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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  1. Anonymous9:40 PM

    Forget just being sued: the justice system is still independent and does a reasonable job. Canadian art that the CPC doesn't like has a strange tendency to be attacked by government power.

    1. hi anonymous...I agree that Harper isn't likely to sue, but it's the fear that bothers me, and the way it could cause some to self censor themselves. Because the last thing we need at such a dark time, is for Canadians to cower in silence...

  2. Anonymous3:18 AM

    Exactly! Just ask Franke James!! but what she did was brilliant - and it was just a little tit-for-tat thing. After all, he had already cancelled her funding .... what else could he do to hurt her?

    1. hi anonymous...the way I see it one Franke James is worth at least a thousand Cons. And the more the Cons attack artists, the more they will inspire them...

  3. You make me laugh Simon in a good way...

    But when people get afraid to express and get censored and repressed...

    Something is dreadfully wrong...

    What's wrong is Stephen Harper<

    1. hi Mogs...I'm glad I make you laugh, I try to be funny sometimes just to cheer up progressives. Because goodness knows these are dark times, and despair will get us nowhere. I also mock the Cons as a way of showing my contempt for them and everything they believe in. And of course to show them that I can't be intimidated. For what else are we supposed to do when faced with the absolute worst government in Canadian history?
      Except let them know what we think of them, and laugh in their faces...

    2. Yes sir... Laugh in their faces...

      There is a problem with that though...

      They absolutely have forbidden the Canadian tax-paying public to talk to them...

      The con party...

      Time for a revolution before Stephen gets his jets and tanks he can use against us...

      But he has already in Bill C-38 allowed the United excited States to come in to Canada at will to round us up...

      Stephen is a monster that hated his parents and is taking out on us...

      "faced with the absolute worst government in Canadian history"

      No Simon no, faced with the first dictatorship in Canajan history...

  4. Anonymous1:42 PM

    Spiteful Stevie is no different than, spiteful Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini. Dictators have identical personalities. Their paranoia and their obsessive need to control. Number one for dictators to grab control of, is the media. Then they grab control of, everything they can get their dirty hands on.

    Even other country's can't tolerate Harper. They are fed up with Harper's bullying and, his hissy fits when he doesn't get his own way. Harper has the gall to dictate to them too. Europe told Harper to go to hell. Harper had given Europe, false statements regarding, the toxicity of the dirty tar sands oil. Europe doesn't trust Harper, what-so-ever.

    It was another P.M. that saved our Canadian bacon, and most of the world knows that. They have nothing other than contempt for Harper. He started out with a, $13 billion dollar surplus. Harper has managed to drown this country into, the deepest debt ever known in Canada.

    Harper's security bill, was a whopping $47 million. We can expect that bill to go sky high. The more people that despise Harper, the higher his security bill goes. Harper is actually in prison. He will have to watch his back, for the rest of his life.

    It doesn't matter where I go, grocery stores, doctors office, or the pharmacy...Everyone hates Harper.

    1. hi anonymous....

      It doesn't matter where I go, grocery stores, doctors office, or the pharmacy...Everyone hates Harper.

      The same thing is happening to me. Everywhere I go I hear angry mutterings about Harper. Isn't it a beautiful sound? I could listen to it all day. ;)

  5. I worked at Canadian Heritage when the defunct Reform Party was the official opposition. They HATED the arts, especially anything that made one question our societal views on love (especially LGBT expressions of love), religion and politics. The Harper Regime still carries this same hateful view. They put a business man in charge of the Canadian Council of the Arts, gutted what was best of the CBC, attacked individual artists directly (Franke) or indirectly (Healy), and re-focused government support for propaganda purposes like promoting the War of 1812.

    The arts are struggling and those still getting government support are self-censoring by and large. When is the last time you saw controversial art?

  6. e.a.f.5:59 PM

    We can only try to keep the resistance going for 4 more years. Harper is a bully & dictator but once people start laughing at him the game is over. There is nothing worse for a politician than to be laughed at.

    Attacking the arts is the way of all dictators. They want the "arts" to represent their view of the world. I can hardly wait for stevie slime to start changing our school text books they way they do in the u.s.a.

    I do truly hope people remember what giving a dictator/power hungry individual a majority government can do.