I Have Been Recalcitrant, Thank You, and Yourself?

In the twenty-first century, truth is a personalized experience.


Maxime Bernier and Greta Thunberg: The floorshow on Planet Titanic?

This is how it works: The title gives a tantalizing glimpse of the theme; the subtitle teases, or elaborates, or sells the title out by explaining it for you. Simple, right? Here’s a current example.

Title: “Triggered
Subtitle: “How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.

A winner, isn’t it? And it’s his first book, too, the first he’s written and possibly even the first he’s read. So never think it’s too late for you, Murgatroyd McGraw.

Donald Frankenforehead Trump II, like many people, had a book inside him, but with most people that’s where it remains. Donald’s book was so deep inside him no ray of sunlight had ever penetrated its embryonic cloth covers, and now—Blessèd Judy, Mother of Liza—he’s filled his lungs to capacity, spread his knees, and, grunting and groaning with monumental effort, squatting like an Olympic weight-lifter ready for the clean-and-jerk, squeezed it out. Look, here comes the sequel—ker-PLOP!

Triggered signals that we’re a bunch of bored dads stuck watching “The Nutcracker” instead of The Game and missing target practice at the old folks’ home. And we’re about to endure the dance of the leftie snowflakes, that corps de ballet of over-sensitive types who get traumatized when we use good, old-fashioned traditional language, like nigger and faggot and kike and cripple, and deploy traditional attitudes like “I don’t care what you think you are, I’m not calling you SHE,” or “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Elton John!” or “Whites suffer racism, too.”

Them SJW’s are probably crying like lefty babies as they run off to their safe spaces, eh? Gee, are they triggered?

The subtitle with its explanation is supposed to encourage you but its very honesty poses a problem. From just the title, I might have thought Triggered was written by a super-sensitive individual who, because of his ability to feel the vibes, spent his days in a virtual torture chamber of empathy.

Except that it’s written by one of the Trump Frankenforehead children who was cooked up in a vat of virgin’s blood by a Dementor, so I was pretty sure that I had absolutely no interest in the book.

But from having seen the subtitle I know I have absolutely no interest in the book (although in fact without even reading it, even before it came ker-plopping out of Don, I have already read it a hundred times). So, thanks for the head’s up. If you are an angry white supremacist, or an assembly-line Frankenforehead son of Trump, looking to have crossover success and sell more books, take note.

That subtitle is formulaic and the formula goes: Throw out the most obnoxious, outrageously biased statement you can contrive, and present it as your premise (though it is not intended to be a verifiable statement of fact and its offensiveness is its gleeful goal); because as far as you’re concerned it’s true, and truth in the 21st century is a personalized, bespoke kind of thing.

Old-fashioned truth was dull and inefficient and did not necessarily reflect your beliefs. It was like those eastern bloc Polski Fiats everyone drove in Warsaw in 1979, or Henry Ford’s Model T, which he offered in any color you wanted as long as it was black.

Truth was one-size-fits-all. You had to cram yourself into, more often than not, an ill-fitting truth that didn’t suit you. And it was someone else’s truth, from years, maybe even centuries, ago! Crummy old hand-me-downs!

But now we have petite and plus-size, little white lies and great big whoppers. Now we have truth in all the flavors you would ever want: peppermint bullshit, cherry bullshit, tangerine bullshit and Bullshit Classic. And any color, as long as it’s beige.

Altogether, now: You’ll never go wrong with beige, my dear!

The Left, so this subtitle says, “thrives” on hate. Important point. Not just likes. Thrives on. Hate is our fuel, our multi-vitamin and our powdered whey protein drink. Hate is our Kryptonite, the fatal, nutrient we must nonetheless procure to power our hateful lefty energy.

Conservatives cancel your mom’s cancer medicines and fire your kids’ teachers. They fill the parks with homeless and kick the mentally ill onto the streets and legislate women’s bodies, and all of it for love—but progressives? We dare to raise the minimum wage!

Hate? Personally, you gotta know I’m counting to ten until someone, quite justifiably I might add, screams “Hitler!”

Conservatives don’t hold back. They stand up for what they value, and what they value is not caring for people but balancing budgets. Your mom will be dead, your unschooled kids fucktard stupid, but the deficit will be zero, the enterprise, free. Criminals will rot in hell. You won’t have to endure the tragic dress sense or the stench of the unhoused, and your fucktard stupid kids? Naturals as the new generation of conservatives!

Wants to Silence Us. “Us,” as in “Us and Them.” Donald Junior “knows” your country is being overwhelmed by illegal immigrants, your culture and values derided by elites and homosexuals, your wages stolen, taxed to pay for abortions and government programs for criminals and Muslims, your schools overrun by Marxists. Isn’t it awesome that the President’s son understands and is talking directly to you? Almost like he’s your buddy!

This book can be seen and purchased on Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It has its own dedicated web site. The publicist has made sure Don Junior appears on talk shows with millions of viewers. The New York Times wrote a snippy piece about it, but hey, that’s publicity. In fact, nearly every quality newspaper on the planet has given it a snippy review which is really publicity. This book is a bestseller.

So… this silencing thing? Trickier, apparently, than we thought.

Conservatives troll and shut down every progressive conversation with well-placed shouts of “PC!” “Snowflake!” “Social Justice Warrior!” “White Racist!” and mock anyone who wants to treat more people with more respect—but they’re silenced?

Only in my dreams.


I once Got an invitation to write a guest article for an Evangelical Christian blog. The owner was a minister, a more than adequate writer and a progressive guy, surprisingly outspoken in his support for social justice. I knew this because he would say things in his posts like, “Jesus wouldn’t have gotten mad at all those refugees from Central America in the caravan. He would have been loving to them, because they’re poor and displaced and feeling sad right now. That’s the Christian message, yo!”

This is in contrast to his followers, who would respond like, “These brown scumbags are just actors and serial killers and drug cartels funded by George Soros, and they’re gonna take away our guns and bring in their extended brown families and live offa welfare and steal our jobs! America is under attack! Resist the World Government! White people are dying out! Build The Wall Now!!”

