Monday, December 17, 2018

a news service

Dictionary entries are filed alphabetically: choose a letter to view entries.
The dictionary contains 611 entries.


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Bailey, Donovan

Speeder, Oakville homeboy, beauty. He was a short-lived but much welcomed relief from Ben and the other Johnsons. What is it about running really fast that turns people into assholes, anyway?

Baird, John

Treasury Board Chairman in Stephen Harper’s government. Baird is in charge of hood-winking the Canadian public into believing that the conservatives intend to make both parliament and the civil service accountable. Like Jim Flaherty and Tony Clement, he’s a former Visigoth from the late 1990s Mike Harris program to humiliate everyone who didn’t wear expensive business suits.

Ballerinas

While youthful, ballerinas tend to be anorexic women with long, elegant necks and bleeding feet. After age thirty-five, they transform into aging neurotics, fading beauties, fronts for Arts lobbies or walking cocktail circuit prizes (these categories are not exclusive of one another). See Karen Kain, Kimberley Glasco, Veronica Tennant

Bananas

Code word for increasing tendency of Canadian economic, political and cultural goals to emulate those in Banana-growing areas of Central and South America: the dispersal of taxation monies to multinationals willing to pretend they’ll employ indigenous workers, the suppression of government taxation and regulatory powers, and the extermination of any and all government services, Crown corporations, public monopolies. During the 1990s, our political system was largely reshaped to achieve these ends, but Canadians remain oblivious to the consequent influx of tarantulas and rotting banana skins and to the poverty that comes with economic systems based on banana cultivation and export.

Bank Mergers

Deregulation and enhanced competition got us One Big Airline, and it’s controlled by Americans. Is there anyone left out there who has illusions about what all these similarly rationalized bank merger proposals are going to get us other than a lot of empty branch offices in small towns and less-than-heavy-traffic urban areas, hordes of unemployed clerical workers and a radical sharpening of the existing “let-em-eat-cake” approach to financing small businesses? And does anyone have an estimate of what the cost in elevated rates for non-corporate customers will be when governments refuse to let them have what they want?

Bank Of Canada

Canadian branch plant of the IMF, World Bank, and U.S. Trade and Commerce department. Once a politically non-partisan agency charged with the mandate of balancing the need for employment and industrial growth with the banking and bond market sector desires for inflationary stability, it is now solely concerned with protecting (mostly offshore) investors against inflation and carrying out monetary policies of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board while making life miserable for everyone else.

Barack Obama

Among the many other things Obama is, and he is a complex human being capable of unprecedented nuance, he is the signal that racism is done. Too bad no one is listening. The only thing anyone has found wrong with Obama is that he’s a poor bowler, and believes that the Special Olympics are for citizens with cognitive and physical disabilities.

Barenaked Ladies

When these three words come to mean a group of self-consciously cute, pudgy male musicians from Toronto dressed up with sideburns and short pants who appear to be bosom friends of Rita McNeil, you know the country is in trouble. Recently discovered by the U.S. music industry, for 15 minutes or so, then joined to NDP.

Baton Broadcasting

Long ago taken over by ex-CBC majordomo Ivan Fecan and owned by BCE but formerly owned by rich, autocratic folks with names like Eaton and Bassett. Baton was the original attempt to make a convincing argument that private sector television can replace the CBC by hiring any CBC alumni willing to snort a few lines of cocaine with the private sector. The model has been scrapped in favour of defunding the CBC and/or bullying it into acting like Fox Broadcasting.

Bce

BCE: AKA Bell Canada Enterprises, the other mega-media corporation devouring Canadian cultural autonomy and resources. BCE owned CTV, The Globe & Mail, Sympatico, Bell Express-Vu, some overhead satellites and most of our telephones, but they called themselves “Canada’s Leading Internet Company”.until they figured out only inventors make money on the Internet. That tells us where they think the future lies, or that their executives have been sucking on some badly fouled Mercedes-Benz tailpipes.

Bcni

Business Council on National Issues. Right wing lobby from hell, and a de facto shadow government with a deep suntan. Former Mexican President Carlos Salinas would feel comfortable at one of their strategy sessions. See NAPO

Beer Culture As Date Rape

For Molson’s huge fly-in-the-beerheads concert in Tuktoyuktuk in 1996, the band Metallica reportedly got a million dollars, Hole a half a million, while the local community got $35,000 in tarnished loonies and about 35,000 tons of garbage to bury in the permafrost. Anyone who can find a single redeeming element to this genial piece of cultural genocide please contact the United Nations.

Beker, Jeanne

Host of Znaimer-produced Fashion Television. There are 150 million people across the world who recognize Beker–and don’t recognize that she’s Canadian. Canadians who’ve seen her merely try to figure out if it’s the Joker or Penguin from Batman she resembles. And who started that nasty rumour about her and Sting, anyway?

Benmergui, Ralph

A few years ago, this man, together with terminally earnest Tina Srebotnjak, was CBC management’s idea of television intellectualism. He has since plummeted from the middlebrow haven of Midday to the ill-conceived and misnomered Ralph Benmergui Live all the way down to hosting an unresearched CBC Newsworld open mouth show from the corporation’s rotunda in Toronto, to hosting inspirational talk shows on Vision TV, Canada’s religious television channel. Benmergui still fancies himself a comedian, and commentators and critics across the country still stay up late at night trying to think of ways to convince him he’s not.

