Entertainment and Sports

My Mind, My Poems, and My Money

Kevin busts out some guerilla poetry in a rant against graft, corruption and waste.

By Kevin Somers
Published December 20, 2007

I struggle with Canada. It's a nice place, but we tolerate too much from lowlife in high places. The insidious, incestuous little ring of "elites" who run the government, media, and police are particularly annoying. Paul Martin personified my opinion of it all.

National Threats

When we discuss the racial ruckus
Between coloured people and those of us
Who are white in flesh and to the bone
I see some things I can't condone

When the papers of our age
Put the "criminals" on front page
They are, quite often, dark of skin
So our talk takes on a certain spin

With the headlines crying out:
"It's for sure, there isn't doubt
Foreigners we cannot trust
Are going to be the end of us"

One might think our greatest threat
- Larger than our country's debt -
Are evil men from poorer lands
Who show up here with dirty hands

But if you take a closer look
You'll see the very biggest crook
The greatest criminal and most sinister
Was our very own prime minister

His father was a big MP
So he was raised as bourgeoisie
Staff and limos, private schools...
And full use of daddy's tools

Silver spooned has been our boy
And then the country is his toy
He was certain of one thing
He was born to be the king

Taught, he was, to keep contempt
For those who pay the slum lord's rent
And tax collected is to be enjoyed
By just the special good old boys

A finance minister with a shipping line;
Two big interests intertwined
More than a just little sordid
Government deals he was awarded

But when you're born well connected
And your schemes are well protected
And the rules aren't too strict
You know your interests won't conflict

And being certain you won't do time
No matter how severe the crime
Makes one good at tax evasion;
Ask the leader of our nation

Although his life has been afforded
By the taxes he has hoarded
Giving back is beneath our leader
Not different from a bottom feeder

He moved the office of Shipping Line
To a country so divine
He's not burdened by Canadian tax
And employment standards there are lax

So Canadians on his boats were fired
And foreign sailors, instead, were hired
Constituents he could not afford
He tossed them promptly overboard

It seems a rather cruel thing
For a man who likes to think he's king
To loot and pilfer without shame
As though this were some silly game

Played by kids; spoiled and needy
Neglected by dads; ambitious and greedy
'The more I get, the better you will be"
Seems the only philosophy

Of political scions running the show
In our country and the one below
Just like our neighbour's commander in chief
Our top man was a common thief

Media barons might not be fooled
But their kids, too, are private schooled
Their interests lie in status quo
So without shame, they keep it so

Although portrayed in kindly light
Well intentioned and pretty bright
Don't be fooled about the foe
It's not a stranger, it's who you know

They are white and wearing suits
One just smiles, ones salutes
One is president, one was prime minister
One's as evil as the other is sinister

I get Time rather than MacLean's because I don't think it's right to subsidise a glossy, expensive magazine with a huge, highly paid staff, renting space in Canada's most expensive city (although the arrangement is typically Canadian).

Mighty MacLean's writes in each issue, "We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Publications Assistance Program and The Canada Magazine Fund toward our mailing and editorial costs."

I'm sure MacLean's Publisher Ian Whyte gets a hefty income and perks galore. He probably has a beautiful office, house, and cottage, and a lot of sycophants kissing his butt. If you flip through the first few pages, you'll see MacLean's has a veritable army of staff and offices in downtown Toronto. A lot of their magazine is ads. Why do they need my money?

I just made a magazine with Fred Eaglesmith and we didn't ask for grants or advertisers because we didn't want to be beholden to anyone. (The blurb on The Hobo Line is just below the photos of Fred getting an American Gold Record; 500 000 copies sold.)

How can MacLean's be objective when they're taking handouts?

The same applies to the CBC, only worse, because they're entirely financed by the government. Where was the expansive, expensive CBC when Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and their henchmen skulked, stole, and swindled their way through office.

Billions go missing and the preachy CBC is busy paving the road to Hell by investigating violence in minor hockey, Shane Doan, and corruption in Pakistan.

Dismantle the silly network right now and stop wasting my money. "CBC News" is an oxymoron:

Network News

To witness propaganda
Sponsored by the state
A network much too comical
To be The Fourth Estate

Forget Al Jazera
Fox or CNN
And start to pay attention
My Canadian friend

The strangest major network
One can hear or see
Is our very own
CBCBC

Between the RCMP, CSIS, Ethics Committees, and The CBC, MacLean's, ad nauseum, ad infinitum, tens of thousands of employees and billions of dollars are spent watching, policing and reporting on "the government." However, no one noticed lots and lots of high profile Canadians passing around envelopes stuffed with my money.

One sordid affair after another was made a sensation then forgotten. We're worse than a Banana Republic because we think so highly of ourselves despite unchecked corruption and theft. The scoundrels know the drill: endure a few days of bad press and get away with it. Right, Brian?

