Canada re-elects Harper – Welcome to “Bizarro World”…

It’s been a strange, awkward, sinking feeling being a Canadian these past several years. While it’s no news that as Canadians we have long struggled to understand our own national identity as a rule (that, in itself, being a defining part of our identity), it is stranger still to have lived through the past 24 hours and had the disheartening feelings I speak of crystallized into real fear for my Country’s future, for the future is now irrevocably Stephen Harper’s.

Canadians have always suffered from a lack of any manifest destiny, and have usually been content with or placated by knowing what we are not (i.e. “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I don’t like.”) An easy example of this would be our comfortable ability to look South and thank “whomever” that there is nothing like a ‘Fox News’ in Canada to poison soft minds and rig elections with. Well, even that’s over now

So, enter Stephen Harper – an impossibility of a candidate for Prime Minister as recently as seven years ago, and this morning the manipulator of a “Majority” Government (not!!) in the greatest country on Earth after two short, disaster-filled “practice runs” as our Minority Prime Minister. All this after an election brought on by a well-deserved Parliamentary vote of non-confidence in his abilities and policies, mind you. Bizarre enough yet?…

Our fateful election happened less than 24 hours after Barack Obama all but slam-dunked a second term for himself as President by killing Osama Bin Laden (film at 11:00!) and performing brilliantly, wittily at the White House Press Corps Dinner. And now, here we sit – in an already rainy, dreary spring – as one of the most hated, evil, duplicitous and misanthropic politicians we could ever imagine goes strongly into a second (third, really) term as Fuhrer. I can tell you it all seems very backwards.

As recently as 2003 many Canadians felt pride in coming from a country that: bravely supported gay rights, had passed sanity-based marijuana reform laws, did not support the invasion of Iraq, did not waste innumerable/unjustifiable tax dollars on militarization, had reasonably comprehensive healthcare for all, and maintained a distinctly progressive approach towards a bright future…and all while we looked South to our American friends suffering a long litany of political/humanist abuse during the cartoonish nightmare of the “Bush Doctrine”. Pretty much all of the aforementioned positivity has already been squelched/undone/reneged on during Harper’s years as a minor PM; one shudders to think what four more years will bring.

Harper owes everything to Bush, literally and figuratively. (He has always been “Bush-Lite”). And he owes it also to our Liberal party, for their timely self-destruction six years ago on the heels of two major “hand-in-the-cookie-jar” payola scandals; nasty stuff at the time, but which in retrospect seem comparatively as “important” as Clinton blow jobs. Subsequently, The Liberal Party of Canada has almost miraculously done every single thing it could do incorrectly in resurrecting itself, including two laughably woeful attempts at even choosing a new leader…(Bon Voyage, Iggy! – don’t forget to not write!!) The Liberals in Canada are all-but non-existent this morning, which…is stunning.

So….Here we are today in downtown Bizzarro World – we’re no longer on the outskirts, and Superman is nowhere in sight!

The United States has a brilliant, capable, humanistic, dynamic, progressive President. And in Canada we are saddled instead with a (pseudo-) Christian demagogue with psychopathic eyes and comic-book hair, who’s agenda is driven by lies and deceit of the first order, and who’s policies stand in direct defiance of all that has made Canada, the “Gentle Giant” a wonderful place to call home. I wonder if this sounds at all familiar to my American friends…

It all feels profoundly wrong today; very backwards and unfair.

And one is left to wondering how such a widely reviled politician who was humiliatingly rebuked as a historic failure in his own House scant weeks ago can march forward to his most resounding victory of his career…


Addendum: Last week it was revealed that Harper’s own Conservatives had compiled a dossier on his most “controversial” quotes, likely in hopes of being able to spin his shit into roses. (It’s about 500 pages worth…jealous, George W.??)

I hadn’t been able to find the actual document…until today; a day late and a dollar short. Anyway, you can find it here also in .pdf format (roughly 17 MB, most of that being ‘Part 3’). If for some reason you can’t download it then feel free to contact me.

Harper’s controversial quotes…all 500 pages!:

Harper quotes 1

Harper quotes 2

Harper quotes 3

Posted in Politics, Smoke | 6,227 Comments

The “Comment Thread”, or Gutenberg’s Revenge…

I’m posting this sample article, almost at random, as a wonderfully perfect case of the incessant formulaic insanity caused by the complexity of how we communicate today. Moreso than this (or any) article itself, the comment thread associated with it informs us more fully as to where we’ve arrived at in terms of sophistication of thought. It hits the FUMINOUS mark perfectly on all three “buttons” as well (fulminous, furious and numinous).