The blog owner challenged me to provide the authentic voice and viewpoint of a gay man vis-a-vis Evangelical Christianity, which his main audience would probably not otherwise experience, seeing as they all live in white-only gated communities with matching front doors and identical window treatments, and have sharpshooters with assault rifles stationed around the perimeter of the moat who have been instructed to shoot to kill at the very moment they sense waspish humor or catch a whiff of Maria Callas singing “Vissi d’arte.”

I knew that most readers of his blog would shut down if they knew I was a Canadian gay male atheist. I decided I would ease them into my narrative using humor and various other shallow distractions to win them over. I’d mellow them into complacency, and manipulate them with my aw, shucks Canadian diffidence. Then I’d slap them hard in the face with my true identity as the Socialist Queen of Darkness and drop them down the well.  

They would understand in a Damascus flash that gay guys and atheists and Canadians were actual humans with thoughts and feelings just like them, not abstractions cooked up by evil leftists for the sole purpose of vexing their limited brains with the evidence that some people, frankly, just don’t give a shit about Jesus, at least, not their version.

“How wrong I’ve been! This Canadian homosexual atheist liberal has finally convinced me that we’re all made in God’s image and deserving of respect. I’m gonna call up all the homeless shelters in Des Moines and see if my gay son is still alive, then invite him, a trannie, and maybe even a Democrat, to dinner! Y’all!”

It made sense at the time.

I wrote a great piece drawing on concepts of Zen Buddhism, poking gentle fun at my Canadian identity, and making a huge effort to come across as a bridge builder who was skeptical but non-threatening, even kind of adorable. I decided the title would be “Pivot Chords,” a metaphor from music that is about making a shift from one key (viewpoint) to another with finesse.

Finally I got the email saying I could check the published post. My title was now the subtitle and a new title, in bold letters at the very top of the page, read:

This Gay, Liberal, Atheist, Canadian’s Sermon
on Grace and Compassion
is the Best I’ve Heard in Awhile

In nearly two years the article has collected just six likes, about thirty-five shares and two comments, from a user base of nearly four thousand readers.

We live in a time when people have to be deceived before they’ll drive down the street that houses all those liberals they hate. They have to be jumped, hooded and thrown in the van before they’ll even let you suggest that a bunch of desperate mothers, fathers and children, a bedraggled, tired, poor, huddled mass of wretched refuse from whatever teeming shore isn’t just a bunch of actors paid by the Antichrist who’ve come to overthrow the most powerful nation on earth.

Note I didn’t say “greatest.”


How are you, by the way, at this spiffing start to a new decade? I’m here, a scary clown popping out of his scary clown-box, to tell you that making Ukraine’s aid money contingent on its digging up dirt on the President’s political enemy is wrong, but not impeachable.

Are you getting this down? Grabbing her by the pussy is not impeachable, it’s—first base. Soliciting charitable donations then using them to buy sex with hookers or self-portraits or election campaigns? Nope. Not impeachableYou wanna know what’s impeachable?

Blowjobs are impeachable.

There’s more. Whatever the President of the United States does is OK, as long as he truly believes that his re-election is in the best interests of the nation. The POTUS can do anything he wants, at least, according to Vladimir Putin.

Sorry, did I say Putin? I meant Alan Dershowitz! But he didn’t get there first. Trump himself told us so. I can do anything I want. And, excuse me, bleeding hearts, he would hardly lie about something so important!

Twenty-twenty finds me in the position of a little boy wearing Buster Brown shoes and itchy wool shorts, topped with a crisp white shirt and a pre-tied bow tie, all clashing plaids and male camel toe and sausage thighs, ready to get pushed into the mud puddle by the ginger-haired bully, the boy with the freckles that everyone likes. What a little devil he is! He’ll go places!

It’s the face plant in the mud puddle, you see, the soiled perfection, that fosters one’s appreciation for all the nice new things, gifts (for you would never buy them for yourself) that may well not survive the day intact.

Not to worry. Start from the point of innocence; erase from your mind the script that has you in the final act looking like a refugee from PornHub’s “fetish” category, mud-wrestling barely-legal teens department, and put your trust in that pristine pinafore. Meanwhile, I struggle to answer my own question. I am :

Recalcitrant

recalcitrant \rih-KAL-suh-trunt\ adjective. 1 : obstinately defiant of authority or restraint. 2 a : difficult to manage or operate. b : not responsive to treatment. c : resistant.

I have been recalcitrant on Twitter towards the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), whose guiding light is one of those au courant racists, a Québecois who masks his authoritarian lust for pure laine behind the pieties of secularism and patrimonie, Maxime Bernier.

And I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to be interrupting this article with a few bespoke Bernier jokes. Like:

Why did Maxime Bernier cross the road?
To get to the — Oh, my God! OH MY GOD THAT EIGHTEEN WHEELER JUST RAN THE RED LIGHT!!

If populism is the soft cock of Canadian politics, Maxime has his dry, white lips clamped around it so tightly he may pass out from lack of oxygen. Allez-y! That’s the spirit, buddy! You’ll never get it up, but it’s undeniably amusing when you try.

The PPC tweets that the housing crisis is the result of immigration (that’s non-white immigration) run riot.

(Compare the Toronto version, “the Chinese are buying all the condos,” which is approaching the status of a standard friendly greeting on the local streets:

“Hey, Fred! The Chinese are buying all the condos!”
“Fine, thanks, and how’s the wife and kids?”
)

Because no rabbit hole presents itself but that I instantly picture myself burrowing down it, I tweet back that the housing crisis is caused not by immigration but by, oddly enough, a lack of housing, which could be solved by requiring developers to build affordable units in their cheap, flimsy luxury buildings, for example.

They tweet back that I lack imagination, that a trillion immigrants could appear at the borders and progressives like me would still want to throw money at the problem.

I tweet back that it’s equally [un]likely the white people could breed a trillion offspring and the housing crisis would still exist without a trillion living units, which, [sigh], could easily be built at no expense to the public and entail no tax increases except on units which owners don’t actually occupy (a tax which Vancouver has already implemented with success, and which Toronto City Council is considering).

