Thursday, July 07, 2005

Longing For A Bastard

I just finished Will Ferguson's "Bastards and Boneheads" and, I must say, it's certainly a fun way to read up on Canadian history. The catch behind the book is that Canadian leaders can be classified into two categories: white people from Quebec or white people from Ontario. Just kidding. No, obviously enough, the two categories are "bastard" and "bonehead". Ferguson describes the groupings as such:

"Bastards succeed. They are ruthless. They are active. Their cause may be noble or it may be amoral, but the Bastard is always the active principle. Boneheads fail, often by stumbling over their own feet. They are reactive. Inept. Indignant. They are usually truly amazed by their failures."

The book was written in 1999 so it doesn't touch on the current players in Ottawa, instead looking at past PMs (so, in case you haven't deduced it, Trudeau was a bastard and Clark was a bonehead). But after reading that descriptive blurb, it's hard not to think that Ferguson had Monsieurs Harper and Martin in mind while describing boneheaded PMs. Reactive? Indignant? Amazed by their failures? Check, check, check.

It's a pity too since both had such great bastard potential. Paul Martin was ruthless as a Finance Minister and ruthless in his coup d'etat. Harper took no prisoners in his Progressive Conservative takeover. Yet, in the past year, it's been a case of trying to screw up less than the other guy. It reminds me of when Anaheim played Minnesota in the Western Conference finals a few years ago.

Bastards succeed. Jean Chretien and Ralph Klein are clearly bastards. George Bush is a bastard. John Kerry was a bonehead. What Canada needs right now is a bastard.


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