On Being a Clown



With the Canadian Federal Election over and the shenanigans down south reaching a point that is stretching even my credulity, I find it’s time to gather myself together and get back, at least temporarily, to the original intent of this blog.

Namely, to generate a whole cartload, a veritable eighteen-wheeler container-truck-full, of me-directed attention.

Clowns, like me, are attention hogs. Something was missing early on. Maybe my mother left me on the soft, nurturing shoulder of Highway 401, outside Pickering Nuclear Power Station, and I took it personally. Or instead of her nipple—and I get an ugh-y shudder of Oedipal horror as I type the word—or the sexless, 1950’s Frankenstein substitute, pacifier and bottle, she offered me a drag on her Craven “A” King Size.

Already hungry for attention, it’s just possible I accepted. After all, I’d been smoking half a pack a day since conception.

Something was missing, but I was only a kid and hadn’t yet grasped what was supposed to be there in the first place. At any given moment, my father was away, as a traveling salesman needs must be, and, on reflection, my mother spent more time in bed than seemed strictly necessary.

Something was off-kilter. A screw was loose. When my father was due to return from a trip, my mother would hiss, “Hide the knives!” which created an atmosphere of morbid suspense around his arrival that was as thrilling as it was mystifying. I never saw my father wield a knife unless there was a dead turkey on the dining table.

Perhaps my mother was sending a coded signal that she didn’t want any more children, or, for that matter, sex, and thought “hide the knives!” got the Freudian point across more subtly than “Step away from the penis, George.”

Occasionally, when summer thunder drew close and beat its head on the storm windows, I would awaken, startled, to see my mother in my bedroom doorway, her hair incandescent, like the corona of an eclipsed sun. Her nightgown billowed around her and terror’s sheet lightning would crackle across the surface of my body.

Once, when I had a childhood fever, I awoke to the sight of a wolf lying at the foot of my bed. Then I awoke again, in reality, dredged up by the struggle to cry out that produced only macabre silence. The bedclothes were cold and wet, as if someone had thrown a bucket of water onto me.

The fever had broken, and instantly I forgot what fever was, could not conceive of it. My convalescence felt light, every physical indignity, everything clenched and cramped and muddy, was now breathing like a newborn, fragrant, limpid. I felt as though I been forgiven for something vicious and irrevocable I had done in a previous life, then forgotten.

One day when I was twenty-six the malaise descended upon me once again like a hot wool blanket, burning sand sifted through my joints and vesicles weeping yellow serum erupted over the entire surface of my body; I understood for the first time what it meant to want to die if that was the only possible release. I was convinced I had syphilis and my lover, frantic with worry, drove me to his private doctor, who took one look and diagnosed chicken pox

—whenever fever came again I couldn’t imagine what it had felt like not to be hot, foul, aching and full of bodily grief. Sickness became my temporary occupation and demanded full commitment.

Later, when I fell in love again, love was a lot like having a fever and then not having one.


So I’m a clown first of all because I’m hungry for attention and they didn’t know what to make of me, this kid who liked music, sat and listened, transfixed, to the Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah and the Roman Carnival Overture on old 33 rpm records; this kid who preferred sitting with the girls reading books and spending his other time alone, this shy kid who spoke like he’d been to elocution classes, with a vaguely British accent.

Being the clown told them what to make of me. I was someone who was there to entertain, to keep their brains fizzing with fun and sunshine, and I discovered that to entertain, to not be taken seriously and to keep them guessing, was power.

A clown is a distancing persona, very handy for fending off the tentacles of need. I’m never happier than when avoiding intimacy, because what most people call intimacy I call manipulation, co-dependence, guerrilla warfare and vampirism.

I’m a clown, we’re clowns, because we’ve decided to direct laughter at life rather than wallowing in its sorrow. Sorrow takes care of itself, insinuates itself into all available space, settles into the cracks and crevices like the black soot in the Toronto air that settles onto my window ledges. If you’re lazy, which I am, you do your best to normalize it, and after a while stop seeing how infested your life has become with mundane sorrow.

But if you have character, which I do, you’ll eventually experience one of those inconvenient sunny mornings when the shafts of gawd-light illuminate every single speck of black soot, giving each fusty dust mote a three-dimensional, Rembrandt-y heft, and you’ll sigh, roll up your sleeves and borrow someone’s vacuum cleaner.

Sorrow is the black soot of life, laughter the vacuum cleaner. Sorrow will happen anyway, but being a clown requires positive action: The exercise of intelligence, which I have, the near-involuntary urge, rising almost to lust, for making imaginative and unseemly connections, that’s to say, wit; and the desire to flaunt one’s personal style.

Laughter defies authority and will not be the square peg in the square hole. It refuses to follow the rules. You can’t have a dictatorship if the people are laughing.

A clown’s life trajectory requires courage: “Will anyone but me get this? Will they find it funny or just gross, or incomprehensible, or shallow or petty? Do I deserve the attention I’m apparently seeking?”

On the surface this is merely a continual demand for validation and a maddening exercise in narcissistic self-doubt, but the thirst for attention makes us courageous, a synonym for shameless or idiotic, take your pick.

Because to be a clown, to be funny, you have to be willing to make a fool of yourself, even thrive on it. It’s a very specific kind of foolishness: The foolishness you’re willing to take on, never the kind that is imposed on you.

But most of all, clowns become clowns because we have decided to laugh at ourselves—reduce ourselves to the butt of an amusing story about our stupidity or credulity or incompetence—before you get a chance to.

We instinctively know that there’s nothing more truly humiliating or bathetic than pomposity when it encounters a blank stare, nothing riskier than taking yourself seriously without a truly world-class problem to justify your brittle superior smile and dead, inward-directed eyes.

Sorrow is the black soot of life,
laughter the vacuum.

