A response to Chris Foulds

The Kamloops This Week ran a political cartoon last week, it looked like this:


My good friend Duncan took exception to the picture and let his disdain be known via Twitter and the editor of the Kamloops This Week, Chris Folds responded using his editorial column Tuesday.

It was also on Tuesday that I saw Israel’s reluctance to the Iranian-American brokered nuclear deal that will, in the USA’s eyes, take Iran away from the red line. Israel was the only major hurdle against this deal.

I found this political cartoon from The Guardian newspaper and I thought it would be interesting to simply change a few words of what Foulds himself wrote and apply it to caricatures of other people, in other papers around the world.

This is purely satire folks.

You can find the original article at this link: http://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/foulds-if-you-find-this-cartoon-racist-the-problem-lies-in-your-mind/

Here we go:



If you wanted to study racism in editorial cartoons, you could do a Google search online and encounter a rich treasure trove of offensive artistry.

Some are recent (like every depiction of Muslims, have you seen how they portrayed the Prohphet, peace be upon Him) and some stretch back more than a century.

Or, you could pick up a the Nov. 25 edition of Pars Times, look at page A8, completely misinterpret the illustration by artist Mahmoud Adeli, call the editor and rail in a most nonsensical manner, then wander down to the Mosque to ask Imam to do something about a perfectly fine artistic political statement that you created as racist in a mind not quite ready for prime time.

A problematic byproduct of our ultra-sensitive society today is the ease by which serious charges, such as racism, are tossed around.

In the Nov 25 edition of PT, I ran the editorial cartoon that appears above this column.

It depicts a Jew (or Rabbi, for those who consider “infidel” to be derogatory, though I certainly do not, and I am part-infidel “which I shouldn’t even be admitting”) as being a serious hurdle standing in the way of The Great Satans proposed nuclear deal with Iran, despite the recent framework agreements reached between the foreign ministers of Iran and The Great Satan.

A reader, Shlomo Cohen, called to claim the cartoon was racist.

When I asked how he came to that conclusion, Cohen said he took issue with the fact the cartoon made it appear as though only Jews are opposed to the nuclear deal.

An odd view, to be sure.

So, I asked, the cartoon is racist in its treatment of gentiles and their objection to the Nuclear proposal?

Cohen replied that, if I could not see how it was racist, there was no point in discussing the matter.

He then proceeded to attend Mosque that day and denigrate in public this newspaper with his completely misinformed interpretation.

Cohen’s visit to mosque was tweeted on social media and, sure enough, I received via Twitter one other admonishment for publishing the editorial cartoon, this from Faisul Ebrahimi, a co-host of a university radio-station program.

We went back and forth in that 140-character universe and agreed to disagree.

At one point, Ebrahimi  asked how many Jews are employed in PT newsrooms, to which I responded: Who cares?

I hire blindly, by virtue of talent on paper, not ethnicity in blood.

When I emailed Adeli, the artist behind the editorial cartoon, he responded to his critics.

“Really? Racist towards whom?” he asked. “It’s said that to ratify the nuclear deal with The Great Satan, there will still be hurdles to get over, even though [President Barack] Obama has ‘okayed’ the deal. I’m saying there sure will be hurdles and their name is Jews.”

Hence his cartoon.

Adeli is correct. There are many others besides the Jews opposed to nuclear deal but, as Adeli noted, no other group has equal the power to stop the deal.

If there was objection to the manner in which Adeli portrayed the Jews in her cartoon, he is not buying it.

“The Jews were portrayed as some having long hair with beards — some do wear beards — and wear hats,” Adeli said.

“As an artist, I reserve the right to illustrate Jews in such a way that will make them recognizable to the casual viewer while still being respectful.

“They will not allow the nuclear deal as they say it will embolden Iran to create nukes over time! Seems a traditional depiction makes more sense than Jews in business suits.”

“The facial features are exactly the same as all the facial features in my cartoon characters —  big noses. I depicted Jews demonstrating their power by controlling all the media in the United States — a hurdle that will be difficult, if not impossible, to get over.”