What did Maxime Bernier say to the white immigrant?
“I’m color-blind!”
What did Maxime Bernier say to the non-white immigrant?
“Housing crisse de Tabernac!”

What is it like, I wonder, being inside Maxime Bernier’s head? It ain’t the Midway at the Canadian National Exhibition, that’s for sure. No one’s lining up for the ride, “I hope I pass the height test! The “Bernier” does a full loop the loop and my friend Sandy told me she threw up her pink popcorn twice! It’s gonna be awesome!”

Bernier burns through Canadian values like a maniac training a flame thrower at a grove of maples. A typical arrogant loser and blustering, entitled white male, he projects sour resentment and outrage at the thought of benefits or income distribution or social justice. He’s a card-carrying denizen of the joyless, shadowy, victimized world of put-upon conservatism.

What does Bernier worry about? Not the plight of refugees, our international commitments or corporate taxes. He worries about—yes!— our deficit, even though our financial health, thanks for asking, is absolutely great. (US debt to GDP ratio: 4.6%.  Canadian debt to GDP ratio: 0.39%). 

He is, or pretends to be, in thrall to the idea that deficits are wrong, even if roads are pock-marked and bridges are falling down, and health care and public transport are so underfunded they barely work. Pull up your socks and tighten your belt!

The idea that, just like with your personal finances, you would look at your income, calculate the costs of a big-ticket item, work out the payments and decide to run a temporary deficit to invest in something that will create value and save money, this idea is supposed to be anathema to us. Deficits bad.

And it’s not up for debate. You might as well debate whether it’s OK to put dog food mixed with arsenic in the off-leash area in Allen Gardens. Of course it’s not! What kind of sick individual would run a deficit?

Five minutes’ research would tell you that deficits have no meaning except as expressed as a percentage of your Gross Domestic Product, your “income.” You’d discover that Keynesian economics advocates government spending when the economy needs stimulus. It’s considered a very good thing, it’s standard-issue economics, and has been for decades.

Conservatives can build whole fantasy scenarios on a false premise, because people are intellectually lazy.

Well, put the Chevy up on concrete blocks and bang my missus in a trailer, is that a fact?

What does Maxime Bernier’s breakfast cereal say?
 Crap, Wacko Populist!

Maxime Bernier throws nasty shade at Greta Thunberg, doomsaying sixteen-year-old climate activist. They make a synergistic pair. She’s the title, he’s the subtitle. He hates her youth, her daring, her plans to save the future and her being right. She’s grumpy, mouthy and, yes, recalcitrant. She gets under his skin.

He’s prissy, quasi-intellectual French, tighter than a Parisian’s pursed lips; she’s the spooky love-child of Anne of Green Gables and Ingmar Bergman. You can tell Bernier’s just itching to send her to bed without supper, then drive across town and spank his mistress.

Maxime and Greta! They were made to be a comedy duo, the Laurel and Hardy of the apocalypse, the featured floor show on Planet Titanic.

From slapstick to sleaze: Bernier, promoted to Foreign Affairs Minister in 2007 by Conservative PM Stephen Harper, has to tender his resignation after he leaves a classified dossier lying around his girlfriend’s place. For five months.

The dossier contains top-secret information about Canada’s plans in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The petite amie, Julie Couillard, cavorts with Hell’s Angel’s and organized crime and people with job descriptions like drug enforcer, and was almost certainly lobbying Bernier on behalf of a realtor, Kevlar, Inc., to procure a lucrative government contract.

On a prurient note, the former model is also extremely well provided for in the boobs department and is not shy about reminding us, which cannot have anything to do with her revelation that Bernier is worried people think he’s gay.

We find out all of this when she publishes her tell-all memoir, entitled, and stop me if you’ve heard this one, “My Story.” This is a new level of dedication to bringing the federal government into disrepute.

Maxime must lack any sense of irony. He runs for office in the 2019 federal election promising to close down the supply management system, so hated by Trump, that ensures Canadian dairy farmers can get a fair price for their products.

His riding of Beauce, Québec, consists mainly of—dairy farmers. And he loses his seat, the only seat the PPC held. This is a new definition of fucktard stupid.

Why does Maxime Bernier hate Gay Pride and Dairy Farmers?
One’s too much homo, the other too little!

Bernier derides Greta Thunberg as “mentally unstable” and denies the overwhelming evidence about our climate emergency. He takes Greta very seriously. Everyone else understands that we support Greta Thunberg because she’s sweet and has no clout and anyway she’s just a teenaged girl.

Everyone, even corporations, even governments, supports Greta Thunberg, because she’s photogenic and does no harm, especially to the gas-guzzling agenda of big oil. You can pat Greta on the head, say “Isn’t she adorable! It’s great to see commitment from young people!” and feel fine because she’s not a threat to anything or anyone. She has no power.

It’s like giving a Girl Scout her knot-tying badge or her “most likeable gal-pal” certificate. She’s a protest march by Disney, where the cute kids pack up their signs and go home when daddy thinks that’s enough shenanigans for one day. Time for beddy-bye, Little Missy Hooligan!

Greta Thunberg is who you pay attention to so that there’s no room left for coverage of or sympathy towards First Nations people setting up the roadblock to halt the progress of a pipeline desecrating their sacred land.

Sacred land? How quaint! Riots about pipelines? Please, I’m eating dinner! Let’s see the cute little girl again! She’s the future, she’s dessert!

How many Quebecois dairy farmers does it take to change a light bulb?
Just one. He grips the light bulb with both hands while Maxime Bernier spins him around on his dick!

We want to consume Greta, because she’s a tasty, frothy cream puff of news. The First Nations people are indigestible: ornery, angry, outraged, not nice. They’re not our friends and they’ve experienced first-hand how we treat children.

We call out the Mounties for them. The protestors cover their faces, they throw rocks; they don’t hold out their hands in forgiveness, and we don’t pat them on the head. Guns, tear gas. They’re dangerous because they insist on their power and their absolute right to be where they are. .

Why is Maxime Bernier jealous of Greta Thunberg?
She travels the world on a yacht, but all his ships sink!


