My previously announced ambitious resolve to spice things up in this blog has, you may have noticed, failed to amount to anything other than unexplained silence. Despite some valiant attempts (my hard drive is full of half-finished screeds on related subjects), I tried to write something about the current political situation in Canada, but was sent into a state of depressed anxiety from which I am only now emerging. It’s only thanks to my concentrated avoidance of all sources of “news” for the past couple of weeks, as well as beach yoga, meditation and several milligrams of dexedrine that I can even broach the topic now.
After all this time, I still can’t get used to the phrase “Prime Minister Harper”. It sounds completely implausible, like “certified organic veal”, or “hamburger milkshake”. The fact that Canadians are now, if the published opinion polls are at all reliable, preparing to give Harper a majority (the Canadian equivalent to naming him a four-year Tsar) seems inconceivable. However, Harper’s rise from backwater knee-jerk to PM is hardly an isolated phenomenon. It all seems like just another piece of evidence that the free world is marching lock-step through something resembling democratic fascism, toward who-knows-where.
‘Fascism’ is one of those terms that often cause us to lump the speaker of the word into the category of “loony conspiracy theorist”. In fact, as soon as it appeared here, you may have rolled your eyes and clicked on your CNN bookmark to get the latest breaking news on Paris Hilton’s in vitro fertilisation using Julius Caesar’s sperm, reconstituted from a dried drop of blood found on a dagger in the Vatican by Pope Ratzinger while he was burning documents in the basement. (If white smoke comes from the chimney, the next pope will once have been a Pol Pot supporter). Fascism is now thought of as an archaism, a historical word, one that refers to forgotten and irrelevant historical incidents, such as the second world war. Look around, though. Retro is the new old, the old new. The lines blur between what is, what was, and what will be.
I can see that this is in danger of going off on another erratic tangent, so let’s get back to the important point to be made – the trouble with Harper. It’s his bloody hair. It looks like the sort of molded polyester rug favoured by midwest American preachers who run around complaining about fags, abortion and affirmative action by day but spend their nights snorting crystal meth while gang-banging transexxual teenagers in seedy motel rooms. The look isn’t alleviated at all by the way his face has apparently been waxed, like a cadaver that’s to be put on display. He has ‘Jim Bakker’ written all over him.
The thing is, I don’t really think Harper is anything at all like Bakker or his ilk in real life. Oh, he’s probably got that rake-up-ass uptightness typical of someone accustomed to living in the wealthy, sterile part of suburbia. If he had any election-losing skeletons in his closet, he wouldn’t have gotten this far. No, I think the hair is a well-crafted campaign technique that some advisors from the Republican National Committee – hired by his forward-thinking handlers from the oil industry elite long ago, well before his National Citizens Coalition days – in order to seduce a certain segment of the Canadian population, establishing a base from which to snatch power from the the industrial elite back east. Sounds conspiratorial, doesn’t it? Don’t be too quick to discard conspiracy theories, though. They can’t all be wrong. Most of them probably are wrong, of course. I don’t think a Jewish conspiracy blew up the World Trade Centre, I don’t think those jet streams in the skies above are the fluoride of the 21st century (though they may ultimately prove to be the DDT of it, in environmental terms), and I doubt that the moon thing was faked (though perhaps overmilked for mysteriously spent trillions in tax dollars since). Just think of past conspiracies that effected some sort of change: Caesar, the Putsch, Trotsky. ‘Beware the ides of March’ probably sounded a little kooky at one time too. If there is a likely conspiracy today, I suspect it is a conspiracy to instill automatic doubt about conspiracies in the minds of the population. Manufactured doubt is perhaps the most successful political ploy in modern times.
Well, that’s enough politics for now. It’s simply too hard on my nerves to acknowledge the reality of this world in which I was cursed to have been deposited. Perhaps I should join the Raelians. At least I hear they get a lot of sex while they’re waiting for the mother ship to arrive.
Let’s talk about more mundane annoyances, like pets. On Monday evening I came home to find that my cat had been treed by two dogs. The dogs are owned by a one-eyed crazy gringo up the street. There’s a joke that this town attracts “the most wanted and the least wanted”. The word is that this guy’s a dual citizen. Anyway, apparently the cat had wandered beyond the fence and been pursued by these two hell-hounds. It was dusk and my cat was in a neighbour’s yard, way up in a palm tree, sitting on a clump of coconuts. I threw rocks at the dogs and got rid of them, but the cat wasn’t coming down. I retrieved its food dish and shook it below the tree, but despite its efforts, the cat could not get below the coconuts to grasp the trunk and climb down. It then sat there crying pitifully. Assuming it would find a way down when it got hungry enough, I went back in the house to make dinner. By the time I’d eaten, the cat was still in the tree crying. Right below the coconuts was a palm frond that arched past the cat and then down to me. In an effort to get the cat to walk down it, I grabbed then end and pulled, which snapped the base of the frond, without it breaking off, and made a nice little ladder down. The cat walked two feet along the frond toward me, then stopped and started crying again.
It was dark by now and I was getting strange looks from locals cycling home from the salt mines. Apparently a man wearing a headlamp and a pair of underwear who is holding a palm frond and talking to a tree in a strange tongue is worth gawking at. The sight grew even more absurd when, finally fed up, I started jumping up and down, shaking the palm until the damn cat fell off of the branch, sending it tumbling into a patch of hibiscus below. It couldn’t have been too shaken up, as it was back at the food dish in the house before I even had the gate closed. Of course, it was dark and the cat is black, so my audience never saw that cat. Just another crazy gringo. (For all I know, I’ve been dubbed a dual citizen too).
Eventually, I went to bed and left the cat outside, as I always do, to avoid having it climbing all over my head while I try to sleep. In the morning when I open the door, the cat always comes running, expecting to be fed. Not this time. I looked around, but couldn’t see it, and for one exciting moment I thought perhaps it had been eaten by a boa constrictor, until I heard a noise in the lavatory. I looked in to see that the cat had caught a large rat. The rat was apparently dead and the cat was sitting beside it contentedly. Still half asleep and unprepared to deal with this, I went off to make my tea. A short time later I returned to find the cat tossing the rat into the air, and a bit of rat blood was now making an appearance. Somewhat queasily, I went off to find the hose and an appropriate carcass removal implement. When I got back with my tools, the cat was sitting outside the door licking its paws. Inside, the shower looked like Charles Manson had dropped by. The shower floor and walls were covered with blood, and around the toilet was strewn various organs and entrails and the decapitated abdomen. I found the head behind. Much hosing and cursing ensued.
You may think this a bit repulsive, but given the choice of Harper’s hair or the rat, I’ll take the rat. At least I know I won’t be looking at it for four more years.