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"Oh look over there! Canadian values!"

“Oh look over there! Canadian values!”

Oh, Kellie Leitch, you strange, unique, visionary xenophobe. I’ve been watching your video today. You know the one; everyone’s talking about it, and they’re not saying anything nice. In my favourite riff on this thing that you’ve unleashed on the world and that you no doubt believe is true and moving, someone has slowed it down by 40%, making you appear to talk like someone’s drunk aunt. And maybe that’s exactly what you are–no judgements here, because that would be mean and a barbaric cultural practice.

Kellie, you’ve been around for quite a while now, beating your drum about how Canada needs to have face-to-face interviews with every immigrant, refugee–and now you’re apparently adding visitors to that list?!–to screen for Canadian values. Do you have any other policies that the mainstream media isn’t reporting on because it’s fixated on this one batshit crazy one? I understand that you’re trying to carve out a space for yourself amongst too many candidates for the Conservative Party leadership, but won’t you need other ideas when you become Prime Minister? (By the way, it’s totally adorable that you think you’ll ever be Prime Minister, and please keep on saying you will be at every opportunity… I hope it’s the first thing you say when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you say before you drift off to sleep, perchance to dream about being Prime Minister, which as I said, is never going to happen.)

But Kellie, I notice you never really say–beyond meaningless buzz words and platitudes–what the Canadian values you hold so dear are. And so I’m here to help. Please feel free to use any or all of the following as examples of Canadian values.

  • Rolling up the rim
  • Knowing which parts of Alberta where it’s safe to cheer for the Oilers
  • How to correctly pronounce “about”
  • This Hour Has 22 Minutes used to be funnier
  • Feeling inferior to Americans while using humour to pretend we’re not
  • Margaret Atwood is a goddamn national treasure
  • Knowing that Windsor, ON is at the same latitude as Northern California
  • Canada has the real Niagara Falls
  • “50 Mission Cap” is the ultimate Tragically Hip song; “Wheat Kings” is also acceptable
  • Our beer is better than American beer
  • Knowing whether to vote for Kellie Leitch

Those are the values all real Canadians possess. Oh, and the last one? Real Canadians know the answer to that, too.

come-from-awayWhat if 9/11 was planned by the people of Gander, Newfoundland in an a scheme to reroute airplanes and then make the entire world believe that they’re the kindest, most unselfish folks in the whole world? And then—and here’s the real endgame—capitalize on a smash Broadway musical? Horrifying if true! Bad enough to kill over three thousand people and destroy billions of dollars of property for favourable press coverage, good will, and Broadway box office receipts, but they surely couldn’t have known that 9/11 would also lead to invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, and years of death and political turmoil? Surely all of the tragedy of the last fifteen years wasn’t part of the plan? All I can say is, Newfoundlanders are very social people, and tickets start at $47, so you do the math!

I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye with U2’s Bono, but he’s really trying to make a difference in the world, so maybe we should all get behind his efforts, and be pro-Bono.

Recently a co-worker of mine quietly said, “Is it bad that I don’t know who Judas is?”

Although I was initially taken aback, I quickly realized that she has no real reason to know the story of Judas: even if Muslims consider Christians and Jews “People of the Book,” they would have little occasion to actually read our holy texts. A lot of Christians, to say nothing of secular Westerners, haven’t read the Bible either. But most of us know the story of Jesus, and by extension Judas, anyway, because it’s become a part of the larger culture.

Relating the story to my colleague, I mentioned Jesus Christ Superstar, which is the source of much of my understanding, and thinking, about Judas–I didn’t have to read the Bible to know the story and, because my knowledge came from an arguably blasphemous source, my take on Judas is tinged with a radical, hippie-flavoured veneer. Whether Judas betrayed Jesus for silver or to fulfil his destiny is one of the great theological debates, and can be had whether you’re a believer or not.

I wonder which universally-relatable stories I’m missing out on because knowledge of the history of Islam and the Qu’ran is as lacking in Western societies as tales of the Last Supper and the 12th disciple are in young Somali-Canadians. Who is Muhammad Ali (not the boxer, but his namesake?), and what could I learn by studying his life?

The story I told her:

Judas and Jesus were best mates at school but Judas was always jealous because Jesus was better at sports and had an easy way with the birds. Still, they went into business together as freelance prophet and disciple. But Judas thought they’d switch off roles as they moved from city to city: being a disciple was hard work while being a prophet was where the real money was. When Jesus started making time with the lass Judas fancied, the disciple had had enough and sold his stake in Salvation, Inc. for 30 silver pieces, intending to set up shop in another town and help the poor there. But when Jesus got nicked by the bill for claiming divinity, Judas was blamed for betraying his old son and, knowing his propheting days were over, packed it in, offing himself in a right nasty way.

Hey, it’s not up to me to spread the so-called truth.

What if, instead of yelling our contempt at the people who consternate us, we quietly said, “Nevertheless, I love you”? What would the assholes think about that?

NGOs with attitude should be kicked straight outta the UN.

Don’t be angry with slaves: pity them, for they are but servants to the tyrant. Damn, that was a tough day at work.

Is there a Christian line of succession, e.g. God, Jesus, Holy Ghost, the Virgin Mary…? If God dies or is killed does Jesus take over, then the Holy Ghost, etc.? At what point does Barack Obama become acting God? What about Kanye?

Rejected Nas album titles: Jagged Little Ill, Triumph of the Ill.

Keep the home fires burning, but don’t burn my home fries!

New elements for the Periodic Table, 2015: idriselbium, bromancium, kardashium.

New dishes for my pun-themed restaurant: Baklava to the Future, Mongolian Custard Fuck, Mumford and Plums.

Despite well-intentioned efforts by people like Jimmy Carter, Habitat for Humanity is consistently outfunded by Habitat for Inhumanity, which has branches in nearly every country in the world.

After months of writing and editing and rewriting, my first book is finally done, and available to purchase online!

What I (Don't) Know About Every Country in the World

What I (Don’t) Know About Every Country in the World

“There are 193 countries on Earth and Robert James Bell knows something about all of them. This brilliant, maddening, and all-too-often stupid exploration of the world’s nations artfully combines history, geography, sociology, and prevarication to provide insight into our global neighbours that is essential for travelers or anyone who wants to be a better person. Yes, you.”

“This is a very foolish book, apparently written by an idiot.” —Simon Winchester

“I couldn’t decide whether to put it in geography or humour, so in the end I just didn’t order it.” —Chief Buyer, Globo Books

“It brings the entire field of human knowledge into disrepute.” —National Geographic

“When in doubt, assume it’s a dick joke.” –the Author

At the Tragically Hip Beverage Company, we’re dedicated to quality ingredients, fine craftsmanship, and naming our drinks after Tragically Hip songs. I think you’ll agree that we’ve succeeded on all counts:

Road Apple Cider

Wheat Kings Weissbier

Trickle Down Percolated Coffee

Boots and Hearts Bourbon

It’s an eclectic mix of beverages, limited only by the number of Tragically Hip puns we can come up with, and our imaginations. Have you tried our Grace, Tea?

Available in fine bars and restaurants from Kingston, Ontario to the 100th Meridian.

The Molson Undie

Prig Notaro

Norah Cajones

Corpus Christine

Rhinosaur

URL7

Won Direction

Prague Rock

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfucktion (Rolling Stones tribute band)

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