In fact, Adeli added, he named the character “Stereotypical Jew” in honour of Adeli’s Jew friend, whom he always introduces as “my Jew friend.”

There are many instances of actual racist articles or cartoons being published and resulting in an apology from those who made the grievous error in judgment. Look at Dennmark?

When Cohen called last week, he demanded an apology from me for publishing the cartoon.

This week, I will be waiting for an apology, on behalf of PT, from Cohen et al for sullying the name and reputation of this newspaper based on a classic knee-jerk reaction tied to a lack of critical thinking on their behalf.

And I will pass on the mea culpa to Adeli.


I suppose I should share my thoughts.

It seemed like the editorial wanted to just point out that there are far more racist things out there to be seen aside from this innocent portrayal of Indian people. Also the inclusion of the artists perspective seemed like a strange parsing of words, “some Indians DO wear feathers, it’s not like I portrayed them as savages!!” *quotes are made up*

Then the final “one of my good friends is a Native” was enough for me.

I’m not saying the cartoon is racist, pictures speak a 1000 words.


Just change a couple of words.

Linda Larson, MLA for Boundary for Similkameen asked aloud questions and wonders why people may find offence.

I’ve changed a couple of words in the story so she may better understand why it’s just slightly offensive:

The original story is here: http://www.castanet.net/news/Penticton/170511/Politician-won-t-say-sorry

Politician won’t say sorry


An Okanagan politician is refusing to apologize for musing about when the legacy of Holocaust will “burn itself out.”

During a health parliamentary committee hearing late last week, Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson wondered: “How long do you think before the legacy of the Holocaust finally burns itself out of the Jewish people?”

Later in the meeting she added: “How many generations is it going to take before the words ‘Holocaust’ no longer play a part in how people feel?”

The NDP demanded she apologize to Jewish people. Instead, Larson pushed back.

“At that committee meeting we were talking to the health authority about how we can help people. I’m surprised and disappointed that (B.C. NDP leader John) Horgan would try and use my comments for partisan purposes,” she said in a statement.

Horgan says Premier Christy Clark should demand Larson apologize for her “insensitive” remarks.

“A question like that reveals remarkable insensitivity on the part of an elected representative toward the tragic experiences suffered by Jewish people during the Holocaust,” Horgan said.

“We should never forget what happened, so that we can ensure nothing like that ever happens again.”

Horgan also noted Larson is the premier’s parliamentary secretary for rural education, and saying these comments is particularly troubling coming from an MLA with responsibilities for Jewish children in the school system.

Larson did acknowledge the tragedy of the Holocaust.

“What happened with the Holocaust was an absolute tragedy. There was and continues to be horrible consequences to peoples’ lives because of the Holocaust. I know too many people in our community who have suffered,” she said.

I wrote this to the Penticton Herald:

My response to the paper:
A response to Linda Larson
I was shocked to read BC Liberal MLA for Boundary Similkameen, Linda Larson’s comments and her lack of understanding why First Nations people and others with a developed sense of decency would find them to be insensitive and ignorant.
Like if she had said, and I’ve just changed a couple of words to her original quote, “How long do you think before the legacy of the Holocaust finally burns itself out of the Jewish people?”
“How many generations is it going to take before the words ‘Holocaust’ no longer play a part in how people feel?”
Are people’s feelings about a subject related to body count?
In 1948, the UN definition of genocide was determined to mean:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
When your own government holds ceremonies to respect and honour the needless genocide against the Jewish people of Europe in the 1940s, you, Linda Larson, should consider the genocide committed against First Nations, right in our own back yards, up until the very last day, the very last residential school closed its doors.
Shame on you Linda Larson.
Joey Jack

There Goes My Hero

Not everyone gets to talk to their heroes. Not everyone has the chance to sit next to the living embodiment of what can be accomplished, when you set your mind to it.

The first time I spoke to my hero was in October of 2008. I was sitting in my living room and my phone rang. A scratchy voice on the other side of the line asked if I was “Joey Jack who writes all those letters to the editor?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Who is this please?” I said, expecting someone was preparing to tell me off.

“Well, my name is Len Marchand Sr and I grew up just down the road from your family on the reserve in Vernon.”