A Taxing BM

B.M. was for Brian Mulroney
Whose tax, he said,
Will bring big improvement

Many years hence
And now we all know
B.M. is for big Bowel Movement

Who allowed Adrienne Clarkson to live the highlife with my money? More than a few people should be in jail for that. She supposedly "represented" Canadians, but she sure didn't represent me.

I wouldn't take someone else's money and bring my friends on a multi-million dollar cruise. To my reckoning, Clarkson more closely represents Satan than a typical Canadian.

Simple Adrienne and John

I don't need much in my life
I don't want to cause trouble, problem, or strife

A roof overhead
And a blanket for bed
Shoes on my feet
And something to eat

A house without mice
And hair without lice
It's not clothing I lack
If there's a shirt on my back

I'm a simple woman
Just like you
With simple needs
I'll name a few:

A mansion, a pool,
And great big TV
A hot tub, a sauna
And everything free

I have to have cable
A limo and stable
An army of servants
And all of them able

A house in the city
And one by the lake
The keys to the nation
And to its safe

Millions of dollars
To spruce up my space
And take all my friends
All over the place

Bodyguards
Big and gruff
In case the unwashed
Say, Enough

I'll take your money
And not bat an eye
So will John:
My kind of guy

I'm just a simple
Public Servant
But we all know
That I deserve it

A friend of mine was depressed and in a writing slump recently because she had been turned down for a government grant. It made me mad, again, and I said to her, "%&*$ the grant idiots." Lisa McGlade, who has written for RTH, is a great writer, yet a platoon of civil servants have discouraged her and denied a fine artist a measly amount of charity.

The whole grant scheme is more organized crime; another waste of my money. I know how it works: I am the spawn of the civil service and grew up in Ottawa's impeccable suburbs. All my friends' parents "worked" for the government, too. No one I knew growing up was ever encouraged to learn a trade or skill.

However, bilingualism - so you could get a "good job with the government" - was crammed down our young throats. Our education was really indoctrination into the Cult of Useless and many people I once knew are dead or government pate. Some are both. Machiavelli would be proud.

I worked for the feds once, myself. After my first year of university, I got a summer job with The Government of Canada in downtown Ottawa; ostensibly, a dream come true. For four months, I was a bus-riding civil servant and it changed my life.

On my first day, the manager welcomed me to the office and said, "You may want to bring a book. We don't always have enough to do for ourselves," and I spent the rest of the summer reading, taking long walks down Sparks St, and marvelling at all the office towers pregnant with public employees doing nothing. It was a nightmare.

I took a pay cut to cut grass and paint fences for the next two summers. After graduation, I fled Ottawa and, although it's only a few hours from Steel City to Steal City, I never go back.

I implore all artists to stop asking Ottawa for grant money. For every three or four long, complicated, ridiculous applications submitted, Ottawa surely hires another bilingual civil servant (at $50 K plus benefits) to tell applicants they can't have $2,000 because they don't meet their standard. Stop applying and put the process out of business and the grant pate out of our misery.

Are you an artist or a civil servant? Which side are you on?

Government Grants

If you take their money
And my argument is fervent

You're not at all an artist
But another civil servant

Yeah, it's personal; it's my money.

Kevin Somers is a Hamilton writer.

8 Comments

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[ - ]

By statius (registered) | Posted December 30, 2007 at 23:25:22

Presumably Mr. Somers has been frustrated in prior attempts to obtain government support for his "work." If this is the sort of doggerel he has tried to pass off as poetry, I am not at all surprised, and indeed commend the selectivity of our arts council bureaucrats.

What can I say but that the publication of this opinion piece lowers the credibility of RTH as a whole. This uninformed, unsophisticated, and frankly puerile drivel does not belong on a site which hopes to effect meaningful, and presumably responsible, change on the city out there.

The debate about public funding for the arts, and for for-profit cultural institutions like Macleans, is such a tired one, having been rehashed so many times before ... but Mr. Somers apparently has no appreciation for this fact, nor of the complex reasons which justify state funding regimes ... nor apparently for the work of our downtrodden civil service. The article evinces a complete lack of research and care. It contributes absolutely nothing to the debate.

RTH needs to be more selective, just like the bureacrats Mr. Somers lambastes above. This site has earned a great deal of respect both amongst politicians and community members in the real world; it would be a shame to squander it for the sake of rubbish like this.

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By kevin (registered) | Posted January 08, 2008 at 00:17:22

"Praise makes me humble, but when I'm abused I know I have touched the stars." Oscar Wilde

hey statius:

We disagree on many fronts. You, obviously, think quality writing requires one to be pedantic, pretentious, and pompous.

