Friday, April 30




Ham 'n' eggers Don Cherry and Pat Marsden are both in the headlines this week. Two broadcasters who gain most of their charm through their codger unpredictability and direct, unedited, political incorrectness. Not to mention strong, empirical insights and the integrity of being self-made.

Are these fellers national security problems? Surely not. Yet, they seem to provoke heaps of anxiety and the stomping of little feet when they make statements that are seen as prejudiced.

All of us have expressed some form of ethnic bias--mild or otherwise--whether through a shared joke or, at the very least, a conscious acknowledgment of differences regarding customs, manners, or appearance.

Prejudice is omnipresent. It's part of the human animal. The mitigating factor is the capacity to be kind, understanding, and unafraid of the notion of difference, and unafraid of one's own ignorance regarding less familiar people and places.

The fact is, only decent people can hold a high-profile media job. If you're actually a closet Nazi, you're simply not going to break into the business.

Broadcasters embrace the notion of inclusion and tolerance. No one I've met would consciously impede the progress of another decent human being.

What we don't have are balls.

We are progressive ... except in the area of elevated discourse.

How about having someone actually challenging Cherry on some of his mono-cultural biases?


Or, in the case of Pat Marsden--who made an on-air reference about Muslims and Pakistanis with regard to terrorism--how about a discussion qualifying the distinctions in the Muslim world? Pakistanis are not Palestinians, you see.

No less an employer of the ignorant statement is Ariel Sharon. His rhetoric proclaims that America should join their war on "terrorism". In lumping all Muslims together, Sharon is obviating the political arguments and context for Palestinians.

Suicide bombers are ugly. So is war, which historically concentrates almost exclusively on civilians (from World War II through Korea, Vietnam and Iraq). But, with today's bad guy there's a difference: Osama bin Laden does not seek to militarily coerce political behavior. 9/11 was enacted simply as public relations and propaganda.

To paint all Muslims with the same brush, instead of parsing and qualifying the nature and geography of their oppositions, is exactly what Osama wants. This is how he gains unity and becomes a kind of Patron Saint.

Pakistan has many regional and internal problems and grievances. So does Iran. The suicide bombers are not the Pakistanis of which Pat Marsden speaks.

But I guess Marsden is in good company. The difference being, he and Don Cherry are entertainers. And until Osama and Ariel start doing stand-up, we'll have to settle for that.

Thursday, April 29

Vacuous twats like Madonna and Demi Moore, bored with reconstructing their breasts, have latched onto the Jewish mysticism of the Kabbalah.

The attraction is not to actually engage in the dirty work of becoming a better person. Rather, the superficial, feel-good aspects preached at The Kabbalah Centre plays to their notion of the heavenly, the incorporeal, without making demands. It's kind of like a masturbatory Ouija board.

Another recent convert to a Jewish cause, albeit a less mystical one, is Russell Crowe. While in Toronto, shooting a remake of the the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries tenatively called The Nancy Boys (just kidding, if you don't get it), Crowe has donated an unspecified sum of money to a fire-bombed Jewish day school in Montreal.

Well, good for him. I'm pleased that the Jewish community of Montreal are being given a hand by the Gladiator--one would think that insurance would do. But what of the nature of conspicuous celebrity consumption, this publicist-centric charity?

There are many quieter ways to go about being supportive, and if not for the facile, inconsistent pattern of such acts of generosity, I might give Mr. Master and Commander, he of the puffy shirt, slightly more credit.

When powerful, influential communities are themselves targeted for a hate crime, it makes for a tempting flag to fly.

However, when those less powerful are maligned, stepped on, unhired, or killed, the celebrity wallet in the theatre of the giving usually remains in the pocket ... especially if the victims speak another language.

Many groups that really need money cannot hold fundraisers or put on cocktail parties.

At least Madonna and Demi are consistent, though. Their chequebooks usually remain tucked, very upright, in their immovable, cold cleavage.

Wednesday, April 28

The new Iraqi flag is a lovely confection sired by the same Madison Avenue folks who sold you Coke, Pepsi, and Corn Flakes. As packaged goods go, the Disney colours of Iraq are as cute as Pluto and Goofy together on a fishin' trip.

And, in Fallujah, this calls for a Bud Light!

Perhaps the Bush Iraq flag should, instead, hearken back to his own parched Texas youth and include some symbols from there. How about a coke mirror and a bottle of Wild Turkey? Maybe something else--like an image of a squinting old cock from the backwater with a Bible in one hand and a porch Shotgun in the other? Or, let's get real, and give up, and use the golden-fucking-arches for Christ's sake ... literally.

