I haven’t been posting lately because I’ve been too busy reading everyone else’s posts and trying to make up my mind about the dizzying amount of news that’s being generated around here.
First, a lunatic stormed the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, killing one soldier and terrifying everyone. It was no 9/11, let’s have perspective, but it did scare the bejesus out of us anyway. We all mourn Nathan Cirillo, our fallen sentry. It turns out the loony was a drug addict and a Muslim of the unbending type and he’d held up a McDonald’s here in Vancouver because he wanted to go to jail so that he could go into rehab. Sad. There’s been some debate about whether he attacked Parliament Hill because he’s a loony or because he’s a radical Muslim heeding the call of ISIL to attack unbelievers wherever ye may find them. He was shot on the scene so we’ll never really know.
Then last Sunday Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC’s show Q, swept all this away with a Facebook post that gave the excuse to the Toronto Star’s publishing a piece about his alleged attacks on women whom he’s dated or worked with. Social media went completely apeshit. There has been a bewildering number of points of view and it’s really hard to keep up. I don’t even engage in Twitter so this is just me reeling from all the Facebook posts. Generally I don’t approve of people being accused, tried and convicted by anonymous accusers and an Internet mob; however, it’s looking more and more as though Ghomeshi may have done these dreadful deeds. More people are speaking out and attaching their names to their accusations which of course gives credibility to their statements. It just seems to me that we have a responsibility to make a police report when we experience assault; it’s important to protect yourself, and it’s also important to protect the next woman. A lot of sexual offenders escalate their attacks, and hey, he could have killed someone! Filing a police report does not mean that you have to also press charges and wind up in court. Also, you can request a publication ban on your name so that you don’t get pilloried by Internet trolls. So one thing that has become clear is that people don’t really realize the ins and outs of making a police report and what it entails and doesn’t entail, so we need some public education going on out there. These accusations would carry much more weight if there were a corresponding string of police or medical reports. If he did these things then it sounds like he should be in jail; but if he didn’t (I’m not saying anything) then his life has been needlessly ruined, and it was just that easy. I’m no fan of Jian Ghomeshi necessarily (I’ve only seen his interview with Billy Bob Thornton which is worth watching) and I’m certainly no apologist for sexual predators, but I think we’ve seen a really ugly side of social media here. Hopefully the police will be able to find grounds for arrest although good luck to them, he’s hiding out in Los Angeles apparently.
However, this incident has opened several lines of thought, one of which is workplace safety and sexual harassment in general, which is clearly necessary, as it is looking as though the CBC knew what Ghomeshi was up to and shielded him until it was no longer possible, upon which they quickly canned him; and the other is victims of rape and sexual assault feeling emboldened to come forward with their stories. I’m kind of surprised that it is still so difficult to expose a rapist. John Irving once described rape as the most violence a human being could suffer and yet survive (The Hotel New Hampshire). And we make it harder for victims to find justice? That makes me mad and sad and frankly, frightened for my daughters and their friends.
And then it was Halloween, which my kids have been talking about since last spring. I’m so glad to have that over with. Costumes, candy, teenagers showing up in ski suits as though they’re real costumes…. Then, at 11:30pm Halloween night, a child who I thought was asleep murmured, “Can I send you my Christmas list?”
So, all that has been occupying my mind and also I haven’t read anything particularly compelling lately. I did, however, create (quite by mistake) a lovely curried vegetable bisque which I will share here:
Curried Vegetable Bisque
The quickest soup for the coldest day. Smooth, creamy, warming, with a bit of heat. You can cut the vegetables any way you like (slice instead of chop or dice) as it’s going to be puréed anyway. The smaller you cut the vegetables the quicker it will cook.
1 T. olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
about 1 t. grated ginger
2 t. garam masala
2 t. curry powder
1/4 t. red pepper flakes (up to you)
1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
4 c. water
2 chicken cubes (or chicken or vegetable stock)
Sauté onions, garlic and ginger in olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat until softened and translucent. Add spices and sauté until fragrant.
Add rest of ingredients, bring to a boil, stir, then lower heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.
Purée well in blender. Add 1-2 cups of milk (your choice; you can use 1/2 c. of cream if you prefer for a richer soup) and continue to blend. Pour into bowls.
You can dress it up with some chopped cilantro, a dash of plain whipped yogurt, and homemade croutons. Papadoms would be good!
If you choose to omit the red pepper flakes, those who desire heat can always add it with a dash of Sriracha, or hot sauce of choice.
You can also make this vegan by using vegetable stock instead of chicken and coconut milk instead of milk.