Viewing blog entries in category: Polemics - Page 4
Christopher Hitchens has lost his voice to esophageal cancer. His health is rapidly deteriorating. It doesn't look good. Though I have only come to know and love Hitchens in the last six years, I consider myself a true fan. Fan is probably not the best word. I suppose I can best describe how I feel about Hitchens with an analogy. Hitchens is to me, what Obama is to a black American; he is validation. As a life-long atheist I have always felt okay in my beliefs but quite alone--a bit of a anomaly. Then I stumbled upon a brilliant, witty, and charismatic man who shares my metaphysical perspective and is also unusually gifted with a passion and ability to to share his vision--our vision--so powerfully and eloquently with humor and truth and mass appeal. He brought atheism to the forefront. He made it reasonable, respectable, and ripe for discussion. He took it out of the closet and forced others to take notice to this undervalued and stigmatized position. Hitchens didn't tell me what to think. He showed me it was right and good to think what I already thought. This was validation. This was/is community. I will miss Hitchens, as will so many others. Best pal Martin Amis has written a piece for The Observer, a tribute of sorts to the quotable Hitch.
A few of my favorite Christopher Hitchens quotes are: (from the upcoming book The Quotable Hitchens edited by Windsor Mann) "Ronald Reagan is doing to the country what he can no longer do to his wife." On the Chaucerian summoner-pardoner Jerry Falwell: "If you gave Falwell an enema, he'd be buried in a matchbox." And, "One reason to be a decided antiracist is the plain fact that 'race' is a construct with no scientific validity. DNA can tell you who you are, but not what you are." As well as, "A melancholy lesson of advancing years is the realisation that you can't make old friends." But these last two speak volumes: "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" and "A Holocaust denier is a Holocaust affirmer." Pure genius!
Hitchens may leave the party too soon. But his legacy will live on.
Somewhere in all the chatter, I hear another declare, "If so and so gets elected, I'm moving to Canada." My knee-jerk reaction to this is, "Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out."
But then, I pause and regroup and respond more eloquently: "Why Canada? I mean seriously, Why Canada?" Is Canada the promised land; or is it simply the nation of choice due to its close geographical distance to the US? If Canada were located in Europe, would these jaded, expat wannabes still yearn to relocate there? If Australia were to sit where Canada sits, would it be the lucky destination? Or, what if France were the country to the north?
France, after all, has Paris. Paris... a city full of life, love, lust, beauty, modernity, culture, great food... And then, there is Montreal. Okay, Montreal has its charms. But it sort of looks dim--a low watt bulb--compared to the illuminated city of lights. But, if an English speaking city is more desirable, does London not trump Toronto? At the very least, it can rightly boast to having a richer, fuller history and much better accents.
Let it be known that I have nothing against Canada. Every experience I have had with this country and her people has been positive. But I wouldn't choose to live there if I were fleeing the US. First of all, Canada is not the antithesis of America. Yes there are differences. But Canada is also plagued by bad weather, overcrowding, pollution, high unemployment, crime, junk food, obesity, and crooked politicians. Fleeing one bad relationship with the US for another bad relationship with Canada is absurd. If abandoning the motherland, and close proximity is not key, why not go all out? How about Fiji, The Maldives, or Monaco?
Perhaps Canada is chosen because it is thought to be a feasible option. But is it? I mean, why do these folks assume that Canada will welcome them with open arms? Is it really that easy to immigrate to that country? Do they let any Tom, Dick, and Harry pitch a tent? Let's be honest here. Does Canada really want to adopt our socially, culturally, and cognitively impaired refugees? I don't think she does. Are the rampant anti-American sentiments amongst Canadians not proof enough?
Fortunately for Canada, but perhaps not so fortune for the US, these threats to relocate across the border rarely come to fruition. The wannabe expats get cold feet. And lacking the courage of their convictions reveal themselves to be full of hot air.
Image by Banksy
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