Latest Drivel for Tuesday, June 13, 2017

That was no valedictory miasma, that was his last pair of Depends
Roger Ailes of Fox News, who died Thursday, was a central figure who introduced a strain of cruelty to American life, leaving a valedictory miasma in the air.
—Heather Mallick, Toronto Star, May 19, 2017.

Bubba and Dwayne had another thing in common—neither could resist posting photos of themselves alongside their death threats
Online, the threats I get from skinny white rural Canadian men are as violent as the ones from the pale, shaven-headed, goateed men of the American south. The only distinction is that the Americans always want me shot.
—Heather Mallick, The Guardian, May 30, 2017.

“And so on” being how nice Canadians say sorry, er, soary, a lot
Canadians have recently been getting a top-up on their already high ranking in the international niceness stakes, I suspect because we look comparatively good-hearted next door to Donald Trump’s Nastyland. Our prime minister is a friendly, feminist egalitarian type and a good dad. Gosh, the Canadian uplands are sunlit indeed. We say “sorry” a lot, which is weird, and we pronounce it “soary,” which is unconscionable…. The low point is dullness. Rudeness is frowned on but so is liveliness. Columnists are encouraged to write “sugar water”. I call it slurp. It is trite, sentimental writing about collective heartbreak, the bright side of death, what cancer can teach you, and so on.
—Ibid.

How about something? Is something too much to ask?
When journalists Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin noticed that some of their friends were uninformed [they] began writing an email newsletter called theSkimm, summing up… the day’s news in a casual, irreverent, bite-sized fashion…. Here’s how theSkimm reported the recent news that U.S. army whistleblower Chelsea Manning was released early from prison: “What to say when your friend asks what time you can get drinks after work . . . I’ll be free earlier than expected. Just like Chelsea Manning.” And here’s theSkimm on matters of world health: “What to say to your hypochondriac friend… Bad news. Ebola may be back….” TheSkimm also breaks down complex stories for readers in a way most traditional media outlets don’t…. An excerpt from Friday’s newsletter: “For the first time, Trump met with leaders from NATO—the 28-country alliance formed during the Cold War.” Some call this idiot proofing; I call it good journalism…. I’ve subscribed to the newsletter for months now, and I love it…. I may comment on current events for a living, but sometimes those events are dreary and repetitive, and I don’t think it’s a great sin nor is it unfeminist to say so…. Media shouldn’t assume an audience knows nothing, but by the same token we shouldn’t assume an audience knows everything.
—Emma Teitel, Toronto Star, May 26, 2017.

Ostracized one moment, roofied the next—make up your mind, Toronto!
Do not feel bad for Scaachi Koul…. Yes, she was ostracized in her white city of Toronto for being an Indian immigrant, for being “brown” and having thick, dark hair seemingly everywhere. She was roofied twice—once by a bartender.
—Nicole Brodeur, Seattle Times, May 26, 2017.

First time in history an entire city has sought a restraining order
Once a coquette, always a coquette. At 375, Montreal is sagging in parts. But she’s still sexy and loves nothing more than dolling herself up for a night on the town. She can still never find a reason not to party, even though, by the looks of her, she could sure use some beauty sleep…. She was endowed by her creators with a fantastic physique, good bones and a hardy constitution, so she never had to work out to look good…. She started out as a good Catholic girl, but knew early on she was not destined for convent life…. It’s at night, after all, that Montreal reveals her true personality. Hint: She’s no nun…. But what else do you expect from a lapsed Catholic girl who hasn’t seen the inside of a church in decades…? Montreal goes about her business defiantly oblivious to her previous religiosity. These days, she’s more into reconnecting with her native spirituality, anyway. She sometimes even goes by her Iroquois name, Hochelaga…. Montreal might not be celebrating her 375th at all… had 2017 not been an election year and her current boyfriend not looking to stay in her good books. She’s dating Denis Coderre—yeah, she hasn’t always demonstrated the best taste in men. It’s no love affair, but at her age, Montreal isn’t sure she believes in love any more. Her last boyfriend cheated on her and is doing prison time. She feels so betrayed. Luckily, her 375th party has started and she has an excuse to forget all that. She’s planning to dance until dawn every night this summer. No beauty sleep for this old gal.
—Konrad Yakabuski, Globe and Mail, May 20, 2017.

And as soon as that happens, a place to hightail it to the border from
“I think Canada is an amazingly supportive and accepting place for an artist to develop.”
—Marty Short, quoted in a newspaper advert for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.

Like a black fly in your Chardonnay, like a death row pardon two minutes too late…oh, wait, that’s ironic
…Drake appeared a bit star-struck in meeting fellow Canadian performer Céline Dion backsatge…. Video posted by a Drake fan Twitter account shows Drake telling Dion “you’re very iconic….”
—National Post news service, May 23, 2017.

Oh, get on with it! Crack the damn covers already!
In her debut collection, Newfoundland’s Eva Crocker favours story titles with words that imply activity or motion…. By comparison, Welsh writer Carys Davies tends more toward elliptical titles, many of them encompassing only a single word: Jubilee, Myth, Bonnet, Precious, Creed. If we may assume that writers choose their titles with great care, we may also consider that the different approaches here speak to the kinds of craftspeople we will encounter in these collections, and to the different tone each one employs. Even before cracking their covers, these two collections signal different characteristics. Crocker’s features a brightly coloured abstract painting, with pinks and oranges and yellows streaking across the horizontal-like waves: motion again, and an indication of vibrant feeling. The cover of Davies’s book is a sickly green, with an illustration of lips spread open to reveal crooked, painted teeth that also appear as though they are rotting. The title of Crocker’s collection implies movement, and an attitude of abandon: The specific verb “barrelling” connotes freedom and some degree of chaos. “Redemption,” by contrast, is more abstract, tilting in the direction of an idea rather than an action….
—Steven W. Beattie, Globe and Mail, May 20, 2017.

But, really, who’s counting?
Unlike Davies’s brief, five-word opener, Crocker’s first paragraph sprawls out to a languorous 110 words…. The Redemption of Galen Pike’s penultimate story, Nothing Like My Nightmare…is composed of a single, 187-word paragraph.
Ibid.

Rapa hooey
The moai of Easter Island are still a mystery—some say the stones were rolled into place on trees; others say they moved themselves using spiritual energy.
—Globe and Mail cutline, May 23, 2017.

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6 comments on “Latest Drivel for Tuesday, June 13, 2017
  1. OJM says:

    Valedictory Miasma? Didn’t he play on the line with Kharlamov and Yakushev in the ’72 Summit Series?

  2. John MacLachlan Gray says:

    A dependable compendium of Canadian stereotypes from Ms. Mallick, except for the pronunciation of “sorry, which is an Ontario stereotype.

  3. Trippetta says:

    “I may comment on current events for a living, but sometimes those events are dreary and repetitive”…or as SCTV’s Sorel and Weiss would have said, “BORING!”

  4. OJM says:

    So my hometown of Montreal is a cougar, is she? Well then, Toronto is a stuck-up call-girl with an expensive habit to support…Victoria is a neurotic, old spinster who collects decorative plates with portraits of the Royal Family on them…and Winnipeg is a fat, Ukrainian lady who thinks the way to a man’s heart is through his perogies.

  5. Papadoc says:

    Crumbling Montreal; fading Toronto…Feh! Only a mother could love them…barely.

  6. mmedesevigne says:

    Yakabuski’s latest oeuvre is one of the reasons that the Globe and Mail can no longer count me among their subscribers.

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