Movie Review : Spotlight – Religion and Paedophilia

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I have a poor attention span when it comes to watching movies at home. If you want me to concentrate on something then its best to drag me to the cinema and force me to sit there without any distraction. At home I am usually multi-tasking (and this is often fine for the average chick flick which require minimal concentration) so a movie has to be really interesting for it to receive my undivided attention. This was one of those rare occasions….

Spotlight is the true story of the Boston Globe’s ‘Spotlight’ team and their mission to uncover the extent of child abuse taking place within the Catholic Church. It all begins with a column accusing the Cardinal/Archbishop of Boston (the big boss of the Catholic Church) of having knowledge of one his minion priests sexually abusing children but sweeping it under the rug by moving the dirty perve from one church to the next rather than taking the necessary steps to have him put behind bars.

This single investigation opens up a can of works with the Spotlight team discovering a pattern of sexual abuse by priests in the Boston area and whats worse the depth ongoing cover-up by the church, because at this point the crimes date back decades and involve almost 100 priests just in the local context. Eventually, the journalists realise that the problem is so entrenched that it is no longer about exposing the perverted priests but about taking on the Catholic church. It’s a risky move considering the power of the institution and the fact that the majority of the Boston Globe’s readership is Catholic.

The movie won two Oscars, so you don’t really need me telling you that it is worth watching but I think whats most important here are the issues that it brought to light to a mainstream audience. While the news of paedo priests is nothing new to us. We know it goes on all over the place and its not just within the Catholicism. I doubt there is any religious movement in the world which hasn’t had its reputation tarnished by some sort of sexual scandal. And while peadophilia and sexual abuse isn’t just limited to religious organisations and many still argue that most perpetrators are members of the victims family, close friends, teachers, etc rather that religious leaders, the fact is we probably expect better of these people. After all, they do spend their whole lives dedicated to telling the rest of us fallen people how to live our lives in a way that God would approve of.

I’m a godless creature so naturally these stories simply serve to give me more ammunition against #teamgod. But I think sex scandals within all religions should make everyone question the relevance of certain aspects of these religious teachings and what exactly they end up promoting.  Sure, we live in a world where hook-up culture is the norm and maybe there are a few of us that could do with exercising some restraint when it comes to the bedroom department but that said, sex isn’t something which should be demonized. As far as I’m concerned, celibacy isn’t normal for human beings. While we do have better capabilities when it comes to reasoning and controlling our desires at the end of the day we are just animals. And as animals we have sexual needs which need to be fulfilled. Artificially suppressing these desires in attempt to win favor with the Big G or for whatever reason isn’t healthy. Maybe it isn’t just the promotion of celibacy as an ideal that has led to a disproportionate amount dirty perves that we find hiding within religious organisations but its certainly a factor. Forgive my crude reasoning but I do think if religious folk were allowed to have wives, girlfriends, FWBs (or even pay for sexual favours) without feeling guilty about it maybe then they wouldn’t need to turn their attention to innocent children.

I am not idealistic enough to think if the religious folk were allowed to free somewhat more sexually promiscuous like the rest of the society all of the pervs would magically disappear. The problem is certainly more complex and not something that can be addressed in a single blog post (or movie) but we do have start somewhere and perhaps its time religious movements got with the times and started being a bit more self-reflective about their own people instead of just trying to convert the rest of us to their way of thinking.

Alrighty Rinsers. I am ready for some hate mail coming my way so do your worse. Why do you think so many disgustingly perverted people are found hiding behind religion? Or is it the religion that makes them that way? What do you think should be done to the perpetrators of such crimes and the movements that not only harbor them but actively work to conceal their misdeeds? Go wild in the comments below. 

 

 

 

Playing With Fire

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Throughout our lives we are always warned about the risks of playing with fire. It’s never more true than in the world of dating where it is easy to see the error of our ways after the fact,when we find ourselves sprawled out on the sofa, trying to heal those third degree burns with tubs of ice cream and copious amounts of gin. It’s also easier to offer good advice when you are slightly removed from the situation – we don’t struggle to tell our friends to stay away from the married man or about the perils of dating a mama’s boy – but when it comes to taking our own advice it’s a tough pill to swallow. But is avoiding trouble really the solution to all of a singletons problems? Or do we all need an element of danger to spice things up in our otherwise boring lives?

