Friday, October 14, 2016

The Rape of Serenity

I am standing at the window watching Serenity leave. Her head is bowed and uncovered. Rivulets of rainwater run down her face like mini waterfalls and drip from the tip of her nose. Strands of dark hair plaster her cheeks and I note her lips are trembling from the wet and cold.

She's obviously not dressed for the weather, but she was raped last night and warmth wasn't the prime concern when her grandmother brought her in.

The rape occurred on the railroad tracks at 3 a.m., the devil's hour when shadows come alive and gremlins cast off their cumbersome angelic disguises so as not to hinder their depraved objectives. Serenity is only 16, but hell has visited her before and this isn't the first time in her life that she's been attacked or molested. 

She therefore knows the deal when it comes to the powers that be, the powers that are ostensibly there to protect and serve, and did not want to come in as a result. But her grandmother insisted. 

I can understand Serenity's resistance. 

A rape victim submitting to a rape kit is like a physical assault victim submitting to a baseball bat to the other, non-battered side of her head in order to establish plausibility. Even then – even when they've broken bones and the bloody glove does fit everyone is suspicious of the veracity of a good rape "story" so why bother?

No one wants a guilty man found criminally responsible for something other men secretly want to do as well (if the viral popularity of violent internet porn tells us anything, it's that). But no matter – the same sadistic animal that rapes, beats, kills and tortures also happens to be the same one who controls the levers of power, be it law maker, judge, police officer, physician, politician, academician, propagandist, publisher, priest, sugar daddy, the boys' club of Silicon Valley, businessmen in general or the uber rich. How handy.

It's handy for the predatory male, anyway. 

Not so "handy" for aboriginal girls raped on railroad tracks. Perhaps this is what Serenity thinks on some subconscious level as Dr. Basson confidently strides into the examining room. He is a healthy white male, 45, who immigrated from South Africa and now lives with his perfectly symmetrical, much younger, breast-implanted wife on the "right side" of the tracks – the same tracks where Serenity was raped. Rape might be opportunistic, but it has no boundaries.

Dr. Basson, Willem to those "privileged" enough to call him a friend, pulls back the grey privacy curtains without regard for Serenity's privacy. Cathy, who is sitting in the waiting room, catches a glimpse of the sopping wet girl, recognizes her and immediately starts texting. Confidentiality? No. This is a game with easy to break rules if you have the upper hand. Don't ever forget that.

Willem is one of the ones with the upper hand and he never forgets that. He approaches Serenity without making eye contact, and instead looks down at the clipboard he carries in his freshly scrubbed hands. He informs her with the carefully controlled contempt he's been honing his whole life – further sharpened into a deceptively benevolent prejudice since immigrating to the Canadian North – that he will have to do a rape kit.

Serenity, who at the tender age of 16 has already been so sexually, physically and psychologically traumatized throughout her life that she can't rely on her own repressed memories, doesn't think she knows what a rape kit is, even though she's been subjected to one before. Dr. Basson thus gives her a detached, yet stern, clinical summary of what a rape kit entails. It's as if he is mildly irritated with such formalities, such nonsense.

When he is done with his explanation, he finally looks Serenity in the eye so that he can make it perfectly clear that if she wants his assistance she will have to cooperate with the rape kit, which to Serenity's ears sounds just as bad as the rape she endured. 

Dr. Basson doesn't add that he's a busy, important man who doesn't have time for hysterical girls who are stupid enough to go outside unchaperoned in the middle of the night.

There should be a curfew for these Indians, he thinks with disdain.

By now Serenity is sitting up on the examining table, legs dangling over the edge like the lifeless extremities of a hand-stitched cloth doll. With mascara smudged around her eyes and blood matting the back of her head where she was slammed into the tracks, she eyes the doctor through the thick curtain of her damp, black hair and says, "Fuck you". 

It is a surprisingly articulate and calm "fuck you" and grabs Willem's attention. He looks at her now as if she's a new person of interest who's only just entered the room. He experiences a brief jolt of adrenaline despite his otherwise meticulous self-control.

He would not admit it to anyone, but he does enjoy the sport of a feisty squaw.

He, however, is not accustomed to being spoken to with such irreverence by a Native of any kind and he'll have to put her in her place. Still, it's surprising – they usually don't speak at all in Willem's experience. If it's absolutely necessary that they do respond, it's normally in hard to hear, grammatically incoherent mumbles.

"I'm sorry, Miss, I'm here to assist you, but I WILL NOT tolerant abuse from you. If you want my help you'll have to address me with the respect I'm due". 

