Justin Trudeau

SCANDAL!? Nothing we can’t handle!

The SNC-Lavalin ruckus isn’t really about SNC-Lavalin—it’s about Justin.

Gather around, boys and girls, as once again I pull my granddad pants up into my armpits and hook my Walter Brennan thumbs behind my suspenders. I’ve just awakened from my forty-eight hour afternoon nap, which is why I’m so annoyingly perky, and though the time is long past when it was even remotely relevant for me to explain What The Tommy Douglas was going on with this Canadian SNC-Lavalin scandal doodad, I need you to listen up and at least pretend to care.

As blessèd Saint Judy was wont to growl:“ATTENTION WILL BE PAID!” Now, could someone help me up off my knees?

I never promised you relevance, Murgatroyd McGraw. I promised you Marlboro breath so toxic it could singe your eyebrows, yellow teeth caked with butter tart filling, mysterious, noisome stains on my gusset and slyly humorous, flippant commentary in place of measured, in-depth analysis.

Measured in-depth analysis? How perfectly common!

So, while I clear my smoker’s throat, the better to hoark another oyster onto my signed, framed portrait of Stephen Harper—some pleasures never pall— it’s time for a Canadian Fireside Chat about politics, optics, and which one of the following options you find most attractive:

Progressive Conservatives: More guzzling of fossil fuels, privatized health care, blatant white supremacy, rolled-back reproductive rights for women, no seat at the U.N. Security Council and compulsory church attendance in calico habits modeled after “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Who?;

Liberals: Badly-needed carbon tax that will actually put money IN the pockets of taxpayers, a stab at equality, properly-funded universal healthcare, business as usual and a pretty—and pretty ineffectual—prime minister, but who, when you look at him, at least doesn’t make you feel like stabbing yourself in the eyes with remorse because you voted your country into a no-turning-back state of oligarchic theocracy run by climate-change-denying cretins; OR

New Democratic Party: You’re kidding, right? Though Jagmeet Singh, the national party leader, is right up there, for me, anyway, in the woody-popping hierarchy, what with that dashing, dark, handsome sub-continental vibe and the liquid music of his accent, which is to me as a moist, patchouli-scented tongue probing my hairy, crusted inner ear.

Though, pace Jagmeet, Sikhs can be a little homophobic, as proof of which I will share that the last time a Sikh guy popped round for a blow-job, he said something kind of, well, insensitive to me as he was doing up his trousers. He cast an incredulous look down his nose at me, and said,

“Why do you like men?”

Betsy DeVos Theranos! This is a tough one! Don’t forget your ‘Smores, eh?


There was once a time in Canada, a long-ago, simpler era when squawking blue jays landed on your outstretched index finger and friendly, efficient beavers in Harris Tweed vests valet-parked your car at the Royal York, when we were content with, even proud of, our de facto one-party system.

Every other year or so you could vote Progressive Conservative (PC) instead of Liberal, just so you wouldn’t die of boredom, and without afterwards having to blush and laugh nervously while explaining that you’d recently been thrown from your thoroughbred at Woodbine Racetrack and weren’t expected to recover full brain function for at least a few months.

There was no shame in voting for the party of John Diefenbaker, or even of Brian Mulroney. Diefenbaker, for example, in 1957, appointed the first female member of Cabinet, Secretary of State Ellen Fairclough, who is remembered for eliminating racial discrimination in Canada’s immigration policy.

Yes, the PC’s were for equality and advancing the role of women in public service. Kim Campbell, Justice Minister and Attorney General under Mulroney, passed important gun control legislation.

And here’s a quote from Brian M:

“I think the government has to reposition environment on top of their national and international priorities.”

Provincially, we had exemplary conservative leaders in John Robarts and Bill Davis (who appointed Margaret Birch as the first female Cabinet member in the Ontario Legislature in 1972).

Empowered women! Gun control! Prioritizing the environment! Are we through the looking-glass yet, did we nibble the wrong side of the giant mushroom, are we mad as hatters? These were “conservative” men and women with some bold ideas (and some dubious ones such as NAFTA), but they were, on the whole, advocates of fiscal conservatism. Whatever their private beliefs might be, they understood that as public servants they were in office to work for the benefit of all Canadians.

That government had a role to play in the lives of voters, that government could and should be a good custodian of the environment, that government should protect and recognize the worth of all its citizens—these were not “radicalized extreme-left socialist agendas.” They were givens.

