Charles Adler on "Has the Canadian down turn turned into a nation of bitter skunks?"

Ron in Regina
Sorry....big "copy&paste" but Adler is usually a good read.
Every now and then, as you know, I check up on the dark siders, the merchants of
doom, to see what they are saying in order to keep the doom bus rolling. Lately
there have been reports of so-called green chutes in the world economy. China is
still growing and still ordering stuff from the rest of the world and apparently still
selling stuff to the rest of the world. China is also predicting that it will lead the
world out of its funk and the worst of this funk will be behind us by either autumn
of this year or the spring of next. In the meantime, there will be a clash between
the sunny siders and the dark siders, not all of who are full-fledged moon bats like
the latest NDP candidate, who dropped his drawers on Facebook and is now being
dropped by the provincial NDP, who it appears will soon drop any hopes that they
are about to make a comeback in B.C. Gord Letting-Them-Eat-Carbon Campbell
appears to be on the flight path to re-election despite the downturn.

Federally, of course, Michael Ignatieff, the accidental Canadian tourist is now
leading in the polls primarily because Quebec got the news that the man they hated
the most, Stephane Dion, is gone and seems to want to reward Liberals for finally
putting a stake through his little green heart. They also want to punish Harper for
threatening to pull some money from culture freeloaders. Any attack on culture is
always translated in Quebec as an attack on the Quebec nation and so it doesn't
matter how often it is heard in the land that Stephen Harper is the one who stood
up and declared that Quebec is a nation. There is always a price to be paid when it
appears the federal government is pushing the button on culture by subtracting
money instead of adding.

When a federalist utters the word “culture” in Quebec it needs to be followed by a
cheque, not a claw. And so the accidental tourist leader of the Liberals is hoping to
cash in Harper's faux pas in Quebec, and of course the economic downturn. The
tourist has just published another book .You won't see many of his books in airport
bookstores. Not much demand. But he will likely sell some copies because he has
been anointed - by so many of the right people - as the Prime Minister in waiting,
as the northern Obama, and the reincarnation of Pierre Trudeau. I did pick a
perfect title for the book: Patriot Love. In his latest incarnation the tourist is a
Canadian patriot. Let's flash back to 1995 and the post-referendum commentary
that he was offering when he was kind of a British patriot making a living in the
UK as an interviewer and a talking head.

YouTube - Michael Ignatieff True Patriot Love Canada Quebec

He had more hair then and less respect for the idea of continuing decentralization
of the country. All that changed several books and gigs later when the Liberals
were in disarray after Paul Martin fumbled the ball that Chretien gave him, and
ended up turning the reins over to Stephane Dion. So Michael, the Patriot, is now
looking forward to the demise of Stephen Harper. He isn't alone in this country
looking for the demise of successful people.

When I want to check in with the Canadian darkside, I always know it's just a
couple of keypunches away on my computer. I enter the world of Heather Mallick,
the CBC’s website columnist, who hates all people and things that are more
successful than her, which is to say almost everyone. Her latest essay designed to
regurgitate the argument that everyone deep down inside is truly like her, envious
and hateful of success, is called, Give up Your Rage, in which she uses the Susan
Boyle performance on Britain's Got Talent to make the case that our applauding of
Boyle is reverse Schadenfreude, a German word which describes Heather to a tee.
It is about the enjoyment that people have in other's misfortunes. I have an English
word for people who have this German condition. Losers. Whether they are
German or English or Canadian or American, taking pleasure in the misfortune of
others is behavior that produces nothing productive unless you are a columnist, a
pundit, or a so-called public intellectual like the accidental tourist who leads the
Liberal party. Susan Boyle was to Lady Heather's eyes, the reversal of
Schadenfreude, because we took pleasure apparently in seeing the beautiful people
looking ugly for having misjudged Susan Boyle based on her looks.

Now of course, most of this is patently nonsensical. Does anyone believe the
judges, especially Simon Cowell who owns the show, had no idea how well Boyle
could sing? Does anyone believe that the millions around the world who sobbed
while watching gave a fig about the beautiful people and whether they were right
or wrong? Part of the magic of the video are the so-called beautiful people doing
some sobbing themselves. They are still the ones that viewers identify with and
they feel good that the underdog did well. But this has nothing to do with
Schadenfreude in drive or in reverse. Park the Schadenfreude in the ditch and the
idea that we are loving the Boyle moment because of the downturn. We always
love to see an underdog do well.

My question today is: does Mallick have a point in believing that her time has come,
that in this downturn, our Schadenfreude is really vibrating loudly? Do we, because
of this downturn, take more pleasure than usual in the suffering of others? Do you
turn on your computer, your radio, or your TV hoping to see news of a company or
corporate boss going under? Do you want all the overdogs to become underdogs? I
hope not. I hope you aren't a hostage to that dark side of humanity where nothing
good grows. But if not, do you have the impression that this is a bull market for
Schadenfreude? Do you have the impression that all around you, there are people
who want to see success being speared, being run into the boards like some
desperate St. Louis Blue who thinks he has a chance of preventing the Canucks
from becoming Canada's team? Do you have the distinct impression that many of
your fellow Canadians are so resentful, so bitter, and so desperate that they have
been sipping the hemlock from the Heath Mallick Sippee cup and are now well on
their way to rooting for the demise of all who are successful?

Please say it ain’t so. Please tell me that the economic downturn hasn't created a
nation of bitter little skunks wishing to stink up the Canadian picnic. Please tell me
that the malevolent Mallick is wrong. She has been wrong a lot lately. But even a
broken clock can be right twice a day. If she is right, we have to have the courage
to admit it.

I'm Charles Adler on the Corus Radio Network. CJOB 68: Manitoba's Information Superstation
Ron in Regina
1/Why can't Mr Adler say recession?
2/Success is not to be confused with benevolence or usefull function Mr Adler.
3/We do not always love to see the underdog do well. Gaza, Rawanda, Hati, the list of underdogs awaiting our good wishes is very long indeed Mr Adler. As a matter of fact Mr Adler we most like not being bothered by the underdogs at all these days.
4/ Your begging for the continued good times for the bankers is kind of sick.
5/ Your not funny, I hope Mallick hunts you down.