We take ourselves seriously because we are young and we think that no one has ever had this experience before, ever. Our love affair, our accident, our illness or our insight into why the moon and stars behave the way they do, we encounter each of these with the gobsmacked gaze of an infant staring at her handful of mushy carrots or squealing with terrified delight as the family dog licks her face.

Once you realize that there are no new experiences, no new ways of being in love, of being loved, of being out of love, of rejecting love because it is love (“you say I’m terrific but your taste was always rotten,” and thank you, Stephen Sondheim); of hurting oneself or hurting to the limits of destruction the person we love the most;

Once we realize that there are no original ideas, not one, not one single example of any idea you have now or have had or will have, that is original; when we realize that cavewomen and men were telling each other knock-knock jokes and why did the pterodactyl cross the road? back in the whatever-cene era, once you realize this, around the age of sixty-four, which I am, and stop taking your ideas, your problems and your life so goddamned seriously—you will be liberated.

And you will laugh.

֍

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.

֍

Justin Scandals, Count How Many

skipping rhymes from Gen Z …


…with a nod to the 2019 Canadian Federal Election


I’VE BEEN UNDERCOVER IN MY SAILOR SUIT AND adorable Hudson’s Bay dress shorts (available only in polyester in Québec, due to the current shortage of “pure laine”), chatting about Dr Seuss and reminiscing about The Friendly Giant with unsuspecting school-age Gen Zed-ers as they go about their daily activities.

You remember the drill: Get to school, line up your Venus pencils in careful gradients and start coloring the edges of your maps if you’re a girl, or roll up some paper spitballs and practice farting noises if you’re a boy.

Or, if you’re a gay boy, line up your Venus pencils in careful gradients and watch all the other boys roll spitballs and practice their farting noises before they beat you up after gym class, thus laying the foundation for a truly world-class sexual fetish about a decade later.

Some traditions never change.

My mandate —which I had to give to myself after MacLean’s Magazine was so snarky about the pitch, thanks a bunch, Ms Barbara Lucrezia Borgia Gutenberg Amiel—was to find out how much political savvy these kids had absorbed in this age of 24/7 connectivity, deep fakes, and Hallowe’en nights when your mom and dad insist on driving you door to door so they can keep tabs, mooch your candy and spoil, to the very last iota, the fun of wearing your DIY handsewn Beyoncé costume.

Make no mistake: I was in constant danger of having my cover blown, and there was more than one occasion when I was eyed with suspicion by some chocolate-milk-mustached freckle-faced rascal of a boy, or prim, annoying little girl who’d just had her best party dress splashed with mud by some Grade Eight dude on a Canadian Tire mountain bike.

I tell you, looking authentic while trading prosciutto di Parma and Dijon mustard sliders on artisanal focaccia at lunch break, or fake-crying when it was time for yet another “milk and cookies power-nap,” stretched my humorous-blogger incognito reporting skills, and my already gossamer-thin patience, to the limit and beyond.

But I did net the following cultural gold: Non-traditional skipping rhymes, who knew, and I have to say these kids are the future.

And it’s off I go for another “Ankle-Biter” portion of chicken nuggets and French fries at Pickle Barrel or I’ll start to get cranky around four o’clock, which is typically when my ADHD kicks in.

Now, sit comfortably, close your eyes and travel back to when you and the Internet were young and hopeful together, chalk up the pavement, grab your rope and jump feet first into —

Well, no.

What I mean is—open your eyes so you can read, obviouslythen do all the other, imaginative stuff to do with traveling back in time.

Jeezus. Are you always this high-maintenance?


“OUT IN VICTORIA”

Out in Victoria
Real estate’s a bitch
“Hordes of Asians
Stinking rich

Racist Canadians
Cry, “What cheek!
How many condos
Bought
this week?

One condo
Two condos
Three condos
Four

Mandarin on
A red front door

Five condos
Six condos
Seven condos
Eight

White people want to
Speculate

Cut down trees
And pave the lawn

Now watch Chinese
Tai Chi at dawn!

—Traditional, West Coast.


justin scandals

Justin scandals
Count how many

one for blackface
How embarrassing

TWO for a
Journalist’s
Sexual harassing

three for India
Shoe toes curly
Wearin’ a sari
Lookin’ all girly

{It’s not made up
It’s not made up }

Justin scandals
Count how many

four for Jody
Attorney G
He broke her balls
Over SNC

FIVE for comrade
Castro, Fidel
He eulogized
So we gave him hell

Six is the pipeline
We don’t like
Tell Alberta
To take a hike

Paper Rocks
Scissors Socks

Feminist Faggot
Drama Teacher

Caught in the act
With the son of a preacher

{That’s made up
That’s made up
}

Justin scandals
Count how many

—Ottawa valley, possibly First Nations origins


when will scheer

When will Scheer
Let the news drop

One day, three?
Three weeks, Four?
Six months, a year?

How many abortions
Will he stop?

Rusty coat hanger
Dish soap mild
Jump off the table

And lose that child!

How will Scheer
Let the news drop

Friends of Dorothy
AIDS you’re dead
Three-legged dogs

In a marriage bed!

Will he be swift
Or will he lag

To make it cool
To kill a fag?


We’re now fairly skidding along the reinforced cotton gusset of life, aiming straight for Monday the 21st October, when the citizens of the People’s Republic of Libtardia head to the polls.

Ugh. I get sooooo tense about the “wrong” person getting into power, only made more tense by remembering that Canada has NO TERM LIMITS—that’s right. Andrew Scheer could be crowned PM, serve four years, be reinstated again, and again, and again, until we all died of Scheer tedium, while all the womenfolk were barefoot and pregnant, head to toe in cheerful yet modest calico, baking up huckleberry pies and taking axes to abortion clinics and the menfolk, in full garden gnome facial hair, fracked for oil and studied the prehistoric social code of their choice.

