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J.J. McCullough

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Canadian Media Deserves the Gold in Synchronized Bitching

Posted: 07/30/2012 10:42 am

So did you see the London opening ceremonies? Pretty impressive, eh? How about when the Queen went parachuting with James Bond? Or when that army of Mary Poppins' attacked Lord Voldemort? Or when a giant basket of fish and chips chased Daphne from Frasier in a double-decker bus to the theme from Benny Hill? (Fine, I dozed off halfway.)

Though I know we Canadians are justly proud of our shapely, vascular athletes and all the medals they're destined to win in... uh, sports (I want to say swimming?) let's not overlook our stars in that other acclaimed Olympic event: synchronized bitching.

As I noted in a previous column, if you're a Canadian media guy, I cannot over-emphasize how important it is to write a detailed treatise of why you hate the Olympics. The alternative's a slippery slope to compete proledom. If you support the games, what's next, supporting the death penalty?! Why not just heave some rusted car parts on the front lawn while you're at it!

Jon Kay at the National Post, for his part, hates the Olympics because the athletes are too good. It's "boring" to watch super-humans battle each other for millisecond supremacy without any context, he says. Include some "ordinary schlub" participants for perspective and watch the ratings skyrocket -- at least in the schadenfreude-lovin' Kay household.

At the Globe, meanwhile, Elizabeth Renzetti hates all the sexism.

"Did somebody put Hugh Hefner in charge of the Games when I wasn't looking?" she asks. Have you seen the skimpy shorts they've got the volleyball ladies wearing?

Lizzie is very outraged that some of you men-types out there apparently believe that female athletes must look sexy. But she says they don't! Be sure to tune in next week, when Renzetti tackles another provocative essay topic from fifth grade English class.

Speaking of unattractive gals, there's a JPG going around of a haggard-looking Queen Elizabeth welcoming the world to "the Hunger Games." We all had a good chuckle, but the Vancouver Sun editorial board doesn't seem to think it's much of a joke. On Friday they tried to write a friendly, good-luck-from-one-host-city-to-another ode to London, but instead created something that reads more like Chapter One in a Suzanne Collins novel.

Actual phrases the Sun uses in this cheery piece: "depressed neighbourhoods," "death and destruction," "unrationed animal protein." You'd almost think someone was still bitter about all that British teasing back in 2010.

Equally chipper is the Sun's other Olympic editorial, written by former silver-medalist Elaine Tanner, perhaps our nation's most famous victim of post-Olympic trauma disorder. Who better to offer some fun words of encouragement!

It's all a giant scam, says Elaine. "The athletes are merely the pawns on the IOC and Canadian Olympic Committee chessboards, and the almighty dollar is now the ultimate checkmate." And there's no escape, since "the virus of greed that has long affected the inner circles of the IOC is now spreading throughout the entire Olympic movement."

So... uh, go get 'em, team!

* * *

In actual news, Canada's premiers/first ministers/Council of the Federation members/Exalted Lord Chancellors of the 13 Glorious Fiefdoms met in Halifax this week, where they debated policy and presumably brainstormed new extravagant things to call themselves.

As you may have inferred from all the unflattering photos of her charmingly globular head, B.C. Premier Christy Clark continues to be the unloved daughter of confederation at the moment, particularly following her ostentatious opt-out of the premies' national energy strategy workshop/make your-own-omelette bar.

Clark, we recall, is trying to extort money from an Albertan pipeline project set to traipse through her province, which everyone in the opinion-telling biz agrees is wrong wrong wrong. While last week the chatter was mostly limited to western analysts ("Christy Clark, vampire of Alberta") this week the easterners got to weigh in, too ("Christy Clark, saboteuress of Canada").

"Nation building cannot be held hostage to every grasping local interest," scolds Prof. Brian Lee Crowley in the Citizen. Indubitably, agrees Sun News pundit John Robson, PhD. Christy's cash grab "flies in the face of the text and purpose of our Constitution," which, amongst other junk, forbids provinces "from trying to extort wealth from their neighbours instead of earning it themselves."

These two eggheads wrote a whole big paper on Canadian federalism a while ago, so you know we're dealing with some intellectual heft here. But then agin, Dr. Robson also calls Clark "mean and stupid" twice in the same article, so maybe not.

Never one to be out-slurred, Warren Kinsella goes even further and rechristens B.C.'s boss "Christy Clark, nation-wrecker." We have a word for premiers who subvert federalism to secure maximum financial gain for their province, he says: separatists. And what Christy is doing is "no better than what the separatists do when they periodically seize power in Quebec." Eyes peeled for the FLBC!

Our premiers did talk about stuff other than how much they hate Christy, of course. Like health care, about which they churned out some kinda memo promising to pry control away from the feds (who aren't supposed to be in charge anyway).

But it doesn't go far enough, says the Globe! Only "baby steps," agrees the Gazette. Useless "Tinkering disguised as change," scoffs the Citizen.

What did I tell you? We may suck at basketball, but when it comes to griping about unsolvable problems, Canada undeniably deserve the gold.

 

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