Thursday, 22 January 2009

Meet the New Boss! Same As the Old Boss: Part Two

My stomach was almost inspired to refund its breakfast when I read our really, truly black Governor General descanting pompously on the Obama affair. Her Excellency had kind words for the man who now leads the nation that sent the country of her birth into a spiral of misery and chaos unlike any it has seen in all of its lamentable history. She called Obama's story a

continual story of empowerment...[and] a major step not only for the USA, not only for the world's black population, but also for humanity.
Now, while I understand perfectly the compelling spiritual appeal of the notion that even a somewhat black guy can ride the power of a huge, wealthy and cynical political machine into the highest office of an inherently violent and messianic empire, the precise way in which this fact materially helps an HIV-infected Haitian slum-dweller or a Rwandan child who fetches his wardrobe from the local garbage dump utterly escapes me. Are we to suppose that having posters of the great man tacked up in the huts and hovels of the world's marginalised will bring them some kind of edible beatitude? For an education on how much impact these "epochal" events really have, we might ask the women of Pakistan how the election of Benazir Bhutto changed their lives.

Really, to hear the Obama-maniacs rant, you'd think the electors of a global superpower had never before bestowed office onto a member of a marginalised ethnic minority. Even the soldiers of the Roman Empire were "progressive" enough to elect a half-Thracian barbarian to the Imperial throne. The British managed to elect a Jew to their nation's highest elective office in 1868 (something that yet remains beyond America's new-found sense of multicultural enterprise) without proclaiming to the world that they were single-handedly renewing the cosmos and opening the doors of Heaven, Christ-like, for the world to pass through. Those who are truly progressive rarely feel the need loudly and chronically to remind themselves that they are. Of course, Americans would say that such great leaps forward don't count unless they perform them. Who cares what happens in backwaters like Great Britain, after all?

Then we have the constitutionally confused black Canadian mother who, after having taken her son out of school in order to let him watch the inauguration, enthused that "it's great to see that glass ceiling be broken and it says now I can tell my son, 'you can be the president, you can become the prime minister'".

Well actually, Mrs. Lambert, your son cannot ever be a U.S. president--though I'm sure he's a fine, upstanding young man--as the U.S. constitution requires that presidential candidates be born in the U.S. I'm afraid your son will have to settle for a strictly prime ministerial ambition, as dreary and degrading as that may sound.

Also, since your son is black, he lacks a further crucial Obamaesque qualification--that of being not black and having been raised in an entirely Caucasian household and benefiting from all of the resultant white European privileges such a childhood entails. The "glass ceiling" you speak of will be broken only on the eve of a Jesse Jackson presidency, or an Al Sharpton presidency, or an Allan Keyes presidency. I wouldn't hold your breath, madam.

The saddest irony here is that the very basis of people's joy is generated by the very racism Obama's victory is supposed to have negated. Americans refer to Obama as "black" only because American culture is still deeply implicated in the One Drop ideology--the age-old belief (and legal prescription) by which even the slightest bit of African ancestry totally cancels out one's European heritage.

On one level, this was a necessary legal formula during America's slavery era, as the mulatto children gotten by plantation masters upon their female slaves had to be considered saleable non-persons. Any acknowledgement of their "whiteness" would have conferred upon them a quasi-humanity that would have impaired their status as chattel goods. Thus, such products of interracial sexual relations had to be considered "fully negroid" if plantation owners were to protect their investments and avoid the moral and financial responsibilities resulting from their extra-marital dalliances with slaves.

More fundamentally, though, the One Drop rule reflected the eugenic view that any dose of African "blood" corrupted one's whiteness, rendering it effectively void. African ancestry was seen as a pollution, a bio-hazard, that destroyed the "purity" of one's Europeanness. Thus the Americans applied a white/black binary scheme to racial matters: "white" meant 100% purity, and "black" meant everything else. This belief had legal force in many American states until shortly before I was born.

Sadly, the Obama story merely reminds us of the power of that binary schema in the American imagination. Though Obama is as white as he is black, America will allow him to be only black. He has gained the most powerful elective post in the world only after being robbed of half his personhood. He is the first "black" president only because the nation that so anointed him retains an unconscious loathing for the only identity that they're willing to let him have. I can't help but find that to be more than a tad grotesque, and I expect nothing good from a nation that continues to inflict such a thing on even the best of its people nor from a man who grew into manhood under the pressure of such a warping infliction.

