No Health in Us

What white people talk about when they talk about racism…

… We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us …

—from the order for Morning Prayer, Book of Common Prayer, 1662 (Anglican Communion)

I’m atheist, by the way. I needed you to know that.

I’m Not Racist!”

EVERYWHERE I WANDER, I HEAR THE white person’s anxious mantra:

“I’m not racist, I’m always nice to blacks!”

And my eyes roll back in my head like the fruit on a one-armed bandit after you’ve plugged in your food allowance for the month and are just getting the rent cheque changed into tokens.

I’m not especially Boomer-woke-guy, but years make up, somewhat, for innate wokelessness, that sense common to all Boomers that back in my day, and pry the CDs out of my cold, dead hands, and get a university education so you can get a well-paying job. Age has given me perspective, just not around those things.

But when you say “I’m always nice to the blacks,” I cringe, because I know what that looks like. Awkward culture signaling; you extolling Spike Lee or explaining how sympathetic you are to Black Lives Matter if only they weren’t so angry all the time; when you just gotta play some hip hop and be someone’s bad-ass bro. Trust me, appropriation isn’t approval, and no one’s interested in your approval, anyway.

So I want to talk to you white guys, specifically white straight guys, because I’m a white gay guy, so I have a bit of an advantage. Or perhaps I mean a bit of a disadvantage, which is an advantage.

I so wanted that to work out better.

Here’s the deal: I have all the privileges of being male, and all the privileges of being white, and at the same time I’ve had a taste of what you we call oppression, because I’m gay. So: less than, invisible, not a real man, all that kind of thing.

And please: I’m not comparing my experience with that of black people. It is not a competition of misery and injustice. My experience is entirely different, except for that one aspect of oppression, which, going out on a limb, here, is something straight white males have zero experience of. You have not been denied housing, been denied the right to marry, been bullied, shunned by your family, called a pedophile, beaten up or killed, because you are white and heterosexual. There are no hate crimes against white straight men.

So I’m hoping that the white male part will give me a way to talk to you, some credibility, and the fact of my experience of oppression will at least allow me not to be just another white straight male trying to figure out what oppression must feel like.

Kind of like a double agent, but without the trench coat and all of the standing under street lamps looking like Humphrey Bogart.

When white people say I’m always nice to blacks I see you – by which I mean us – being kind out of noblesse oblige. You’re slumming it, being nice when you could easily be not-nice, and you’ll be watching to make sure the recipient is suitably grateful.

When you explain how nice you are and how the problem must be coming from somewhere else, you display your racist, blinkered perspective that barely makes it to the end of your nose, because this discussion is, you may be astonished to hear, not about you.

When we talk about racism we cannot factor in our individual actions of niceness (whose purpose is less about being inclusive and more about assuaging our anxiety). We run onto a bloody battlefield with a single bandaid. It won’t do. Our niceness, designed to touch only the surface, is only potent enough for white folks, white dilemmas.

Our gentility is not helpful because it cements in us our idea that racism has nothing to do with us, that the problem is with extremists: avowed white supremacists, neo-nazis, the far, far right.

They are a huge symptom of the problem, obviously, but so are we, because even doing our absolute bleeding-heart-white-liberal-SJW best, we can’t escape the benefits we enjoy. White supremacy is the air we breathe and the water we drink and the After Eight mint with our cup of coffee.

Our life path is smoothed with white privilege like the path that royalty walks on, swept constantly by invisible hands, so that not even a grain of sand remains to irritate our privileged toes.

We’re talking about systems, laws, institutions that perpetuate injustice, even if we’re “nice to the help.”

NOTICE THAT EACH DAY, EVERY BOUNDARY of the unbelievable and the never-before-seen gets pushed and massaged and stretched further. The reality of unidentified soldiers of mysterious armies assaulting citizens of a democracy—making explicit the idea the pundits and the influencers have been building towards, that protest is inherently criminal—starting now, this new reality made explicit either fills you with outrage or, as your minds become anesthetized with disbelief, becomes an idea you are resigned to and passively accept; the new normal.

But the outrage requires doubling down on protests; it requires rejecting the alternative truth, believing what you see; and what’s terrifying is that you might not manage to get there; not after you’ve demonstrated a thousand times that you’ll believe anything, facilitate everything, no matter how blatantly false or inhumane.

When did it all begin? The world looked at the inauguration and saw empty space; Trump told us it was the greatest attended ever. You laughed, but the softening up had begun. It wasn’t long until you had “shithole countries” and “infestations;” the press as “enemies of the people” and “a perfect conversation” with the Ukrainian president.

Americans witnessed twenty-two (it might be more, I lost count) women accusing the President of sexual assault, and nothing happened. There was the ridiculous cant of “the President cannot be indicted,” despite legal expert upon expert explaining that that is not law, but simply convention.

You had Trump declaring that “he can do anything he wants,” a declaration of autocracy in a country supposedly guided by the rule of law, a statement which elevates the President to a class by himself, above the law, above the people. Next thing you know, the Department of Justice is doing the President’s bidding, punishing “enemies” and rewarding sycophants; most recently firing Geoff Berman, a DA in the process of investigating Trump’s campaign financing irregularities. Surely nothing suspicious there!

But I understand. Pushing back at everything is exhausting.

Drained and resigned, cynical and passive: exactly where they want you.

“A Great Day!”

OF ALL THE EVIL THINGS TRUMP HAS SAID, the most evil is: “This is a great day for George Floyd.”

“This is a great day for George Floyd.” Donald Trump, this white man, in theory the most powerful leader of the most powerful country in the world, doesn’t consider with what pain and shock the grieving family must hear this statement, or how wildly inappropriate is his tone of parental condescension, as though Daddy’s explaining, in words of one syllable so you’ll understand, his brilliant solution for saving the family picnic from the rain.

One hears nothing remotely like empathy, not that any was expected at this point. There’s no gravitas, which anyway for Trump means pretension and pomposity; no sense of the significance of this moment, on either a personal or national level.

He is utterly vacant, a blank slate, empty of memory and intent, past and future, without regard for anything except the world’s attention on him, in this place, in this moment.

He appropriates the family’s, and the nation’s, grief; he fondles it with his dirty hands and decides it plays well as a banal greeting card: “To a wonderful dad! Congratulations on your great day!”

This is the sermon in the misfortune trope, that Hollywood moment when we’re taught that the wretched man who died randomly at the hands of a cop didn’t die in vain. He helped bring about—change! It’s a great day!

We would find it repugnant to even form the thought, but Trump, well-wadded with stupidity, makes the assertion with a village idiot’s gusto.

Well, why stop at one great day? Try this thought experiment:

Let’s someone kneel on Trump’s neck, until he begs for mercy, begs in an agony of physical pain and the spiraling panic of breathlessness. Let Trump beg until he’s at his last breath, then, in extremis, squanders his last breath. Let him beg for mercy, and then refuse him mercy.

Think, in this experiment: “You are less than human. I refuse to hear you. You are nothing.” Then finish the experiment.

A great day for Donald Trump.

White Supremacy, White Guilt, White Privilege

White people bristle with indignation because all lives matter; what they mean is white lives matter more, though they bristle with even more indignation when we offer that translation. How can anyone now doubt that black lives are considered expendable, that they do not matter?

Why should I feel guilty? I hear white people saying. And I say to you, white guys: Show me.

Show me one sentence, one speech, anywhere at any time, when white people have been given “Feel guilty!” as the prescription for this sickness. Go ahead, try and find one.

I state unequivocally: No one, not one person, not a single news anchor, minister, politician, academic, Member of Parliament, Representative, Mayor or City Councillor, not even the family of George Floyd, has asked white people to feel guilty.

That’s our white people’s fragility, our distaste at feeling any negative emotion. We don’t like to “feel bad,” we don’t like being “shocked.” That’s another effect of privilege: Having the dirty work, the field work, the emotional work done by others. We’re that white piece of paper that, in a Japanese proverb, more easily shows the dirt.

Oh, you might feel guilty. But that’s your shit. In fact, unless you start to take action about the injustice you’ve witnessed, it’s just a manipulative ploy. That way the attention is back on you, frail (but secretly enraged) white person, because you’ve been made to feel bad. And feeling bad is something we’ve traditionally outsourced.