Not all of life’s dangers are roaring furnaces, sometimes even the most unsuspecting tea light has the potential to do just as much damage.  20/20 hindsight will make any sensible person question their mental state when they embarked on what we thought could be an epic romance with a married man. As in like really? You wanted to throw everything away at the age of 21 to take care of his kids? Get real. In such situations it’s pretty obvious that things would end in disaster so just put it down to you being young and naïve, then move on.

Then there are those instances when things are bit more complex. There are those situations where you thank the universe because it seems you dodged the bullet. But the thing is those bullets didn’t disappear, they’ll be back to hit you when you least expect it. For example, that bad boy that miraculously develops a conscience and decides to friend/sister/daughter zone you. Fine, it’s a bit of a blow to the ego at first but over time you accept the situation and settle for a ‘flirtationship’. It’s not ideal, but it’s a good ego boost if nothing else.

But you see, the danger in these seemingly innocent interactions is that they really aren’t all that innocent and have a habit of escalating, often without you realising. You can kid yourself all you like by telling yourself that that bad boy is now your BFF and it’s the nicest story to come out of Tinder but the truth is it’s NOT. All you’ve gone and done is invest precious time and energy into something you knew full well wasn’t going to amount to much. You’ll only ever admit that you were playing with fire when eventually the day comes when he arrives at the party with another chick thereby ‘ending’ your flirtationship as you look on and cringe as you see history repeating itself. Of course, you told yourself you were mature enough to handle some light and fluffy banter, but we all know there was more to it and the burn is no less painful.

What’s worse about getting burnt by the flame of a candle is that you can’t even scream and shout, cry or bitch and moan about it without looking totally unhinged. Because after all, technically he did nothing wrong and it was you that overestimated your maturity level. All you can do now is put on a brave face, move on and learn that if you do go down that path again (because inevitably you will) that you’ll manage you expectations better.

As we maneuver our way through the big bad world of dating we will be exposed to a whole host of dangers, some more apparent than others. It’s easy for people who are happily sorted in life (or simply settling for mediocre) to look down their nose at these silly singletons who seem to be continuously playing with fire and making mistakes. But I think it’s important to stop and ask ourselves whether taking these risks are indeed a necessary evil if we are ever to succeed in our mission to find Prince Charming? Hmmm… I wonder. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve always felt attracted to those interactions where there is a spark. It’s just that in most cases those sparks have had a habit of becoming raging bush fires.

Rinsers – Thoughts in the comments section below. Do you think that there are always inherent risks when it comes to matters of the heart? Would life just be a little bit boring if we always went for the safe option without chasing those sparks that sometimes force us to play with fire? Tell us your stories in the comments sections below.

Film review: The Girl on the Train

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#englishrosiee and I have both read the book, therefore on Friday night we decided to go to the cinema to watch the film adaptation. We both enjoyed the novel but agreed that its value is mostly in the action driven plot and suspense. The question was whether the movie would manage to keep us interested when we already knew the ending.

Let’s start by having a quick look at the plot. Rachel is divorced and can’t cope with the fact that her ex husband started a family with the woman he was cheating on her with, Anna. There’s also Megan who has a possessive husband and works as a nanny at Anna’s house. Are there any other connections between the women? That’s something our Dear Rinsers will have to decide for themselves if they decide to watch the movie. Let me just tell you that it’s definitely a chickthriller that we’re dealing with here. Pretty ladies and their dark haired handsome husbands live in nice houses in the suburbs. There’s love there, passion, abuse, crime, strong emotions and unfortunately cheap psychological explanations behind the characters behaviors. Nevertheless, if you haven’t read the book, the movie has everything to keep you interested for the time of its length, even if some dialogues or issues of the characters will make you cringe.

The movie manages to remain quite simple for a Hollywood production, even though it certainly loses out on being set in New York unlike the events in the novel that took place in London. The characters and the mystery are the main focus of the movie. Thanks to the built up of the fragmented stories we hear from the characters we get quite attached to them. That makes the few brutal scenes in the movie much more powerful than in your regular thriller. You feel like you know the women on the screen therefore the abuse that happens almost feels personal.

