Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blurred Lines

Today I'm going to talk about the left's response to something actually popular instead of Canadian politics, so you have your chance to stop reading now should you choose to do so.

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke are two people who currently have extremely boring hit songs on the radio. At the MTV Video Music Awards this week, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke performed a mashup of their boring songs, and at one point during the performance Miley Cyrus rubbed her butt on Robin Thicke's genitals. This caused the entire Internet to explode into a million offended pieces. As I write this, nobody is not offended by Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke's performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Left-leaning people on the Internet are super-dee-duper offended. They were already kind of offended at the two songs separately. Robin Thicke's boring song has a video where models dance topless and features lyrics about women being animals and men not being able to tell whether women are good girls or if they really want "it." Miley Cyrus's boring song has a video where she "twerks"- a type of jigglybutt dance that is practiced by and apparently reserved exclusively for women of African descent. The fact that Miley Cyrus, a white woman, did this in her video is problematic because it constitutes "cultural appropriation", which is basically the idea that people are not supposed to dress like, talk like, dance like, or do anything that is done by another culture without express permission.

So taking these two and putting them together onstage was like provoking a fistfight between two nuclear explosions. First people attacked Cyrus for being trashy onstage. Then people attacked the people attacking Cyrus for not calling Robin Thicke out for his own raunchiness. Then people attacked those people for focusing on sexism and ignoring how racist the entire spectacle was. Before long, everyone was just calling each other racists and sexists and slut-shamers. It was a 137-car pileup of identity-politics players. It got to the point where left leaning people wrote entirely serious articles about how it was good that everyone was so offended, but how it was bad that those people were offended about the wrong things.

(This is totally unrelated, but leftists use the word literally a lot when they complain. Have you ever noticed that?)

As a result of this kerfuffle, the performance was literally all anyone could talk about. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, and every online magazine are awash in talkity talk about Miley Cyrus rubbing her butt on Robin Thicke's genitals. I don't know what "media hits" are, but I bet this performance has an awful lot of them.

Having viewed the assault on rights and dignity that was Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke at the MTV Music Awards and having, as a movement, sworn Never Again, the left might have decided to  completely disappoint the evil corporaciopatriarchists who- bereft of conscience- designed this orgy of privilege, calculated down to the last detail to cause maximum hurtfeels and to generate an ever increasing embarrassment of riches for the invisible empire of sin that rules us all by.....ignoring it entirely. No pileup of outrage means no "media hits" and therefore no incentive to wait a few years and then do the whole thing again and make another boatload of cash.

Instead, those who viewed that performance as a sexist, racist, slut-shaming crime against humanity that exposes any number of secret agendas are busily making sure that this grows into the biggest news story ever by complaining ever more loudly about the performance and how people are offended by the wrong aspects of the performance and how that offends them even more. Whoopsy-doodle!

Back in the day, savvy promoters could always count on the Right to get offended at their pushing the envelope and do half their work for them. When the Christians started talking about how Janet Jackson's boob being exposed by Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl was bringing the family down, they knew they had made it, baby. Now they have something even better- angry leftists on Tumblr fighting each other about which ways this performance reinforced systematic oppression.

None of these unbought and unbossed lefties would ever dream that they are making the rich richer with their combatting of all of the oppression. Every one of these people believe themselves to be on the cutting edge, and yet they are played against one another so easily that it's almost not fair.

They build their own prison, and then they rail against The Man for putting them there against their will.

I bring you this very silly example to show, once again, that it is possible to play these factions against one another by exploiting the fault lines between them. But we here in Ontario don't want to do that.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Dirty Shame

It is hard to overstate how important the practice of shaming is to the left. It is the foundation of everything they do, to themselves and to their opponents.

Shaming is distinct from attacking. Shaming an opponent is a practice unique to the left. When conservatives attack people, they attack things about the person, things the person did or didn't do, say or didn't say, or things the person believes. Those on the left do all this and more, but they also attack feelings in addition to more tangible things. They think that by making people feel bad about themselves, they can make them do things more easily, and they are absolutely  right.

Conservatives do not try to make liberals feel bad about themselves. Instead they want to talk about scandals, or waste, or jobs, or other abstract things, forgetting that there are people who do not care about scandals, waste, or jobs. But everyone has feelings.

Shaming is a deliberate practice. This is not just some reactive hitting out. Leftists love making conservatives feel guilty. Leftists know that if they use certain words and phrases, we will back down and apologize. It is so deliberate that they can configure Twitter bots to do it for them.

One time, I was sitting in a pub in the midst of a gathering of Liberal and Conservative partisans. I was talking to a woman who has recently been promoted from oft-quoted ministerial spokesperson up to the Premier's Office. Somehow the subject turned to women in politics. We had been speaking in reasonably calm tones of voice when- as if she had just remembered to do this- she fixed me with a terrible look and belted out, "I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU DON'T WANT MORE WOMEN IN POLITICS". I was so stunned by this outburst that I forgot, temporarily, that the candidate I was working for at the time was herself female. This was an attempt at shaming, and it worked to the extent that I could have had a ready reply for her, but because I was surprised, I didn't. The thing I remember most was how it seemed like a practiced movement- like a golf swing. It more than likely was, and it was not the last time a Liberal has tried this with me.

