Saturday, May 21, 2005

Living in a material world

Snrrrrk. Okay, now I really expect no one to ever again castigate me on the impolitically criticizing Belinda Stronach count. One could hardly imply any more sexist stereotypes with crude language than she does with her very own actions: OTTAWA—Partying Liberals were treated Thursday night to the incredible sight of Belinda Stronach, Canada's new human resources minister, and Tim Murphy, the Prime Minister's chief of staff, dancing atop a speaker at an Ottawa bar. The tune? "Material Girl," by Madonna. The lyrics to that song include these memorable, and some would say fitting, words: "Some boys kiss me, some boys hug me, I think they're OK, If they don't give me proper credit, I just walk away. They can beg and they can plead, But they can't see the light. That's right, 'Cause the boy with the cold hard cash is always Mr. Right." Stronach, of course, was not promised cash in exchange for her spectacular defection from the Conservative benches this week. And it could be argued that she had to move left, politically, to find Mr. Right. But as an image, the scene of Murphy and Stronach dancing — only hours after the Liberals survived a squeaker of a confidence vote in the Commons — fed into the perception that Prime Minister Paul Martin and his team somehow pulled off a momentous victory this week. BlackBerries were buzzing all over Ottawa bars on Thursday night with descriptions of the dancing scene. Some Liberals, especially the younger ones, were dazzled. Others, more seasoned, fretted that the display was just more proof that Martin's Liberal government thrives solely on adrenalin, celebrity and power for its own sake. This from the Toronto Star (!), of all papers. I think watching the new Minister for Go-Go Dancing embarass the Liberals is going to be a not-infrequent source of amusement in the coming weeks and months, no? (Via Rempelia Prime.)

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