No suprise that many Iraqis haven't taken yet to the new imposed--and dullishly imposing--flag and colours. In Baghdad, you could see the huddled masses peering up at the flag pole and whispering with incredulity behind cupped hands at this latest insult.

Ah, the spoils of war. Now featuring focus groups. And graphic designers.

Really, all they needed to fly was the Stars and Stripes (or the Stars and Starbucks). You see, the Iraqis may be occupied, beaten, and humiliated, but they ain't fooled.

Or, as Aretha Franklin once sang, "Who's Zoomin' Who?"

Tuesday, April 27

Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry is self-destructing. Quietly ... without flourish or flame.

Instead of saying what he thinks and believes, Kerry plays the pollls: The public supports the Iraq war (sort of), so Kerry does (sort of).

A least the ranting man Howard Dean stood his ground. He said Iraq was a bullshit war, fought upon fallacious foundations. He also discussed the Project For A New American Century, the think-tank comprised of many current Bushies: Wolfowitz, Cheney, Perle, etc. Years before 9/11, that gang was extolling the virtues of occupying Iraq and instituting a puppet government, and reformation of the Middle East with "democracy".

Kerry talks about process: He says he would've done Iraq "differently". What the hell does that mean? He would've "internationalized it", he says. Well, the U.N., if given the chance, would not have found evidence for an invasion.

So, what then?

Kerry also refuses to get into a negative attack ad contest with Bush. But, by refusing to speak his mind on Iraq, Kerry commits a worse error than negativity: a lack of soul and purpose.

Bush has soul. Even if he's wrong, you know what he believes in. Bush has soul. He's sold it. But, at least we know where it went.

Sunday, April 25

Interesting that three recent insider books on the Bush regime (The Price of Loyalty, Against All Enemies, Plan Of Attack) all say the same thing: The Bush league stalked Saddam with the fervor of a jilted homoerotic lover.

All of these books are the product of respected sources: former Secretary of the Treasury (and Republican) Paul O'Neill; three-time counter-terror czar Richard Clarke (another disaffected Republican); and reporter and quasi-Bush sycophant Bob Woodward, who only gained Oval Office proximity due to his potential promise for brown-nosing.

Suprisingly, it's Woodward's Plan Of Attack that most shows Bush for the dummy rote idealogue that he is. The real author, of course, is everyone's favourite Cabinet Uncle Tom: Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Colin, whose unfortunate name draws allusions to the anatomical, is a foul fence-sitter; not buying into the WMD propaganda, but not being principled enough to stand up for his views and quit. Instead, our man Colin, was the bottom-ended patsy presenter for that horrific U.N. show-and-tell slide show debacle that had members rolling their eyes, and, embarrasingly, was all proven to be false afterwards. No WMD, just empty trucks, peasants, and sleepy Iraq army types.

But Powell wants it both ways--appearing to be a "team guy" while resenting the misguidedness that is Bush foreign policy.

"Post-9/11 foreign policy", indeed. I know nothing like it--it is pretty foreign. Neither does American history, really. In fact, the only person to get fired over 9/11's fallout--intelligence failure, policy failure, and the false predicate for war--was comedian Bill Maher.

Shoot first, and ask questions later, right? Well, the questions are coming now. "So ... do you feel lucky today, punk?"

They'll elect George W. Bush all over again, though. Most Americans can't admit that they're wrong until years later.

Say hi to Ho Chi Minh for me on the way down.

Wednesday, April 21

Tie Domi melted down last night following the Leaf playoff victory over the Sens. In the dressing room, Domi became hysterical when a reporter asked him to comment on his brother, Dash Domi, and the the computer leasing scandal that currently rages around both himself and Tom Jakobek.

Domi recently signed an affidavit attesting that he received $25k from his brother--and that it didn't go to Jakobek, who had hired Dash. But he reporter's question made Domi literally go off the deep end pyschologically, resulting in many verbal "F-bombs" and frantic arm-waving. Toronto Star reporter Rosie DiManno even followed Tie into the showers to try and calm him down.

Other meltdowns last night included Sens owner Eugene Melnyk. The Sens dressing room was off-limits to reporters for an unusally long 20 minutes while Melnyk ranted and raged, throwing chairs around and banging on tables.

I spoke with the weasely Jacques Martin, should-be former coach of the Ottawa Prophylactics, and I asked him if he was yelling too. All I got was a cold stare.

By the way, Martin has effiminate hands and a limp hand-shake. How appropriate for a trap team proponent.

Gary Roberts looked pretty fresh after the game tonight and told me he was ready to go to Philly. I also spoke with Pat Quinn in his office and asked him to give me one word to describe the victory over the Bye-Bye Bytowners: "Goaltending", he said.