I was shocked.

He refused to allow me to call him Mr Marchand, or senator or any other sort of honourific.

“Just Len,” he said.

Len had called me to let me know that he had been following me in the paper over the years and felt I had greater things ahead of me.

My hero made me cry.

We kept in touch over the years and would talk politics and whatever else we could think of. Laughing about Pierre Trudeau while his beautiful wife Donna served coffee and muffins. Len always corrected the way I said kilometre. Who was I to argue with the man who brought the metric system to Canada?

By the way, reporters on CBC says kilometre correctly.

Over the years, Len and I kept in touch over the telephone and I secretly adopted him as my grandpa. I would call him to brag about good news in my life and for advice. He always gave me sound advice and always told me he was proud of me.
We spoke after the last federal election for an article I was writing for a publication. He was beaming while talking about the election results.

“I look back to the mid and late 50s when we were just trying to get the vote,” he said, “Now 54 First Nations people were candidates.”

When I asked him about Stephen Harper he said, “The only thing I like about Stephen Harper is that my second name is Stephen and his second name is Joseph, which was my dad’s name.”

We laughed.
Over the past 6-8 months I’ve been dealing with depression and the last time Len called me was just this past March. I called him the previous day and he could hear the sadness in my voice as I tried to be strong and put on a brave face when he asked how I was doing.

The next day he called me back and told me he cared for me and that I should keep my eyes on the prize of better things tomorrow.

Now, that I’m feeling better about things, I had meant to call him and thank him for always being in my corner.

So, while many people will read the tributes and recaps about The Hon. Leonard Marchand Sr PC CM, I just wanted to tell you about my hero, fellow Okanagan Indian, friend and secret adopted grandpa Len.

Thank you Len.

Thank you for showing every Indian person in Canada that determination, hard work and kindness can help you achieve what you set out to do.

A Response to Chris Kempling

Dear Editor,

The Kamloops PennySaver recently printed a column by known religious-zealot-homo-focused-former-teacher-bus-driver Chris Kempling titled, “And Such Were Some Of You..” which was basically about who famous people have sex with.

Kempling jumps around the Bible, picking some tidbits of info from the Old and New Testament to get to his point that people choose their sexuality. How does he attempt to prove that people choose their sexuality? Because a gay guy who can write songs is now married and has nine kids and Anne Heche used Ellen Degeneres to try and advance her career.

I wish that people like Kempling would just stop with their fascination with homosexuals and who and how we have sex. I get that people should be able to express themselves, but there are far more interesting subjects to discuss which, more than how many children an “ex gay” man has, will really make you scratch your head.

It’s the concept of “ex-straight.”

Take a look at some of the more famous ex-straight people in the world. A man like George Rekers, a psychologist, minister, co-founder of the Family Research Council and scientific advisor to the North Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH.) In 2010, Mr Rekers was photographed with a male prostitute from the rentboy website returning from a trip to Europe. When questioned about the incident Mr Rekers stated he needed a travel companion to help with luggage, even though he was seen photographed picking up a suitcase, and also stated he liked to “spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them.”


What did the prostitute say? That he gave him daily nude massages for his sore body, including his sore genitals.

Isn’t that CRAZY!? That’s far more an interesting story than someone being sexually repressed by religion.

Take a look at ex-straight pastor Ted Haggard. He was the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals and founder of the 10,000 follower strong New Life Church in Colorado. Haggard was even captured on film for a documentary called “Jesus Camp” quite plainly condemning homosexuality. In 2006, it came to light that Mr Haggard was engaged in a meth fueled sexual relationship with a gay prostitute. He later admitted to masturbating infront of a 20-year-old male church member. To quote Grant Haas, “..he grabbed a bottle of lotion and started masturbating.” Haas also said that Haggard told him that even men of God can have a little fun on the side.


Isn’t that WILD?! Far far more interesting than promoting shaming and pressuring individuals to conform to archaic stereotypes and gender roles.

I also wish that people like Kempling would discuss more serious issues raised in the Bible. Sins we’re all guilty of on a daily basis. Did you know that there are more damning statements about lending money for profit in the old and new testament that any discussion about homosexuality.