I wonder, though: when and where could an openly and explicitly bi-racial man attain a level of unprecedented power--get himself knighted, even--while married to a bi-racial wife? Wouldn't it just have to be recently, and in a "progressive" nation spasming in auto-fellative jouissance at the world-changing power of its enlightened populace?

Or perhaps in 1858, and in Canada? Right. Well, we've all just found yet another piece of our own history of which we were totally ignorant. But then, who needs historical reality when a current pseudo-event is so much

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Meet the New Boss! Same As the Old Boss: Part One

Every nation sets aside time for periodic bouts of collective narcissism and bumptious, obstreperous chest-thumping. In America, this is known as a “weekday”.

This weekday is special, though. This is Inauguration Day, which rivals July 4th as the day most likely to inspire American pundits to lubricate their innate chauvinism with gooey dollops of a cartoonishly whitewashed national mythology and rub themselves to self-adoring bliss. Ah indeed. ‘Tis Inauguration Eve.

We’ve seen a young, charismatic Democrat rise from humble beginnings to run a presidential campaign on a reformist ticket against a tired, dispirited and discredited Republican machine. But enough about Bill Clinton. This is Barack’s day—a day that has been described as “unprecedented” and “historic” but is, in fact, about as “unprecedented” and “historic” as my last trip to the dentist. I call it the “Redundancy of Hope”.

Really, we’ve been here before, have we not? So, a virile Democrat “outsider” roars onto the scene promising to “reform” the system, restore America’s prestige, and re-ignite the flame of “hope” in the hearts of Americans. Golly. Sounds ever so slightly like this guy, this guy, this guy, this guy, this guy and this guy. That’s a lot of reform, a lot of prestige, a lot of hope, and--in each case but one--a lot of ludicrously over-hyped and quickly disappointed nonsense.

I suppose, given the child-like need of Americans (and quite a few Canadians, it seems) to see this event as something epochal, it really is churlish and ungracious to point out the absurdity of the hysteria, but I’m going to do it anyway, all the while knowing full well that nothing I say will stay the hands of the homies high-fivin’ in the ‘hood nor dampen the ardour of middle-aged spinsters and soccer moms swooning with jungle fever at the blush-making thought of their Commander in Chief’s cute ears, chiselled abs, luscious lips, and long, um…fingers.

We haven’t had to wait for Obama’s Inauguration speech to cringe at the American need to Stalinise their history. The man of the hour started the myth-making early, during his last radio address, when he described the pending ceremony thusly: "For the forty-third time,” he said, “we will execute the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next".

Indeed. The presidential chain of succession has never been marred by violence. Abraham Lincoln “peacefully” relieved Jefferson Davis of his duties as President of the Confederate States by annihilating his army and methodically extinguishing huge chunks of Southern culture. Lincoln then “peacefully” handed over the office to Andrew Johnson after being made indisposed by a bullet to the head. William McKinley, James Garfield, and JFK also “peacefully” sashayed into retirement by way of rude meetings with hot lead moving at rather inconvenient velocities.

Really, do Americans read books? Do American presidents read books? They certainly insist on writing the damn things, badly.

The “historical” feature of Obama’s presidency is ostensibly predicated on the fact that he is black. Sadly, Obama isn’t black. Granted, he is the first American president who would have found himself on the wrong side of the Nuremberg racial laws, but one rarely sees the press put the case quite that way. I guess “First black president” sounds better and makes Americans prouder than would something like “First president who would have been barred from civil service employment in the Third Reich”.

To be continued

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Mélange Adultère: Part One

I turned forty yesterday--at precisely 6:18 p.m., in fact. Stephen Harper's psychic hairdresser would probably wish me to point out that such an evening birth gave me a Leo ascendant, which explains the total lack of humility, subtlety, tact, and dignified reserve that my Capricorn Sun and Virgo Moon would otherwise have the power to lend these writings (and their author). Blame it on the stars.

Remarkably, even as Israel continues to exterminate the vicious, civilization-hating Islamofascists hiding in UN humanitarian convoys and schools, other less important but more amusing things are actually happening. To wit:

Harper's Back, and More Immaterial Than Ever!

