Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Video Never Lies

Amateur Attack Ads Tell Interesting story

It’s official. YouTube has become a cultural phenomenon.

Like many recent cultural phenomena, perhaps the greatest strength of YouTube is that it offers its users a do-it-yourself online media outlet (not much unlike blogs – hello!).

Like any do-it-yourself media outlet, YouTube was quickly harnessed for political means. Various people have used YouTube – as well as similar sites such as Google Video – for various political purposes. Those with a stake in the current Liberal leadership campaign are no different.

Often, the way the grassroots uses the do-it-yourself online media tells an interesting story.

Once again, the current Liberal leadership contest is no different.

A number of amateur attack ads have been uploaded to these sites. They convey an interesting image of the Liberal party at this turning point in its history – and it may not be a very pretty picture at that.

The bulk of the videos take aim at one of two targets (if, of course, one ignores the mass of attention paid to George Bush and Stephen Harper): frontrunners Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff.

”Once a Dipper, Always a Dipper” takes aim at Rae, predictably highlighting Rae’s career as the disastrous NDP premier of Ontario, and listing several inflammatory quotes made about the Liberals during that time. “Keep leadership in the family,” becomes the theme of the piece.

”Timmy” portrays a couple of pop-art Ontarians, NDP supporters turned Liberals, shocked to learn of Rae’s candidacy for the Liberal leadership. While the mother is driven to drinking, the father tells his son Timmy the story of “Rae days” in scant detail. Rae Days are also the subject of ”Potholes”. In ”NDP Orange” it is actually suggested that Rae’s candidacy for the Liberal leadership metaphorically pisses on the “great” image and legacy of the Liberal party.

George Bush and the Republicans also become an omnipresent spectre. In ”Michael Ignatieff Outakes”, a South Park-style animated Ignatieff needs to be corrected after announcing his candidacy for the Republican party. He is later on seen ogling a map of Iraq. ”Fit to Be President” makes use of Hulk Hogan’s famous “Real American” entry music, and makes reference to some of Ignatieff’s contentious writings on imperialism and torture, as well as a photoshopped image of Iggy with an Eagle perched on his outstretched ”Presidential Finger”. A video of this title tries to turn a hand gesture into a political issue (yet curiously makes few references to Pierre Trudeau’s Prime Ministerial finger).

Speaking of Pierre Trudeau, no Liberal campaign of any sort could possibly be complete without someone exhuming his ideological grave, and this campaign is no exception to this rule. ”Quebec as a Nation: A New Perspective” quotes Pierre Trudeau at length on the issue of Quebec nationalism, painting Michael Ignatieff – whose recent Quebec as a nation appeal reopened the issue – as an outsider, out of touch with Liberal values. Video can also be found of Justin Trudeau responding to Ignatieff’s suggestion.

Even nutbars such as Alex Jones have weighed in, spreading their typical paranoid nonsense, and insinuating that Bob Rae could be used as a sacrificial lamb to allow the Conservative party to help institute a North American Union of Canada, Mexico and the United States.

To be fair, there are some bright spots. In particular, Gerard Kennedy’s supporters have posted some positive ads, highlighting their candidate’s strengths.

Frankly, these ads do not paint a flattering picture of the Liberal party.

Not only do they paint a start picture of a party divided against itself, they also reinforce the (arguably) popular public image of the Liberals as a party running headlong into a dead end – of a party so committed to living in the past that they cannot possibly lay claim to the bold vision for the future they often lay claim to. Between rampant anti-Americanism, and political xenophobia, these ads show a side of the Liberal party they would likely much rather remain private.

But nothing remains private when it is posted to online video, for the entire world to see.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What the Fuck!? Files Vol.1 -- Men Fail to Support Breast Cancer Research

Honestly, guys: Let’s not be douchebags

Life is a funny thing.

OK. Maybe that’s an under-exaggeration. Life is fucked up. We live in a world where virtually every day, something occurs, or we encounter something that can elicit one and only one response.

What the fuck!?

For those moments, we (okay, I – but hopefully, just for now ) at the Nexus of Assholery are proud to announce yet another new addition to the Nexus: the “What the Fuck !?” Files.