And it’s not just the Conservative Party that gives me what my fantasy step-mom, Dorothy Parker, would have called “the yips.” Yesterday I found out that Jagmeet Singh, NDP leader, has pledged to abolish the Senate if elected, calling it “undemocratic.”

Why do people miss the point about the Senate, every time? Our Senators are appointed, not elected, and now I’m going to do my annoying Socratic bit. Why is it important they are not elected? Correct, because then they have no electorate they are beholden to.

And why is that NOT undemocratic? Because the Senate is the “house of sober second thought.” The Senators—none of them career politicians, but all recommended and appointed as outstanding Canadians who have contributed in significant ways to the community in their respective fields of expertise—give second, non-partisan, readings to legislation, and they have the power to send that legislation back to the House of Commons if they see fit.

Which they did during the reign of terror of Stephen Harper, whose secretiveness and impatience had him trying to bypass even the Commons with his sinister, autocratic agenda. Trust me that the Senate saved us from the worst excesses of that awful, dispiriting regime.

Also, they are allocated proportionally:

The Senate of Canada (FrenchSénat du Canada) is the upper house of the Parliament of Canada, along with the House of Commons and the monarch (represented by the governor general). The Senate is modelled after the British House of Lords and consists of 105 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister.[1] Seats are assigned on a regional basis: four regions—defined as OntarioQuebec, the Maritime provinces, and the Western provinces—each receives 24 seats, with the last nine seats allocated to the remaining portions of the country: six to Newfoundland and Labrador and one each to the three northern territories. Senators may serve until they reach the age of 75.

Wikipedia contributors. (2019, October 18). Senate of Canada. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:04, October 19, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Senate_of_Canada&oldid=921902174

That’s two very good reasons, life-or-death reasons, not to abolish the Senate. Democracy is not just a numbers game; it is about human rights and ensuring that minorities are afforded the same protections as the majority.

Jagmeet, your Sikh headgear is to me as beautiful as the gold lamé turban Joan Crawford wore while scrubbing the bathroom tiles, it is the official beanie of multiculturalism, but your policy of abolishing the Senate has filled me with doubt about your judgment and made me tense.

And I’m fed up with all the tension, you know? So I’m going to relax about a lot of things this election. I mean, ever since that morning way back in 2016 when I awoke to people on the street screaming, “Holy fuck, Trump!” I’ve discovered that the worst can happen and we don’t implode. Things are, in fact, working as they should, down in the ol’ United States of Meltdownia.

Common sense is waking up from its gee-d out trance, weeping a little bit with the memory of what it got up to when it was high—how it got hate-banged by Mendacity even though it kept murmuring, “Stop!” and “Why would they make up a story like that?” and Mendacity just kept banging away, banging away, until common sense was lying unconscious in a pool of its own body fluids.

Please. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.

The Trump thing has become so bad, even Republicans, die-hard Republicans, like Lindsey Graham, have censured him for withdrawing American troops from North Syria without warning, leaving their Kurdish allies at the mercy of Turkish forces. So even Republicans have come to their senses. They’ve had to.

Well, when I say “come to their senses,” I don’t mean actually come to their senses in the sense of caring about economic inequality, or racism, or women having access to effective birth control or safe abortion, or anyone having any sort of affordable healthcare, or anything that would indicate they had, you know, come to their senses.

They just got interrupted as they were preparing to make themselves look all butch in northern Syria, then remembered that Trump has the current events knowledge of a grade-school student who’s been in a vegetative state for the past eight years and yelled at him for making them look bad in front of the Ukraine.

That kind of coming to your senses.

Anyway, if Scheer is elected, it will be bad, but probably not nearly as bad as down south. And if it’s really bad, we’ll get rid of him. Chillax, Canadians!

I’ve grown tired of acting like everyone who votes for the PC’s is a piece of ignorant trash and their vote doesn’t count, almost that they’re not “real Canadians.”

Andrew Scheer is the legitimate idiot leader of a legitimate asshole irrelevant political party run by old white guys, and if you want to vote for him, you have every right to.

Really! You do!

This is a free country and a democracy and you get to vote for anyone you want. Go ahead! Throw away everything we’ve gained in the past four years, including the envy of most of the world because we are the only remaining unashamedly progressive nation, anywhere!

Go ahead! Make their envious heads shake, just because you can’t stand that Justin is from our most famous political dynasty, that his father was Pierre and he’s already in the history books, whereas Scheer and Jason Kenney and Faith Goldy are just sad losers, blinded by bigotry and incapable of coherent thinking, who will just be footnotes, if that.

You’re pissed off that Justin is getting accolades from the United States, whose butt cheeks now have Scheer-shaped indentations, and you’re extra jealous that Justin is prettier than all of you put together, even in blackface, though we do wish he would cool it with the costume parties.

So there, fellow progressives! What are you scared of? That you’ll have to do a little participating? Protest a bit? Make your voice heard?

Thing is, just between you and me, it goes in cycles, if you haven’t noticed. We’re probably due for a change for the worse, now that the Atlantic Monthly has called us “the most successful progressive government in the world,” now that child poverty is lower than it has ever been, economic growth is up and, well, Trudeau has Canadian values, and kept ninety-five percent of his promises.

So naturally we’ll throw him out and vote in the doltish, aww-shucks, thin-lipped Christian who wants a tax rebate in every pot and a finger in every womb.

He’ll slash the services we want, we’ll go, “Oh my GOODNESS, but I didn’t think you meant THAT!” and we’ll protest and complain and rail against the stupid PC’s that we voted for when we could have continued to be the envy of the world and continued the progress. There’s a concept!