You’re the victim! Brilliant!

No black person is asking white people to feel guilty. What they are asking is for white people to become aware of and admit their privilege, because nothing will happen if we don’t. The following list, quite a famous one by Peggy McIntosh dating from 1988, may help.

Nothing Good from Murder

A nice white lady from the American south is on Twitter, and upset that there is rioting. “It’s a terrible thing they did, those policemen, and I hope they get hauled on the carpet. But this rioting is not the way to get your opinions across.”

She’s trying her best, the nice white lady. She’s genteel. And she is so far removed from any experience that would make her understand why there are riots or demonstrations that she could be from a distant star.

Because angry protesters are not trying to sell us their opinions. They are overflowing with the rage that up until now has been tamped down, the righteous anger that was withheld because black people thought if they played the game, they’d beat the game.

Being dignified. Well-mannered. Whiter than their white oppressors. Surely that would win people over. Prove your equality, earn your rightful place. Play by the rules, be so white that even white people can’t be that white.

But the day comes when you witness one more murder by one more indifferent cop, and something breaks. You realize your folly: that there is nothing you can do to justify your existence or to make yourself human in the eyes of those for whom you are always the slave class. There is nothing to correct because the hatred comes not from anything you have or haven’t done, it comes from the fact that you exist at all as black. You realize that no one with the power to help will even pay attention until you burn the fucking house down. You boil over.

All right, you say. So we’ll burn the fucking house down. Have it your way.

There is nothing good that can come out of the murder of another black man by cops. Nothing. Refuse the attempt to pin a narrative of triumph to a sordid tragedy. That is just more white niceness. I doubt that George Floyd sought to be a martyr. I think he wanted something more difficult: just to live an ordinary life in the United States of America. Nothing can give his murder meaning, redeem it, wipe away the tears, no outcome was worth his life. There’s no sermon in the bullets or tenderness in the bloodied hands.

That’s how this civil war has been waged, one murder at a time. What’s changed is the evidence: clips on cell phones, eye-witnesses. Black people have lived with this every day for entire lifetimes, for generations, and we refused to see it, but now there is irrefutable evidence.

White guys: Feel guilty or don’t feel guilty, no one gives a damn. Don’t make this about how bad white guys feel. Stop feeling guilty and start taking responsibility.

Listen to the leaders in the black community, to your black friends and coworkers, to find out what to do. Stop trying to figure this out, because you can’t. Stop proclaiming your innocence, because no one cares.

Stop the pose of being angry; behind the facade of anger lies our grief in our complicity. Listen. Listen with humility, with open mind and heart, to someone else’s experience.

Then we will learn what those in need say they need, and why.


Conservatives finally broke the world…

… with help from my mom’s new sofa

SO I’M SITTING ON MY BALCONY WITH A friend of my friend. The friend of my friend is black, and as we small-talk each other he tells me that he’s Canadian, having been born here of parents who emigrated here from Jamaica. This seems totally right and logical, hardly worth even articulating, despite the new Trumpian standard of “we’ll be the judge of who’s a citizen or not, bright eyes, so better not get too uppity.”

Nope, born here is all you need. In fact, I’ll make a stab at it and say his parents are Canadian, too. Mr. All-Embracing PC Snowflake, that’s me!

It’s an uncomfortably muggy July evening and we’re eating chickpea stew over couscous from white Dollarama bowls. (I made the stew and steamed the couscous myself. I needed you to know that.) Our thoughts turn, don’t ask me how or why, to immigration, and this guy, Joe, which is absolutely not his name, says to me:

“The refugees get all these beautiful town houses, for free. They get more than you get on benefits.”

He says to me:

“I think Air Canada should stop hiring all these foreigners, because of security. They should hire only Canadians.”

He says to me:

“It’s black people who are always rude to me. White people are fine. It’s the black people I always have a problem with.”

And after I mentally rehearse the vomiting up of a full bowl of couscous and chickpeas in spicy tomato sauce then the post-puke dabbing of my lips accompanied by a final, raucous belch, my heart seizes up and falls out of my shirt like a lump of concrete.

I’m thinking, I’m a sixty-three-year-old—no I don’t, do I?— white guy and I have to explain to a gay black guy that refugees do not get all these beautiful town houses for free.

I have to explain to a gay black guy that many people would look at him and automatically assume that he’s “a foreigner,” and “not Canadian” just because of the color of his skin.

I have to explain to a gay black guy that it’s not about individuals of any race, it’s about how racism is systemic, built into the mechanisms of everyday life.

It’s not whether another individual black guy or white guy is rude to you about a parking spot. It’s about what happens when you go for a job, what happens when you apply for an apartment, what happens when you’re minding your business in Starbucks or getting into your car that someone has decided a black person would not own or walking down the street and a cop sees you?

It’s about what happens when you’re arrested and go to court and what kind of sentence, if any, do you get? And what happens to a white person in that same situation?

I have to explain to a gay black guy that he’s repeating fake news stories and urban myths and being racist.

And I can’t cope. I spend most of my online, and increasingly, offline, interactions pushing back at other white people when they make similar comments; when they say white people aren’t the only ones who had slaves, you know even though the discussion is about America, in which context white people are the only people who had slaves; when they say I’m color blind or claim that any grievance voiced by people of color is white racism.

I can barely cope with the onslaught of racism burbling out of white people now that Trump and his autocratic buddies worldwide have made racism a popular choice once again, I can barely deal with that. I am at a loss for dealing with a gay black guy who says this shit.

So that’s why I jumped off my eighth-floor balcony and landed on my feet, scrunching my legs right up into my pelvis, which has meant having all my trousers re-hemmed, an extra expense that I could ill afford.

You have to weigh the pro’s and the con’s. Tying my shoes is easier, but my knuckles drag along the sidewalk. People admire my integrity, but they preface their admiration with, “Hey down there—little guy!” Maybe I could have made the same statement in a more constructive, less dramatic fashion.

Oh, well. Too late now!

I grew up, like any mid-range Boomer, inside a normal, white racist household, with a normal, white racist mom and dad. My mother, who did the talking for both of them, cleaned up nice and, when meeting a new department store charge card, would skip the introductions and press it tearfully to her bosom like Dorothy hugging Toto after his escape from Elvira Gulch’s basket.

Anyone who wasn’t WASP, white Anglo-Saxon Protestant—this is not something you could aspire to, you either are or you aren’t—was obviously just not trying hard enough, even though, as I just said, trying is irrelevant. With me so far?

Skin color barely entered into it. Just strike off one of those attributes, say, “Protestant,” and it’s game over. Disparaging remarks about non-WASPs were acceptable WASP conversation. For some reason, probably because I’m gay, the one I remember most clearly is: “Barbra Streisand just opens her big Jewish mouth and screams”, an example of antisemitic WASP musical criticism that would have made Richard Wagner’s nasty little eyes bug out with pride, or is it envy.

My mother probably made that remark after a rousing game of bridge, while passing around wobbling platefuls of “Charlotte Russe” (which contained lime Jell-O, as did everything my mother cooked, probably even the pot roast contained lime Jell-O), and cups of Red Rose tea, served in hand-painted china cups. This was a genteel remark, if a bit obvious, yet god forbid there should be a lull in the conversation.

I mean, what could you say in response? “Fascinating, and exactly how big is her big Jewish mouth and how loudly does she scream?” Of course Barbra did that! Why not start the conversation with, “I noticed the sun rose in the East this morning,” for heaven’s sake! Lame!

This remark dates from Barbra’s early appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, a variety show. Variety shows were an extension of vaudeville, stage entertainments for all the family, so on a variety show you’d see singers (or “screamers”, if Barbra) and an act with a dog, and maybe a puppeteer and a comedian and some acrobats. So Barbra wasn’t yet a mega-star, at which point she could graduate from “big-mouthed screamer” and join the ranks of, take your pick, “bitch” (a woman with power), or “anti-Christ,” which is all the Jews who were controlling the media and just in it for the money.

Money! Power! Talent! The holy Trinity, unless you’re not WASP, heterosexual and male, when they become the Golden Calf. Anti-Christ Bitch Barbra, she’s got it all!

Moving along.