Willem does not break his intimidating stare before adding, "I'll give you a moment to think about it". 

As he turns to leave, Serenity's limp leg suddenly comes to life and she kicks at Willem, just missing his calf. She tells him if he comes near her she'll scream.

She wants to go home.

Willem is indignant and leaves to tell the police on her, who are waiting in the waiting room along with "Good Samaritan" Cathy with her sourpuss face and smug, vindictive fingers. Here's to hoping karma does its job and arthritis sets in early.

The "good" doctor then returns to Serenity with the same two RCMP officers who had taken her initial statement. This fine duo of public service attempts to set Serenity straight, none of these adults evidently cognizant that they are dealing with an abused child who has just been brutally assaulted. 

Serenity is understandably distraught when confronted with all this menacing "help" and again spews "abusive" expletives.

How do these men, responsible for a minor's care and well-being, deal with Serenity's perfectly justifiable acting out? They wash their hands of her. 

Dr. Basson, most likely never abused, harassed or demeaned in his entire privileged life, literally tells a teenage girl who has just been abused beyond imagination that he will not be abused by her. Unless she stops abusing him, he says he cannot treat her and leaves Serenity alone with the RCMP officers. 

The officers offer to drive her home. She tells them, risking arrest by the way, to fuck off too, the way she did the "good" doctor.

Fortunately they do not arrest her, but they don't do anything else, either.

Serenity is "free" now to walk home in the rain with her grandmother. She wants to say "I told you so" but why bother? 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Internalized Misogyny: The Body Shame versus the Slut Shame

"I told you these breast-implanted women were a fucking nuisance," I swivel around in my chair to see if Belinda is listening to me.

She isn't.

I will never get her to the gym now.

We are at our respective computers reading the same news item regarding a porno-programmed Play Mate human-hybrid: Part skin and bones, part plastic and wax, part adipose tissue, part botulism – spreading the unattractive contents of her cadaver brain for all to witness. No one wants to see that, Dani Mathers. No one. You've confused body parts. Stick with what you know. You hit below the belt with a body shame and I'll throw my hat in with a slut shame. It's a give and take, rolling with the punches. Life is a fight. We're living in a ring.

Belinda is also confused, rendering her momentarily speechless, which isn't unusual when a girl's illusions are shattered or worst fears realized. Although she once rated and compared herself in a depressingly negative light with all the magazine-beautiful girls as much as anyone else born into a world that wrapped you in pink and stuck a bow on your head like a foregone conclusion, Belinda has learned to suppress and detach from such critical thoughts about both herself and others.

She adopts the stance of a hopeless believer in the innate goodness of humankind, despite extraordinary evidence to the contrary, and gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. She, for example, does not want to judge another woman's choice, whether saline or silicone, if that's what she desires or if that is what it takes to prevent a body dysmorphic sufferer from killing herself. All of us, i.e. the physically imperfect, have to find ways to cope under the magnifying glass of the "male gaze" and the scrutiny of female insecurity. To each her own. Diversity. Do not judge.

It's a generous worldview, but not exactly a realistic one, which I sometimes feel the need to point out. It, however, takes a great deal of effort on my part to break through Belinda's carefully constructed denial. She never at first wants to believe malicious gossip is true or that a monstrous pair of tits is fake. It just seems so deceptive to her and therefore defies her chosen belief that all people are inherently good. Besides, there have always been well-endowed women, she argues. Maybe the sudden proliferation of large-breasted women in the past 20 years is what? The work of evolution, natural selection?

As for Belinda, she had a breast reduction and cannot for the life of her imagine why (despite not wanting to judge anyone who does have breast implants) anyone, barring a psychiatric problem, would intentionally have her normally proportioned breasts inflated to a back-breaking, logic-defying tourist attraction from which no one can look away. I tell her I think that's the point.

Initially, upon reading how Dani Mathers invaded an unsuspecting woman's privacy by publicly and viciously body-shaming her, it seems counter-intuitive that a surgically-augmented ditz skilled in the selfie and other mentally taxing activities such as removing her clothes, a woman who makes a living off the easily exploitable rape fantasies of delusional men, would reveal the flabby, unexercised parts of herself to a viral audience. A neglected mind is an ugly thing.