The “comment thread” has been with us for some time now as a wonderfully [sic!] interactive means of joining the ‘delivery’ and ‘consumption’ ends of electronic communication, most likely in the hope that mankind would benefit from this in some brave new way. Ah, the best laid plans…

If the 20th Century taught us that “everyone deserves a voice” (at least in principle, and in Western culture specifically), the 21st Century has shown us that we do in fact all have a voice, and that we will damn well use it regardless of having anything to say of any value!

Personally, I find it hard enough to read about how some textbook idiot cops thought it could ever be appropriate to taser an 11 year old of any variety, without also having to digest (‘cuz it’s right there in front of you) just exactly how many of my neighbours support that lunacy, or think so little of humanity (themselves?) as to imagine entirely unreported aspects of the story only to justify the maladjusted viewpoint they wish to proffer! (Read the comments – it’s all there!)

more soon…[This post is half-written, tragically, having been rudely interrupted by the death of my beloved iMac and ensuing dental trauma…“please continue to hold”…]

Posted in Culture, Smoke | 1,151 Comments

Stephen Harper attempts to subvert John Lennon’s “Imagine”…

I thought long and hard before throwing this in here. I don’t think many of us in Canada haven’t seen it yet, but it does boggle the mind and is definitely of the ‘fuminous’ realm.

It’s not so much that he did this, but it’s that he did it again! This is not the first time that Harper (a Christian fundamentalist, mind you) has taken to performing this song in public, and he knows how well (not!) it was received in the first place. This clip is notable because of its butchery of something beautiful, and because it’s the lowest order of shameless, predictable campaign trail pandering, to say nothing of the blatant hypocrisy of him singing it at all in the first place! That he would drag a poor, innocent child through this musical ugliness speaks volumes as well.

But beneath the obvious “dick move” nature of this event lies the troubling fact that Stephen Harper has a habit of deliberately doing things that he knows will piss people off, and that he seems to take great pleasure in doing so ( hosting the G20 in Toronto in 2010 comes to mind). I am quite convinced that the intention of using this song in a such an “offhand” way is an attempt to subvert and diminish the power of such a classic, important and meaningful piece of music through trivialization – a practice Harper and his ilk have used to great success in other matters. (Let’s not forget that political right-wingers are generally terrified of this song – it being perceived as a true anthem for the “Left” – as witnessed in Lennon’s assassination itself, as well as in the immediate post-9/11 move by Clear Channel [who own every radio station you listen to] to have “Imagine” removed from the playlists at all of their stations.)

A few years ago I personally had the opportunity to speak with someone who has worked on Harper’s media campaigns, but I don’t think that even he could have predicted then how completely venal Stephen Harper’s approach to campaigning has become.

If we think about what this clip represents we find that:

a) Someone thought this would be a good idea in the first place.

b) Someone very close to this campaign filmed the event.

c) Someone within Harper’s camp thought it would be a good idea to post it on YouTube. (Wherein it was promptly taken down, allegedly by Yoko Ono herself, and then  – of course – put back up even more promptly.)

My apologies to your ears – a true low point in music history and Canadian politics; absolutely shameful:

PM Stephen Harper duets with Maria Aragon



Posted in Politics, Smoke | 981 Comments

“Too real is too creepy”…

That just about sums it up, doeesn’t it? Isn’t it exciting that as we inch toward total dis-humanity we are grossing ourselves out with it too?

Poor Disney then, and the producers of the new smash hit Mars Needs Moms.

Despite our numerous collective avatar/clones flickering about ‘selflessly’ on everything from Facebook, to World of Warcraft, to Second Life and beyond; and a generation of hypercapable real-life robotics turning A.C. Clarke’s dreams into yesterday’s news, we seem to have not gained much ground in terms of the ability to not freak ourselves out!

Personally, I’ve been wondering when the next brave step towards perfect cinematic human rendering would happen (Final Fantasy was ten years ago, kids). It seems like we should already be done with real actors to the same degree we are almost done with real human beings in general. But according to this article (a review of Mars Needs Moms) we’re still nowhere near ready to face ourselves on screen as perfected beings – only in real life can we completely disengage from our own “perfection”, I suppose. Is the silver screen finally just a bad ‘platform’?