Jews, and Italians (who were also Catholics, which was kind of like when you get the letters for “syzygy” in Scrabble, a satisfying double-whammy of prejudice), got lumped together. These people, not being WASPs, were not strictly “white” because, you know.


Ethnic meant colorful, so Gary and Adelina, the only Italians in Whitby, served as, you might say, the honorary town throw cushions who lived three blocks down the street, throw cushions in black velvet and gold braiding and “Souvenir of Niagara Falls” stitched on the front. Their house had figurines of the Virgin Mary, and what looked like actual photographs of Jesus, and Gary, a tailor by trade, smelled like sweat and warm bread and red wine, wine which he made at home in his basement. They used olive oil instead of butter.

WASPs do not smell. Dirty ethnics! WASPs do not use oil. Greasy ethnics!

But that was OK. Ethnics were not expected to have or to represent good taste, which for WASPs means how many shades of beige and cream can you deploy in one room and under how much plastic. Good taste means everything matching, because that’s what you saw in a magazine.

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

So we toddled along, making do with Italians and Jews, maybe the odd Polish Catholic if you were really desperate, as the targets on which to discharge our Anglo-Saxon bile and make them be the cause of things, rather than the cause being our obnoxious self-regard and personal manifest destiny.

And then of course came—the sixties! No sooner had my two sisters frosted their lips, raised their hemlines and learned to Twist when it was dead Kennedys, Lyndon Johnson and civil rights; race riots, Detroit and Chicago and Berkeley on fire; MLK Jr, Rosa Parks, and marches on Selma, summers of love, hippies and yippies.

Suddenly my mother and all the other white people were up till all hours processing the dusky Europeans into “white,” and bringing their focus to bear on figuring out what to do about these really non-white, unmistakably non-white, black people who’d suddenly found a voice.

Or was it that we hadn’t listened before?

No one listens to the voices of the oppressed (not hearing is the point of the oppression, after all) until the house is burning down; and what we finally heard was: “So we’ll burn the friggin house down, have it your way!”

This succeeded, finally, in getting someone’s attention.

Black people rioted in American cities, where the racism was more overt, the attitudes harder, the privilege somehow more entrenched. Canada, after all, had begun a gradual process of abolition in 1793, and in 1834 a British Act of Parliament abolished slavery throughout the Empire. Upper Canada became a destination for an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 refugee slaves via the Underground Railroad.

Forty thousand! Where were they? We’d literally, in Whitby, Ontario, never seen a black person live. This cannot be true, I rifle through my brain’s Rolodex for any memories, yet as far as I can tell I grew up in a small town in which I swear no black people lived. I remember no black shopkeepers, or teachers, or playmates.

They existed only on American TV and in American cities; in the pages of my Rand-McNally Children’s Encyclopedia, god help me, where they were called “Negroes,” (the new N-word) and where it was suggested that they were “good at sports and as entertainers, even scientists!”

Well, pick that cotton to a chorus of “Mammy” and stick a jockey on the front lawn, who knew!

In fact, my parents, who were your average, decent, nominally Christian, basically educated but unsophisticated small-town white people, didn’t really say anything I can remember that was bad about black people. I expect the whole concept was so fantastically alien it eclipsed any concept of ethnic, leaving them at a loss for words.

Still, there was that seventy-year head start with abolition; and that more liberal attitude, taking pride in its ornery non-American-ness. (It’s that unmistakable Canadian air of quiet, bemused Loyalist superiority, drawing on the enlightened authority of the Crown, that still drives some Americans bonkers.)

And so we went back to our living rooms to watch Judy Garland singing “Swanee,” her face loaded with more boot-polish than the entire U.S. infantry, breathing a sigh of relief.

We’d deal with black people when we had to. The possibility of black neighbors was not something we worried about, mainly because it seemed so unlikely.

Unless, of course, some black sportsmen, or entertainers, or even scientists, found the charms of Whitby, Ontario—with its leafy park, the annual itinerant carnival, the Carnegie Library, year-round Christmas lights and the orange-cellophaned windows of Whitby Mall—irresistible.

Thinking more about my mom, which reassures me that she’s still dead, I am reminded yet again about Trump’s comments that “the Squad” should “go back to their own countries.”

My mom did the same thing with sofas. This is a direct analogy. She would invite a sofa into our home — say, in coral silk or blue brocade—cover it in heavy plastic and, for a while, the two would co-exist happily.

This was “the honeymoon.”

Then, of course, as in any relationship, the sofa would begin to get ideas. One morning we’d discover that the sofa had thrown off its plastic cover in the night, or popped a button, or it would deliberately heat up when you sat on it, so you’d be sitting in an embarrassing puddle of sweat. The valance on the bottom of the sofa would begin to fray. The interloper was restless.

My mother would not stand for any show of sofa independence. Sofas had to know their function: to please her, to be a source of comfort, and above all to fit on her charge card and exact the high interest rates that would keep her relationship with the Robert Simpson Company well-oiled and meaningful and my father permanently on the road earning too little money (but not too little to get hammered).

The day came that she would no longer be speaking to the sofa. This was the contempt period, following, like a case of crab lice follows hooker sex, the last gasp of the honeymoon and the nano-second period of contentment; for my mother was a consuming soul as restless as the westward wind, that wayward wind that’s sure to wander.

I don’t know if my mother ever told a sofa, “Go back where you came from.” But soon after the contempt came the delivery men, rolling their eyes, for this ritual was repeated once, twice, three times per year. My mother would get an apology, a full refund and a new sofa, this one more compliant, less uppity, than the one before.

You just have to be absolutely clear who’s boss.

Conservatives, most current among them Donald Trump, the Great Mouth Breather, have finally done it. They’ve finished the work that Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and the two Bushes started, not to mention de facto conservatives like Bill Clinton.

They’ve ruined the world, broken the social contract, turned everyone against the people who should be their allies, namely all the other people, and made division, fueled by racism, an agenda.

Democracy is gone, busted, kaput. In its place partisanship, entrenchment of power, as those we elect refuse all compromise and game the system through gerrymandering and judicial appointments, to ensure their ideology gets woven so tightly into the fabric that plucking our own eyes out would be easier than unweaving it.

For democracy to exist, we all have to agree on some basic principles: we have to realize that democracy is never simply about what the majority wants but how we treat minorities. Democracy is primarily about human rights, increasing our understanding of and extending the reach of equality, justice and dignity, and we have to agree what this means.

Liberalism is incremental, contextual, progressing slowly as we learn. It’s not black and white, revolutionary or impatient. It’s not about throwing out everything we have, it’s improving what works and evolving what doesn’t.

This is why the French Revolution ended in a bloodbath; and why Britain, watching the events in France to remind themselves how not to do things, continued with its plodding, slow increments of common law and of equity, a gradual, extremely imperfect, organic growth. Boring old liberalism may drag its feet but it leaves more heads attached to necks.

We need to agree that government is not a business, that leaders of our countries should not be accountants, but visionaries who respond to our beliefs and who work not for themselves but for the public good.

We have to agree that health care and hospitals, housing, a single system of public schools and secondary schools and universities from which emerge educated citizens whose eventual contributions enrich society; water, power, food; day care for our children whom we claim to cherish, that these things must be universally available, not delivered privately for the wealthy and publicly for everyone else. We have to agree that there can be no first-class and second-class citizens.

We have to agree that there is a level below which we will not let people sink, and then we have to discuss how we will help them if they do. This is not pure altruism but an investment in a robust, stable society over the long term.

Extremes of wealth inequality stop democracy from functioning: If your life consists of a struggle to house, clothe and feed yourself and your family, there is no time or energy or will to participate as a functioning member of the body politic. In this sense, democracy is a luxury item.

If you can’t afford access to professional journalism and get your “news” from Facebook and other dubious websites pushing their agendas rather than seeking truth, you are a sitting duck for disinformation and will soon end up in a bubble of lies, half-lies, fake “experts” and conspiracy theories.

Soon you are denying reality and clinging to your alternative facts in order to “belong ;” soon you trust no information source except those that espouse the same crazy beliefs; and what you believe is what your fellow bubble-dwellers believe.

But for democracy to function, even to know where we disagree, we have to agree on the truth and know where we have a reasonable chance of finding it. This agreement will probably not contain such ideas as “the poor are lazy,” “winners and losers,” and “the market will solve everything.”