Only when the execrable slime-bag Mike Harris took power—on the rebound from Bob Rae and the NDP— in 1995 did the conservative shredding of the social contract begin in Ontario. This of course was nothing but the same old conservative playbill, turbocharged and disguised as a “Common Sense Revolution.”

When populists and demagogues start making like Uri Geller with English, co-opting concepts like “common sense,” “revolution,” “freedom,” “democratic” and “people,” and bending them into new, sinister shapes, you know it’s time to pack your weekender from Frank & Oak with rolls of bandages and a big bottle of aspirin, in case your future includes an extended stay in the basement of the Presidential Palace, where they don’t even bother to soundproof the interrogation rooms; and whatever you do, don’t forget your Roget’s so you can look up the exact opposite of whatever they’re promising to deliver.

Mike’s “Common Sense Revolution” involved a typical, explicitly anti-labour, anti-social safety net stance (get those queens off welfare!), gerrymandering by way of the amalgamation of the City of Toronto and its suburbs into a “megacity,” the downloading of once-provincial costs to municipalities, and pedaling the snake oil of “deficit reduction” and privatization: all of this based on the premise that government itself is the problem, and therefore the correct and only model for government is that of a department store holding a fire sale.

Example: Ontario had built and was managing a toll highway, the 407, the world’s first with no toll booths and automatic, electronic billing. This public project was based on the startlingly novel concept that greedy, entitled car drivers should actually pay for the infrastructure that they require and should also compensate for guzzling black gold, with the tolls collected contributing much-needed (deficit!) revenue that would support health care and other social services. This one was a no-brainer, and would surely be Ontario’s golden goose for many decades.

But Harris, following his personal mantra of “if it ain’t broke, break it, then declare it needs privatizing,” sold the highway’s operations to a business consortium in the late 1990’s for $3 billion to “reduce the deficit.” Now, twenty years later, none other than SNC-Lavalin is selling ten percent of its share in the toll highway for $3.25 billion.

Nice business acumen, Mike.

Other highlights of his term in office include the Walkerton tragedy, in which a couple of buffoons in charge of the well water supply to a small town failed to chlorinate the water, make accurate reports, undergo yearly mandatory training, or indeed to do anything except help themselves to a cold brew from the fridge at the Public Utilities Commission and try to cover their tracks.

Although the Ministry of the Environment had repeatedly ordered the managers and staff to follow the correct, current testing protocols and procedures, no one had ever followed up to see if this had actually happened (it hadn’t). Water testing had been privatized, and it can’t be denied that government was smaller as a result.

So was the population of Walkerton, down by a count of six unfortunate victims of E. coli-contaminated water and thousands of others who had suffered life-threatening illness as a result of ignorance and bad management.

But at least we balanced the budget.


Fast forward to the current Trumpocene era in which ugly fossilized dinosaurs come to life and co-exist with humans, in which the Leader of the PC’s openly consorts and proudly gets photographed with white supremacist “media personalities,” and in which one high-profile conservative recently suggested that angry truckers should “run over every remaining Liberal” with their eighteen-wheelers.

Andrew Scheer, our pudgy-faced choirboy of the “christian” right, makes no apology about hanging out for the odd photo opp with his bosom buddy, nasty piece of Cruella De Vil knock-off Faith Goldy, who thinks we all agree that if everyone in the country were like her, we’d be on the right track.

R O T friggin’ F L! Oh, Faith, how truly you exemplify your name, which is, by the way, suspiciously Jew-y for a Nazi. Are you sure you’ll survive that middle-of-the-night knock on the door, once your Fourth Reich is safely installed and humming away? Sieg Heil, baby, or, as I sometimes like to express it, go fuck yourself.

Getting back to our “scandal:”

Justin may have called the Attorney General a few times before having his morning de-caf, and he may have insisted more than once, as it’s his duty to do so, that there was an alternative to going hard-line and prosecuting SNC-Lavalin, whose execs had been overly fond of bribing their way to lucrative Middle East contracts—a practice one might argue is almost de rigueur in that part of the world.

If you need clarification, to prosecute would without question involve banning SNC-Lavalin from any further government contracts, as well as guaranteeing the loss of ninety-thousand jobs in Québec just before a federal election.

