Tuesday, 12 August 2008

A New Low, and Not the Last: Part I

In the old days, Canadians had to either read the great works of Western literature's most trenchant critics of totalitarianism (Kafka, Solzhenitsyn, Orwell) or pay close attention to American elections if they wished to see partisan propaganda deployed in a form so pure that it approached sublime self-parody. Fortunately, ever since a paltry but sufficient slice of our countrymen saw fit to hand care of the Dominion over to an ideologically autistic clutch of vandalic berserkers with the collective moral acumen of a loan-shark and the visionary power of an apprentice Avis Rent-A-Car clerk, propaganda laughably absurd enough to stand proudly beside Kraft durch Freude posters, COMINTERN announcements proclaiming the imminent victory of the international proletariat and Ku Klux Klan anti-miscegenation pamphlets has been freely available to us for the last twenty-seven months. Truly, there seems to be not a single principle of decency, taste or integrity that "Prime Minister" Stephen Harper will not garrotte, disembowel or dismember.

The species below, in which you see one side of a recent CPC pamphlet, will serve as a case in point. I gather from what I've been reading on a newsgroup I belong to that this mail-out consists of a generic template upon which the photos and names of CPC MP's have been grafted. It seems that thousands of these have been mailed out to people in CPC-held ridings across the country.

All Members of Parliament have the right to send a limited number of tax-funded mail-outs to households in their constituencies. Originally, the pamphlets were used only when people had to be informed of changes to their riding boundaries. Now, the enabling parameters have widened, but, still, these pamphlets are supposed to be strictly informational and local--that is, they are meant to allow the MP to inform people in his or her riding of what he or she has accomplished or advocated on the Hill.

Lately, the "Conservatives" have begun to use this tax-funded service as a cost-free method of deploying U.S.-style direct-mailing campaigns. Notice that the pamphlet below conveys no information whatever about the Member of Parliament on whose behalf it was sent but serves only to promote the CPC and Stephen Harper. Notice also that the return address is a House of Commons address. Thus, this pamphlet is a party device, used for partisan purposes at Parliament's (i.e. tax-payers') expense. That's right: you are paying Stephen Harper to whore himself to you. Even Hugo Chavez wouldn't have the balls.

The best (and by that I mean the "worst") propaganda always provides satisfying comedy, and we're not disappointed by the CPC's latest offering. Consider this:

"Canada's Back", it yells, as if the nation were a cheap sitcom going into summer re-runs. Clearly, somebody thought that the dynamism and vigour of this alleged national renaissance would be conveyed most convincingly by the sight of our prime minister sitting on his ass, smiling like the half-drunk facilitator of an Amway seminar.

It continues:

After more than a decade of Liberal government rule, Canada's reputation abroad floundered and even our capacity to patrol our own borders was significantly diminished.

Amen to that. During the Liberal Dark Ages, we had no more than a hundred main battle tanks. Now, thank God, we've got about a hundred and forty, most of which are in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, with our Nigerian-sized air force and navy, Lord, but we would provide a right bloody nose to anyone foolish enough to invade Fortress Canada. It continues:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government are protecting our sovereignty here at home and speaking with a confident voice on the world stage.
Damn right. Stephen Harper has made it crystal clear that he will not allow anyone, not even Canadians, to bully him into doing anything the White House doesn't want him to do. Far from being an ideologue, Harper is, in fact, the ultimate neutralist: he refuses to interfere even in his own internal affairs. The Pentagon is running things quite swimmingly, thank you very much. Any input on Harper's part would be...well...redundant--an unacceptable inefficiency in our increasingly competitive global market.

Then we read this illiterately punctuated sentence:

We have an important role to play; representing to the world the Canadian values of security and human rights...
Naturally, I was astonished to discover that Canada apparently has a new "value". I only wish I knew what precise banality the word "security" is meant to communicate. Is it supposed to mean the kind of "security" we feel when we're snuggled up tight under our duvets on a cold January night? Who knows?

I've always thought of security as a collateral benefit of having the right values rather than as a value as such. The NKVD, the Securitate and the Gestapo thought differently, as does Iran's Council of Guardians, and as does Stephen Harper, it would seem.

At least Harper got one thing right: respect for human rights is a Canadian value, or at least it was until our government decided to stand idly by and watch an "ally" abduct a Canadian child, torture him, and hold him indefinitely without trial and without regard for even the merest niceties of international law. In the context of that ongoing disgrace, Harper's claim to be a champion of human rights is not just ludicrous; it is sacrilegious.


Ryan said...

Thanks, before I could see no upside to living in a Conservative stronghold.

Now, at least, I can be grateful that I don't receive their propaganda because they've already won over the proles in my area.

Sir Francis said...

Really, would it kill them to demonstrate a modicum of wit, panache or IQ? Political parties pay good money to the "communications" consultants who come up with this stuff. Where does the money go?

Ryan said...

Well, just like any other corporate marketing campaign, they are playing to the lowest and most vulgar denominator.

I just picture Ronald McDonald telling us to support the troops or we won't get our Happy Meal toys.