Do we have this consensus? We used to. But then the right initiated their project of turning informed, educated, rational adults into misinformed, confused, panic-stricken children. What was once a salon for the airing of intelligent thought has been transformed into a giant playground full of whimpering, reactive, traumatized liberals whose balloons have been popped by the snarky, emboldened bully conservatives as they scream “Snowflakes!” “Libtards!” “SJW’s!”

And we liberals, believe it or not, actually mind these epithets and waste our time responding to them. Instead we could be sparking the imagination of voters with a compelling narrative of a better society: one in which everyone is valued and in which we recognize the principle of equality while respecting diversity. Our failure to do so more or less tells me that conservatives have a point about the snowflake thing, which I would have twisted myself into a pretzel to avoid admitting.

What do voters want, now that they are reduced to whimpering, confused, angry, ill-educated, misinformed children? A big, blustering father figure who’ll tell them everything’s going to be all right.

You’re the best, he’ll say. I’ll take care of those bullies. Don’t bother trying to figure this out. It’s just the xtreme lefties, criminals, Antifa, illegals. And you’ve got me, now.

He’ll say: I’m the only one who can fix this for you.

We had just started cooking pad Thai and buying hand-woven rugs at Pier One to show how cosmopolitan we were about the ethnics when Reagan and Thatcher and Bush started to cast their evil spell. They convinced us that prosperity was scarce, places at the table limited and a comfortable life that wouldn’t involve scraping by as best you could available only to those rat-like and ruthless enough to win the race.

They didn’t have to remind us that where there are winners there are losers; we figured that out for ourselves. We saw what it meant to be a loser: to live on the street, go hungry in the midst of plenty, to have no support, to be nothing.

The newly empowered right proved their point by de-funding social programs until they didn’t work, then telling us that incompetent government and “the nanny state” were the enemy; by preying on Protestant guilt and telling us the poor were poor by choice, that they were lazy.

Meanwhile the one percent lounged in their country clubs wearing Prada sneakers and drinking rum that someone once traded for slaves, while their nannies looked after the kids.

They made the effort to lift everyone up, the effort to reconnect the human family, into an evil. By hammering us with the misused words communism and socialism—we were uneducated, remember? and had no choice but to believe them, no intellectual ammunition against the lies—they planted in our poor heuristically-vulnerable brains the false idea that to offer universal government-delivered health care was akin to denouncing your family to Stalin and sending them to the gulag.

By hammering us with the words rapists and terrorists and invasion and illegals they reanimated the slimy residue of racism that we still contained so that our lizard brains quivered with atavistic fears. In that state we had no hope of processing the truth: that we were being manipulated, that there were rapists and terrorists and invaders, for sure, but they were the people we elected—and quite a number of corporate CEO’s whom we didn’t.

There is no scarcity of money or of prosperity. There are funds for healthcare. There are funds for housing and feeding and guaranteeing an income to every person in North America. A government that mints its own money can never default on its own debt. A state in the red is a public in the black. Interest is virtually zero. Every yacht and penthouse that the one percent could possibly want has been sold; they don’t even know what to do with their idle money except produce more money. The world is awash with money.

What’s scarce is truth.

There are Facebook groups dedicated to debunking the myth that the world is round. This is how lost we’ve become. This is our level of panic. This is our successful reduction to partisan, truth-free zombies. Our brains are wiped clean of fact, there is no information source we trust, we’re ready, empty and malleable.

If you are so adrift that you can’t figure out who is trustworthy, if you have so lost your bearings that you can believe the world is flat, the moon landing was faked, and there are extra-terrestrials wandering among us but the government’s not letting on, it’s a piece of cake to make you believe your unsafe streets or unemployment are caused by liberals, homos, feminists—or a few thousand refugees seeking asylum.

A day will come when the drones fly overhead, the levees collapse and the oceans engulf the coasts with mile-high waves; when deserts crack open like desiccated skin and the fires ignite. We’ll experience these together.

This, finally, will be the truth we can all agree upon, as together we all become refugees with no safe haven.

My mother, like most people, softened and changed once we’d moved to the city and met black people; homosexuals, including me; Asian people and hookers and hucksters and other exotic types. Because you learn tolerance, then acceptance, then truth, by being forced by life to rub elbows with, work with, live with the full spectrum of humanity.

This is what makes cities the roiling, bustling, all-in-this-together final liberal hope for human survival,

and towns, those hard, conservative kernels of smug self-satisfaction and hatred, its certain extinction.


Toronto man avoids preparing six years of delinquent taxes, and what happens next is MINDBLOWING!

but I must emphasize that there are absolutely no

Heartrending pictures taken seconds before tragedy strikes!

Cinnamon Rolls

WAKING UP ON MY SOFA THIS MORNING, fully-clothed and irradiated by apocalyptic levels of over-enthusiastic sunlight, is the somewhat unpleasant start to my day. You may think that’s because I would naturally want to wake up in bed, which is correct. But the sofa is my bed; the unpleasant start is due to something that is happening today which is not yet fully with me, which is playing hide-and-seek at the edge of my consciousness.

I cough, I blink. I have sore, dry eyes, and a coffee-and-cigarette hangover—a raw throat and a headache that only coffee and cigarettes can heal—and pressing through the dull ache is a nagging, vague thought of a task or an appointment, an obligation that won’t leave me alone. Something insistent and inescapable, like a plucky four-year-old determined to find his way home after mommy left him in the Mall, by the fountain, with a note pinned to his collar. The four-year-old isn’t howling yet, but he will be.

It’s definitely not my birthday. I know that. I won’t have to feign excitement at getting just what I wanted, too tight and in burgundy. The sun is so blazingly, hellishly bright in my living room that I’m squinting. My head splits in two. Give me a break, Mr. Insufferable Fireball of Happy!

Not even a foot away from where I’m lying is my desk, a long, low sheet of thick, tempered glass on chrome supports; on it two monitors and, sharing the same plate, half of a dry, curled-up cheese sandwich and a half-pack’s worth of cigarette butts. There’s a corded mouse, a corded keyboard and speakers, and two external drives; there are four cigarette packs, three of them empty, torch lighters, a can of butane, three Bic lighters, two of them working, and an assortment of mugs half full of cold coffee.

And dotted across the landscape of my desk —which is really a dining table—there are clusters of miniature skyscrapers, entire miniature city centers of cigarettes stood up on their filter ends which have burned away like that when I found I had no ashtray, and it seemed impossible to get up, walk to the kitchen and get one.

Mugs half full of cold coffee make great ashtrays.

I chose this dining table as my desk because it’s a spacious twenty square feet, giving plenty of breathing room for monitors, books, papers—or at least there should be. But through an odd glitch of the magnetic pole, or an obscure form of Tourette’s, everything on the desk has gradually shifted and inched and crammed itself together at the very front left corner. I’m becoming convinced that my apartment is gradually listing, tilting downward on the east side, as though I’m stuck in an amateur, low-budget re-enactment of the sinking of the Titanic. The monitor, the ashtrays and the cups and the pile of unopened mail are all just one nudge, one sleepy sweep of the arm away from disaster.

Certain nights when I’m working, I feel the cords conspiring against me. I think they’ve been reading Boy Scout rope-tying manuals when I’m not looking. The speaker cord tangles and altercates with the keyboard cord, so the keyboard doesn’t quite reach as close to me as I need, and should I stand up too quickly, their abandonment issues are triggered. The cord for the mouse, who I suspect is the leader, attacks my ankle and in my attempt to extricate myself I drag it off the table to the floor, where it pops its cover and ejects two double-AA batteries like astronauts abandoning their mission.

I’ve remembered now. It’s tax day.

TAX DAY. Beside the left monitor on top of the pile of unopened mail is a large manila envelope filled with my bank statements. I have six years of unfiled taxes to complete, the Canada Revenue Agency wants forty-thousand dollars, I have fifteen cents in the bank and I have to reconstruct my income and expenses from 2012 to 2017.

I look at the envelope. And I whine a little.


Whining is my “warm-up,” the scales and arpeggios, the “unique New York” tongue-twisters of my anxiety, because I have to know that when anxiety is in full flood, I’ll be technically capable. Method whining, sense-memory whining? None of that sloppy, touchy-feely business for me. A good, technically solid whine, and hit the mark ten times out of ten.

