USING HER POWERS
FOR GOOD, NOT EVIL
I reported on lovely and talented
Washington boulevardier Kelly
Jane Torrance, I noted her newfound and
well-deserved ubiquity in American journalism. Then I
discovered she has published a short story, her first, in Doublethink.
(Not yet online, so you'll have to rush out and buy a
copy.) Given the title ("Hack") and our shared
experience, I feared (but secretly hoped) it was a
barely-disguised evisceration of KMG. No such luck.
Instead, it's about a character not a million miles
removed from James
Guckert (AKA Jeff Gannon). A quite
creditable début it is, although I must point out it
would have done better in the all-important category of veracity
had she made her protagonist a Republican, rather than a
Democrat. But this is a trifling complaint, and I'm
certain we can expect great things from her stories and
novels in the years to come. My only hope is that I'm
around to enjoy them. And now that I've reported on her
again, that gives me an excuse to run another pic. Did I
mention that Kelly is lovely and talented?
Kelly Jane Torrance:
Her real passion has been art, and she belongs among
Michael Grace, 7.47 pm, 14 July 2005►
DVD CAPTURE: MARS ATTACKS!
Lott alerted me to his latest Get
Religion post, a comment on Teddy Kennedy's
attack on Senator Rick Santorum. He was delighted with his
handiwork—not so much the post itself as the
illustration: a giant picture of Kennedy's gargoyle head.
My first thought: where had I seen that head before?
Then I remembered: Kuato from Paul Verhoeven's Total
resemblance is extraordinary. Here's how to tell them
apart—Kuato is the mutant alien leader; Teddy is
the mutant Kennedy who championed
the 1965 Hart-Celler
Act, which transformed America into an Alien
Nation. One difference: Kuato came by his
dissipation honestly—he lived inside some other dude's
Kennedy, Kuato: Separated at birth?
Michael Grace, 6.59 pm, 14 July 2005►
STRANGER THAN SATIRE
Wells has been having a lot of fun with Le
Devoir and one of its reporters,
a twit named Jean Noiseux
(rhymes with "niaiseux," pretty much) who writes
that the Charest
Liberals are headed for an electoral result that would
limit them "more or less to where the Equality Party
was in 1976, that is, to about 15 ridings in the west end
of Montreal with high concentrations of Anglophone
out that the Equality
Party didn't exist until the 1989 Quebec
election, that Noiseux has wildly exaggerated the number
of Anglophone Jews in Montreal and their electoral
influence and goes on to insinuate that Le Devoir's
to retract these errors is proof of its
But of course,
accuracy isn't Jean Niaiseux's goal. All he wanted to do
was to put Jean Charest in bed with "the Jews"
in his first paragraph. Mission accomplished.
Congratulations to Le Devoir for helping him out.
Somewhere Mordecai Richler is laughing, as he always did
when his targets did all his work for him.
Two days after his original piece, Wells
indulged in a flight
of fancy whereby Le Devoir blamed
the Jews for all manner of historic calamities, including
2000: George W Bush wins Florida, and the Presidency, by a
handful of votes over Al Gore. Le Devoir unearths a
secret memo from Karl Rove: "We owe it all to the
Equality Party and to Anglophone Jewish voters in 15
counties in west-end Miami."
Up to a point, Lord Wells. Five years ago a relative
handful of elderly Jewish voters in south Florida were
blamed (or lauded) for tipping the election to Bush. Michael
Moore wrote to his "friends" 10
There was something about
yesterday's demonstration in front of the courthouse in
Palm Beach County that profoundly moved me: hundreds of
elderly Jewish citizens, many in tears, demanding, begging
for someone to listen to them. They tried to explain that
the ballot they voted on was so confusing they feared that
they had actually voted for Pat Buchanan (a man who once
said "Hitler was an individual of great
courage") instead of the man they wanted for
president, Al Gore.
Rather than being heard, they
have been ridiculed across the country as being
"stupid," "ignorant" or "sore
losers." They are portrayed as a bunch of whiners,
old people who maybe shouldn't be behind the wheel of a
car, let alone in the voting booth. Get off the road,
you're messing up the election for the rest of us!
Moore being Moore, he finds Adolf Hitler, Esq, lurking
Sixty-two years ago tonight
[10 November 1938—Editor], the Holocaust began in
full force on what was called Kristallnacht.
The German government sent goon squads throughout the
country to trash and burn the homes, stores and temples of
its Jewish citizens. Seven years and six million
slaughtered lives later, the Jewish people of Europe were
virtually extinct. A few survived. I will not allow those
who survived to come here to this "land of the
free" be abused again. They are our fellow citizens
in our great democracy, and their voice, if I have
anything to say about it, will never be snuffed out.
Confusing or sinister?: The infamous 'butterfly ballot'
A year later a book by John Nichols called Jews
for Buchanan: Did You Hear the One About the Theft of the
American Presidency? was published by
the New Press. Its back
cover boasts endorsements by Studs Terkel,
William Greider, Jesse Jackson and Cynthia McKinney.
But it is not only conspiracy theorists who believe
that Jewish voters in Florida accidentally (or
"accidentally") cheated Al Gore of the
presidency. The Jewish
Telegraphic Agency reported 8 November
In the end, the selection of
the next president of the United States came down in many
ways to voters in heavily Jewish South Florida.
And in a major twist, the
votes that might have mattered most were the ones elderly
Jews may have inadvertently cast for Pat Buchanan, the
Reform Party candidate known for his anti-Israel and
But state officials ordered a
recount of the presidential race in Florida, after seeing
it was being called by a margin of less than a half of one
percent of the votes. Results of the outcome were not
expected before Thursday.
At the center of it all were
ballots in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, which
have a large Jewish population.
Although Jews made up only 5%
of Florida's vote, a large bulk of the constituency was
from that area, which includes many senior citizen
Robert Wexler (D-Fla) told CNN that voters
in Palm Beach County, a heavily Jewish area, were leaving
the polling place crying because they had voted for
Buchanan by accident.
Some voters were apparently
confused because of the way the ballot was structured.
Ballots showed candidates on
both sides of the ballot, in every-other-page order. So
while Bush/Cheney was immediately followed by
Gore/Lieberman on the left page, interjected between them
"There is no doubt that
there was much confusion at Palm Beach County yesterday at
the ballot box," Wexler told CNN.
