Krista Ford on dressing like a whore .. and three other key current cases of lying in politics in the Great Lakes

Aug 30th, 2012 | By | Category: In Brief

As Machiavelli taught long ago, lying has always been part of the modern political arts and crafts. But even he stressed the limits to the phenomenon. (“Occasionally words must serve to veil the facts. But let this happen in such a way that no one becomes aware of it …”, etc, etc.)

As the unsettling summer of 2012 lurches towards Labour Day in the Great Lakes region of North America, we seem almost inundated by blatant cases of lying and hypocrisy in public life, that almost everyone paying just half-serious attention is (almost complacently?) aware of!

Some examples are alarming. Others are just amusing. And at the latter end of the spectrum, in the dark deceitful depths of Canada’s city with the heart of a loan shark we have recently been treated to some controversy over a (now apparently removed) tweet from the mayor’s niece, Ms Krista Ford, on how “women worried about sexual assault” ought to behave. Ms Ford’s recipe is: “Stay alert, walk tall, carry mace, take self-defence classes & don’t dress like a whore.”

Part of the problem with this advice is that “Mace is considered a prohibited and restricted weapon, according to the Toronto police sex crimes unit.”  The other part was stressed to me incessantly by my wife over an unusually extended four-course dinner last night!

I quote from the Toronto Star: “Krista Ford, who describes herself on her Twitter account as a personal trainer, promotional model and TV personality, is a former player for Toronto Triumph, part of the US-based Lingerie Football League. She quit the team last October.”

And, to quote my wife: “What is the difference between playing in the Lingerie Football League and dressing like a whore?” (Well, you could say that whores typically wear more clothes, at least when they are just soliciting business. Ms. Ford herself, I tried to tell my wife, could also say that she did quit the Lingerie League last October.  But that, my wife assured me, complete with subsequent email references, had nothing to do with being forced to dress like a whore.)

Paul Ryan’s Fairy Tale

Lingerie Football League tryouts for the New York team, May 2011. Krystal Grey, a quarterback, is the focus of camermen as she readies for a pass.

As a Canadian historian explained long ago, “Canadians always vote Democratic in American elections.” Krista Ford, from a contrarian family, may nonetheless have been inspired by the buildup to the current Republican convention in Tampa, Florida.  And this probably does offer a case in point at the more alarming end of the current lying and hypocrisy spectrum.

On this front, see such recent news reports as : “Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan” (by former Ronald Reagan budget director David Stockman, who is hardly a left-wing liberal or anything else) ; “On RNC Opening Night, Republicans Dare to Build a Lie” ; “‘We’re Not Going to Let Our Campaign Be Dictated by Fact-Checkers‘” ; and “Tennessee Senator Writes Column Blasting Bernanke — And Gets 3 Big Things Provably Wrong.”

The most alarming thing here may be that those who claim fellow Great Lakes denizen Paul Ryan is just another Sarah Palin are lying too (willfully or otherwise).

See, eg, this report from the Gallup organization yesterday: “Americans have mixed views of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who will be confirmed as the GOP’s vice presidential nominee [now this has already happened] … with 38% saying their opinion is favorable, and 36% saying it is unfavorable. About a quarter of Americans say they have never heard of Ryan or don’t know enough about him to have an opinion. “

Everyone is lying about Ontario teachers’ wage freeze bill

I find two additional cases of the current lying and hypocrisy epidemic closer to home especially annoying (well “epidemic” may itself be … what, a bit too hyperbolic, although maybe not all that much?) — partly because (I think) they seem especially confusing as well.

The first is the Ontario Liberal minority government’s teachers’ wage freeze bill, which the Progressive Conservative official opposition will apparently be supporting — while the New Democrats, public sector unions, and now even the Canadian Civil Liberties Association are adamantly against.

For a selection of articles from the Toronto Star which also seem to me a little too much against the McGuinty government’s bill, see: “Cohn: Dalton McGuinty has made enemies of friends” ; “Dalton McGuinty muses about ending banked sick days for police and firefighters as well as teachers” ; “Ontario worst province in terms of inequality, poverty and funding for public services” ; and “Walkom: McGuinty teacher gambit attacks the middle class.”

My own sense here is that virtually everyone, on all sides of the issue, is lying at the moment. The great unknown, as far as I can tell, is just who is lying the most? I am still somewhat uncertain about this myself.

The key practical point is of course whether the Liberals will win both of the two provincial by-elections this coming September 6. And I am going to wait and see what happens then, before even trying to make up my mind on anything else.

Just what I would do if I were voting in either of the elections I do not know. But I am not, so it doesn’t really matter, either way! I am still annoyed, however, that everyone seems to be lying, in one degree or another.

The big lie in Quebec seems likely to win on September 4?

The second case close to home is the Quebec provincial election this coming September 4.

My text here is Eric Grenier’s polling report from yesterday’s Globe and Mail: “Latest projection puts PQ on track for slim majority … The projection model …  suggests the PQ could still only win a minority. The role of the Official Opposition is up for grabs, as the CAQ does have the potential to finish ahead of the Liberals in the seat count. But unless the CAQ manages to make major gains over the last few days, the Parti Québécois is very likely to form the province’s next government.”

The PQ, of course, at least theoretically still believes in an independent or sovereign Quebec. And the potential very big lie in this case, it seems to me, is that Quebec can “separate” from the rest of Canada, and (try to) become its own country altogether, without destroying, first the rest of Canada and/or Canada generally, and then, soon enough, Quebec itself.

This truth finds opponents both inside Quebec, and in the rest of Canada. It is at least very clear to me, having now closely watched the great Quebec and Canada debate since the 1960s. Clearly, others have also watched, and have other opinions. But my personal question remains : is a lie any less of a lie because the people who are lying don’t know they are lying?

I was impressed in this connection by the British journalist Neal Ascherson’s sentence in a recent issue of the London Review of Books, about “the endless capacity of human beings to believe their own fictions and keep secrets from themselves.”

In any case, the good news about Quebec, no doubt, is that even if Ms Marois wins a majority of seats in the National Assembly, it will only be with considerably less than a majority of the popular vote. (Like Mr. Harper in Ottawa, who will become her new jousting partner —  and maybe, nudge, nudge, wink, wink —  both of them will finally finish each other off?)

L’envoi from Krista Ford .. meanwhile back at the Lingerie Football League

Just as all this draws to a long overdue close, I see from the local TV news channel in the main office that Ms Krista Ford has now apologized for her “don’t dress like a whore” tweet. And I salute her for this.

Just in case anything I have said above should seem to suggest otherwise, I very much agree that her remark was morally and in many other ways repugnant — as well as lying and hypocritical. . The ultimate point is that NO really does mean NO, even if you are a whore.

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