But of course the aesthetically unappealing human brain with its capacity for higher cognitive functioning is a pointless vestigial organ to a person whose conditioning has her convinced she actually wants to transform herself into an intellectually-stunted sex object. One who speaks in vacuous Playboy sound bites meant to milk the oozing bodily fluids of a multitude of spasmodic men with back hair and a wallet  all the Zika-carrying semen, blood-tinged chlamydia mucus,  gonorrhea pus, saliva, nose snot, masturbatory sweat and laboured mouth-breathing a young businesswoman who went to the trouble of a 33 Double D could ever hope for. But never mind, no penis-holding man worth his genital wart was interested in your brain or character anyway.

It turns out a person, male or female, does not necessarily have to be wise to make big money. If reality TV, internet pornography, the cult of celebrity and the financial crisis of 2008 have taught us anything, it's that.  You only have to be an unscrupulous asshole with ambition, an opportunity, and a willingness to prostitute your dignity for a price. 

If you're female, that indignity includes having your chest stuffed like an overfed, hormone-injected factory chicken kept in a tiny, cramped cage and raised purely for slaughter, as well as later mastication, with a preference for genetically mutated breast meat. 

Now, I'm not sure if you can call the smug malice of an adult woman in a pair of infantile bunny ears, who conforms to an objectified ideal that fuels sexual assault and reinforces internalized misogyny, while simultaneously proclaiming she's a "rebel" news exactly, so much as confirmation of what Belinda, in spite of her rose-colored glasses, already suspected and what I already consciously knew.

Apparently, like many if not all women socialized through the ages in a sexist world obsessed with the physical appearance and sexual viability of every female born, Belinda's "spectacles"  do come off, regardless of her aforementioned wall of denial, and despite confidence in every other sphere of existence, when her own body image is the object of consideration. 

It's challenging enough keeping internal criticism at bay, even with a wall, without adding the external pressure of a gym full of what Belinda suspects are impossibly gorgeous, and therefore cruel, people looking down their perfectly symmetrical noses at her. 

As for me, I was not in denial that people like Mathers existed in the world, particularly in a gym, but was trying to keep this knowledge from Belinda in the hopes of one day convincing her to go to a spin class with me. The class, though, is held in a gym, which Belinda sees as a meat market she vows to never set foot in, whatever I plead. She does not have any desire to feel like a piece of meat, thank you very much, especially a piece of meat that might be judged as undesirable for consumption.

"Don't be ridiculous," I lie to her, "no one is looking at anyone. You go for health reasons, that's all. No one cares what you look like, they're too busy working out. Besides, every body type, shape and size is at the gym. Everyone is made to feel welcome".

Belinda eyes me doubtfully. "Aren't there mirrors everywhere? I don't want to be looking at myself, never mind have anyone else look at me!"

I again tell her she's being ridiculous; she's beautiful and has nothing to worry about. But the truth is that there are indeed mirrors everywhere and it is indeed traumatizing for a girl with body image issues, whether real or perceived. I would rather not go there myself, but it's the only place that offers spin classes, the one indoor workout I enjoy that doesn't require skilled coordination or excessive socialization and isn't boring. Even so, I'd prefer if Belinda went with me to share in the burden of humiliation, again whether the reasons for that feeling of humiliation are based in reality or not.

I hate drawing attention to myself as it is without going to a gym. And as it happens, most of the time I attend one of these spin classes, I do draw attention to myself by being late. 

My tardiness is disruptive and causes everyone to stare with disapproval. To make matters worse, there's usually something wrong with the bike I'm left with, such as a squeaky wheel or a seat that's stuck and won't adjust, and this too is disruptive as the music is turned down and everyone looks around to see who has the squeaky wheel this time. It's me. It's always me. Why even question it?

I've also been known to fall off the bike in the process of getting on or off it, and it isn't uncommon for me to whack my head on the handlebars or drop my water bottle and splash water everywhere. 

Once, the pedal broke right off just as I was standing up, causing injury, excruciating pain and more disruption. Another time, I did the entire class with my t-shirt on inside out without realizing it, and I'm pretty sure the trio of fit, young women, who frequent the same class without breaking a sweat, all of them appropriately tattooed like cattle with an owner and g-stringed like strippers with a UTI, think I am mentally challenged. 

They, for instance, will turn during one of my signature disruptions and with the furrowed brow of pseudo-sympathy marring their otherwise lovely features, watch as I fumble around only to get my foot stuck in the pedal strap and fall over.

On occasion, the most compassionate of the three will be so moved by the pitiful sight of me that she will rush to my aid. Her charitable act of the day. She might, for example, notice me struggling with the lever to adjust my seat and take it upon herself to save me from further embarrassment. 