He said Buchanan received
3,000 votes in the county, compared to an average of 400
in other districts...
The effect is obvious to Lisa
Stoch, [a Jewish Community Center] employee who passed
around a petition at the center calling for a re-vote.
"Buchanan didn't even
get 20,000 in the whole state of Florida, and he got 3,400
in Palm Beach County—something's not right," she
said. "What percentage of that 3,400 were people that
thought they were voting for Gore?"
Stoch rallied a meeting of
Holocaust survivors early Wednesday, triumphantly
announcing that "all of them have agreed to
sign" the petition.
Meanwhile, concern surfaced
Wednesday that a ballot box in heavily Jewish Fort
Lauderdale had not been counted, adding to the confusion.
This controversy was even taken up on Saturday Night
Live, with Darrell Hammond impersonating a
more-than-usually unctuous Gore, reading the names and
reciting the stories of fictitious elderly Jews cruelly
confused by the "butterfly ballot." One would
have thought that Wells, an aficionado of American
politics, would know all this.
As for the late Mordecai
Richler, am I the only one irked by the
apotheosis of this cheerful hater into a plaster saint?
Richler was richly talented, no question, but his novels
and journalism evince a loathing of the
Catholic Church and a settled conviction that the Québécois
are animals: the women good for screwing, the men good for
leaders and their culture fit only for
Richler's bigotry dominated the Quebec headlines after
he published the New Yorker essay later expanded
Canada! Oh Quebec! In the 28 September
1991 Montreal Gazette, he made a feeble attempt to
I seem to have read again and
again that I called Francophone grandmothers sows. This is
What I wrote was, "In
the past, [Francophone] families of a dozen children were
not uncommon. This punishing level of reproduction, which
seemed to me based on the assumption that women were sows,
was encouraged with impunity from the sidelines by l'Abbé
Lionel Groulx, whose newspaper L'Action
Française, founded in 1917, preached la revanche
des berceaux ["revenge of the cradle"—Editor]."
"Punishing level of reproduction"—le mot
juste, non? I could point out that similar levels of
reproduction were once common throughout the Catholic
world, but I cannot speak to which eminences noir were
encouraging (with impunity!) the women of Spain, Italy,
France, Ireland, Bavaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Poland and
other such primitive lands. And after I wrote about
Richler on the occasion of his demise, I received a letter
from Jewish correspondent in Quebec pointing out that a
similar punishing level of reproduction was observed in
Richler's own family on his mother's side. I wonder which
rabbi on the sidelines encouraged that—and toward what
Richler: What kind of animals
do sows produce, anyway?
Michael Grace, 3.34 am, 14 July 2005►
After moving in November, I declared that I wasn't
moving again until I died. Well, eight months later, and
I've moved again. Perhaps I did die; that would certainly
explain how I feel right now.
About two months ago, my building manager mentioned
that the storage room next to my apartment was being
converted into living space. The other shoe dropped a week
or so later—my apartment was being joined to the storage
room to create a much bigger apartment. Would I like to
take this new apartment? No, not really, I replied. I was
then asked if I would care to relocate within the
building. No, not really, I replied. A week or so later
again, I was informed I had no choice in the matter. I
could move quietly, or an order would be obtained.
Resistance was obviously futile.
Moving day was put off several times, as my new suite
was not yet ready. Still not quite ready yesterday when I
moved in: the dining room fitted carpet has a large stain
that is supposed to be replaced this morning. Yesterday I
started moving my stuff out at 8 am and went on nonstop
until 6.30 pm. The relocation itself was one floor down
and half a corridor across and was accomplished with the
aid of the building manager and the resident handyman. So
not nightmarish like my previous move and all the others
going back 20 years. Even so, I have hundreds of books in
boxes, even after spending from 8 to 1 unpacking. I hate
New pledge: now I'm not moving again until I'm
dead. But that could be sooner rather than later unless I
figure out immediately how to rustle up $1,000.
Michael Grace, 1.36 am, 13 July 2005►
TWO IRISH JOKES
On his PBS show Foreign
Exchange this week, Fareed
Zakaria referred to "the world's
foremost singer-statesman, Bono." Much competition
for this accolade, is there? Oh, who will rid us of this
globe-trotting bogtrotter? We could use conventional
weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of
lives. No, I think ridicule is the answer. Here's a start:
Last time we looked, no one
was planning to storm the streets of Edinburgh to demand
an end to didactic Irish frontmen. But think of the untold
suffering that Bono—and other celebrities like
him—have caused the world over the years. It’s enough
to make a stone weep…
Save your tears, get out your credit card, and send
away for this:
Think globally; sneer locally—that's my motto.
As long as I'm sneering at self-righteous Paddies, it's
time for another go at John
Doyle. The Globe and Mail's resident
poor mouth began his review
of Live8 with a pig-ignorant
The melodies and lyrics of
pop music are keys to the dream life of our culture. All
sunny optimism and sentimentality...
You mean like "Satisfaction" or "Hotel
California" or "Every Breath You Take" or
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "The Real Slim
Shady"? Do you even listen to pop music, Doyle? He
By the end of 22 hours of
broadcasting, only the totally tone deaf and the rabidly,
terminally cynical and mean-spirited could have thought
that Live8 didn't stand a chance of starting change.
Anyone who watched early on Saturday got a sudden,
shocking taste of the capacity of the event to unleash
Or at least to unleash emotional fatuity and lumbering
prose. Perhaps Doyle saves his fancy writing for his
books. He has one coming out in October: A
Great Feast Of Light. From the blurb:
Small-town Ireland was then
[in 1957] an isolated backwater ruled by priests and
steeped in anti-British politics. Its values were rural,
religious and nationalist. The mentality was feudal. Many
books and films were banned, there was no divorce, and
contraception was outlawed.
Just what the world needs, another Memoir of Dark Ages
A great tramping,
barracking, bollocking man was our Father O'Pression. His
writ ran the length and breadth, the highways and the
byways, the up hill and the down dale of County Tooraloora.