But no. We’ll buy the stupid rhetoric of the old disgruntled white guys, a.k.a. str8-tards, and for some reason we’ll forget that being Prime Minister is not like being the CEO of a company: In fact, it is a public office where you’re supposed to make decisions in the public interest, not for profit. You’re supposed to listen to the people who elected you, but also listen to the people who didn’t elect you, because you’re PM of everyone.

Balance the budget! Of course, but at the expense of…? It’s a fake goal, a chimera. It SOUNDS good, like something you should do. But it’s not the only thing you should do, and it’s ultimately not the purpose of government. Sure, be responsible, be prudent, be transparent…but if that’s the limit of your vision, go be an accountant. What kind of society do you want to grow? What future do you want for the next generation? Will pinching pennies now achieve that future?

Don’t take a rebate cheque for a couple hundred bucks that will evaporate from your hands over the course of a weekend, and lose child care, or reduced waiting times at the hospital, or pharmacare or decent roads, or decent schools. Real long-lasting change for the public good—that is the real purpose of government.

Don’t be short-sighted, Think what you’re doing. And in the end, if you vote for Scheer? All power to you. I’m not the guy who gets to say you’re wrong.

Now, Maxime Bernier, that’s another story. If you vote for Maxime Bernier, you’re a bona fide piece of shit on a stick in a coulis of snot and I despise having even to stand on the same continent as you, lest I accidentally inhale a single molecule of oxygen that could have brushed up against your alveoli, you pathetic white supremacist moron.

Seriously. You have to draw the line somewhere.


Someone in the NDP said something stupid or shitty or wrong in 2012, and I say: “Fiddlesticks and fuddle-duddle! Who gives a flying Tesla!”

The rest of the world gets its fifteen minutes of fame; Canadian party leaders, in the run up to the election, have to have their fifteen minutes of shame. Racist shame, or misogynist shame or sex shame or whatever.

I’m not down with racism or misogyny or abuse, but honestly, Murgatroyd! I don’t think I would exactly come off as St Teresa of Avila were my every word and every act to be examined from my teen years to now.

I think I might have had a few moments, or even months, of shame and I would be apologizing so much my eyes would be bulging out of my head on stalks, like a praying mantis in her startle pose, so grievously involved would my apologizing be.

I would have to scare off reporters from The Sun by opening my moth wings whose markings look like the head of a John Kenneth Galbraith. I can only do that once, right after I emerge from my chrysalis, so I honestly would prefer to save it up for real emergencies.

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh—they’ve all had their moment in the shadow. Can we just agree that everyone says shit sometimes, especially politicians, accept their apologies and move on? Because it’s not about your mistake, it’s how you acknowledge and handle your mistake.

Now, if you’re Trump, you write a letter to the Turkish President that is so bizarre, the White House staff think it’s a spoof.

That is how Trump handles mistakes: by committing an even bigger and more juicy mistake to attempt to draw focus away from the original mistake.

Which, of course, is nonsense. Trump is blithely unaware of having made any mistakes, ever. Even his telephone call to the President of Ukraine was “perfect;” he really has no concept of good and bad, right or wrong. He is entirely without moral direction. If he did it, it’s OK.

Good and evil, right and wrong, just and unjust: These are concepts that have no meaning for a sociopath or even a narcissistic personality, because they require an awareness of how our actions might affect others.

Meaningful work, priorities, duties, happiness, success, even our life’s purpose: Once you start thinking about other people, everything unravels.

֍

Canada, whatever you do:

VOTE

in the Federal Election

MONDAY

October 21st

֍

Some pics of {dis}interest from the innerweb…

…though I may have mixed up the captions. Hey, I’m 64, so kindly ease up on your running victory laps around me as you hold aloft your Pulitzer Prize for Too-Clever-By-Half. And, sorry, but have we met?

Anyway, I’m extremely upset right now, so please at least pay attention so I can milk this for sympathy.

Seriously, hyper-criticism victim here. Apparently the general consensus is that my posts are too verbose, my hair too buzzed, my nipples too blowsy and my family jewels in need of a bit of a buff—

—and I suppose you’d all collapse on your fainting mats were I to ask for a couple of volunteers and a jar of Vaseline from Dollarama? Cause I’m well-nigh barreling through my sunset decades, and this is no time to stint on the luxuries! Oh, boy, let me tell ya!

Feedback you never asked for. That’s what you get for saying, “Hi, how’s it going?” in response to that three AM text from a number you don’t recognize, the text that says, “Sup, dude?”

Well, THIS is “‘sup, dude.” And if your question is pithy, then I am pithy in reply. If you move your left arm, I move mine. Annoying, isn’t it?

So sue me, the picture captions are gemischt, but, like a tribulation of Trumptweets, they make at least as much sense as the originals, which is not really.

So bite down hard on these perky beauties, Murgatroyd McGraw, and drain what’s left of my colostrum while I ponder the scandals that are Conservative Party Prime Ministerial prospect Andrew Scheer’s 1. lack of certification for real estate sales; and 2. his dual citizenship.

Did you take the precaution of sitting down or did you syncope from the shock, ripping from its moorings, as you plummeted to the parquet, that new “Last Supper” wall hanging you won at the United Church charity bridge tournament? Oh, I am sorry, and my bad for preparing you like that, which was not at all.

Canadian scandals, admit it, fall damply on the spirit. They are the lead apron that god-the-dentist drapes over your chest just when you think you might manage a fleeting, sponge-y hard-on, and bloody grateful for it, thank you very much.

But no. God is the bucket of ice water, the early morning detention in the dead of winter, the asshole who won’t call you “she/her” when you ask, because they know better than you do, which is why they’re an asshole.

