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I am worse than Rush Limbaugh. I don't mock people with Parkinson's from some underground lair via ham radio, but I have managed to be worse than Rush Limbaugh nonetheless.

Rush's most recent attack on the Obamas (that I'm aware of - a whole day has passed since I heard about this one) involves Michelle's weight and dining preferences.  Michelle Obama has made reducing obesity in America her First Lady platform, and Rush finds her activities to that end meddlesome and hypocritical. He claims they are hypocritical because "...our first lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date ever six months or what have you." 

He's not alone. A conservative cartoonist has produced an uproariously funny and artistically distinguished depiction of Michelle Obama eating a giant plate of hamburgers. By all means look at it, but be warned: you'll have to read a hell of a lot of Doonesbury to feel clean again afterwards.

So why am I worse than Rush Limbaugh? Rush is criticizing Michelle Obama not for being fat, but for being a hypocrite. He's wrong, and he's insulting, and he's paranoid, but he's not just making fun of someone's figure for the sake of it. I, however, have made fun of someone's figure just for the sake of it.

When Rob Ford was elected mayor of Toronto, my post was graced by the following image:
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Someone's Been Eating the Gravy Train
Rob Ford is undeniably full-figured, and he does talk a lot about a sinister gravy train, but that doesn't mean I should have made a joke about how he's been eating said train. I knew it was cheap and unfair at the time, but I did it anyway.

So Rush Limbaugh unfairly makes fun of people for being fat hypocrites, while I apparently, make fun of people I don't like simply for being fat. I shouldn't have to resort to making cheap and unfair cracks about Rob Ford's appearance when there are so many substantive and justifiable cracks I could be making about his policies.

This week, Rush Limbaugh acted as my moral compass. Perhaps next week, Glenn Beck will teach me an important lesson about intellectual integrity.

Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.
 
 
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Side effects may include: corncob pipe, eyes of coal, and the thumpetty thump thump (I made no cracks about 'snow balls' because I am classy).
I do not have any particular problem with The Toronto Star - I just happen to be a nasty-minded, self-appointed critic of the honest work that other people do and get paid for. And because they're often paid for honest work that happens to be insensitive or ill-advised, my mind stays nasty.

This time, it's Karen von Hahn, a fashion columnist for The Star, who's wowed me with an inspired turn of phrase. Of Canadians in winter-time, she writes:


"...because we are all as overdressed as toddlers going out to play in the snow at recess, we lose the spring in our step, shuffling along like overmedicated mental patients and slouching in our many dull-coloured layers like sulky teenagers."

While I admire her attempt to pack as many similes into one sentence as possible, and I admit that teenagers can indeed be sulky, the mental patients angle seems a bit off. How off? As off as under-medicated mental patients, of course. And what's almost as disquieting as the fact that von Hahn thinks things that might be insensitive (and I'm thinking more of the feelings of the mental patients than of scarf-wearing Canadians) is the fact that she then proceeds to share them. Which brings me to my new acronym: INSTALS. INSTALS stands for "if not sensitive, then at least sensible." 

How often have you watched the news and thought: "if you're dishonest enough that you're going to cheat on your wife, at least don't do it by sending shirtless photos of yourself to a stranger on Craiglist and using your own name, making it easy for her to google you and find out you're a two-term Republican congressman"?

If you're not going to be sensitive enough to refrain from committing adultery, at least be sensible enough to use an alias and hire a professional. If you're not able to be sensitive enough to refrain from thinking that bundled-up Canadians look a lot like sedated mental patients, at least be sensible enough to refrain from saying so. 

Although I admit I'm looking forward to summer, when no doubt van Hahn will write something about spirited, under-dressed, warm-weather Canadians capering about as though they're jumpy, crack-addled whores.

Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.