I don't. I think it's childish. (I also think one writes as one thinks.)

You feel that corruption, ineptitude, and graft by public officials is acceptable. I don't. I find it reprehensible.

You think my work sucks. Right back at you, big shooter. Your writing sucks. Big time!

Since you ASSume a lot about me, I'll ASSume some things about you. I ASSume you are one of the fortunate few who profit from Canada's inequitable taxation and distribution system. Good for you (GFY).

Since, after reading my "work," you've still ASSumed I've applied for government grants, (you've just vilified me for vilifying the process,)I ASSume you to be irretrievability dim, despite the big words.

Another thing, windy, Canada is still a free country. I'm free to write, Ryan is free to publish, and you're free to read, or not. If you hate my "work" so much, why do you read it and obsess over it? You don't have to.

Since you have yet to figure this out yet, I Assume that you're not nearly as intelligent as you'd like to be, or dream of being.

I don't listen to the CBC, read MacLean's, or watch Dr. Phil. Since my "work" upsets you so much, don't read it, genius. What's wrong with you?

Finally, your calls for having me excluded from the RTH lineup (censorship), lead me to ASSume you are really just another conservative reptile prancing around as a limosine liberal ninny to fit in better at the trough.

See you in Hell.

Kevin

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By Rusty (registered) - website | Posted January 08, 2008 at 11:00:48

I thought it was a pretty good poem. So there you go. Art is subjective.

As Kevin so forcefully said, with Art you can take it or leave it. Agree to disagree. Just like the OpEds on this site.

Keep writing Kev.

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By statius (registered) | Posted January 08, 2008 at 21:22:15

"The wastebucket is the writer's best friend" - Isaac Bashevis Singer

Kevin,

I think you would do well to pay some heed to the above ...

You are a child. No writer worth his salt would respond to the comparatively mild and polite criticism which I offered with such bitter ire and rancour. The fact that my criticism did elicit such a violent response quite clearly indicates that you are fully conscious of your utter lack of talent and creativity. You are a hack. You are a fraud. You are one of those completely ungifted, sickeningly egoistical self-published poetasters whose crap people read only out of pity or perhaps a cruel desire to mock the ineptitude of the self-purported "author". You contribute nothing, either to this site or to writing in general. I do however quite enjoy the fact that my remarks obviously caused you some considerable irritation. I think that people like you, so full of bitterness and hate, should be prodded into irritation and discomfiture. I'll therefore respond to your frankly stupid reaction in hopes that it will induce you to embarrass yourself even further ...

Firstly, I am no supporter of "censorship" in the proper sense of the term (i.e. the suppression of voices as an instrument of social control). What I do support is the publication of viewpoints which meet a very basic threshold of prima facie merit. Your writing does not, in my view, meet this basic threshold test. I think it is empty-headed garbage which doesn't deserve to see the light of day. I think its presence on this site discredits RTH in the eyes of anyone who possesses even a modicum of critical intelligence. I have a right to express this opinion just as you have a right to keep churning out your illiterate trash and Ryan has a right to keep publishing it. I am not attacking this right. I am merely offering reasons why I think it should not be exercised.

You write: "We disagree on many fronts. You, obviously, think quality writing requires one to be pedantic, pretentious, and pompous." This is a greater leap of logic (or ASSumption to put it in your own crass terms) than anything in my post above. You may very well think that I am pompous, pedantic, or whatever else you said. I never suggested that I was a great writer. I never in fact held myself out to be any sort of writer at all. I don't want to give you a lesson in elementary critical writing (although it seems blatantly obvious to me that you need one), but the assumption I made in my earlier post above, and which formed the basis of my first criticism of your article, is a basic rhetorical device intended to undermine your position by implying that there is some personal-emotional (rather than rational-objective) basis for your argument. It is, in other words, a self-conscious assumption, and a tactic commonly employed by opinion letter writers, critics, and people in general who have a basic command and understanding of our language. Sorry it was lost on you.

Wilde must be turning in his grave knowing that his words are being put to misuse by your nasty, arrogant self.

Keep scraping the dregs, my friend!

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By kevin (registered) | Posted January 09, 2008 at 16:44:11

Cage match?

Otherwise, shut up.

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By kevin (registered) | Posted January 09, 2008 at 20:08:51

P.s. I ain't your friend, idiot.

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By statius (registered) | Posted January 09, 2008 at 20:31:09

"P.s. I ain't your friend, idiot."

I guess it took you a while to figure this out? Haha!

I suppose you also need a basic lesson in verbal irony (i.e. sarcasm)? Sorry but I don't feel up to helping you out on this one.

Some people just keep digging themselves further into the muck ...

You dolt!

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By kevin (registered) | Posted January 09, 2008 at 21:35:01

your stooped!

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