She'll ask if I need help in the carefully enunciated words one uses when attempting to communicate with the hard-of-hearing or the cognitively impaired. Then without waiting for my answer, which would be a resounding no, please stop noticing me, she takes over. 

I awkwardly stand there feeling like an idiot until she successfully works the lever and the seat is adjusted. It's not adjusted to the height I want, but now I feel like I'll hurt her feelings if I redo what she just did. She seems so pleased with herself for helping me, the invalid. So whatever, let's just get this hell over with. I don't like hurting people's feelings if I can help it. If you're an unapologetic, sadistic asshole, that's a different story. 

Superficial women consumed not only with their own appearances, but with deriding the appearance of those society deems cosmetically "less fortunate" or somehow morally flawed and deserving of scorn in the case of weight gain, aren't necessarily thoughtless assholes like Dani Mathers; they are products of a culture that commodifies the female body and socializes girls to be predominantly outward-focused at the expense of developing other meaningful aspects of personhood, such as mind, inner strength, integrity, spirit and soul.

Until you have some awareness of the cultural, religious and other forces that shape your thinking, however, it's difficult to undergo the kind of paradigm shift that would prevent you in the first place from snapping an unsolicited picture of a naked woman in the shower and then sharing it on social media for widespread ridicule, possibly jeopardizing said woman's safety and sense of self-worth.

I don't know if the mass of public outrage, job loss and possible criminal charges Mathers faces for what she did is enough to shift her thinking and behavior. But it's doubtful that a pornographic model who boasts of being a "sexual deviant" as if it's a noteworthy accomplishment is going to be shifting anything but some paying man's scrotum.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Her Battered Mind

Somewhere in the dark recesses of her battered mind,
Was a lost fleck of ego she thought she'd never find.
She gave up the search and her outlook grew bleak;
The storm in her head reached a dangerous peak.

She walked around buried alive from within,
Choking on air, nails clawing under skin.
She bore the torture but wanted it to cease,
She craved some sort of eternal release.

A corpse inside a breathing body she would soon be,
If she didn't put a permanent end to her misery.
But before she could take matters into her own hands,
She heard a voice giving outrageous commands.

It told her to change her thinking and give it a rest,
But with gun in hand, she cried she couldn't endure one more test.
But its calm persistence made her ask why in a tone quiet and flat,
And it replied because she was worth it, as simple as that.

She can't say how or whence the voice came,
Whether ego, delusion, or God, it's all just the same.
But she knows to this day when her mood darkens the light,
There's a spark living in her, waiting and ready to ignite.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Spark

Her favorite time of day was early morning, as the sun climbed from the horizon. It didn't matter to Sophia what the weather brought, only that a new day had arrived with the redemptive dawn. The old traumas of night could be left in the dark purgatory of her memory.

She savored these solitary moments, before her daughter awoke, in their new home overlooking the Pacific. Every morning she took her cup of tea and sat in a lotus position on her outside deck. She'd concentrate on the ocean, meditating on the mysterious wisdom of nature. She envisaged her body, soul and mind uniting with the elements of the earth and all creation, until a tingling sensation took root in her brain and massaged its way down the length of her body.

The feeling of connectedness was so intense that if a tsunami had risen up to engulf her, she was certain her entire being would become fluid. All the parts of her would gently disperse into the waves and she’d again be reborn.

By the end of her morning ritual, Sophia was often overwhelmed with such a sense of peace and love that she couldn’t remember ever not feeling so whole and complete. Yet for most of Sophia's life she was indeed incomplete and disconnected, from both her surroundings and herself.

She was born near midnight at the cusp of a cursed day into a toilet when no one would help her labouring mother. Sophia was left an orphan and cast out into a cruel world like so much trash, where a brutal death was a guaranteed future prospect and survival of a sound mind was constantly in doubt. She learned that if her body could survive the predators that fed their sick urges on cherub flesh, her mind would eventually wake up in a flood of light. It was in those quiet hours, when the monsters lay sleeping, that Sophia learned to breathe and gather strength for the tribulations she would again face after the sun had set.

She became so adept at detaching her mind from her physical self that she could endure all manner of pain, without so much as a grimace. However, if Sophia didn't find some beacon of hope in her bleak existence, she was in danger of losing her soul to nothingness entirely.

Who can really say what sparks the light, igniting the courage needed to illuminate the things that operate in darkness. The answer to this question is different for everyone. Some will be so blinded, so broken by the evils of this world that they will never find the spark; others won't recognize it, but a few will have their eyes opened and their resolve divinely sanctioned. The originally intended fierceness of their spirit will be restored.

