"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

If thinking that knowing things is good makes me a snob, then fine, I'm a snob

Evan McMorris-Santoro clearly has a strong stomach and the ability to keep a straight face no matter what. Watch as he wades through the river of willful ignorance that is a Rick Santorum - Americans For Prosperity - Tea Party rally. (warning - link contains weapons-grade stupid)
Apparently knowing stuff other than how to chew tobacco, scratch and vote for Rick Santorum is snobbish elitism of the worst sort. The amazing shit-ton of wrong chronicled in this short piece is so astounding its hard to know where to begin. According to the people quoted people who do manual labour are inferior, money is the only measure of success, colleges are totalitarian liberal fascist brainwashing factories, diversity is communism, and schooling is only for job training so no one should be encouraged to learn anything that doesn't directly apply to their job.
I'm honestly shocked that none of the people quoted in the story used the phrase "fancy-pants book learnin'"

“President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college,” Santorum said. “What a snob!” Santorum started by saying some people don’t need to go to college: “Not all folks are gifted the same way. Some people have incredible gifts with their hands.” 
Yes and god forbid that someone who  has "incredible gifts with their hands" should get a chance to learn to appreciate literature, learn to think clearly and logically, find out the earth revolves around the sun, learn a language other than 'American' or gain an appreciation for anything other than beer, wrasslin' and "reality" TV (thought to be fair, I did learn a lot about beer in university). Extrapolating from what they are quoted as saying, I'm guessing most of them regret having learned to read and write, assuming they can read anything more complex than TV guide or a stop sign. These folks are not just wallowing in willful ignorance, they are insisting others be forced to as well. 
I know some of this is simply right-wing contrarianism and that the Tea Party people are against higher education simply because Obama advocates it, but still it is amazing to me that a political candidate, let alone an entire movement, would come out in favour of curtailing opportunities for people. I await the day when Obama goes on national television and tells the American people that it is a bad idea to hit themselves in the head with a ball peen hammer and that under no circumstances should any American stick their tongue in an electrical outlet. Because just know that a bunch of the same yahoos who attend CPAC and think Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are wise and wonderful are going to end up in the emergency ward.
I am not saying that higher education is necessary to be a happy and successful person, or that smart is the same as educated, but learning for its own sake is to be encouraged. It is always better to know more than to know less. For most of us, knowledge is power, but I guess for the Teabaggers, ignorance is bliss.


If it's Friday, it must be time for Tom Waits

With a tip of the tattered fedora and a raising of the chipped juice tumbler full of cheap fortified wine to Driftglass


Friday, February 24, 2012

Loyal retainer is loyal

So Michael Sona has done what he was hired for and fallen on his sword to deflect blame from his masters. If you honestly believe a 23-year-old communications assistant for a failed CPC candidate managed to organize, fund, co-ordinate and execute the entire "robocall" affair, please write to me. I am in contact with the widow of a former oil minister in Nigeria who needs some help getting  millions of dollars out of the country. All I will need is your bank account number and a signed power of attorney and she is willing to cut us in for millions of dollars. Just send me the information and I will take care of all the rest.
For the rest of you, shall we start a pool on how long it is before Sona is hired by the Manning Centre or the Fraser Institute or some other non-think tank -- or is he more likely to be hired as special assistant to the director of sitting around on our asses drawing paycheques to do nothing? My guess is he becomes special assistant associate director of the Blogging Tories.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Word of the day

'Backpfeifengesicht' (Back-fie-fen-ge- zischt.)

1. German, literally "a face that cries out for a fist in it'


Of course, no mention of Tucker Carlson should be made without including this clip of the day Jon Stewart effectively ended his career as a pundit:


Required Canadian Content example:


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

If Jenny is right...

...then I must be one of these guys for real. Because I'm getting more than a little sick and tired of getting turned down for jobs I was overqualified for ten years ago and living month to month on a handshake deal to keep coming in until somebody tells me to stop. Seriously newspapers, I love you to death but what the hell have you done for me lately?

And yet...
What the hell else would I want to do?


Monday, February 20, 2012

canadian content

More reading - this week a couple of Canuck classics

#11 Vinyl Cafe Diaries by Stuart McLean

One of the things that has surprised and delighted me in moving back to Canada is the discovery that society at large has discovered and embraced an old favourite of mine.
I can remember Stuart McLean when he was a roving reporter for CBC radio's Morningside program back in the late 80s and early 90s (it is official, I am old), and have been a fan of the Vinyl Cafe from its earliest days. When CBC started to make their programs available via the intertoobs, I was an avid listener. I was such a Peter Gzowski fan that two different people sent me tapes of the last Morningside show.
I think the Vinyl Cafe has a similar positive, upbeat outlook without being annoyingly chirpy or Pollyanna-ish, and following McLean's perambulations and the chronicles of Dave and Morley and the World's Smallest Record Store via podcast over the last several year provided a wonderful touchstone and a weekly dose of Canadiana whilst living in Tokyo. But having spent so long outside of Canada, I had no idea the show had become as popular as it has or that McLean had become such a national institution. Good for him.

This collection of stories from the radio program is pretty much what I expected and I had heard some of them when they were originally broadcast. A light, entertaining and sentimental read that will give the warm fuzzes we all need from time to time. McLean may not be big, but he is small.

#12 Three Cheers for Me, the Bandy Papers Vol. 1 by Donald Jack

While I'd often seen this series on the shelf when browsing at the library and had a sort of vague idea of the premise - the uproarious misadventures of Bartholomew Bandy, the son of an Ottawa valley clergyman who goes off to fight in World War One determined to steer clear of the temptations of liquor, women and bad language. Needless to say he fails in three of these four ambitions while giving superior officers fits and becoming a flying ace.
The first book, published in 1962, was a hit and spawned a nine-volume series, three  volumes of which won the Leacock humour prize. A wee bit dated in some ways, in the same way most things that are fifty year old might be expected to be. The first volume -I've not yet read any of the others, but I expect more of the same - reminds me very much of another favourite series of comedic historical novels - The Flashman Papers - which didn't come along for another three year. The difference being that Flashman is a rotten cad  and bully who succeeds in spite of his craven cowardice, whilst Bandy is not a coward or a cad, but simply prone to ridiculous mishaps - In his first trench raid as an infantry officer. Lt. Bandy leads his squad out into no man's land, accidentally gets drunk and then loses his bearings and stages a heroic raid on his own trenches, capturing his own regimental commander.
Like Flashman's creator George MacDonald Fraser, Jack has a very unsentimental view of the horrors of war, likely gained during his service in the RAF in the latter half of the Second World War, and doesn't dodge the realities of trench warfare or aerial combat.
In all, the first book is a good light read, well written and researched, and very very funny. I can't believe these books haven't been made into a CBC miniseries yet.

Addendum: Given the date, I would be remiss in not commenting on the anniversary of the death of one of my favourite writers and personal heroes. Thankfully RossK has done this for me already. Mahalo.