Stellar Reputation 

The position of governor general in Canada is largely a ceremonial one. The previous administration created a committee of experts that chooses somebody for the job who can project a positive image of Canada. The candidates don’t need any qualifications beyond a stellar reputation and an inspiring life. 

Canada’s current Prime Minister Trudeau made his pick of Governor general without consulting the committee. And then it turned out that his candidate once hit and killed a pedestrian and has a history of domestic abuse charges. In spite of these revelations about somebody whose only job is literally to be an upright citizen with a great reputation, Trudeau is standing by his pick and refusing to discuss how this choice was made and why the committee was not consulted. 

This sounds a bit hard to believe. A progressive leader of Canada stands up for a domestic abuser? Really? Well, there’s a little detail that I didn’t mention. The domestic abuser in question is a woman. And obviously it’s not real abuse when a woman commits it, so it’s all good. 

The details of the story are here

The Socialist Cure for Americans

I love the US. Great country, fantastic people, fun politics, beautiful nature, amazing education, and delightful shopping opportunities. If only it could get rid of intersectionality, anti-abortionists, anti-gay freaks, apocalyptic tendencies, safe spaces, self-pity as a national pastime and put a bit more enthusiasm and joy of living in their place, it would be downright perfect. 
And I know exactly what is needed to make that happen: a bit of Soviet experience. I don’t mean anything truly horrible like Stalinism, genocide, wars, or famine. What I wish Americans could experience is the gentlest form of stagnant socialism of, say, 1978 to 1983. Just 5 short years of being sent to sort rotting cabbage, getting up at 6 to queue for milk in the 10°F cold for 2 hours and have it run out in front of you, being #5987 in a line for a refrigerator, making do without contraception or hygienic products, having to do free physical labor on Saturdays, suffering persecution for growing your hair out or listening to rock music, having no access to anything you’d actually want to read, etc. In small doses, this is energizing like hell.

One year of this, and the use of anti-depressants will be halved. Five years, and people will go back to their super-harsh lives in the unforgiving capitalist hell bursting with enthusiasm and ready to move mountains. They’ll become resilient, resourceful and deeply non-apocayptic. Drug companies will collapse. Safe spaces will disappear. Trigger warnings will evoke nothing but horror. Of course, you shouldn’t overdo it. Subject people to 70 years of it, and you’ll get a bunch of mental invalids. Moderation is key, in this as in everything. 

You’re welcome. 

Ukrainian Anti-Russian Nazis

On the subject of Ukraine, my father, a Russian-speaking Jew who has lived in Canada for the past 19 years, is constantly getting awards for literary achievement from the Ukrainian government. The awards are well-deserved on literary merit, and it looks like the the agencies that award them don’t take anything else into consideration. My father is a poor Jew so it’s not like he’s contributed any money to Ukraine or anything like that. He now looks like a total Brezhnev with a chest full of Ukrainian medals. 

He was honored at the Ukrainian Embassy just a couple of weeks ago and today he’s gotten news that he, together with the Ambassador Shevchenko, has been awarded the Mazepa medal for patriotism. 

And in case you begin to suspect this is done for publicity, these awards aren’t in any way publicized save for small notices on the embassy’s webpage. 

Once again, he’s a Russian-language writer who doesn’t write about politics at all. He writes nostalgic postmodern fiction about the USSR and the glory of the Soviet generation that won WWII. And in Russia his books are burned.

Politics of Ukraine

People ask why I never write about the internal politics of Ukraine. The reason is that I know readers will apply whatever they know about their own Western countries to the situation in Ukraine, forgetting that it’s a very different place and you can’t always translate what’s happening there to Western terms. 

Example. In the US, a president or a governor who comes to politics straight out of business is a disaster. But in Ukraine, a president who created his own chocolate factories and a chain of stores and cafes is a great thing. For historical reasons, people who have the organizational skills and the wherewithal to make an actual product are extremely scarce. And the actual politics is in a rudimentary state. In the US, there are multitudes of entrepreneurial people who can make things happen, and the political process is complex, so you need somebody who understands this complexity. But in Ukraine the situation is very different. 

Or take the reduction in social services that Ukraine urgently needs. It’s not the same kind of welfare that exists in the West, it helps nobody, it does nothing but cripple the people. 

Or take the IMF. It’s been very helpful to Ukraine but try explaining that to folks who read the highly cute yet very silly Shock Therapy and didn’t get that it’s a work of fiction and nothing else. 

A Store of One’s Own

People are discussing which books they wouldn’t stock if they owned a bookstore. I’d never stock romance novels because they are irredeemable and the people who write them are nuts. Also, I wouldn’t stock the typical YA drivel because I don’t despise young people. Yes, these genres are profitable but so is selling drugs and weapons. 

Instead, I’d sell many planners and agendas and suggest that people who can’t afford them go here for a free alternative.