The King is Dead

Rex Murphy took the dull, simple aria of white male grievance and turned it into operatic psychodrama.

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It’s been SO LONG since I posted here, I’m behaving like my IQ is in single digits. I’m hunting and

pecking at my laptop like I’m one of the billion monkeys who’s maybe randomly going to produce the works of Shakespeare or is maybe not going to. (When my morning banana break comes up, can I pick through your scalp hair? Feeling extra snacky.) Seriously, it’s been since July 2023, and I can only imagine your mystified response to my alert email. “Oh, him? I thought he was dead!”

Now, don’t mistake me, will you, for the cold, stiff remains of Rex Murphy, who passed away on the 9th. And I want to reassure you about my good intentions, here, which should last at least to the end of this paragraph.

I know that deep down, Rex, like you and I, was a human being— yes, I know, but it’s cross-my-heart true—I’m not one to speak ill of the dead, to visit calumny on a person’s personal legacy. Heavens to Betsy!

The announcement of his passing was terse, mentioning just “cancer” as the cause. I imagine he may have suffered pain, and that is terrible. His family and friends will be in mourning, and on a personal level, I send my condolences. It is awful to lose a beloved family member or friend.

But I’m not here to offer warm, fuzzy tales of Rex the Man, and thank god that bit’s out of the way. My stance on his journalistic persona as one of Canada’s best-known, though scarcely loved, political commentators—such as it was—and a public figure with a duty to uphold truth, but whose statements and avowed beliefs were by turns reprehensible, misleading and toxic—is positively awash with ill will and calumny.

Why? Because it’s just way way more fun than being fair and/or balanced. LO friggin’ L!

Rex Murphy was in the public eye all of his life, starting with various radio gigs, and as a conservative political candidate (and even as a liberal for a couple of times, too). He ended up a minor Canadian celebrity of sorts, which anywhere else would mean consigned to oblivion, at the CBC.

He had always been renowned for his high-falutin’ vocabulary, for which I blame Oxford and a Rhodes scholarship, a vocabulary which rendered him unintelligible to your regular Joe, like a walking opera sung discordantly in a foreign language.

Then one day he apparently realized that Trudeau was way prettier, and more popular on account of his regular, comprehensible vocabulary, and tendency not to scream about woke socialists in a piercing tone, and Rex realized he’d been doing it all wrong. This of course caused bitterness and resentment (I’m just making this up, you know. Did you know, really?) and doubled down on the anti-Trudeau “useless girly-man when he doesn’t do that thing, evil socialist dictator when he does do that thing” boondoggle, because, why not?

It’s what every red-blooded, plaid shirted Real Canadian Man, white and hairless and heterosexual down to his toes, does, instinctively. Gormless Rex Murphy, undergoing a kind of reverse enlightenment, had found his validation and his voice.

He must have been in heaven, no pun intended, or maybe intended, when the internet arrived and old-fashioned conservatism, already hobbled by the likes of Reagan and Thatcher, finally devolved into a shirts-and-skins fight around who could splutter more loudly with outrage. Rex became Splutterer in Chief, the dramatic prima donna, the Joan Sutherland, as it were, fronting a chorus of wispy soubrettes.

Everyone breaking into a cold sweat and struggling for something nice to say about Rex during the last couple of days agrees on one thing: That Rex brought to the table a “gift of language”.

(And I don’t know why, but for some reason I’m remembering a story that Arnold Schwarzenegger once told in an interview, about sending a present to his mother in Austria. He had labeled it for Customs as a “gift”, forgetting that, in Austrian, “Gift” means “poison”.)

Anyway. Murphy’s gift manifested as campy jeremiads somehow passing for political analysis; and rancorous temper tantrums substituting for wit.

Kind of like your Uncle Herb at Thanksgiving, who rages that the gays have made everyone vegan and will soon be coming for your guns, once they’ve finished forcing vaccines on you and marrying their dogs.

(Just to put this puppy to bed once and for all : I only know one or two gay friends who want to marry their dogs. And frankly, slippery slope or not, and it totally is, I don’t see the problem. If you think it’s wrong to marry a dog—then don’t marry a dog, Murgatroyd McGraw!)

