THE MUSEUM OF IRONY
That’s what we Winnipeggers call the Museum of Human Rights, that giant monument to the vanity of the Aspers. Some people call it the Museum of Tolerance, after the old South Park episode.
It might be a little cruel, but Manitobans are cynical people. It’s the winters, I think. Survive a Manitoba winter, the slush, the snow, the fifty degrees below zero freezes, the endless promise of warmer weather just around the corner, to be replaced by the next big freeze or snowfall… well, after that, you just stop believing in anyone or anything.
Still, I am a Maritimer by birth, and for all the innate ferocity, cruelty and enthusiastic brutality beneath our welcoming smiles, there is a tiny shred of moral decency beneath it all. So I feel just a little bit bad about what I’m about to write.
But not that bad.
I visited the Museum of Human Rights today. I was very impressed by their inclusion of Buffy St. Marie’s picture in their gallery of indigenous people, the inclusion of her music in the same gallery. It gladdens my heart to see that the Museum affirms the importance of that much overlooked indigenous group, the Pretendians, to the cause of human rights. Apparently there is no greater testament to cultural integrity than the theft of it.
Oh well, that’s the Museum of Human Rights for you. Honestly, it’s none of my business. The status of Buffy St. Marie to the indigenous community is a matter for the indigenous community to decide, not for me. I just accept their consensus. If the Museum has its own views on the matter, that’s a conversation between them and the indigenous community.
And I’ll say no more about it.
I might buy some popcorn though.
I’ve been to the Museum of Human Rights a few times though. My honest impression?
Sorry about the title. I couldn’t help myself. Oddly, when I went to see it on a Wednesday evening after a few weeks running, the theatre was unexpectedly full, so it does seem to have a buzz.
Anyway, I walked into the beekeeper and expected it to be silly violent trash. And it was! Don’t get me wrong about that. Totally silly violent trash. Met all expectations in that regard.
But here’s the interesting thing.
It was actually about something. Not bees, that’s the excuse for a lot of silly puns.
There was stuff going on, thinking-type stuff: The central idea of the beekeeper, is that we’re all prey. That all of are literally at the mercy of predators looking to strip us bare, and that the people and agency we are actually relying on to protect us either aren’t doing it, can’t be bothered, or are actually in on it.
There are actually ideas here.
And a lot of violence. Crazy amounts of violence.
But yeah, dig down, there’s an idea powering all that violent energy, like a nuclear reactor with a pile of sweaty men on top of it.
The opening is all about this nice little old retired lady. She gets a pop up on her computer, it’s a phishing expedition, and before you know it, scammers strip mine her entire life savings. She’s us. She’s all of us. She’s everyone.
Most of us own a computer, a lap top, a smart phone or something, The one thing we all have in common is phishing attempts. Scammers trying to get through at us. Count them up. I’m probably getting a thousand phishing attempts a year, maybe ten thousand, on my phone, in my emails, sent to me through social media. I can’t go on facebook without fighting my way through a cloud of paid advertisers most of them running scams. We’re literally walking around in a blizzard of this stuff.
And you know what? You’re screwed. You hear about giant corporations, law firms, businesses of all kinds getting hit with scams and hackers. They have IT departments, they have teams of professionals up on the latest hijinx, and they get hit all the time.
Well, you don’t have an IT department. At best, you’re an average shlub wandering around, with a bunch of electronics we use but barely understand, in the middle of all this. We’re roadkill. Odds are, sooner or later, at some point in your life. You’re going to get hit, and hopefully you’ll be lucky. But none of us are safe.
And there’s no law enforcement to speak of. There’s no protection. If you get your credit card scammed, your bank account lifted, if you get held ransom by malware… no one is going to do anything. Not the police, not the NSA or CIA. You’re on your own, buddy. Outnumbered, outgunned, outthought, getting hit on a thousand or ten thousand times a year, year after year. And no matter how smart you are, you only have to make a mistake once, and they’re in.
This is what the beekeeper is all about. It’s about the fact that it’s wall to wall predators out there, people ready to strip you of your life savings, always prying and pushing, always waiting for you to make that mistake, and you’re… Alone. You’re prey.