Infact, Ezekiel 18:13 says “He lends at interest and takes a profit. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he is to be put to death; his blood will be on his own head.”

Pretty scary stuff eh? There goes our entire economic system. I wonder if the person who borrows the money should also be put to death? I mean, like when a man layeth with a man as a woman (Lev 18:22,) both parties go into it with their eyes open so shouldn’t everyone who’s reading this with a mortgage, credit card or student loan be put to death?

Even Jesus spoke out against usury more than homosexuality. That’s because Jesus NEVER spoke about homosexuality. It was the apostle Paul who, only after he cut the schmuck (foreskin) off of Timothy’s teenaged schmekel (penis) (Acts 16:3,) said people didn’t need to be circumcised (Galatians 5:2,) who spoke out against the gays (Corinthians 6:9-10.)

The most annoying part of Kempling’s unlettered rant was where he said that “some people aren’t happy with their sexuality.”

Yeah Chris..for a long time a lot of people hid that they were of mixed race on account of the ignorance which is rampant in society. My great grandmother went to her grave saying she was Dutch because people hated Germans after WW1.

Gay kids are 14 times more likely to kill themselves than kids who are not gay and people in society who support and promote the continued shaming, abandoning and pressuring of people to conform, need to give their heads a serious shaking.

Albert Camus said that it’s the responsibility of the thinking person to not be on the side of the executioners and the same concept applies here.

If Chris Kempling lined up the gays and prostitutes, like the ones I mentioned above for a good old bronze age stoning on one side of the street, which side of the street do you think his Lord and Saviour would be standing?


That’s what I thought.

Joey Jack

Human Rights Tribunal Affirms Well Known Truths

The recent decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal regarding the unfair treatment of Aboriginal children and their families by under funding of programs by the Federal government affirms what us in the Aboriginal world have known all of our lives.

We’ve been and continue to be treated like dirt by the Canadian government and our fellow Canadians.

Quick history lesson:
-Indians were rounded up and placed on plots of land, all other lands were taken from them
– Permission required to leave the reserve
– Children taken away and robbed of everything that made them people
– Having religion forced on them
– Being barred from hiring legal council
– Being barred from selling and buying goods from non-aboriginals
– Being banned from poolhalls
– Not having the right to vote federally until 1960
– Not having the right to a representative jury (the first Aboriginal juror served in 1972.)
– Sexist status policies robbed thousands of Aboriginal women of status whilst granting non-Aboriginal women “Indian” status
– Unfair funding cap put in place 20 years ago (looking at you Jean Chretien!)
– Over represented in prison populations, violent crimes and soup kitchens
– The findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission showing that non-Aboriginals were taught the same slanted and hurtful lessons about Aboriginal peoples

And now the Human Rights Tribunal has found that the previous HARPER government (feels good to write that) underfunded Aboriginal child welfare programs in the range of 22-34 per cent compared to non-Aboriginal children in care. These are innocent children remember.

Chip on my shoulder? No. The few items I mentioned above are just the superficial wrongs which most Canadians know, or at least should know, before they collectively shrug their shoulders while saying to themselves “meh, happened along time ago…” I’m not even going to get into the deeper racism which exists in our world and in my opinion played out very well during the OKIB/CN rail line debacle of 2015, but that’s another letter for another day. Let’s just say that the leaders of the Okanagan Valley can look to the coast for how to build meaningful relationships with Aboriginals.

What next?

I am holding out for the implementation of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which Prime Minister Trudeau has committed to following through on.

I’m also holding out for Aboriginal leaders to show up to the table ready to do some of the heavy lifting. The capacity to provide the necessary services has to come from our own communities, from our own people.

It’s time for Canadians, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, to take a long look at ourselves in the mirror.

I’m often told, “I didn’t do anything to you, it was someone else.” Yes, you’re right, and when you ask aloud why some Aboriginals get their post secondary education paid for (also underfunded,) my response to you will be “Well we didn’t do anything..it was someone else.” I bet the majority of Aboriginals would’ve given up the free education part…had we known that it meant generations of our children would be subject to sexual abuse and systemic murder at the hands of the Canadians responsible for the Residential Schools.