Thus unto us a new Rex Murphy was born, this version manifesting as yet another disgruntled, aggrieved white guy, the “nobody can say nuttin’ anymore”, “everyone’s been cancelled”, “I can’t define woke but I know it when I see it” brosky, desperate to the point of self parody. Because surely we could never have enough of those!

Have a taste of one of his columns, for the execrable Epoch Times (They must have wet their pants at all the three-syllable words) where he is describing his understanding of the word “elite” as it applies to progressives:

 “… the self-assured, obediently conformist, and at best strivingly mediocre social activists and politicians who rabbit on about picnic forks and cricket sandwiches, and how men are women, the multiple “deaths” of the Great Barrier Reef (it is nature’s Lazarus), and who glue their stupid hands to the world’s art treasures, listen without permanent trauma to Rachel Maddow, and be-blossom their twitter feeds with a train of unheard-of, clatter-to-the-ear of “my pronouns are” unpronounceable and hideous neologisms. “Zir, I resent your cisheteronormative presence in my safe space and your erasing of my blue-haired non-binary occasionally pansexual self.” You’ve heard them. They are also, to a man-woman of them, very staunch on bike lanes in big cities—a sure sign of cognitive difficulty.…”

Be-blossom my butt cheeks! If this is political commentary, then I’m twenty-five Liza Minnelli’s, before rehab. (He writes, in fact, like a dry alcoholic, which is what he was, having given up drinking through a pact with a friend.)

You know, and can I just say, seriously. What an incoherent, rambling crock pot of cliché conservative talking points. It’s all there: the pretense of incomprehension of something that doesn’t exist, “picnic forks and cricket sandwiches”, whatever that means; the absolute disdain for any gender expression that’s not strictly binary, the scoffing at and minimizing of climate change and global warming science, let’s not forget some misogyny—you could have predicted it would be Rachel Maddow—then an extra helping of gender ridicule, and finally—the bike lanes thing. WTF?

Seriously. Conservatives could be declaring nuclear war on Toronto while beheading trans people on Parliament Hill, and they’d still work in something about bike lanes. They prove, I guess, how wokeness has infiltrated society at a well-nigh molecular level. It’s the cherry and sprinkles on top of the shit sundae of woke.

And the harping on “man-woman”! He just can’t get over it! This is not an original POV; in fact it’s standard issue conservative—and he says liberals are conformist!

Conservatives are so put out by trans persons, it almost frustrates me that I contentedly identify as a gay male, so terribly do I wish I could transition to female, but opting out of bottom surgery, a decision which I would confess publicly, then announce I was Lesbian, just to annoy the living crap out of them, then take pictures of the look on their faces.

(In the idiotic, ignorant phrase used by right-wingers, I would “just wake up one morning and decide I’m a woman”. This mocking, bone-headed assessment of gender dysphoria, however, is not actually what happens, in case you were wondering.)

Rex was also a shill for the oil industry, commanding cushy fees for speaking engagements for the oil industry while reporting, I would guess favorably, on the oil industry for the CBC. This caused the CBC to get all ethical and strict, like, “Gee, we guess that’s OK. No conflict there! Our journalists can… Oh, wait—sorry, we meant, yes, conflict!”

Talk about irresponsible on top of unethical. Murphy, of course, held that he would never be swayed by outside influencers, his opinions were his own. Actually, in view of the originality of his opinions, I might have to believe him on that one,

Oh, and racism. We couldn’t be getting on with business as usual without at least one public pronouncement by a white man with a platform telling everyone that Black people have it just fine in Canada—and I ask you, who would be better equipped to know?

After the horrific, publicly broadcast murder of George Floyd, and with Rex searching frantically for a way to put his pants on over his head, he publicly scoffed at allusions to anti-Black racism in Canada, a position so appallingly insensitive and out of tune that the National Post (!) felt compelled to preface the column with a notice that it did not meet its standards. (And surprised as anyone, here, to learn that the National Post has standards.)

This is like the National Enquirer apologizing for saying two-headed Hillary was enjoying intercourse with space aliens because it was unfair to space aliens.