When what you most crave, when the one sacrament that will save your life, is vanilla ice cream from the dairy bar, Mr Ten Commandments is there like a shot, serving you up raw Brussels sprouts alongside the liver and onions.

Jahweh, you’re such a kidder, also your pale-faced hippie good-for-nothing offspring, who I keep wanting to call “Jason.”

Well, in all fairness, he does look like a Jason.

We crave juicy scandal, but our hearts are not in it. Like a catalog full of mail-order child brides on their respective wedding nights, we go through the motions. This is Canada, it behooves us to recall, not the United States of Craptardery.

Mercy Pelosi, no! Thanks to Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, Canada has…

…the most successful progressive government in the world …

Atlantic Monthly, Oct 3, 2019,
byline: Stephen Marche

… and, according to independent review, Justin has kept ninety-two percent of his campaign promises, more than any Canadian government in thirty-five years (ibid.)

but will he piss on a hooker then get his lawyer to send her a huge bribe then deny getting his lawyer to send her a huge bribe and then the lawyer goes to prison?

Oh, no, not Mr. Goody-Goody girly drama teacher! He’s too ethical, transparent, sincere.

His “scandal” was asking, sorry, pressuring, the Attorney General, Little Orphan Jody, whether it might not be better to fine SNC-Lavalin, whose unethical execs had already done time for their crimes, using a law originally tabled by the Conservative Party that would allow for remediation and avoid further criminal prosecutions, thus saving the jobs of thousands of innocent workers.

Section Nine of the Conflict of Interest Act prohibits public office holders from using their position to seek to influence a decision of another person so as to further their own private interests or those of their relatives or friends, or to improperly further another person’s private interests.

The review of Trudeau’s actions by Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion merely showed that a remediation agreement would be to the financial benefit of the company.

But if this was wrong and improper, then every government hand out, every subsidy or tax break or exemption from regulations that benefited any company, would be improper. Are all of these benefits suddenly not in the public interest?

The ethics commissioner misinterpreted his own act and jurisdiction. We’ll never make world-class if we keep this up!

Americans, now they know how to do craziness, fakery, scandal. We do “no certification for your real estate license” and stop there.

Not Americans. They won’t even get out of bed until they can sell you a subprime mortgage you can’t afford on a cheaply built condo that’s not up to code, foreclose on it, then rent it out, except not to black people, without a license.

We demand proof that Scheer is a shifty two-faced liar, that’s to say his actual documents proving he has dual citizenship, or his lack of documents proving he isn’t certified to sell real estate. Then, if you can believe anyone could be such worthless white trash, we believe the proof.

Yawn!

Stateside, you just have to start a rumor that Obama’s not American and/or is a Muslim and, despite proof after proof that he is and that he’s not, they refuse to believe the proof. Add to this a few million Facebook users trapped in their alternative-reality bubbles, and those lies go viral faster than an anti-vaxxer’s five-year-old.

Obama was near crucified by a total fabrication, yet up here in The People’s Republic of Snowflakia this eleventh-hour factual revelation—

—that Scheer is ‘Murican AND Canadian, that is to say, the potential leader of our Loyalist after-hours club pretending to be a nation isn’t unequivocally native to these here parts—

—this notion barely ripples the foam on our Tim Horton cappuccinos {and make mine a “doppio-doppio,” eh, Signorina! Prego!}

As Bob Rae, former NDP leader, all but expressed it, rabbity incisors flashing: “Hey, nobody’s perfect!” Bob should know, having inflicted on Ontario, back in the 1990’s, a unique version of socialism that looked an awful lot like several imperfect years of neoliberal austerity.

Where, I ask you, were all those trips to Florida and welfare handouts and gourmet food banks we’d heard so much about? Where were the perqs for being poor?

And where, for that matter, are my pants? Anyone—?


Back by popular demand¹, your favorite² game³

“Oh, dear, did I mix up the captions, ROTFL?”

¹ Popular demand / ² favorite: As described by randomly-sampled cohort (N=5) of 8 to 10-year-olds (“Miss Smedley’s class”) after promising to do their homework for a month, or, actually, just giving them the cash equivalent. Results are accurate ± 3% when compared to other students who’ve been bribed to pump up my stats.

³ “Game:” Not really a game, more like the results of a game. Your participation is limited to surveying the results and laughing at the absurd mismatch between the caption and the image. That’s the joke, right? It’s not really more profound than that, I mean, like there’s not really anything to “get”, OK?

Jeezus. Are you always this high-maintenance?



֍

When Trapped by a Camel, Bite its Balls…

… and other Tales from the Arabian Nights.



THE SHEIK WAS FEELING…SNARKY. HE’D JUST returned from the Annual General Meeting of the Worshipful Order of Sheiks, where he’d given a TED Talk (“When Your Neighbours are Infidels: A Plea for Slightly Less Tolerance,” which had received only modest applause, hardly the ecstatic reception he’d fantasized) and where he’d been outvoted in his quixotic fight to stop women riding dromedaries on weekends (“Desperate Despot? Sheik Baked Over AGM Drom Com!”).

Let’s be frank: Sheiky was stressed out. No one was upholding traditional, tribal values, and when he told people that they had to align themselves with prehistoric legal codes written by the functionally illiterate, they just laughed.

Clearly it was only a matter of time before wives and daughters and mothers would have the right to leave home without permission in triplicate from the nearest male relative, or failing that, the oldest goat in the herd…

All of the high-achieving ancient prophets and saviors are male, have you noticed? God, Jesus, Joseph Smith, Mohammed, E. Ron Hubbard. They took over heaven like a bunch of CEO’s arranging a pricing cartel and stacked the decks against women. Paradise is a bunch of juicy young virgins catering to your every whim, no less! Women should hold their tongues in church! Cast your eyes down and act with modesty and deference to your male superiors! Eve, so the libel goes, brought sin into the world, shoved that apple right down Adam’s throat, I have no doubt!

