Daily Archives: March 26, 2011

Quotes of the Day: Stephen Harper

Actual photo

For non-Canadians, here are some observations from Stephen Harper after the defeat of the government on Friday for “contempt of parliament” (video after the jump):

*Canadians don’t care about the wording of bills in Parliament.

*The Canadian public care about their economic well being and their standing as a country in the world.

*Coalition governments are illegitimate and unprincipled.

All of these assertions are, of course, wrong.  The first is consistent with the finding of contempt of parliament, which also apparently extends to the people it represents; the second is a half-truth at best, and what it leaves out amounts to a lie of omission; and the third is absurd on its face — our mother-parliament in the U.K. is currently home to a coalition government. Besides, Harper’s minority government is about as corrupt as a government with so short a lifespan can be. A government actually representing a majority of the people would make a nice change.

Jonathan Allan reminded me today of this quote from Frye, which we’ve posted before and is much closer to the truth.  We’re not angels, but we’re just principled enough to make a difference:

Then again, Canada has had, for the last fifty years, a Socialist (or more accurately Social Democrat) party which is normally supported by twenty-five to thirty per cent of the electorate, and has been widely respected, through most of its history, for its devotion to principle. Nothing of proportional size or influence has emerged in the United States. When the CCF, the first form of this party, was founded in the 1930s, its most obvious feature went largely unnoticed. That feature was that it was following a British rather than American tendency, trying to assimilate the Canadian political structure to the British Conservative-Labour pattern. The present New Democratic Party, however, never seems to get beyond a certain percentage of support, not enough to come to federal power. Principles make voters nervous, and yet any departure from them towards expediency makes them suspicious. (CW 12, 643-44)

(Thanks to Lyla for the tip.)

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Saturday Night at the Movies: “A Streetcar Named Desire”


It’s Tennessee Williams‘s 100th birthday.

Here’s his best-known play, A Streetcar Named Desire — but not the 1951 film version everybody’s seen, with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. This is the 1995 television adaption of the very well-received 1992 Broadway revival, with Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lang.

A previous post with a citation by Frye of Williams here.

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The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon was first published on this date in 1830.

We posted on Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s new musical, The Book of Mormon, yesterday.  You can watch their South Park episode, “All About Mormons,” here.

Complementing the satire of Parker and Stone, here’s a pertinent observation on parody, with the Book of Mormon cited, in Notebook 44:

All irony, whether of content or of form, is relative to a norm, and is unintelligible without the norm. It seems essential to keep on saying this is an age of “deconstruction,” where the illusion grows up that the norms are no longer there. Tristram Shandy was “odd” to Johnson and “typical” to some Russian formalist [Victor Shklovsky], but it’s not typical of anything but a fashion. (When parody becomes very fashionable, the illusion grows up that the norms have disappeared.)

I suppose the Mormon Bible is a parody of the lost histories of the great civilizations that came pouring over the Bering Straits into the New World. (CW 5, 205-6)