The PPC accuses me of not wanting a conversation. And they’re right. I don’t. I want them to line up and bend over so I can shove a People’s Party of Canada lawn sign up their wazoos, pointy end first—to approximately the same place where Donald Frankenforehead’s book resided— then burn the lot of them at the stake.

This seems like such a simple, yet obvious, demand.

And since the remaining members of the PPC would fit into an old-style Volkswagen, I could take care of it in an afternoon and still finish in time to flash some skin on Chaturbate for a couple of hours.

Yeah, that’s right. Chaturbate. I call my room

This Gay, Liberal, Atheist, Canadian’s Ass
is the Best You’ve Seen

On A Senior Citizen in Awhile.  

Nothing is wasted when you’re a writer. Nothing

Now, pour the little lady a glass of Chardonnay and get yourself impeached.

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New Blackface Fridays Prove Popular with Trudeau Cabinet

+PLUS+ No Treatment On the Horizon for “CRUD” (Canadian Refusing to Undermine Democracy)


The Trudeau Cabinet’s new tradition: Lighten the heck up, dudes, it’s just a party!

Justin Trudeau, fresh from his “win” of the Canadian Federal Election, has capitalized on Canadians’ surprisingly laid-back response to his infamous blackface pics by instituting “Blackface Fridays,” the new Parliamentary equivalent of corporate casual days.

“Canadians used their common sense,” he explained, “and perfectly understood that I was in no way acting out like an entitled child of privilege or being utterly tone deaf by smearing on the boot polish and shoving a fake Arabian Nights turban on my head while posing with a bevy of well-stacked babes. They realized it was just a party, dudes! Also that white people called Trudeau can do any old thing they want!”

He continued, “So to help everyone lighten the heck up a bit, I’ve mandated that my entire cabinet go blackface every Friday while Parliament is in session. Anyone who objects will answer to me, get an undeniable pinch on the ass and have to sit in ‘Jody Corner’ for a time out and some well-intended pressure. It’s gonna be awesome!

The blackface pictures, oddly enough first revealed by TIME Magazine — an American publication with absolutely no connections whatsoever to Rebel Media or any other right-wing influencers like Ezra Levant or anything — came to light by sheer coincidence as the countdown to the Canadian election had begun. This caused several Canadians to shake their heads and react violently by quickly calling up something actually interesting on the internet, like whatever ridiculous flapdoodle Trump tweeted today or the latest episode of “Schitt’s Creek”.

Nonetheless, despite worldwide tut-tutting and general condemnation of the pics, Trudeau won in a landslide loss of the popular vote to the Conservatives, technically termed a “Minority Government.” Even though he clearly lost. Or not. Anyway, he’s Prime Minister, what the heck, eh? Or possibly unofficial Leader of the Opposition, depending entirely on your point of view.

To gauge where Canadians’ heads were at after Trudeau’s historic win-loss, we spoke with random typical voter Franklyn D. Gallagher as he left an Ottawa Tim Hortons with his double double and maple glazed.

“Holy cow, was there an election?” he exclaimed. “Seriously? Damn, cause I woulda voted for that Wilfred Laurier if he was still in the running! Or maybe Lester Pearson! But I nodded off during ‘Don Messer’s Jubilee’ last Boxing Day after Milly forced that extra portion of President’s Choice ‘What the Dickens Figgy Pudding’ on me! I nearly bust a gut!

“Blackface pictures? Well, what are ya gonna do, eh? The rules go, vote for the guy who’s not the Conservative, and/or the Person Called Trudeau, whichever comes first, except in Alberta in which case do the opposite. If Pierre did it there’s gotta be a good reason for it! Sorry, I meant Diefenbaker! He was always one for the youthful shenanigans!”

But Shirley Otowabe, recently expelled from Hull, Québec on pain of death after several whistleblowers called the Laicity Hotline Laicité about her traditional Nigerian costume, had a different take on our partyin’ PM.

“I was scared at first,” she admitted. “How in hell would the Liberals pull off their inevitable win this time? Luckily our first past the post system kicked in to give the Liberals victory, even with a quarter million less votes than the Conservatives! I praise Jesus I live in a country with free and democratic elections as long as Alberta takes it up the ass!

“A quarter million voters!” she repeated, her big golliwog eyes bugging out from her face as she did a traditional ‘jazz hands,’ then regaled us with a chorus of Swanee on her banjo. “Why, Mammy, that’s like all the Maritimes plus the audience at ten Las Vegas Céline Dion concerts! How do they get away with it?” And she sashayed away, trailing her hand along the wrought iron fences and murmuring, “I don’t know nuttin’ about electin’ no Andrew Scheer, uh-huh! It ain’t fittin,’ y’all!” *

*(She didn’t really walk away like that. She walked away normally, just like anyone else. I just said she did the Butterfly McQueen/Gone With the Wind thing because, a) it’s so friggin’ hilarious, right? and b) also I’m white so I knew I could get away with it.)

Only Jody Wilson-Raybaud, former Attorney General, had any negative comments about the newly-declared Parliamentary tradition. Even though she was still crying after her bullying by “the big boys in senior year,” followed by her week of morning detention which was, like, totally unfair, she bravely agreed to overcome her debilitating social anxiety and speak with us.

We caught up with Wilson-Raybaud as she enjoyed an unpaid coffee break from her job stocking shelves at a pharmacy in British Columbia, which she described to us as “desensitization therapy,” before prefacing her comments with a big, mucus-y sniffle.

“No one is paying any attention to me, or even to the plight of indigenous peoples, least of all Trudeau,” she told us between pitiful sobs. “Just tell me, where are the pics of him in full native feathered headdress and buckskin boots, with some big busty squaws in hot pants knocking back the Ice Wine shooters? Hmmm? I rest my case.”

Her mouth was quivering again and she stared into space, no doubt reliving the terrible trauma of doing a grown-up job. “That big old meanie!!” she wailed, in a veiled reference to Justin Trudeau or possibly some other big, scary man in Cabinet, then collapsed screaming while beating her fists and heels on the floor.

Did Wilson-Raybaud see anything at all postive in Justin’s kinda-sorta-almost victory?