{And wouldn’t it just be an apple. Apples! The least sensual fruit, crispy with virtue, hard-edged and painful in the mouth. You have to labour to get the joy from an apple, chew and chew, grind up the leathery red skin, all for the reward of a few paltry drops of sour water. It’s the Protestant work ethic in edible form.

Mortal sin should be a peach, with downy, pink-golden skin, its flesh soft as woman’s flesh, melting effortlessly with the most delicate bite, yielding to you, dripping juice down your chin and all over your hands, until you’re sticky with guilt and you reach for another and another.

A peach: Now that would be worth a thousand Edens, myriad angry gods. Fuck virtue! Grab some peaches, pack up your kit and give god the finger as you pass through the garden gate!}

Men had it all sewn up from the beginning. It’s like women overslept and didn’t get to the front of the line-up for the fire sale, and now they’ll never get the combo microwave convection oven for a dollar. The door crashers are GONE, girlfriends.

So much for nurturing, so much for Gaia and cocooning and Netflix and pizza! Where was your drive, your “can-do” attitude? Exactly!

… Anyway, as the Sheik did his AGM post-mortem, Shéhérazade just happened to walk by. She was fully veiled but her hair was in those big curlers the size of coke cans, and she was picking at a box of Turkish Delight.

The Sheik could sense her body shifting under her robes, and this made him think of a bright red tulip that dances fully unveiled in the meadow, caressed by the spring breeze.

Then it reminded him of the contents of a can of evaporated milk that you’ve set in boiling water, at the very moment it turns into caramel, gooey-sweet and luscious.

He perked up.

“Hey, you!” said the Sheik, and Shéhérazade froze in her tracks.

Getting singled out by the Sheik was a zero-sum, rigged game. It could mean another ruby and diamond cuff after a glorious night out at The Drake—or being dragged into Allan Gardens by a mob and impaled on a thousand spikes during Boxing Week.

Generally, however, his unpredictability was considered part of his quirky charm.

He continued, “You, with the, whatchamacallit, graceful stride of an antelope pursued by, I dunno, a cougar? Does that sound right? What’s your name again?”

Shéhérazade nibbled at the corner of another sweet as she considered how best to respond. No point getting him all in a twist with is it sh or sch or is it four or five syllables and is that s-h-a? or s-h-e with an acute accent—? She smelled rosewater, felt the powdery sugar soft on her tongue.

“Susan,” she replied. Her little white cat’s teeth sank into the translucent jelly, which resisted slightly, then offered itself.

“Just—call me Susan.”

“OK, look, little Suzie Q,” said the Sheik (because he was a man, and as such he couldn’t leave one single thing alone; he had to make even your name into a problem to be solved with diagrams and jokes or tarted up with curlicues and arabesques.)

“I’m cosmically bored. Tell me some unbelievable tales, but mark me well: They must truly be beyond comprehension or I shall see that something fiendish and terrible befalls you. I’ll—let’s see, now, cut off your arms and legs and put you in a jeweled box and all will be forbidden to see your beauty except me.

“I’ll wheel the jeweled box containing your torso out into the sunshine and I will let its cruel rays sparkle through the aquamarines and tourmalines and amethysts, glint off the gold leaf as you slowly die in agony—agony so unimaginable you will be unable even to weep!”

“Ok, Ok, I get the idea,” said Susan, adding under her breath, “Jeez, Louise, lighten up!” She continued: “I will tell you the Tale of the Little Black Dress!”

The Sheik settled back onto his throw cushions, lifted his goblet to his lips.

And so she began…


John Tory, Toronto’s kinda-sorta conservalib Mayor, has teamed up with Ford Nation for a truly spectacular outing of that Conservative little black dress with pearls, the Only Policies You’ll Ever Need: Lower taxes, tough on crime!

But I have to say. Though this outfit usually lends grace and style to the most lowly-born princess—and I know you can take the truth—John, you do not look lovely in it.

And you keep cutting off your toes so you can cram your feet into those Liberal Cinderella shoes. Kind of gross, what with all the blood, and in the end a waste of time, because they’re actually far too big for you.

Today’s tough-on-crime doo-dad goes: Toronto Community Housing Corporation will now be able to refuse applications from tenants who have been evicted for “criminal activity” such as drug dealing, assault or property damage.

I”ll pause for a sec until your fist-pumping and cries of “YES!!” die down.

I was pretty sure that property damage could also fall under a civil heading, but I stand corrected. Selling heroin, knocking over a potted plant; getting snippy with the receptionist or smacking your ex in the face with a two-by-four—it’s all equally reprehensible.

I get it. Once you’ve stepped over that line, you’re toast. Even public housing, mandated to supply, you know, housing to the public, will refuse you.

If you had any doubts about what a useless waste of skin you are, consider them resolved!

This measure is, says the article on Global News, “… part of a new strategy the province announced earlier this year to help create more housing and combat homelessness.”

And I ask you. Seriously. What better way to combat homelessness than making people homeless? Talk about obvious, staring you in the face solutions!

Sorry, did I say, “making people homeless?” Correction: Not PEOPLE. “Criminals,” or let’s just drop the namby-pamby Social Justice Warrior jargon and the Political Correctitude that has stifled us for too, too long, shall we? and call it like the fearless, truth-telling conservatives we are.

Not PEOPLE. Not CRIMINALS, even.

PIECES OF SHIT.

Man, I feel better already!

Reading carefully, I note that the article states, “evicted for” not “convicted of.” I’m wondering, you see, if these are evictions that could be based on perceptions, complaints, landlord harassment or malice.

