Social Justice

If I had any idea who Tucker Carlson was…

I’d probably be ashamed to admit it.



As I was lounging on my balcony this evening, listlessly picking at the plate of shoestring potatoes I’d prepared for myself, and watching the rainy wind plaster shredded pieces of tissue and pages from NOW Magazine covered with pictures of naked women and empty Cheetos bags onto the plexiglass, three passenger pigeons appeared out of nowhere, their feet stuck out in the “landing” position.

What a sight for sore eyes! I’ll tell ya!

Curly, Larry and Moe were carrying little suitcases covered with stickers saying things like “Warszawa” and “Achtung!” and “Italia: Con sprezzatura!” and once they touched down on the balcony railings they began cooing and rustling their feathers and beating on the little suitcases with their beaks, making a noise like distant tom-toms.

I took this to mean, incorrectly as it turns out, that the suitcases were filled with important, time-sensitive information. For me? Fat chance! More likely more letters from Hell, no return address, Can’t wait to see you again, not very long now! So excited!! Sincerely, Mom and Dad!

The wind feels very cold on my naked body and I pour a shot of vodka into the Baccarat tumbler, gulp it down and feel the warmth spread outward from my gut. I relax a little. The tumbler is sturdy, with a pleasing heft, and I hold it up, admiring the crystal’s clarity. It’s like holding the solidified air of new planet.

My feathered phantoms had been attracted no doubt by the moonlight glinting off the bespoke ice cubes from Greenland, hand-cut from the single remaining glacier, that I’d just had flown in on Porter, one seat for each cube. Nobody’s perfect and if I’m going to nourish every last dehydrated cell of my once luscious body with the purest water on earth, I’m sure as little blue buttons gonna fuck spiteful hell out of the environment as I do so. Those ice cubes are suddenly yawning big, as are the giant birds which are now advancing on me, beaks opening and closing, opening and closing…


… which is when I awoke with a little scream,

usually the sign that I’ve drifted off during the first act of “Siegfried,” but a quick assessment of my surroundings assured me I was merely at my desk, face down on my computer keyboard. Business as usual!

I’d nodded off while trying to figure out what a boycott of Tucker Carlson might mean. Do you get that, too? Shall I assume Tucker Carlson is an accounting firm? A small, boutique grocery store?

Serves me right, reading Michael Ondaatje and listening to Beethoven string quartets and talking about “watching TV” like white trash. If I did my homework and kept up with the Joneses I’d be able to respond with a well-placed “Whateverrrrr!???!?” to pop-culture references, instead of having everyone I meet squint at me when I ask a question, then back away while calling an ambulance.

But apparently people take exception to this Tucker Carlson double-named entity, and are very, very serious about wanting advertisers to stop validating said entity by associating their advertising with this manufacturer of power drills or purveyor of lavender-scented eye cream.

A brief phone call to Emma, whom I call my virtual assistant because she’s somewhere else and gives assistance which is virtually useless nine times out of ten, informs me that Tucker Carlson is an unpleasant person somewhere specializing in unpleasant concepts relating to white people being people and other colors of people being less than people. Thanks Emma! Are all Young Girls these days named after nineteenth-century English housemaids? You are totally woke, or at least you will be when I test-call you at four AM!

So, Tucker Carlson is a person, or, more accurately, a pundit! Now, I ask you. Why would a corporation spend endless hours getting their ad agency to perfect their brand creative—then air it during Tucker Carlson?

Why would they do that? Having spent ten long years working in ad agencies, I can tell you why, with confidence.

It’s the numbers, stupid.

I don’t really think you’re stupid. It’s just the trope, OK? Work with me, here.

It’s not that the corporations or the media buyer are clueless, or that they want to sully their good name or toss the work of dozens of talented people down the toilet. But corporations, and by extension their ad agencies, are in the business of selling stuff, mostly stuff that people don’t need, in as large quantities (model 1) or, if moronic luxury is the order of the day, at as high prices (model 2) as possible.

To accomplish this, they need you to believe that their breakfast cereal is not just another mass-produced box of corn kernels puffed up, pressed through rollers and sweetened with more corn, and delivering such low levels of nutrition that most of the actual food value comes from the milk you pour on it.

No, that’s not what their breakfast cereal really is. Their breakfast cereal is really a bowlful of togetherness and familial love and community and the silvery laughter of mischievous yet ultimately still adorable children.

They need you to believe this so completely that they begin to believe it themselves. This, then, is the birth of “the brand.”