“Well,” she replied, interrupting her tantrum and biting her lower lip as silent tears coursed down her cheeks. “Sales of cleansing and rejuvenating charcoal masks and white lip salve are off the charts. Could someone pass me the Kleenex?”


ARE YOU CANADIAN? DID YOU cast a vote in the recent Federal Election? And did you vote for the party whose leader you actually thought would make the best PM? Did you vote, in other words, according to your conscience, or did you vote strategically?

Though you pelt me with soapstone carvings until I scream for mercy, I must confess that I did the unthinkable.

I voted for the New Democrats. I know, I know. What kind of sick individual would put the nation in jeopardy for such a narcissistic, self-serving whim?

If you’re non-Canadian, I hasten to explain that Canada wasn’t in great peril because my choice was a poor one, or because the New Democratic Party was unfit to govern.

Jagmeet Singh was the party leader with the most progressive platform and who showed the most transparency, intelligence and sensitivity while also being unfraid to stand up for Canadian values. He spoke up whenever Canadians accidentally showed subtle signs of being racist, for example, while campaigning in New Brunswick, when that guy said,

“Where do them wogs get off, running for PM with some goddamned turban on their head? Don’t they know they’re putting themselves in danger if someone throws a bomb at ’em and they’re not wearing a safety helmet? Besides, there’s little bugs runnin’ around under those things! If one a them nig-nogs came canvassin’ at my door, I’d dive under the sofa till they was gone, then spray the whole front porch with RAID!

“Who am I gonna vote for? Is this Alberta? OK, then you know the drill. It’s whoever ain’t the Conservatives and/or the person called Trudeau, whichever comes first! Whoever that is!”

Singh responded with the righteous fire of an Old Testament prophet or, you know, whatever Sikhs have as an equivalent.

“Sometimes when people say hasty, unkind things they don’t really mean,” he retorted in a tentative, barely-audible voice, “my friends get, you know, like, upset. I wouldn’t want to mention any names, and maybe I’m right or maybe I’m wrong, but I’m talking about things said by people that are similar to what someone has said who is maybe standing, or maybe not, pretty close to me. Not to point any fingers or anything. Who am I to judge!”

Watching the results trickle in on polling day, I realized what a close call the election had been. My vote mattered!

Except it didn’t matter for electing the party whose leader I thought was the best, only for not electing the party whose leader I hoped like hell wouldn’t win, but only if I voted for the party whose leader I hated only a little bit less, instead of the one I thought was the best.

Life returned to normal for a time, though I felt strangely ill at ease. Then, about a week after Trudeau’s win-loss, I awoke in the middle of the night drenched with sweat and with my heart pounding. I was wracked with guilt, and worse, I was haunted by dreams in which the Conservative Party had won and Andrew Scheer was mandating school prayer, criminalizing abortion and ordering the womenfolk to attend fittings for the official sensible shoes and calico dresses.

I’d no one to blame but myself. Because of my recklessly voting as though our electoral system worked, I’d contracted a severe case of CRUD: Canadian Refusing to Undermine Democracy.

I realized that by voting my conscience I’d not only put my country in grave jeopardy, I’d cancelled out the votes of my parents, my grandparents, my entire extended family throughout its entire history, Laura Secord, Wayne Gretsky, my friends starting from my first day at kindergarten, plus the original barons who signed the Magna Carta, and every other loyal Canadian who couldn’t hack the thought of Andrew Scheer as PM, and did the right, unselfish thing: Strategically voting for the Liberals.

When I think what might have happened if everyone had voted their conscience, honestly appraising the merits of the various leaders and disregarding our dysfunctional electoral system, I die with shame.

But before I die with shame, I have that sinking feeling you get when you reach the sixty-second floor of your condo building, the elevator doors open, then the cable snaps and the emergency brakes fail, leaving you plunging to your death at the bottom of the shaft, while you realize with horror that your entire life has been totally in vain.

A big gin and tonic helps.

I also have attacks of CRUD when I wake up in the night needing to pee, or just basically at any time when I forget about my disability and stop moving.

But I’ve learned my lesson. I promise: I’ll never, ever, vote according to my conscience again.

Because cynicism — about politicians, about elections, about voting, about democracy in general, about getting involved, about even the value of striving for equality, fairness and justice for all citizens — is as Canadian as beaver tails.

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I Am #Boomer, Hear Me Lecture! +PLUS+

Don Cherry: Don’t feel sorry for this outdated relic of a dumber, whiter, less inclusive time


A collage featuring Don Cherry, a poppy and some Muslim servicemen and their families.
“YOU PEOPLE”

To kick off today’s in-depth exploration of the obvious, let me ask you a question: Who gives a flying fuck about a miserable, bigoted, old white guy sportscaster with bad taste in clothing and worse taste in philosophy?

As it happens, I’m the first one hundred people who reply: Not me, Murgatroyd McGraw. Look—pockets empty. Not a single fuck left to give. But it is Christmas season coming. Ask me again on Boxing Day. Or, better yet, Epiphany!

For those of you not privy to, or interested in, the finer points of Canada’s sports world and its personalities, let it be known that Don Cherry worked—the past tense is deliberate— for decades as a sportscaster for Sportsnet, a subsidiary of Rogers Media. He was and is known for his ridiculously garish suits, his supposed dudely brilliance in the area of hockey coaching, playing and announcing, and his tough, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is 80-year-old heterosexual male bluster, which is just as tedious and backward and unapologetically, ear-splittingly raucous as you might expect.

Unfortunately, on Remembrance Day, Mr Cherry removed the puck from his mouth, became confused, and inserted both his feet instead.

Live on Sportsnet, Mr Cherry offered his opinion that “immigrants” were not buying enough red poppies and wearing them to honor the fallen, an opinion completely lacking in any factual basis.

“You people, you like our country, you like our milk and honey, you could at least spend a couple of bucks on a poppy and wear it.”

— Don Cherry

Let’s unpack this:

You people. You people who are immigrants, you people who are physically different, you people who aren’t white, you people with your funny clothes and accents, you people who are taking over, you people who want hand-outs, you people who are lazy, when you’re not you people taking all the jobs, you people who aren’t Christians, you people who aren’t real Canadians.

