I was watching a little TV this evening, around 7 PM. On the Canadian Comedy Network (which often airs shows like the US Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Crank Yankers and South Park), a Canadian Sketch comedy program called Royal Canadian Air Farce aired. At first, there was nothing too controversial. I caught a guy with green hair (the green paint was a product that covered grey) on a date/commercial. Some other silliness. Then, right near the end, they had three of the male cast members in camouflage uniforms and helmets. After some more silly talk, they announced who had won the “Royal Canadian Air Farce Chicken Hawk Target Award”. It was Bush. Well, that was just the beginning. They then load up a big cannon with all kinds of nasty ‘metaphorical’ ingredients including oil, feces, something from a can, and finally after many other disgusting additions, add some ‘sugar so that everything ends up seeming all nice’. Then they shoot the whole mess point blank at a big photo of a smirking George W. Bush. The crowd goes wild. “Try and invade that, George W.!” says the cast member playing a sort of General.
Things must have really gotten bad, when even friendly neighboring countries literally shoot shit at the US President. Then I was even more shocked to learn that this was filmed in 2002! With the CBC strike, Canadian Air Farce, which is a CBC program, is in reruns until the labour dispute is settled. So this is what the irreverent comedians were doing to cheering crowds 3 years ago. I can’t even imagine what they’d be airing today in new shows. This 2002 spot made The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart look positively deferential.
I have to admit that I had mixed feelings watching this. Part of me was thinking ‘Hey, this is great! They agree with me! A whole country on my side!’ But then it began to sink into me (perhaps the old conditioning that goes back to kindergarten and first grade, where we placed our hand on our hearts and pledged allegiance to the flag). The US Presidency is still something that somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I hold as something elevated, to be respected if not liked. To see a US President, even one who I hate more than any of them in my life (even Nixon, who I remember with as much loathing as a twelve year-old’s memory can bring forth), shot with excrement from a cannon… That glee somehow began to melt into shame. I didn’t vote for that smirking buffoon, and even left the country due in a large part to him, but I couldn’t bring myself to hurl (or shoot) crap at his effigy. At least not without a good evening’s worth of drinking.