The film has little artistic value.The acting is okay, maybe slightly exaggerated in a theatrical manner. Emily Blunt does a good impression of a mentally disturbed woman but to someone who read the book it’s irritating how good she looks. Rachel from the book is neglected and fat with visible sign of alcohol abuse on her face. The Hollywood Rachel is just someone who forgot to straighten her hair and put lipstick on. She’s definitely not the revolting character we encounter in the book that we would like to slap and ask to keep her shit together. The degradation of the character was a crucial part of the book. The film makers didn’t omit much but got rid of other disgusting parts that were enhancing the dark mood of the novel.

To conclude, “The Girl on the Train” is an okay thriller that may surprise you but if you read the book rather give it a skip.

 

Larry Loners – Using Dating Resources for Finding New Friends

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The world can be a lonely place, and not only when it comes to finding love. Times have changed and we are less limited by factors such as geography, race and social class when it comes to the friendships we form. However, despite all the new opportunities afforded to us by technological advances and political progress people seem to be lonelier than ever before. It may be a simple case of quantity over quality – it’s easier now to have a wider social circle (lots of coffee friends) but the nature of these relationships is somewhat superficial. Possibly symptomatic of the Tinder generation, people are now more fickle when it comes to all sorts of human relationships. Essentially everyone is replaceable so discarding/downgrading friends is becoming more common and people seem to be more willing to cut their losses and move on quickly instead of sticking something out a fighting for a friendship.

The issue of loneliness, which is the focus of this post, can be exacerbated in a cliquey place like Cape Town where you’ll find it difficult to be truly accepted by the locals if you weren’t born and raised on the slopes of Table Mountain.  I’ve mentioned this before, but it really does seem that many Capetonians often value historic friendships which date back to their diaper days.  So basically, if you are an expat (or from Jo’burg) living in the Mother City can be quite problematic until you find ‘your people’.

Having survived this place for more than half a decade, I’ve learnt to become quite creative when it comes to expanding my social circle – running clubs, expat events and networking through existing contacts (and maybe even inadvertently through Tinder).  Of course, it’s still difficult to find people of good value and those you truly click with but it can be done with a bit of perseverance. One thing I’ve never done in the name of alleviating loneliness, but have recently learnt is actually a legitimate thing, is to use a dating website or app as a means of making new friends (and by this I mean friends in the platonic sense not ‘special friends’ or FWBs).

Over the past couple of weeks, through my online dating ventures I’ve discovered a rather strange breed of person. The Larry Loner as I like to call them is the type of person who maintains an online DATING profile on a DATING app or website despite claiming to be in a happy relationship. Correct me if I’m wrong but I always thought the whole point of signing up sites like OKCupid was to find LOVE, Prince Charming, Happily Ever After, etc (or at least a FWB or Hook Up at the lower end of the scale). I never thought the purpose of dating websites was to make PLATONIC friendships.

Technically speaking, there really isn’t anything wrong with using the internet to find friends. It wasn’t that long ago that using the internet to find love was stigmatised and is this really that different? Personally however I find it annoying that people are using DATING websites to find friends. Most of us are on there with the intention of finding our future husband/wife and we have to sift through enough deadwood without having to deal with these (often very good looking and pretty decent) individuals distracting us by offering us friendship.

Don’t get me wrong – making a new friend isn’t the world’s greatest problem but I do believe that there’s a time and place for everything. And quite frankly these Larry Loners that engage you in conversation are often just wasting your precious time – time that you could be spending searching for Prince Charming or hanging out with your actual friends. Call me cynical but I also very much doubt I could become friends with someone who was intentionally using online dating platforms to make friends because basically I think it’s just a bit weird (surely they must be a bit socially retarded if they can’t just make friends in real life) and secondly I’d be inclined to believe they were just another breed of Talker and not people you’d actually end up ever meeting.

OK, so these Larry Loners aren’t totally at fault. Dating sites shouldn’t really be offering people the option of looking for ‘new friends’ because it really isn’t the right platform for this. Maybe they’ll find meaningful friendships in internet chat rooms or through meet-up groups, but on a dating site? I seriously doubt it. Especially for those that say they are in a happy relationship, this type of venture to find friends has the potential to be disastrous. Even if doesn’t end in drama, all it really serves to do is waste everybody’s time, both the lonely folk looking for buddies and those that are frantically searching for their fairytale.

