Monday, August 03, 2015

Ibbitson and Harper

John Ibbitson has an interesting take on the birth of the current prime minister.

Reading through it, I can't help but think of Harper's personality being identical to those of the assorted black-shirted school shooters in the US.

Ostracised by choice or group-think from their peers, nursing a pathological grudge against them, directionless. A feeling of alienation that finally culminates in a murderous rampage for those with access to firearms and a school.

Shift the context, and a young and shiftless proto-PM encounters a perceived UofT hazing (not entirely sure about this), and the Toronto-Montreal core of Canadian intelligentsia, and his response is reactionary. In Canada, this is a small cohort. I've brushed against it here and there to know that one is not more than two or three degrees from Atwood, Rae, a Trudeau or two, CBC notables, some key members of the professoriate, and so on. Intensely intelligent, capable, educated, politically aware, very liberal people who have defined Canadian culture internally and globally for a long time.

They are the Canada, for example, that imprinted the recently passed Mary Catherine Finn with her views on Atwood (overrated) and Laurence (underrated). I knew the latter as child, in as much as child can know someone. Her voice still rings in my head and the scent of her cigarettes in my nostrils; you cannot encounter someone like that and not have them embed in your psyche.

It is people of that realm that Ibbitson's Harper encountered and immediately reacted to. He feels a visceral dislike, and somewhere in there begins to seek vengeance for the perceive sin of their existence.  Skip a few decades and he is prime minister, with a goonsquad of misfits and fanatics who couldn't tell a Margaret from margarine, hell-bent on machine-gunning that liberal Canadian society they sense but never understood or were a part of. 

Maybe it's the intelligentsia's fault for not understanding the threat to the country posed by the mix of the a-cultural, brimstone-faithed, ubermasculine, and nouveau riche types inhabiting an oil rich Alberta.* There was a warning shot with the 'freeze the eastern bastards' national energy plan business in the 70s, but that didn't quite register.

Now, we've had nine years of indulging a spiteful and angry teenager killing the family pets, savaging his siblings, and setting fire to the couch. There's enough left to salvage now, but give him another five, and there simply won't be a house left.

The never-married parents, Tom and Justin, haven't realised that they (well, their class) birthed him. They've not clued-in that their kid is psychotic enough to kill them and so should work together to put him into care as soon as possible.

What gives me hope is the anger in the land. Canadians don't get angry, but I see them angry now.

Pay attention, Tom and Justin.

 *By the same token, that Alberta cohort has failed to appreciate that an long economic boom would flood the province with educated young professionals from BC and the East who would have babies, make Alberta home, and, well, vote in elections...


jrkrideau said...

Ibbotson seems to be giving Harper a fairly positive review.

Unknown said...

As an older Canadian, and from my understanding of Canadian history pre-1960, I'd submit that the liberal Canadian society Boris describes is the one arising in the past 30 years. Canada pre-war and into the '50's was very agrarian, not highly educated (except in some instances e.g.lawyers, doctors and religious leaders like J.S. Woodsworth,leader of the CCF from which grew the NDP), white, populist in politics,racist even as it sought huge numbers of immigrants to "open up the West" = take land from First Nations, and mainly economically poor. And entirely colonial in mentality. Hmmm... sounds like....