Now the debate: Cigarette or vape? Vape or cigarette? This is a two-day-old problem, and, honestly, to call it a debate is just silliness. I’m lighting a cigarette—vaping makes me cough.

But I need java before any meaningful tax-filing or full-throttle whining can happen, so I stagger to the kitchen and discover that the bread dough I mixed at 2:30 AM has completely overflowed the two-liter measuring jug and has started to form a leathery crust. It looks like a sad, deflated baker’s hat, or the skin on a pork shoulder.

Honestly, it looks like a Claes Oldenburg that you can bake and eat, thereby pre-empting any world-record-shattering sales, and then shit out again as a one-off iteration. Put that in your catalogue raisonée.

I divide the dough in half and tuck both pieces into loaf pans, like two plump little newborns, just barely catching myself before I mist them with “Go Green!” all-purpose household cleaner instead of oil, then I cover them tenderly with plastic wrap.

I pour boiling water over the grounds in my French press, French press it, fill a mug with it, and whisper to the mug of it that, somewhere, as unlikely as it seems, milk exists.

Tamino and the Queen of the Night

I’ve been at the computer for two hours, but I am not “doing my taxes”. I have not “made a start” on my taxes. I have not even opened the envelope with my bank statements. I am smoking and watching Act One of a stunning production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute on YouTube, with steam-punky, mysterious animated set designs by the South African artist William Kentridge.

This reminds me of Mozart’s struggles and the tragedy of his end. Mozart died suddenly, at thirty-five, with his life in disarray, with his wife doubting his fidelity; died hopelessly in debt because of his extravagant tastes, his poor money management, his concerts that were successes of prestige, but not profit, and, scholars suspect, because of gambling and sexual promiscuity.

I have no problem with gambling.

I look up Kentridge in Wikipedia (The Encyclopedia You Write Yerself!™) and find we’re exactly the same age. He’s a lifetime, dedicated, seriously important world-class artist since adolescence, and, as the son of highly respected activist lawyers who represented victims of apartheid, he makes subtle yet trenchant political and social statements through his work.

I reflect on my current condition as an aging, unknown blogger teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, the son of a helmet-haired narcissist and an alcoholic itinerant shoe salesman with a secret second family, then I write a grandstanding, pretentious, but actually pretty good review of the production. You can read the review, below, if you can endure the grandstanding. Please be sure to tell me how good it is.

“Magic Flute” review. (Click to enlarge)

My only reservations are that the production was staged at the Théâtre de la monnaie, which seems to mean “Theatre of the Small Change;” and that the audience has either been instructed not to clap or even move because the production is being filmed, or they have all drunk cyanide-laced Kool-Aid and are actually dead.

Queen of the Night’s aria, as she knocks high “F” out of the park? No detectable pulse from the audience. Flatliners napping.

Pamina sings “Ach, ich fühl’s“? Collectively, they couldn’t even fog up a mirror.

OK, right now it’s 2:08 PM, and I think of my friend who is helping me with the taxes even though it makes him behave like he’s smoked a pipeful of crack, and I want to huddle in a corner and scream, “Why can’t you just help me THE WAY I AM?? Why do I have to IMPROVE the way I behave?”

Even imagining this scenario fills me with dread, because it’s substantially a new version “you heard the vinyl, now see the live show” of the time he cut me out of his life. I already owe him two-hundred eighty bucks for the copies of my book he purchased for me so I could approach Indigo, the bookstore, and that I gave away to casual, petty-criminal acquaintances who won’t even read it, because I’m scared to approach Indigo and even more scared of the acquaintances.

I can still redeem myself and start on the taxes if I start NOW! I can! I CAN!


Fooled me.

It’s time to have a quick gander at the New York Times. I read an in-depth piece about antisemitism in Germany, and how it’s never really gone away, just lain low waiting for its next chance to poison the hearts and minds of entire nations.

It never has to wait very long.

In Germany, young Jewish professionals are advised not to advertise their Jewishness, bullying of Jewish kids at school is ignored, and the furthest-right political party uses Islamophobia to drive a wedge between Muslims and Jews, so that everyone’s suspicious of the wrong people, the inherent, centuries-old antisemitism of Christian Europe is ignored and the whole problem can be marginalized and attributed to radicalized immigrants. This is a handy way for antisemitic Germans to deny that they are the problem.

Kind of like how this post is a handy way of ignoring my problem, which is procrastination and owing the tax man forty-thousand dollars!

Yes, David. Your problem with back taxes is exactly the same as Jews who have joined an antisemitic, German right-wing political party because they’ve been hoodwinked, distracted by their vulnerability to the antisemitism of a few unrepresentative immigrant Muslims.

On the other hand:

I forgot to download treats from Creative Whatsit, the site that offers me free graphic design assets every Monday. So I download two fonts:


which are handsome display fonts which I don’t need and will never use after this instance, and an assortment of botanical vector drawings.

Check out these members of the Myrtle family!

Various myrtles, as if you didn’t know!

Still wandering, confused and dazed, in my metaphorical bathrobe down the wrong lane of the online expressway, past the off-ramps marked “Completed Tax Returns and Happiness, next seven exits! Bear right!” I’m suddenly distracted by oncoming traffic, that sidebar you might also enjoy that lists other New York Times articles that you should be reading instead of the one you already are.

And I’m torn. Should I investigate why Game of Thrones was a disappointment, which I knew it had to be anyway without viewing it because, hello??!! Fantasy??!! Meaningless drivel??!! or should I read about Robert Mnuchin, father of Steve?

Robert Mnuchin is an art dealer, he is eighty-nine years old and a Democrat, and he tears up as he refuses to talk about his son, Steven.

(You may recall that Steven is the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, the embarrassing mansplainer who told Maxine Waters, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, to “pound her gravel” [sic]. This goes a long way towards explaining his father’s tears.)

Robert Mnuchin is also the man who recently purchased the Jeff Koons stainless steel sculpture —“Rabbit,” see below—on behalf of a mystery buyer, setting the record—$91 million— for the price of a work of art by a living artist.

Here is the sculpture, with Jeff Koons himself, back in 2009, processed as “oil painting” with FotoSketcher and then according to my special patented Photoshop “let’s appropriate, then mess with, this image” method which can be extended to fill as many hours as you want to waste:

Kinda hot…?
Jeff Koons, “Rabbit,” 1986.
$91,000,000 USD

Jeff Koons is kinda sexy, or is it his billions that take him from Pee-wee Herman to Hot? He is definitely kind of kinky looking. I would very much like to fuck around with Jeff Koons and I would even pay him for the privilege. I would like to be lying naked on a pile of banknotes in the middle of his California King-sized bed in the master bedroom of his penthouse. Jeff Koons has got to have a penthouse, right? Do you have the phone number of his gallery?

That takes the fuckin’ CAKE. Can you believe the nerve of Jeff Koons taking MONEY from ME, a still-gorgeous-and-no-one-can-believe-I’m-a-pensionser- but-still-when-it-comes-down-to-it PENSIONER? What a scumbag! Yeah, go out and oppress another sexually delusional, gold-digging POOR PERSON, OK?? Mr Ninety-one Million Dollar Bunny?!??!!

Mr Koons, like Bill Kentridge, is exactly the same age as me. I reflect for a moment about Jeff Koons, his millions and kajillions, his jet-set life printing money by blowing up dollar-store toys and recreating them in condo finishes and about the devastating, shiny, subversive simplicity of his art.

And I reflect on me, the mere plaything of a Revenue Canada apparently staffed by mercenary sociopaths—thugs, really—who do nothing but make snarky, passive-aggressive remarks about my missing six years of back taxes and their phantom forty-thousand dollars. I still have not started my taxes. I still have not opened the envelope with my bank statements in it.

Maybe me, Jeff Koons and Bill Kentridge should all get together at the hooker Harvey’s at the corner of Jarvis and Gerrard, across the park from me. Jeff could make a stainless steel replica of a burger and sell it for $100 million; Bill could knock off some quick, socially-relevant charcoal drawing animations of the hookers who hang out at Harvey’s and make it into an opera set; and I could cry.

Because, stick with what you know.