Bennett, Avie

Toronto real estate magnate who rescued McClelland & Stewart from Jack McClelland and has pumped about $2 million annually into the company ever since because he believes in the value of independent culture and the virtue of arm’s length management. No one in the history of this country’s publishing industry has done anything as generous, and no one has received less of the recognition deserved. Bennett is the best argument going for local/private control of cultural assets, which is the only argument over culture no one has been making, even though it’s the only sane one. It’s too bad we don’t deserve Bennett, and a tragedy that he’s the only one we have. It’s also no accident that he’s packing it–and McClelland & Stewart–in as not worth the trouble.

Bernardo, Paul

Canada’s celebrity criminal for the 1990s. He got his modus operandi from reading business books and watching inspirational business movies like Wall Street, and is, minus the gory killings, exactly the kind of human being that the New Conservative revolution glorifies: an entrepreneur who takes what he wants and damn the bleeding hearts. During his trial, there was about 50 percent less screwing going on between married Canadian couples, and handiCam sales dropped across the country. About the only nice thing to be said about Bernardo is that he helped Canadians recognize the superiority of the Canadian judicial system over that of the United States. It shouldn’t be too much longer before Bernardo convinces himself he’s normal, and checks himself out of protective custody. He’ll live roughly two days after that, which won’t bring many people to tears.

Berton, Pierre

Polyester aficionado, Anglican historian, television panelist and excessively colourful personality. Since Berton is also a genuine cultural treasure, his excesses, along with his taste in leisure suits, are forgivable

Biculturalism

With suspicions growing inside Quebec that French Canadians weren’t getting enough jobs as federal civil servants, the Canadian government designated Canada a bilingual and bicultural nation in 1971 after an eight year Royal Commission. The Commission conducted its deliberations in both French and English, which limited membership to bilingual Anglos living within a ten mile radius of Ottawa and, in its last years, to friends of Pierre Trudeau or his philosopher corps. Qu‚b‚cois radicals branded the Royal Commission’s report Anglophone window dressing while they filled out their civil service job applications. Western Canadians were infuriated because they could only understand half of what was being said and they assumed, with a degree of justification, that the lucrative stuff was being said in French by and to Quebec. Thirty years later bilingualism has given the Quebecois 90 percent of federal civil service jobs, and Canadians are now regularly treated to the comedy of Anglo politicians choking the airwaves with the most dreadful pidgin French spoken anywhere on the planet. To stuff a gag into the mouths of other (instantly whining) ethnicities, Trudeau appointed a minister for multiculturalism in 1972, even though no official policy was adopted until 1987. Biculturalism was effectively replaced by multiculturalism by the early 1980s except in the minds of Alberta’s rednecks and Quebec’s separatists, who each began Long March-style campaigns to replace the linguistic elements of both bi and multi culturalism with Texas Oilman Chinook and near-French commercial joual, respectively, and to supplant culture of any kind with the life-style trinkets of laissez-faire capitalism. Other constituencies in the country remain more tolerant and generous, notwithstanding the Reform Party and its successors.

Bieber, Justin

Cuteness deified. Adored by legions of “Beliebers,” Justin Bieber is Canada’s 21st century pop-tart star. Since his singing talents are, to put it politely, modest; and his songs are the usual generational treacle; and he’s not a “natural” dancer (cf., the late Michael Jackson), the thriller is mostly in the shirtless visuals.

The thriller is in the shirtless visuals.

Having entered his “troubled teens” phase, the Bieb has transitioned from 16-year-old sweety to naughty 19-year-old, complete with tantrums, concert tardiness, drugs, run-ins with paparazzi lizards, and has become the subject of tut-tutting, somber Globe and Mail op-eds headed, “Is Justin Bieber an Embarrassment to Canada?” Can rehab and/or religion be far ahead? Probably someone only a male parent couldn’t love.

Big Government

Favoured corporate sector stalking horse in the 1990s trotted out whenever business boffins need to cover up their own screw-ups and inefficiencies. Never mind that government program spending as a percentage of GNP is well below 1967 levels, or that a quick glance at any big-city skyline will tell you which sector has gotten big in the last thirty years, and where the “big” problem now lies. In the late 1990s, the target of the corporations has been broadened from “big government” to demonize all government.

Black Squirrels

European ecovermin spreading from major urban centres to eradicate our smaller native red squirrels. Just be thankful nobody thought to introduce hyenas into our urban parkland.

Black, Conrad

He destroyed half of Canada’s newspapers, started the overtly right-wing National Post and then sold it to someone more right-wing than himself, told his shareholders he was going to screw them and then did exactly that. He may have been the most arrogant rich person this side of the Arab Emirates through the 1990s and into the 21st century. But he did use his money to write the best biography of FDR that exists. Now living above a Laundromat somewhere in the suburbs of Toronto and spending his days trying to elude various international financial prosecutors. There are worse guys than Conrad Black. It’s just hard to find them out in public braying so loudly you remember their names.