And to be sure, any of us boys at Saint Miseryguts had
only to whisper a hint of a glimmer of a fancy of what we
all wanted to do to witty, pretty Kitty McMahon behind
Finnegan's cowshed, when then, as sudden as the rains that
fell from the shimmering, slatey-grey clouds above, he
would appear before us, as tall and as terrible as old
Finn MacCool himself, stinking of the bacon sandwiches he
stuffed in his soutane, of the Jameson's he swigged from a
battered pewter flask and of the lack of the deodorant he
damned as a wicked Protestant innovation, the wrath of a
thousand Dies Iraes in his eyes, etc etc.
According to George Orwell, "At 50, everyone has
the face he deserves." Those tempted to doubt this
are directed to observe the picture of Doyle below. Warning:
best not to be drinking anything when you do, mind.
Doyle: Behold the mick
Does Doyle know he seems to be wearing a motheaten
Beatles wig? That his expression puts the "imp"
in simpering? And was it his intention to impersonate a
defrocked priest? To think there are those that mock
intelligent design. If this isn't proof of the Angelic
Doctor's belief that God created the world in the spirit
of comedy, then you must be invincibly ignorant.
Michael Grace, 4.01 am, 11 July 2005►
The Canadian Press, displaying its usual rigorous
Chuck Cadman as
the Independent MP from BC
whose vote rescued the minority Liberals and spared the
country a summer election.
And who wouldn't want those words carved on his
tombstone, eh? Stephen Harper was quoted as saying of him,
"He entered politics for a cause. He fought his
illness with a cheerful dignity, and we will all miss
him." The cause that took Chuck Cadman to Ottawa in
1997 is best expressed in P J O'Rourke's description of
Bob Dole: "I've suffered; now it's your turn."
No one has been churlish enough to say it, but the cause
that kept Chuck Cadman alive in his final year was his
determination to revenge himself on Stephen Harper and his
Cadman was a sitting Conservative MP when he was denied
renomination in his Surrey riding after a carpetbagging
Vancouver broadcaster swamped the membership rolls with an
instant Sikh army. Stephen Harper wasted no time in
calling Cadman a sore loser and brushing aside his
concerns about the devolution of the democratic process.
House leader John Reynolds announced in April 2004 that
Cadman would not be welcome in the Conservative caucus
should he be re-elected as an Independent, which he was,
overwhelmingly, in June. (The Conservative candidate
By November Reynolds was begging Cadman to come back,
but Cadman refused to do so unless the Conservatives
changed their nomination rules to prevent takeovers by
instant members and mandated that only Canadian citizens
could vote. (The latter restriction was a Reform Party
rule.) Putting Canadians first is anathema to the
Conservatives, so Cadman remained outside Stephen Harper's
big tent. Six months later he got his revenge when he cast
the vote that doomed the party. "They died for
multiculturalism" will be the words carved on the
Final score: Cadman 2, Conservatives 0
Michael Grace, 3.56 am, 11 July 2005►
Added a new site to the blogroll: Edward
Michael George. Besides sharing two
Christian names with me, he is also a smoker, and while
not all my friends are smokers, all smokers are my
Two names, you ask? My confirmation name is Edward,
ostensibly after Edward
the Confessor but actually after someone
else. I was seven years old at the time, was noted at
school for being devout (don't laugh) and was given the
privilege of making my own pick. I was wise enough even
then to know it would not have been a particularly good
idea to let the nuns and my parents know of the
sacrilegious tribute I had in mind, so I hailed a young
man on the street and asked if he was Catholic. He replied
in the affirmative, so I then asked if there was a Saint
Edward. He replied that he believed this to be true. From
his mouth to the bishop's ear. And that's how I came to be
named after Eddie
Edward the Confessor: Noted for piety Eddie
Shack: Noted for illiteracy
Postscript: Ohmigod Dept.: I once owned a copy
of that picture on the right. I just discovered it was
from the Bee
Hive Hockey Picture collection, a free
promotion of the St
Lawrence Starch Company. At my insistence,
my family consumed an enormous amount of Bee Hive Golden
Corn Syrup so I could send away for the glossies. They
ended the promotion in 1967, so it's been almost 40 years
since I've tasted corn syrup or the name Bee Hive has
crossed my mind. A real shock to the system, that is.
Michael Grace, 6.59 pm, 8 July 2005►
Since 11 September 2001 it has been confidently
asserted that we are at war. A very post-modern war this
must be, because its nature is at best in dispute and at
worst unknowable. What is the "we"? The
Occident? What was once called Christendom? These
assertions are strongly denied by our wartime leaders.
What is the "they"? The Orient? Islam? These
assertions are also strongly denied by our wartime
leaders. They claim we are at war with
"terrorism" or even "terror." But the
first is a technique, while the second is a state of mind.
They claim we are fighting for "our way of
life." But our leaders assert that this phrase is not
to be defined with regard to our Western nations and races
and their traditional beliefs and habits. So how are we to
know what constitutes victory in this war? When
"democracy" is made universal? But democracy is
merely a process, not a determination of belief or
quality. Has anyone ever gone to war for a process?
London Transport attack locations: 'Don't mention the
Reading the statements made today by Prime Minister
Tony Blair one is driven to the conclusion that this "World
War IV" is entirely illusory. For what
sort of war can it be when the second most important war
leader responds to a serious
attack on his country with a petulant
It is my intention to leave
the G8 within the next couple of hours and go down to
London and get a report face-to-face with the police and
the emergency services and the ministers who have been
dealing with this and then to return later this evening.
It is the will of all the
leaders of the G8, however, that the meeting should
continue in my absence, that we should continue to discuss
the issues that we were going to discuss and reach the
conclusions that we were going to reach.
Not one in 20 Britons could explain what the G8 is and
what, if anything, it accomplishes. Or why its meetings
are necessary. Especially since, as Blair acknowledges,
its conclusions are predetermined.
It is particularly barbaric
that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to
try to help the problems of poverty in Africa and the long
term problems of climate change and the environment.
Just as it is reasonably
clear that this is a terrorist attack or a series of
terrorist attacks it is also reasonably clear that it is
designed and aimed to coincide with the opening of the G8.
These last two paragraphs would be shocking, if we were
not thoroughly familiar with Tony Blair’s overweening
vanity. There he was, working his heart out to rescue the
benighted peoples of Africa from poverty and rescue the
whole wide world from the menace of greenhouse gases when
he was forced to leave a conference in Scotland and return
to his hobbled capital city. Barbarians, indeed. But the
question arises, If we truly are at war, why is the war
not first, second, and third on the G8 agenda?
