HSS Chills

HSS Chills, 2011. On the Tabaret Lawn.
The Wat and The Konk... before transforming into our debate personas
In mid "debate". Note that The Konk needed to bring supporters with her. Weak, man, weak.

Today was the annual “HSS Chills” event organized by the student association of the department in which I teach.  The kids always impress me with how well they organize this event, which is always an outdoor barbecue thingy in the freezing cold.  It’s meant to showcase the fact that our department is “homeless”, in that we lack a space of our own on campus.

This year, they decided to have a sort of “entertainment” feature.  And for some reason they settled on a “debate” styled after the CBC’s comedic “The Debaters“.  To be resolved: it is healthier to live in the Global North than in the Global South.  Representing the former was my colleague Dr Anne Konkle.  And representing the South was, of course, yours truly. In the centre, moderating it all, was the student association president, Mr Nick Valela.

Not knowing that the heck was expected of me, I opted to do it “in character”.  My character was supposed to be a generic Latin American tinpot dictator.  But I couldn’t sustain the Spanish accent.  It sort of migrated to something vaguely Caribbean and Indian.  Who knows.  Also, in lieu of actually having arguments, I chose instead to write a bunch of stupid rhymes.

And since I like to keep a record of pretty much everything I’ve ever written, I’m sharing those rhymes with you now.  We begin, though, with my observations of how the language and semantics between the North and South differ:

You call it diarrhea / We call it inexpensive weight loss

You call it poverty / We call it living without clutter

You call it “a bowl of poutine” / We call it “food for a family of five”

You call it a Caribbean cruise / We call it a floating ATM machine

You call it “the family pet” / We call it “an emergency food source”

You call it “bacteria and viruses” / We call it “tiny citizens who don’t pay taxes”

Then we move on to the responses to the first round of questions.  I don’t remember that the question was.  Doesn’t matter.  It’s not like I was going to change my answer:

“Up North where the food is so bland

And where I cannot tell the woman from the man

With your fancy health care

And your doctors to spare

Yet you lack my oh-so-sexy tan”

“Down South I risk melanoma

But I  drink so much, I’m in a coma

No, I have no vaccines

But my bod is so lean

So pour me a pina colada”

Response to the second round of questioning:

“There once was a man from the West

Who went in for his prostate test

He liked it quite a bit

So bought the home testing kit

And you can probably guess the rest”

“There was this lady from Manotick

Without a new kidney, she’d remain very weak

She was driven to tears

Because the wait time was in years

So she went to India and got it the same week”

Followed by the closing remarks:

“You have gum / We have rum

You have Xmas so merry / We have dysentery

You have the Ottawa mission / We have malnutrition

You have Coolio / We have Polio

You once had small pox / We still have big co….

You have Dr Ivy / We have HIV

You have late night talk show hilarity / We have high infant mortality

You have a bitter wind so cold it cuts like a knife / We have stable government for life!

You have universal health care / We have pirated software

You have mucho dinero / We watch the bootleg films of Robert DeNiro

You have cold and snow and ice / We have fleas, mosquitos and lice

You have wealth and a longer lifespan / We have beaches and sun and sand

You have President the Honourable Allan Rock / We have pretty girls in sexy slim frocks”

And last…

“North or South,

It doesn’t matter which you choose

But just remember:

There’s a lot more of us

Than there are of youse.”

Good night, everybody!  Don’t forget to tip your server.

(I would have included my opponent’s comments, too.  But, frankly, I wasn’t listening to her.  Booyah!  Take that, Konkle!)

In Other News…

I only just found out that British muscial impressario Malcolm McLaren died almost a year ago!  McLaren was the man who brought us the Sex Pistols, Bow Wow Wow and an incarnation of Adam and the Ants.  He also pioneered the introduction of hip hop, gay dance culture and opera into mainstream fashion and music.

Apparently, McLaren’s last words were, “Free Leonard Peltier“, which immediately had me wondering if he was calling for Peltier’s release from prison, or announcing a morose in-store giveaway. Heh heh.  I slay me.

Anyway, here are three of McLaren’s great solo productions.  The first is “Deep in Vogue“, which, I want everyone to understand, significantly predated Madonna’s vogue song.  In fact, I bet Madonna got the idea from McLaren.

Next is “Madame Butterfly“, which was of course based on the opera. I remember when this song came about, idiot critics were predicting that opera would be the new pop. Ha!

Ain’t no one gonna complain about this. It’s McLaren’s version of “About Her“:

Aw heck, why not one more? This is an example of McLaren’s genius: finding some small aspect of urban culture and showing us the marvelosity of it. Yes, marvelosity. I just made up that word. Just imaging if today’s music videos were as small and fascinating as “Double Dutch“: