As I mentioned to some friends, my dad once let me stay up late to watch this on CBC. I have no idea why it aired so late, though I suspect we were getting shows on Toronto time — thus an hour or two later in our timezone, which was a constant annoyance.
I wasn’t supposed to tell my sisters, as they had gone to bed and would be mad if they knew I was allowed to stay up… even though I was older than them. But I figure after recounting so many of Kipling’s stories to me, my father felt he couldn’t well deny me the joy of a Kipling classic in goofy cartoon form.
Now I’m thinking about the temptation to eat the whole banana, and the need to keep oneself thin… but also, much more, about how the narrative really enacts a colonialist metaphor: British triumph over the monstrously pagan, the “untame” Indian culture of the Brahma-inscribed cobras, and the installment of British rule over the “garden and bungalow” that clearly represent India.
But I surely didn’t grasp that as a kid, and I wonder… did stories like this actually work as propaganda? Did kids (or adults — I can’t help but think a big chunk of Kipling’s audience was adults) read them and find the hegemonic discourse solidified within their hearts? I’d like to say people aren’t that easily manipulated, but…
Which makes me think I should be writing YA novels about anti-authoritarians, set in Toronto… but frankly I’m too shocked and somewhat embarrassed to be Canadian with a shitclown like Harper running the country, to have any idea about what to say about it all.
When cops are threatening to gangrape journalists, and male cops are strip searching women randomly just for the purposes of intimidation? I’m sorry, but that’s too far, and the RCMP needs to be, well… maybe they should lock officers in solitary, and have them strip searched roughly, so they know how it feels. Maybe that should be a requirement for working as a member of any police force. A yearly requirement. Give the people military force, expect military discipline. But expect it at the hands of civilian courts.
With power comes responsibility, they say. One wonders how many young people out there, fresh from the experience of having their basic human rights and freedoms violated, are turning over the idea of the film Kick-Ass in their minds. No, really. And how many it would really take to set Canada back onto the path it was on before it got Bushified. (Which, while far from perfect, wasn’t quite as insane as this. Though to be fair we have precedents that stretch way back, back to 1997’s protests in Vancouver at least, for this kind of thing. And if you’re a Native Canadian? Um, the whole of the history of Canada–the modern nation-state, I mean–is a good bit like this.)
The real answer? Probably there are too few Hit-Girls and Big-Daddies, and far too many ineffectual Kick-Asses, for any such emergent vigilante movement to matter… for now. But eventually, young people will be sick of having their rights stripped away (not to mention their parents’ tax dollars) because rich, powerful men want to meet and determine our collective fates without being disturbed by those who will have to live with the worst effects of those decisions. And the teenagers–I mean, it’s going to look really bad when cops are beating up pimply teens, and tasering teenaged girls, right? Well, till the kids start pulling out the home-fabbed HERF guns, and all.
The point is: the Canadian government, like all the G20 governments and allied institutions, are creating exactly the conditions necessary to generate increasingly over-the-top radicalism, likely as a way of also generating dismissability for all protesters. (Or for the “bad” protesters, whom they know will always show up.)
But they’re also playing with fire, more than I think they even have the capacity to imagine. And that is quite scary, as a real-life proposition. Though it might make an interesting novel.
Another idea would be a class action suit of everyone who was held without rights being read and without a charge. Every one of those incidents was illegal. Sue the fuckers. Sue them into political, economic, and social oblivion. Sue every last cop who did something illegal out of a job and into jail. Sue the government into submission. It might not be the Canadian way, but then, neither is most of the stuff I’ve seen on the Canadian news lately, so… so what? I wonder if it’s actually practicable. I can wish, right?