Friday, August 01, 2008

Pan Left and Zoom to Black

One of Canada's best writes below about one of Canada's... not worst, perhaps most vacuous. How's that for a legacy? But such as this is what we have on national broadcast media, CBC. Kathy Shaidle writes of a fat, ageing flake who flutters his hands and rolls his eyes and goofs-off on camera as his "schtik," and one painful to watch performance it is, not only on CBC but soon to come to Al Jazeera. Crank up that satellite. Here's George Stroumboulopoulos.

Canada's Peter Pan

Come on now, every time you say you don't believe, another fairy drops dead.

(Plink.)

8 comments:

Walker across Worlds said...

I actually don't mind Georgie. He can be an entertaining enough interviewer.

Heh. I once saw an interview of Mark Steyn that he conducted, actually.

Although I must say, he was pretty out of his league...

Dag said...

There's a difference between being humorous and being buffoonish. Viktor Frankl might have been a funny guy, at least conceivably; and Lichtenberg is hilarious; none moreso than Aristonphes; and I do admit to having posted on Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and Katherine Hepburn in The Philidelphia Story as Stoicism; but there is no humor in foolishness, in bathos, in self-demeaning public antics meant to curry favor with those one feels inferiour to, in the case as above, in performing televised clownishness to appeal to the basest ruminations of our poisoned intelligentsia and their emotionally and socially crippled cheer-leaders. It becomes, and by long ago now is a theatre of humiliation. It demeans and abases all who encounter it.

I look at our occasionally nobler ancestors, some recent, such as our colonialist predecessors, and I see a disciplined life of the mind and body that makes me weep (metaphorically) from envy.

Someone wrote, (GK Chesterton, Jacques Barzun, Ortega y Gasset?)of "A sculpted life."

It takes more than discipline to do that, it takes parents who know what the hell it means. If one is young enough and cares, then perhaps it's possible; but for a generation of people today it must be an Olympian task to figure out even the basics of what most parents didn't bother passing on to their children. Hence, we get buffoons like G.S. being flaky as if this pinnacle of idiot behaviour is the ultimate place from which to pontificate about ones moral place in the universe vis America.

I always mess up Albert Camus' sighing lament, "The man I would be if not for the child that I was." I often splutter it out in High Romantic: "The child I would be if not for the man that I am." Or: The man I would be if not for the man that I am." Or whatever.

My point is that we deserve a mature intelligentsia of honest thinkers. We have air-wave Strombouli instead. Too bad, says me.

Walker across Worlds said...

Oh I agree. Georgie's enertaining, as are John Stewart, and Stephen Colbert, but they're not exactly heavyweights in the philosophical/intelligent conversation department ( although with Stewart, one wonders sometimes ).

I would rather have someone like Michael Coren.

Even Ezra Levant :)

Perhaps even Christopher Hitchens would be a good fellow for that sort of thing.

So admittedly, Georgie boy isn't the best that we could have, nor are Stewart, or Colbert, but I think to an extent, it's better than nothing.

I mean, take the Daily Show. I'm sure that most political news and commentary that most teens take in, comes from shows just like that. It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing, and without folks like Georgie and John Stewart to keep things light and entertaining; the fluff philosophers, I have a feeling that there would be a lot of people even more in the dark on a lot of issues.

Dag said...

I'm a book-reader, so the references to television are a bit beyond me. I have some passing grasp of the names you mention but not really.

Some time when you're sitting down like Rodin's Thinker, you might like to hold a copy of one of my favorite books, Eric Hoffer, the True Believer. If you read that, I promise to sit through some t.v. shows.

An on the topic of books, you might like John Steinbeck Cannery Row, just for fun. It's funny and wise and deep, all the thing one might wish for from those on t.v. who claim to have some insight into current events and the state of the Human Race. Small, short books by old guys now long dead are often far superiour to anything on the tube with small, short, middle-aged guys now long past their prime time. Let me know if you find the books above.

Walker across Worlds said...

Will do!

And then I might just have to find a boxed set of the Daily Show with John Stewart for you.

:)

Walker across Worlds said...

But wait! Mark Steyn has a commentary on Heather Reisman, of Indigo/Chapters, and Georgie.

"Look, I can see what folks are getting at, but there's no point making unnecessary enemies. Let's take Strombo first. It's his show and he does what he does well. When I arrived at the CBC, he swung by to say hello and said I'd be on with Mel C from the Spice Girls. "I'm honoured," I said, and he let out a big guffaw. I meant it. I love doing shows like that. I doubt anyone in the studio audience had a clue who I was before I walked out but they were a friendly crowd and, more to the point, they're part of that big uncommitted general population you need to reach if you're going to make a craven political class think the restoration of free speech is an issue worth picking up on. Strombo is a smart guy, and plays an interview like a good tennis rally. Since America Alone came out, I've done thousands of TV and radio shows in the US, Canada and around the world, and Kathleen, my publicist, knows which ones I find a bore and have no interest in doing again. The Strombo show isn't one of them. He didn't strike me as a reflex Trudeaupian liberal. He certainly didn't have to have me as his guest, and I was very glad he did.

