best laid plans-terry fallis

“After all, as a species, we really don’t like being told what to do.
                 Picture the nasty and arrogant neighbor you never liked who demands that you stop hanging out your laundry on your backyard clothesline. Your billowing underwear is an eyesore he shouldn’t have to look at etcetera, etcetera. Admit it. Even if you’d just purchased a fancy, new Kenmore drier, your first instinct would probably be to hang out every pair of gotchies you could find, clean or not, and let them swing on the line permanently. In the same vein, Governments hate doing things that the Opposition parties-or anyone else, for that matter-have told them to do. The more sophisticated lobby groups are smart, they realize that if they get the Liberals to demand it, the Government likely won’t deliver it.
                 Sometimes, this phenomenon has far-reaching implications. In 1965, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson gave a speech in Philadelphia in which he called on President Lyndon Johnson to halt the American bombing of North Vietnam. Legend has it that the President had been, in fact, just about to announce such a ceasefire when our unwitting Prime Minister pulled the pin and tossed in his grenade. As a result, Johnson felt compelled to sustain the bombing for several more weeks to avoid being seen to have acquiesced to the demands of his weak northern neighbor. Privately, the President was outraged, and apparently told Pearson not to ‘come into my home and piss on my carpet.'” (239)

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One thought on “best laid plans-terry fallis

  1. politics and bullshit, bullshit and politics:

    “At that moment, I was sure that Rachel and the Honourable “Dickhead” had no idea I was their vomiting vestibule voyeur. Damn my weakness for alliteration.
    By the time Rachel arrived home in the wee hours, I’d already cleaned out my drawer and repatriated my toothbrush.” (xv)

    “And what an unholy aroma. I’ve always believed that English is better equipped than any other language to capture the richness and diversity of our daily lives. I promise you, the /Oxford Concise/ does not yet have words to describe the stench that rose like a mushroom cloud from that colossal mound. Stepping in it was one thing; full immersion was quite another.” (2)

    “In my mind, nothing furnishes a room like books, and I had plenty. A raft of non-fiction-Canadian, American, and European politics and history-betrayed by ideological predisposition. An extensive collection of comedic novels-mostly Canadian, American, and British-rounded out my inventory.” (11)

    “Some people contend that the English language is a living, breathing organism wherein the definitions of words and rules should change to reflect their mass misuse. I contend that English is already an extraordinarily difficult language to teach. Monkeying with English to legitimize common errors would not make the language easier to learn and love. English should not stoop to embrace the lowest common denominator. Rather, society should step up and grant the language the respect and reverence it deserves.” (13)

    “I was careful to orient the board appropriately, with a white square in the bottom, right-hand corner. I’d seen too many movies, TV commercials, and magazine ads, featuring chess players deep in thought over boards set up incorrectly. Politics teaches you to sweat the small stuff.” (15)

    “The library of Angus McLintock revealed a man of culture, science, intelligence, and sensitivity with an enlightened world view. At that moment, an earthshaking fart, long, loud, and almost melodic, ripped through the house. On instinct, I buried my nose inside the neck of my shirt. Angus didn’t just break wind, he tortured it first.” (22)

    “Anyway, I’ve never considered good manners and equality mutually exclusive. Good manners may regrettably be an anachronism, but its roots are in common courtesy, not patriarchy.” (135-6)

    “We wonder why we’re unable to attract to public life the calibre of people we’d like to see. Well, we pry into their private lives, put their every move under a microscope, and subject them and their loved ones to the most invasive and penetrating scrutiny imaginable. Then, when we find the slightest little thing that even remotely resembles an infraction no more serious than leaving the toilet seat up, we eat them. We get the government we deserve. Yes, we want honesty, transparency, and decency in our politicians. To attract such qualities, we need understanding, sensitivity, and sometimes forgiveness in our voters.” (151-2)

    “He stood up and shuffled after me like Eeyore off his medication.” (166)

    “Seriously now, think about it. Perhaps for the first time in Canadian history, the voters have elected a Member of Parliament whose singular commitment is to the public interest, not his own, and the political consequences be damned,” I continued. “You cannot be bought, you have no desire for re-election, you have no interest in higher office, and you don’t care what people think of you. You actually do what you say. You are the mirror opposite of what Canadians have come to expect from their politicians. You are the antipolitician. In fact, my rudimentary understanding of physics suggests that if you were to collide head-on with a traditional politician, you might cancel one another out and both disappear in a puff of smoke,” I concluded, quite pleased with my little theory.” (178)

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