It is important, however,
that those engaged in terrorism realize that our
determination to defend our values and our way of life is
greater than their determination to cause death and
destruction to innocent people in a desire impose
extremism on the world.
Whatever they do it is our
determination that they will never succeed in destroying
what we hold dear in this country and in other civilized
nations throughout the world.
Readers will have noted the strange (and seemingly
deliberate) indeterminacy of this statement. The nouns
"Britain" or (more telling still)
"England," do not appear in the text. Blair is
determined to "defend our values and our way of
life" but the nature of these and their provenance
are not discussed. Neither is the provenance of
"their" nor the purpose of "their"
extremism. Blair’s reference to "civilized
nations" is therefore thoroughly out of place and
sailing rather close to the wind. Does he mean to suggest
the existence of "uncivilized nations"? Where
might these be, and what makes them uncivilized?
The noun "British" appears twice in Blair’s
statement, made after his return to 10
Downing Street. Perhaps someone reminded him he is more
than a world leader pretend. Its acknowledgement of the
suffering of his peoples
This has been a most terrible
and tragic atrocity that has cost many innocent lives. I
have just attended a meeting of the government's Emergency
Committee, received a full report from the Ministers and
the officials responsible. There will be announcements
made in respect of the various services, in particular we
hope the Underground, insofar as is possible, and rail and
bus services are up and running as swiftly as possible.
I would like again to express
my profound condolences to the families of the victims,
and to those who are casualties of this terrorist act. I
would also like to thank the emergency services that have
been magnificent today in every respect. There will of
course now be the most intense police and security service
action to make sure that we bring those responsible to
justice. I would also pay tribute to the stoicism and
resilience of the people of London, who have responded in
a way typical of them.
presumably serves to remind them he is their ostensible
first minister and attempts to mitigate any damage to his
reputation following his earlier display of pique.
Blair then makes the requisite pro forma
In addition I welcome the
statement that has been put out by the Muslim Council of
Great Britain. We know that these people act in the name
of Islam, but we also know that the vast and overwhelming
majority of Muslims, here and abroad, are decent and
law-abiding people who abhor this act of terrorism every
bit as much as we do.
Here we see the implicit admission that the 7/7
attack (as it will surely come to be known)
was identical to the 9/11 attack in that both were
perpetrated not by foreign governments or from foreign
soil but by citizens or legal residents—or illegal
aliens still resident due to ministerial indifference,
which amounts to the same thing. But Islam is not the
enemy, because Islam is a religion of peace, and spokesmen
for the Muslim "community" stress that the
killers do not speak for them.
Blair: Repeat after me—Islam isn't as Islam does
Blair next makes a clumsy attempt at what some have
probably already characterized as "Churchillian
It is through terrorism that
the people that have committed this terrible act express
their values, and it is right at this moment that we
demonstrate ours. I think we all know what they are trying
to do—they are trying to use the slaughter of innocent
people to cower us, to frighten us out of doing the things
that we want to do, of trying to stop us going about our
business as normal, as we are entitled to do, and they
should not, and they must not, succeed.
When they try to intimidate
us, we will not be intimidated. When they seek to change
our country or our way of life by these methods, we will
not be changed. When they try to divide our people or
weaken our resolve, we will not be divided, and our
resolve will hold firm. We will show, by our spirit and
dignity, and by our quiet but true strength that there is
in the British people, that our values will long outlast
theirs. The purpose of terrorism is just that, it is to
terrorize people, and we will not be terrorized.
Churchill, for all his faults, would have said
"cow" instead of "cower" and
"business as usual" instead of "business as
normal"; more important, he would refrained from the
use of that endlessly mutable term, "values."
According to Blair, they have their values; we have ours.
Again, the nature and provenance of these values remains
I would like once again to
express my sympathy and my sorrow to those families who
will be grieving, so unexpectedly and tragically, tonight.
This is a very sad day for the British people, but we will
hold true to the British way of life.
It is customary in wartime speechmaking for the leader
of a country that has suffered a reverse to swear
vengeance on the enemy, pledging to take the fight to them
with greater vigour. Blair pledges, "Our resolve will
hold firm." But resolve to do what? Presumably, to
uphold and extend the highest value in Blairite Britain,
"tolerance." To that end, his government has resolved
to prohibit religious insults. Awfully
convenient, as this will make it a crime to point out
that, to the extent we are at war, it is a war prosecuted
against us—in Britain, just as in America, Spain,
Holland and Russia—by Muslim Fifth Columns.
Michael Grace, 3.50 pm, 7 July 2005►
Kudos to my good friend Kevin
Steel for a fine
Western Standard piece on notorious National
Post columnist Rachel
Marsden. It elicited the usual responses
from the Our Stephen Harper Fan Club at The
Shotgun: Why aren't you attacking the real
enemy? (The Liberals.) Going after "one of our
own" plays into our enemy's hands, etc. Here's
another binary division: those that aspire to membership
in a gang (or "movement") and those that don't.
I don't want to belong to any movement that includes
Rachel Marsden (or Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Andrew
My question for members of the "conservative
movement" in America or Canada is this: What are the
benefits of membership? If tribal solidarity ("us vs
them") is your thing, there are other, far more
rewarding binary divisions: Yankees vs Red Sox, Eskimos vs
Stampeders, Celtics vs Rangers, Coke vs Pepsi, dogs vs
cats, that hooligan
Beethoven vs Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms
and all the other composers that knock him into a cocked
hat, etc. Conservative movementarians will reply that
their membership demonstrates they are on the side of
prudence vs recklessness, right vs wrong and even good vs
evil, but I remain unpersuaded. What has the conservative
movement ever done to make America and Canada better
places? And no, I don't mean the phantom accomplishment of
growing the Gross Domestic Product, whatever that might
I digress. Someone called Judi McLeod of something
called the Canada Free Press has jumped
to Marsden's defence. Inter alia,
she notes previous attacks on "Canada’s latest
media celebrity" by the CBC
Zerbisias but ignores my
own considerable labours
in the field
Marsden Studies. Oh well. (And she adds a
superfluous "e" to Steel's name throughout, as
well as misspelling Muhammad Ali.) McLeod's article
resembles something a clever but emotionally incontinent
9th Grader might write after being dumped by her
boyfriend. In other words, it reads like a Rachel Marsden
column. Sample prose—note suicidal search for
alliteration (©William F Buckley, Jr):
journalism tilts trashy tabloid, it fizzles out.
