What on Earth is the Tea Patty? A typo or something new, something terrifyingly real? It’s getting harder and harder to tell what is a lie and what is the truth, gang. Especially when it comes to the news.
The thing most people seem to forget when reading their newspaper of choice is that while events may occur, whether or not those events are news is made up. But what really gets me riled up is when there isn’t even an event, and a paper makes it into news.
As an example of the first, The Sun has decided that finding the “Scum” stealing poppy boxes is job one, asking the public to give any information they have to a vigilante posse led by angry Legionnaires. I can only guess that the speedy trail the Legionnaires plan to the scum of the Earth ends in being alternately caned and drunkenly backed over by a Rascal Autogo 555. However, this is a thing that happened, which isn’t what I’m talking about. Legionnaire vigilantism is going on in the world, and somebody may want to hear about it.
Well, given last week’s soft-on debate about whether or not Rob Ford called 911 operators bitches, which now that I think about it, shouldn’t matter since he admitted to saying that he was the fucking mayor of a fucking city (who knew so many people were getting it on?!) and isn’t the F word worse than the B word? Right? Given that new paradigm for the media – accusing each other of lying all the time – Anti-Labourist, Sue-Ann Levy took the opportunity to invent “Sun-Burning”, where The Sun telling the truth means a city councillor should go to jail.
This event only exists in Levy’s column. It’s not even opinion on an event. It’s some weird hybrid, where opinion exists without an event that may or may not have occurred and how you would feel if such an event did occur. Luckily, there’s a word for that hybrid: Fiction.
Of course, the best way to make your fiction suddenly real is to have it criticize some other news as fiction. Sue Levy’s deft touch is having Councillor Filion say “don’t make things up about me”. She frames truth, because why would she make up someone telling her not to make it up? Then she drives that truth home by making Filion not hold those liars up at the CBC to the lie about Toronto’s wonderful and immensely human mayor who is just doing the best job he can possibly do in the face of manipulative media calling dispatchers bitches, when we all know that bitch is the worst word anyone can use. Ever. So terrible that you have to put it in quotations to put it in print, otherwise children may read it and think it’s okay to hate women.
That’s the funniest sex-joke headline ever, right? Apparently world events are so dull and depressing that the National Post started a contest to replace the beaver with the way cooler polar bear as our national animal.
Is that polar bear “celebrating” or struggling to get an innertube off of its neck before it suffocates? I bet that some “lowly beaver” left it there to kill the bear off. Don’t beavers swim into circular choking things all the time?
The Post wade into this epistemological debate – LOOK IT UP, I DON’T HAVE TIME RIGHT NOW – with a philosophical work of fiction comprised of George Jonas having a conversation with “a screenwriter friend”. It’s a good thing that he kept the screenwriter’s identity a secret- because if this story is true, his life is in danger for giving up the secrets of studio executives.
Is this thing about plausibility even true? I mean, two XxX movies got made.
Halfway into the work of fiction, the screenwriter inexplicably becomes an “intelligence analyst”, which Jonas set up in the first paragraph without mentioning that both would make an appearance in the story, mostly because they’re both entirely fictional:
He goes on to describe his screenwriter-cum-spy buddy by saying “though long retired, he hasn’t lost any of his edge.” After channeling John le Carré to convince unsuspecting readers of the existence of a literate retired spy, where does a pundit take a column? Jonas decides to plunge headfirst into utter nonsense.
Note: that is exactly what Twain said, except for the bit about the movie studios. And am I alone in feeling that urging us to believe in implausibility is like urging us to believe in this clearly fictional story so that we can agree to the exceedingly idiotic point that “life is weird, so bomb the shit out of Iran”?
Rick Salutin of The Star correctly points out that the Globe & Mail imagined that they invented charity last week before using that tired old “Dickens argument” that left-leaning editorialists always fall back on. He knows that those books were works of fiction and not journalism, right?
And as if the fictional discovery of philanthropy didn’t perplex Globe readers enough, columnist-heartthrob Margaret Wente cast her gaze over to Occupy Toronto, and promptly invented a protestor:
And then uses the imaginary protestor to continue her scathing indictment of universities for teaching the humanities at all – I mean, come on, universities! The world needs welders, and farmers, and data entryists. Stop filling young adults heads with critical thinking, as though thinking and responding to the world ever helped anybody do anything. On a side note: why is Wente so opposed to critical thinking? She certainly never uses it herself, favouring a sort of unintelligible anti-rationality that either is as funny to the publishers of the Globe as it is to us, or is so utterly moronic that it comes full-circle and appears to be original and unique. There was a girl in one of my English classes in high school who opted for that second option. She couldn’t pronounce Oedipus properly, no matter how many times everyone else did; she believed evolution could be performed at will, and is now a lingerie model and trip-hop singer… but I digress. Wente blames universities for teaching the humanities:
Jobs in law? Think again, doper! But it is at the end of the first third of her probably-feverish rodomontade (look, I’m running short on synonyms for rant) that Wente proposes a new theory to explain wanting people not to suffer, which she seems to think is insane, probably because she has never suffered because she has no feelings except for sadistic disgust:
The motherfucking WHAT? Oh, maybe she’s doing that “I read a single book” thing again, where agreeing with a thesis makes it absolutely true because if x represents an idea, and y is Margaret Wente’s approval, then z with the value “absolute truth” is obviously true: x + y =z. See how simple and obviously true that is? How could anyone possibly think otherwise?
SHE GOT THIS FROM A FUCKING BLOG? Go ahead, Google it. It’s from a blog. So it’s automatically true that the world is run by the virtueocracy, a despicable cabal of people who want to spread all the wealth around and make sure everyone has a home and a bite to eat. That is the world we live in, one without homelessness and hunger, but also one without hope.
What unions? The teacher’s union? The police union full of all those graduates of law school? Does she know what Law School is? How about all of those garbage collectors with useless anthropology degrees? And that Doctor’s union, the one that is choking the health care system. I can’t wait to see Wente take on the basketball player’s union, because fuck those greedy pigs, am I right?
See, Occupiers? It’s not the rich you need to blame. It’s those lazy assholes who insist on getting sick and old. Those are choices, you know. And you need to look at the illness and age choosers and say, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” And what’s this about middle class workers in the private sector? She knows that they all lost their jobs, right? No, she says: they have to suck it up and accept that they need to take jobs that don’t help people do anything. Especially not those greedy sicks and olds that these kids greedily want to help.
Shame, youngs! Shame, generation who want to use critical thinking to help people! Shame on you! Don’t you realize that you’re abusing your children by convincing them that critical thinking helps and that virtues like charity are the problem in society and are what created this situation that we’re in now?
Yeah, that’s right, critical thinkers. Apply some critical thinking to YOURSELF. And go to school for something society can use, like these magical private sector jobs that exist because Margaret Wente magically has a job.
About the author: Matt Collins reads and judges the four major newspapers every week.
You can read past volumes of No Good News [here]