No one knows what works, because what worked last time doesn’t seem to work the second time, and though everyone buys the nonsense that marketing is becoming more and more “scientific”, in their hearts they know that marketing and branding are more like dowsing for water or using a ouija board, where the miracle of one coincidence that gives the illusion that you knew what you were doing erases the memory of the three thousand flops that prove you don’t.

It’s not like there’s a “target audience,” a “niche,” so that you might reasonably work out that your perfectly aligned customer does not watch Tucker Carlson, thus sparing you a moral dilemma. Please! Save the cant for your MBA presentation, buckaroo. In my example, but you could make up your own, anyone with a mouth, a couple of teeth and a stomach that can retain a bowl of cereal is a potential customer.

Therefore they need to find the biggest gatherings of the most pairs of eyes, and what has the most pairs of eyes? Huge sports events, tawdry reality shows and low-life self-styled “pundits” spouting the opinions their audience wants to hear, i.e. white supremacy, anti-intellectualism and the undesirability of rapists and murderers from shithole countries, which is the new, of-the-minute locution for what my generation with its quaint, old-school manners called “immigrants.”

It’s not like Acme Cereals Corporation had a board meeting where they said, “Let’s get Korn Krunchies in the six PM slot, next to a video of some brown kids being thrown in jail!” No, there was far less thinking involved. They said, “Get us the most eyeballs on the most screens for our $500,000.” Potato, potato, pronounced differently.

Corporations are not evil, just psychotic. Let’s split the diff and say “amoral.” Eyeballs are eyeballs. How can the most eyeballs get the most Korn Krunchies into the most kids’ stomachs? Tucker Carlson is one answer.

(Now, seriously, the idea that anyone would believe that the puffed corn that leaches nutrients from your body is a bowlful of happiness is clearly preposterous. It would take a brain-vacuum to actually suck the intelligence out of viewers and fill them with despair, so that any positive action became impossible and people simply did what they were told to do, like zombies.

Well, three hundred thwacks on my cracked fontanel if they haven’t invented one — it’s called Tucker Carlson!)

This is why I don’t jump for joy when, say, Toronto-Dominion Bank sponsors Pride Month in Toronto. I’m sure they believe their heart is in it. But I didn’t vote for T-D Bank, and they have no mandate to look after my interests. As long as supporting rights for trans persons provides an off-the-rack halo and a ready supply of new customers to exploit, T-D Bank will be right behind you with the can of Brasso and a rainbow-colored J-Cloth. When the day comes that all of us queers are in jail being tortured, they’ll just move on and sponsor something else.

Individually, employees and art directors and brand managers are humans, sometimes intelligent ones, and they care. Collectively, they’d advertise on the Pol Pot Breakfast Hourif it were the most eyeballs on screens. They have little choice and less will to do otherwise.

That’s why we are always organizing boycotts and waggings of fingers and cluckings of tongues. But corporations aren’t on our or anyone’s side, and it’s silly to believe that they’re suddenly going to develop ethics, or even good taste—which I define as having every right to do something, then not doing it. Go ahead and switch to Wheat Whippies (because, surprise: they own that as well)!

Tucker Carlson, and forgive me for being obvious but it’s what I do best, isn’t a “show.” It’s not Ibsen. It’s just another product, most of whose value comes from the milk you pour on it.

In fact, it could very well be that Korn Krunchies is the show and it’s selling Tucker! You know what, that just occurred to me.

But a half-hearted boycott of a third-rate political commentator will do little to improve the world. Protest does not look like an email, or even a petition; at least, not just a petition.

Protest happens when people have reached tipping point, when you are blind with outrage, when you simply can’t sit at home and pretend everything’s all right, and you are driven to take to the streets. Real protest has a specific gravity and momentum and explodes with constructive anger that has been denied for too long (but not violence). You will know it when you feel it. Protest is not a smack on the wrist written by someone else for an issue you don’t really feel all that pumped about.

There’s only one thing that will work and I dare you to try it out.

Turn off the fucking TV, log out of YouTube, stop watching Tucker Carlson, stop buying Korn Krunchies, get out of the house and help someone worse off than you.

Do this every day. Then gradually, we can come together, all of us, and ask: how can we as a society muster the courage to do this, full time? How can we ensure that no one falls through the cracks, ever again?

Tucker Carlson! You’re funny! People—real thinking, feeling people—don’t watch that kind of shit. Now, honestly. Do I need to tell you this? Let’s try a little harder and then I can be proud to be your friend, and you can be proud you’re mine.