Liberals know that even though we supposedly reject the liberal consensus, we want to be liked by others. We don't like being thought of as racist, sexist, homophobic, and all the rest of it. So we try to demonstrate that we are not, and the Liberals declare that we have a hidden agenda.

Hidden Agenda, as a strategy, is old and boring, but it still works. It works because it puts us on our back foot, and it puts us on our back foot because we don't like having to prove that we are not racist, sexist, and homophobic. You cannot stay on message when you have to constantly prove that you are not racist, sexist, and homophobic.

Some conservatives make the mistake of thinking that all they have to do is try really hard to not say anything that is socially unacceptable. For example, John Tory hates being shamed so much that he does more than any other person I know to prevent himself from saying or doing things that are offensive to others. This doesn't help him at all, though. During the 2007 election, the OLP sold Ontario voters the patently ridiculous notion that John Tory was a secret social conservative, and the Ontario voters bought it.

By contrast, Rob Ford is immune to being shamed. He does not appear to feel the emotion at all. I do not know if Ford is just not capable of being shamed, or if he's figured out a way to not feel it. The how is not as important. So long as Ford isn't shamed by anything, whatever his opponents try to tar him with just bounces off. The Toronto Star in full outrage combined with rabid media attention and former Ford loyalists running for cover does not matter worth a damn as far as Ford is concerned because Ford is not concerned. And because the left has no other tricks in their bag besides trying to shame Ford out of office, he's not going anywhere.

Fortunately or unfortunately, we are not Rob Ford. Don't deny that you cringe inwardly, if even just a little, every time that the Star reports that Ford Did A Thing. And even if we were composed entirely of Rob Fords, that might not get us very far either. The Alberta Wild Rose found out to their dismay some time ago that if you don't condemn some obscure blog post made by a candidate to the effect that gay people will- through magical procedures that are unclear- end up in a lake of fire, you very well might lose an election.

Because, even if the party leadership decides that the idea of there being a lake of fire in hell (a place which may or may not exist, depending on whom you ask) reserved exclusively for gay people is too ridiculous to require condemnation, the voters will be too ashamed to be seen voting for that party. Even if nobody knows how they voted, the people voting for the party with unacceptable social views would be too ashamed of themselves for having voted the way they did.

So because trying to avoid doing shameworthy things doesn't work, and because we can't all be Rob Fords, and because the voting public certainly can't all be Rob Fords, the solution is to develop our own methods of shaming those on the left. But as I've documented more times than I care to count, we don't want to put those on the left on their back foot. We don't want to hurt their feelings. We just aren't capable of living with ourselves for having ideas that aren't popular with people. When people say we are "mean-spirited", it hurts our feelings and we have to make the sad feels stop.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Long Division

Try as I might I cannot understand the line of thinking suggesting that since we are in difficult times economically, we need to avoid difficult policies that might be "divisive" and cause "social unrest".

Does the average voter assume that we can put off the hard solutions forever? Do they think we can just wait this out? Is the social unrest happening elsewhere in the world something that can't happen here?

Kathleen Wynne thinks so. She thinks she can build bridges and work across aisles, have conversations and consultations, and move forward. But her efforts have fallen somewhat short. The unions, ever hungry for more privilege, continue to press her sorely.  Municipalities are mad about wind turbines, parents are upset about tragedy-stricken daycares, and full-day kindergarten is an expensive nightmare. Things don't look like they are going to get better for Kathleen Wynne despite what may or may not be sincere attempts to fight off social unrest.

Furthermore, the voters have been chipping away at the Ontario Liberals for years. They have lost ground with each subsequent election and round of byelections ever since 2007. They lost their majority in 2011, couldn't regain it in 2012, and with the losses of Etobicoke Lakeshore, Windsor Tecumseh and London West, let it slip even farther away. A good portion of Dalton's team has moved on, Don Guy is off doing his thing elsewhere, and OLP standouts (I can't believe I just wrote that) like Bentley, Duncan, Pupatello, and Sorbara have bowed out. The OLP can still fend off a challenge but less and less people are parking their votes with them. Because the Liberals did so much to infuriate the unions and everyone else during the 2012 political season, their claim to be the protectors of public peace is even more shaky.

As we have seen, the NDP wants to put in divisive policies of their own. As a given, as per their own rhetoric, they want the rich to suffer. They make up all kinds of reasons as to why it's a good thing for the rich to suffer, but if you don't want a government that will set one group of people against another, you can't expect that from the NDP. The last time we had an NDP government in Ontario there was actually more social unrest than there had been in a long while.

What if the PC Party of Ontario tried sincerely to rid themselves of policies that were hard to swallow? Nobody remembers anything about John Tory's platform from the 2007 election except faith based schools, and that's because there was nothing of note and nothing all that offensive or divisive except for faith based schools. We had pages and pages of bland, inoffensive policies and one divisive policy, and that was too much for people. So that doesn't work either.

