Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Rogues' Gallery of Professeurs

HWSRN stormed into my tiny, cluttered cell in Z Block at the Yoni School this afternoon and clobbered me upside the head with a diploma. His.

"How dare you?" he spluttered. "How dare you adopt my academic credentials as your own?"

"Are you talking about the part where you flunked out of law school? Ouch!"

He'd hit me again.

"No, you insufferable slouch, I'm talking about your ill-considered response to the esteemed Madame X in a comment posted on that clog or smog or fog or whatever you call it that you slave over so slavishly instead of applying yourself to the rehabilitation and remedial spelling programs so generously offered by the Yoni School!"

"Oh that," I said, "Just a slip of the ole keybored. Nothing to get all het up about."

"A slip! A slip, he says. Don't think I don't keep track of your drivel and snivel in the smogosphere. This time you've gone too far. You're so lazy you can't even invent a curriculum vitae. You have to co-opt mine!"


OK, OK, HWSRN is right. I was a lotus-eater. My academics consisted of snoring in the library at Lunchbucket U when I was supposed to be in English class. I didn't even go to class until October or November, at which point the professeur widened owlish eyes and said, "Who are you?" I forget my response. Still, I ended up with a C or C+ in that course, merely on the strength of a short story I submitted. (Pauvre professeur didn't, wouldn't, couldn't have known that I'd written it in high school. She suggested I read Atwood's Survival because the story ended with some kind of apocalyptic snowfall. I actually took her up on it. Stole the book.

But enough about me. Mememememememememe.

HWSRN demanded that I allow him to set the record straight with his own posting on the Mental Smog. But I demurred. It’s my blog. Let him get his own bloody blog.

Still, I am his altered ego, so in the interests of egocentric amicability, I agreed to enumerate, myself, a few details of his shabby career in that bloody bilingual backwater that sits on the edge of the Bridle Path in Hawgtown. Maudits Anglais!

Therefore, there follows a brief enumeration, the Rogues’ Gallery, of some of HWSRN’s hallowed professeurs.


1. Let’s see. There was the professeur with the family name that is prominent all over Manitoba, and especially Winnipeg. The name appears on the marquee of a well-known furrier. It is owned by a famous children’s performer. Also, a former attorney-general (or something like that) of Manitoba. (In fact, HWSRN thinks this was the professeur’s brother.) And also by a former Miss Oktoberfest of Winnipeg.

This prof was a former member of the Communist Party of Canada. A good Commie, perhaps, but not much of a professeur. Too inarticulate. Too muddled. Too mumbled. Well-acquainted, however, with the internal machinations of the CPC, and Tim Buck too.

2. Somewhere in there was also a Trotskyist. Long live the Fourth International!

3. HWSRN was also taught by that rarest of birds, a real live former member of the American Communist Party. The students huddled around him in a reverent semi-circle while he sat with his legs crossed, sucking on a pipe, reminiscing about strange days pre-McCarthy.

4. Then there was the prof who later became president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, wrote a famous book about Jewish refugees arriving on Canada’s doorstep before & during WWII…HWSRN thinks it was called, One Book Is Too Many. His wife now sits on the Supreme Court of Canada. Judicially speaking.

This professeur gave HWSRN a D for a paper he wrote about the Dare Foods strike. (A strike which occurred sometime during the middle ages.) He chastised HWSRN for not seeking research advice sooner, and rattled off several sources he should have used…all of which were secondary sources.

See, HWSRN had attempted to restrict himself to primary sources, but didn’t have much imagination about how to accomplish this. He therefore learned a hard lesson on the futility of microfiche, hanging about in the Lunchbucket library sweating and squinting at old obituaries and fragments of information about a strike long gone. HWSRN refused to eat Dare products for years after that. Got a D on his paper. D for Dare. How Dare You? Or as the lapel buttons used to say, “I Don’t Dare.”

5. The son of a famous Canadian historian. HWSRN can’t remember the name of the course, but it was somehow related to public policy. And this son, (HWSRN prefers to finish “son” off with the initials OB) was well-suited to that. He became someone rather well-placed in the Ontario bureaucratic elite.