There was an alternative path: A remediation agreement, involving hefty fines but saving the ninety thousand jobs, a rather sensible-sounding approach made possible by recent legislation that had been fully endorsed by the PC’s. In this scenario, there was scope for judicial discretion and prosecution was not inevitable. Remediation would provide transparency, plus a quite painful slap on the financial wrist, and avoid dragging innocent bystanders into the process.

Our erstwhile attorney general and justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould,
handicapped by the thinnest skin ever sported by a member of Cabinet or, for that matter, a lawyer, and who had obviously been promoted well above her ability to cope, was having none of it.

Justice must be done! Her blind insistence on scorched earth resembled a “work to rule,” in which employees follow the company handbook with every policy enforced to the letter, thereby causing the whole operation to grind to a halt via proliferating red tape.

Why was Wilson-Raybould so rattled when the PM, along with other members of the boys’ club, advocated vigorously for remediation, and why did she dig in her heels? The more Justin and other cool heads tried to persuade, the more stubbornly she pushed back.

Trudeau’s lobbying has been spun as “undue pressure,” obstruction of justice, a sneaky attempt to let criminals off the hook, or to pay off business cronies, but all these descriptions are quite false. His lobbying was neither inappropriate nor shady.

Did Trudeau attempt to influence the attorney general’s decision? Of course he did, because this is exactly what is expected in our adversarial legal system. Every day, in every court, lawyers attempt to influence: They advocate vigorously, even aggressively, for the solutions that they feel best serve the public interest. This is not sleaze or scandal or interference; this is how our legal system works.

Wilson-Raybould’s trump card, and her most gasp-inducing error of judgment, was to produce, like a cheesey Las Vegas illusionist producing a white rabbit from her top hat, a recording of a phone conversation she’d had with the PM—a recording she had made secretly, without Trudeau’s knowledge or consent— and every nuance of whose content was now parsed and analyzed in the press ad nauseum.

Seriously, friends.

Such cloak-and-daggerism is not the meat and potatoes of the highest levels of Canadian government. This is high-school drama, the sort of subterfuge the nerdy, overly-sensitive President of the Debating Society deploys on the mean boys in the motorcycle jackets who tease her about her acne.

I’ve explained and analyzed much more than I intended, and now I must tell you that, fascinating as it has been to untangle all of this, what I’ve actually shown you is that there is nothing to show.

There is no scandal or wrongdoing to be found, and no one is seriously claiming there is. This whole affair was a cynical, calculated exercise in throwing mud and seeing how much would stick. Progressive Conservatives and their official mouthpiece, the Globe & Mail, were more than willing to leverage public ignorance of our government and our legal system and to misrepresent both the substance and context of events.

Let’s see what we have: A Native MP, a woman, being hounded by the “feminist” PM; “punitive” demotions and Cabinet shuffles; sudden resignations, corporate criminals going scott free; secret recordings! Perfect ingredients for the perfect spin, a narrative that could create enough doubt to cast the prime minister as a sneak and a bully, and make Canadians question his judgment and even his legitimacy.

The ultimate goal? Bring down Justin Trudeau at any cost.


Is SNC-Lavalin a great, big, heavy-duty Glad bag full of sleaze? Sure, but no more so than any other corporation doing what capitalism does best, i.e., feed itself. Is Justin Trudeau an entitled, opaque, overgrown brat who expected business as usual with the boys in the backroom and who doesn’t understand how his apparent belief that he is not obliged to justify any action, or tell the whole truth, ever, reveals him as shifty and arrogant? It would seem that way.

Were any laws broken? No. Did anything happen that was even out of line? Apart from maybe Nancy Drew and the Case of the Secret Phone Call, not even close.

This was a scandal-free scandal, a big helping of Nothing-Poutine, yet the Progressive Conservatives made a meal of it, bulking up the thinnest material with insinuation and indignation. More insidiously, they caught the attention of the white male demographic that despises Trudeau; despises him for being his father’s son; despises his patrician upbringing and gentility; despises what they see as his “girliness,” his drama teaching days, his avowed feminism, never acknowledging that he grew up breathing politics as the son of Pierre, our most flamboyant and also most intellectually rigorous statesman, the man who held this country together with his bare hands when it threatened to disintegrate and would not let go until it was out of danger.

