HOW TO FLOG
A DEAD HORSE
“It never ceased to amaze me, until suddenly one day I felt beautiful and holy for having had the courage to hold on to my sanity after all I’d seen and been through, body and soul, in too loud a solitude, and slowly I came to the realization that my work was hurtling me headlong into an infinite field of omnipotence.” —Bohumil Hrabal, Too Loud a Solitude
Flying home to Vancouver in the Fall of 1974, I was semi-catatonic, road-fatigued, suffering lapsed Catholic guilt. I’d jumped ship from the band I’d toured with for four years and knew I had no future. For the next few weeks, I cleaned and cooked while Fiona spent her days at the casting agency to keep up the mortgage payments on our houseboat.
Late one afternoon, a middle-aged, salt and pepper-haired bohemian appeared on the dock. Fiona introduced us, and Keith Pepper pulled spices, an onion, papadoms, and a chicken from a leather satchel, and proceeded to the galley to concoct a delicious curry. He had charm, wit, a proper English accent and worked in movie art departments. I liked him.
Returning home from work one evening, Fiona asked if I would like to be George Segal’s stand-in. Yes, indeed. I’d seen George on screen at the Hollywood, my neighbourhood cinema where I often watched a double feature for 50 cents. George was one of my heroes.
You need to step up your war chant. If you’re going to use the ISIS (or as I call them, the Repeating Passive Verb Gang, ha, ha) conflict to win over Canadian voters with a ‘patriotic’ stance, flying a few fighter jets over battle areas isn’t going to cut it. This is an issue you need to show real leadership on. Why not declare war on Syria and Libya (and that other African country), and put boots on the ground? If you call conscription before October 19th, the election is yours, otherwise Canadians aren’t going to take you seriously. Remember George Bush and Iraq. He got in there before anyone could say “what weapons of mass destruction?”
Pound the war drums loudly. People are angry about the thousands of refugees being chased from their homelands and ready to follow a guy like you who isn’t afraid to put his mouth where his money is. They want to make somebody pay for all the misery they’re seeing on TV, so you can win their votes by attacking Assole Basaraid (or whatever his name is) and the Islamic extremists at the same time.
This is another win-win situation. Call conscription (‘Jobs for Youth’), and offer to re-enlist those veterans dismissed from the forces. Get everybody hyped and they’ll forget the ‘R’ word. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that a good, long war booms the economy and sets the oil industry humming.
Keep the faith,
Associate Speechwriter (cut rates to Reform-a-Tory candidates)
I can see the campaign’s not going well. You need to ramp up the rhetoric. I offer here (gratis) some slogans and quotes you might consider using in your speeches, commercials and interviews:
•Bravely defacing the environment to save our economy.
•If the 20th Century was good enough for our parents, it’s good enough for me.
•The facts of the matter are this: you do not need a healthy environment to have a thriving economy. Remember the thoughts of American Republic Candidate for President, Rick Santorum: “Man is more important than the environment.”
•Our children do not want clean water or clean air or Arboreal forests, they want oil and plenty of it!
•I’m right and Duffy is an ass. In the words of Richard Nixon, “I am not a crook, or a liar… or Richard Nixon.”
•The Reform-a-Tory Party of Canada is dedicated to a balanced budget and no government, which we have provided for the past 10 years.
•Climate change is just liberal and socialist imprudence.
•There are no McJobs, just McPeople.
•To boost the economy, a Reform-a-Tory government will provide every child with a five dollar gas coupon.
Finally, Steve, to bring your point home, quote George W. Bush as often as possible, especially with, “If you don’t stand for anything, you don’t stand for anything.”
Ignore the noise (as you always do). Keep on laying out your message “no government is good government” to the people. If, as Goebbels suggested, you say it loud enough and long enough, they will believe it.
Of course people say that your policies are crypto-fascist. So what? What’s wrong with improving the justice system (why do we need more prisons with less crime?), preventing crooked people from voting (who are they voting for?), dumbing-down the public service (they must have been pretty dumb to begin with, not to agree with your policies), helping the corporate rich avoid paying tax (to keep the economy booming), preventing government scientists from staying on message, subsidizing the oil industry to the tune of 1.2 billions bucks a year, thwarting our ‘democratic’ Parliament (I love it when you prorogue), simplifying Statscan so ‘simple’ Canadians (the 61% of the electorate— liberal-socialists—that didn’t vote Reform-a-Tory in 2011) can understand it, and sponsoring the most flagrant abuses of the Senate since MacDonald.