For Sophia that spark, that beacon of hope, that reinstated bravery was kindled the moment she saw the sparkle in her newborn baby girl's eyes, as bright as the morning sun.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Escape from a Residential School

Wanda secretly planned a summer trip home. It was a trip she and her family had been promised 3 years beforehand when she was taken from her village. All the children, in fact, were taken from the village and brought to St. Michael's Indian Residential School to live. There they would be educated in the Anglo-Saxon and Christian traditions.

They were told it was for the good of their people. Through religious indoctrination of their young, the savages would be assimilated into civilized society and their heathen souls redeemed. Youngsters were thus plunged into an ironically savage world of government sanctioned abductions and punitively run religious boarding schools.

Emily Carr, Gitwangak (1912), Oil on Canvas

Such traumatic circumstances wore down most of the children. Wanda, however, was not easily broken. She was beautiful, the daughter of a Haida princess and warrior chief, and drew great strength from knowing her heritage. This did not sit well with the staff. The Sisters of St. Michael’s and their priest, Father Fredrick, did all they could, in the name of Jesus Christ, to break the child.

The things they did to break her would have made hardened men – men under the very shield of a patriarchal God, beg for mercy and pledge allegiance to the Enemy. 

But no matter what they did, her spirit would not be broken. 

The Guardians

She seemed protected by an invisible shield and the guardian eagles of her ancient ancestors who flew overhead. They left warning feathers as evidence of their presence -- witnesses to the atrocities inflicted under the guise of a manmade god.

Under such tutelage, Wanda's soul was emboldened to stand strong and resolute no matter what was done to her. She continued to whisper in her native language to the other students. When the Sisters heard, they stabbed her tongue with knitting needles as punishment for speaking Satan's words. Wanda grew accustomed to such tortuous lessons and dealt with the beatings, starvation, solitary confinement and sexual assaults as the stoics taught, transforming adversity into mental and spiritual triumph.

She was sure if her people found out what was really happening at St. Michael's, she and the other children would be rescued. It was this belief that fueled Wanda's resolve to escape during the warm summer months in search of help. 

She told the other children she'd soon be back for them. And true to her word, Wanda was indeed returned to the children. She was returned by the Sisters who had caught her trying to leave in the middle of the night. They tortured her until the wee morning hours and intended to use her barely alive body as an example for the rest of the children. 

There is no greater teacher than fear.

But under the shield of Wanda's invisible guardians, she felt no pain and endured the last hours of her current incarnation without so much as a whimper, until her spirit was finally delivered home.

With her soul safely back in the womb of creation, the men and women of St. Michael's had to make due with the girl's lifeless body. They took her prepubescent corpse, naked and bruised, and hung it by a rope from the grand oak overlooking the school. The rest of the terrorized students were assembled in front of the body as it swayed along with a mighty wind in the hot early sun. 

A murder of crows swirled overhead as eagles stood guard.

Father Fredrick took his position of honor before the grand oak and began his hellfire and brimstone sermon. But as his preaching gained a terrible momentum and his voice shrilled, rather than instill abject fear in the children, they were comforted with a great calm. And there in front of their innocent eyes, a pair of almighty eagles descended from on high, converging with talons drawn on Father Fredrick's jugular.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Joke that is Kevin O'Leary

Kevin O'Leary, the self-titled "Voledmort of Capitalism", is the ideal political absurdity for any Canadian looking for a Trudeau nemesis to liven things up. Why should our neighbors to the south have all the fun?

He's as ridiculous as they come - a bald, short man with a comb and a height restriction, beady-eyed and prepackaged with a seductive list of satirical potential, courtesy of the spectacle he's already made of himself on TV, radio and in print – all before he's even done anything yet, other than "suggest" in his trademark over-the-top style a possible interest in the Conservative Party leadership race.

It's a meaty list of ingredients, too. A gift from the gods of mockery. It includes a track record of cringe-worthy bloviating in interviews and written material, as well as in his role as a reality TV line-prodded investor puppet, who can't think any deeper than looped catchphrases, such as "nut bar" or "nothing burger". He doesn't appear to read or critically consider anything that doesn't support his greed-driven biases and instead focuses his intellectual "prowess" on deciding if, in his own words, this is "a TV moment or a money making moment".

The result of O'Leary's loose-lipped hubristic babble, narcissism and contempt for the downtrodden of this world is a body of material that reveals him for the slave he is – a man shackled to the cult of self, who prostrates at the alter of greed and calls it freedom.