Officially, evictions can be fought at a tribunal of the Landlord Tenant Board, but I’ve known many people who have been wrongly evicted yet either didn’t know their rights or were frightened to pursue the issue. Landlords terrorize their tenants in some cases knowing full well that tenants are intimidated and don’t trust the system to protect them.

Where will Pieces of Shit live, once they’ve been evicted? That’s not an issue, because the Conservatives are Tough on Crime and anyway what sort of nice, law-abiding actual people would care about Pieces of Shit?

Exactly.

Oh wait, that drug-dealing thing. Did you sell marijuana before October 17th, 2018? Because then you’d be a Piece of Shit. Off to the shelter with ya, low-life!

After that date, you would be a Groovy Cutting-Edge Entrepreneur, because suddenly, with another arbitrary wave of the wand that made you a Piece of Shit, you are now, bippity boppity boo, perfectly legal people, and please, sir, this way to your table for two while we valet-park your Mercedes!

Now the Ontario Government sells marijuana, but you went to jail for how many years?

So get yerself the finest cardboard box you can muster from the LCBO, stake out yer patch of Don Valley and don’t forget the Christmas lights and the tallboy can of Carlsberg Special.

Don’t worry: it’s legal.


Well, Nancy Pelosi is no longer the Speaker of the House!

— Donald Trump, to the Press, on hearing that Pelosi
had begun the formal process for impeachment,
September 25, 2019

Now to our mandatory, but necessarily brief, morning rounds in the world’s largest psychiatric ward, the United States of Fucktardery.

Did You Know:

Trump has been influencing the stock market for a couple of years now. Oh yes, siree, he has, so there goes your idea that at least we knew the worst; far from it, my pretties, for “the worst” is a constantly raised hurdle in the gladiator tournament that is the Trump Administration. There the daily goal is: Can you outsprint your personal best worst? You can but try, little warrior, and we who are about to die, salute you!

We’re re-enacting the last gasps of Rome; every day another razor cut on the face of decorum, another fingernail yanked from civility’s hand. And Truth? Ambushed, stabbed in the back.

In the mornings we take a deep breath and check our devices. We don’t know what to expect, we are more on our toes than a clutch of assassins sneaking up on Caesar in the Senate. What will the Twitter Fates decree?

Will he hint at a nuclear strike? Fire Debra Messing? Unilaterally do something dastardly in Iran? Deploy troops? Bring troops home? Call the FBI liars? Take medicine away from terminally ill children? Reconfigure the path of a hurricane? Bribe a hooker? Instruct a trial witness to change his testimony? Ban Muslims? Or vaping? Or make fun of a rape victim?

Such a cornucopia of possibilities in a world where anything tacky, mindless or potentially apocalyptic is possible!

In the service of the enigma that is Trump, every Tweet is vivisected with reverence; intern hands are plunged into its still quivering guts like the wizened hands of augurs squishing through the entrails of an Imperial Roman chicken, to uncover its hidden depths.

How have we not figured out that there are no hidden depths? Trump is one of those trillion monkeys whose random typing will produce Shakespeare’s sonnets, only he’s not the one.

Trump’s Looney-Toon self-serving fantasies, distributed to millions of innocent Twitter users, have, however, caught the attention of stock analysts, who note that a word here or a word there from The Great Mouth Breather can send stocks plummeting or soaring.

Is this just because he so pretty he don’t think too good about the repercussions? Or is it, as one analyst believes, that he’s deliberately manipulating the market to punish his foes and/or to enrich himself?

Hmmmm. I’d say—yes!



Andrew Scheer’s “Find Some Dope on Trudeau” team hit paydirt last week, unearthing not one, not two, but three pictures of Trudeau in blackface.

And although all of these images hugely pre-date Justin’s entry into politics (and although you could equally argue that as the son of a revered, two-times Prime Minister of Canada, Justin was never not in politics), how could I not feel happy for Scheer and his Dementors, because surely the continual effort of simply fabricating lies and feeding them to social media was beginning to feel a bit desperate.

These images have since gone virally international, being referenced on The Late Show and TIME Magazine, among many others.

In fact, TIME Magazine broke the story, completely catching the Canadian Press by surprise. Let me explain further: A rookie reporter, Anna Purna Kambhampaty, with no experience with headlining, breaking stories, who attended a conservative-aligned American Christian school, received a “tip” from a “Michael Adamson” who no one can track down, and was published in TIME, whose editorial staff did not verify the sources or fact-check the story.

In other words, it is possible that conservative-aligned players deliberately encouraged a major American publication to interfere in a Canadian election.

Read the full, and at 28 minutes to read, I mean full, analysis of possible dirty tricks » HERE.

As for the actual blackface pictures, I have no excuse to put forward. I’m reeling with disappointment, not because of any poor judgement involved but because he obviously exercised no judgement at all. He apparently believed, without considering the implications of his belief, that this was an acceptable and amusing thing to do.

They say that the sons squander the fortune that the father creates. Justin squanders the legacy of his father, who was a fierce, plain-spoken, authoritarian progressive with the common touch, a man who said, as he invoked martial law against terrorists who had kidnapped two diplomats, “Just watch me.”

Just watch me, and you’ll know what’s happening. Just watch me handle this emergency, and damn your pious talk of civil rights. It was a shocking, courageous, necessary outrage, and Pierre’s legacy lives on, Canada lives on, because of his courage.

Pierre’s legacy is noble, big, all-encompassing, erudite, proud, logical and consistent; pragmatic and visionary. Pierre was a politician of the old school.

Justin says, “Just ignore me.” Justin’s legacy is “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.” Justin’s legacy is a gender-balanced cabinet, transgender rights codified; these are good things, indeed.