As for Heather Reisman, she's the president of Canada's biggest bookstore chain. There are gazillions of books released every week, and she selects a mere handful of the authors to be that month's selected interviewees. So in choosing me she rejected 99.9999% of the other possibilities. Good for her. Let me say also that she was very fair to me. Yes, back when the hardback of America Alone came out, her buyer bungled the initial order. But, as soon as Heather herself found out, she called me personally from overseas and then called my publisher. By then, of course, I was having too much fun mocking her in Maclean's, The National Post, SteynOnline and sundry other places, to the point where my own publisher told me I ought to ease up on her. She never took it personally, and the clearest evidence of that was her willingness to host Wednesday's event.

Secondly, she's always been very complimentary about my writing. The first time we met, years ago, she came up to me to say how much she liked my columns. Almost everyone in the room was far grander than yours truly, and she would have no reason to seek me out if she hadn't wanted to.

Third, she happens to be showing an admirable political courage just at the moment. As part of the campaign to "denormalize" (as Ezra Levant would say) Israel, certain groups have accused her of, in effect, funding the "massacre" of Palestinians. What they mean is that Heather contributes to a fund that provides financial assistance after they've served their stint in the IDF to Israeli soldiers who have no immediate family. I happen to think this is a worthwhile cause. I also think it would be easy for Jewish-owned corporate enties in today's political climate in Canada and Europe quietly to shift their support to less contentious charities. Heather hasn't - and, as a result, she's attracted many of the same enemies I have.

Fourth, as to the tone of the questions, get used to it. This is where mainstream influential Canadians are. Heather's beliefs are no different from those of most other corporate players. She's not "Liberal" in any sense beyond the fact that for 40 years that's where you have to go to get things done in Canada: in a one-party state, the business community nurtues its contacts with the party that makes things happen. I didn't take Heather's questions as idiotic: I thought they were an understandable attempt by a mainstream figure to square my argument with liberal values. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Bottom line: She did me a good turn in hosting me. So did Strombo. To have someone making the case against the "human rights" enforcers and for freedom of speech in these venues helps "normalize" (Ezra Levant again) what to many Canadians are dissident ideas. On these issues, there are enough real enemies out there, not to mention innumerable hyperpartisan halfwits. Don't unnecessarily conscript others to the list."

Dag said...

I have some sense of perspective and a sense of humor when it comes to public performances. I laughed like crazy when I read that the Duke of Valencia, on his deathbed, was asked if he would forgive his enemies. He said: "I have no enemies. I had them all shot."

Much of life, and I think all of it in public, "publicity," is theater. It's an act. Its not meant entirely for others, because we can be involved in the act even when alone. It's an act in the sense that we derive our lives from the publicity itself, without which we would be feral. What remains that is identifiably "us" or the individual, is a small thing that changes over time, morphs into whatever the Will decides-- if it does. And yet, there is what i refer to as the Mystic of Nature, the unseen Hand that makes us do that which Will alone cannot make us do or even allow us to do. So, we act, and in the act we play at the life of Theatre, given to us, our roles made by others and Nature, our interpretations our own if we choose to adapt it to ourselves by Will. That is the search for "authenticity" if you will.

I don't necessarily dislike others for the roles they play, even when those roles are not what I would choose to play by Will. I do look askance at those who do by Will choose roles I think they know are less real than Publicity demands of those who are otherwise capable.

Steyn et al have roles to play, and I suspect, after years of roaming the planet and its weird presentations of being in the world, that there is sometimes Will, and that one can make if one chooses. We can look and see and think and perhaps understand and act otherwise within the realms of Nature through Will. We would do well to engage in elenchus, in rigourous examination of our assumptions; and then, after our best attempts, I think we should reserve judgment about a conclusion lest we fill our selves with certainty in a universal state of flux.

Cementing ones persona in the publicity as buffoonish is harm and done by Will. I don't find it valid as role, though it happens, and though I do so myself at times. All benefits from elenchus, however painful it might be for the short term. Life is painful. How one takes it is definitive. the taking is by Will.

Or so I think now and for a long time past. But I have a sense of humor, and later I might laugh at my naivete. I might have myself shot. If so, I'll have to laugh at the role I choose, no forgiveness for failure to perform well.

Walker across Worlds said...

I think perhaps that you look at intent, and I look at effect.

Perhaps George S. is using Will to enact a potentially harmful role, but doesn't the exposure to a younger demographic that such behavior gives to things like politics and current events counterbalance the baffoonery?