Thursday, March 31, 2016

RE: Income-tied Fines

Dear Attorneys General Madeleine Meilleur (Ontario) & Jody Wilson-Raybould (Canada), 

I am writing to ask that your ministries consider how fines are assigned federally and provincially. Financial penalties for minor crimes and public inconvenience do not discourage offences equally across socio-economic difference. Fixed-rate fines are remarkably less consequential for those of affluence and privilege. 

Calculating the value of a fine as a percentage of income ensures that punishment is proportionate across all offences. Finnish law approaches fines in this way. Pragmatically, this policy shift creates potential for public revenue and encourages replacing punitive measures with a public health response to poverty crimes. 

Thank you for your consideration, 


D$$



Saturday, March 19, 2016

My Fourth Self: A Biopolitical Diary Entry

I've burned through another version of myself; that's how I feel now. I'm no longer a child of New Brunswick, a socialite do-gooder, or a critical careerist. I don't know what to call the form I'm in now. Definitely liberated, definitely an artist, and much more in tune with my body than ever before.

I like to think the divisions between the chapters of my life like phoenix rebirth. I don't know why, but I've always understood loss as growth. There's something about disconnecting from hope that gives me clarity. Moments of 'nothing to lose' teach me how little it takes to survive. Each transition was marked by a tight cluster of intense events that changed my life and perspective.


Four events mark the beginning of my 4th self. #Thisisme, my unexpected fling, meaningfully taking charge of my health, and choosing to make art my career.

I needed to approach 2016 differently than I'd lived before, so I unapologetically embraced experiential wealth and radical authenticity as organizing principles. It's March, and still no regrets about spilling my whole life on the internet. #Thisisme helped me shed external expectations and embrace the power of irreverence personally and politically. I care so little now what people expect from me; I know I'm a talented human who's consciously trying to get through life in the best way I can. By all means disagree with me, but don't assume I'll value your opinion.

My fast and bright fling, which ended amicably for the most part, unexpectedly reminded me of my humanity. One of our core incompatibilities was our divergent relationships with time. I watched this video with my friend Patrick in Montreal a few weeks ago, and it really stuck with me. It's worth the watch, so that the rest of the post makes sense:


I'm an intensely future-oriented person, and he's less so. I wouldn't describe him as present oriented, but foresight was definitely more my thing. We had a fundamental conflict between how we valued time and what the future meant. Well-suited couples (or other polyamorous configurations) need to respectfully connect across space and pace; we utterly failed at the latter for reasons I will keep off the internet. 

My epiphany about time also spoke to my experience of anxiety. There's a cognitive dissonance for future-oriented people existing in present hedonist neoliberalism. Ideas like universal design and permaculture are more aligned with my inherent impulse to 'play the long game'.

Playing the long game means taking your health seriously. For the first time in like a year and a half, I feel like my health is improving. I moved to New Brunswick last year to try to get my health issues sorted, but the geographic and social context of my 10 months there did not meaningfully help me get healthier. So I'm back in Ottawa, where I don't really want to be anymore, but I eat well and exercise regularly (note - if anyone in Ottawa wants to gift me an exercise bike, hook me up!) I'm starting physiotherapy on Tuesday, and I'm a few liquid nitrogen burns away from having a plantar wart off of my foot. (glorious, right?)

Jamie Lee Curtis as Dean Munsch in Fox' Scream Queens
I've finally got anxiety drugs that are pretty effective. I first was prescribed Buspirone, which after 3 weeks gave me a twitch between my eyebrows and didn't actually manage/reduce any individual anxiety attacks. Now I'm on generic Klonopin. Dean Munch on Scream Queens was on it when she was institutionalized, so fuck yeah. It's not something I want or have to take all the time, but it works in ~30 minutes.

The deal is that it literally turns my brain down, which is a great option if I'm freaking out. When I take it, I'm zen and collected, but I'm also lethargic and apathetic. Klonopin was a godsend getting a filling last week, but in no capacity could I sit down and write. Without qualifier, Klonopin's an anxiety management tool I'm happy to have; I'm just not sure what my relationship with the drug is yet.

Finally and most meaningfully, I decided to make art a core part of my professional aspirations. I had planned to attend an interactive media design program in Toronto in September, but the revamp of provincial PSE funding favours me delaying that ambition to the Fall of 2017.

I'm still hoping to move to Toronto as soon as I reasonably can, so anyone with a guest room/nepotistic job offer is automatically cooler right now! My pending move is not about my appreciation for the city (Ottawa is physically much nicer), but the people and the creative opportunities in Toronto are a much better incubator for my success than the academic/non-profit/public service nexus in Ottawa.

Change, despite being the product of loss, has been good to me. First, I lost my innocence. Then, I lost my reverence, and now I've lost my fear.

Onward.