The Robert Mnuchin article leads me to an article about 80’s superstar gallerist Mary Boone, who made then-unknown artist Julian Schnabel into an international sensation, and who is currently serving a thirty-month prison sentence for tax fraud.

In an article bristling with dropped names of the art world, one anecdote stands out. It concerns Larry Gagosian, he of the legendary gallery. Gagosian for a brief time lived in L.A., sharing his house with artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, with whom he’d become friends in New York.

This was around 1981. Also sharing the house was a woman Basquiat was dating, a singer with a record contract and, because Gagosian had lost his license and his buddy Mr B. couldn’t be trusted behind the wheel, she also doubled as their driver.

“Hey, Madonna,” they’d say to her, according to the article. “We need to get to Sunset.”

Madonna. Abso-fuckin’-lutely true.

Currently eating fondant icing with a spoon fork.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most profound. Then, there’s me eating fondant icing. The recipe is: A bunch of icing sugar in a bowl, a little milk, then mix it up. I think you should probably cook it, for the full fondattitude, as they say, but I didn’t because that would have delayed the onset of the eating.

Eating the fondant icing was the point, not nit-picky accuracy or food safety. Take a chill pill, my little Miss Pauline Kael with fingers in the pies of Julia Child!

I made the video with Filmora, a video editing app which is way more fun than Adobe Premiere Elements but just as powerful. It costs $59 USD, which I don’t have, so I used the free version that slaps a big watermark on it.

But I don’t mind. Ever since Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce forgave my sixty-thousand in credit card debt in exchange for me tattooing their logo around my anus, I’m pretty amenable to being a brand ambassador.

I used a number of effects, and the learning curve wasn’t too steep. The bit that looks like wonky VHS tape or a TV on the blink is intentional, so make sure you don’t get annoyed and toss your monitor across the room!

Heavens to Betsy! That I should be the cause of you cracking the screen of your, etc etc.!

Things that annoy me about Trump today: He threatened Fox News because they had Pete Buttigieg as a guest. He basically said that Fox would have some ‘splainin’ to do, which is not common in a democracy, and kind of what the Nazis said in Munich, just after the Beer Hall putsch, when they shut down the last free press.

Imagine the POTUS being so threatened by someone who doesn’t even have the Democratic nomination yet that he posts this embarrassingly sulky Tweet:

Yes, he called Buttigieg “Alfred E. Newman”! [sic]

They asked Liz Warren to go on Fox, too, and I’m quite disappointed that she got all snippy and declined. She thinks that would legitimize them, but in fact, like Pete’s publicist said, you have to meet the people where they are. She missed an opportunity to win over the hearts and minds of people who I suspect would really have been open to her message of economic social justice.

But I guess she was too busy scrubbing the Ovaltine mustaches off her local constituents’ faces with a moist napkin. Take the friggin’ pickle out, will ya, Liz!?

Trump is pardoning war criminals. He has already pardoned a soldier who killed an Iraqi detainee, which the ACLU has called “endorsing murder.”

Like most things he does, he’s keeping just barely within the law and/or his rights as Prez (aka finagling), so you have to finagle a bit yourelf to call him on it. (This, by the way, is how Trump forces us to descend to the sub-basement to deal with him.) He probably thinks that Iraqi’s don’t count as people, much like he condoned roughing up “criminals” by the police, because—well, because they’re criminals and in his mind they have no rights. I await the news that Melania has added an extra padlock to her bedroom door.

Trump has a “funny” name for Pete Buttigieg. He calls him “Alfred E. Newman [sic].” The spelling of MAD Magazine’s mascot’s name should be “Neuman,” so he can’t even get his puerile name-calling right.

Because name-calling highlights Trump’s world view and maturity level and suitability for office most succinctly, I find this the most annoying of the three things.

Why is it that the letters that should most demonstrate compassion are in fact strip-mined of all care and humanity?

I receive a letter from the Bank of Montreal, addressed to DAVID JOHN RODDIS, telling me what I already know:

Bank of Montreal has received a demand notice.  
The Bank is obligated and must comply with this demand notice.

Canada Revenue Agency
Total amount:
Accordingly, the following action has been taken:
Funds Frozen
Funds Remitted: $0.00

Yours truly
BMO Representative.

Now you’d think, seeing that Bank of Montreal rarely writes to me since they grew up and left home, that they’d up the intimacy factor a little bit, show that they remember. This vibe of “just walk back into my life, steal a beer, put your feet up on the coffee table, then ask for forty-thousand so you can take your girlfriend to the double feature at the drive-in and a cola at the A&W” takes me just a little too much for granted. It cuts.

After all I’ve done for you, “BMO Representative.”

I really should make an effort and open the envelope with the bank statements.

Reading about Jeff Koons, and figuring out whether he might get all dom and alpha-male and have raunchy, round-the-world artist-sex with me if I bribed him, leads me to his website. There I find an extensive list of his works, including a version of a drawing by eighteenth-century Rococo artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

All Koons does is stick a big, convex blue mirror in the middle of an ink-jet print of the Fragonard, so here’s the original Fragonard. It is surprisingly NSFW:

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, “La Gimblette (Girl with her Dog),” late 1760’s.

“Gimblette” referred to a donut-shaped biscuit, but it salaciously refers to quite something else in this piece, which umistakeably, pornographically portrays a little girl pleasuring herself with her spaniel’s tail. Here is the beginning of art historian Patricia Simons scholarly piece, wonderfully titled, “PUPPY LOVE: FRAGONARD’S DOGS AND DONUTS.” You’ll have to pay to read the rest, and be my guest.

Patricia Simons, “PUPPY LOVE: FRAGONARD’S DOGS AND DONUTS,” Source: Notes in the History of Art 34, no. 3 (Spring 2015): 17-24.

Lazy entitled white heterosexual German males from the former East Germany are mad at the brown immigrant people who have taken all the jobs. Except the brown immigrant people have done nothing of the kind. Lazy entitled white heterosexual German males from the former east Germany also have been deserted by their females, who under Communist rule at least bettered themselves, gained independence, then got the hell out when the Wall came down. So now the guys are wondering who is going to find us wives?

(I’m back to the New York Times. This article click-baits me into thinking it’s blaming Angela Merkel for the malaise of East German males.) Lazy entitled white heterosexual German males from the former east Germany are a noisier, more infantile version of males everywhere these days. Germany, like the U.S., like Canada, needs immigrants right now. Who will pay the taxes to support social democracy otherwise? Who will take the jobs everyone else is too high and mighty to take? Who else will serve as a scapegoat?

So these disgruntled man-boys are, of course, all voting for extreme right-wing, anti-immigrant political parties, because that worked so well in 1938.

I decide I want to comment on the article:

“Build a wall and save democracy from toxic masculinity, from the invasion of lazy, entitled white heterosexual males!”

but I discover that the comments for the article are closed.

The Angela Merkel angle? She’s a self-made woman, an East German who bettered herself, in spades, and got out. And as Chancellor she was a daily affront to the East German males, a slap in the face. If she can do it, why can’t you?

Why, indeed?

Who will find me a wife?

It’s now 7:29 PM, I’ve spent almost eight hours on this post and I’m feeling really guilty, which is usually the sign that I’m going to buckle down and do what I’ve been putting off doing all day, i.e., my six years of delinquent taxes.

When I go to the kitchen to make coffee I discover the little unbaked loaves all leathery and sunk in the bread pans, because during ten hours of being abandoned they have risen, lost hope and collapsed.

I’m horrified, like the protagonist in a Barbara Gowdy short story who’s left her kids to suffocate in a locked car as she runs off to fuck some stranger in a motel room. After a long summer day of grappling on a chenille bedspread, bathed in the hot, slippery juices of my self-centered lust, I’ve returned to the appalling tragedy and resulting insanity that are the fruits of my life’s single, unforgivable lapse.

I think I’m going to make those cinnamon rolls from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice,” which means I’ll need to whip up a big batch of fondant icing. Loblaw’s is still open and it’s a beautiful spring evening, so I can walk there, and maybe even buy a vanilla bean.