Canadians, by and large, are pointedly polite...
Trudeau boys don’t dress up like Nazis and smoke
cigarettes at cucumber-sandwich-and-tea garden parties
like some British bluebloods do...
became the National Post’s latest
acquisition, competing media went into purple prose
The title of McLeod's piece is simply berserk:
"The Killing-off-Rachel Rally." Eh? She is
talking about Rachel Marsden here, not Karla
Homolka, right? As far as I can understand
McLeod's argument, she is accusing Marsden's accusers of
fabricating lurid charges against Canada's latest media
celebrity, whose only sin is that "Like many young
women making their way through the dating scene, she’s
had her share of trouble with bogus boyfriends."
That's certainly a curious way to describe a career that
includes, first, precipitating the most spectacular
self-immolation in Canadian academic history and, second,
a 2004 conviction for criminal harassment.
And yet, according to McLeod, Marsden "has never
in her life been convicted of a crime." She (and La
Marsden) should tell it to the judge, the
Honourable Judge W J Kitchen:
I am left to
consider general deterrence and denunciation of what she
has done. In varying degrees, accused persons must be used
as examples so that the values of our criminal law are
reinforced. There are many rejections to be experienced in
life. In this case, the message must be sent that
responding in the manner of Ms Marsden will not be
tolerated. What has happened to Ms Marsden should be
enough to dissuade most thinking members of the public
from acting as she did. I am satisfied that a discharge
will equally serve the purposes of sentencing as will a
suspended sentence. A discharge is in everyone's interest.
has asked for an absolute discharge, with no conditions. I
am satisfied that Ms. Marsden does not need monitoring.
She has undertaken to the court and to the public that
this will not happen again, and that she will have no
contact with the complainant or anyone associated with
him. Dr Eaves says, and I accept, that assessment,
treatment, or counselling are not necessary.
concerned about the appearances of an absolute discharge.
I have concluded that the offence has some aggravating
features and some may see an absolute discharge as
indicating that the incident is of no matter. I am also
concerned that for future reference there will be an
indication that this is more than a technical offence. Ms
Marsden could also benefit from having the matter hanging
I grant you a discharge but it will be conditional. You
will be on probation for one year, to keep the peace and
be of good behaviour. You will not be bound by other
specific conditions but you have undertaken to the public,
continued good behaviour beyond that one year.
Marsden: From the abode of the damned—the damned
And yet, according to McLeod:
When I asked Marsden how it
felt to be attacked on a personal basis as a
"convict" a "serial stalker" and a
"fraud artist", she told me that she believed
she could sue the Western Standard. "But a
litigation victory would be a shallow one given that they
likely can’t afford to pay, so why give them any
Yes, and if she had some cream cheese, she could make a
lox and bagel sandwich. If she had some onion, salt and
pepper. And lox. And a bagel. And knew how to use a knife.
The scariest thing in Steel's article is an old quote
from Canada's latest media celebrity: “Fifty percent of
people want to sleep with me, and the other 50% want to
kill me.” She is talking about Rachel
Marsden here, not Karla Homolka, right?
Michael Grace, 2.20 pm, 6 July 2005►
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
We must be contented to
amuse, when we cannot inform.
Michael Grace, 9.48 am, 6 July 2005►
This site had a record number of visitors last month:
11,700 (approximately, according to Site Meter) or 15,998
(exactly, according to Webalizer): a 37% Site Meter
undercount. Not that these numbers are anything to crow
about, but they do please me, as I hope The Ambler
pleases you. I'll keep it going as long as I can, but I
fear that destitution may soon force another interruption
In the meantime, I often wonder just who it is coming
here and why. Top Three searches leading to this site:
lesbian" (with seven times as many hits as No 2)
2. "stephen harper"
3. "old Canadian flag"
Of course I know who's using the Internet: stupid,
stupid people. I mean, how thick do you have to be to
believe that there exists somewhere on the Web unexploited
naked (even hardcore) pictures of seemingly every famous
women alive? I know you're out there, people, and I know
where you live. Or at least your ISP addresses.
Now that I am officially an oldie (see
below), it is only fitting I have abandoned
the hurlyburly of Bravo and Showcase for the deep, deep
peace of the Discovery Channel. Watched several episodes
of a Mythbusters
marathon Sunday: decided I liked Adam Savage and that
Jamie Hyneman was a bit of a dink, but this is clearly
what we are supposed to think. I very much liked their
proof that appliances in the bath will kill
you, especially that they were men enough
to admit they'd completely buggered the simulation first
time round. But I'm afraid How
It's Made moves much too quickly for
me. Except their segment on the making of bubblegum, which
resembled nothing so much as a great cauldron of fat
people copulating. Quite the most obscene thing I've ever
I wasn't in San Francisco last week for Thursday's Breasts
Not Bombs protest, but I probably would
have been disgusted by that as well. As Jerry Seinfeld
taught us, there's good
naked and bad naked. Naked hair brushing,
good; naked anti-war protesting, bad. Protest leader Sherry
Glaser, who appears to be channeling Libby
Wolfson ("I'm Taking My Own Head And Putting It On
Right, And Nobody's Gonna Tell Me That It Ain't"),
told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Boobies
never hurt anyone." As Glaser is a "size
40DDD," this is clearly not an empirical
Naked MPs, too grim to consider. The people behind hottestcanadianmp.blogspot.com
have asked me to plug their site. In my opinion,
politicians are already far too arrogant without being
flattered as sexually desirable, but I'll let you decide.
I've never met a female politician who looked anywhere
near as good as her studio portrait, by the way.
If zaftig Sherry Glaser is straight out of SCTV,
then the City of San Francisco is straight out of Hank
"Hey! Explain this to
me!" said an agog visitor from Florida, approaching
San Francisco police Sgt Carl T, who was assigned to keep
an eye on the crowd and who really has only a letter for a
"It's not illegal,"
the sergeant told the woman.