The inaugural entry – of what will certainly be many entries – into the “What the Fuck!?” Files was uncovered while attending a recent screening of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, a film that itself could constitute an entry into the “What the Fuck!?” Files.

While buying concessions prior to the film, I was offered the opportunity to purchase a $2 button (okay, they kicked in a $10 coupon for Coles Books and Chapters, so I actually profited $8 from the transaction).

The cashier remarked that not very men had bought the buttons.

Did I mention the $2 paid for the button benefits breast cancer research?
Oddly, many men aren’t supporting breast cancer research. Which, frankly, strikes me as odd.

Because there are so many reasons for men to support breast cancer research. Six billion reasons. Six billion excellent reasons.

Women, you see have breasts. Men tend to like women (okay, not all men, but that’s another story for another time), but these men also tend to like breasts. There are approximately three billion women on the planet, and so, approximately six billion breasts.

So, it then seems odd that men would not support breast cancer research, given that breast cancer research tends to support breasts.

You know, tits . Boobs . Jubblies. Fun bags. Happy pillows.

I think I’ve pretty much made my point. Guys, support breasts. Support breast cancer research.

For Christ’s sake, guys. Buy some fucking buttons.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kadhim to Harper: Let's Get it On, Bitch

Kadhim wants to go mano-a-mano with PM over Gun Registry

Once again, the gauntlet has been thrown in Canada’s gun control debate.
Figuratively and literally.

Hayder Kadhim, one of the victims wounded by Kimveer Gill’s rampage at Dawson College, has challenged the Prime Minster to a public debate on gun control.

“I want him to explain why he wants to dismantle a gun registry proven to have saved many lives and which now costs next to nothing to maintain,” Kadhim announced at a press conference in Montreal.

Of course, an expert on the gun registry like Kadhim may be able to explain to us how the gun registry prevented Kimveer Gill from opening fire in Dawson college with his Berretta Cx4 Storm, a legally-owned and registered – albeit registered – firearm.
Except, it didn’t. Whoops.

Kadhim may also want to defend his assertion that the Gun Registry is proven to have saved lives. It hasn’t. The Dawson College shooting is proof of that.

In fact, the Gun Registry relates to incidents such as the Dawson College Shooting in one of two ways: either, A.)The weapons used were registered, and the Gun Registry did nothing to prevent it; or B.)The weapons used were unregistered and the Gun Registry couldn’t have possibly done anything to prevent it.

Kadhim also may have wanted to check the facts regarding the cost of the Gun Registry before his press conference.

Originally budgeted at $2 million, the cost of the gun registry have exceeded $1 billion, good for a cost inflation of at least 5000%.


Gun Control advocates have accused the Registry’s opponents of sabotaging it. “There’s no question that the same people who said ‘take it apart because it costs too much’ did everything in their power to drive up the costs and make it impossible to implement,” Wendy Cukier said in 2003, while serving as the president of the Coalition for Gun Control.

To make matters worse, Kadhim seems to have forgotten all about the revelation of May 16, 2006, when it when it was discovered that a bureaucrat loyal to the Liberal party covered up $39 million in costs in 2002-03. . It was discovered that the money was later reported over the two subsequent years.

In other words, the costs were covered up. Then the cover up was covered up.
To top it all off, one might expect that a gun control expert like Kadhim would know that the gun registry doesn’t accomplish anything that can’t be accomplished by tracking gun licenses. In fact, tracking gun licenses would e even more effective in predicting the presence of a weapon in a given situation, because it allows for cases when a license has been issued, but no weapon has been registered, yet may still be present.

Furthermore, Kadhim has yet to explain how criminals will be persuaded to register their weapons, or how the gun registry acts to prevent crime with weapons that aren’t legally owned.

If Kadhim wants a debate opponent on the gun registry, he can find one – right here at the Nexus. If Kadhim wants to have a public debate on the gun registry, I will respond by making a challenge of my own: you set up the venue, you buy the plane ticket, and I will personally show up and give him a public debate on the gun registry.

But he had better be prepared to take a severe ass-whupping, because he is seriously barking up the wrong tree. His campaign to save the Gun Registry is both ill-concieved and ill-informed.

His advocacy in favor of a monolithic bureaucracy that is built upon nothing more than an illusion of action is proof enough of that.