Thursday, January 02, 2014
Stephen Harper and the Great Betrayal
The other day I wrote about how Stephen Harper had betrayed the people of Central and Eastern Canada.
By shrugging off the suffering of an estimated one MILLION Canadians who lost power during that massive ice storm, and were left freezing in the dark for DAYS.
Treating it like it was nothing, just like his Con buddy Rob Ford who refused to declare a state of emergency because it would have caused him to lose even more power.
Now I see that Emma Teitel has taken a look at the debate over whether a state of emergency should have been declared, and concludes that it should have been.
Not just for all those left freezing in the dark, like Kathleen Holding.
A state of emergency is for the Kathleen Holdings of the world. The official announcement doesn’t change the stakes or the seriousness of the disaster, in this case, but it does relieve the sense that you’ve been forgotten.
But also for those who didn't lose power. And found themselves living in a divided city.
Where as you can see in this photo, half the city was ablaze with light, and the other half was in darkness...
The most bizarre and surreal elements in Toronto’s ice storm this past week weren’t the strewn tree limbs and collapsing wires, but the relative quiet and serenity in neighbourhoods— like mine—that remained largely unaffected, and the influx of Instagram photos chronicling the storm’s icy beauty. The small swath of the city I live in was so undisturbed, I might have been a citizen of another country.
Creating a surrealistic situation like the one in this famous painting, by the Flemish renaissance painter Pieter Brughel, Landscape With the Fall of Icarus....
The strange thing about Brueghel’s painting is that, for a person seeing it for the first time, Icarus doesn’t appear to be in it: It’s just a peaceful landscape, farmland over an ocean bay on a sunlit day, a beautiful ship sailing across the water. It’s only when you look closely at the lower-right corner of the picture that you notice a pair of bare legs disappearing, upside down, into the sea, with feathers floating down around them.
Which in turn leads Teitel to quote from W.H. Auden's famous poem, Musée des Beaux Arts...
In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away / Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may / Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, / But for him it was not an important failure . . . and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen / Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, / Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
And finally to reach the same conclusion I did:
A state of emergency says: “This disaster is important. Do not sail calmly on.”
But Stephen Harper did sail calmly on, refusing to let it interfere with his comfy holiday, issuing only two pathetic TWEETS during the week-long crisis. Ignoring the suffering of a million people because he didn't care, or they weren't Albertans.
And for that he can NEVER be forgiven. And he will pay for it big time in the next election.
Which of course made me feel real good eh?
But not as good as I felt, when I noticed the new cover of Now magazine, and the caricature of Rob Ford as a pig...
And realized it was by none other than the legendary artist, and illustrator of Hunter S.Thompson's books, Ralph Steadman.
Because then I felt like saying, Ralph, Ralph you magnificent old genius where did you get such a good idea?
And how did you know we had such a Con hog problem?
Golly. Talk about vindication.
Today we'll make them SQUEAL.
Tomorrow we will make them BACON...
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