It's good to see our prime minister blinking his soporific blink on the nation's political radar screen again. I was afraid that our Boeing-sized leader had suffered an explosive decompression en route between the Golden Dragon's all-you-can-eat luncheon buffet and a Tim Hortons.

In a touching display of the only form of empathy his IBM designers have apparently made him capable of showing, Harper revealed that he found the extent of current Canadian unemployment "troubling"--leading me to wonder whether Captain Smith is recorded as having found it "distressing" to learn of his ship's impending trip to the bottom of the Atlantic.

Despite it all, though, Mr. Harper believes that Canada will soon emerge "stronger than ever" from the crisis. Well obviously: with 71,000 full-time jobs lost last month, a number the article tells us was "far worse than economists had expected", Canada may very soon achieve the kind of unemployment and resultant widespread poverty that really builds character--the kind of character my grandmother ended up with after the Great Depression, the kind that moved her to vote CCF/NDP for much of her life.

In any case, Harper's admirable sang froid in the face of a looming disaster that may reduce thousands of Canadians to the expedient of subsisting on Alpo but will likely not incommode His Serene Red Neckness beyond the guilt-driven impulse to tip his country-club parking valet a Toonie rather than the customary Loonie should be an inspiration to us all.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Gutless in Gaza, and Much, Much More!

Oh dear. The lame-duck White House wants to deal with the calamity in Gaza by having Condoleeza Rice cancel a planned trip to China (sadly deferring her acquisition of a new suite of cheap Chanel knock-offs) and devote herself entirely to the hourly magnifying humanitarian crisis--after having sabotaged a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire. How precious.

One must stop for a minute here and stand in grateful awe before the leaders of the free world at work, as they provide the most effective conflict-resolution brokerage since Whitehall decided to use the Red Devils as moderating interfaces between thuggish Ulsterites and Catholic civil rights marchers.

To justify the craven American rejection of the proposed cease-fire, U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff risibly suggested that such a resolution might not work (would have no "underpinning for success", as he put it). Yes, I suppose the U.S. prefers to put its power and prestige behind safe, sure-fire, can't-miss projects, like invading Iraq, invading Afghanistan, and deposing Haitian presidents. I mean, why gamble on something that just might help, especially when failure would do no harm, when it wouldn't carry the fascinating drama of thousands of dead and maimed, and when it wouldn't reduce the "liberated" folks to eating dirt?

Closer to home (far too close for my comfort), we see that a Muslim family, all Americans, got ejected from an AirTran flight for being overheard making a "suspicious remark about airplane security". Apparently, two of their number were discussing what the safest seat on a plane is, a fairly common topic of discussion, I'll warrant--on planes and elsewhere. In today's America, though, you can talk about that sort of thing while holding a Rosary, but broaching that topic whilst wearing "funny-looking" headgear is deeply ill-advised. Now, given that AirTran is the new name of ValuJet, defunct purveyor of discount flying coffins, the bitwits who ratted the family out may have actually done them a huge favour.

What's fascinating here is the philosophical approach to airline security implicit in the family's ejection. This flight crew apparently believes it a terrorist habit to discuss the details of the operation, openly and loudly, whilst awaiting take-off, which leads me to wonder how much faith I should have in airport security methodologies. Frankly, I'm not sure I want to know how many airports have decided not to waste money on expensive luggage and cargo screening technologies because it's so much easier to catch incendiary miscreants by just waiting until they start yapping away about how much fun they're going to have when their shit blows up.

I must confess to wanting my air authorities to be on guard for the smart terrorists, not just the clueless ones. I doubt very much if any of the 9/11 hijackers enplaned wearing a T-shirt reading, "One Of My Seven Wives Went to Medina, And All I Got Was This Plastique And Five Feet Of Primer Cord", and none of them, I think, stood up and said, "Hi. I'm Mohamed, and I'll be your radical Islamist terrorist for the flight. I'll be detonating a massive charge lodged in the cargo hold in, oh...about an hour or so, sending the mangled bodies of you filthy infidels ploughing into the earth below. So until then, sit back and enjoy the last fifty-five minutes of your sacrilegious lives. I strive to be the best homicidal maniac I can be, so, please, feel free to ask me any questions you may have and provide me with any constructive criticism that you think would me help improve the service I'm providing to you, the dying customers".