This newly energized right-wing Rex Murphy, once he’d drunk the entire pitcher of right-wing-nut-job-ism Kool-Aid, marched proudly with the hand-wringing, “anti-wokeism” brigade, which made his public man-crushes on guys like Pierre Poilievre and Jordan Peterson less staid and professional, more “I’m just here for the blow-jobs” chummy.

It’s not nothing, to have had a national platform, to have been associated with the CBC and the Globe and Mail, which gave undeserved credibility to his bilious, fact-free diatribes, opinions masquerading as truth. Taking policies he disagreed with as an existential affront, charging into the manosphere, he fueled the engine of misinformation, surfacing the anger and divisiveness which flourishes like Zebra mussels in that dank eco-system.

His pompous rants in the National Post—and that’s quite the come-down after the CBC! Like being kicked out of the swanky bar at the Royal York and having to continue your conversation with whoever’s in the parking lot—preached lazily to the already converted but still were reckless, self-serving, and harmful in ways that could take a hundred thousand news cycles to heal.

It surely is unnecessary to confirm, but I will anyway, that the mere mention of Justin Trudeau set Murphy off like a fire alarm; set him reeling and writhing and fainting in coils—and yes, Lewis Carroll gave me permission—in operatic spasms of homo-erotic self-loathing in which he sought to redistribute the harm on the body politic that he himself caused, a syntactic rewiring of blame so intense it could only have been fueled by unexpiated guilt and forbidden desire:

“…[Trudeau] has no moral force to exert, he has no high presence in the world’s leadership, his flighty antics and frequent displays of incompetence have left him an isolate on the world platform. Essentially, his sad record internationally, his unintellectuality (his mind is not overclouded with ideas) and the obsessional tie to global warming fantasies (serious leaders may mouth the words these days, but the global warming juggernaut is bogged down) have combined to place him outside the adults who do rule the nations of the world. He is no one’s wise man...”

Poor, gormless Rex.

Messages of condolence had colleagues tip-toeing around Murphy’s mind-numbing logorrhea and wearying vitriol in an effort to sound positive:

“When Rex had something to say, he knew exactly what he wanted to say and how he wanted to say it…”

“(His) quick wit and mastery of words were unmatched, and his presence was significant — whether or not everyone always agreed…”

“You might not agree with what Rex had to say, but oh, boy, could he ever say it…” 

It’s like when you go to see your best friend in her first community theatre production, then dutifully go backstage to say, “Well, Doreen, how about that, eh? I never knew you had it in ya!” Honestly, you wonder why they didn’t just come out with it:

“Old Rexy’s gone? How about that, you know, he sure as tootin’ had opinions, and he knew how to bloviate them, even if anybody with intelligence or humor or humanity couldn’t agree with ’em! Isn’t that sad! OK, then!”

Or, in a more sensitive but still efficient version, which would be my preference:

“Rex Murphy’s column is no more? Alleluia! Rest in Peace! Follow the light and don’t look back!”

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Teflon Trump

Months and months of procrastinating on the book have finally paid off: just a quick revise on the banner ad above, changing the ridiculously optimistic “April 2023” to the actual date of June 2024. Yes, friends, my book is over one year late to market!

I just pray that Trump’s single remaining pre-election court appearance, at the falsifying business records and paying off a porn star to save his election chances, aka “Hush Money” trial gets at least another couple of weeks of airplay, leaving us right where we started, time-warped back to 2016 and with my book as timely and relevant as a visit from Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Gazpacho Police.

I mean, he’s the President, for cryin’ out loud! Oh, all right, ex-President, you bunch of quibblers over details! Everyone knows that you can’t just treat the President like everyone else! Because, errr… why can’t you again? Let’s ask the Supreme Court!

Donald believes he has absolute immunity from prosecution for anything he did during his presidency, that he is, after all, above the law. The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit thought otherwise:

“…former President Trump’s stance would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the president beyond the reach of all three branches… We cannot accept that the office of the presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter…”

Seriously. If all POTUS’s had total immunity, why did Gerald Ford pre-emptively pardon the disgraced Richard Nixon? As for Trump’s attorney’s silly claim that without immunity “Every new president would indict the previous president” which obviously has not happened, ever, and their insistence that before being indicted, he would have to be impeached, the three-panel tribunal all but laughed in Trump’s face, saying,

“We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a President has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power— the recognition and implementation of election results. Nor can we sanction his apparent contention that the Executive has carte blanche to violate the rights of individual citizens to vote and to have their votes count.”