Apology not accepted by the way, still in the cooling off period.

We’re stuck in this hostile holding pattern because since Confederation, Canada has treated Aboriginals as the junior partner. Our education system relegated us to the margins of history books, our governments deny our colonial history and if internet comment boards are any indication, at least 31.9 per cent of Canadians don’t think there’s a problem at all and if there is one, it’s not Canada’s.

Well I’m here to tell you it is Canada’s problem and until we air out this 150-year-old dirty laundry, reconciliation will never happen and the stink of racism will never go away.


When I was 21 years old a Kamloops grocery store denied my ability to purchase mouthwash.  “Some people drink it,” said the young lady, as she avoided eye contact. Naturally, I lost it and received a written apology from the manager of the store and the corporate office for what happened to me.

I get that many Okanagan people are subject to this example and far worse examples of racism from the wider society and after reading an article in the February Maclean’s magazine outlining just how racist our society is towards First Nations people, I agree that something must be done about it.

Another issue relating to racism and First Nations people is the issue of “brown on brown” racism or lateral violence amongst our own people. What purpose does it serve to put down your fellow First Nations person for not being “indian enough?” Sure, some of us don’t hunt or fish regularly, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how. Perhaps some of us are just as comfortable in the non-First Nations world as we are within the First Nation world.

What’s wrong with that?

What makes a person Okanagan? Is it being able to speak the language? Is it being able to recount the stories of our ancestors? When I was a boy, I asked my mom what it meant to be First Nations and she didn’t even pause for a moment when she said, “Proud.”

That was good enough for me.

So I guess I’m throwing a lifeline to all of the folks reading this who have felt they have been judged by other First Nations people. Things can and will get better for First Nations people when we figure out that we have common goals and the only way to reach those goals is to work together and not keep attacking each other.

It’s strange to  say, but I can almost accept Ignorant comments from non-First Nations people. I know the education system doesn’t serve them well when it comes to our issues.

What I find increasingly hard to do is to accept the racism from my fellow First Nations people. We should know better. Sure, I have a white grandma and I love her with all my heart. The lessons about love and reconciliation she has taught me will go with me to my grave.

I’m going to make a promise to be as accepting and open to the lives and viewpoints of my fellow humans, First Nations and Okanagans. I challenge anyone who is reading this to do the same. How can we demand honour and respect from the non-Okanagan world when we have a difficult time showing honour and respect for each other?

The Ballad of Geoff Ballard

Dear Editor,

I was troubled while reading your recent story about pigeons, or as I like to call it Curmudgeon: The Ballad of Geoff Ballard. When will the city of Kamloops stop creating bylaws based off of complaints? With all the hoopla of charging people exorbitant fines for minor offences I don’t want to end up having to pay $500.00 simply because I thought the left over buns from dinner might make a good snack for some birds. THEY’RE BIRDS! If what was said by the bylaw officer is true (that lots of complaints may prompt city council to enact a bylaw,) then please accept this as another complaint about useless bylaws. If you play music and are visited by a bylaw officer at 11AM on a Sunday afternoon because one of your neighbors complained about it, write the city a letter. If you have been fined for roasting marshmallows in your yard, write a letter. If you’ve been erroneously charged a high fine for a minor offence, write a letter. Let’s do better than that, let’s go to council ourselves in person and say, “hey, relax! We don’t need a bylaw to control every damn aspect of our lives, or the lives of birds!” Sheesh! I feel like Kamloops needs a tea party movement. It would be a bit more fun than the current w(h)ine and cheese party we’ve been subject to.

Joey Jack


I wrote this years ago and I hope you’ll pardon the poor grammar/punctuation.



Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of meeting with three graduating students of the TRU education program. They will be certified teachers by the end of the school year.. which you know may have already happened. The reason they wanted to meet with me was so that I could discuss my experience in elementary school/highschool as an aboriginal student.


When I was first asked last week I wasn’t sure what kind of help I could be as I never felt my experience growing up as a student was anything exceptional from those who went to school with me.. to be honest I hadn’t given it any thought.


