The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Every so often, someone in media exposes their cultural bigotry towards the rural west.
The likes of Rona Ambrose, Bev Oda, Mike Chong, Monte Solberg, Jim Prentice, James Rajotte, Helena Guergis and Rob Nicholson should be deployed nationwide to sell the Conservatives as mostly mainstream and not just Prairie knuckle-draggers.
Conservatives will never bring balance to the media if we continue to allow these slurs to be used against us. The terms "redneck" and "knuckledragger" are used by media and politicians alike with impunity - a classic case of dehumanizing the political opposition.
They cannot be left to stand unchallenged any longer. As I asked Mr. Martin in my own email to him;
"When writing about an immigrant politician in Toronto, would you refer to those in their community as "spearchuckers"?
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The Old Stone Cross
The dilemma of Conservatives in Canada is a classic one, inquired of at length by Yeats in The Old Stone Cross . "'A statesman is an easy man" is a mocking cry to Stephen Harper as the governors of his society gather around him, dedicated to his downfall. The lines of this sublime poem explain the predicament that Stephen Harper endures as the summer arrives in a perplexed Canada.
The middle power status of Canada produces an attitude of neutral complacency. Prosperity, born out of the proximity to the great power of the United States, gives way to a comic book arrogance. The elite convince themselves that their ascendancy is due to their inherent high quality instead of the more prosaic explanation of having a wealthy neighbour with a high demand for Canadian products.
Any effort to disabuse the elite and their followers of this notion is met with derision and quickly enough, condemnation. Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party put forth that the federal government's social and economic arrangements are an inefficient and wasteful contrivance. They say that the existing government is doomed to grow so unwieldy and costly of public resources that in time, fast approaching, the entire treasury will be commandeered to merely run the apparatus of government without the actual provision of services.
It is in the condemnation of Stephen Harper that the allegorical reference to Yeats takes shape. The educated wisdom of Mr. Harper is rejected and he is personally deplored because he dares to question the basic prejudices and biases of a comfortable and prosperous hegemony. In the case of Canada in the spring of 2005, the leader of the Official Opposition is attacked for daring to state that this country cannot endure the self-serving inefficiencies of its ruling classes. When he addresses the obvious evidence of Liberal corruption, he finds himself accused of joining forces with the 'Enemies Of The People'. He is put down for seeking equality between his party and that of the entrenched establishment. In return and retort, the ruling functionaries marshall the media and populist mob to strike down his advances as being essentially unpatriotic.
In the result , at least temporarily, the disgraced regime, morally and intellectually decrepit, is able to survive another day, secure at least in its entirely predictable ability to mobilize the supporters of the status quo in a profane but effective counterattack. The injustices wreaked upon the land by the wielders of power are confirmed as virtues by their sycophantic chorus. In Canada, the scorn of the dominant discourse is reserved for Conservatives.
William Butler Yeat's insights expressed eloquently in The Old Stone Cross ring out:
Because this age and the next age
Engender in the ditch,
No man can know a happy man
From any passing wretch;
If Folly link with Elegance
No man knows which is which
The history of Irish politics, as chronicled by its greatest poet, provide such fine comparisons to the present predicament encountered by the new settlers in the northern half of this continent.
Posted by: Barry Stagg | 2005-05-26 8:43:04 PM
I read this article today Kate and I got the impression that the references to "knuckledraggers" and such were tounge-in-cheek.
Posted by: Michael Dabioch | 2005-05-26 8:53:20 PM
As I have said before:
Canadian culture does not exist, never has existed, and never will exist no matter how much money is spent trying to prove otherwise.
For Ontario people to feel culturally superior to Albertans is completely illogical because they do not have any culture at all.
Alberta's culture is totally indistinguishable from the rest of the English speaking world, but it exists. Unlike Ontario, we have something to be proud of - our freedom.
Hollywood goes to Ontario to make cheaper movies.
Hollywood comes to Alberta to make better movies.
(in fact, Bollywood comes here too!).
Don't waste time trying to appeal to the Ontarians - they are an alien species to us. Stick close to home, and spur the cause of Alberta independence.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-05-26 8:54:14 PM
Please don't go without Manitoba!
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-26 9:03:23 PM
How can you still type after dragging your knuckles around all day?
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-26 9:05:12 PM
Yeats is Ireland's greatest poet?
What about Bono Vox:
"In the name of silver and gold,
The Yankees to power do hold.
On a Sunday just like Monday
Payday is my fun day!
"Where the streets have no name,
Paul Martin plays his game.
But he's my friend, my pal, my buddy,
Even though he's behaving so muddy.
"Paddy artists don't pay taxes,
So to your wages we have to take axes.
For Africa give me your dough!
