Thursday, July 19, 2012
Stephen Harper and the Culture of Intimidation
Well I see a group of theatre companies in Vancouver are putting on a play based on Stephen Harper and his Con regime.
Even though there are fears Great Horned Leader might sue them.
Practically every theatre company in the city has joined together to mount a staged reading of a satirical play —Proud — that Toronto’s Tarragon theatre chose not to present after a board member raised concerns that Stephen Harper might have a case for defamation against anyone who staged it.
And I can't help thinking that only in Harperland could there be so much fear and loathing over a harmless little comedy.
I mean I can understand why Great Ugly might be upset about this one. That must have hurt, especially since it got such glowing reviews.
But as for Proud, judging from that excerpt, I can't imagine Harper going after it. If only to spare himself the embarrassment of being asked in court, who does he believe Jisbella is meant to represent? John Baird or Jason Kenney?
So what was the Tarragon theatre thinking?
But then we all know how the Cons go after their enemies, or anybody who doesn't agree with them.
Summerworks, a Toronto theatre festival, lost its annual funding from Heritage Canada the year after a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office expressed “disappointment” that Heritage Canada funded a festival that presented a play about terrorism.
And the horrible truth is that we now live in a culture of intimidation.
From the political tactics of robocalls misleading voters in the last federal election to the tacitly sanctioned violence of professional hockey, intimidation appears to be prevalent and increasingly accepted in Canada. Graft this onto the entertainment value of Schadenfreude-laced reality TV, and a more insidious shift towards surveillance in the name of national security, and the result is an atmosphere as conducive to artistic freedom as, say, that of the dystopian society depicted in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. We may not be the bleakly hopeless totalitarian nation of Oceania, but elements eerily reminiscent of that story are revealing themselves here.
A country where the ghastly bully Stephen Harper wants total power, so him and his Con thugs can do what they want.
So whether it's muzzling scientists, or forcing artists to conform or starve, or trying to read our e-mails, it's all about silencing his critics, or making them censor themselves.
Which is why when someone writes the definitive play on the Harper regime, it won't be a comedy. It'll be a grim tale about a country where so many people were so slow to recognize the creeping threat. And when they finally did, so many were afraid. And so many submitted so easily.
And why when I write MY play about Great Ugly Leader and his hideous Con regime, it will be a horror show eh?
With characters like Tar Man, the Creature from the Oily Lagoon...
The new scary monster in my latest video.
For the day we let him intimidate us, or scare us into censoring ourselves, or stop us from speaking the truth to madness, in its own language, we are truly lost.
Laughter is the weapon of the powerless.
But Harperland is no comedy...
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