It’s astonishing how much hurt, hatred and damage can be packed into two little words. It’s shameful that someone can have missed the point so completely and thought it would be acceptable to make such a demeaning, patronizing, divisive and, yes, racist comment live on national television.

Rogers Media issued a statement apologizing for Cherry’s remarks, then fired his saggy white ass.

Predictably, middle-aged white guys are up in arms—well, actually, they’re in their La-Z-Boy recliners swilling Labatt’s 50—because Don Cherry got fired for stating his opinion. Freedom of speech!

But how was his freedom of speech curtailed? He said exactly what he wanted to say. Or is what you want to protect really freedom of speech without repercussions?

In the end, as I say ad nauseum, there is no such thing as complete freedom of speech, or of anything, for that matter; every freedom must be balanced with others’ freedoms, considering the common good. Freedoms come with adult responsibilities not to cause harm to individuals or to society.

But go ahead, Don, say whatever the hell you like, in private. I just don’t understand why you’re so damn proud of it.



And while I’m on this particular rant, let me take this opportunity to bemoan the hegemony of professional sports. (Sportsarchy?)

Hockey may be your national identity, fellow Canadian, but it ain’t mine. Please note that there are at least several of us who are not knuckle-dragging homophobes with no front teeth.

Sports is supposed to be the great leveler, a way for citizens to bond and feel a common cause. The whole gung-ho, well-rounded, wave your team’s flag and get shit-faced pro sports boondoggle reminds me of those Fascist parades with girls spinning Swedish medicine balls and precocious boys with way too much muscular development for their age. As Noam Chomsky has suggested, it’s a way to keep us occupied with something useless but addictive, anything that stops us thinking deeply about our world and fills up the time we’d be better off using for activism.

As excited as everyone is for me to be a “joiner,” I have always sashayed to the beat of my own drummer, or karaoke machine, depending on the night of the week. We don’t need to reduce everything to the highest common factor and dumb everything down until we’re spitting out our broken incisors and talking like Donald Trump, who’s made President of the United States, the most powerful position in the world, into a massive, developmentally-challenged fifteen-year-old’s macaroni picture that you stick on the fridge door.

In Canada, we have other pursuits besides holy hockey. For winter sports, climb onto a circular aluminum toboggan and swirl down the hill behind the primary school, right out into the oncoming traffic. Personally, I’m hot for skating with my ankles bent inward at a forty-five degree angle, and stopping myself by slamming into the cold, wet walls of the ice rink, or a concrete arch, if I’m in Nathan Phillips Square.

And culture, forever underfunded and relegated to “the elites,” is on our radar, too. Curl up with Margaret Atwood’s latest dystopian saga, a bottle of Seconal and some razor blades, or watch something by David Cronenberg involving people with new orifices growing out of their necks, a nasty sex virus and a posse of wise-cracking, animatronic bugs.

Sometimes I play the piano of an evening. And, trust me, no one was telling Beethoven, “You should get out more, Ludwig. You’ll never find your beloved—immortal, hanging on for dear life, or even prone to occasional nasty chest colds—sitting at home scratching out these—watchamacallilt, symphonies. Honestly, you really think Napoleon is gonna listen to this shit for an hour? My crazy Komponisten! Go out, live a little! Be a joiner! Fancy a Jagermeister jello shot? What? Oh, you mean I have to write that all down?

But most of all, I love to spend time at the Canadian Opera Company, where at any given performance you’ll find more combat, gore and hysterical screaming than you could shake a Zamboni at, but nothing aimed at your head that’s more dangerous than a high E-flat.

And there, resplendent in Balcony Three, and Canadian as all-get-out in my bow tie and loafers, I’ll stay.


I never thought I’d be in a position to complain about an entire generation being too concerned with getting things right. And I never envisaged the possiblity that this same generation, raised with LCD crystal displays for eyes and a 404 Not Found error message where their emotional intelligence should be, would feel empowered to talk back so sassy to their elders.

I’m interested in the mindset of perfectionism, seeing that this behavior is supposed to be the Achilles heel of Virgo, my astrological sign, and stop putting your hand over your mouth when you titter, I’m not fooled.

Over the past five to 10 years, Young People (which is everyone at least one year younger than me, just so we’re on the same page) sacrificed an entire country, the United States of America, on the altar of “if I can’t have Bernie, I don’t want nobody, baby” and during the same time Republicans, determined to thwart Obama’s every proposal, refused to engage the primary engines of democracy, namely, compromise and consensus. Frankly, I’ve begun to despise the entire concept of insisting on the most perfect manifestation of your ideals, up to and including the end whose bitterness is a foregone conclusion.

Here’s an example I stumbled on recently, in an online rag with a definite tilt to the far left called “Common Dreams.” It’s a short read, if you care to, is entitled

Obama’s Endorsement of Trudeau
Highlights Class Unity of the 1 Percent

and takes for its premise: “if Barack Obama truly cared about endorsing a progressive economic leader, or even a leader of colour just like him, he could have chosen Jagmeet Singh of the left-wing New Democratic Party. But he didn’t.”

(The link above opens a new tab. Of course it does! Jeezus. Who do you think this is, ol’ Grampa Wilkinson with the rosy-apple cheeks and his Princess telephone from 1971?)

Ah, to be young and dewy-eyed again! If it ain’t one hundred percent perfect, goes the sentiment, then we’ll take our votes (endorsement, goodwill, high fives or whatever benefit would have been forthcoming) and go home.

According to this mindset, for Obama to endorse Trudeau can only mean one thing: they’re part of an international cabal of the one percent (how much is Bernie Sanders worth, again?); and Trudeau’s lifting out of poverty of 300,000 children is just slight of hand to distract us from his….? What? Helping Hillary at the pizza parlour?

I’m as dumbstruck and angry as you about corruption and economic inequality—just ask Canada Revenue Agency—but good reporting, even good opinions, don’t result from taking a holier-than-thou stance then cramming the facts into it like an ugly sister’s foot into a glass slipper.

I dunno, is it possible that Obama holds progressive views, Justin holds progressive views, they’re great friends and Barack truly believed he was the best choice for Canadian Prime Minister (not that we vote directly for the prime minister, we vote for a party, as I keep reminding everyone in my snippy, know-it-all way)?