Trump immediately appealed to the Supreme Court, and everyone held their breath. And the Supreme Court, knock me over with a mega-yacht, heard the case.

It was an infuriatingly predictable spectacle, with the conservative justices resolutely refusing to stick to the issue at hand, not even once addressing the events of January 6, 2021, namely, whether Trump had immunity against the specific actions taken towards nullifying the 2020 election—which was meant to be the narrow scope of the argument.

Instead, despite fifty-odd pages of cast-iron logic in the DC court’s judgement that Presidential immunity did not, could not exist, they decided to flirt with the idea.

They cast their worried minds into a future where every President, having no immunity, would, in bad faith, criminalize the behavior of their predecessor in an endless cluster fuck of tearing the nation apart and unscrewing the bolts of democracy. This would happen even though every president up until Trump clearly did not assume immunity from prosecution and yet failed to act against their predecessor. Trump is the first former President to be criminally indicted.

They sent the case back to the appellate court, with the mandate to determine which acts of Trump constituted personal, and which public, the idea being that maybe he’d get immunity for the official duties, but not the private acts, but then again maybe not.

I mean, Trump, you gotta admit, IS entertaining. Life could be pretty dull without a scaffold on the Mall and Melania throwing his dirty laundry out a top floor window onto the Rose Garden every Saturday night, you know? I mean, does anticipating what Joe Biden will do next cause you to race to the bathroom with diarrhea just from launching your social media accounts? I rest my case.

These witch hunts could take a few lessons in effectiveness from Arthur Miller. They are not quite cutting it. Example: The January 6th Committee meticulously researched the genesis and the events of the insurrection, showing without a shadow of doubt that it was clearly orchestrated by Trump and carried out by his most vicious MAGA supporters.

(Does anyone still remember the horror of that day? Of course not! We’re like Trump zombies, well wadded with stupidity, so normalized has the crazy become.)

This meticulous research was then woven into a brilliant concept by the fearless Fani Willis, District Attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, ground zero of the plot to return Trump illegitimately to power: Trump and his henchpeople would be charged as racketeers, a vast network engaged in one giant criminal conspiracy to thwart the election results and rewrite history.

The indictment was a thrilling read. This, we thought for sure, this would be Trump’s comeuppance, and Fani Willis his nemesis, except her brilliance turned to arrogance and she hired as a prosecutor a man she’d been dating.

Oh my Fani! as surely he must have exclaimed at least once. Remember? Not just conflict of interest, but even the appearance of conflict of interest… No one gets this anymore. An initial attempt to remove her from the case failed. But, if at first you don’t succeed…

Delay, delay, delay. That’s all they have to do, take the already deliberately slow wheels of justice, and let them grind harder, slower, more cautiously…

The State of Georgia, where Trump would be standing trial as the actual mastermind of an actual conspiracy—yes, actual conspiracies exist, often identified by, let’s say, dozens of emails and recorded phone conversations of people saying, “Hey, guys—let’s form a racketeering conspiracy to nullify an election!”— is now set on a second attempt to remove Fani Willis, our intrepid what-was-she-thinking, healthy-libido’d DA, thereby ensuring that no trial will happen before the election, clearing the way for a possible Trump victory.

Who would deserve it more? And after all, he wants it so much, c’mon, you gotta give it to him, right? Like nine-year-old me desperate at Christmas for an Arnold Palmer table golf game, which I opened, got instantly bored with, and then ended up playing with the box it came in.

Once safely back in the White House for his first day of dictatorship, free from the inconvenience of being exposed as a traitor, he’ll get to pardon, well, himself, then all those other traitors, the insurrectionists currently serving time, so they can stalk the night with their assault weapons primed to kill and their bellies full of vengeance. Fun!

