Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sexual proclivities

Looking for a salacious post? Turn back now... it ain't coming. I wonder how many hits I'll get because of the title. Indulge me for a few moments while I go into a personal story.
I was appearing before a judge in Family Court. My lawyer did not reassure me that everything would be fine. I met with her in the hallway, we discussed a few things and then it was time to go into the room. I was the only male in there. The other 5 people were women. I was ready for my lynching.
Throughout the hearing, and the two that followed, I was permitted to speak fully, aside from one time where I was cautioned. In hindsight, I was perhaps skirting being out of line. At the final hearing, the judge set out the things we had agreed to, and things were "settled".
As I debriefed with my lawyer, she said, "You can be very glad that the judged really cared. Most don't."

There's no need for details regarding the reasons I was there, or the things the judge heard or ruled on, the mere fact that a lawyer who sees all sorts of goofy judges said that is really reason enough for me to recognize that I lucked out in drawing her.

That was a number of years ago, and I still remember how that judge listened, never showed any favouritism, and saw through bullshit from either side, and said so. Good judges are hard to find. A good lawyer will make a lot more than a bad judge, and a bad judge makes as much as a good judge. What good lawyer would accept an appointment to the bench? You can make a lot more coin being a lawyer.

You may have guessed the name of the judge. She's no longer actively hearing cases and from what I've read, it's through no fault of her own. Certain "inappropriate" photos of her are circulating on sites on the www. I've never had any inclination to view the photos. It's not that I'm not curious in a general sort of way, I just see no reason to. Which brings me to ask myself why newspapers in the city seem to think it's OK to mention them. There are ways of covering a story, (because it is a story), without sensationalizing it. There are ways of covering the details without uncovering things that don't really need to be exposed.

Let's be clear. I've never met Lori Douglas outside of the already noted context, and when the story first came out, I never even put two and two together. I just think that it's such a shame that one of the few good judges out there is taken off the active roster because of the things a few other goofs are doing, or did.

Do we as a society really believe that we are entitled to know about the sexual preferences of others? Sure, you could argue that the photos were bad judgment, but as they were taken before she was ever appointed to the bench... I mean there are all sorts of examples of bad judgment. Where would that sort of thing stop?
Like Greg Selinger never made any bad judgments? He played along with the NDP's corrupt accounting, where union members were listed as an "expense" and we had to reimburse the party these bogus campaign expenses. Who did more harm to the populous? Why would one be removed from a place where she is doing society (as a whole) good, while the other is seemingly coated with teflon?

This guy who keeps getting his 15 minutes of fame, ((what's his name again, chapped lips? No, that's not it. Chap stick? No, no, not chap stick. Chapman! Ya, ya... that's it! Chapman!) Paraphrased from a bugs Bunny episode "Hareless Wolf" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6SUyKvSZGg )

How does this clown contribute? He files a law suit that is a likely to succeed as a federal NDP government being formed under Jack Layton, (thanks for the idiom ARA), and effectively removes one of the few decent sitting judges from the bench. Society is still paying Lori Douglas, since her predicament is really not of her own doing. Sure, we can point fingers at another certain lawyer, and can even consider the musings of Chap Stick when he asks if society would view a reversed situation as being sexual harassment, but it doesn't appear that Lori Douglas had any direct involvement, at least not knowingly.

For whatever reason, we seem to latch onto this belief that this is newsworthy, and given the general tenor of reporting in today's world, this relatively "easy" story is given a front page. Who actually decides what's news and what isn't? Who determines where that line is between a private matter, and the need for the public to know?

As I remember it, Robin Leech was the first guy to cross that line, reporting on Pierre and Margret Trudeau, and her indiscretions, which were fairly public. That seemed to have been the "watershed", where the private doings of people either in, or near the public light became an easy ticket to being a "reporter". Leech, (ya, ya... don't post that I spelled it wrong... I know it's Leach), made a living of covering things we don't really need to know about people who are in the public arena, so the final question is, who would go into the public arena?

I don't want people who have never made a mis step as a judge. I don't think we're well served by politicians who have never smoked a joint, or indulged in too much wine. I don't think we need squeaky clean people who pass a certain purity test to be public servants, in fact, I think we are continuing to cut the field of candidates for these positions ever smaller, until there is no one left to run or be appointed, who has any real merit, or can offer society a real service.

I don't know of too many people who could really say that they've never done or said something they've regretted doing later, and if "take backs" were possibly, that they change their actions or words. How do we change this, or do we even need to?  We'll either become oblivious to it, and accept the status quo, or recognize that our desire to know what goes on in peoples bedrooms, under the expectation of privacy, is eroding our reasonable expectations for excellence.

Mr Chap Stick, I feel that you've done Manitoban's a dis service. While I don't expect you to apologize, I think one is due, to your fellow citizens, as well as Ms. Douglas. My personal thought about you will remain as they should... personal. That's not for public consumption... and I guess that's where we start. Restraint.

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