But these are easy achievements, niche brownie points for most people. The big achievements that might have been— standing up to big oil and yet not alienating the province that lives on oil; following through on electoral reform; making his case for SNC-Lavalin without the appearance of being underhand, opaque and arrogant; real, instead of Twitter, diplomacy with the King of Saudi about women’s rights that might have bought an activist her freedom—none of these materialized.

Did we fever-dream it all in our post-Harper recovery?

Instead we found out too late that he is an apple fallen far from the tree in achievement but not in entitlement. We’ve seen and been appalled by his weak, defensive management style in not addressing issues proactively or understanding the confusion and impatience of an electorate who sought the ghost of his father and ended up with a two-bit Hamlet. When Trump frenemied him, we were not proud of our PM who stood up to the Big Guy; we felt protective, a worrisome clue.

It’s as though, in taking on the mantle of his father which we offered him, he showed gung-ho willing but in the end had no investment in the role; he hadn’t saved Canada, he hadn’t pulled it all together. That was someone else’s project, and he didn’t know where to find the documentation, the brand assets or the right fonts. His heart isn’t in it; it’s not life or death. He’s the politician as consultant, in and out, and he never knows the name of the receptionist.

He takes after his mother, the infinitely annoying Margaret Sinclair, the prototype spoiled princess (Diana took up the template when the ink had barely dried) who married above her station for the glory and then shied like a new mare at the gate when she realized that she was not just the plaything of a hot daddy: this business involved duty and public life.

Fuddle-duddle that shit! said she, or words to that effect, as off to Studio 54 she trotted to be banged by rock stars, snort cocaine and live the life she was born to, that of a privileged, worthless debutante, which is what she’d wanted in the first place, just with better photo opps.

Once again, nobody is paying attention except the right wing. Once again, progressives dig our own graves by bringing water pistols to a battle being fought with rocket launchers.


Let’s finish with these pictures and get on with our lives. There are three instances of Trudeau in blackface:

First photo is from 2001, when he was a 29-year-old teacher at a school in Vancouver and was attending an Arabian Nights- themed gala

Second is from when he was performing in a talent show as a student at high school

Third is video footage from the early 1990s, when Mr Trudeau would have been in his late teens or early 20s

In other words, these are pictures of a high school student, a teenager and a teacher at a private school, where the fellow guests at this particular “Aladdin” themed event that took place nearly twenty years ago were surprised that anyone would take this seriously or as an indication of Trudeau’s values.

Indeed many Canadians of as many shades of brown and black as you would like have dismissed these images as, not harmless, but certainly not indicating a secret Justin we never knew, or a closet racist bent on baking his prejudice into legislation. They express mainly two views: It was many years ago, these were the acts of a boy in a particular time and place, they were intended, however misguidedly, as harmless fluff; or that they find the images offensive but accept Trudeau’s heartfelt apology.

In other words, NO ONE CARES about Trudeau the teenager in blackface for a school play. Get serious, people.

This is Canada, Murgatroyd McGraw! We don’t like a big fuss and besides, we’re not all that stocked up with photogenic, charismatic and clever. If we took this more seriously than it warranted, we’d be looking at Andrew Scheer, who openly consorts with white supremacists, tells us he won’t revisit abortion, but that he’ll certainly allow his backbenchers to bring forward private bills to be voted on “according to conscience,” in other words, he is going to revisit abortion; Scheer, who worked for a politician who believed homosexuality should be re-criminalized.

Andrew Scheer has refused to denounce the Yellow Vest elements within the United We Roll group who have accused the prime minister of treason, called for violence against Justin Trudeau and who have been spewing hate and violence against immigrants. He has refused to condemn statements by one of his own Senators who asked the truckers participating in the United We Roll rally to “roll over every Liberal left in the country.”

Lana Payne, The ChronicalHerald.ca
https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/lana-payne-the-conservatives-have-a-racism-problem-288659/

We’re looking at the appalling Maxime Bernier, who all but wears a little moustache and a swastika on his arm, whose platform is non-existent except for complete denial of the science of climate change, and whose “People’s Party” exists solely to stoke division and hate;

We’re looking at Jagmeet Singh: An honorable man, a man of integrity, and who I’m ashamed to say may be unelectable because of his turban. In fact, the entire NDP party in New Brunswick just defected to the Green Party, because their constituents are so unable to get past Mr Singh’s religion (he’s Sikh), they feel their party is doomed.

Here’s the choice: Vote for the guy who, not twenty years ago, but within the past four has welcomed refugees, made a commitment to reparations for native Canadians, stood up for human rights in Canada and abroad, stood up to Trump, and wowed us with his fashion flair; or vote for the guy who, not twenty years ago, but within living memory, has compared gay people to dogs, hangs out with bona fide white supremacists, and gets all slippery about his intent regarding women’s reproductive rights.

If we’re going to fall, and I sense we are going to, let’s fall forward. Shall we?

Justin, you’re just as cute as a little red wagon. Now take off your cojone-shaped earrings and put those little suckers back where they belong.

Meanwhile, down in Loosiana…


an American woman bit the testicles of a 600-lb camel in order to escape when it sat on her (her arms were pinned down, too). She and her husband were visiting a petting zoo at a truck stop—we could conceivably stop right here for our ham sandwiches and Thermos of Tim Horton’s, but I’ve got lots to cover— and had thrown treats into the camel’s enclosure. Their dog ran into the enclosure, they ran after the dog, and that’s when the terrible camel sitting moment occurred.

Their dog is deaf, by the way.

Three cheers, then, for good old American pluck and ingenuity in the war against the stupidity of the same person exercising the pluck and ingenuity.

Truck stop manager Pamela Bossier says she was shocked and angered by the incident.

“What happened Wednesday was kind of really crazy,” she told local news station WBRZ. “She actually bit him in his private area. That’s about as nice as I could put it.”

I wish I was kidding.

֍