Thursday, June 1, 2006

Today in Dink Blog two community-based writers opine on our trippy Health Minister, and the mysterious TTC videography artists.

Minister of Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect

Much was made in the right-wing corporate media of Health Minister George Smitherman's brave admission that he was a regular user of so-called "club drugs" in the early 1990s. Now, certain extremist web-logs are bringing the subject up again to smear this brave, strong man of iron compassion. As a spiritual leader and counsellor in London, I deal regularly with many youth who have chosen to experiment with these substances. They tell me it is a way to have fun, to unwind from the pressures society places upon them, and to find oneness with each other under the benign gaze of the Lord of this world. From my discussions with my young friends, I learned that they have found a deeper spirituality in these experiences than in anything else offered to them in today's world of program cutbacks and homophobia. Who could criticize these motivations?

In my prayers I have often asked my Master for the strength of character exhibited every day by George Smitherman. What kind of man would be caring enough to run our health care system, knowing that even the smallest decision will result in the unavoidable, lingering deaths of hundreds, and needless pain to thousands of survivors? How could anyone find the spiritual depth to be responsible for such cruelty and suffering? We now know how. Thanks to his drug use, George Smitherman knows that there is no suffering, because in the profoundest sense there is no one to suffer. He has discovered the ancient yet progressive truth that the ego is an illusion, and that there really can be no difference between the front of the queue and its end. He knows that we are all one, and that there is no "I" that will die on a waiting list. The queue is not a line, it is a great circle, surrounding and blessing us all as it helps us to pass out of this life and into the next. You can see in his eyes that he has found this place of spiritual comfort, and that it sustains him in the cruel decisions he must make every day.

When it is my turn to be euthanized to save increasingly scarce resources for the needs of the next generation, I will be comforted to know that my passing on will being no grief to the brave, wise, and gay George Smitherman.

Hilda Reich is pastor of Supine Road United Church.

Extremist assumptions may get us all killed
One thing that I have always been taught is that in any controversy, it is the extremists on both sides who are wrong. Extremism betrays a fundamental unwillingness to moderate one's judgment in the face of another person's deeply felt emotions. Extremism is a source of conflict; it is not a light shining in the darkness, but the darkness itself. The purpose of my art is to lead us away from extremism, to embrace the uncertainty that we all must embrace if our future is to be unlike our past. It is the artist who sees the possibilities that the hate-filled Christian or the wealthy white landowner ignores.

I have been thinking about these truths as I've been working on my latest piece of Creative City sculptural art, tentatively entitled "Condoleezza Sluthole WarHarperHarpy #1776 (Year of the Bigot)". Hopefully, I'll be able to complete this work before I'm drafted to fight for the neo-con imperialist war machine. But today I was too angry to get much done. You see, I like to scroll through the Globe and Mail to keep an eye on the right-wing opinion makers. Lo and behold, the bigotry of the right was front and centre. The neoconservatives, in league with the neoliberals, are trying to fearmonger us with the fact that some "foreigners" were seen carefully videotaping the Toronto subway system. The automatic kneejerk reaction in racist Canada is that these must be terrorists plotting to blow up the TTC. Does the right wing now claim that Saddam wasn't really framed after all, and he hid his WMDs on the Scarborough line? Or that there are now magical "terrorist" video cameras with guns in them? We've heard all of this ignorant stuff before.

We engage in filmaic art so as to fold space and time, to have a record of who we were, where we have been, and to ask inconvenient questions about the officially sanctioned history of the monoculture. To carefully film below subway seats is to grant those important, neglected spaces a "reality" denied by Western man, whose only concern is to get to his destination in one piece and ASAP. The artistic spirit of videography, and the profound persistence of memory that it calls into question, is completely foreign to the right wing mindset. They can only see through the lenses of the warmongers they are.

Any violence will be the fault of the extremism of right wing bigots who are so quick to point their fingers at so-called "terrorists", provoking their victims once again. George Bush is the worst president of my lifetime.

Aloysius Krane is a local artist specializing in transgressive pottery.

1 Comment:

rhebner said...

This is satire, right?

That Hilda Reich piece is just about the oddest bit of screed I've ever read. Not a single sentence makes any sense at all!

I've never attended a United Church service, but if that is the pap they're serving up, I'll make sure I stay away.

"The queue is not a line, it is a great circle, surrounding and blessing us all as it helps us to pass out of this life and into the next."

What the heck does that mean?!?

How can a queue be a circle?

Is she saying that long medical waiting lists are a 'blessing'?

Is she saying that the long lines are good because they help cull the weak?