For fame I'm a right dirty ho!"
Now that puts Seamus Heaney to shame.
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-26 9:20:53 PM
Kate, you asked Don Martin, "When writing about an immigrant politician in Toronto, would you refer to those in their community as "spearchuckers"?"
Isn't that really futile?
Surely Don Martin will just write, "When I tried to appeal to western conservatives not to be so bigoted, I was deluged with a torrent of abuse and invective. One fascist hatemonger even wrote that I have been corrupted by being surrounded by "spearchuckers"! I have always had the utmost respect for decent, hardworking, progressive prairie poloticians like Lorne Calvert and Tommy Douglas. How ashamed they must be of the kind of rabidly rascist rabble associated with the so-called Western "Standard". One can only hope that the light of civilization will one day shine forth even in the evil, empty spaces of the Prairie mind."
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-26 9:44:38 PM
If the shoe fits...
Posted by: Jim in Toronto | 2005-05-27 4:00:13 PM
I agree Martin shouldn't have made that comment. I also agree with Barry Stagg above who believes the comment was tongue-in-cheek.
I have read Martin's columns for years. On balance, he is a lot tougher on Dithers than on Harper. Martin wrote a particularly harsh piece about Dithers health care hypocrisy a few months back. It detailed all the private healthcare thriving in Dithers riding in Montreal.
Posted by: Bart F. | 2005-05-27 8:29:58 PM
Oh! Toungue in cheek? Ha ha ha.
Now I get it.
Kind of like, "The NDP should present more normal people like Pat Martin to the public, instead of faggots like Svend Robinson and Libby Davis."?
Ha ha ha. So toungue in cheek!
[Actually, it's prob. true, too.]
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-27 9:09:08 PM
No, actually, Don Martin is another leftie. He's only objective/conservative/sensible (they all mean the same thing) when it suits his tastes, or when it's looks like the Liberals are in trouble. A bandwagon jumper if I ever saw one.
Posted by: diefenbaker | 2005-05-27 10:21:56 PM
Just curious: what makes Pat Martin "normal" as opposed to the obvious leftists like Svend and "Libby?"
I assume it's his pragmatism and constituents' moderatism.
Another question: Historically, how have so many rural NDP MPs been able to stay in a party so hostile to traditional values. In other words, would a Tommy Douglas be happy in today's NDP caucus?
Posted by: diefenbaker | 2005-05-27 11:02:51 PM
Four ways to promote Conservative political philosophy. 1-Open 101 twice-weekly Conservative certificate night time college course's. 2- A small group of informed conservatives to travel Canada doing public speaches on conservative idea's and issues. 3- Start a Canadian Conservative newsletter. 4-Pro internet conservative membership blogs.
Posted by: Larry | 2005-05-28 5:46:32 AM
Re: "Normal" Pat vs "Faggot" Svend & Libby
That was hyperbolic sarcasm, ridiculing Don Martin et al.
Still, Pat Martin does have a more everyday, normal, average, reliable, responsible image than most of the NDP.
That's mostly just his personality.
He's not a show-boater or media-hog like Layton etc.
But still he goes along with practically every NDP
Don't forget that Bill Blaikie said that "George Bush spends every waking minute trying to think of ways of killing Iraqi babies."
They're all wackos, or on the fringe.
The NDP MP for N. Manitoba (forgot her name) said
she'd vote against "gay marriage" - I guess she did - anyway the media didn't even mention it as far as I'm aware.
So the MSM treats people differently anyway.
And as for THE GREATEST CANAYJIN TOMMY JESUS DOUGLASS - he'd prob. feel uncomfortable sitting next to his queer colleagues since he gave speeches talking about how homosexuality is a mental disease that we have an obligation to treat and cure.
Then again, NDP'ers are very flexible, aren't they?
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-28 9:26:17 AM
Look at how Layton got "in bed with" (as the glibs and NDP like to say) the same Paul Martin he called a murderer in the last election, and he's still in bed with the separatists - all of them in favour of queer "marriage" - and at the same time he's in bed with the homophobic NDP member who's opposed to queer "marriage" - now he's in bed with the bimbo scioness of corporate Canada Blinners Stronach.
Parliament reminds me of a cheap hotel room I stayed in in Paris. The bed was so sunken that the centre of the matress touched the floor; there was no toilet, only a bidet; and, as I soon realized from the constant bored moans and phony size-compliments all night long through the paper-thin wall, the place was jammed tight with whores.
Posted by: Brian O'Neill | 2005-05-28 9:35:23 AM
Brian: I think her name was Bev Desjarlais from Churchill and Layton made her vote for it or she was out of the caucus.
Posted by: DJeffery | 2005-05-28 10:07:24 AM
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