Like a pre-pubescent child in search of big league chew, Andrew Scheer really wants to win the next Canadian federal election. He can smell the fear permeating across the country and knows that our liberal democracy is dying a slow and gradual death. He’s got populism on his side, along with a healthy dose of xenophobia and just the right amount of scandalous controversy that’s engulfed our prime minister into a desperate struggle to exonerate his past sins with a patronizing cross-country social justice tour. But for the love of god why can’t these “progressive” conservatives come up with an advertising campaign that speaks to major issues today and doesn’t feel like it was generated in some deepfake laboratory or in a 1950’s nuclear bomb shelter? I’ve seen some banal bullshit thrown at me over the years but this takes the vanilla cake. Aside from the obvious irony of contrasting Trudeau with Trump to highlight a tasteless marketing campaign that’s lifted right out of the modern day republican playbook, his decision to use the phrase “he’s not as advertised” is eerily reminiscent of how Stephen Harper went on the political offensive thinking that was the key to defeating the boy wonder – and we all know how that turned out. Most Canadians remain clueless on how this socially ideological opportunist will help tackle the biggest and most pressing challenges that exist in our daily lives; but what’s especially alarming is how many in his party still insist on repudiating man-made climate change while reverting to cro-magnon crusades in limiting women’s reproductive rights and avoiding anything remotely resembling basic human compassion. My advice to you? Think twice before throwing your baby out with the bathwater come October.
Three weeks ago it seemed that Vlad Guerrero Jr. was destined to save our world from a medieval recurrence of measles. Now, he’s hitting .146 and displaying signs of perennial constipation and kidney stones; all inevitable symptoms associated with over-hyped misery and the ruthless sensationalism of unreasonably high expectations. Simply put, this is what happens when a media company tries to convert a 20-year old, non-english speaking prodigy into the baseball equivalent of my second favourite Jim Carrey film (right behind The Cable Guy). We all witnessed the gradual evolution of this wunderkind under the genteel auspices of his doting father and supportive network of family and friends, armed with a celestial Ed Harris-like gaze similar to the mighty Rogers monolith which now controls the destiny of this once proud Blue Jays franchise – thus mirroring the same inscrutable surrealism which existed in The Truman Show. We were bestowed teasing and giddy glimpses at this adorable tyke as he grew from lanky teenager to swarthy adult who always demonstrated guaranteed signs of impending greatness at every conceivable level of the sport. And so the corporation did what all ravenously hungry corporations inevitably do – they bet on him just like every baseball gatekeeper/power broker across North America insisted they should (giving him an outrageously precedent-setting 80 hit rating and anointing him the king of the minor leagues), manipulated his economic future to serve their own selfish fiscal agenda, and never bothered to invest the time in understanding the actual nuances of what it really takes to prepare a “generational prospect” for prime time. I mean, he’s just a kid – one that will likely never get the chance to develop with this current regime whilst under the unforgiving social media scrutiny that’s originating from his own franchise.
We started 2019 with a healthy dose of optimism thanks to MLSE and their swashbuckling executive management duo of Masai Ijiri and Kyle Dubas leading the way. Unfortunately, the latter bottomed out by not paying attention to his top priorities (defense, toughness, backup goaltending) and quickly became fodder for fan angst and (suddenly) fashionable Mike Babcock questioning – a tradition to be expected in a city that once booed Hall-of-Famer Larry Murphy and made the great Roger Neilson feel compelled to wear a paper bag over his head. But if the Raptors can somehow pull off the series win against the Sixers on Sunday and propel themselves into the final four of the NBA championship, I can already envision an Avengers style multiverse where Toronto becomes one of the crown jewels of basketball in the NBA. Not only will their success impress the almighty Valhallan god that is Kawhi Leonard and likely compel him to stay, but an entire generation will be privy to one of the most mercurial talents ever experienced around these parts. Clemens and Halladay? Once every five day legends. Gilmour and Clark? Folk heroes but not the league’s best. Alomar and Flutie? Legendary champions, but gone too soon. Game seven won’t just be about the glory of winning – it could literally usher in a new and unprecedented era of fan gratification and rewarded loyalty where so little existed before.
It’s hard to measure my repugnance in discovering the extent to which brand named drug companies collude to not only make us addicted to their products, but then stifle any foreseeable competition from generic manufacturers who themselves are busy inflating their own prices. Seriously, this is like watching humanity chewing its own arm off. We have so willfully and unabashedly embraced this unregulated drug culture to such a degree that we’ve lost our collective minds and likely doomed an entire generation. The latest diabolical overture and picture of hubris comes from Teva Pharmaceuticals, an Israeli multinational company that’s in the news for price-fixing and profiteering to such an extent that 40 different US States are now suing them for raising the cost of medicine by 1000%. Yes, that’s right, between 2013 to 2015, these scum-sucking ingrates artificially inflated the prices of 112 generic drugs across the country and colluded on at least 86 others in perpetrating what amounts to a multi-billion dollar conspiracy of fraud and market manipulation. When the world’s largest generic drug company is fined a paltry $22 million dollars by their own government (in what amounts to nothing more than a slap on the wrist) for bribing foreign officials in Russia, Ukraine and Mexico – and then you discover no one was held criminally responsible for such astonishing levels of brazen duplicity and subterfuge – all this does is further validate a very simple and elegant message to all the troglodytes in our world today: in the absence of real moral leadership and legislated corporate accountability, you can do whatever the hell you want and likely get away with it.