With this illusion of freedom on his side, he feels completely justified hurling cheap, degrading insults at fellow human beings. He expresses bigoted opinions, displays poor insight, inferior intelligence, questionable judgment, equivocal integrity, spectacular grandiosity, indifference to the suffering of others, and has a bizarre, almost fanatical worship of money – the kind of fanaticism normally reserved for the religious zealot.

He christens himself "The Merchant of Truth" and refers to money in the language of totalitarian theocracy,  ordaining it "Absolute" with a capital A, preaching that it's a "fixed law", like the law of gravity, and claiming it "the blood of life".

Power tends to corrupt, and Absolute power corrupts absolutely. 
Great men are almost always bad men 
~ Sir John Dalberg-Acton

O'Leary goes so far as to say that "the only thing that matters in life is money" and you must "sacrifice everything, including your mother if you have to, for financial glory". He views dollars and cents as holy "soldiers", a personal army he sends out to pillage and rape. Those he sees as financially "stupid" he calls "cockroaches" and snickers, pleased with how witty he seems to think he is.

It also pleases him to frequently make mention of shooting both people and animals, execution style, and sending them to hell, on what authority one can only imagine. Upon hearing such irreverence, though done in jest,  it is difficult to stop the mind from wandering to images of Nazi death squads shooting mothers who used their own bodies to protect their children at death, just as they did at birth.

Mother holding her child close just before being shot by a Nazi.

O'Leary laughs about all this cockiness.  He thinks his divination of money and flippancy towards the sanctity of life is a joke, and he a clever wordsmith, not seeing that he is the joke, one put on television to dance for meaningless pennies at the cloven hoof of infernal amusement.

Hades awaits.

In the meantime, as the underworld stands by anticipating the inevitability of his death, our hapless lost soul defends the Golden Calf with the fervor of a Stockholm hostage clinging to his captor, and the conviction of a Jim Jones follower selling live monkeys door-to-door in the hopes of generating seed capital for a shiny new Church of Avarice. Its ornate gates, of course, open to only a select "elite" who take great delight in slamming the door on the desperate faces of starving children, environmental refugees and wounded victims of terror. There are 3.5 billion people living in poverty? Fantastic! Incentive!

When O'Leary isn't celebrating abject destitution or confronted with other poverty related statistics, an Oxfam report, the widening chasm between the haves and have-nots and how such gross inequality is actually bad for the economy of a country, or really any of a myriad of global woes and inhumanity that can be traced back to the same wealth-hoarding of a cruel few at the expense of an anguished many, he explodes in plutocratic indignation.

He has the audacity to accuse genuine social justice advocates, activists, writers and academics of promoting theft. He sarcastically, in his usual emotionally-charged, straw man style of lowly thought and hyperbole asks if we should just go ahead then and "kill" all the uber-rich one percenters and "steal" their hard-earned coffers for the "crime" of being successful.

Those who refuse to rise to the bait of O'Leary's inanity and would like to find real solutions to the catastrophic inequality, exploitation and environmental damage crippling the planet and creating needless mass-scale misery, "Mr. Wonderful" calls "left wing nutbars" and "communists". He sneers they are nothing but Robin Hood style anarchists and thieves who aim to take from the deserving rich and give to the undeserving poor. There is nothing original here. It is the go-to script of the crony capitalist bent on keeping the bamboozled masses docile and the thinking progressives muzzled, which no one disseminates quite like the late satirical master George Carlin.

As for O'Leary, he appears to have little empathy for the plight of another, claiming people deserve what they get. They should have worked harder like his male privilege and lack of conscience allowed him to worker harder and maybe they wouldn't be so hungry. Maybe they too could enjoy a $13,000 dinner on a whim. What weary fools! Fools with skeletal arms too weak to lift the weight of emaciated bodies from the graves of economic inequality, or pry traumatized psyches from the cement of abusive pasts. How dare the oppressed not grovel before philanthropic psychopaths who dangle sustenance out of reach but within sight – how dare they not agree this erosion of the human spirit is "encouragement"!

Crack open your blistered lips, speak from your parched mouths and network! Market yourself even though you were never exposed to the kinds of educational opportunities and upbringings that would prepare you to speak in the language of Kevin O'Leary's Capitalism-Without-a-Social-Conscience: A worldview that ruthlessly commodifies absolutely everything, including life itself.