Dear airlines: crow-bar your heads out of your collective ass, and give them a shake.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

All Hail Stevie, Our Chief of Mice!: Part Two

Well, that's that. The God-fearing, clean-living folk of Stephen Harper's "Conservative" Party have celebrated the nativity of their saviour, the Prince of Peace, in traditional North American fashion--by gingerly stepping over hordes of homeless in the fevered pursuit of the most expensive, useless and inherently obsolescent pieces of trash for their over-privileged, entitlement-drunk spoiled brats (no doubt cursing Canada's Left-lib, Stalinist, "Euro-weenie" gun laws in the process, the lack of which makes American holiday shopping just that much more darn exciting).

Now that they've survived yet another degrading few days of having to pretend that their ethic of wretched hyper-consumption, nihilist relativism, free-market narcissism and seething xenophobia reflects something even vaguely detectable in even the minutest scintilla of the New Testament, the CPC's Christian soldiers are free to take up the task of pouring more gallons of raw partisan sewage into Canada's political waters, a task suspended earlier this month by their leader's decision to dissolve the company he works for after the majority of its shareholders made clear their legal and legitimate desire to fire his fat, arrogant ass (notice that, as a rare courtesy, I have put that parliamentary travesty in terms even the CPC's politically illiterate neo-liberals can understand).

I have recently come into possession of a CPC caucus memo, written and distributed by the PMO's Communications unit, which outlines in astounding detail the party's expectations for its caucus once the new session begins later this month. I offer it here as an exercise in the kind of transparency and accountability to which the CPC has committed itself since its whoreson Frankenstein conception in 2003.

Naturally, I cannot divulge the manner or source of my acquisition. I will say only that, in a city whose Chapters stores refuse to stock Mein Kampf, the Aryan, hard-core operatives of a certain government party with an interesting past can be easily bribed by anyone with an extensive and eclectic library. The memo follows:

Firstly, Prime Minister Stephen Harper (who really, really likes Canada, by the way!) hopes everyone had a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and whatever the Muslim thing is (if there is anything). Additionally, Prime Minister Stephen Harper wishes the best of the New Year to those of you who are atheists or who worship some worthless heathen idol, though you'll burn eternally in Hell.

To all of you, and especially to the 85% of you consigned to the backbenches for being precisely the kind of simian cretin whose higher public profile would devastate the party's electability everywhere south-east of Red Deer, Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants you to know that he will continue to save you the trouble of thinking, acting and voting on behalf of yourselves and your constituents by monopolising every aspect of party policy and parliamentary strategy, liberating you folks to gambol around Ottawa's golf courses, squash courts and wine bars and providing Canadian taxpayers with the kind of value for money they must expect from a government-hating government such as ours.

People, the need to maintain our discipline is more important now than ever. Now is not the time to gloat crassly and obnoxiously over our considerable accomplishments. Leave that to our leader. Rather, bend yourselves to the task of building on our achievements.

Yes, we've come far indeed. We've managed to convince Canada's angry rubes and lumpen-suburbia that we, a clutch of careerist lawyers with the civic ethos of the Medellin cartel, actually give a fuck about their issues.

We've managed to palm ourselves off as "small-government" conservatives while actually bloating the size of the state up to a magnitude that makes Enver Hoxha's Albania look like a paragon of managerial efficiency.

We've managed a viable impersonation of a "reform-minded" party while doling out metric tonnes of pork to partisan flunkies, while kicking up into the Upper Chamber more lazy, undeserving, patently unqualified hacks than any other ministry ever dared, and, most amazingly, while arbitrarily suspending the only one of our reforms that was actually blessed with cross-partisan support.

We've managed to persuade voters that the party that kept Canada's books balanced for over a decade and virtually eliminated its debt is less worthy of steering the nation through rough economic waters than a government whose front bench boasts the collective fiscal expertise of the Whitehorse Rotary Club and whose Finance Minister runs his own ministry like a private cut-price candy store for CPC lickspittles.

Really, one wonders how much of this sick farce we could have sustained without Canada's lapdog media. Now that we've made it a policy to reward brazenly biased journalism with lucrative, tax-funded emoluments, we can all look forward to watching even more journalists attaching their lips, barnacle-like, to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's ample, KFC-fed backside.

Nevertheless, all of this could be lost by the casual inadvertence of even the most negligible of you insignificant maggots. Therefore, the PMO has seen fit to supply you with a few modest tactical tips to help you be the best CPC lemming you can be.

