. Notice also that the charges relate to viewing and sharing material online; there is no suggestion anywhere that any of these men assaulted anyone. Finally, and most troubling, we will likely never know any more details about the accusations against them. We all know that these men are screwed regardless of the outcome of the court proceedings or of the details of what really happened or didn't. But the mainstream press won’t likely publish any more about these cases regardless of whether they are exonerated or convicted.

Still, the accounts by The Globe and the Star represent an encouraging departure from how these matters were covered in Toronto’s mainstream press even just a couple of years ago. I can see that editors and reporters are exploring more sophisticated and reasonable approaches, and that is a good thing. When did the change start? Check out the suicide of Richard Dyde. Then read about Project Sanctuary and consider joining the Facebook group.
And there’s more here, here, here, here and here.

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Finally, I'm thinking about all the people in Japan this morning. There are so many horrific details and images. I saw the below vid a couple of years ago and thought of it yesterday in a this-too-shall-pass context.