The trolls and the disgruntled slingers of mud forget Justin’s long years of political dues-paying and his resounding success in 2015; and they are apoplectic at Trudeau’s inclusiveness, his generosity, his uncanny ability to unite Canadians, to embody our pride, to build and articulate our identity and our collective vision for this brave, fragile confederation, this country that is barely more than a wish, a dream, an idea of a country.

Trudeau inspires; white male conservatives, fuming with hard-hatted rage at their diminishing hold on power, carp and threaten and bury their heads in the tar sands and call, shamefully, for a return to “European values.”

They are full of that odious, passionate intensity; the very worst, as always, dragging down the very best.

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Some days you’re just —inspired.  On the other days, you write an ode.

Presenting, quite contrary to public demand, the cornea-straining, soporific, “can’t seem to stop my eyes rolling back in my head before I face-plant onto the keyboard” verbosity of my Canada Day ode, first trotted out a year ago.

Widely acclaimed by this guy I met at a party who works for The Globe and Mail, who said:

… destined to become a Canada Day 
read-out-loud-by-Dad-before-we-have-Kraft-Dinner-yet-again tradition with every patriotic, middle-class Canadian family.  Well, you know. Since they can’t actually afford a TV.  

Thanks, “pal”.  Another seven minutes I’ll never get back staring at the water mark on the ceiling.  Those Cialis cost money.


“A Beaver in Polite Company”

(An Absolutely Epic Ode
for Canada Day, July 1st, 2016)

1.

O, Cana-DA!

O frozen fatherland,
I sing of thee –!

From the depths of my igloo
(Or in summer, a teepee)

While moms in babushkas from Hudson’s Bay
Bake their collective, corn-syruped way
All beneath a stunning display beavercoin-500x505
Of shimmering Northern Lights,

Eh?

(For it is enshrined in the
Charter of Rights
And Freedoms
That …

“… WHEREAS the provision of
butter tarts, 

Being an essential service,
May not suffer even the slightest pause …”

To make a summary:
Federal laws,
While exempting pecans
From the “Notwithstanding” clause,
Have ensured every mother will
Obtain her degree from
Butter Tart University,

Majoring in raisins.)

Welcome to Canada,
So cold in December,
But then we remember our
National Winter Sport,
Played on ice, with a puck.

Yet so hot in July,
It takes all our willpower
To manage even a

Nice game of lacrosse.

Yes, this is Canada.
The Superhero who’s always Clark Kent,
As tasty as we might look in tights;
The land where the indigenous people, Inuit, not Eskimo,
Reportedly have a hundred words for snow,
Where we finish our summer vacations
With full septic tanks
And scratching scars from mosquito bites.

And we all give thanks
We need never go to Mars,
Instead, we head to Winnipeg to experience minus fifty—

—(that’s approximately a nifty
Freeze your ass off, eh?
In American, non-communist temperature systems—

And while we’re at it, kudos to the lady from Texas
Who had heard of us.
Though she thought to visit meant sailing an ocean,
Then maybe —taking a bus?

Y’all got that wrong, ma’am.
But even knowing our name,
And that we’re north,
Shows, at least for a lady from Texas,

Rare devotion)—

And there in The ‘Peg, we play a traditional game
Where, for good luck, you lick the icy posts of metal fences;
Such innocent fun!

Till we find our tongues are stuck,
And, being Canadian,

Come rapidly back to our senses.

CHORUS:
And we all put chains on the tires of  our cars.

We wear plaid shirts, and we wear combinations,
We summer in Muskoka where all Hollywood vacations
and we never never never, I mean NEVER go to Mars!

Land of clear-your-ice, your winter civic duty!
We even declared Family Day in February,
So we can be sure of finding an ice floe
For packing with our elderly, so it will be a nice flow

Up the Saint Lawrence and out to sea.
Frankly, in February,
They’re too cold to
Make a commotion.

“Here’s the snow shovel, grandad!  
Don’t bother with the salt!
Or the commie-red Canadian Winter Olympics toque
That would cover what’s left of your hair!
And remember to leave my St-Jean-Baptiste Day card 
By the leftover tourtière!

Hey, how’s that hip replacement?  
Still hurtin’?”

Ah, Kwanzaa-ligButter Tartshts on fir trees!
I mean, pine!
The ring of the shovel on ice!
Each step a crunch of
Canadian Tire mukluk,
You can be certain!

Mon dieu !  Qu’est-ce qui ce passe ?!??

