Wednesday, October 15, 2008

... yet another Minority "majoritaire"...

The results are in: another minority government for Stephen Harper, considerably stronger in seats than the previous, even though he garnered only 1% more in the popular vote. I have nothing to say that hasn't been said (and probably better) by others, but here goes: Harper's Conservatives will, I expect, govern as a de facto majority, ramming through unpopular legislation as they did in the last parliament, as the others will be indisposed to vote it down and usher in another even more unpopular election. The Liberals, I expect, will be replacing their leader in the coming months, making them even more indisposed. I wonder if Harper will continue with those arts cuts -- it seems they really were a significant factor behind the loss of key seats here in Quebec. We'll have to wait & see.

5 comments:

R. W. Watkins said...

I wanted to write a poem to celebrate this blessed occasion, but I couldn't get past "Kill the prime minister now / Cut him up and feed him to lab rats."

I bet there was a lot of barn dancing and serpent handling in places like Lethbridge, Alberta last night. I'm proud to say that Danny Williams's ABC campaign paid off, and Newfoundland and Labrador proved to be the only province/territory who never contributed a single Tory to Ottawa.

Brian Campbell said...

I meant to write that I read your site… but got sidetracked.

Frankly, I found the stuff there littered with hackneyed clichés (yeah, I know, that accusation in itself is a hackneyed cliché), cheap sensationalism – all that stuff about sons of whores, low-bred, blah blah. It gets boring right away because the artist is more preoccupied with expressing his own feelings of repugnance (therefore superiority) & delivering shock value than in truthfully rendering his subject. The whole thing seems kinda adolescent. How old did you say you were?

“Why don’t I lift my leg and fart” – is the most fun of all the pieces, to my view, but the bare hands and teeth – well, overdone again. What really chills is that Bush keeps his bare hands “clean”, looks hale, hearty, even boyish ; obviously (and amazingly) he hasn't lost much sleep over the calamities he’s brought about.

Believe it or not I picked up my guitar & tried singing your Santa-Clause is coming to town takeoff – thought it might have the makings of good, sharp-witted satire for a cafe or the arts cuts protest that took place around here -- but I found I couldn’t take the Adolf Harper stuff seriously. Again, too heavy-handed, not light-hearted enough to be true to the tune -- or its subject. (The fact that I tried singing it... that shows how adolescent I am ;) I'm not here to defend him, but whoever Steven Harper may be, he’s not Hitler. The danger will always be that he’s (except for the occasional slip) a smart, subtle, slick politician, one of these no-stick Teflon types. (I think his hair is smoothed by Teflon.) He can put the public to sleep, and then when he’s done that bit of hypnosis he & his buddies can go about destroying the planet. I think this song could be expanded to allude to the environment, oil, etc. – as it is, it’s obsessively sexual, and, well, that's severely limiting.

You can write with incision and discipline. So far, I’ve enjoyed your comments here on this blog and that poem on Evergreen more than what I’ve seen elsewhere.

R. W. Watkins said...

How old did I say I was? Well, old enough to recognise snide sarcasm, as well as be familiar with the Ayn Rand Institute. I'm also old enough to remember watching this old Swedish television show (dubbed in English) on the CBC, Sunday mornings, back in the '70s:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSpKO3gCHlY&feature=related

I talk about how much I loved this show in that interview that links from my KCN site. Do you remember watching this...? You should be old enough. When it comes to '70s children's shows, sometimes I think I'm the only one in my age category who actually watched anything 30 to 35 years ago; either that, or every other Gen-Xer is suffering from some form of amnesia.

My poems sound adolescent and sensationalist, you say? Hope so. That's what I've been trying to achieve here on the internet, for that's really the only stuff which gets any real attention. (And let's face the music: the internet is generally juvenile and sensational to begin with.) Ironically, by toning down the seriousness in terms of style and mood, and making as many references to pop culture as possible, I've been able to discuss some truly serious sociopolitical subjects and find a fairly large and varied audience. You mentioned you like my ‘Jenseits von Gut und Bose’ from The Evergreen Review. Yeah, that's not a bad little ghazal, I suppose. However, it's almost impossible to find that poem when using Google Search. On the other hand, my Kaleigh Cronin-dedicated ‘State of the Nations Address’ ghazal at Outside Writers has been viewed close to 2000 times over the past year or so. There are novels published by mid-range houses and uni presses that get less reads than that! So by no means do I have any regrets about dedicating poems to Cronin, Sarah Ezer, Chris Crocker, Jodie Foster and the late Michele Gallagher; taking influence from old Foster and Tippy Walker flicks; and even composing a haibun with Nicole Stoffman (‘Stephanie Kaye’ from Degrassi Junior High). Those actresses and celebrities have helped me find a whole new audience to whom to funnel my philosophies and takes on society.

Something else: Do you know of another Canadian poet who even bothered to publish or broadcast something, anything, politically relevant—whether ‘serious’, satirical or snarly—in the lead-up to the election...?

More about some of these issues later....

Brian Campbell said...

A feisty response, worthy of… R.W. Watkins!

My apologies for the notes of sarcasm. Give me credit: I did my best to tone it down, keep it to the level of snarky. I’m glad you’re still tuned in. Frankly, it can get quite lonely here in this little black blog.

Playing for the crowd, eh? That will bring its ephemeral thrill. The nobility of poetry lies not only in its intellectual but physical and even existential inaccessibility. If it’s impossible to find, it might just be good! That your best work is buried in the archives of Evergreen makes you worthy of my deepest respect! I extend a warm welcome to join us here, in the Society of Supercilious Poets!

Check out, if you haven’t, my post on September 5, “The Four Tribes of Art”. It provides an interesting perspective on all these cultural debates. You fall clearly into the iconoclast camp – and these are rare, esp. in Canada. We need all four types to feel well-rounded as a society and culture, so you actually fulfill a vital need -- despite the protests and feigned indifference of the Animists and Classicists among us (me included).

If there’s another poet who’s broadcast anything politically relevant during this election campaign, it’s Endre Farkas, who is, I'm quite sure, the masked author/performer of the quazi hip-hop piece about three posts down. (Look under Spoiled Artists’ Liberation Army.) Not bad for a guy who’s pushing, or has just pushed past, 60.

I never saw that television show. I’m glad it was dubbed, although the squawk of Swedish has its appeal.

R. W. Watkins said...

'Why Don't I Lift My Leg' went over quite well with that female Liberal MP from Ontario who got booted out of the party a few years ago over her controversial comments about George W. Bush and her behaviour on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. What was her name? Oh yeah--Carolyn Parrish; funny, outrageous woman. Copies of the poem were mailed out to various MPs, and she wrote back, telling me how she got a kick out of it. She also thanked me for my compliments regarding her big powerful legs and thighs....

You say that things like 'Adolf Harper's Coming to Town' are "obsessively sexual" and therefore "severely limiting". Wasn't that an apt description of the Conservative Party's general mandate?!! Have Reform/Alliance/Conservative MPs talked about anything over the past 20+ years that hasn't involved at least one of the two Xes, tax or sex...?

As for environmental issues, I must admit I liked the sound of Dion's Green Shift; however, I'm afraid environmentalism is largely a pet issue of central Canada and urban inhabitants.