Saturday, October 10, 2009

Right spite 'n' envy, Ch. 347

Nobody does spite like the Right.

Attacking America in the tried and true spirit of Hamas and the Taliban is all that US conservatives seem to have left in their withered repertoire (some trenchant commentary about their generic ugliness here). And there are always new targets for conservatives to spray with acid. Here in Canada, admittedly dwarfed by the American wingnut cheers when they lost the Olympics and their derisive snorts when their President won a Nobel prize, we have the predictable conservative reaction to Dionne Brand becoming the poet laureate of Toronto.

When far-right ideologues hear the word "culture," they release the safety-catches of their Brownings, and this award is no exception. Leading the spite-wing assault are none other than Mr. Kathy Shaidle, whose spouse was once nominated, many, many years ago, for a G-G award for poetry when she still had a bit of promise, and the pathetic National Post columnist Marnie Soupcoff, who once got a degree in something incomprehensibly called "Writing Seminars." What a despicable and crass display of envy, if in one case by proxy.

And worse.

Damn, these people can't stand it when a Black person achieves something, whether it's the Presidency of a superpower, a Nobel prize, well-regarded books, a lifetime of distinguished academic production, or even a stint as the poet laureate of the largest city in Canada. Nope: the Presidency was a fluke, the Nobel prize was undeserved, the books were ghost-written, the academic works and the poetry are worthless.

The snark, the derision, the sneering contempt, the pure hatred, reminds me of the ironic riddle we used to tell
during the civil rights era in the 'sixties: "What do they call a Black person with three PhDs and a Nobel Prize? Answer: a n----r."

That old chestnut still resonates, but it's not a joke anymore--if it ever was.

[H/t Balbulican]

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