Blatchford, Christie

The National Post’s way of pretending that it is in touch with The People, while otherwise thumbing its UCC-educated nose at the overwhelming majority of Canadians who not only don’t aspire to Conrad Black’s cocktail party list, but don’t even know the list exists. Even though Blatchford writes her columns with the vigilante chapter of Rosie Dimano’s operating manual open in front of her, her perch at the tonier Post regularly got her celebrity gigs with such ought-to-know-better organizations as The Writers Trust and PEN. Now working the same gig at the Globe and Mail.

Bloc Quebecois

Latest and best organized gang of Joual-mumbling federal Parliamentary blockheads dedicated to annoying the governing party in Ottawa into tossing Quebec out of the confederation.

Blue Jays

1.Large, noisy but elegantly coloured scavengers found in suburbs and forests of Central Canada. 2. Toronto’s baseball team and twenty-year experiment in world class econopolitics. A Canadian brewery buys American and Latino millionaires to play baseball in a stadium where it’s more fun to watch the top open and close than to follow what is, if we were sane, a children’s game. The Jays win two World Series, but the millionaire ballplayers still leave town the moment the season’s over. Then the brewery is sold to foreigners who care nothing for baseball or Toronto’s world class aspirations, the millionaires go elsewhere to play, the team sinks in the standings, and the fans quit coming to the stadium. Wasn’t World Class great? No? Well, at least it got us the right to drink beer in public, which is about all World Class ever gets anyone.
Will [Ted Rogers] and Paul Godfrey change this? Don’t hold your breath.

Boards Of Trade

Business cheerleaders and luncheon monkeys. Court of first resort for Thatcher/Bush supermen and anyone else wanting to propose the liquidation of the public sector.

Bouchard, Lucien

Until recently, Quebec Premier, former and defacto leader of the federal Bloc Quebecois and self-appointed Quebec Dauphin-in-Waiting. He’s actually a small-town Quebec lawyer cut from same slinky cloth as Brian Mulroney, except that he has a French name, a more attractive wife and a wooden leg instead of a wooden personality. Bouchard’s chief talent as a human being is a willingness to shove sharp pointed objects between the ribs of whomever stands between him and ascension to the throne of New France. That his resignation was greeted by such widespread grief from both in and outside of Quebec tells us more about what people fear about successor Bernard Landry than what they really thought about Bouchard. Landry’s red rag comments and clumsy fed-baiting has not disappointed.

Bowron Clearcut

A 530 square kilometre forestry mismanagement zone in Northern British Columbia that has managed for 15 years to remain invisible to both the nearby towns and to those sleeping in the offices of the Provincial and Federal agencies responsible. The clearcut was, for a few years, with the Great Wall of China one of the two man-made objects visible from outer space with the naked eye. Many British Columbians want political union with the United States but a more likely fate is geographical and cultural union with the Bowron Clearcut.

British Columbia

Canadian province permanently covered with water or heavy cloud to hide valleys and mountains denuded of trees by excessive logging. B.C. is lusted after by open space-craving Asian developers, water-starved California politicians, and by its own Native Indians, who want the right to exploit the remaining forests and fish like any other gang of financial hoodlums. Citizens and governments in B.C. are about equally prone to being bribed with their own resources by anyone who can propose a megaproject or real estate development big enough to convince them they’ll be able to afford a long winter holiday in a warm, dry foreign country.

Broadbent, Honest Ed

Former federal NDP leader. He wasn’t particularly honest and he wasn’t much of leader in the 1988 federal election, when he traded Canadian sovereignty for possible NDP electoral gains by refusing to participate in a coalition to defeat Mulroney’s free trade intitiative. The NDP has paid dearly-and deservedly-in subsequent elections.

Bunglers

See CSIS et al.

Bush, George W.

Forty-Third U.S. President who illustrates a fundamental difference between Canadian and U.S. politics. Canadians will elect any politician who can convince voters he or she is the least evil of the various alternatives, or who deludes us into thinking he or she will seriously try to represent our collective interests and protect our institutions. Americans, who distrust governments more than we do, will elect anyone they’re convinced is too stupid to figure out what individual citizens are up to and/or where the guns and drugs are stored. About the only public service job a man as intelligent as George W. Bush could get in Canada would be driving a tow truck. But in case anyone’s feeling smug, we have Jean Chretien, Stockwell Day and David Frum, the latter of whom is supposedly writing speeches for Bush while the other two merely suck up.

Byfield, Ted

Alberta culture hero who slowly faded from sight as his son lessor Link took over his empire and ran it into the ground. Byfield the Elder went on to publishing ventures that tempted fate and challenged good taste until his death. Byfield was a presiding, if not exactly guiding spirit of right wing social and economic policy in Western Canada for 20 years, and also an all-round ass-kicking egomaniac. It was hard not to admire him for saying what he meant, not hiding who he wanted to kick in the ass, and for doing a surprisingly good job of covering local culture in his Alberta and B.C.-centred news magazines. Too bad his virtues aren’t as common as his short-comings are within the right wing in this country.
RIP, Ted.