Tuesday, 7 May 2013

On the New Provisional Commissariat of Official Historical Truth

A perfectly understandable murmur of bemusement has followed the announcement of the CPC's constitutionally illiterate and procedurally risible intention to "review" Canadian history--this, from a party led by a man who once placed the NDP in the 1930s.

This news summoned before me the spectre, more droll than dread, of an official "Harper History", as delivered by the "Harper Government". One cannot foretell all of what such a history would include, but I think it reasonable to assume that the overall canonical criterion would be...Stephen Harper, a man who has only to order that a 30-foot statue of himself be erected beside the Speaker's Chair to hit the Caligulan floor of bathetic conceit to which he has been falling since 2006.

I began to wonder what a typical multiple-choice pop quiz on a Grade 12 Harper History or Harper Civics unit might look like. I then fantasised about what I hoped it would look like. The quiz below represents a typically Canadian compromise between the two visions. Enjoy!


1) For Stephen Harper, Canada Day is

a) a time to gather with loved ones and celebrate the nation’s history, cultures, and heritage;

b) an annual statutory bore that requires him to mumble yet another bland, disingenuous, instantly forgettable speech cribbed from the notes Mike Dufy used whilst barking above the sound of rubber chicken being masticated during the last Port Elgin Rotary Club gala;

c) a brief spasm of silly Trudeaupian nationalism that is harmless enough as long as we remember that Americans are our moral superiors and continental overlords, while we are just can’t-do, second-tier, socialist parasites.

2) Stephen Harper believes Canada was founded

a) at Confederation;

b) by the Act of Union;

c) on the day of Ronald Reagan’s first Inauguration;

d) on the day Tom Flanagan lost his virginity;

e) both c) and d).*

3)  Stephen Harper believes himself to be proof that

a) hard work and thrift are always repaid with success;

b) knowing the date of Jupiter’s next transit through Sagittarius is worth the relatively uninspired haircuts and rouge jobs;  

c) insane people are not necessarily interesting; 
d) even an able-bodied middle-class Caucasian male from a Pearson-era suburb can overcome the inherent disadvantages of birth and become prime minister one day.

4) Stephen Harper believes that his greatest accomplishment is

a) evolving the weaselly King Gambit by establishing the constitutional precedent whereby a prime minister may licitly lock the doors of Parliament mere hours after a Thorne Speech solely in order to hoist his sorry ass out of an arrogantly self-ignited bonfire;

b) standing before a nation teeming with bright, hard-working, superbly educated potential candidates and still managing to ensure that the beneficiary of virtually every single patronage appointment was among the most breathtakingly incompetent buffoons ever to dishonour the public service of an OECD nation, thereby reinforcing for the masses the salutary message that a Harper government isn’t the answer to their problem; it is the problem.

c) staying loyal to the turncoat whose treachery gentrified his Reform Party rabble by continuing to sustain MacKay’s promotion, galaxies beyond his competence level, even though the gearbox-headed coxcomb has carefully overseen some of the most Biblically catastrophic procurement fiascos of modern times;

d) being so synapse-meltingly boring that not even widespread electoral fraud committed on his behalf seems important enough to give a fuck about;

e) becoming so adept at “re-building” Canada’s military by salvaging the rust-bucket hand-me-downs from other nations that plans are now afoot to excavate L’Anse Aux Meadows in hopes of finding still-seaworthy Viking longboats that can be up-gunned with 20 mm Oerlikon autocannon and sent out as Canada’s contribution to NATO counter-piracy interdiction deployments;

f) providing a fiscal maladministration so abject that it has sent Canada’s standard of living plummeting at a speed unmatched since the fall of the Inca kingdoms, thus helpfully depriving Canadians of what had been the chief pretext of their uppity self-esteem;

g) establishing the Office of Religious Freedom, thereby serving notice to all tyrants that they had better stop being naughty to their religious minorities, or we’ll send a sternly worded e-mail informing them that they must stop being naughty to their religious minorities or else we’ll send another sternly worded e-mail telling them that we really, really mean it this time. 