"All right!" she
said, giving him a high-five.
Technically, the sergeant
explained, nudity can be considered misdemeanor indecent
exposure if the person in their birthday suit has an
intention to titillate. Because the protest is political,
not sensual or lewd, it really doesn't count, he said.
defecation really is legal if its intent is
"political"? And to think there are some
who believe Canada crazier than America. How long before
we are all heartily sick of the phrase "King
of the Hill Democrats"? A month? A
week? Before we are, here's this Canadian's advice for the
Donkey Party: remember above all that Hank
Hill is a protectionist and no friend of
big business. Study episode 35, "Propane
Boom," which is a closely argued
tirade against Wal-Mart (cleverly renamed the Mega
Lo Mart) for destroying local business and
communities and for humiliating its employees and
Is my old friend Kelly
Jane Torrance still Canadian? Discuss. In
any case, a star is born; she has become positively ubiquitous
in the American media. And deservedly so. If I had a
criticism of Miss Torrance's oeuvre, it would be
her tentative tendency. In her review
In The Palace of Reason by James R.
Gaines, she claims, "No one composer could be
anointed the greatest." I fail to see why not. Go
ahead and make the case for Édouard Lalo; you'd be wrong,
but it would be fun to hear. And this is silly:
"While many of Mozart's best-known works are light,
he can be deep, too. Just listen to his final masterwork,
the Requiem." Or you could listen to just
about anything with a Köchel
than, oh, say, 450.
Kelly Jane Torrance: From beyond the Vistula to the
banks of the Potomac
Nothing published in the Washington Times is
going to lower the status of Mozart, thank God. C
P E Bach, on the other hand, deserves all
the help he can get, so I cannot let this libel pass:
"Bach's own son Carl...rejected the complicated,
serious music of his parents." No, that would be Johann
Christian Bach (enjoyable as he is).
Emanuel Bach's music is as serious and complicated as any connoisseur
is also wild, passionate, strange and even bizarre.
He is not well-served on CD since the vegetarians claimed
him, but I strongly recommend Mikhail
Pletnev's one-disc survey of his keyboard
works and Hartmut
Haenchen's two-disc survey of his
Gaines, if this is any indication: "What is
greatest about Bach's work is literally impossible to talk
about." Then why did you write a book about him?
The final word on Saint Bob Geldof comes from his
partner in philanthropy, Midge
Furious that Bob had
refused to allow him to perform—but then Bob appeared
himself singing the Boomtown Rats song "I Don't Like
Mondays." Ure was heard muttering furiously: "Oh
God, what a tart he is," when he saw Geldof singing
on the video screens in the VIP room. Those who were at
the original Live Aid remembered how Geldof had moved his
performance around in the first show meaning that he, and
not Ure, would perform in front of Prince Charles and
Give me humility but not yet, as Saint Augustine might
I daresay that nothing published in the entire
obsequious history of Rolling Stone quite matches
this Live8 bootlicking
from Roger Friedman:
You had to be there to
believe it, and I was—backstage, that is, and as far as
I can tell, the only journalist who scored a
much-cherished and coveted deep purple wristband for the
Maybe you saw this
extraordinary event as it unfolded. I have no idea what it
looked like on TV, but from the trenches (and these were
trenches with a lovely VIP tent and ironically overflowing
amounts of catered food, a gelato bar, and a, thank you,
regular bar properly supplying Red Bull and a bottled
water called Bleu Water) the whole thing was simply the
most amazing gathering of pop icons since the
Come back, Sid Vicious. All is forgiven. But where is
our Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be
refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and
On the stereo, Neil Young, On
The Beach, "Revolution
I got the
revolution blues, I see bloody fountains,
And ten million dune buggies comin' down the mountains.
Well, I hear that Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars,
But I hate them worse than lepers, and I'll kill them in
Michael Grace, 1.40 pm, 5 July 2005►
WHEN IRISH EYES
Lord Bono of Vox, Sir Bob Gandalf, some groupie:
Would you buy a used ego trip from these men?
It was only about a week ago I learned what Live8 was
about. (I still don’t know what "Live8" means,
however.) I’d assumed the concerts were about raising
cash, but no, they were about raising
"awareness." How soppy, was my first
thought—put a stake through its heart, and the 60s ethos
still refuses to die. It was only later I
understood how clever and sinister Sir Bob Gandalf (as
Joss Stone called him) really is.
Gandalf knows his Chomsky.
Live8 was, if nothing else, proof of how easily the media
can be induced to manufacture consent. Oh, we care so very
much about the poor people of Africa, do we? Gandalf knows
better than that. So he engineered a classic
bait-and-switch. Round up the biggest names in music for a
series of concerts, get the networks to broadcast it for
free, count the McViewers—two billion served—then
assert a global
mandate for one white man’s burden: a
lunatic demand to "make
According to the Globe and Mail,
While most musicians who
performed [in Barrie] made mention of the purpose behind
the event, it seemed lost on some in attendance.
Marty Gradwell from Whitby,
Ont., said he came to the Canadian gig "to rock out
and enjoy the start of a warm summer."
Asked what prompted the
worldwide music extravaganza, he could only venture a
"For AIDS in
Afghanistan, is it?"
Why not? Every 10 minutes I see Nelson Mandela on TV
mumbling importantly about some grave crisis that must be
solved immediately. Does this have something to do with
Live8? Why is St Nelson wearing a baseball cap with the
logo "46664 arctic"? Is this the name of a
clothing company, like Roots? No, 46664
arctic was the name of another rock
concert, this one held in Tromsø, Norway, 300 miles north
of the Arctic Circle. The geographical significance of
this is lost on me, and the numerological mystery remained
unexplained. A quarter-hour with Google News established
that 46664 was Mandela’s
prisoner number, something we are all
supposed to know, apparently. The purpose of the concert
was to, wait for it, "raise awareness and commitment
to combat AIDS/HIV." Such a lot of awareness about
St Nelson: We are all ballcapped now
Yet such little knowledge. For instance, that the
African AIDS "catastrophe" is utterly
phoney. Africans are dying, as they long
have, in civil wars, of wasting diseases and lack of
public hygiene and sanitation, not from some amazing virus
that is somehow transmitted completely differently there
than here. Black magic, indeed. Or as John
Potterat says, "First World
researchers doing second rate science in Third World
countries." And to paraphrase Malcolm Muggeridge, the
Africans want clean drinking water, and we give them
condoms and AZT.
