Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The indefatigable Rex Murphy

OK, I'm about as sick of talking about the Canadian election as everyone else is, but I couldn't resist posting this Rex Murphy column from the weekend Globe and Mail.

Message to Michael: Butt out

Well, it was a narrow escape. But we did it. Canadians have preserved their liberties and independence against the always rapacious American beast.

We knew there were powerful elements in the United States that wanted us to kowtow and genuflect to a simplistic worldview, that knuckle-dragging Good-versus-Evil script they have been remorselessly propagandizing all over the world since 9/11. They have been trying to drag Canada into this simpleton's game for years, mauling truth and banishing nuance with a continuous stream of invective posing as reason, and caricature passing itself off as accuracy.

It's a difficult thing to resist the mighty United States at any time, and especially difficult in all the dust and storm of a national election. But we did it.

It was a close-run thing. But on Monday night, Canada fought back and won. On Jan. 20, just three days before our vote, Michael Moore, entrepreneur, fabulist, philosopher, issued a broadside to the citizens of this country warning us sternly, and with the imperious irony of which he is so fully a master, against the perils of electing a Stephen Harper government:

Do you want to help George Bush by turning Canada into his latest conquest? Is that how you want millions of us down here to see you from now on? The next notch on the cowboy belt?

I was worried at first that the subtlety of the pitch might obscure its wonderful impertinence -- worried that the charm of Mr. Moore's address might distract Canadians from the consideration that an American millionaire celebrity pitchman was interfering in, and attempting to influence, the Canadian vote.

I was worried, too, that this one-man shock-and-awe "documentarian" might be leading a charge, that the other bright bulbs of international busybodyism were massed behind his formidable massed behind. Was Sean Penn on the way to monitor the vote in Etobicoke? Was he planning one of his patented fact-finding junkets like the visits that brought such comfort and peace to the citizens of Baghdad? I could see the headlines: Penn in Halifax. Visits Bar. Reads Construction-Site Posters. Warns Harper is Christian. Says "God Bless Canada."

Well, that didn't happen. We're were spared the fast-food internationalism of Mr. Penn, and that probably meant we were spared assorted sermons from Alex Baldwin, Janeane Garofalo, Al Franken and that whole posse of celebrity dilettantes who see the whole world as an audience for their inch-deep, paint-by-numbers, cause-a-day homilies. Maybe they were off somewhere saving a seal.

Or, what is much more likely, maybe he concluded there was really no need for the secondary battalions. We, the respectful, bland and polite citizens of a country that is really only a farm team for the U.S. entertainment industry -- hello Celine, Jim, Dan and Avril -- would naturally be flattered into sheer insensibility that the portentous Mr. Moore even knew we were having an election. He has a taste for insolence, referring to Stephen Harper, who has more brain than Michael Moore has girth, as someone "who should be running for governor of Utah," and whose election would "reduce Canada to a cheap download of Bush & Co."

One size fits all -- that's our Mikey. Because he thinks he has a problem with George Bush, that must be the script for the rest of the world. This is the very essence of imperialism. To believe that your story is everyone else's. To believe that your political drama is the template for every other political drama in the whole wide world. Michael Moore could go to Fogo Island, Nfld., for the municipal elections and find them a perfect parable of the Halliburton super-conspiracy. He'd see Dick Cheney's influence in the selection of the town clerk.

Ego turns the world into one big mirror, and nothing looks back at the celebrity narcissus but the vacant monomaniac staring in. News flash, Mr. Moore: Our election wasn't about Dick Cheney. Or George Bush. Paul Martin (thank God) isn't Bill Clinton. Stephen Harper doesn't own a decoder ring sent him by Karl Rove. Considering the success you've had in stopping George Bush in the country where he actually runs -- and on last report he is in his second term -- do you really think you should be sparing the time and the shavings of your wit to offer advice to others?

George Bush got three million votes more than John Kerry in the last U.S. presidential election. Karl Rove is on bended knee every day in thanks for the contribution Fahrenheit 9/11 made to that surplus. If you can't win your own elections, Michael, what made you think you had anything to say about ours?

Other than that, I'm glad you called. But we defied you. Stephen Harper is prime minister, and I suppose that tells you all you need to know, which is: Canadians don't care what you think you think.


At 10:04 AM, Blogger Danny Kaye said...


Good for Rex Murphy. I often find him to be long-winded and nonsensical, but it is nice to see that there is a voice of reason at the CBC, at least on this issue.

I found the theme of his piece really hit home.

Nobody gives a rat's ass what you and your humungous ego think, so mind your own goddamn business.


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