Then we have the argument that Hudak, being too snarly and negative for some, needs to put forward a "positive economic vision" for Ontario. But why should he do that when journalists are engaging in brain-twisting analysis of why Hudak comes across as "inauthentic"? Disingenuity comes more naturally to Kathleen Wynne, it would seem.  

So none of the options before the people of Ontario will keep the rising levels of social unrest at bay. Divisive policies of one type or another will become the order of the day if this trend continues. The strands are fraying. Nobody can claim, least of all after the byelections earlier this month, that Ontario is becoming a happier, more chilled out place where people don't have to work harder and harder to keep themselves from seeing the truth.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

London Confidential

Only in the PC Party of Ontario could you have an attempted leadership coup "organized" by people who insist on speaking to newspapers "on condition of anonymity." This, after they, um, signed their names- which I hope were their real names, not their ultra-secret codenames- to the leadership review motion in question.

How in the name of heaven are you supposed to organize delegates to support your motion and fundraise to send those delegates to the convention- especially when you KNOW central party doesn't want your motion anywhere near the floor- when you don't even make yourselves public? No Twitter accounts, no e-mail addresses, no websites? No designated point people? Just going to coast along until September on the assumption that "the grassroots" are behind you, huh? What a bunch of Double-O-Stupids.

Take a hint, Hudak haters: As long as this low-level cloak and dagger nonsense is the best you can do, Tim isn't going anywhere.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Nobody Goes To Jail

There are no "low information voters." The problem is not "media bias." The problem is not that people don't know about the gas plant scandal or the email deletion scandal or any number of Liberal scandals. The problem is that there is more corruption, lawbreaking, and general bad behaviour in politics now than there has ever been, and nobody gets punished for it.

The voters have accepted that in a world where everything is the next Adscam but nobody ever goes to jail or suffers serious life consequences as a result of whatever wrongdoing may or may not have happened, it is utterly pointless to pay attention to the constant scandalmongering of opposition parties, because they know nothing is going to come of it, win or lose.

Whatever level of government you are at, wherever you live, political partisans are whacking each over the head with each other's scandals as hard as they can. For every ORNGE, there's a Walkerton. For every Mike Duffy, there's a Mac Harb. For every Rob Ford crack video, there's a David Miller garbage strike. Everybody is up to their waists in the same muck while complaining that it's the other guys who smell bad, not them.

Driving this madness is the perception amongst politicos that voters are tired of scandal (which is true) and that the solution is not to send the scandalmakers to jail, but to replace them with a different group of (what will eventually be) scandalmakers, because everyone (especially these selfsame politicos) knows that after a time, governments buckle under the weight of scandal. Then the politicos throw their hands up in wonderment and ask themselves why the voters stick to the devil they know.

And it's important that a change in government is the only consequence that can come as a result of political screwballery- that, and no more- because once people start getting sent to jail for this kind of thing, it's going to be inconvenient for a whole lot of people. A whole caste of government workers without the ability or will to survive in the private sector or in the regulated professions will suddenly have to be under the microscope. Useless nephews and relatives will be out of work across the country. The PR fraternity (all of whom have their own dirty laundry which I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate being put out into the public eye) will suddenly experience a big drying up in client revenue, because the law is the law and precedent is pretty hard to handwave away with a few strategically placed press releases.

Not only that, but how in the hell are we ever going to get top quality candidates to put their lives on hold for the prospect of holding political office if they know they could end up in jail someday? In a world where Ken Kirupa gets called a no-name candidate by the Toronto Sun just because he isn't Doug Holyday, we can't afford to do anything that will alienate the Chrystia Freelands of the world from making the jump. No, indeed- that future is too scary to contemplate seriously.

Under these circumstances, the thing most people do is blame Tim Hudak and the people around him and assume that if only Tim would just get the message right the province would be a sea of Tory blue. If these people had knocked on any doors in the past month, however, they might have discovered a whole range of voters who had decided that "they're all the same" and that it made no difference who was running, or who was leading, or what the message was, or what scandal was currently taking up how much space in which newspaper or TV news program that was driving whatever agenda.

Meanwhile the NDP continue to mobilize their people and take ridings from the Liberals, while their leader gets plaudits from the media for her "positive approach" which isn't a positive approach at all because she believes that everyone who isn't a union hack is a puppet of the 1%. Instead of hacking away at scandals, she wants to redistribute privilege, which is understandably a very tantalizing prospect for the many underprivileged people we have in Ontario as a result of the Liberal reign of error. And when privilege is redistributed- through use of guillotines, if necessary- you had better believe that lots of people are going to suffer for having offended our new union overlords.

Not the stuffy, slow-moving rule-of-law type of justice we would have expected from a functional society, but how long has it been since Ontario's been functional?

Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2, 2013

Three things that have not stopped in Ontario ARE:

Creeping union control of the province

passive aggressive griping about Hudak,


people reflexively voting Liberal just because.

Ah, well. Carry on as you were.