by Anna Frey
Being a Dawson student gives me a weekly reason to be thankful that I’m Canadian. Each Thursday, on my way to class, I make sure to grab a copy of The Plant. I’ll read most of the articles eventually, but there’s one column that I can never skip: I love reading what the Skanks have to say each week.
Not that I think these women are national role models in any way. I am just so appreciative that they exist, that we can and do publish and publicise the often graphic and always obscene wisdom that these Skanks have to share with the rest of us.
Not every country has such supreme sex education in their newspapers; in some countries even the thought of these Skanks would send shudders down the bigwigs’ spines. In China, for example, where the press has always been censored, text messages are being screened for any sexual content whatsoever. If you’re caught sending such content, your texting capabilities could be immediately revoked, even if it’s the first time. Forget about publicising sex, they won’t even allow it to be written about privately. What’s next – the police reading your journal?
Screening private messages for keywords like “bomb”, “plane”, “crash” or “government” is something I can understand any government doing, but what has sex got to do with it? I’m all for national security, but I don’t know of any great empire felled by a blowjob. If anything, safe sex would be good for a population: good exercise, happier couples, and calmer people. China is simply displaying power for power’s sake, and when governments start taking liberties away, we should be getting nervous.
Xinjiang, a large region of northern China, experienced that total loss of freedom last year when any access to the internet for their population of more than 20 million was disabled for over four months. The nearest connection was a 20-hour drive away, a trip that only the most faithful Twitter fanatic would undergo.
The results of such a disconnection reach farther than is obvious. Once access to the internet was re-established for this town, the step wasn’t much of an improvement. They were given access to two websites, both of which were totally directed by the Chinese government. When the state holds control over the media, it’s impossible to know what’s true or not.
This whole situation is ridiculous and I’d find it hysterical if it wasn’t so frightening. In this day and age, if your community is severed from the internet and text messaging you’re essentially alone in the world. It’s an easy step from screening text messages to screening phone calls, and how can you stand up against a power that has taken away the very tools with which you would fight them?
I don’t pretend that Canada is a perfect country, or that Dawson is the perfect school. No matter how much we have to complain about, however, we have the important stuff like civil liberties and free speech taken care of, so we have the time to worry about drunken Facebook pictures and how many classes we have left to skip. Why don’t you take a breath and let your population enjoy itself too, China?