But, wait, there’s the stolen documents case, that matter of his pilfering, after his presidency had finished, top secret, classified documents by the hundreds, which he used to line the ballrooms, bathrooms and bedrooms of Mar-a-Lago. Like a kid showing off the finest cat’s-eye marble on the block, he shared privileged information with golf club cronies, foreign representatives, friends, employees, maybe even a hooker or two, compromising the US, its agents and probably the entire world, just because the President can do anything.

You or I, we’d already be sleeping on boiled sheets and enjoying being the bitch for some tattooed lifer in a for-profit prison, had we but taken even one of these documents. His personal judge, Aileen Cannon, has been dragging her lead-booted feet and lobbing rotten eggs and banana peels at anyone who looks connected with the case, confusing everyone until, a couple of days ago, she could finally throw up her hands and say, “Overwhelm! Must postpone this trial indefinitely! There are just way too many issues that I created for them to be resolved before the election!”

Well, you can certainly understand where she’s coming from!

Even the Hush Little Money Don’t You Cry trial is like a demo showing how impervious Trump is to criticism, shame, or truth. Judge Merchan forbids him to talk about the jurors. Trump immediately posts about the jurors on Truth Social. Merchan tells him he’s a naughty boy and if he does it again….! Trump goes out and does it again.

Now Merchan plays hardball. Trump will go to jail if he does this one more time…! And fines Trump $9,000 total for breaching the gag order nine times. Nine times!

This time Merchan really, really, cross his heart means business, and then some. Trump is going to go to jail definitely, absolutely if he breaks the gag order, but after this set of violations, which it wouldn’t be fair to send him to jail for because of not having that usual 72 hours’ notice that they give you when you’re in contempt. Mark my words!

Trump goes out and calls the jurors nasty names and posts something on Truth Social. It’s hard to keep track. Then he gets the entire Republican Congress, in blue suits and red ties, to line up outside the court house for the press and, like obedient poodles, they smear the judge and the jurors on his behalf, which is also contempt of court. But just you wait… onea these days, Alice…!

Again, he doesn’t go to jail. He will never go to jail, because Merchan is like one of those dog owners who talks to their pet in complete sentences when it shits on the carpet.

Trump pleads with Merchan to let him go to his son Barron’s graduation. Merchan grants the request. Trump’s calendar reveals a day of campaigning and shmoozing. He’s very likely not going to his son’s graduation after all, very likely never intended to. Even reading about it feels like a slap in the face, what must the judge feel?

How does he get away with it, over and over and over? It’s not illegal to be an asshole, but Trump embellishes his assholiness with crimes, misdemeanours and illegal shenanigans that are so blatant, it’s not possible to pretend we haven’t seen. He makes sure we see. He’ll say all the documents are returned while standing beside another thousand documents. He’s been heard a thousand times in the recording of the phone call to Georgia asking for eleven thousand more votes. He doesn’t care and his followers don’t either. He’s a rebel, a regular guy, he’s “refreshing,” like a bucket of ice-cold puke over your head first thing in the morning.

He does exactly what he wants, says exactly what he wants, defies court orders, lies to our faces when he knows we know he’s lying. And we still cut him slack!

He’s a convicted sex offender, a woman hater who had a sleazy, not overly consensual one-night stand with a porn actress—to whom, by the way, he said that “she reminded him of his daughter”—while his third wife was pregnant with their child; a compulsive liar, a vicious proud racist, a fraudster, a four-times bankrupt, a colluder with an autocratic Russian thug and he wants to be President again. He thinks he still IS President! And we still worry and fret that we’re being unfair to him, persecuting him! We’re putting a President in jail! How can we be so cruel?

He has owned us completely, body and soul. He is above the law, we said that’s not possible, but, facilitated by us, he has achieved lift-off. He is about to escape from the juggernaut of documented, illustrated, checked, balanced, i-dotted, t-crossed evidence and all because he said “fake news” one trillion times, then turned around and gave us the secret handshake, which looks a lot like flipping the bird.

He is Christ, we are his panting, eager brides; He is our Clown Prince, the heir to the gold-plated bidet surrounded by blueprints of the Kremlin; He is King Donald I of Mar-a-Lago, Duke of Teflon! ALL HAIL!

He’s grabbed every last one of us, in fact, by the pussy, and just like he said, the world—every last one of us—just lets him.

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