And commodify all of Canada, without mercy, is exactly what Kevin O'Leary would aim to do if, in this Age of Absurdity, Celebrity and Idiocy, he was actually successful in his bid to one day become Prime Minister, as ludicrous as that may sound –  ludicrous, that is, if not for the mind-boggling ascent of O'Leary's Mother Ship: Donald Trump.

If O'Leary did accomplish his diabolical plot to invade and subjugate Canadian democracy, he has said on more than one occasion that as Prime Minister he'd draw a yearly salary of $50 million. He figures that providing the "CEO of Canada" such outrageous compensation, in addition to offering huge incentives to "bureaucrats" who cut costs and save "him" money, will create "incredible competition" for government positions from the "private sector". The perfect recipe, by the way, that history has taught leads to violent revolution brought on by an impoverished underclass with nothing left to lose, and culminating in the fall of mighty empires and their kleptocratic rulers.

But like all villains, O'Leary is too arrogant to think the lessons of history apply to him and has unwittingly revealed the conceptual stages of an economic plan that would essentially turn Canada into an oligarchy. He brazenly states that he would order everyone in every department to "find me a dollar of savings and you're going to keep 50 cents of that for yourself."

He is certain this will attract the best entrepreneurial minds – greed's alien spawn unburdened by the inner fire of a higher purpose, or the humanitarian principles of a strong democracy that works towards dignity, justice, free expression, prosperity and opportunity for all.

This is alarming because when accumulation of wealth at any cost, regardless of human or ecologic toll is the single objective of a governing body, the vulnerable and marginalized among us, and even the very air we breathe, are reduced to nothing more than byproduct – an annoyance, waste to be thrown in an ever-expanding, sulfuric tailings pond of unregulated pollution and despair.

And sure enough, O'Leary sounds downright joyful at the thought of all the "needless" infrastructure he'd burn like "unnecessary bridges", or the unions he'd make illegal and our union brothers and sisters he'd "put in jail" (he actually said this), as well as the "stupid social programs" (he also said this) he'd eliminate if he ever became Prime Minister.

He further says with the calculated relish of a sadist cradling a vendetta, "Do you have any idea how much slashing and hacking and cutting of costs I'll do?" It's a rhetorical question. He is not particularly interested in dissident opinions that conflict with his narrow point of view.

When presented with such dissident opinions, he  indiscriminately uses the same logical fallacies and intellectually dishonest debate tactics employed by any self-important, hair-triggered schoolyard bully, no matter the credentials of the person to whom he speaks. He does not bother to take the time to know or research the validity of his opponents' arguments and doesn't worry about how patently dumb he comes across. If anything, he seems proud of his lazy ad hominems and willful ignorance. Philistine.

He argues in the same childish, name-calling manner whether he's interrupting his co-host, Amanda Lang, to yell over her thoughtful commentary, debating articulate and well-informed 14-year-old Rachel Parent over the world-saving "merits" of GMOs, or "discussing" with Pulitzer prized journalist, Chris Hedges, the ideological legitimacy behind the Occupy Wall Street movement, or the world-saving "merits" of what Hedges would call the pathology of "unfettered capitalism" and O'Leary would simply enthuse is "great!"

Given O'Leary's callous disregard for others, especially those in need, while simultaneously congratulating himself, could any rational person ever envisage such a man, who freely uses racist expressions such as "Indian giver", come across as anything but disingenuous when addressing the nation after a senseless human tragedy like the recent La Loche shootings of northern Saskatchewan?

This is particularly egregious in the context of O'Leary's plutocratic worldview when one looks at the community of La Loche as a prime example of what happens when a country does not adequately protect, heal and nurture its most vulnerable until they can stand on their own two feet, while at the same time awarding massive concessions to those who are already flourishing.

In a fair, democratic society there is nothing "fantastic" about poverty. There is also nothing "fantastic" about poverty's accompanying ailments of addiction, hunger, poor physical health, reduced cognitive ability, dismal coping skills, mental disorders, violence, suicide, incest, child molestation and rape.

But a man of O'Leary's ilk, who purports to admire another vile piece of filthy rot on his way to damnation, the Sultan of Brunei, has no interest in correcting injustice.  If anything, these abominations masquerading as men revel in the torment and agony of innocent life.

To be wealthy and honored in an unjust society is a disgrace ~ Confucius

The only thing that could make the absurdity of O'Leary's fatuity any more sensational than it already appears to be is a sex scandal, or possibly an Ashley Madison honorable mention.