Rinsers – Now it’s your turn.  Do you think my rant has been a bit harsh of the innocent folk that are just lonely and trying to find friendships online? Do you think it’s legitimate to use a website/app specifically designed for dating to simply find new friends? Have you ever used such tools to alleviate loneliness? And finally, do think there is something wrong with society when people need to turn to the internet for even the most basic form of human connection? Answers in the comments below.

Active Parenthood

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If you’re a childless person who has considered the thought of having children at some point in your life, you may be as terrified as I am. No wonder, given that many parents have nothing good to say about the experience apart from terrifying stories of complete loss of self, interests, friends and life in general. When you tell such a parent about your visit to the cinema or theater, a run or a workshop (in fact you can insert any activity that’s somewhat positive) you often hear “Ah, enjoy your life when you can because once you have kids…”. Whenever I hear something like that, I feel like I want to perform a sterilisation procedure on myself then and there. However, looking at other parents, one starts to wonder whether it has to be that bad, or are children as good an excuse as anything for one’s weaknesses? After all, plenty of mothers and fathers are social and physically active, even though it’s certainly more challenging than during one’s childless life.

First of all, I don’t feel I can lecture anyone. I have no children of my own and those who claim I have no idea about how it is are right. I’m sure that children require many compromises and sacrifices and your life will never be the same again after you’ve had one. Late night partying must disappear from the list of your entertainments but to be honest, I know very few established couples in their late twenties and early thirties who do it anyway. Other age appropriate activities don’t seem out of reach for parents. I’m pleased to see more and more couples as well as mothers and fathers on their own, taking their children out almost wherever they go. Especially house parties are baby friendly with lots of aunts and uncles, happy to take care of the little ones (and even happier to give them back). Coffee dates and dinners with girlfriends also seem to be increasingly popular among mothers. What’s more, it appears that the babies who are out a lot and who are  used to varying environments and people tend to be quite pleasant. One starts to wonder whether it may be nurture and not nature that produces children of the sort of little Satans we’ve lived under for a year now and who at the age of five and seven approximately, throw a few tantrums daily.

Secondly, I see more and more physically active parents. Park Runs, for instance, are full of moms and dads running and walking with prams. Some activities will require leaving the child behind, but parents should try to support each other in their motivation to remain active. Recently I saw a mom of a six month old child in my Facebook feed who completed a 53 kilometers long cycle while the father was taking care of the child. I was not only impressed but also ashamed. I don’t have a newborn to care for and I don’t exercise that much! To see people on hikes with their children when they’re still carryable is also not a rare sight. The older the children, the more options a parent gets, including gyms offering childcare while a parent or parents exercise.

Last but not least, there are passions and interests that parents have and that they ideally shouldn’t be abandoned when the child is born. The list of possible preferences is so long that I cannot provide solutions. For all the naysayers I would just like to mention a few inspirational stories. Stephen King finished his first novel while working full time and soon after he had his first baby. J.K. Rowling had more than one child when she started to draft Harry Potter on serviettes (!). A famous Polish traveller, Tony Halik was travelling with his wife who was pregnant and after she gave birth to their newborn baby. Last but not least, Stephen Hawkings’s first wife was working on her PhD as a mother of three children and… well, the wife of Stephen Hawkings, who as we know couldn’t help much because of his condition. I’ll never stop believing that when there’s a will, there’s a way. Parents should be reasonable but changing their lives entirely for the sake of their children will just make them miserable. A happy parent means a happy child and I say that as a formerly unhappy child of an unhappy parent. You still deserve to pursue your dreams and enjoy your life when you have offsprings and you shouldn’t listen to those who are telling you otherwise. Parenthood should enhance your life and not destroy it. Otherwise why have children at all?

Cheers to all the active mothers out there! I’m sure it’s often not easy but I hope to one day join their ranks rather than those of the self-proclaimed martyrs.

Time for your opinion Dear Rinsers! Do you admire active parenthood or do you think that once you become a parent you should be housebound? Did you manage to be a happy mom or dad or do your regret ever having children (you can be honest, you’re anonymous)?