5) As brilliant as Stephen Harper is, he isn’t perfect. He believes that his greatest failure has been

a) accusing an incumbent prime minister of being a fan of child pornography without first telling his political mentor and chief strategist why that’s a bad thing;

b) halting his practice of ending speeches with the words “God bless Canada” and thus giving the totally unfair impression that the courage of his religious convictions is so feeble as to be voidable merely by force of the amused sniggering of agnostic Press Gallery hacks and his own salivating avidity for a majority government;

c) forgetting to remind his ministers that they should Google the name of a protesting crowd before rushing out onto Parliament Hill to send them the government’s fond greetings, lest it should turn out to be an Iranian terrorist organisation that slaughters innocents; 

d) betraying his otherwise iron-clad commitment to ineptitude by accidentally appointing a highly capable officer of Parliament, thereby forcing his government to give the utterly inaccurate impression that it is a vindictive, paranoid clutch of congenital liars and innumerates;

e) missing the deadline for Diamond Jubilee Medal nominations, thus being robbed of the chance to reward the deserving critters among the PMO staff's dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, goldfish, and chinchillas;

f)  being insufficiently emphatic during his exit interview discussion with Bruce Carson about the importance of discretion.    


* N.B. The correct answer is e), of course, as both events occurred on January 20, 1981.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Harperium In Excelsis: Game of Drones, Part III

Several of the past month’s news stories force us to derive a number of painful yet unsurprising conclusions about Stephen Harper’s caucus, party, and supporters. I present below a list that is, sadly, not exhaustive. To wit, our Harperoids

...are not averse to watching the Museum of Civilization be bizarrely repurposed into a museum for folks who hate museums (by the people who’ve been perfecting a government for folks who hate government and a Canada for folks who hate Canada), which, if past performance has any predictive relevance, will undoubtedly feature as its centrepiece exhibit a gargantuan bronze statue of Christ in a “USA Kicks Ass” t-shirt riding triumphantly into Jerusalem on the back of a triceratops flanked by an honour guard of Navy SEALs;      

...are unmoved when their “populist” prime minister abridges the rights and privileges of his MPs merely because his party’s base is composed of people who expect their representatives to bring onto the floor of the House precisely the kind of obnoxious-to-the-vast-majority-of-Canadians motion Harper knows makes his caucus look like the cast of Porky’s II and is thus desperate to suppress;

...are content to see the protracted domestic detention of a Crown subject whose “confession”, gleaned by American torturers conducting an illegal, unanimously discredited sondergericht in a Cuban gulag, was extorted partly through the threat of being repeatedly rectally raped, by “big black guys,” naturally (the carriers of what the collective American imagination conceives as the most virulent genus of social contamination). Moreover, they agree with Stephen Harper that the Canadian people, though now paying the full cost of Khadr’s room and board, are too fragile to withstand the apocalyptic impact of whatever he would wish to say from behind bars;

...were proud to see their prime minister ornament the sombre dignity of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral by pimping the event for the sake of a cheap, guttersnipe attack on Justin Trudeau, insolently launched atop the still-warm corpses of the Boston Marathon victims. Nor do they overmuch mind that their tax dollars are currently funding a campaign of wretched defamation, the thrust of which is Trudeau’s alleged faggotry, that is so odious that even hardened Harper-fellating hacks like Stephen Woodworth and Brent Rathgeberwho’ve spent the last half-decade proving that they would queue up naked before the front door of 24 Sussex in a February hailstorm to receive the honour of drinking overflowing bowls of the foetid, maggot-speckled swill compounded of venality, illegality, sophistry, and moral cowardice that perpetually sluices forth from the dank cloaca of CPC HQ—find unacceptably repellent. It’s as if they’ve finally realised that, after seven years of forcing his ward-heeling invertebrates to prostitute every single principle they claim to hold, Harper has managed to become the only maquereau in the history of the West too stupid to know how to run a whorehouse at a profit.     
The primary, and perhaps only, utility Harper’s conservative lemmings can offer real conservatives is their service as a stark daily reminder that humankind is irremediably unregenerate: the immutable fact of human fallibility is a core conservative belief, and our justified awe before the myriad glories of human compassion, magnanimity, and virtue must sometimes be tempered by an acknowledgment that we have not crawled as far beyond the primeval slime as we think we have, a fact that Canada’s branch of the global confederacy of idiocy argues with irresistible eloquence.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Harperium In Excelsis: Game of Drones, Part II

Any attempt at a socio-political diagnosis of North America’s current condition that hopes to claim the slightest dram of explanatory validity must convincingly account for the undeniable fact that the “New World” is afflicted with at least one collective distemper utterly unprecedented in the cultural history of the West.