Let them whine. You know best. You’ve always known best, pal, you’re the leader! Remember that when you talk to Canadians from your $50 million, Goebbels Memorial Reform-a-Tory Communications Centre. Canadians know (at least 30% anyway) that you’re giving them the straight goods (according to you—and who knows better than the man with absolute power).
Ignore those who call you a sociopath. Envy is a sad thing.
Forget staying the course, it’s not working. You’ll have to think big, and you’ll have to go on the attack. What you don’t want are those enviro-wackos controlling the message. You have to put it on the line to Canadians. “You decide. If we want to boom the economy, you’ll have to choose between trees and oil. We have a country crammed with boreal trees, which aren’t even worth milling, and thousands of caribou, which only a few hunters shoot every year. Neither of which is putting Loonies in your pocket. So, do you want trees and caribou you’ll never see, or do you want to be able to drive to the mall?
Toronto has a massive Raccoon infestation. Ask yourself, Torontonians, where are they coming from? You guessed it, the boreal forest. Eliminate the boreal forest and you eliminate the Raccoon problem.
A Reform-a-Tory government would develop our North as God intended, one big Tar sand excavation from coast-to-coast, criss-crossed by millions of miles of pipeline, carrying Alberta crude to all parts of the world (just imagine a trans-Atlantic pipeline!). This would create thousands, possibly millions, of jobs, most employing Newfies who would move their families to Alberta, leaving Newfoundland empty to house thousands of refugees there. A win-win situation.
The facts of the matter are these: with climate change, and the Arctic ocean warming, new economic opportunities will be created for man to exploit our God-given resources—namely oil. Do the lib-socios have the imagination to come up with massive job creation plans like this? I don’t think so.”
And remember, Stevie, things always look blackest just before the bottom falls out and then they get light again.
Keep the faith,
The Sex Life of the Amoeba
• By (author): Barry Healey Canada
This is a novel about passions – a passion for movies, a passion for sex, and a passion for one’s country.
Sarah Fielding wants to turn the great Canadian novel into a “quality” movie but everyone else (the sex-mad producer, the psycho Hollywood star and the avaricious distributor) has their own idea of what it should be.
Will Sarah pull it together? Not likely.
During the 1970s and 80s, Barry Healey wrote television variety for such performers as Milton Berle, Arte Johnson, Soupy Sales, Lionel Crane, Andy Griffith, Sally Kellerman, Jackie Mason, Henry Mancini, Van Johnson and others. His motion picture credits include the award-winning shorts: “Outtakes” (1978) writer/director /producer; “The Night Before the Morning After” (1979) writer/director; and the feature films: The Grey Fox (1982) co-producer; One Magic Christmas (1985) writer; Big Deal (1985) director; Hollywood North (2003) writer. The Sex Life of the Amoeba is his first novel. Barry Lives in Toronto.
is Our Dell
This is not good duff, thought Manley. Grubs were nowhere to be found, the beetles were tiny and the worms fleshless. The earth was barren, hard clay with little leaf mold. Hearing so many animals crossing the dell, he had hoped the soil would be black. Perhaps it was fertile further down, towards the pond. He started digging and almost immediately ran into rock.
Coming to surface, he bumped into a leg and, turning, hit another leg. Continue reading
The Howls of Owls
With the last light fading, Malcolm lumbered up the incline. Theobald, clinging to his back, had hoped to have gone to the pond. He was in need of floating. He was tired of bouncing; it wasn’t natural. He was also fed up with having to put up with other animals. he found irritating, especially in mobs. He wanted to be alone, to float down to the bottom of a body of clear, fresh water, leaving all this noise and chaos behind; but here he was, back on Malcolm, bouncing along to a place where (no doubt) they would find other packs of deluded animals behaving, well, embarassingly. He tried to remember if he had ever met a normal animal, or lived any other life, but it seemed so long ago. He could not… what was that? “Did you hear that?” Continue reading
Peace In Our Time
As pink morning light began to silhouette the pines and aspen, Theobald pulled himself closer to Malcolm’s hoof. The sudden flushing of rain had brought him physical comfort but hadn’t eased his anxiety. He needed to express his misgivings to Malcolm privately. Surely he had more sense than that pompous deer. He waited until Manley and Miranda had moved off to forage.
“It won’t work.” Continue reading