What’s Obama supposed to do? Endorse everyone so they won’t be hurt, like mom buying all the kids the same Christmas toy?

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party and a political novice, appears to be a man of great integrity, and demonstrated real leadership and finesse throughout his campaign, especially the way he handed Blackface-gate.

However, the idea of Barack Obama endorsing Jagmeet made me choke on my maple-glazed donut. It would be like Barack Obama endorsing Marianne Williamson for President, or doing a commercial for the Segway: utterly bizarre, laughable, a pity endorsement.

The New Democrats have never held power federally. Ever. Not in my entire lifetime and before and beyond. And Jagmeet Singh is a promising progressive voice, but with almost no experience. Normally we endorse a product that we’ve used and that we know works. Kind of thing?

Canadians definitely know how our dysfunctional first-past-the-post electoral system works, i.e. with results weirdly disconnected from the actual numerical vote count and with most of the parties ending up with few or no seats in Parliament. Is it any wonder that many voters feel that their participation was a waste of effort? In Ontario, after a year enduring the awful oppression of Conservative premier Doug Ford’s “balanced budget” (translation: cuts to essential services), we weren’t about to let the Conservatives and their dissembling leader, Andrew Scheer, anywhere near the driver’s seat.

We voted strategically, holding our noses about the blackface pictures, for the Liberal Party. This past federal election was, for Canadians, desperately important. We had endured the Harper years, like Trump years currently, just quieter, and we needed to send a message about keeping our progressive image and values. We barely succeeded.

I’m also sorry to see yet another tiresome iteration of the Conservative baloney about SNC-Lavalin, our lame Canadian attempt at a scandal that would be user-friendly, not involve sex or drugs and get everyone to bed by ten PM after making hot chocolate, watching Peter Mansbridge, then brushing and flossing.

In this particular scandal involving the corrupt dealings with Middle Eastern clients of a Canadian firm, the Ethics Commissioner misinterpreted his own legislation to the extent that, were his interpretation followed to its logical conclusion, every tax break and every other incentive to any corporation would have to be judged a breach of ethics.

Then there was the “pressure.” The choice was: litigation or remediation (hefty fines). The legislation allowing remediation was tabled by the CONSERVATIVES. The execs at SNC had already done their time, and there was nothing to be gained by litigation except the probable loss of 9,000 jobs. That was the issue that caused Trudeau to “pressure” the Attorney General, Little Orphan Jody.

Imagine the blow-back if the company had folded due to the litigation. “Did no one see this coming?” everyone would have shouted. Well… yes. Justin. Can you say, “can’t win this one”?

Then of course, as soon as Trudeau shows any backbone and demotes her in a carefully-calibrated-to-be-obvious cabinet shuffle, it turns out it’s the wrong kind of backbone. He fired a woman! He must not be feminist after all! He fired a member of the Indigenous community! He’s racist!

Please. I’m as feminist and as supportive of Indigenous rights as it’s possible for a white male oppressor to be, and I’ll happily state that Jody Wilson-Raybould was incompetent and not up to the pressures of her appointment. If anything, Trudeau erred on the side of over-confidence in appointing her.

I’m disappointed with Trudeau’s having made empty promises; but to use what fell off the table to utterly discount his other significant achievements is unbalanced, unfair and maybe just the tiniest bit immature.

Remember this: Justin deliberately ran a deficit.

For a few decades, “austerity” (but only for the middle class) has been touted around the world like a regifted Christmas sweater and foisted on one unwilling citizenry after another. I nearly wept for joy when Justin declared that he was going to spend some money to take care of infrastructure and to stimulate the economy, and when he declared that running a deficit was OK.

To be OK with a deficit flouted economic dogma. To be OK with a deficit and even smile about it was just unseemly. To spend like a good old-fashioned Keynesian economist while all the world worships the golden calf of Milton Friedman was a big mud in yer eye to the austerity drones.

Everyone who fails to keep a promise isn’t part of a sinister cabal or just pretending to be progressive.

World leaders, if you haven’t noticed, have fairly full schedules, which includes responsibilities to all citizens.They also have to have, up to a point, rather stinky diplomatic relations with autocrats, which does not constitute condoning their actions, necessarily; and they must engage in other imperfect, messy, reality-based activities that nonetheless have concrete and positive results, such as promoting human rights both at home and abroad.

My heart sincerely goes out to Young People, who’ve been taught from birth to expect instant connections and even faster results, who’ve lost the art of subtle thinking in direct proportion to their disdain for reading and therefore history, which means re-inventing the wheel, with no benefit of context or any notion of degree, countless times in a day.

Young People have been saddled with moral, spiritual and geophysical debts of every kind just as the last of us boomers are preparing to leave spaceship earth, waving farewell with our angel wings and mouthing, “Good luck, suckers!”

We fucked up. Everything. Our fragile, wounded planet. The climate. How we raise children. Sex. The way we grow lima beans. Justice. Relationships. Choosing VHS instead of Betamax. Everything.

I know this. I literally tear up when I see the frustration and anger, above all, the lost innocence of the next generation as they realize, at way too young an age to fully understand its enormity, the grand larceny we’ve committed in the name of greed and profit.

And the white male oligarchs of greed and profit have no remorse. They react in outrage at outspoken Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old climate activist from Sweden, seeing in her nothing but teenage rebellion and lack of respect, when they should be begging for her forgiveness. She is the sad avatar of her generation, children forced prematurely into adulthood as they struggle to salvage something from the wreckage in order to live. They are the new chimney sweeps.

Nothing is perfect. Insults are not political argument. There are shades of grey for the same reason that there are emergency generators and the cloud. You need a Plan B. You need to keep what works and throw out what is not working. You can’t, and you don’t need to, throw out everything.

What works, what lubricates the gears of democracy?

Compromise. Consensus. Slow, gradual, incremental change is how liberalism works (unless your country will be underwater in ten years. That merits a bit more speed). Consider how France descended into the Terror through rigid ideology that renamed the very months of the year and enforced its codes with the guillotine, and compare how England, stodgy and tradition-bound, established liberalism and true freedom through a slowly evolving concept of precedent and the inviolable rule of law.

