Monday, September 29, 2014

We are all Luka Magnotta

   The only thing more disturbing than the back story to the Luka Magnotta murder trial is the public obsession with the case.
   The lineup started at 6am today for the few available seats in the tiny Montreal courtroom where proceedings didn't get underway until 9:30am.  I can understand lining up early in the morning for tickets to see your favorite band, because there's a tangible payoff - something that lifts your spirit and brings you joy.  For the break-of-dawn keeners at the Palais de Justice, the Magnotta trial is more likely to make them physically ill and scar their souls.  
   The media shoulders a significant portion of the blame for the morbid fascination with the case.  In a profane illustration of what now passes for professional journalistic standards, editors and news directors for Canadian Press named Magnotta the country's Newsmaker of the Year in 2012.  Toronto radio station CFRB - once Canada's most credible and respected newstalk radio station - has an interactive Luka Magnotta web page, even though the murder happened in Montreal and the case is only marginally relevant to a Toronto audience.  Jury selection was covered like an election campaign. 
   You don't have to be a Johns Hopkins psychiatry grad to recognize that the ghoulish appeal of the Magnotta case is rooted in deviant sex and extreme violence, although more educated minds than mine are required to explain exactly why that visceral combination piques human curiosity to such an unhealthy extent.  The pathetic and frightening truth might be that as a product of a society where pornography, gratuitous violence and ill-gotten infamy are celebrated cultural norms, Luka Magnotta represents us, and we are all on trial.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hate Jeter? Grow up

   Rare indeed is the athlete who transcends the uniform he wears, especially when it represents a brand widely despised by opponents, fans and media resentful of the success of others.  Jean Beliveau was one of those athletes.  So was Ken Stabler.  And so is Derek Jeter, who's playing his final weekend in the only major league baseball uniform he's ever worn.  Oh, there were people who hated on Beliveau and Stabler, just as Jeter has his detractors, but that says more about the haters than it does about anyone else. 
   Beliveau was and remains the epitome of class and dignity.  He always handled the demands of  public life with unfailing grace.  He would have made a great Royal, which is probably why his name was routinely floated as a candidate for Governor-General in the years following his retirement.  
   Stabler wore his character defects on his sleeve as the leader of a band of misfits and miscreants that was part football team-part motorcycle gang, but he was a lovable rogue, along the lines of Willie Nelson, Johnny Knoxville or Jax Teller before Sons of Anarchy became a parody of itself.          
   Jeter's off-the-field legacy falls somewhere between Beliveau and Stabler.  His laundry list of actress and supermodel girlfriends hints at a bad boy side, but the Yankees never had to bail Jeter out of jail or release a statement apologizing for, defending or otherwise rationalizing his behavior.  
   It must be that charmed life that sticks in the craw of Jeter-haters. It can't be anything else.  His career speaks for itself.  The bogus claim that Jeter is overrated and wouldn't have had the same success or acclaim if he'd played for a team other than the Yankees reeks of sour grapes.  
   Take it from me.  Having come of age as a Red Sox fan in the 1970s and 80s, I know from sour grapes.  Bucky (Fucking) Dent ruined my life in 1978.  I was still bitter one year later when I bought a "Yankees Suck" t-shirt from an unlicensed vendor on Landsdowne Street in the shadow of the Green Monster - an act of petty aggression that became a second-generation family tradition when I bought my daughter a "Yankees Suck" t-shirt on the same spot two decades later.  
   At some point, though, you grow up and emotion no longer clouds your judgement - at least not in simple, trivial matters like sports.  I still don't much care for the Yankees, but as a baseball fan, I'm grateful that I was able to watch and appreciate Derek Jeter's career in its entirety.  He is not only a Yankees legend; he's a baseball legend.  Anyone who says otherwise is a child or a fool.  
   No offence to the children, because at least they've got a shot at growing out of it. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

