Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Speaking Out - The Burden of the Bourgeois

Holy shit, it's hot. It's so hot that the mainstream media slog heap is really starting to stink. I'm sitting here in my sauna office, my sweaty fingertips sticking to the keyboard, trying to make sense of it all. And I'm a little delirious, so let's see where this one goes.

I know Christie Blatchford is an aging and incendiary provocatrice who doesn't take herself totally seriously, but imagine that the Globe pays her six figures to do what I do here - rant and rave and write bad sentences. And you can always count on her, from her central Toronto pulpit, to seethe about things that really matter to her white, middle aged audience - tamil protestors, native protestors in Caledonia, the Taliban. But kudos to her for saying things that noone else will. It was no big D when she was at the post - its pages are filled with that stuff. But now at the Globe, at the end of her career, she does manage to occasionally shock with her insinuations. So much so, that I'm writing this right now to calm down.

The first five paragraphs were a bla-bla-bla about publication bans in Ontario and the farce of open courts. Right there with you, Christie. Me and you both got a serious set of beefs with the current provincial government, starting with the fact that they're getting extremely lazy and more and more autocratic with public complacency backing them up. But since the trial in question was the first for the "ringleaders" of "violence" in Toronto at the G20, you began the next paragraph by getting personal and lining them up for a broadside. Which brings me to the subject of today's article.

The perpetrators, you said, were all white kids with good teeth. Now, I know you got newspapers to sell and that's why they pay you the big bucks, so I'll forgive you that catchy attention grabber.

Then it goes on.

Some of them are in University. Some of them drive their parents car. Some of their may want to take a deep breath in - have cottages. The cottages may even be in Muskoka. Oh, the humanity, Christy. The sheer humanity of this crazy world we live in.

I'll stand up here in the Royal court of Blatchford. No, I waive my right to an attorney. Oh, it's already waived with a bunch of my other rights, for being a spoiled, insolent young punk. Yes, I am guilty, judge. Guilty on all charges. University educated. Have a driver's licence, have driven my parent's car before. And I've spent many summer weekends in Halliburton, Bancroft, Muskoka, Parry Sound. Barbequing, jumping in lakes. And I was not okay with the G20, or the legal and fiscal fiascos that have resulted from it.

Also, I'm white and I have good teeth (from braces). I've always been able to get work, and I know about good food and exercise, and I read your newspaper. I file tax returns every year, have RRSPs and even a TFSA. My parents did a great job in raising me, and I have experienced no oppression or discrimination against me in my lifetime.

Just to make it clear to you that I'm not here posing as some "activist". And I didn't go near the protests, either.

But I probably would have, if I was there.

The message is very clear from you, and all the columnists at the Globe, and all the columnists at the post, and all the columnists at the Star, and in most of what comes out of Canada's consolidated, monopolized media. The only people who complain are the very people the system benefits - young and middle aged, upper middle class white people. A tiny minority who need to shut up, grow up, join the masses of their fellow countrymen, and start enjoying life like proper, docile adults. That means ponying up for a ridiculously inflated property, leasing two gas guzzling vehicles, spending your nights watching prime time on the 42", seven weeks of your year commuting, and one week on an all-inclusive resort. Just sit back and wait for cheap gas, cheap food and cheap electricity to come to you and complain when it doesn't come. Cheap, that is. Wait till it stops coming at all. Worry about really important things in the meantime like cutting grass and feeding domesticated animals. "Urban elitists" in their "ivory towers" with their "idealistic pipe dreams" want to destroy all this, the greatest society in the greatest country the world has ever produced.

The choice to speak out against all that in a generalized fashion is not out of some desire to be "unique" or "different". It's not to get attention. It's not because it doesn't interest us, although why it interests anybody is beyong my comprehension personally. And although we've been spoiled, sure, I'm the first to admit it, it's got nothing to do with that. The system and its current policies must be spoken out against because its f----ed and we see it. The only objective that anyone can have without shame and focus on is growth. And governments and companies are busy buying up the remaining resources there are to feed into this experiment, really quite demented when you think about it. For me, writing this blog helps me deal with that reality and understand it. Others choose to express their discontent in different ways.

But the problem is, were in the wrong demographic. The light skinned one. We're not Mandela, we're not Gandhi, and we're not Martin Luther King. We're just a bunch of spoiled rehabilitated suburbanites mistaking ourselves for those guys, the revolutionaries, the guys who really took the power back because they were so righteous. Except two of them got killed and one had to wait until he was 71 before they acheived this designation.

My question to the indignant columnists therefore is, if we don't speak up, who will?

I speak up because I am genuinely worried and preoccupied by the ridicule and smear which poisins any public debate now. I speak up because I realize just how devoid of ideas and outdated the red-blue party cabal really is and I think we need to get talking before their obsolescence becomes apparent. And because if another generation gets swindled into thinking they can have all that stuff I mentioned, all over again, the same way, that fuckin' American dream or whatever you want to call it, the consequences will be dire. They already are. This is no longer blog-grainy conspiracy theory documentary territory. It's all over the front page and the business section. And don't believe the ignorance is bliss people who say they never read it cause it's all bad and it's always been bad. Take my word for it, John Lennon would not sound so weary singing "I read the news today, oh boy" today.

But, I don't have a leg to stand on, because I had a petit bourgeois upbringing. I have tasted the fruits of cottages and campuses and bay street and single malt scotch. Leave the advocacy to real poor people who've really been stepped on and really been hungry and really are totally marginalized by the system. How those people are supposed to find the words or the strength to stand up and shout is their problem. Look around the world and around history. The only people who ever made a difference, except for some extremely rare exceptional visionaries, were educated, healthy, borderline establishment people. By and large they're the ones who have had the desire and the energy, the vision, to see where we could be and why where we were was killing us. So stop using class as an argument against us. This is supposed to be a democracy. Sadly, I feel more and more citizens are defaulting into authoritarianism.

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