People and Places

ELECTION CHATTER (DAY 27): Comparing the election campaign to quality television (in this case, an episode of Jerry Springer

Day 27: In which Ottawa Magazine contributing editor Mark Bourrie compares the election campaign to quality television (in this case, an episode of Jerry Springer)

Well, it’s Easter. The buds are on the trees, the tulips are bursting forth, the potholes beckon.

It is the time of celebrating the raising of a dead man. To those who believe, enjoy the weekend, and thanks for sharing it with hockey fans, golfers, and trilobite collectors.

This election has generated much talk of the Living Dead, especially from me. Time for a break.

Meanwhile, in the real world, life goes on. Today on Springer, we have the story of some poor fella in Louisiana, minding his own business, just cooking some alligator in his shack, when a neighbour woman came over to say that the guy’s girlfriend was stepping out.

Alligator boy promptly put his crockpot on simmer and proceeded to breed with the messenger. But it turned out that Gator Guy was conned, leading to tears, brawling, and remorse.

Life imitates quality television. Many of us feel screwed under false pretences. There we are, just cookin’ up some cold-blooded wildlife when the phone rings and a computer imitating a politician tells us to vote.

We usually end up feeling like we should have just stayed with the gator meat until it was ready. I have eaten alligator and, while it’s more tender than snake, not as stringy as beaver, and not as dry as moose, I doubt it will ever catch on in Quebec. But then, I would have bet against French fries, canned gravy, and cheese curds, so there ya go.

Some claim Jack Layton has caught on in Quebec. How ’bout them Hell Icehounds? They’ll win the Cup if they can get past the Canadiens in the semi-finals. Olivia Chow shouldn’t hire a decorator for Stornoway yet.

Stephen Harper is busting his ass to win his majority and keep the abortion zombie buried in the backyard. It will take weeks of facial massage to get rid of his kitty-face election smile, but at least he won’t have to hire a moving truck next month.

Elizabeth May has not been heard from since the debates. Perhaps she has been eaten by a killer whale somewhere off Hornby Island. Those of you who scoffed when I said May peaked in 2008 should start listening now.

As for Gilles Duceppe. Yea, sure, the separatists are dead. Where have I heard that one before?

Michael Ignatieff will probably spend the weekend polishing the coffin and wondering why he ever let those little Liberal hustlers in $200 Moores suits talk him into giving up one of the best jobs in academia for this mess. It’s going to be pretty tough going to faculty parties at Harvard or U of T and explaining away how he got whacked by a handful of geeks from Calgary.

But all those bills can be tallied up later. This is a weekend for eating waxy chocolate and staring forlornly at the sky, hoping to see a sliver of blue.

Like me, most people will try to forget the election for the next four days. I don’t pretend to have much of a grip on the realities of normal life: this daily blog and my other election writing keeps my attention focused on this dreadful race and away from most real human contact.

So I have no idea whether people are caught up in this thing or not. It’s also hard to know what messages are getting through. Like Harry Truman, I believe there is a public wisdom that eventually gets it right. Sometimes it happens right away, sometimes it takes time.

Now, on Springer, we’ve got a guy who got drunk and ended up in the sack with his ex. He’s reading bad poetry to his angry girlfriend, talking of his love and regret. (I can assure him this does not work.)

And here’s a guy who is in love with another guy, and it was all working out until Guy No. 1 decided to use massive doses of estrogen to start a sex change. Guy No.2 doesn’t like women, even transsexuals, so it’s break-up time and more regret.

So now we have one guy who was duped, another who can blame his mistakes on booze, another who messed with drugs and saw his love life go south. In this election, we’ll be lucky if we can get away with such wonderful excuses when regret time rolls around..