Friday, 7 May 2010

Shut the Fuck up

In 1999, at the height of their now regrettable popularity, Limp Bizkit released a duet with Method Man called "N 2gether Now". Each line of the catchy chorus was followed by a cheesy played-back sample of the words "Shut the fuck up". Whatever the rest of the awful lyrics to that song were, there was nothing memorable about them. Not surprising considering the backwards-red-yankees-baseball cap wearing moron singer who created them. Add the terrible, amateurish DJ scratching that was unfortunately common in rock at that time, and you have two good reasons why the ditty is evermore cringe-errific with each passing year. We can be grateful 11 years later that the lot of it has long been mercifully chucked into the "Pop culture's utterly worst abberrations" dustbin of history. Used CD store employees across North America will disdainfully hand you back your copy of the album, incredulous that you'd be silly enough to expect them to take it, even for free. They learned their lesson 10 years ago when they accepted everyone's copies and subsequently failed to sell a single one. This whole episode is clearly painful for anyone who remembers to bring up. And I wouldn't have, except I heard those words again, the "hook" of the lame tune as it were, in the media last week.

Shut the Fuck Up.

You're not actually allowed to say that on the radio. You'll have to insert a cuckoo clock or a fart noise to block the expletive or they won't play it. Against the law in Canada and America and enforced by a regulatory bodies, the CRTC here and the FCC there, who ensure the airwaves are kept clear of excessive potty-mouthery.

Yet the words came directly from the government, a Conservative senator. A highly esteemed woman, it appears, to have been the recent recipient of an appointment to the Red Chamber, which pays 133,000$ a year and a pension for life once mandatory retirement kicks in at 75. Apparently, this government's choice for the role of the wise old grey owls who are supposed to be the tut-tutting, modest, prudent voice of reason in this country's political system (they'd better be, at that wage) are people with Fred Durst-like levels of vocabulary and sophistication. Then again, they also appointed a functionally illiterate person to the same role (no disrespect to his hockey achievements). But this is not about appointments to the senate, which everyone agrees in its current form is pretty much indefensible. This is about the first time we've hear, what we know is the government's attitude and response to any and all dissent, unfiltered and unaltered.

The question, from many groups, was what is a Woman's Right to Choose in the third world in 2010?
The Conservative Senator's Response was Shut the Fuck Up.

Here's another example. Last year, over at Rights and Democracy, the non-partisan organization set up by Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1988 to promote, well, rights and democracy, there was conflict over the supposed non partisan mandate. The organization's President, Rémy Beauregard got told the four words so harshly that he had a heart attack and died. It was because he had dissenting views and the board did no less than plan his ouster right before his eyes. Over Israel, of course. The democracy promoting organism was paralyzed by an internal putsch.

Beauregard didn't want to shut the fuck up. And when he died, Conservative MPs told his widow to do the same as her dead husband. It's what anyone who criticizes Israel now has to do in Canada. Stephen Schleinberg, Vice President of B'nai Brith, Professor at Concordia University, and no Zionist slouch himself, explains the government's distaste for dissent and the infiltration of his originally community-minded Jewish charitable organization by ultra right wingers like Frank Dimant, who have converted it into a Conservative shill, in this excellent article. He is a man whose views are probably similar to the governments' and his colleagues' at B'nai Brith in many ways but who has dared, like any reputable person would, to question their objectivity and committment to free speech and found himself cast out by them.

Toronto asked why it was shut out of the government's stimulus plan. John Baird, the infrastructure minister, told the country's biggest city not to Shut the Fuck Up, but to "Fuck Off", for filling out the governments application wrong, even though it talks about the stupid plan like a broken record. More than likely the flight off the handle was permitted by the chief because the votes for that city are written off and the government prefers to hand out gifts in regions it already owns to solidify its support in them.

The irony with this one is it involves the government's other reflexive response to dissent, the Economic Action plan. This documents conversations that occurred where I live when a citizen asked their Conservative M.P. "So why exactly does the government feel it does not need to release these documents?" You'll see that he literally responded: "So, do you need some information about our economic action plan?"

These are all small and subtle issues which when separated are written off by the public as too complicated or inconsequential. But put them together and you see a pattern of a country, its people, its institutions, its safeguards, being told all the time every day to shut the fuck up. Look at some bigger issues like the nation's finances. The parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page, and the Auditor General, Sheila Fraser, have both been very brave in defending their independance and the integrity of their roles in the face of threats, intimidation and dismissal of their claims by the government. Page routinely calls the government out for its rose-coloured glass economic predictions and hiding or understating costs for policies it holds dear, like draconian law-and-order crime legislation (six months jailtime for 1 pot plant!) and tax reduction (is a year ever going to go by under this government without yet another corporate tax cut?). Then there is the environment, the principle issue of this decade. But what do you think the Minister of Petroleum, oops, I mean environment responded when asked if whether the huge disaster in the gulf meant maybe we should chill out on the crude extraction. This time, it was a spin-loaded, friendly answer. We'll call it shut the heck up, but it amounts to an STFU to the environment. We're quintupling the oil sands and ramping up offshore, damn the torpoedoes


And despite all that, it is still possible, it could still happen that we get a...

Conservative Majority Government

I'm beginning to think it would really be the best thing. Yes, I said it and, no, I won't be personally contributing to it, financially or with my ballot. But I want to be put out of my misery as soon as possible. Let's just convert to a full-blown conservative utopia for five years. I don't think I can handle the shitfest of another minority on either side.

Because Michael Ignatieff is not like the Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens. I don't want him to beat his stronger, faster, favoured adversary because unlike them he does not inspire any affinity or patriotism in me, and also unlike them he has no chance. He misses the mark so much and is so irrelevant and incoherent that you do tend to want to answer his press quotes with a nice STFU. And to use another hockey analogy, our country needs to hit rock bottom politically before it can rebuild with high draft picks. (i.e., not the current used up crop of opposition leaders)

With a majority, on the other hand, it would probably be decided at the end of five years that the Canadian tradition of parliamentary majorities ending after a period of that duration is some kind of liberal scam. The Conservatives will then unanimously pass a bill making elections the exclusive prerogative of the prime minister's office. After all, parliament sitting makes the market unstable; Harper said it himself on TV. So maybe instead of the house sitting we can just have endless prorogues. We can, can't we? That precedent's already been set in these minority years.

A majority could pave the way to the stacking of the Supreme Court à l'américaine to overturn abortion and gay marraige. The now stacked-senate would be able to rubber stamp a war on drugs and continued unfettered pillaging of the oil sands and the nation's resources, blocking any limits or controls on them. They could also rid us of any useless remaining think tanks, development agencies, boards or public broadcasters, basically anything that doesn't report directly to the government or serve its political interests. We have four consolidated corporate media monopolies in our vast land and they serve the government's interests quite well; the public broadcaster, on the other hand, is terminally infected with vestiges of the old liberal establishment. So out it goes. And the racist exclusion of aboriginals from their land, their rights and their resources will continue. Aboriginal rights is a liberal priority. That's why we are one of four nations who refused to sign the U.N. Treaty declaring the rights of aboriginal peoples to self determination. And so on and so forth with more unrestricted garbage and bullshit that they do in the name of our country, Canada.

Each real and potential thing that I've chronicled does not raise the ire of the public on its own. But with a majority, and the few limits placed on their power with a minority which they mostly ignore anyway permanently removed, I believe the government would f&?k up enough shit up that people would finally get pissed off and wake up. As it stands, the lack of public interest in the facts about why this government is bad for us sadly means that we do deserve to be told to shut the fuck up.

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