It after all is not such a far-fetched notion that O'Leary would be a cheating sleazebag: He has already proven himself a man of mixed loyalties by largely ignoring his matrimonial Canadian roots and concentrating his philandering interests on a preferential American mistress named Boston – his favorite place to call "home" for the past 20 odd years.

**UPDATE April 10, 2017: Anita Bell, O'Leary's former personal assistant, admits she scheduled "travel" and "products" for his "female companions and girlfriends" while she worked for him. So it appears we don't need The Impact Team to learn of O'Leary's indiscretions after all. A disgruntled former employee does the trick. Source.

As far as the possibility of debauchery and bought silence, this too is not so far-fetched. He fits the profile of a libertine: In addition to his overall creepiness, he has no problem using his vast resources to buy whatever pleasure he fancies; presumably that includes fleshy, silicone-injected females who are open to being degraded for a price. He further fits the profile as a man past his physical prime, who is missing most of his hair and one of his many troubling monikers is "Uncle" Kevin. O'Leary, in addition, is a pompous light-skinned guy of worldly status and celebrity fame, who is small in stature and has an obvious Napoleon complex.

He also not only has the smarmy smile of a lech and the kind of preposterous wealth that morally corrupts, if you've followed him over the years on first Dragons' Den and then Shark Tank, like all the male investors panting on stage, "Uncle Kevin" can barely contain the slobber that threatens to escape his self-control the second a half-naked girl young enough to be his daughter, who either is the pitch or has something to pitch is paraded in front of him. This is especially the case when these girls exhibit the same staid female bells, whistles and augmentations prized by heterosexual males with the cave-dweller mentality of a Sasquatch and the little brain of a peacock.

He, as well, at the age of 57 took a 2-year "break" from his wife of many years, who apparently stood dutifully by while he messed around. Women REALLY need to stop giving men a free pass like this. It just makes our entire gender look weak and stupid.

But that aside, safely separated from his wife, "Mr. Wonderful" could thus jet set and party (and we all know what that means) without shame, as feigned as that obviously would be since he has stated many times that for him money is more important than his wife, children, mother or life itself.

And if the above isn't convincing enough, there is the fact he bribed the Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley, with a $1 million investment in Canadian oil if she resigns. This then would indicate he is not averse to using his obscene wealth to silence women and make them do what he wants. 

The indomitable Notley, however, was not swayed. She laughed in the hideous face of Voledmort the Capitalist and quipped with the flair of J.K. Rowling herself, “You know, the last time a group of wealthy businessmen tried to tell Alberta voters how to vote, I ended up becoming Premier." 

It would be interesting to know if O'Leary realizes that like most archetypal bad guys, Voldemort's arrogance and lust for power ultimately lead to his downfall.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Still, without our splendid villains, evil adversaries, clever opponents, flamboyant enemies and motivated challengers, it wouldn't be much of a game. There'd be nothing with which to sharpen our wits and build the muscle necessary to push humanity forward and out of complacency, or even worse, stagnancy. Thus, in the name of progress, I say to the Kevin O'Leary clowns of the world, bring on the absurdity.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Leftovers: Lesser Cousins of a Better Creed

The leftovers waited patiently,
In the fridge for their turn.
They did not harbor resentment,
Nor was their banishment of concern.

Except Brussels who saw the writing on the wall;
They knew they'd be rejected and started to pout,
"Through no fault of our own we stink,
Like rotten eggs and old sauerkraut!"

Potatoes tried to console them with sage advice:
Sure, they were the lesser cousins of a better creed,
But rest assured, ALL the leftovers would be
Sought after by gluttony and greed.

The vegetables and their sauces,
Gravy and sausage dressing too,
Congealed under plastic wrap,
Between the mayo jar and last week's stew.

Cranberries, yams and turkey,
Cooled in the old Frigidaire.
The whipping cream and pumpkin pie,
Sat idly by without a care.

But as the leftovers leisurely gossiped
In the crisp Freon atmosphere,
Brussels foresaw a hopeless destiny:
"We're never getting out of here!"

The sprouts had been overcooked,
And gave off their rancid smell.
They would be the only leftover
The gluttons would repel.

The other leftovers humored Brussels,
While furtively rolling their esculent eyes.
Then just as predicted they heard muffled voices,
"You get the turkey, I'll get the pies!"

They could hear clanging glass,
And the fridge door creaking.
With a flood of light the gluttons had arrived,
Whispering and sneaking.

Leftovers were piled onto plates,
And heated in the microwave.
But not the Brussels sprouts 
Condemned to rot in their frigid grave.