Opera or Porn?

The other day a friend asked why I have not recently been posting anything  on my blog. I gave some lame explanation but the real truth is that I‛m confused. I tend to post an item when something, usually political, intrigues me, amuses me, or irritates me. Recently there has been  so much going on at the Federal and international level that almost everything simultaneously intrigues irritates and amuses. Even domestically, with scandals and pipelines and omnibus bills and inter-party warfare and other diversions it has been almost impossible to keep track of what is being done by who to whom, and why.  I don’t know whether I’ve been watching Political Opera or Political Porn.

But hey, we‛ve been here before. Which brings me back to the original intent of this blog – to revisit the past and then ask ourselves whether or not we are making progress. So come back with me more than a quarter of a century to a little item I wrote in October, 1987. (I‛ll take the liberty of clarifying a few references in square brackets.)

WOW, WHAT A SETTING!

I’ve got this great idea for a film musical.  There’s sex, politics, violence — it should be a real dandy.

And wow, what a setting! Think big. Think epic. I see this opus spreading itself all across Canada. Your average epic tends to spread itself over a rambling period of time but the beauty of my idea is that the time frame is very compact. Everything is going on simultaneously.

Let me give you a sketch of the background action.

There’s this big gathering of Commonwealth statesmen out on the west coast, see? [Vancouver, October 1987] They are debating uplifting, esoteric things like world bankruptcy, and other peoples’ racial prejudice. Their verbal morality is very high and these dignitaries give a civilized tone to our epic. Think of them as a chorus of monks providing a background chant to counterpoint the foreground action.

In the meantime, while the Canadian head monk [Brian Mulroney] is reciting a sermon advocating international morality [anti-apartheid] on a grand scale, his opponents in Ottawa are accusing him of selling Canada down the river to the United States [Free trade].  Obviously, if his opponents are correct, then there is some pretty fancy footwork underway. Of course, nobody knows who is correct, because that’s part of the fun of a good story.

In the meantime, Canadian newsmen, who can’t figure out for themselves what is going on, are quoting an American newspaper tycoon as saying, “The momentous move toward uniting the two countries economically is very gratifying to me. For more than a decade my pop urged in his newspapers that Canada become a part of the United States.”

Only those paying close attention to the dialogue will notice that the tycoon doesn’t talk about uniting “economies” but about uniting “economically” which presumably means this new way is cheaper than doing it via a war, which has been tried in the past and didn’t work, Canadians being irrational and stubborn.

In the meantime, off in a maritime province, a new government [Liberal] has just been elected and the electorate have goofed. They forgot to elect anyone from a second party [New Brunswick, October, 1987]. This introduces a certain element of comedy into the scenario and leaves the new and inexperienced premier with some interesting dilemmas.

But the premier’s real problem is whether or not to be for or against donating Canada to foreigners.

In the meantime, national communications are being badly bent by a postal strike and the government [Progressive Conservative], while its head monk is preaching motherhood on the west coast, is hell-bent on union busting. It uses scab labourers, cops and assassin-minded truck drivers, then brings in legislation that will fine people $1000 a day if they don’t work. This has intriguing overtones of forced labour.

In the meantime, a chorus line of Ontario cabinet ministers [Liberal] are learning the choreography for a Free Trade soft-shoe-shuffle accompanied by entertaining lyrics. Their routine voices alarm over the possibility that Canada is about to be annexed to the Sates. With skilled buffoonery that would make Gilbert and Sullivan proud they promise to carry out a study that will make no recommendations and will not become the basis for any government action!

In the meantime, in Ottawa, a tiny group of dissenters from all three federal parties are firing SOS flares from the Peace Tower trying to tell us that Canada, as we know it, is about to be sunk by the Meech Lake Accord. The Opposition dissenters are particularly frustrated because their party leaders, while busily hauling up heavy artillery to shoot at Free Trade, are simultaneously snapping to attention and saluting the Accord. To change the metaphor, it’s as though a ship’s officers are repelling boarders at the bow while drilling holes in the stern.