A Case of Dementia in Squirrels

lost: a few nuts randomly buried under the Statue of Fuckery

WHATEVER YOU POST IN AN INTERNET FORUM, no matter how bat-shit insane or obviously fueled by malice, becomes instantly and indisputably true, provided you make your case with the absolute conviction of a Supreme Court justice and the fire and brimstone of a born-again Christian preaching to the converted. To test my hypothesis, please spread the rumors described below, being careful to follow the instructions and not attempting anything beyond your current skill set. Go on, you know you want to!

Rumor 1

“Hillary is running a child-sex brothel from an apartment on the second floor of the Golden Lemongrass Thai Restaurant, in Pocatello, Idaho, and on weekdays you get two for the price of one! True!”

What is it: Standard Hillary rumor

Where should I spread it: Facebook is the only way to go.

Why: Facebook was never cool and just went downhill from there, giving a Hillary-Facebook profile match of 10/10; Facebook is mainly used by low-income, middle-aged women who find the real news too confusing and who are all related to you, and/or entire developing nations where women are allocated a status just below even-toed ungulates. Delivers more intensity for less effort than standard “Crooked Hillary” models.

Difficulty: Level 1 (suitable for beginners)

Rumor 2

“Alexandria O-C, that crazy humorless Lesbian socialist c**t,¹ is in cahoots with the Palestinians about plans to pelt the Brooklyn Bridge with balls of exploding falafel filled with broken glass and metal screws, and if you survive that, she’s going to raise your taxes to 90% and take away your cow! All so very true!”

What is it: Experimental “Crazy Socialist/Accusatory Anti Semite” combo type (in beta; may not perform as anticipated)

Where should I spread it: YouTube or other video-heavy sites that attract teenagers and angry middle-aged white guys because a. there’s something that moves; and b. they have to take a break from beating off to “barely-legal” teen porn at least one day out of four so the swelling can go down.

Why: This is uncharted territory. Works on the theory that anyone who demands social justice must have had pre-marital sex, gone dancing or lied about getting straight A’s in college at least once, so there’s bound to be something we can nail her with.

Gets you bonus points for reminding us that anyone who dares to question even for one second anything Israel does, or anything done in the name of Zionism, no matter how morally reprehensible, is so beyond the pale they might just as well have put on their souvenir pair of Hitler’s tattered underpants, then shoveled great-grandfather’s ashes out of the incinerator at Auschwitz before using them for fertilizer.

Difficulty: Level 4 (advanced). Requires impeccable insinuation and moral outrage techniques, plus the ability to withstand mockery by twenty-somethings, and Twitter pile-ons of grandstanding goyim who’ve never been closer to anything Jewish than that time they bought a boil-in-the-bag serving of Shopsy’s corned beef.

¹ Backgrounder:

(Yes, one must consider bringing the “c-word” out of retirement, because the usual styling for a strong female, “bitch”, is currently in the private collection of the Speaker, and besides, “bitch” is not even remotely nasty enough for a wee slip of a thing, not yet thirty years old, who speaks her mind, considers herself equal to a man and dares to talk of revolution.

“Bitch” is too light and breezy to convey the impotent rage of the male conservative whose daughter has stayed out all night being a slut when she’d promised to keep her knees together and return home by midnight, full of chaste, dutiful daddy’s-little-girl kisses.

The moribund, flatulent old guard is incredulous at the vigor and righteousness and juiciness of the new. A O-C is impervious to taunts, because she doesn’t give a fuck what you think; she has that Latina warmth and affability and superiority; plus the natural moral high ground of the female deployed with the ardor of a saint. If you’re on her side, she’ll be your ever-faithful pal; if you’re not, her eyes will flash like steel and she’ll cut you down with a well-aimed retort, swift and sharp as a switchblade. Tremble, o fathers, at untamed, untameable womanhood—!)

Rumor 3

“Nancy Pelosi, actually Nadia Pelosinheimer, filthy rich Jewess, together with her latest lover, George Soros, the Antichrist, and her army of bastard Satan-children, is funding a new caravan of out-of-work Central American soap opera actors who will storm The Wall as part of her Communist-Jewish agenda to slice off every remaining piece of foreskin in California. Vile prepuce, be gone!”²

² (The above should be self-explanatory, except please note that in this one we follow the common practice in that you dislike Jews rather than suddenly wanting to stand up for them because it suits your purpose.)

Rumor 4

Have you been getting this down? Have a go at Rumor 4 by yourself. Should be a cinch!

“Global warming and climate change are hoaxes perpetrated by the Chinese so they can destroy our economy. True!

“They are supported in this by an international cabal of renowned scientists who’ve forged all the data, having forgotten that the Earth’s climate goes in cycles—kind of like your clothes dryer at home with the different settings for linen and synthetics, and we’re just stuck on delicates at the moment. One full cap for a dirty load of true!

“Remember how your ancestor from the Holocene period always told you, It’s OK, dude, just take shelter in your cave until the monsoons pass? Well, there you go! That thing! Crack my skull with your caveman club of truth!

“Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s my turn to demonstrate my killer blow-job technique on the CEO of Esso.”

All of these are facts. Cross my heart and hope to die. Let the world know!

Nope. Not facts. Not even factoids. None of that happened. Just random, made-up shit.

But true.

And why the hell not? The actual truth is so plain-Jane and unadorned, it is as a straight-backed Shaker chair to the curvaceous Louis XIV fauteuil of our fakery. The actual truth admits no duty other than to just be, and it will not be gilded or lilied with your agenda. The actual truth lacks efficiency: it does not rouse the base, deflect blame or target a suitably depressed class as “other.”

The actual truth involves getting out of bed and taking a selfie without the Instagram filter that lets you pretend you’re a tiger, or breathing fire, or even Marilyn, even if you’re a guy. The actual truth might not be that pretty.

What are the actual truths?

The actual truth is that men hate women, hate them so much that every fleeting opportunity for rape not taken is cause for regret; the actual truth is that everyone hates Jews and fags and the transgendered and people with non-white skin and immigrants, the actual truth is that we hate in a dizzying infinite regress of Venn diagrams of who’s the hated and who’s the hater, who hates the haters, and who the hated hate in their turn in whatever hateful hierarchy. That’s actual truth.

We didn’t get out of bed this morning and sip our Evian to admit that our bombed and machine-gunned kids, be they in Palestine, Syria or Parkland, are real kids whose flesh shreds to the bone and whose faces melt like sugar as we wage war against them, and we hate them all the more for being so delicate, so trusting and vulnerable; that hurts, doesn’t it? And to that I say: that’s actual truth for ya!

A black woman, a Democratic representative in Congress, is told by the Chair, a white man, that her time is up, she must stop talking about gun control and her fears for her children. He makes the demand in the soft, decorous voice one would use to say, “A spot of tea, Priscilla?”

The woman explodes in anger. “I will NOT!” she bellows.

White men, as always, offer their opinion on Twitter. You would do better to have some decorum. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, Honey. We understand your position, but there’s a time and a place.

I read these Tweets, thinking, “This woman has probably endured in her lifetime insults, injustice and indignity that these men would not put up with for ONE SECOND, were it them—and now they want to take away her RAGE as well?”

Is there no fucking limit to our shamelessness?

We didn’t cast our vote for Trump or Scheer or Harper or Brexit to admit the actual truth: that The Wall can never be built.

Honestly, haven’t you ever wondered why? Why the delays, why the faffing around and procrastinating and backtracking and deal-making?

It’s not like building a wall costs that much, in a nation that allocates half its discretionary spending to defence while kids starve and their parents shoot up Fentanyl, praying for an overdose; it’s not like it’s technically difficult, in a nation that builds a World Trade Center just so the Deep State can knock it over like a juvenile delinquent knocks a tin can off a fence.

(Except that’s just a rumor; the actual truth is that America, read “the West”, is hated by those who’ve endured the West’s greed, insatiable appetite for oil and callous indifference to the misery they’ve inflicted on entire nations, who looked through the windows at the sumptuous banquet and thought, Why not us, too? Why were we not invited? Why is it their oil, not ours?

To the West, those people were nothing but inconveniences, pawns to be hoodwinked and manipulated and shifted on the board. And the bitterness and hatred of entire nations spawned fundamentalism, which in turn triggered the horrified awakening: that Western life is the unholy life of the apostate, that Westerners are infidels who deserve to die, and for all I know, they’re right.