 
 
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It's not crazy: Torontonians could rise up against their democratically-elected government and demand democratic elections.
It's easy, when you live in a place like Toronto, to feel intimidated by other places, like, for example, New York and Indianapolis - places bursting with culture and atmosphere and exploitative journalistic practices. When I saw this clip of an Indianapolis reporter roaming the streets making homeless people sing on The Daily Show, I couldn't help thinking: "Why not here? Why not in Toronto? Why can't Toronto's news outlets callously capitalize on the public interest generated by certain current events, too?"

Well, proof that Higher Powers grant my wishes as long as they don't bring anyone any certitude, or peace, or help for pain was not long in coming. Behold the following story teaser from February 8th's Toronto Star

Recent events in Tahrir Square, where Egyptians have been ushering in a revolution, have got us thinking: if the revolution were to happen in Toronto, where would it unfold? The Star's Christopher Hume takes a look.

Magnificent! We're really proving that we've got a media scene the equal of any in the United States. I don't want this kind of cheeky journalistic ingenuity to wither on the vine, though, so I'm offering the following suggestions for future Star articles:
  • The recent to-do over Egypt's unpopular despot has got us thinking: which of our local politicians could be considered the "Mubarak" of Toronto City Council?
  • The recent violent crackdown on peaceful protesters in Egypt's Tahrir Square has got us thinking: if Toronto residents were going to rise up and then be viciously repressed, which animals would those viciously repressing them ride in on? The Egyptian thugs used horses and camels: keep reading to discover our suggestions for a distinctly Canadian battle beast.
And it doesn't just have to be about Egypt. Any topic of considerable contemporary interest will do. Here's an example of a non-Egyptian attention grabber: 
  • The creation of Southern Sudan, the world's newest country, got us thinking: what's changed in the day-to-life of Torontonians since East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, York and the former city of Toronto were amalgamated into a single municipality in 1998?
See? Easy, effective, and fun!


Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.


 
 
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Dear Catastrophizer,
   I recently and unexpectedly ran into an ex girlfriend that I'd not seen in 3 years. She seemed very pleased to have seen me, we had a very pleasant chat and parted amicably with a brief peck on the cheek and an embrace.
   I left with the feeling that that was one relationship I could be proud of, that we had both conducted ourselves like adults and despite having had an unsuccessful romantic relationship we were still able to interact warmly and cordially with all thoughts of bitterness and jealousy buried deep in the past.
   Surely this can't be right?


You have good instincts: of course it's not right. I like a good catastrophizing challenge, being given a scenario that appears rosy so I can apply my intellect to its sullying. Alas, this is not such a challenge or such a scenario. It's like shooting grim fish in a depressing barrel.

1) "...that was one relationship I could be proud of..." The quiet pathos of this sentence would be heartbreaking if I hadn't developed an immunity to quiet pathos by exposing myself to it continually over the course of thirty years. Do we really need to catastrophize this particular encounter when it's clear your life likely already boasts enough catastrophic material to power hundreds of obscure blogs? If a brief, unplanned chat with a woman you're no longer in contact with constitutes one of your few sources of interpersonal pride, you might want to just go off and live on a pillar in the desert and give the whole other people thing up (click here for artists' renderings of the kind of beard you would have to rustle up in order to do so).

2) I am now going to pull off a bravura interpretive performance by linking your unexpected encounter with the current popular revolt in Egypt, in the process cheapening both. People, like nations, behave warmly and cordially for a number of different reasons, the least likely of which being that they are genuinely fond of one another. It is far more likely that people, like many nations, are polite with one another because they don't want to cause a fuss, they don't have time for a lengthy airing of hidden grievances, or they're afraid of destabilizing the region and jeopardizing their relationship with one of Israel's few local allies. One of the things about "thoughts of bitterness and jealousy" is that, as they're thoughts, you can't see them if they belong to someone else. It's all too possible that your ex's head is teeming with malignant thoughts, but that she, like many nations, has decided to protect her own interests by pursuing a non-interventionist foreign policy.


Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.