This prof proved to HWSRN that he must be (or at least his altered ego must be) a writer rather than an orator, for one day he called him into his office and confronted him with a short paper on federalism that HWSRN had handed in. Asked him if he had indeed written it, or had he bought it? Cuz his participation in class certainly didn’t indicate this level of sophistication. Bah! How do you prove that you didn’t buy a paper? In fact, the paper had been quite speculative, proposing a new theory of federalism, or at least a new approach. But the speculation hadn’t really been worked out. Half-baked, it was.

6. A professeur of Chinese politics. Chinese, of course. But of dubious politics. HWSRN never could figure out if he was a Maoist or a Nationalist. But he learned about the Boxer Rebellion, the Opium Wars, Sun Yat Sen, Chiang Kai-Shek and the Kuomintang, and the romance of the Long March.

This prof took his students to a real Chinese restaurant in the real Chinatown of Hawgtown and ordered real Chinese food that had nothing to do with Chow Mein. It was from him that HWSRN learned to use chopsticks.

7. A female professor of Political Economy that HWSRN lampooned mercilessly.

8. A former diplomat teaching International Politics (duh!) who had been there with Pearson at the creation of the United Nations.

9. A T.A. (no, Larry, not T &A) who introduced him to the early days of municipal reform politics when John Sewell soared above the low meanness of city politics and the sordid palm-greasing of downtown development. Because of him, HWSRN became acquainted with the Union of Injured Workers, and one night during a march and rally, surrounded by constabulary, sussed out an unwatched back door and led an injured worker into Queen’s Park. This same T.A. also put him in touch with the Law Union of Ontario.


HWSRN, that’s all for now. And more than enough, OK? Suffice to say, you got your BA. You got your invitation to Osgoode. Where you promptly sharpened your pinball skills and acted so bullish in Moot Court that the professeurs really thought you must be a Taurus, not a Leo. And ended by finally requesting your withdrawal. Don’t take it so hard. Everyone loses a case now and then.


Anonymous said...

My oh my, no wonder you turned out to be who you are! Well, not you, Larry, but the nameless one. The one who barged so belligerently into your cell.

Karma in action - past events influencing today's events. All those left-wing teachers - lolololol- you (he) only had two choices in life - become a communist - or a buddhist!

Okay, so you (he) learned how to use chopsticks - and got a BA to boot. Pretty damn good! So - did that prof ever believe that YOU, well, HE, well not the prof, I mean the unaltered ego in this duality... that that unaltered being authored the paper on a new federalism?

Maybe you, I mean he, should get a job with the gliberals, uh liberals, in Ottawa - that Dion guy might be interested.... although come to think of it, I don't think Mr Green's interested in a new federalism - he seems pretty much pleased with the old one...

So, they kicked you (well, him) outa law school? All these years I thought you (I mean he) quit!

Thank you, Larry, for the explanation, or should I say the elucidation. Now why did HWSRN (or whatever the initials) go to law school in the first place? Did he really think he'd like to be a lawyer?

Larry Keiler said...

Yes, HWSRN really did think at the time that he'd like to be a lawyer. But of course, with his radical lean to the left, he thought of labour law. Just as he was entering Osgoode, the University began offering a combined MBA & Environmental Law degree. That was the up & coming thing, which, believe it or not, interested him somewhat as well.

But law was not the ultimate prize for HWSRN. Merely a stepping-stone in his trek to world domination, starting with the North Ward in Lunchbucket. Hah!

If you sniff carefully, you will see that there is still a bit of the lawyer in HWSRN.

(If you sniff, you will see?...)

Anonymous said...

You really don't want me to sniff you, do you?????? LOLOLOLOL! I mean,you have never mentioned any showers in that tiny cell for wayward poets....

Larry Keiler said...

Once a week the fire department comes with the No.1 Pumper. The warden assembles us all in the quadrangle and they hose us down with the fire hose.

There must be potery in that. Potic justice.

As you can see, I will not be reconstructed.

Help! I've written and I can't get up!