Remember, the rewards are great: perform well, and the party will dunk you into the oceanic bliss of North America's wide and generous business élite, guaranteeing you years of lucrative, indolent corporate directorships and seats on the executive boards of farcical "think tanks" for the especially ambitious. Fuck up, and the party will heave your sorry carcass onto the most immediately available Greyhound bus en route to Beaver Dick, Saskatchewan, where you may resume representing trailer-park crack dealers at their parole hearings. It's your choice:

1. It appears that too many of you are unfamiliar with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's full title. This is unfortunate, as he requires it to be used by any and all commoners who wish to ask permission to address him. Using this title will help you avoid embarrassment. For your information, then, we provide you with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's full title, which we urge you to memorise and use as often as possible (making the Sign of the Cross after each iteration is, of course, totally optional). The title is thus: "His Most Serene Excellency, Dearest Leader of Canada's Eternally "New" Government and, By the Grace of God, Prime Minister for Life and Honorary Earl of Calgary-Upon-Petrol, Stephen Harper".

2. Be advised that, in these fiscally uncertain times, the PMO will insist that all CPC caucus members show solidarity with thrifty, hard-working Canadians by cutting outlays from their Parliamentary allowances to the bone. Frivolous expenditures will not be tolerated. This applies not just to you Members of Parliament, but also to your staffs, limousine drivers, psychic hairdressers, Cordon Bleu chefs, Thai masseuses, yoga instructors, lawyers on retainer in case the Liberals ever say nasty things about you, Governors General you've attached to your household to keep the old lady amused, and any private detectives you've engaged to dig up dirt on Opposition members.

3. For God's sake, remember that we're the geniuses who gave Canada the "Tackling Violent Crimes Act". Therefore, please refrain from any mention of Omar Khadr. The last thing we want to do is remind people that, while we hate the idea of a male adult having sex with a sixteen-year-old boy, we're perfectly happy with the idea of male adults torturing a sixteen-year-old boy.

4. We've had many inquiries concerning how best to handle the homeless people one encounters on the way to Parliament Hill. Of course, if you take your limousine, Humvee, or Cadillac Escalade to work, like civilised people, you will not need to encounter them.

If you insist on walking to work, however, please do not taunt the poor buggers by saying, "That's what you get for being an Indian," as has been reported of many of you (our Dear Leader has had the painful duty of correcting his learned friend Dr. Flanagan quite sharply on this point).

You would be spending your energy much more constructively if you simply invited the Indian in question to buy some stocks and bonds (available for a song in this bear market) and invest in his nation's wealth--just like our Dear Leader's mother--instead of leeching on it. When offering this free advice, be sure not to provide too many details, as spoon feeding the wretch too much helpful information may depress that spirit of enterprise which is so crucial in today's increasingly competitive market environment. Remember: the chap needs a hand up, not a hand out.

5. Please do more to advance our party's cultural programme. Yes, we're well on the way to snuffing out the weakly flickering flame of domestically produced art and entertainment, but some of you seem inadequately committed to ensuring that, soon, every adult Canadian will enjoy a cultural horizon defined by the current season of American Idol. There yet remain Canadian writers, producers, directors, actors and artists labouring away on projects designed specifically for Canadians with average to above-average IQ's rather than for the jaded, Budweiser-sodden denizens of the American Rust Belt. This cannot continue.

Clearly, we have not convinced enough Canadians that their artists, competing against foreigners who enjoy a domestic market ten times the size of their own, are the inert, slothful, loathsome parasites we know them to be. Many Canadians still seem to feel that spending a pittance to help a few Canadian artists live on the sunny side of poverty makes more sense than spending a billion dollars on a lost war that Canadians never wanted. Silly people. But what can you expect from a bunch of second-tier, "Northern European" socialists?

Anyways, just try to hate Canadian stuff a little more. We've asked Rob Anders to head up a task force on this issue, and we expect him to report back soon with a methodology by which we can all focus our hatred more effectively. For a start, Mr. Anders has drawn up a sweeping new re-design for the National Gallery: in Phase One, it shall be stripped of its obsolete, élitist European "art"; in Phase Two, Kindergarten children shall be asked to cover its walls with crudely drawn crayon sketches of Ronald Reagan, George Wallace, and P.W. Botha.

We'll keep you posted as things evolve.