Rohinton Mistry's fairy-tale about Canadian neocons


Much-loved Canadian novelist Rohinton Mistry delivered the convocation speech to graduates at Ryerson University in Toronto, in the form of a fairy-tale based on A Christmas Carol, by way of a critique of the Canadian swing to a neoconservative right, where social spending exists only to promote "moochers" and society is a fight between bad guys (who need to be surveilled all the time in every medium) and good guys (who don't mind being surveilled in such a way), and where no amount of "security" is ever enough.

The Globe and Mail has a transcript and an (unembeddable) video, which is rather good.

The pair flew on. The professor spotted a Ferris wheel by the water’s edge. “Aha, an amusement park. This enlightened Acadan provides well.”

“I’m afraid things are not what they seem. Navigating the warp and weft of time, we’ve now arrived in a different version of Acadan. This place is the result of greed, vanity, sycophancy and ideology.”

“All because of a Ferris wheel?”

“That’s what it used to be, before it was converted into a Snipers’ Wheel. Part of the security apparatus of this world-class city. It not only revolves, it rotates, giving it a 360-degree view, horizon to horizon, clear sight-lines for marksmen. Comes in handy when world leaders hold summits to make the world a safer place. Every street can be targeted accurately, curfews enforced to perfection – pepper spray is so yesterday in this town.”

The professor felt a shiver run down his spine. “How did things come to such a pass?”

“It’s always a function of microscopic increments in citizen apathy. But you ain’t seen nothing yet. B-b-baby, you ain’t seen n-n-nothing yet.”

The comments on the Globe's website are like a parody of Canadian right wing anti-intellectualism: "We do not live a a poetic world anymore ... if we ever did ... we need straight talk and logic. Leave this pansy prose to the less-motivated, self-important mooches, the rest of us need to get on with purging those who chose the 'trough' and getting our a$$es out of debt;" "What a load of left wing garbage! No better than the babble of some Hollywood actor with outlandish pretensions!"

Gravy trains for the masses and Rohinton Mistry’s other visions for the Class of 2012 (via MeFi)

(A couple of caveats: The video linked above auto-plays and starts with a short ad, though it's quite good once you get past that. Also you'll likely get a bunch of errors from the Globe and Mail's website, which uses an improper TLS certificate)