He's magically malicious

   As much as I object to the general principle of trial by social media, you can count me in with the Twitter posse beating the bushes for the Toronto Transit Leprechaun.
  So named for his kelly green shirt, black bowler hat and ludicrous tuft of chin hair, the Leprechaun went viral after he allegedly verbally and physically assaulted a woman who asked him to remove his bag from the seat of a crowded bus in Toronto so she could sit down.  He initially deserved the benefit of the doubt because the only reference point was the woman's rant on Facebook, but that only lasted as long as it took another passenger to upload the smoking gun - a damning video of the confrontation revealing an open and shut case of douchebaggery in the first degree.
   Amazingly, as of the time of the writing of this post - some 72 hours after the incident - the Leprechaun's identity remains unknown to the broader public.  It's not as if a guy who dresses like he's on his way to a Lucky Charms promo shoot blends into the crowd.  Or maybe he does and I'm sorely underestimating the sheer number of hipster fucktards in east end Toronto.  Or maybe now he's dressing like one of the Seven Dwarfs or a Keebler elf.
   But the Leprechaun's ongoing anonymity is only the second most remarkable aspect of the story.  What's even more mind-boggling is that at a time when reputations and careers can be ruined at the whim of faceless keyboard warriors offended by an edgy joke or an unpopular opinion on social media, legal experts are rallying to the defence of this shitbag, however reluctantly.  Despite overwhelming evidence that he is a despicable cretin, it seems the Leprechaun is being unfairly vilified and could have grounds for legal recourse.
   Judging from his behavior on the bus, he'd be just the kind of malicious, self-serving prick to take it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Canadian ISIS Home Preparedness Kit!

      ISIS is coming to kill us all!  Are you ready?

Let's be honest - Neighborhood Watch ain't gonna cut it when Fuquad and Ghrabbag kick your bedroom door down in the middle of the night to cut off your head, torture your wife and drag your kids off to be brainwashed and re-inserted as sleeper cells 10-20 years hence.  That's why we're offering this uniquely patriotic self-protection package!  Here's what you get when you order the Canadian ISIS Home Preparedness Kit: 

- 1 construction hard hat with genuine tar stains from the Alberta oil sands.

- 1 Remington 870 12 gauge pump action shotgun, with enough muzzle velocity and shot spread to dispatch multiple jihadis to their final reward simultaneously.  Don't keep the virgins waiting!

- 1 Bauer APX hockey stick which, in the proper Canadian hands, is only marginally less lethal than the Remington.

- Classic Sherwood shoulder pads and Graf hockey pants, because hockey.

Act now!  Supplies are limited, and tomorrow could be too late!*

*All items pre-owned.  Vendor not responsible for smell of hockey equipment.     

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

An Open Letter to ISIS

September 22, 2014

Dear ISIS,
   What up, killas?  Heard tell you were headed this way to make the streets run red with the blood of the disbelievers.  Awfully sporting of you to give us a heads up.  I thought I'd return the favor with a few useful travel tips, assuming you want to keep a low profile before you turn our worldly life into fear and fire.
   You need to know up front that the values here are a little different.  You want to talk about holy crusades?  Wait until you get a load of some of our more strident social activists.  One perceived slight against racial, gender or sexual equality and they'll make you wish you were aborted in the first trimester, because Justin says the days when old men get to decide what a woman can do with her body are long gone.  (They'll probably crucify me just for writing that.  Another useful reminder: I'm using crucifixion as a metaphor and not in the literal sense.  Also, "stoned" refers to getting high, not being executed for adultery.)  Bear in mind, too, that women in this part of the world are allowed to work, go to school and wear modern western fashions, so keep your curved dagger handy in case you have to cut out your own eye after seeing a wrist or an ankle.
   Another good thing to remember is that randomly firing AK's into the air isn't the norm in these parts, except on New Year's Eve in Kahnawake. Speaking of which, don't even think about fucking with the natives.  You guys think you've been hard done by?  They've got a laundry list of legitimate grievances that would choke a camel.  They've also got a significant community of  professional military veterans and a warrior spirit rooted in honor and integrity and they're not on your side in this deal, so you'd best give them a wide berth.  
   At the risk of  being presumptuous, I have a couple of target suggestions for you.  Do you have hipsters in the Caliphate?  They're probably the worst infidels because they buy into their own bullshit even more than you guys buy into your's.  Interestingly, some of them could actually pass for jihadists because they grow their beards to their beltline, so they'd probably find it delightfully ironic if you blew up one of their favorite vegan hangouts or strung them up by their thrift store scarves.  If you could also bomb every Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet, I'd be personally grateful because if I don't get off the dirty bird I'm going to tip the scales at three bills.   
   Anyhoo, that's about it for now.  I won't ask you about your itinerary because I know you want everything to be a surprise.  The guys at the car wash say hey.

