Thursday, April 11, 2019

Kamikaze Kreepshow

Phil Burpee - I have always felt that it best serves the public discourse to strive for as much accuracy as possible when throwing around terminology, which is often done wantonly. When the recent tragic piling-in of a Boeing 737 into the Ethiopian dirt was being addressed by various officials and muck-mucks from industry, the term deployed was ‘contact with terrain’. Well, okay – I think you mean ‘crash’, right? Referring to a three-hundred ton jet carving out a thirty-foot deep divot in the ground as a ‘contact with terrain’ is about as meaningful as calling a tornado a ‘twirling of weather’ – no, it’s a furious hellsbroth of unbridled and murderous intensity, and no flaccid euphemism can make it otherwise.

Sadly, we all-too-often see this trickiness and bafflegab deployed in the political realm. It’s best to be wary – especially when votes are being hunted after. Danger lurks at every turn. As the Bard would have had it – “It is the bright day that brings forth the adder – and that craves wary walking.” Or take a view from old Willy Nelson – “Do not corner something you know is meaner than you are - keep skunks of all kinds at a distance.” Yep.

The current spectacle of the grimly-splayed-open UCP campaign here in Alberta is a fine case in point. It’s like some B-grade sequel to ‘Night of the Living Dead’ – zombies are loose and careening around the political landscape trailing rags and strings of rotting flesh. Mothers rush to hide their children’s eyes. Pious folk intone a quick prayer. Fluffy the ankle-biter is hustled into the house pronto. Plus it’s the whack-a-mole version – every time Jason Kenney reaches to put a lid on things, another jabbering ghoul rears its nasty head and spills another can of maggots. So he hastily shuffles the most egregious of these wing-nuts unceremoniously out of the picture, but otherwise cites some vague notion of ‘diversity of opinion’ as being a hallmark of a party with ‘big tent’ intent. Yeah – there’s one – ‘diversity of opinion’ - another ‘contact with terrain’ moment. Venomous homophobia, climate-change lobotomization and racist innuendo do indeed represent a diversity of opinion. However, it seems fair to suggest that the spewing of mean-spirited and doltish gibberish is really nothing to celebrate. This headspace has a name - dogwhistle heaven.

Now, I’m a very fair-minded sort of a man, and I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt at first flush of the rose, as it were. I’m always willing to believe that I might get off on a wrong tangent or other based on initial impression. So, I pause and wait to see if there’s another shoe perhaps to drop…….(elevator music)…… .KA-LUNK! Yikes!......the Kamikaze Candidate enters the room. Well, enters the courtroom more to the point – he already entered the big tent a while back amidst much beery fanfare and winking conspiracy. Yes, the hapless and vapid Jeff Callaway is seen whining and snivelling before a judge begging deferral from getting his sorry ass spanked for high acts of conniving mischief, suggesting the Elections Commissioner is being unfair and mean. Uh, I don’t think so. Motion denied.

Let’s get some perspective here. A particularly nasty and vicious bit of electoral gerrymandering was wrought during the UCP leadership race whereby a grinning stooge would enter the fray with the express purpose of attacking Brian Jean with bile and vitriol, only to subsequently retire from the field and throw support behind the campaign of the innocent and oh-so-not-complicit Jason Kenney – ah, yes - good cheer to the Machiavellian heart. Mr. Kenney, of course, affects righteous dismay and the driven snow could not have been more pure. Such a deed could never even have entered his mind – how dare we even suggest it?! And besides, if such a thing did occur, it could only be construed anyway as ‘inter-campaign dynamics’ (uh huh - ‘contact with terrain’ again), and entirely without guile or subterfuge. Fair enough, fair enough. I now see that what Mr. Kenney is actually manifesting here and elsewhere in the perfidious bowels of the UCP is nothing other than across-the-board employment equity and equal opportunity. Yes indeed – hire the morally handicapped – stirring stuff.

Ah, my friends, here we are in the post-truth world. It’s brave and it’s new. Maybe King Ralph was right – when some inconvenient bit of reality comes around it might just be best to shoot the messenger, then shovel and shut up. For the truth can be an awkward guest at the dinner table. The old Inuit shaman Horqarnaq had this to say about it: - “It is a hard thing to speak the truth. It is difficult to make hidden forces appear.” No doubt, no doubt.

But then perhaps Jason Kenney and the UCP self-perceive as being truth-speakers and are otherwise innocent of all duplicity. It may well also be that the sky is polka-dot pink. These are flexible matters. So let us then stretch charity and credulity to their maximum extent, and simply go with this as an operating principle for the UCP, with thanks to Farley Mowat: - “The truth I have no trouble with – it’s the facts I get all screwed up.” Ipso fatso.

One final note – the kamikaze pilots of the Japanese air force in World War II were men of towering bravery possessed of a divinely-inspired zeal sufficient to sacrifice their lives to the greater glory of the Empire. So, the term ought not to be bandied about too loosely - for what greater glory lies down the road for such a band of malign bigots and social-regressives as are represented by the United Conservative Party of Alberta? Surely no glory at all, but rather merely a tawdry and dispiriting bombardment of decency and progress by a squadron of low-achievers in a sordid and wretched kamikaze kreepshow.

Sky suddenly goes polka-dotty? – woh - duck and cover!

Phil Burpee 
Pincher Creek 
April, 2019

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