I’m reminded of an occurrence during my years working in film and television when I happened rather suddenly upon a rubber ‘prop’ baby that was being prepped for a scene. The moment I saw it my blood ran cold! It was so “real” that it could only be…dead! I was truly frightened, for a split second, and then just repulsed by it’s lingering presence for the next few hours on a prop cart. (And, one supposes, it’s also worth remembering here the modern thrill of the Virtual Girl sex doll and all it’s corpse-y eroticism – so real you could almost reach out and – yuck!). The epilogue of all this, of course, is that ultimately – through the lens and to the screen – this “dead” baby was not frightening in the least to anyone watching the final product. Quite the opposite, in fact.

It’s no new concept that a slight tweak on human appearance is more terrifying than a monstrously distorted one (say, Nosferatu vs [pick any modern zombie movie]), but one would think that we are getting used to this kind of imagery, no?

Apparently not, and not even almighty Disney can outwit that phenomenon as it turns out. Very interesting.

Posted in Culture, Smoke | 1,914 Comments

Imelda May – Smoker’s Song

If you don’t already know about Imelda May, well…you’re only half-alive, my friend.

There’s a lot of reason’s to fall in love with this woman; none better than this:

Imelda May – Smoker\’s Song

Posted in Culture, Smoke | 1,326 Comments

As Canada’s Government “falls”…

I watched ecstatically last week when Stephen Harper’s (and my own) Government fell on a historical first ever Non-Confidence vote in Parliament. Having been stuck in the insidious, creeping Neo-Con ooze of Harper’s “policy” and authoritarian actions for five long ugly years, it almost felt like physical relief – watching the votes in the House hit him like stones.

What troubles me, as with many Canadians who remember how politics used to work, is that our political system – not as broken as, say, the one in the U.S. – still provides that he may regain power despite the loud and resolute motion of his having been washed away. The alternatives, as we know too well lately, are so very weak…too weak to win? One hopes not.

The most obvious sign of Stephen Harper being an agent of Neo-Conservatism (which is to say, NOT Conservatism), is his unerring manner of limiting discourse and the flow of information; the manipulation of “truth” to suit his playbook (Fox News, anyone?). And he’s doing it again, right before our eyes.

Perhaps most frustrating of all is that it’s all drawn in crayons to appeal to his ideologically bewildered ‘base’, regardless of how that appears to Canadians who are alternately terrified or disgusted by his obviously dictatorial Americanist agenda; an agenda which, at least, is counter-intuitive to how this writer feels about the strengths of Canada as an independent nation.

So, here we go again – another election. (Many are saying “we’re not ready” for one. Personally, I think it’s coming not a moment too soon – damn the ‘cost’!)

The nauseatingly facile attack ads have begun already (even before the Government fell, interestingly), the stumps are being climbed all across the country, and it’s time once again for discussion and discourse – right?

Herr Harper wants you to guess again. He’s taking five (5!) questions a day…period. Four from journalists embedded on his campaign trail; journalists he hasn’t even met, apparently.

Harper wants to “focus on the economy”, which is to say – smokily – to do the exact opposite and disrupt any real notion of where the economy is headed by specifically limiting any real discussion about it. Classic Harper. Disgusting.

Posted in Politics, Smoke | 1,929 Comments

“Winning”….Live format…

So let’s start with something fun and easy.

As someone who never gave a spare thought to Charlie Sheen before his shit hit the big fan weeks ago, I have to say I am 1000% behind his every action since that occurence, and amused to genuine laughter watching the world freak out about it in perfect sub-genius array.

In a country where the pursuit of ‘personal freedom’ is such an obvious cornerstone of every socio-political viewpoint, it never ceases to amaze me that any true expression thereof is met with nothing more than brusque Cro-Magnon derision and a grievous lack of understanding.

Charlie’s sold out tour is getting exactly the reviews one would expect – if one were actually paying attention – and the joke continues to be on the mindless masses of culture-starved ‘bots who need to be shocked and disgusted regularly to remind themselves that they’re even awake.

Charlie is ‘grind-railing’ the line where genius meets insanity, and for that he has my full respect…as an entertainer or otherwise.


Posted in Culture, Smoke | 1,026 Comments

Ok then….here we go…

They f**ing lied about this too….said it was easy!…

Posted in Uncategorized | 1,228 Comments