To raise quibbles about the efficacy of numbered
charity concerts is to risk the wrath of the do-gooding
class, which has turned quite nasty in its triumphalism. Chris
Martin of Coldplay, the lucky fellow who
snagged Gwyneth Paltrow, would have me a "knobhead."
Ah yes, the argument from authority. John Doyle of the Globe
and Mail prefers the
argument from ethnic grievance.
To sneer at Geldof and Bono
is to sneer at common decency. To sneer at their
motivation is to misunderstand everything.
Both Geldof and Bono are
Irish, as I am. We all carry with us the famine memory.
That is their motivation. The famine memory is not widely
discussed in Ireland or even outside, whether in the
context of Geldof's Live Aid efforts or now Live8. It is a
searing, angry sore beneath the surface of the collective
Irish consciousness, anger at the avoidable deaths. It is
the lacerating memory of a country and a culture brought
to its knees by death and grief. One million died in that
famine, and another two million emigrated. Most of those
who left sailed away on "coffin ships" and some
made it to another country, but many didn't…
What happened in the Irish
famine of the 1840s began with a force of
nature but was exacerbated by economic policy and
political philosophy. That it precisely why the memory of
it motivates Geldof and Bono to act on behalf of people in
Third World countries who suffer not only natural
disasters, but are at the mercy of foreign governments and
policies that are remote from them.
In 1845 when blight struck
the Irish potato crop and destroyed it, Ireland was under
colonial British rule and 5% of the population owned 95%
of the land. The 95% non-owners were Irish tenant farmers,
most forced to live where little could grow except the
The 5% were landlords, mostly
British and many living in England. During the famine
years, in adherence with economic philosophy of the time,
grain that could have fed the starving was routinely
exported from Ireland. Further, during the early years of
the famine, the British government refused to send food to
Ireland for relief, because bulk buying by a government
would have interfered with the free market.
You can see the parallels
with the plight of many poor countries today—the lives
of the poor and starving are manipulated by economic
decisions made in distant cities and by economic
orthodoxies that nurture a culture of greed, not
If John Doyle cannot see the difference between the
Ireland of the 1840s and the Africa of today, he wants a
doctor’s attention. The whole of Ireland was then part
of the United Kingdom, and the British government, in
refusing to relieve the famine, committed a crime
against its own citizens.
All men are not brothers, and the Africans are not our
people. Colonialism is dead, even if economic imperialism
survives, but Africa's leaders must accept responsibility
for the latter. Everything we do "for" Africa
only makes things worse. Economic aid only swells
Swiss bank accounts, and famine relief ("Live
Aid") only destroys African agriculture. Dropping the
debt will serve only to strengthen Africa’s dictators,
while "fairer trade" will serve only to force
Africans into the cash economy, the better for the
dictators to steal what little they have.
And yet, according to Doyle,
To sneer at these men and
their aims is to sneer at the collective memory of the
Well, I am sneering, and may God strike me dead should
I ever dare claim that the sufferings of my race grant me
the plenary power to instruct others on morality. What has
happened to the Irish? Once a people noted for their
sanity, they have traded God for a mess of EU pottage and
lost their wits thereby. They are now just another mewling
Thank heaven for Rex
Murphy. As mentioned previously, I am not a
covetous man, but when I heard how he had been damned from
the stage at Barrie by that corpulent
hack Dan Aykroyd and that the rabble had
howled in execration, I could not suppress a stab of
savage jealousy. Murphy is not only the Greatest Living
Canadian, he’s got the true Irish spirit.
On the stereo,
own correspondent is sorry to tell
Of an uneasy time, that all is not well
On the borders there's movement
In the hills there is trouble
Food is short, crime is double
Prices have risen since the government fell
Casualties increase as the enemies shell
The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive
And sooner or later the end will arrive
This is your correspondent, running out of tape
Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape
Michael Grace, 2.15 pm, 4 July 2005►
MASTERS OF PROSE
To the Mahaffy and French
families, to those who grieve personally because of evil
incarnate in some of the most horrific sex crimes in
Ontario's history, forgive me. I am about to use your pain
for my gain. Another headline, another conversation
allowing celebrity crime to prosper from the industry that
ensures your trauma bond can never be severed.
Just when you thought you
were moving on, more attention to the comfort of your
heinous victimizer emerges.
Dueck, Globe and Mail, 4 July 2005
Michael Grace, 8.51 am, 4 July 2005►
NOW WE ARE 50
The Ambler at midcentury: 'They
do their thing/I do mine' (Pic by Jay
I had planned an extensive State of Grace for my grand
climacteric but thought better of it, as I whinge too much
in this space as it is. I’ve decided instead to present
a self-interview, modified from the famous Proust/Vanity
1. What is your present state of mind?
2. What is your greatest fear? Death.
3. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Couldn’t possibly imagine.
4. Which historical figure do you most identify
II of Spain.
5. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
A bullying nature.
6. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
You don’t have the time.
7. What is your greatest extravagance? My
8. What is your favourite journey? From the foot
Street in North Vancouver, east at Keith
Road, then north up Grand Boulevard and into Lynn Valley.
9. On what occasion do you lie? Whenever I
10. Where would you like to live? In the North
Vancouver of my childhood.
11. Which historical figure do you most despise?
12. Which living person do you most despise?
George W Bush.
13. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
14. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Daren’t say, because it is too embarrassing to me and
would horrify the woman, now safely 3,000 miles away.
15. What is your greatest regret? Everything I
have ever done.
16. When and where were you happiest? Wherever I
was living before I became crippled with
17. If you could change one thing about your family,
what would it be? They’d be richer.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself,
what would it be? I’d prefer not to be physically
19. What do you most value in your friends?
Intelligence, insight, loyalty.
20. What is your principal defect? I don’t
know when to quit—more to the point, when not to begin.
21. What to your mind would be the greatest of
misfortunes? Dying in a state of mortal sin.
22. What would you like to be? Detached.
23. What natural gift would you like most to
24. To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
25. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Sincerity or "good intentions."