Buddhist teachers sometimes ask a pointed question: What will you do with your precious life? This question administers a jolt of low-grade panic and lights a fire with our to-do list. One more day of my life has just passed by. How did I spend my time? What’s the choice? Watch Tucker? Or help someone?

If you loathe Tucker Carlson’s message about immigrants, don’t focus on his fear mongering and racism. Find a way to advocate for immigrants.Work to improve and fix the immigration system (and don’t confuse those seeking to immigrate with those seeking asylum—these are two very different issues). Be clever. Listen to, or better yet, tell, immigrants’ stories. Counter lies with facts.

Even a boycott of Tucker Carlson by advertisers is more attention that he merits. Tell the station how offensive you find his message.

Then put your attention where it will do the most good: on the poor, the marginalized and the maligned.

💔

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Canadian newspaper columnist expresses opinion, totally discredits Harvard race-bias research.

BREAKING NEWS:

Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente

has dealt a shocking blow to a decades-long research effort at Harvard University by coming up with an opinion that is totally opposite to the team’s findings.

“The research said that people have an unconscious bias based on racial characteristics,” said Ms Wente while briskly drying herself after her morning shower.

“But even before I skimmed the article I had my doubts.  Something about this so-called scientific, peer-reviewed liberal claptrap just didn’t jibe – like, systemic racism?  C’mon guys!

“I immediately plunged into some intensive research by interviewing our mail boy – he’s a darkie by the way – so much for this myth of hiring discrimination!  And just as well,  I mean if that kid was out on the streets, you’d be kissing that fancy car of yours goodbye, let me tell ya!

“So the next morning I took my usual shower and came up with the opinion that this Harvard research doesn’t matter, even though it’s true!  I’m just not buying it!”

Wente suddenly dropped her scholarly tone.  “Hey, have you seen my new ‘Rainforest‘ showerhead from Canadian Tire?” she beamed, with obvious pride. “Even though I don’t think rainforests are anything special!

Opinion Margaret Wente Do unconscious biases really make us behave in racist ways

Margaret Wente:  Opinions and rat’s nests fresh from the shower.

“In fact, in my opinion, we should totally stop doing anything about rainforests! You know something, that just occurred to me!”

Continued Ms Wente, “Also, it’s occurred to me that I have to do something about this rat’s nest of a hairstyle! Sheesh, will you take a look at this fiasco?”

Ms Wente explained that her shower-opinion-flashes began decades ago, during high school:

“One day, while having a shower after gym, I had this flash, and suddenly my opinion was that the whole hair stylists thing was a scam,” confided Ms Wente, “so I started cutting my own, then slapping on a little Brylcreem. But just between the two of us, it’s not working for me this morning.”

But how does Ms Wente handle the issue of credibility?

“Are you kidding?” replied Ms Wente, who seemed unfazed by the challenge. “I mean, have a gander!  The hair style, the dorky eyeglasses, the saggy blouse—I look like a gunny sack full of galoshes!

“So if I say ‘I’m not buying it’, I’m backed up by this whole proto-lesbian thing. I mean, if I look as scary as this and people still don’t get that my opinions are right, well—Houston!  We have a problem!”

We spoke next to Dr. Eberhard Faber, the Harvard research team leader.

“We’ve been undergoing intensive suicide intervention counseling down here,” said a barely-audible Dr Faber, his voice shaking with emotion.

“It’s just been devastating. I mean, some people have dedicated their entire lives to this work, and then, to just wake up one day and find out that Margaret isn’t buying it— ”

Dr Faber took a moment to catch his breath. “It’s like our worst nightmare. Sorry, it’s time for my anti-psychotic.  I have to go.”

Following up with Ms Wente by phone, we asked if she felt any responsibility for the effects her opinions might have caused.

“Frankly, no,” Ms Wente snapped. “I’m a journalist.  My only responsibility is to just get in that shower, have my flash, kit up like Gertrude Stein, and state my opinion. Let the chips fall where they may!”

She added, her voice softening, “Sassoon just refused me an appointment. They said they might be able to wrangle twenty minutes in the chair at “Just Cuts”. This is off the record, right?”

Stephen Harper is “on vacation”.

with reporting from Glossolalia-Jeezus “Real” McCoy. 

\m/

Monday Man-Crush –OR– How to make a Libtard hard! Top 4 most jaw-dropping Justin Trudeau pictures ever, revealing his Canadian secret of success that is so awesome! Unbelievably??! cute!!?