After a nice ice breaking easy going conversation we got into the heart of the matter. I talked about my little boy crush on my grade 1 teacher Mrs. Porter because she would write on my school work things like “HOORAY!” and “YOU MAKE ME :)” My desire for attention and affection began then. I talked about having both strict and easy going teachers but I always had teachers who were willing to push me to do better work. I really appreciated them.


Teachers like Mr. Paul Kipp, he was my 5th grade teacher and vice principal. He was the first teacher who ever said to his class “if you ever need to talk to anyone please don’t hesitate to come and talk to me.”

Very early in my 5th grade year my brother tried to hang himself in our basement, he was only 13 years old and you know only recently have I realized how impactful that event was on my young life. I waited around after school and after much self pep talk I started walking back to the class room and he was walking out of the class. I stopped and asked him if I could talk to him for a few minutes.. and right away I started to well up with tears. I told him that I needed to talk to someone.. and I told him what happened and he was kind of shocked.. I missed a day of school.. and I remember him saying “what!? WHAT!? what happened?”


I really loved having him as a teacher and he pushed me to be better at my work and take my time and stop rushing my way through it just for the sake of being done. He taught me that sometimes the journey is half the fun. I was really glad to know him beyond an academic realm when I became friends with his daughter. Last year when I was taking this lame “coaching” class.. we were asked, as an icebreaker, to draw who was our best life coach and yep.. you guessed it.. at 27 I could only draw Mr. Kipp cept.. I suck at drawing and screwed up the eye so I had to give him glasses and I don’t remember him wearing glasses.


The second teacher I talked about was Mrs. Hyde. She was my third grade teacher and I remember how supportive she was of me growing up, she wanted me to not only be a good student, but also she was very keen on pushing the idea of being a good citizen. She was an older woman and she treated all of us very well. I know she had hard times with some of my classmates and she would let her frustration show but I always wanted her to like me. In 3rd Grade I received from our principal a citizenship award during an assembly. I was in the bathroom and as I walked into the gymnasium everyone was looking at me and I didn’t know why and then he called my name again “Joey Jack, grade 3 Mrs. Hyde”

My name was written in his “book” and I received a silver dollar from him.


How proud was I?!!?!?


At the end of the school year Mrs. Hyde called my house and asked my mom to send me back to school and she had something for me.


I arrived in the school and went to our class room and she handed me a little ziplock bag and asked me to open it. When I did I saw a hand made snowflake with her very distinct writing. She wrote on it that I was special and God Bless me always .

Love From Mrs. Hyde.


She included another silver dollar for me.


When I was telling these girls this story it brought back such a flood of memories. I started to cry. My word I was so upset hahah I don’t even know why. I suppose it was at that moment that I really liked school so much because it was always a good way to escape what was going on at home. I have nothing but respect for every teacher I have ever had. Each one of them treated me with dignity and respect and many of them took the extra time to give me extra support. They could see I was teased by my school mates and would make sure that I was smiling and knew that I was indeed very special.


This diatribe was more for me.. than for you.

Yeah I am a NERD I kept it all these years. I still have the silver dollars too!

It’s a man’s world.

December 6, 1989, 14 women lost their lives and millions of women saw their lives change.



The Montreal Massacre, a documentary directed by Gerry Rogers gives not only a personal, first hand account of the tragedy, but also its lasting effect on women. The powerful film includes testimony from Sylvie Gagnon, a survivor of the attack, and interviews with women from various walks of life reflecting about their own personal experiences with violence and abuse.



The film outlines the different ways that women are exposed to abuse and how this continuing pattern can only help to produce more violent cowards, like Marc Lepine (the shooter.) These abusive behaviors begin to emerge at a young age for some and generational indoctrination seems to only buttress the status quo. Words like “bitch” are thrown out towards women who stand up for themselves intellectually , words like “slut” are thrown at women who have more than one partner while a male counterpart may be called the more acceptable term of “stud.”