North Americans have fallen into a state of crushing torpor untold in the chronicles of Western civilisation. For proof, we need only acknowledge that we find nowhere described in any of the histories of the West a popular reaction to brazen elite criminality as mutely bovine as that which greeted Wall Street’s wanton years-long poaching of the global economy. Our cowardice in the face of this perpetually unpunished disgrace has no known ancestor. It is the Mitochondrial Eve of societal moral squalor.
Until 2008, the West had produced no society so thoroughly drained of its ethical haemoglobin as to be prepared to accept with a lobotomised half-smile that the already-obscenely rich perpetrators of the systemic rape of trillions of dollars of global assets shall not only waltz away from their felonies uncharged, unconvicted, and unjailed but shall also be pensioned off with bonuses hundreds of thousands of times larger than the yearly wages of most of those they robbed. Never in the course of human history, not even during the Viking sacks of Ireland’s gold- and silver-larded monasteries, had an act of such rapacious barbarity been committed with such lucrative impunity.

In a society healthier than ours, that of Caligula’s Rome or of France’s late ancien regime, for instance, such a laughing display of unconscionable rapine would have landed an emperor, festooned with innumerable gladius slashes, floating open-eyed amid the currents of the Tiber, or would have destined the powdered limbs of aristocrats to adorn pikes held aloft by garlanded girls dancing down wide, sunlit avenues bordered by their joyously weeping fathers and mothers. Mark that these executors of the natural law would not have been, as they are today, ragtag scratch militias of the marginal and the disenfranchised: it was the powerful Praetorian Guard, quintessential insiders, who obligingly delivered to the Palatine crowds the emperors they wished deposed; it was the most talented, ambitious, and bright-futured among the comfortable French bourgeoisie who led the toppling of the Bourbons.

Meanwhile, we Canadians, clearly aping Americans’ acquiescence before robbery, as we seem to insist on aping every species of American moral idiocy, watch the slow-motion shipwreck of the robocall fiasco unfold with the sullen, heavy-lidded indifference with which a fifteen-year-old Crip, returning to class after a spliff-puffing session enjoyed behind the school dumpster, settles in for a lecture on quadratic equations. Too many commentators have attempted to explain Canadians’ apparent unconcern before the troubling Roboscam facts as a symptom of the alleged “complexity” of the case. Those less afraid to wield Occam’s razor will simply add this supine unconcern to the mounting evidence of Canadians’ quadrennially shrinking inclination to vote for their choice of faceless party automaton and come to the necessary conclusion that a growing number of Canadians do not care whether their government is elected fairly and constitutionally, whether it slithers and slimes its way into the House of Commons via an I-Ching or Tarot reading superintended by one of the Trailer Park Boys, or whether a government is elected at all. Among the most glorious fruit of the harvest of freedom seeded by Stephen Harper’s overturning of the Chretien/Martin tyranny is the undeniable fact that most Canadians, in the year 2013, have as little thought of meaningfully interfering in their own political lives as had Yorkshire ploughmen under the Plantagenets.

Asking whether or not there is hope is not the right question to ask at the tail end of one of the two (formerly liturgical) seasons the most marked effect of which on me is the sad recollection that our culture has managed to degrade two narratives that had at least an iota of morally redeeming value into mere Pavlovian retail reflexes whose only function and practical effect are to goad children into abducting their parents’ superegos and forcing them to enrich China’s Politburo through gratuitous purchases the flamboyant uselessness of which would have caused the buyers to be thrust outside the moral borders of the society that founded this Dominion.

The right question to ask is whether there is a way to hope that does not have at its foundation the very urges that turn our hopes to ashes.