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How to make a libtard hard?  The look is bemused vulnerability. (Justin, baby?  Answer the phone?)

September 2016

It’s my birthday, and I am donning my tightest skinnies – no Kleenex-stuffing necessary, thank you very much, first in line – plus my “Only Gay In The Village” red sleeveless top in preparation for my man-crushing on this week’s and every week’s hunka hunka burnin’ PM,  Justin, The-Person-Called-Trudeau.

With a bitter yet achingly triumphant shout-out to George Clooney for blocking my relentless barrage of sexts over the past 12 years – manly as your stubbly chin and smokey voice may be, you have nothing on the taut muscles, tousled hair and houri eyes of May I Call You Justin, every gay male boomers’ – goomers’ ? – wet dream.

trudeau-p

Justin – just one more button?  Please?

My swollen,  purple mangina trembles at the sight of our very own PM revitalizing Canada’s brand at the U.N. with his pledge of liberal lashings of humanitarian aid;

Only JT could tumesce my beaver-cleaver with such authentically awful straight-guy dancing as first PM in history to attend Toronto’s Pride Parade—which just shoots the tragic want-so-bad-the-cock-I-cannot-have longing right off the charts.

And at the risk of being TMI about things, I’ve popped such a libtard bologna-pony as he smiles at Syrian refugees, and – aw, shucks, don’t think badly of me – leaked just a little drop, or maybe two,  of pre-cum into my Stanfield’s Y-fronts (available by mail-order in “one-size-fits-all” granny pant version, white only, and not in Québec, je suis so fucking désolé) as he strutted arm in arm with that steamin’ cup o’ hot, hot chocolate called Barack Hussein Obama.

And I don’t mean Nesquik, dudes. That’s kid stuff.  I mean Ghirardelli bittersweet, the finest grown-up America has to offer.

syrian

What does a red-blooded Canuck say to a refugee?  “Welcome”.

Well, that’s what a Canadian thinks; that’s what anyone but an American thinks.  Barry, if you’d been Canadian, if you’d made it to Prime Minister, it would have been business as usual, but we would have fairly bust a collective gut with pride for our black, brilliant, witty, eloquent leader, our model father and husband, the guy who really WAS ready to answer that 3AM phone call, our trophy PM, the embodiment of that dream that is not just exclusively American.

Instead?  Your prime function wasn’t to function. It was to shine the Klieg lights on the tumbleweed-infested badlands of darkest America, to turn over those famous metaphorical rocks and watch as the creepy-crawlies came scuttling out, squinting, Trump-ballots in hand.

Whatever insects have instead of hands.  (Mandibles?  Yuk!)

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My fantasy threesome involves Barry, Justin, a  tape measure, and a pizza delivery gone very, very wrong.  ( JT –  you make my mouth water like an amuse-gueule at Scaramouche, but seriously? Brown shoes at the White House?? )

You shoulda been dancing in the streets, Americans; held an eight-year New Deal shindig to which everyone was invited, rich and poor, black and white; where everyone could talk and everyone would listen and every small-c conservative would pop a boner for Barack.

Instead, white str8-tards everywhere rattled the bars of their playpens and spent eight-years screaming  SOCIALISM! eight years badmouthing, lying, sulking;  eight long years wishing that their new-born little brother, the guy who was taking attention away from THEM, could just – lose the birth certificate and disappear.

America, there’s nothing like you, that’s for sure.  What can we say about a country so resentful of its own self-made elite class, a country that beats its gorilla chest and bellows about the American Dream—then spends eight years playing who do you think you are?    

harper-un-joke

Harper was the punchline; we were the joke.

Tant pis.  The only grumbles you’ll hear in Canada these days come from those permanently disaffected overgrown white heterosexual males whose clock is stuck somewhere around grade 9 — Stephen Harper was perfect for them; his affectless, droid-like style barely concealing the simmering resentment of the least-liked kid in school — the Libertarian Geezers  who still think ‘politically correct’ is a current discussion, and who need the company of other similar geezers to give a little lift to their fleeting, sponge-y hard-ons.

But at least most of them are old.  I figure all we really have to do is stall until the geezers are gone to dust and the new generation is in power.  JT is an avatar of that new optimism.

So here’s to my Monday Man-Crush: the so very not-regular guy who reaffirmed that being Canadian is just about the coolest damned thing there is to be;

Justin Trudeau: who touched me in my secret place and made this libtard hard.

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“Dude, who you callin’ a libtard, eh…?”