What’s that you say? All too bizarre? And it couldn’t be going on simultaneously? Well, I suppose it is a little far fetched.

You see the politics but don’t find any sex? Oh, come now. In this scenario just about everything is being raped — truth, nationalism, resources, the future, the past, unions, democracy, parliament — it’s a gang bang from coast to coast.

Ah well, I suppose you’re right. As a movie musical it will never fly. Too pornographic. How about an opera?  

I began this posting viewing the current domestic political scene, like the old one, somewhat facetiously, even sardonically.  But, really, are we making progress?  The last quarter century has seen such an enormous increase in technology, population, corporatism, sectarian strife, mercantile wars, global warming and general complexity that it seems to me that all the resultant confusion and conflict and hypocrisy and greed both at home and abroad simply accelerate our species’ relentless march toward environmental Armageddon.  I can’t laugh today as easily as I could twenty some years ago.

I also began by wondering whether, as the domestic political scene comes to a temporary close, I’ve been watching Grand Opera or Political Porn. However, the more I ponder where the plot lines lead, both here and abroad, I can’t help but feel that unless we switch scenarios we’re not watching at all.  We’re not even the actors. We homo sapiens are actually principal characters in a classical Tragedy. After a true Tragedy the audience and the actors get to go home.  The principal characters don’t.

Whether or not that is “Progress” I leave up to you.

 Copyright © Munroe Scott
From: Down Paradox Lane
Lindsay This Week, 10/20/87

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About Munroe Scott

Munroe Scott is a veteran of the freelance writing world.
This entry was posted in Opinion, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Opera or Porn?

  1. Jason Wallwork says:

    My vote for the last Ontario election is political porn but much less satisfying than regular porn. Maybe cheap political porn made by amateurs in bad lighting and dysfunction cameras. Not even go to try to draw more out of that clumsy motif. The only other way I could describe was a B-movie. So bad we couldn’t stop watching it like a car accident. I can only be satisfied that it’s over and hopefully we never see its like again (but probably will). Regardless, there is one thing of which I’m certain. If I ran as a candidate and had my choice of speechwriter, you’d be it. Your talent with words best most of the journalists in Canada mainstream media.

  2. Eleanor says:

    A silence broken, what sweet cacophony!

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Eleanor, is that a compliment or the back of your hand? “Cacophony = unpleasant loud sounds” (Merriam Webster). But “sweet cacophony”? Wow. A two word haiku! I’m impressed.

  3. As David Byrne sang once upon a time … ‘Same as it ever was.’

  4. glynniscampbell says:

    Please don’t unify with the U.S. Americans are counting on Canada as an escape route. 😉

    • Munroe Scott says:

      Nice sentiment, but unless we all abandon our fossil fuel mania there will be nowhere to flee to that is environmentally safe.

      • Herb Wiseman says:

        You may remember Bruce Knapp one of the curmudgeons in Peterborough before his death about 10 or more years ago. He wrote that he thought that the wealthy were going to find a place in space to reside once this planet is uninhabitable by humans — ants will likely be ok though. So I browse my Netflix and there is a TV series called “The 100” which is about that theme. Then I learn that the Silicon Valley millionaire who is the guy manufacturing the Tesla is working towards space travel for all who can afford it! Bruce was a royal (pun intended) pain sometimes but ….

      • Munroe Scott says:

        I guess the 100 survive and the rest of the species gets the Darwin Award for improving the gene pool by self destructing. 🙂

  5. lionel strange says:

    Great to see you back Munroe. You must have enough material in your records for a dozen Greek tragedies and a host of Gilberet and Sullivan operas. You have all the quallifications to be today’s Gilbert. I wish I could join you in composing a comic opera based on the senate scandal.We could have a lot of fun.

  6. Senator Emperor says:

    Lovely piece. I was very educated by it

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