His asthmatic wheezing, the left arm pain!

“Don’t worry, children, I feel just –fine — !”

As he falls, pardon my French, on his ass!

The sudden thump, the lifeless lump of —

“Here’s your Timmies hot chocolate, Grandad!
Did you decide to have a little nap?
And why did you take off one new mukluk?

Your face and hands are a funny shade of blue!
Grandad?

Grandad??!!  

Holy fuck!!!”

Au revoir!  Goodbye!  Oh, grandad, it’s true!
Nous sommes tous Canadiens/Canadiennes !
We’re Canadian!
We’re – more or less – glad we knew you!

 

2.

O Cana-DA!

Taut muscle + tousled hair + Winner of the Rim Job Thought Experiment = The Person Called Trudeau.

Land of fortitude, of hunky men!
Land of Lumberjacks, RCMP’s!
And a dishy, non-crazy Prime Minister who makes us all weak at the knees,
Whatever his (to an American, anyway) socialist-verging-on-North-Korean proclivities!

Goodbye, general elections!
Hello, seeing Justin
And getting erections!

CHORUS:

Cause…. He’s… the…

Person-called-Trudeau,
Yes! he’s the Person-called-Trudeau!
His dad was Pierre, his mom was Maggie,
He’s working real hard to make legal the “baggie” –
That’s all you have to know, you know?
That’s all you have to know!

And this dynasty henceforth defines our nation –
Wait forty years, till little Emperor Hadrien – the Person-Called-Trudeau for our grandkids’ generation – ascends the throne

By Acclamation?
(Yes, though Trickie Dickie’s a tiny bit too dead to have that conversation – )
By Acclamation!

3.

O Cana-DA!

free-shipping-2013-sexy-royal-men-s-mountie-costume-fashion-canada-mounted-police-uniform-for-ladiesGodless refuge of the Devil’s Own North!
Where atheist gays marry dogs with impunity

And polygamy is mandatory, on penalty of death !

Where Québec’s Satanic priests (The original Hell’s angels),
Are allocated one free orphaned choirboy yearly by the State,

And la biche, one permitted per authorized family unit, is kept “on ze side, heins?”

– or else on a leash –

‘Cause to be célibataire is –
Even for a priest with stale whisky breath –
Too awful to contemplate!

All together, now – !

« Tabernac ! »
« Marie-Joseph ! »

4.

O Cana-DA!

Where the word “beaver” is always appropriate in polite company.

Polite company being all of us.

Canadians are so un-apt to make any kind of fuss, Lenin only knows!
Why, we’ll apologize to YOU
When YOU step on OUR toes!

O, Canada, Canada!

Poor we!  These chains that chafe and bind us!
Only a measly handful of banks, who tend, discreetly, to remind us
When our credit’s getting a teensy bit high.

Now what kind of attitude is that?
At this rate, we’ll never make first-class!

I mean, when did we
ever destroy the entire world’s economy?

Moss Park rebuilt, as though somewhere nice to live is what poor people deserve !
The Spadina Expressway, The Island Airport, cancelled – for what?!
Who needs old houses anyway, and parks, and waterfronts – and  — !
Cancelled for sheer lack of
– well, it’s about time someone said it –
Nerve, that’s what!  Nerve!

But that’s us, so lax, no greed!
So callously indifferent to Deluce’s bottom line!

Even considering he’s the man
Who kept us in the dark
About Phase 2, his Porter Airlines plan
To put the runways in High Park.

So lacking in get-up-and-go, that’s we!

So lacking in so many things we need, like –
A casino on Front Street.
A ferris wheel.
Indeed!

Those died with Rob Ford, for Heaven decreed
Not just the one, but three, acts of god.

You wanna know how bad it is?

We’re not even aspirational enough to want
Our own loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud!

Poor old fat, dumb regular-guy Robbie.
He was good for a laugh as he redefined “shifty”,
Mayoring Toronto like a teen with an I.Q. of 50,
A pipe full of “hard”,
And a not very interesting hobby.

Even then, we didn’t complain.  We just voted.  How boring!
We didn’t even complain when that Tommy Douglas forced us!
Forced us to have health care!

Took our hard earned dollars, of course,
But what’s worse, stole our god-given right of ignoring
the tumors until they’re big as a horse.

