Jon Stewart on Canadian Politics

Jon Stewart sees beautiful PLOT  up here in Canada –Yes, kids, Canadian Politics can be unpredictable! fun! full of intrigue!!  I’m learning more about Canada in this political showdown than ever before.  And if you watch Stewart, you’ll learn a bit about what his audience knows about Canada.  Apparently they don’t understand the whole GG Connection thing either!

Educate me: What is Harper doing shutting down Parliament??

Let me get this straight: Harper can suspend parliament when he’s afraid of a no-confidence vote? What’s the point of having the power to oust the PM if the PM can stop the vote? And what kind of a third world country did we suddenly turn into? How can this be okay? How can a GG, representing another country–in a way–sanction this obvious grab to retain power.

Okay, I’m an American and I’m lost. I realize that. I’m also a permanent Resident of Canada, legally landed in a new country that feels like a third world country when I read headlines like this: Harper Suspends Parliament. Imagine if you read that Thailand suspended its parliament, or Russia, or if Hugo Chavez had suspended the Parliament of Venezuela (they may not have one anyway….)

Wouldn’t we think that was completely un-democratic? That a power-mad mogul had locked himself into power? Wouldn’t we think of that man as a dictator? Chaos? Cats and dogs sleeping together?

Help me out: how is Harper okay doing it when Chavez would be considered a dictator if he did it?

Wall-E makes the New York Times Opinions Page

I love it when Science Fiction is taken seriously. I just saw Wall-E, the Pixar film, and it is truly wonderful. Frank Rich wrote a great column about how much more this film is saying than either candidate running for President. Check out his column–and check out the film.

Wall-E for President

Wall-E, like most Pixar films, is written well–playing on two tracks simultaneously: one for kids, one for adults. Wall-E and Eve could be a silent film–but it’s also the same comedy that fuels other Pixar short films, where there is usually no dialogue, and also has E.T. and the droids of Star Wars to thank for their non-verbal comedy.

The film does have great characters–again, I am shocked by how well minor characters are portrayed. Full arcs for the Captain of this floating Cruise Ship; for the two cruise passengers; for the cleaning robot; for AutoPilot. The heroes are well drawn too–ultimately sacrificing what they wanted for each other. When I got to that moment–call me a writing geek–but I smiled because it was just thing to complete these main character arcs–that sacrifice, especially in a love story. It had an O. Henry moment for a minute.

But in this age where all we can do is stare down a variety of Tunnels to Apocalypse, science fiction is telling the tales we are listening to. We’re either looking at a life changed by climate change, mass consumerism, lack of exercise…etc. Wall-E serves as a cautionary tale slipped in through the side door of a romantic comedy. When you get to the line “We have to get off our butts and do something” you know that the film has nudged you just a little. But it’s okay because the story is so compelling. It’s not a story written to tell a message; it’s a story that happens to have a message.

That’s a profound difference.