I don’t think it is appropriate to blame these behaviors on the media. While it’s true that some parents rely on television to raise their children, it is ultimately parents responsibility to teach their children good behavior. If my mother didn’t teach me better lessons than I learned on television, I would have though it was completely acceptable to use the terms Archie Bunker used to describe certain groups of people.


It has been said that the men who left the classroom, when directed to by Marc Lepine, felt terrible afterward. The guilt of survivors has been well documented. In some instances, I agree that it’s appropriate to feel helpless in a situation when someone loses their life. In the case of the men who left the victims behind, there is no excuse. If you were asked to leave a room because you were a man, leaving behind a group of women with a man carrying a gun, you pretty much pulled the trigger.



The film really affected me. I felt sick. I remember when it happened, I was 10, what did I know?



I think there is an ongoing war against women on different fronts. “Red Zones” push marginalized women to the outskirts of society where, when they go missing, aren’t really that missed. The trail of tears in Northern B.C. The Pickton’s and Russell Williams’ out there.



There are still grumblings over a woman’s right to choose and the objectifying of women continues today. I suppose, in some perverse, kind of way…the objectifying of both sexes has occurred.



There are no winners though in the war against women, we all lose. We all lose – because without women in our lives what would we be? A bunch of jerk offs who would continue to entertain each other by passing gas and punching each other in the face. What a smelly and painful place that would be.



To quote James Brown..



Man makes the car, to take us over the road.

Man makes the train, to carry the heavy load.

Man makes the electric lights to take us out of the dark.

Man makes a boat for the water, just like Noah built the ark.



It’s a man’s world…



But he wouldn’t be nothing, without a woman or a girl.



I’d never leave a friend behind if a man was carrying a gun.




“I” statements anyone?

So.. when I was five I was hit by a van.

The scar starts at the right side my temple and creates some kind of C like formation on my scalp. I remember being able to actually feel the wound and having skin flap over my hand (that’s when I started to cry cos I was a tough post-toddler..How tough? I told my mom to stop crying in the ambulance.)

I don’t consider what happened to me as being actual head trauma because I’m not dead and my GPA is pretty good. A good friend decided to mess with me (love you d-caf) by suggesting that I act how I act because of the accident. I’m in a weird predicament because when you’re only five, you’ve not had a lot of time to develop into anything..so I don’t recall how I changed post accident.

I can’t really rely on my family to say whether or not I changed because in the 80’s, parents gave lesser shits about their kids and my siblings were probably already actively ignoring me.

So now I’m stuck wondering if getting hit by a car was the best thing that ever happened to me or the second best thing that ever happened to me?

I often think about how I would be if I didn’t live in Kamloops anymore and if I would be the same kind of person. In my wildest fantasies, I would be considered a far more cerebral person discussing important subjects at great length while keeping comedy to a minimum. 

I’ve failed nearly every chance to “just be,” because I’m just more comfortable performing for people. There is a wonderful sense of control to be in front of one or 1000 people being the one guy everyone is paying attention to. Moment of honesty? I often get horrible anxiety while being out in public spaces. I just want to wear headphones and buy my groceries and go home rather than engage in idle chat…I feel weird about it and it has nothing to do with the other person.

Another moment of honesty?

I’ve found myself stuck in the grips of depression for a long time.

It’s not a strange thing to feel because I know many of us feel the same way and we’re just not used to talking about it.

There are so many contradictions with depression and just overall mental health issues. I am anxious to go out and just be, but when I do go out, I can’t help but try to be entertaining. I’ll be in the WORST mood while shopping or something and still try to be funny/kind to people around me. What I love about posting these entries is the ability for others to point out times I’ve not been kind.

This post isn’t about that.

Why can’t we just always be able to express how we feel? What the hell is so wrong with saying “I fucking hate when you do that bullshit asshole.” Wouldn’t it be great if that person could say, “yeah? Well I hate when you do this!?” It’s like we’re so afraid of conflict that we just let the strangest shit happen all around us.

Conflict happens and things blow over. How do I know this? I’m the youngest of four kids. Trust me..people get over shit.

I’m not entirely sure what this post is about anymore, but I told myself to free write today this way rather than a word document that gets deleted.