The neoliberalism we hate is an ideology, not an economic theory. There is no such thing as a democratic ideology, because ideologies are rigid boxes. Neoliberalism is profoundly undemocratic.

So is revolution.

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Well, thank gawd THAT’s over…

… and now, back to reality.

The natural ruling party of Canada, the Liberals, didn’t exactly ace the election, but, considering Justin’s lapses of taste at costume parties and his penchant for making little Attorney General girls cry, they didn’t do too badly.

Doug Ford still looks like this, though:

The mirthless maniac Muppet-grin.

I don’t want to confuse my international fans. Dug-Up is the Ontario Premier (think governor), and his leadership wasn’t being contested last night; this was a Canada-wide Federal election, not a provincial one.

But he is of the Conservative Party in its most egregiously awful form, and in response to his repressive neoliberal economic policies, his corruption and his general repugnance, and as a statement that we could not allow Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to turn back the clock on our Progressive values, Toronto sent a clear message about Conservatives in general and voted Liberal en masse, sending Dougie a well-deserved smack in the gob, punch in the kisser, slap in the mug, et cetera.

This is, seriously, the political map of Toronto’s ridings as of last night:

Yep. That’s red for Liberal. Every friggin’ seat. I’m sorry I doubted you, fellow Canadians. We head into the future with the New Dems set to hold Trudeau to his promises and continue our push leftward, against the worldwide trend.

You see, Canadians are slow to anger, but we know what makes us unique and essential and we aren’t about to let some skanky Alberta Con destroy that for some pipeline and a few trashed abortion clinics.

Alberta now wants to separate. Sulk much? That’s the way to lose, Western Canada, by picking up your Super Mario handsets and leaving in a huff. Well, no cigar. You won’t get your laughable referendum or your land-locked independent, oil-guzzling, backward dictatorship.

You’ll just have to pull on your long pants, sit at the grown-ups’ table and learn to talk polite. Also, stop mushing your peas together with the mashed potatoes and eating them with a spoon. It ain’t fittin’.

You see, it’s a well-recognized fact that Alberta has been so totally Conservative for so long, they’ve lost the feel for democracy. This was made most obvious during the secretive and anti-democratic regime of that ur-Albertan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who prorogued Parliament not once but twice, destroyed science-based climate change studies and refused to honor subpoenas from the Commons that requested information on his government’s support for torture.

Harper, who despised the idea of a Canadian identity and ridiculed Canadians’ insistence that our values did not align with those of the US, openly declared, “I get more work done when Parliament isn’t in session.”

In other words, the work of democracy stood in the way of his agenda; he wanted more than anything to turn democracy inside out and to make a government of men, not laws. The parallels to Trump are real and frightening. This is the attitude that the rest of the country, and Trudeau, now must contend with, and there currently aren’t enough corners, dunce caps or time-outs to meet the demand.

I’ll weigh in more after I’ve had a chillaxing foam bath, attended by my election acolytes, many of whom look an awful look like the hunky Pete Buttigieg and some of whom look an awful lot like the luscious Seth Myers— I’ve choked the chicken over Trudeau so many times, it’s become just another old plateful of coq au vin—while sipping a lightly fizzed, boutique brewed, all-Canadian-apple hard cider with just a hint of pamplemousse.

Afterwards, I’ll choose my evening’s entertainment with care to complement my buoyant mood. No, I’m not tending toward the circus spectacle of Mulvaney telling Americans to “get over” the quid pro quo that apparently happens “all the time,” or of Trump trashing the “phony emoluments clause” of the US Constitution, as horribly entertaining as those are. I’m taking a day off from easy targets and obvious pleasures.

I need some depth.

So instead, I’ll prepare a bag of microwave popcorn, add extra salt and butter, settle into my armchair (outfitted with a fully plumped-up hemorrhoid cushion), then, when the priest gets pushed offstage, I’ll pump my fist and scream, “YESSSSSS!”

It’s a good, liberal life.

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Federal Election, 2019

there’s nothing a Canadian hates more than success


Canadians have this too-diffident attitude. It’s the attitude of an awkward, polite, but secretly superior adolescent who goes “awww, shucks” when company comes for dinner, then next day draws smutty pictures of the dinner guests on a public toilet’s wall.

If we had more sense of our true place in the world, what we do best, uniquely, we’d be more honest and more humble.That’s how I define humility: knowing your place in the world, what you do well and what needs improving; but never falsely modest or showing unearned self-esteem.

We are, said The Atlantic, the world’s most successful and last remaining progressive society and democracy, openly and unashamedly committed to progressive values.

We are, said Churchill, the linchpin of the English-speaking world.

We are the world’s committed peacekeepers and a sanctuary for the dispossessed.

These are huge accomplishments.We should be proud of them and do more of them and build on them.

So why, then, are we always ready to throw it all out when some tin-pot conservative white male with an agenda offers us a twenty-dollar rebate on our taxes?

(Michael de Adder, in the Toronto Star)

You can never stop fighting for what is right, never.

Democracy is not the norm. Freedom is not guaranteed.

Empathy and compassion and reason and equanimity and compromise are delicate, fleeting conditions. They sound simple enough, but they presuppose an active mindset. Our commitment to justice needs to be continually renewed as our understanding evolves. We need the ability to question ourselves and to admit error, to include those we’ve instinctively excluded, to turn our understanding on its head.

You have to question your prejudices, ignore the memes and the simplistic explanations that blame people rather than systems when the people are poor; and call the systems eternal laws when the people are rich.

This is hard work.

And there is no time off, because the freedoms and values we cherish are a tiny moment in macro history, a little experiment just barely showing its first results and waiting for the next iterations that would grow freedom and dignity further and extend their reach.

And for that reason, it’s an experiment that the powerful want to destroy, destroy even the knowledge that the experiment took place, deny its merit, belittle it, call it childish names.

We’ll see later today how committed we are to being a first-rate Canada, or if we settle once again for being a third-rate U.S.A. I’m off to the polls.

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