Your not-worthy-of-Allah's-mercy pal,

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Man 1, Righteous Dude 0

   Law enforcement history is rife with documented cases of corrupt and/or bullying cops.  From torture to rape to murdering for the mafia, police officers sworn to serve and protect the public have been convicted of  some of the most heinous misdeeds in the annals of crimes.
   Making an illegal left turn is not one of them.  
   Imagine, then, the absurdity of a  69 year old civilian crusader chasing a police car down the street, flashing his lights and honking his horn until they pull over for him.  
   Michael Reilly says he had just seen a Montreal police cruiser make an illegal left turn, so he took it upon himself to hold them to account.  His pursuit of equal justice for all didn't turn out so well.  Reilly was handed a $162 ticket for being a public nuisance, and effectively told to mind his own business when it comes to police matters.
   Like it or not, that's good advice.  It doesn't matter how informed, intelligent or righteous you are - you will never win an argument with a cop.  If the two officers who ticketed Reilly were making an illegal turn out of sheer laziness (Reilly says they didn't use their flashing lights or turn signal despite telling him they were on a call), they deserve to be called out, but directly challenging their authority is poking the bear with a sharp stick.  Ask Brian O'Carroll, who similarly confronted a police officer for double parking outside a St. Laurent depanneur in 1985.  Well, actually, you can't ask him.  He's dead, but the video speaks for itself.
    There's a process for police complaints.  It's arduous, monotonous and often to no avail, but it is what it is, as the kids today are wont to say,  Taking down the time, date, location and squad car number and reporting it through the proper channels might not have been as emotionally gratifying for Michael Reilly as confronting the officers directly, but at the very least, it would have saved him 162 dollars.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ducks are people too, apparently

   If there's a more outrageous example of victim-blaming than the case of the dingbat, the ducks and the two dead motorcyclists, it doesn't spring immediately to mind. 
   Andre Roy and his 16 year old daughter, Jessie, were killed in June of  2010 when their motorcycle slammed into the back of Emma Czonobaj's car, which Czonobaj had parked in the passing lane of Autoroute 30 in Candiac to help a family of ducks cross the road. She'll be sentenced in December after being convicted this past June on two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of dangerous driving causing death.  The Crown is asking for a nine month jail term, along with community service and probation.  
   That there's a significant public outcry against sending Czonobaj to jail is not surprising.  She, too, is a victim of sorts, albeit of circumstance and her own stupidity.  But there's a dark underbelly to public sentiment in the form of a recurring theme that Roy is to blame for the accident because he was speeding (see comment section here). Evidence suggests his motorcycle was travelling anywhere between 113 and 129 kilometers per hour, which is over the speed limit but not unusual on an open highway like Autoroute 30, and certainly not anywhere near as reckless as parking your car in the passing lane of a major highway.
   Of course, it's all about the ducks.  If Czonobaj had left her car in the middle of the highway to relieve herself, pick flowers or collect empty beer cans to cash in at the grocery store, she'd be public enemy number one.  But have you seen how cute baby ducklings are?  Yes, they're living things, but common sense and the food chain dictate that compassion for hapless water fowl doesn't equate to the sanctity of human life.
   However honorable her motives, two people died because Emma Czonobaj was criminally negligent.  That makes her a criminal.  In a just, right-thinking society, criminals who cause the deaths of others go to jail, usually for a lot longer than nine months.
   She's getting off easy.