26. In what country would you like to live?
27. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
28. What do you regard as the lowest depths of
misery? Separation from God.
29. What is your most treasured possession? My
30. What is your most marked characteristic?
31. What is the quality you most like in a man?
32. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
33. Who is your favourite hero of fiction? John
Married Man, Piers Paul Read).
34. Who are your heroes in real life? Archbishop
35. How would you like to die? In a state of
36. If you were to die and come back as a person or
thing, who or what do you think it would be? N/A.
37. If you could choose what to come back as, what
would it be? N/A.
38. What is your favourite: colour, flower, bird and
occupation? Navy blue, carnation, duck,
independent man of means.
39. Who are your favourite writers, composers,
painters, and poets? Evelyn Waugh, Jean Sibelius,
40. What is your motto? "You can never go
too far" (Ferris
Michael Grace, 5.51 pm, 2 July 2005►
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
I know we’re all pretty
small in the big scheme of things, and I suppose the most
you can hope for is to make some kind of difference. But
what kind of difference have I made? What in the world is
better because of me?…
I am weak, and I am a
failure. There’s just no getting around it. Relatively
soon, I will die. Maybe in 20 years, maybe tomorrow. It
doesn’t matter. Once I am dead and everyone who knew me
dies too, it will be as though I never even existed. What
difference has my life made to anyone? None that I can
think of. None at all.
—Warren Schmidt, About
Schmidt, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor
Michael Grace, 12.59 am, 2 July 2005►
I’m like the King of some damp, rainy
Grown impotent and old before my time,
Who scorns the bows and scrapings of his teachers
And bores himself with hounds and all such creatures.
Naught can amuse him, falcon, steed or chase:
No, not the mortal plight of his whole race
Dying before his balcony. The tune,
Sung to this tyrant by his pet buffoon,
Irks him. His couch seems far more like a grave.
Even the girls, for whom all kings seem brave,
Can think no toilet up, nor shameless rig,
To draw a smirk from this funereal prig.
The sage who makes him gold, could never find
The baser element that rots his mind.
Even those blood-baths the old Romans knew
And later thugs have imitated too,
Can’t warm this skeleton to deeds of slaughter,
Whose only blood is Lethe’s cold, green water.
Baudelaire (translated by Roy
Michael Grace, 12.33 am, 2 July 2005►
MY CANADA DAY
Was spent with Jay
Currie and then with him and his delightful
wife Susan and their handsome children Max and Sam. They
were, as always, too kind, and I am most grateful for
Max and Sam Currie: Charming children
Michael Grace, 11.30 pm, 1 July 2005►
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
(SPECIAL ANGLOSPHERE EDITION)
On the great battlefields of
marriage and the family, education and culture, morality
and law, the Tories have been utterly outmanoeuvred and
bypassed. Because they did not fight, they cooperated in
the destruction of their own electorate. To this day, they
have no idea why it is that they are so despised by the
young, and their wretched attempts to toady to
fashion—in such areas as civil partnerships for
homosexuals—manage to offend or puzzle their supporters
while utterly failing to convince their opponents that
they are genuine. It would be perfectly all right to be
the Nasty Party if they knew why it was necessary to be
nasty and meant it. Millions long for a truly Nasty
government, that will be thoroughly horrid to the wicked,
the criminal and the dishonest, and to the European Union.
But to be Nasty without meaning to is worse than useless.
And to be Nice about these things is to let down the
besieged, oppressed, vandalized, burgled, mugged people of
—Peter Hitchens, "Conservatives
Do Not Have A Party," Spectator,
18 June 2005
Michael Grace, 10.54 am, 1 July 2005►
LIVE AND LEARN
Hyperlinking is a pain, but one does discover
interesting things as a result. (My most overused word:
"interesting.") I had not known, for instance,
before I linked to his short Wikipedia
biography, that Toronto
Star columnist Richard Gwyn was
Catholic. I suspected it, as Richard Gwyn is also the name
of a saint, one of the Forty
English and Welsh Martyrs canonized in
1970. (Included in this group is my great hero Saint
Edmund Campion.) But I doubted it, as Gwyn
has never really given off much of a whiff of Papism. One
develops a nose for this, just as Jews can sniff out other
Jews, Calvinists other Calvinists, etc.
I had not even known that Gwyn was British (Welsh, to
be precise). His accent was always singular (and his
haircut strange), but Canadian speech west of Quebec was
not always bland and uniform. It turns out Gwyn was
educated at Stonyhurst,
the Jesuit public school (some famous alumni: Arthur Conan
Doyle, Charles Laughton, Cardinal Vaughan, Monsignor Bruce
Kent, General Vernon Walters, Paul Johnson, Charles
Sturridge) and then at Sandhurst.
I rather lost touch with Gwyn's columns after Conrad
Black sold out to CanWest and non-in-house opinion was
banished from the Southam papers. I almost always
disagreed with Gwyn, but I respected him as a decent
exponent of Liberalism. You know, the good old days,
before Liberalism became synonymous with moral cretinism
and outright gangsterism. Gwyn impressed me with his
assertion that Remembrance Day has become the de facto national
holiday, Canada Day being given over to celebration of the
Further research revealed that Gwyn has been chancellor
of St Jerome's University since 2002, so
his Catholicism is more than nominal. Not that
"Catholic" reveals much useful about religious
belief anymore; the designation is as amorphous as
"Anglican" and almost as much so as
"Protestant." Gwyn confirms his Papism in an April
column about John Paul II, but due to his
characteristically gnomic style, it is difficult to
discern his opinion of the late Pope.
Comic highlight of the evening: my introduction to St
Jerome's website. This ain't your
granddad's parochial school! It's about reason
and passion and tradition and wonder.
And I wonder how much they paid for that slogan. It
is now universal, apparently, for Canadian universities to
believe they can separate themselves from the herd with
the oh...so...dramatic! use of buzzwords. Final new
knowledge of the day: "St. Jerome's is also the
centre for a vibrant Catholic community serving the campus
and the region." Steve
Sailer wrote it down first, but I'm afraid
I'm going to have to claim co-discovery
of the insight
that "vibrant" (and all
variations thereof) is always coterminous with aggressive
Michael Grace, 12.34 am, 1 July 2005►