It seems there are only white people in Canada. Canada is so smug about its multiculturalism, you'd think it would actually make a point of showcasing its diversity in ways besides making visible minorities share the small screen with Sheila McCarthy. But two recent television-watching experiences have led me to question whether this country is, in fact, populated only by Caucasian, sweater-sporting executives and their blonde, Queen's University-attending children.First, there was Top Chef Canada. I was willing to look beyond the host (Thea Andrews, who, coincidentally, is blonde and graduated from Queen's University and calls to mind that episode of Seinfeld in which Kramer suffers from Mary Hart-related seizures) and the fact that a strangely high number of the contestants appear not really to be able to cook. What I find hard to accept is that they couldn't have included one contestant of a non-pale hue. Apparently, the show's (unnamed) defenders claim that "the contestants were chosen based on ability, not on location, gender or race". That just means that there happen not to BE any women or minorities who are as good at cooking as these white men are, which is especially distressing as most of these white men appear not be very good at it at all.Then there was the whiteness of the recent election debate. I'm not referring to the fact that all four leaders and the host were white (and also men - although Steve Paikin is a Prince Among Men, which sets him slightly apart). I'm talking about the fact that all six citizens whose videotaped questions were shared were white. They were careful to balance the sexes (three women [all blonde, as far as I can remember], three men) and the regions represented, but made no effort to vary the colour scheme. One of the women had an accent, but that was about as diverse as the evening got. Are Canadian television producers so obsessed with regional diversity and not looking like the only place they care about is Toronto that they forget there are other forms of inclusiveness? I find I have been retroactively protesting their lack of inclusiveness for years by forgetting about the existence of Canadian television. 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.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, whom many up to this point thought of as a reasonably reasonable individual, has declared that the Black Bloc hooligans who broke windows at the recent G20 Summit in Toronto were "terrorists."This thrills me. Not because I welcome the threat to my imaginary storefront, but because this may be a sign that Toronto, previously a modest and restrained metropolis, should be awarded the highest civic honour with which I am familiar: a sister city in Northern New York. Unfortunately (for me, and, I'm sure, for two or three other people) newscasts produced by local Northern New York television stations are not readily available on the internet. If they were, I would be able to introduce you in a far more dramatic and credible fashion to...the Rock Sniper.Over the course of three weeks in 2002, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, better known as the "Beltway Snipers", shot and killed ten people. When, soon after this occurred, windows in Watertown (I'm pretty sure it was Watertown - as I said, the case has, inexcusably, not been well-documented on the internet) were targeted and broken by rocks, the rhetorical temptation was unavoidable. They were dealing with the "Rock Sniper". They interviewed residents who'd borne (or rather whose windows had borne) the brunt of the Rock Sniper's rage. They solemnly intoned the phrase: "The Rock Sniper has struck again." They provided anxious viewers with Rock Sniper updates. Just as people on the east coast of the U.S. were gripped by the fear that they would randomly be shot, so too were the people of Watertown gripped by the fear that their windows would randomly be broken. Which of the two groups suffered more grievously from fear? Who can tell?The word "sniper" has the remarkable ability to reveal the essential resemblance between situations which, to the untutored eye, might seem a tad different.And now Chief Blair has revealed the same remarkable ability in the word "terrorist." Denizens of Toronto should immediately proceed to sympathize volubly with New Yorkers, Israelis, Palestinians..etc...etc... we can now shake our heads slowly and sadly and reflect on the terrible toll that terrorism takes on civil society. When someone speaks to a Torontonian of a "death toll", he or she can respond with harrowing tales of the "window toll." A final note: it wasn't just Chief Blair who used inspired and entirely defensible rhetorical flourishes in discussing the G20. Judy Rebick, a well-known local hippie ne-er-do-well, also insistently drew an ingenious and tenable parallel between totally comparable things when she referred to just about everything as being "like a concentration camp." Bravo to everyone involved! I was quite depressed when the journalist and television host Steve Paikin avoided any such illuminating phrases while describing his experience of seeing a journalist roughed-up by police. THEN, thankfully, he began his defense of the reasonableness and docility of a crowd of protestors by describing it as "middle-class" and I could rejoice once more. 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.