The Talkers – The Online ‘Daters’ You’ll Never Meet IRL

With over a year of online dating under my belt I was starting to think of myself as a bit of an expert. From Silver Foxes and Cape Town’s  numerous Mama’s boys (maybe that’s why they call it the Mother City) to the FWBs and Rebound Guys – I convinced myself I’d seen it all and there were no more nasty surprises that the big bad world of dating could pull on me.  But that was until I ‘met’ the TALKER.

The Talker : The online ‘dater’ who engages in prolonged email or WhatsApp conversations with no intention of ever meeting up with potential suitors IRL (In Real Life).

Despite the fact that I had heard plenty of Talker horror stories, I still managed to find myself sucked in by one. He was considerably better looking than average OKCupid troll, his spelling and grammar were excellent (a huge ask these days) and he had the ability to hold a engaging conversation (well,online at least). Oh, and he claimed to be a VERY BUSY medical doctor ( so you can’t blame a girl getting carried away thinking of George Clooney in his ER days).

Anyway, Dr Ross promised me we’d meet after his exams were over and being a reasonable young lady I figured it was a fair request. But two weeks went by and still no sign of said date. Fed up and disillusioned, I decided the best course of action would be to ghost the socially inept fool. Sadly he didn’t get the hint so I told him straight about my approach to dating. He eventually confessed to being a Talker and told me that I’d only end up disappointed if I met him IRL because he gets stage fright around new people. Whatever, I am not interested in attending any pity parties.

Before this little episode I had assumed that everyone using online dating platforms was looking for real human interactions but I was proved wrong. It seems that there really are people out there that are just after a virtual ‘relationship’. In fact, there are stories of some such ‘relationships’ lasting for years.As much as this behaviour baffles me I figured there must be logical reasons for the existence of the Talker. Here are the reasons I’ve narrowed it down to:

Socially Awkward

Like the Talker in my story, there are people out there that have trouble interacting with fellow humans. Sitting behind a computer screen offers them a form of protection and allows them to put on a confident facade but having to meet someone face-to-face would just end in a meltdown. Fair enough – but they should be seeking professional medical help for their lack of interpersonal skills instead of wasting precious time.

 

Exploring alternative options

If your relationship is on the rocks its natural to look elsewhere. You’d expect most philanderers to make a B-line straight to  Ashley Madison but not everyone is that sure of themselves or their ability to cheat. Using legit online dating platforms may seem like a softer option and a good way to test the waters and check out if the grass is really greener on the other side.

Looking for an ego boost

Life has a habit of knocking us down. So sometimes its natural to look seek some attention just to boost our egos. Pretty people or those with a glittering personality can simply go out and find other humans that will laugh at their jokes and flirt with them, which in turn will boost their confidence and leave them feeling like they can handle anything the world throws at them. Then there are others who need to use the internet, create fake identities in order to create the same effect.

Free Therapy

We all have issues. Some us have good friends and family that we can talk to. Others are willing to fork out for a professional therapists.There are occasions when one can utilise a random Tinder boy as a sounding board (guilty as charged!) but at least have the decency to do it person. Talkers know that there are Mother Hens out there that are looking for a pet project to take care off and they’ll take advantage of that for as long as can.

Cat Fish!

Remember not everyone is who they say they are. That cute guy with the dimples you’ve been sharing your innermost thoughts with could just as well be a spotty teenage perve sitting behing a computer in a remote Indian village! It may be relatively rare but beware of the catfish – very few photos or being generally vague should be seen as red flags.

So, my advice when it comes to Talkers is to avoid them. Unless of course you’ve got a lot +of time on your hands in which case maybe you should just find some hobbies. I’d say limit yourself to 1-2 weeks of chit chat online. If they are decent people they’ll make a plan to meet for a drink in a public place as soon as possible (I’ve had dates on the same day as being matched with the person!). Its only when you meet someone IRL that you’ll know whether there’s any chemistry and the longer you let the virtual relationship carry on the greater the risk of you falling in love with a fairy tale character that only exists in your imagination.

