Dumb and Dumber


LAST WORD: Dumb and Dumber

Lexpert, July 2005

by Marzena Czarnecka

I’m feeling like a bloody genius these days. Now, wait, wait–granted, humility and low self-esteem aren’t among my character failings, but I do, generally, have a realistic view of my own gray matter. Definitely high quality, no question about that, but I’d never class myself with Einstein–or your average intellectual property lawyer (you know, the gal with a PhD in micromollecularbiochemistry who’s not challenged enough and decides to do an LLB in her spare time for a lark). A quarter of an hour’s conversation with, say, Faskens’ Jon Levin, makes me feel as though I have the brains of a gnat. And, after all, until very recently, I had no idea what Lepanto was.

But these days, given what Canada’s high and mighty have been doing, I feel absolutely brilliant by comparison. Granted, I wasn’t sharp enough to build a major business empire like Hollinger Inc. and even if I had, I probably wouldn’t be sharp enough to, uh, make it as personally profitable an enterprise as Lord Black is alleged to have done. But I like to think that if I were involved in a dozen or so law suits, and I suddenly realized that there were boxes and boxes of files that I absolutely had to take out of the building that I wouldn’t do it right in front of a goddamn security camera! Hire a guy in a UPS uniform for god’s sake. Shred them and disperse them through the building’s recycling bins. Burn them in a wastepaper basket. Or, here’s an idea–don’t park in front of a security camera! Sometimes, you’ve got to be sneaky, I get that. But you don’t have to be so bloody stupid!

Which brings me to the political arena, where stupidity and cupidity have been nourished for so long, we barely notice it anymore. After all, what but a complete lack of critical thought–scratch critical, lack of thought of any kind–is behind the shenanigans on Parliament Hill? In the Stronach Affair, I’m still undecided who deserves the “stupidest thing said by a politician to date” reward. Paul Martin’s a good starter, for having the gall to claim that Belinda Stronach’s crossing the floor had nothing to do with “Thursday’s vote.” Stephen Harper continues to exercise his talent for shooting himself in the foot for the “Complexity was never Belinda’s strong point” comment (Stephen, Stephen, Stephen. If you go on like this, all the scandals notwithstanding, you’re going to give the Liberals a majority government come election time. Just shut up!). Stronach herself, of course, said so many inane things in her prepared, scripted speech that she looks to be a clear winner on sheer volume, although she gets extra “dimwit” points for her terrific concern that the Conservative-Bloc alliance to bring down the Liberal government threatens national unity–apparently a pet political issue of hers, handily provided by PR hacks who should all be fired NOW. (Note to those PR hacks who don’t get fired: teach Belinda to not start every second sentence with “Look.” Please.)

The “betrayed” Conservatives are strong contenders too, for all those “whoring” and “prostituting” comments. This, in 2005 and at a time when the party desperately needs to prove to the Canadian electorate–especially the folks in Ontario and Quebec, in Alberta, maybe not so much– that they are not a bunch of reactionary, ultra-right wing, misogynist whackos (Stephen, are you listening)? To steal a phrase from a fellow CBC listener, nobody called Peter MacKay a whore when he screwed David Orchard.

Upon reflection, however, Peter MacKay gets top marks for both stupidity and cupidity, with extra points for parading–or do I mean prostituting?–his “pain” in public for the good of Steve’s party. Smart career move, Pete, real smart. You really think the old Reform boys are going to give Belinda’s ex-boyfriend-who-was-too-dim-to-realize-what-she-was-planning-and-can’t-be-trusted-anyway a position other than Harper’s whipping boy?
I bypass the entire Senate-and-cabinet-posts-not-actually-offered-but-wink-wink-nudge-nudge “scandal” in which everyone involved has shown such a complete lack of judgement that no further comment is needed. Save perhaps this: why is this news? Isn’t this how politics have always worked? Remember Jean Charest, Brian Tobin, Scott Bryson… It’s enough to make one think Jack Layton wouldn’t be such a bad Prime Minister. If only he’d shave the moustache.

Or perhaps we should encourage Lord Black to re-embrace his citizenship and enter politics. If his troubles continue, he may need a day job. And, while in the past, I may have thought him way too smart to waste himself in the House, his “caught on tape!” performance suggests he may fit in beautifully. He’d join the Liberal Party, of course, because the “moral high ground” Conservatives wouldn’t want him, right? They’ve learnt their lesson about bloody calculating millionaires, anyway. And then he, Martin, and Stronach would combine their immense… um, intellects isn’t precisely the word I’m looking for, and do something… even dumber.

The only beacon of light in this recent sea of stupidity, actually, is the fact that Stronach crossed the floor for a high-ranking cabinet post. If she had done it for nothing–or, as the purer-than-virgin-snow Conservative colleagues suggest, gone to sit as an independent–she would have outdone Winnie-the-Pooh himself in the bear of little brain category. As is, she’s showing herself to be at least brighter than Lord Conrad Black.

Which, granted, doesn’t mean what it once meant. But it might make Stronach feel good, no? Me, I feel so great, I’m going to pick up the phone and call Jon Levin. Just for fun.

Marzena Czarnecka is a bloody brilliant freelance writer.

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