In describing the pagan desecration of holy places, early medieval accounts such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle observe a euphemistic fastidiousness that, while acknowledging the Viking zeal to denude shrines of their relics and tabernacles of their gold and silver, leave implicit or entirely unuttered the grosser heathen habits of profanation, such as lustily evacuating or performing bloody sacrifices upon the altars of monasteries and abbeys.
I was reminded of the old monks’ proto-Canadian pudeur when imagining Canadians’ likely response to Stephen Harper’s Christmas message. My guess is that the few Canadians aware of the existence of the soporifically banal, annually hissed testaments to Stephen Harper’s utter inability to rise above vacuity even when inspired by one of the holiest days of the faith he pretends to profess will, generously, merely note that his vaporous flaccidities are bereft of the silver and gold with which his words might have been imbued were he capable of anything even touching the hem of a competently simulated sincerity, candor, or authentic commitment.
For myself, growing ever more impatient of polite euphemisms as I age, whenever I hear crypto-religious pieties from reptilian frauds such as Harper or any among the cowed, invertebrate caucus of castrati over whom he presides, my mind runs immediately to visions of Norseman emptying mead-filled bladders onto ciboria and squatting over the scattered bones of saints, for, though I am willing to assume that history’s vomitorium of rhetorical hypocrisy contains far viler blitherings than Harper’s, there is little in Canada’s history of prime ministerial conceit and pretension that offers impudence equal to that with which Harper consistently preens himself as a credit, rather than a disgrace, to the Christianity the key beliefs of which his core political and economic principles (and his executive proclivities) daily violate.
Ecco homo, this avid disciple of Pilate, boasting of how his government promotes “the things that unite us as Canadians” mere months after providing Jack Layton with state obsequies in order to pour bleach over his party's despicable “Taliban Jack” vilification program (inspired by Layton’s espousal of a common-sense view shared by the vast majority of Canadians and that has since become official NATO policy), not long after accusing the Liberals of being Taliban sympathizers, not long after sponsoring the gravest truncheon-wielding violation of civil liberties in post-war Canadian history in order to make Toronto safe for the scumbag emissaries of corrupt totalitarian regimes, and a mere handful of years after accusing a Canadian prime minister of enjoying the sight of children being raped.
Behold the verminous pork-barreling hack, luxuriating in his prime ministership after having spent decades dancing attendance upon corporate elites whilst managing to keep his threadbare CV untainted by the slightest evidence of volunteer (or even avocatory) service to his community, lecturing Canadians on the importance of “remember[ing] those who are less fortunate” not long after conspicuously failing to see any reason to get off his ass and personally assess the ongoing humanitarian disaster on a Native reserve and only a few years after unrepentantly cheerleading one of the half-century’s most disastrous, civilian-butchering military interventions, one whose Christmastide is a perpetual Massacre of the Innocents.
Note that Harper’s message is a smarmy exhortation to remember the less fortunate; it is not directed at the less fortunate. Harper does not deign to address the less fortunate: he prefers to speak over their heads. They are to be spoken about; they are not to be spoken to. The prime minister, as Harper conceives the office, must not stoop to a direct communication with the poor and marginalized, though he may sometimes, when decorum demands, acknowledge their existence when chatting to those who actually matter (he is a populist, after all). Prime ministers don’t talk to losers, and they confine all collateral reference to their humanity to a few smug, oblique shibboleths exchanged with their smug constituencies at this time of year, designed to reinforce each other’s high self-regard.
Christ stood with the poor, the outcast, the victimized. Harper stands with the hateful, the criminal, the cretinous. Harper’s is not really a Christmas message; it is an Easter message, graven with a nail, and delivered in much the same spirit as that which wrote and hoist atop a cross a sign reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”.