Now over to you Dear Rinsers. Do you have any Talker experiences to share with us? Are you reluctant to meet people offline or are you a fan of getting the first date over a done with? Do you have any advice/tips on how to spot a Talker? Answers in the comments section below. 

 

 

 

 

 

“Keep your rosaries off our ovaries” – the Total Abortion Ban in Poland?

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Abortion has been a back and forth issue in Poland since I remember. The country is quite conservative and the influence of the Catholic Church on EVERYTHING is considerable. The current legislation regarding abortion in Poland allows a woman to terminate pregnancy in three cases: 1) the fetus is malformed 2) the pregnancy endangers the mother’s health and/or life and 3) the pregnancy is an effect of an unlawful deed (rape, incest, underage sex etc). In reality the doctors in the public health system often make sure that a woman who’s entitled to abortion won’t have one. Theoretically if they don’t perform abortions themselves they should refer a woman to a doctor who does. A referral, however, may be intentionally postponed and as the abortion is only allowed till a certain point, this may result in a woman being forced to give birth. The termination of pregnancy in other cases than the above-mentioned is illegal.

The current legislation proposal wants to ban abortion entirely, regardless of the circumstances. I find it somehow entertaining how the Catholics who think that capital punishment should be reinstated at the same time fight with “killing of the unborn children” as if the latter wasn’t an oxymoron. I do believe that there should be some legislation regarding when an abortion can be performed at the latest. It’s in fact a child at some point but this point isn’t within the period which was arbitrary decided to be three months.

The proposed ban means that under no circumstances a female should be considered  anything more than a walking incubator. Regardless of whether you were raped by your father at the age of 12 or a person who carries a child that will die just after birth, you’re supposed to go through with it. A woman feelings about the pregnancy and capacity to raise a child don’t matter. If a condom broke one must deal with the consequences (as Poland is trying to ban the after pill popularly  referred in the country to as an “early miscarriage inducing pill”) and have a baby that was not wanted therefore bringing a yet another unhappy human being to the world. This is because as humans we should not “stop the flow of life” that’s orchestrated by God. It is, however, acceptable for many of these people to do so in case of a criminal and take his or her life away. That on the other hand must be a God’s mistake which we, the mortals should get rid off. Let alone medication, chemotherapy and all the other things we do to alter the course of the Nature…

Why someone’s religious views should regulate a country’s legislation and everyone’s choices, remains unclear to me. I also have not heard any solutions or even suggestions regarding what to do with the children that are unwanted and born or wanted but born mentally or physically handicapped.

I don’t support abortion as an additional contraception method. As numerous sources suggest it is traumatic to the mother and it should happen as rarely as possible. I believe that women should be educated about contraception and be given a proper access to it, which is also not the case in Poland. Non-refundable public healthcare contraceptives are too expensive for many. Others, especially from small towns, fear judgement of asking the one local gynaecologist  for the pill particularly if they’re unmarried. The judgement is strongly associated with the Catholic mentality as the Catholic Church even in the XXI century prohibits contraception. Sexuality is supported only when it serves procreation and only within the “sanctity of marriage”. Obviously reality has little to do with the Catholic ideals and even those who consider themselves members of the Church have premaritial and extramaritial sex. With limited access to contraception it results in unwanted pregnancies. Instead of fighting with women who have to face the difficult choice between an unwanted child and an abortion, one should fight with the system that causes many of them to find themselves in this situation at the first place.

It may come as a surprise to many but women are not only incubators. Human beings have much more to do in life than procreate. We’re facing an overpopulation and there are a lot of children our there in orphanages already waiting for people to love them. Sex can be a beautiful thing and it should not be downgraded to its biological function. Last but not least, to conceive a child isn’t an achievement, it’s to bring it up that is. All women who made a difficult decision of not having a child and having an abortion deserve respect as it’s not an easy decision to make. I really hope the ban won’t become reality. Even the current compromise of limited abortion rights isn’t enough but judging where Poland is today, one shouldn’t expect respect of women rights in the country any time soon. That’s exactly the reason why thousands of women decided to protest yesterday against the new legislation as a part of a #blackprotest (#czarnyprotest). The solidarity the Polish women showed this Monday is truly remarkable and I hope it will make the legislators think a little bit about what they’re doing.