Too late it dawned on us:
Yeah, right!  Make us live longer
And then you’ll have longer to fuck us over with more taxes, oh yes,
We’re onto you!  We get the agenda – !

At least the Americans, god bless ’em, didn’t go down without a fight!

And the day of your liberation is so close you can almost smell freedom again!

Soon you’ll have Trump, and he’ll

Cancel your atheist, abortion-reeking
Death-paneled healthcare sort-of system.

Where each year you’re not just robbed of two hundred and change by bureaucrats—
What unbearable duress!—

But robbed of your freedom to declare bankruptcy!

We feel your pain!  But not to worry.
Far, far better, we confess,
To pay fifty grand to the surgeon
Or, if you’re poor, to be thoughtful and die in a hurry!

And up here we’ll be,
In the U. S. S. C.,

Where nothing’s black and white,  just white and red,
Where an evening’s entertainment is lining up for scraps of bread,

And where a Sikh can be a cop, wear a turban on his head!

(Our citizens all disarmed!
Can’t even spend commercial breaks
Protecting our women-folk from stampeding herds of buffalo
Or mowing down traitors – or the occasional homo)

You know for a fact, cause you’ve taken to heart
The incisive reporting you read on Breitbart

That our health-care system, centrally-planned (did
You warn us?  You did!)
Is collapsing five-yearly,

Why, you could see your wife admitted to the crumbling
Central People’s Hospital of Torontokistan while in labour,

thirdworldhospital

People’s Central Hospital of Torontokistan:  Private rooms available!

And not even be issued your visitor’s pass until it’s nearly

Time to greet the first grandkid!

Zut, alors!” cries People’s Revolutionary Atheist Abortion-Assistant Marxist Midwife, Rank 34,

“It is imperative that we find more Jell-O for Bed 4,093, komrad,
48th floor!

Raspberry flavour!!”

And when you can’t take it anymore, Just slip the surgeon
A few crumpled rubles.

If it gets them the Jell-O, hell, oh he might
Do you a favour.

5.

O, Cana-DA – !

The dad of current Person-Called-Trudeau, who coincidentally
Was himself also A Person Called Trudeau, and so on and forth,
Once said
That to live with our restive pal, our buddy to the south
Was rather like sharing a peanut- and shrapnel-filled bed
(Alright, I’m putting a few extra words in his mouth)
With an elephant—

—An elephant with sleep apnea;
Plus the occasional attack of
Restless Leg Syndrome;

And a tendency to, every so often,
Just out and out
Shove you.

Tant pis.

He made the joke, if you check the fact,
Just before enacting the War Measures Act.
Which was itself a shove and a half.
Nonetheless, Quebeckers always have the last laugh, because –

We have to sing O, CanaDA, forever that way.
The word-setting works perfectly – but only en français.
They were first to get their hat in.

Terre de nos aïeux.
Je me souvien

And O, CanaDA,
No matter who may
Shove you:

A Mari Usque Ad Mare!
Or, rough translation from the Latin:

Fuck, I
Love you.

©David Roddis, 20162017


UPDATE:

A reader has made the sniffy comment that my ode is “not very catchy”.

This is the kind of entitled, sour-grapes kind of sniping from political hobbyists that I’m forced to endure these days, and I’m well aware that this goes hand-in-hand with the kind of celebrity I enjoy now that my stats are well above 10.

Bernie Sanders told me to expect this and I didn’t believe him, well, no one did, really, and it’s to his eternal discredit that he didn’t mention this to me earlier.

Yeah, way to go, Trouble-Hair, and I’m just about fed up enough to reveal you stole that campaign slogan from your local Indian restaurant, “Mama Patel’s Tandoori Palace And Head Shop Buy Your Stiffie Pills Heer-Walla”.

“Feel the Bern”, indeed.

WhateVVVVVER. I welcome the completion of our “Giant Ice Palace from The French People” border wall once the sun goes down again, around August, which is when email transmission becomes dodgy, unless you’re with Rogers and never had any to begin with.

But you know, and can I just say, seriously. Try dancing my ode to the tune of that traditional Newfoundland fiddle classic, “Maple Syrup for my Beaver, Welfare for my Cod” and you’ll feel your toes tapping soon enough.

Even Ashley MacIsaac couldn’t piss on that one.

