That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

Life inside the F-Bomb

“This is a fucking disgrace … closure again. And on the Budget! There‚Äôs not a democracy in the world that would tolerate this jackboot shit.”

Pat Martin’s words, as if he had read them from a teleprompter inside my own brain. He got me absofuckinexactly.

What I regret, to a measure, is that I haven’t dropped any f-bombs myself (nor have I used any words at all to express what I think about the world of Canadian politics) for a goodly while now. I’ve let Polygonic go quiet. I’ve turned my mind to other things entirely.

But there’s a reason for it. I was going absolutely bonkers.

Living all the way over in the UK means I live through none of Canada’s particular pleasantries – the rivers, the mountains, the wholesome, giggly demeanour. Yet, by following its political discourse as closely as I can, I do live through everything unlikeable about Canada – the lapdog media feeding its politically-lobotomised audience, the neurosis, the tall-poppy tendencies, and the apathy that allows a government to go from Contempt of Parliament, to winning a massive majority mandate.

I used to think Canada was clued-up and progressive. Now I just see Harper’s lipless smile as he sets about boiling the live frog that Canadian political society has become. (cue sound of me roaring at the moon)

And so, after too much time on the Globe and Mail and too much time crafting ripostes on Polygonic, I finally realised something was going wrong – I had become a self-hating Canadian!

The descent was swift. I now see backpackers here in London with little maple leaves stitched on, visible from every possible angle, and I think to myself what has become an inevitable thought: “what a complete shit.” For theirs is not some brash, bombastic conceit – it’s just a naive, slightly gormless kind of conceit, which I think is far worse. What do you expect people to do when they see your stitched-on leaves? Hug you? Thank you for something nice you are bound to have recently done for the world? Sorry, kiddo, it just doesn’t hold water anymore. Please wake up and smell the rancid Harperian syrup.

I don’t actually hate that neurotic nationalism per ce – what I hate is that so many continue to invest belief in all these dying myths of Canadian exceptionalism, of some ethereal progressive, positive, cooperative approach to life, our inherent sense of fairness. Things people might hug you for.

That warm-fuzzy self-image bears zero resemblance to what we’ve allowed Canada to actually become. What’s so nice about assenting to Harper’s dismantling of our democracy – watching him shut down committees, stuff the Senate with his failed would-be MP candidates, stifle Parliamentary debate, and retreat into this sub rosa, in camera, closed-door presidential system that stinks of unconstitutionality? What’s nice about jets, jails and dirty oil?

So, right, clearly there’s been a fair amount of maple-scented rage welling up inside me. But I’m re-learning how to control it, focus it, like a maple-scented laser beam of goodness. Time to fire off some more words of protest against the saddening decay of a democracy.

Though I’m sure occasionally, as Pat Martin knows too well, there is often only one word that comes to mind.

Filed under: Canada, Politics


November 2011

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