The actual truth is that you might as well have leveled the World Trade Centre yourselves, so inevitable was the disaster that you call 9/11 and that some call sweet and righteous victory. An infinite regress of haters and the hated…)

The Wall can never be built because it was and is and always will be a metaphorical wall, a glorious Fascist symbol, an intangible, enthralling fever dream that has hooked the souls of the lost and angry white overlords who yearn for a Golden Age.

The Wall is Heimweh, nostalgia for the Fatherland, the Ur-Amerika of cotton and tobacco, and horses-and-buggies transporting the exquisite parasol’d daughters to the cotillion Good evenin’, Miss Scarlett! while the family niggers drop dead in the fields.

The Wall is a Jungian vision of the cosmic hymen that will restore Amerika’s virginity and racial purity, and to attempt to build it would be to awaken us, the sleepwalkers, force us to admit that purity is a chimera, a state that never existed and thus can never be restored.

To attempt to build The Wall would force us to admit we are indelibly stained. We long to be pure water again, but we are forever tainted with the blood of those we hate, and to admit that is to admit defeat.

God and Satan and all the legion of the fallen angels help us! when we whose vocation is hate must admit defeat. Except the actual truth is that God doesn’t exist. Ours alone will be all the kingdom and the power and the glory for what we’ve wrought, forever and ever. And that is why we, the haters, hate Him most of all.

Did you know? Squirrels forget where they buried eighty percent of the nuts they harvest.



Don’t Drop the Democracy

the morning after the U.S. mid-terms is one big macaroni picture

Well, well, well, America. Aren’t we full of surprises. You little freckle-faced rascals!

You’ve done something good. You’ve made a start on redeeming yourself; made a little wobbly-oopsy baby-step towards taking America from a state of total insanity back to the regular, day-to-day state of verging-on-insanity that we all know and love.

Democrats control the House — unprecedented wins for women, women of color, Native, Muslim and LGBT candidates — you’ve been holding out on me, you sly puss! Sincere and heartfelt congratulations.

We won’t, not yet anyway, take on those topics of: Gerrymandering and voter suppression, Republican specialties, and it is a toss-up whether you’d classify these activities as art, for the exquisite finesse in the redrawing of boundaries; or sport, for the breathtaking speed of execution and their brazen exhibitionism.  Either way, any close-call vote is suspect, notably in Georgia, where I understand the person in charge of the election’s integrity is also a candidate.  Conflict of interest much?

The post-mortems are already underway, but as a Canadian I can just take the day off and spend it sighing with relief.  I can still remember — and, youngsters, let me take a second to hook my thumbs behind my suspenders — how my loins shuddered and my flanks trembled from my absolute shock a couple of years ago when, in the wee hours after the election, I heard a crowd of voices outside my apartment on Sherbourne Street, in Toronto — if you’re not familiar with the geography, just think “up there” — then somebody saying something like, “Holy fuck, TRUMP!”, then everyone bursting out laughing.

It was, indeed, holy fuck Trump, and were I to say that you’ve exceeded my expectations by reining him in a little, please note that this is sincere — but also a bit like those desperate compliments you give your friend who’s just made their acting début in the local amateur production of “The Mousetrap,” where they say the line “dinner is served” with the gawdawful stiffness of those who have thought too much about how to say “dinner is served,” then disappear for the rest of the evening.

And you are obliged to sit through the whole damn play because you have to go backstage afterwards and tell them, “Well, gosh, Darlene, I’ll be honest — I never knew you had it in ya!”

So, here’s the deal. You got your common sense back, sort of — though it involved waiting until Trump was literally on the verge of holding a fascist-style parade, I can imagine the armed Boy Scouts in formation and modestly-clad girls performing gymnastics, because healthy women are needed to breed the Amerikanisches volk — and you have partially put a little bit of a check on Republicans run amok —

But—and I have to go here, yes—you just couldn’t elect another ssssshhhhh! black! man! for Governor of Florida, could you? That was way too much to hope for. That’s still just too errrrrr crunchy and difficult to get your heads around. We understand, and don’t forget — baby steps! It’s important not to take on more menschly normal than you can handle at a go. Saving the Free World from Trump is just fine for today.

‘Cause we know how the last black guy worked out, right? I mean, can you just imagine those Klan members’ brains, with those racist neurons and synapses firing back and forth — slave!/POTUS! slave!/POTUS! error! error! error! — until the cognitive dissonance was just too much overheating of the circuits. The greatest cross-burning opp of a lifetime, and whitey’s got mind-frazzle!

And, right on cue, like an army of rejects from a Cronenberg casting call, comes The Awakening. In this riff on The Manchurian Candidate, an entire shadowy doppel-nation of slumbering fascists is stirred into action by the opening words of Obama’s inauguration ceremony. Their eyes take on a remote, permanently glazed appearance as they stock up on ammunition, check the tire pressure, maybe research the End of Days, because what else could this be?

(Your best friend has changed his name to “Biff,” buzzed his hair and joined The League of Pretty White Boys. Next thing you know he’s going skinny dipping in the bayou with his new buds, putting “Gurlz keep out!” signs on his treehouse and getting suspiciously interested in Physical Culture. You can no longer have a meaningful conversation because your values don’t align and besides, it’s really hard to talk when he’s playing “Ein Heldenleben” at full volume…)

Democracy is not the default.  Goodness is not the default.  Fairness and empathy and love and justice are not the norm.

All that ugly racism awakened, yet from Obama: class and grace and decency, eight years of taking the high road . Like, what was that crazy-ass American Dream fucktard-ery all about?

I mean, stop the merry-go-round of normal! I need to take my crazy pills and chase them with a big, hot, foaming, rabid Trumpstein of white supremo!

So you’ve made a tiny initial act of reparation for the sinking-in-synch of democracy worldwide that Trump has enabled. You’re like the door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman who throws dirt on the lady’s carpet so he can demonstrate how “nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”  Or you threw a banana peel in front of good government and it slipped and broke its ankle and now it’s finally off the crutches, and where does that leave us?  Right back where we started.

So don’t go all self-congratulatory and amber-waves-of-grain just yet. Keep going, and don’t lose this momentum. Take out your smartphone now and make some movies or even animated GIFs of all of you being happy and jumping around so you have a reference if you forget what momentum means.

Don’t lose momentum. Prove that you’ve learned the lesson:

Democracy is not the default.  Goodness is not the default.  Fairness and empathy and love and justice are not the norm. These things are precious and extraordinary and they have an exquisitely fine-tuned eco-system, an equilibrium that can be destroyed.

Prove that you know: the fight for democracy is never done.  There is no time off.

We will never let you forget that, somehow, you guys  were put in charge of democracy— god only knows why — and then someone yelled, “Chicken ‘n biscuits ‘n Red-Eye Gravy!!! AND FRAHS!!!” and you all just spun around and you lost your grip and you dropped it.

Jeezus Murphy.

Just don’t drop the democracy. OK? Wear rubber gloves if you need a little more traction.

Blue Wave Ish.

Also, get Young People to vote. If they ask what voting is, tell them it’s something easy that they can microwave and eat right out of the box and someone else will wash up after them.

In fact, tell them that voting is all about them and you’ll do it for them, if they’ll just come along. You’ll have their socks pulled on and their laces tied and their noses wiped and them ready to head to the polls faster than they can say, “That’s so, like. Totally woke!”

Also, make sure Bernie doesn’t run again. For anything. Maybe run for coffees, at least that’ll get him out of the house. But in that case, make sure he’s the only one running for coffee, take care that he knows that you know he’s in charge of the coffee, and if he drops the coffee, just pat his little nutty professor head and say there, there and tell him you didn’t really want coffee anyway.

I mean, you dropped the democracy, you’re no one to judge.

Because I would say, work on your universal health care. Work on this one concept, so you can shout those words in, say, a crowded theatre, without someone screaming back “Satanic Socialist Hillary Communism Obama!” and you’ll have taken an important first step. Leave the hygge and the full-frontal free-meatballs-for-all social democratic platform with lingonberry sauce until you’ve got a little more practice under your belt. K?

And please, it’s alright. No, honestly. Don’t apologize about your little mishap with the world’s peace, order and freedom.

Just don’t friggin’ let it happen again.