DJR

[PPS:  Justin – Called 83 times since 3AM but goes to VM, WTF???  The percs and the razor blades are lined up and I’m running a hot bath, so if you don’t want this on your conscience you better get your “cul” over here and continue our conversational French. Capisce?

Just tell Sophie you’re “going jogging so you can test drive those new socks.” Yeah, that’ll work.

Ditchez la biche et faites le Switch, baby. Ah, oui, tabernac, Marie-Joseph !!!!]

In which I get all squishy about Melania.

Good morning, I’ve had a most

instructively contrary twenty-four hours and damn it, I mean to share.

I’ve bashed my erstwhile Monday Man-Crush, The-Person-Called-Trudeau (I didn’t mean it, baby, it must have been the string beans, honest!) in broad daylight on The Guardian’s website (on the other hand you never picked up your cell, and you dance like a str8-tard, nyah!); and now, in response to » a deliciously spiteful article on Medium, I’ve stood up for The Great Mannequin, Her Royal Trophy-ness, The Missus Melania—and may every Progressive worthy of the name heave great gobbing globules of spittle on me should I dare show my face in public again.

And how much, I ask myself, do I really care?  And do I agree with myself?  Politics is so confusing.

Here’s the link to the Medium article:

» Melania Trump Isn’t a Black and White Issue

And here’s my response:


When I, progressive as I am

Melania-trump-wife-of-donald-trump-modeling-pictures

Melania deserves – less Photoshop?

down to my toes and up to my increasingly wrinkled brow, see a — critique? Article? such as this one — searching for the right word here. What do they call it when someone is denounced from a pulpit? Anathema.

Anyway, when I see an, err, anathema, I have a strategy. First, I read it through, even though I may have to prop open my eyelids like they do to Malcolm McDowell as the protagonist in “A Clockwork Orange”. I find cocktail toothpicks work well for this.

It’s not that I’m bored. Far from it. In fact, in the case of this particular anathema, from the first sighting of the words “gets what she deserves” I’m filled with revulsion. Now, as a writer and an artist, I know that revulsion is often a good sign, a sign that the work has had a profound effect on me. I mean, I didn’t set out to read anything with the word “Trump” in it expecting a day in the country and a hamper from Holt Renfrew, you hear what I’m saying?

Second, and I know you’re all following along here, I put on my conservatard-proof full-body nuclear jumpsuit, ready for the onslaught of “you liberals” and “nothing better to do” and “nyah nyah you lost we won” off-the-rack progressive-bashing, which involves little imagination but a lot of spraying saliva. Check.

And third, I attempt to fashion a reasoned response, because though I don’t agree with a lot of what you say — and maybe even you don’t agree with a lot of what you say — I am darned determined to back you up as much as I can, as though we were a divorcing couple who hold hands in public but fight at home with the curtains closed.

So honey, now that the curtains are closed — I understand your righteous indignation, and I’m all for it, but let’s talk. Let’s leave “she’s costing the taxpayer money”, because that’s just silly. Anyone in the role of FLOTUS is costing the taxpayer money, vapid or not. And it’s interesting to speculate on the hand-brushing-away thing, but neither you nor I nor anyone has the slightest clue what that is about, not really. You are reading into that gesture a confirmation of a story you have built up about Melania.

Melania Trump made choices that many women might have made had they had the opportunity, and I don’t particularly see anything vile or even surprising about them. She had, as far as I’ve read, a successful career, she married a wealthy man and took every advantage of that—and what would the rest of us do, eat Pot Noodles and shop at the Sally Ann?— and now, (here’s my story) to her astonishment, and possibly horror, she’s married to the President, with every eye upon her. She may be unfit, she may take a deep breath and rise to the occasion. I suspect the latter.

No, let’s be honest, I hope for the latter. I want women to be strong and successful and rise to the occasion; I’m just a sucker for hope, that way.

But in no way, no way, is she responsible for her husband’s performance or his policies. No way is she responsible for his crass behavior or his beliefs, assuming he actually has some. No way does her position as first spouse necessarily mean that she supports him.

What am I saying, ultimately? Resist the urge to blanket condemn anything that Trump touches, including his wife. It’s not a black and white issue, your words, not mine; but your insistence on having Melania play the role of “evil consort” leaves no room for nuance, and nuance, god help us, is what we crave more than ever.

Have some empathy for someone caught up in a role they never anticipated, have some faith. And never, never put your sister down.

Great piece, by the way.