Stuff Still Happens, week 35:Why politicians shouldn’t make ‘jokes’

Oh, my. Will politicians never learn? Of course not.

This week’s political miscue was by Brian Jean, leader of the Wildrose Party. Speaking at a town hall meeting in Fort McMurray, Jean said he would continue to “beat the drum” for elder care in Fort McMurray.

A sucker for word play, apparently, he didn’t stop there. Unfortunately.

“I will continue to beat it, I promise. But it’s against the law to beat Rachel Notley.”

That’s just the kind of thing you say that you regret between the time the words leave your mouth to the time the sound travels to the ears of the listeners.  He immediately apologized for the remark, but the damage had been done. The outrage was as immediate as it was predictable. Shame! Disgrace! The Edmonton Journal’s resident scold and Notley backer Graham Thompson harrumphed on the front page as if Jean had publicly called for Notley’s assassination. Notley herself said she was “bemused” by the remarks, and accepted Jean’s apology. No wonder she was bemused. The shine is coming off the Notley government, and then Jean goes and hands her a gift of government polish. The lesson here: no politician should ever, ever attempt humour, particularly if they have no sense of humour.

Finally, a real example of irony

Edmontonian Jesse Lipscombe, and actor and former athlete, was making a video about how much he loves Edmonton this week. During the filming, a mouth-breathing troglodyte drove up behind him and spewed racial epithets his way. Lipscombe (courageously, I think) approached the idiot to talk to him. The racist, a middle-aged male, spewed more hatred, then left the scene along with two other like minded idiots in the car with him. Mayor Don Iveson, who never misses a chance to get on the side of the angels, launched a hashtag campaign with Lipscombe in response. I’m really surprised about one thing in this appalling incident, aside from the fact that people still, in 21st century Canada, still do this kind of thing. The face of the bigot is clearly visible on the tape, and yet the denizens of the Internet have not yet identified him. He should hope they never do.

Where’s Hillary?

If you’ve been following the US election campaign, you may have the impression that there’s only one candidate. Donald Trump dominates the news every day, and it’s not just because he says something stupid every day. Hillary Clinton, who is apparently the Democratic nominee, rarely gives speeches, and almost never talks to the press. According to the New York Times, one of the reasons is that Hillary is too busy rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, and raising zillions of dollars. The Times says Hillary spent Tuesday night at a fundraiser in the Hamptons with Bon Jovi, Jimmy Buffett, and Paul McCartney in attendance. In the last two weeks of August, Clinton raised $50 million at 22 fundraising events, averaging $150,000 an hour. At one event in New York, 10 people paid $250,000 each to see her, raising $2.5 million.

Last week, she gave exactly one speech.

RIP

Normie Kwong, 86, CFL legend with the Eskimos and later Lt. Gov. of Alberta … Gene Wilder, 83, the frizzy-haired, frequently frazzled comic actor who starred in three of the greatest Mel Brooks comedies (also three of the greatest comedies ever), The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein (which he co-wrote). He also made a series of comedies with Richard Pryor, and was the beloved Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory … Mr. Fuji, 82, wrestling manager … Darrel Ward, 52, the ‘Montana Legend’ from the Ice Road Truckers reality TV show. Ward died when the plane he was piloting crashed. He was about to film a documentary style show about recovering plane wrecks … Cookie, 83, world’s oldest parrot.

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