Back to the topic of depression, I’m not sure if people realize how feeling depressed becomes a “normal” pattern and you start to think that the ideas that are happening in the depressed state are perfectly reasonable. I can’t speak for anyone else because I don’t speak to many people about my own depression, but months afterwards you start to feel bad again because you ask yourself “what was I thinking?”

The cycle can get exhausting.

There is a strange paradox being a depressed person and known to be entertaining. Complete strangers share with me the most intimate of details because they saw me beaming about my gran, mom, niece of nephew on CFJC. You want to show empathy and sympathy for their issues, but maintain a firewall to be sure not to get caught up in other people’s problems (yeah you know me!)

I don’t know if I’m unable to discuss my depression issues because of the following reasons:
1. Trite responses like “awww hun.”
2. Giving that person something to use against me one day for whatever reason.
3. Knowing that if I share my problems with someone..they’re SO prepared to share their problems with me.
4. I grew up in a family full of people who would just rather not talk about anything too personal.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to be there for my friends and support them when they need me. I may share a personal story with them to let them know I understand where their coming from, but more and more these days, I’m noticing that when people start to share their problems, it becomes a contest to see who is worse off.

I don’t know if my frequent-ish depression issues stem from my environment or one of these “chemical imbalances” we hear about now and again. I read an article from The Walrus:

“I said I’d had a difficult period with some colleagues and had found it hard to control my emotions, to which she [Joni Mitchell] said, ‘Why the hell would you want to do that?’ For an artist like Joni, the whole point is to be completely in touch with the volatility of emotions.” Stevie Wonder once told him that “he often couldn’t finish a take, because he’d be on the verge of tears. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.” Artists offer consolation, Levitin says. “It’s like you’ve been cut off from your emotions, and suddenly there’s another person feeling what you want to feel. They’re on the cliff edge with you, and, more than that, they’ve taken their despair and turned it into a beautiful piece of art. It’s inspiring.”


Should I just accept that I’ve always been who I’ve been and stop living up to expectations I’ve created for people who know me? Should I just be more comfortable to say to people, “Hey, I’m having a me day..thanks.”?

Or has the past 29 years been a flash forward for the little boy who was just hit by a car and is laying on a gurney at RIH?

I guess what I’m saying is…. I don’t know if my accident affected my brain and I don’t want to know.

I thought I’d write this profoundly personal blog entry but I’ve been trained to self censor ever since I was eight.

For what it’s worth..if you’re a quiet person dealing with depression and we’ve met….I just want you to know..that I know where you’re coming from and it’s why I try and hug as many of my friends as possible when I see them.

We’re all we have on this ever-shifting mass called Earth.

p.s. Remember earlier when mentioned if I thought being hit by a car was the best thing to happen to me or the second best thing to happen to me? I think the other best thing to happen to me was to be able to finally accept that I am a person that deals with depression.

It’s like I’ve come out all over again!

I hope I experience the same level of weight loss as I did when I told people I was a gay.


Fare Thee Well Kamloops Daily News

I was in my early twenties, maybe 21? I was like most young people, I didn’t give a crap about anything but what I saw in front of me. Walter Lippman later explained it to me as being part of a bewildered herd and having a a view of the world based off of the pictures in my head.One day I opened the paper and read some tripe written by a devout religious person cherry picking the Christian Bible to degrade homosexual people. I wasn’t even in a place where I was comfortable to self-identify as a gay person at the time but… I responded.

Over the years the Kamloops Daily News has provided me with a stage to respond to crazy letters from people of all stripes and in doing so, I found my voice as a writer and as a human being.

On more than one occasion I have been in line at a coffee shop and after someone has said my full name out loud I have either had someone purchase my coffee or call me a nutbar (much like the Daily News did in a 2007 editorial regarding posters I put up around the city.)

Thank you very much to the dedicated staff of the Kamloops Daily News.

In closing, I’d like to share a line from a Tina Turner song (yes, I’m comfortable admitting I am a gay person now!)
“Tears will leave no stain, time will ease the pain..for every light that fades, something beautiful remains.”Indeed.

Joey Jack

An example: