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Josh Lieblein

There was a time when Josh Lieblein actually thought he'd live out a quiet, normal life, helping to keep his fellow Canadians alive as long as possible by working within the confines of a not-actually-all-that-universal health care system. As is often the case, however, fate had other ideas. After being targeted by campus leftists, he was summoned to the nation's capital and trained to fight against the rent-seeking, tax-farming Liberal Party of Canada, a group of snobby elitists who think they're SO much better than everyone else.

Unfortunately, Canadians are not known for their successes in war-fighting (though they are quite brave and level-headed in the face of peril) and even though Josh distinguished himself in several successful electoral contests and developed an expert knowledge of his country's culture and politics, the Liberals ultimately returned to power. Taking pity on this poor enslaved Canadian, Liberty Island Senior Editor David Swindle suggested that politics was actually downstream from culture and that if he could actually shift Canada's culture (after first discovering it, of course), then its politics would follow. Since Canada's literary elite are a bunch of self-promoting hacks who glorify carnal relations with animals (no, I am not joking), Josh realized that he could hardly do worse.

The result is his first novel, the first draft of which is now undergoing its initial revisions and edits: an epic tale of magic, mystery, and not a little foolishness set on a distant world just slightly unlike our own, where the young hero OBSIDIAN MORNINGSTAR relies on only his fists, his wits, and his latent magical ability in his life-defining struggle against the monstrous machinations of the depraved- but impeccably polite- reality-bending aristocrats known as THE CONSENSUS.

When Josh is not trying to stage a one-man literary uprising, he can be found columnizing and podcasting at Loonie Politics, investigating the real-life Consensus with his journalist pal Graeme C. Gordon at ravingcanuck.com, while working long hours as a pharmacist besides. Occasionally he says something funny on Twitter at @JustJoshinYa

Joni Mitchell Plays The Circle Game

Now that we have established where Canadian music came from, and we have a rough idea of what it is and what it isn’t, it is now time to consider each of the three great Canadian solo artists of the mid and late twentieth century in turn. All three are still living. All three are massively influential inside and outside Canada. All three are deeply flawed in addition to being brilliant, and all three set a standard that seemed impossible to overcome. This is well covered ground, and entire bookshelves couldn’t contain the endless biographies and the analyses of their art, but hopefully I can give some sense of how they shaped Canadian culture and music.

Oscar Peterson Sticks To The Classics

As far as I know, Oscar Peterson never attributed his lack of name recognition in Canada to racism. Even when a CBC interviewer claimed she understood his nickname “Osc The Gorilla” a lot better than his other nickname, “The Maharaja Of The Keyboard”, Peterson kept his cool.

Oh, sure, there are jazz festivals in his name up here, and scholarships too. But the main concert hall and recording studio at the CBC is named after Glenn Gould, not him. Peterson’s statue stands in Ottawa, not in Montreal where he was born. He doesn’t have a “historical society” like Guy Lombardo, who is mostly known for playing New Year’s Eve ditties and the version of “Auld Lang Syne” you usually hear when watching the ball drop in Times Square.

Canadian Music’s American Roots

When I say Canadian music originated in the American South, I don’t mean that Canadian musicians were influenced by Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, and Johnny Cash like everyone else. I mean that Americans had to midwife Canadian music into existence.

Lost In The Multiculturalist Shuffle

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 31: They Have No Idea What Canadian Culture Is Supposed to Be

Getting my fourth wall broken by Deadpool last week is as good of a sign as any that it’s time to change the channel away from actors and movies for now. We’ll come back to cover Canadian TV- Degrassi, Are You Afraid Of The Dark, SCTV, Trailer Park Boys- eventually, and cover a few actors that I know I missed.

Before we travel back to the dorky world of Canadian music, I want to return to a theme I discussed briefly when discussing Canada’s contributions to literature, and that is: Canada is not the progressive paradise it claims to be.

Ryan Reynolds: CHIMICHANGAS!!

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 30: So Much Time Getting Pummeled

Oh! Hello. I know, right? Like the blind squirrel who eventually finds the broken clock twice a day, Josh has finally stumbled onto someone interesting and relevant. And it only took him 29 completely useless Canadian culture blogposts to do it! Great job, Josh. Your certificate in pointless knowledge is in the mail, as are the medals for everyone who’s been bored to tears by this Canadian culture crapfest for the past seven months.

Mike Myers and Jim Carrey: The Grotesque In Canadian Comedy

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 29: Cautionary Tales

Writing this one is going to be difficult, because Mike Myers and Jim Carrey were larger than life heroes to me growing up as a proud ’90s Kid.

A Quick Guide To The Culture of Newfoundland and Labrador

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 28: Long May Your Big Jib Draw!

The Simpsons hasn’t been relevant, much less controversial, for decades. But hey: there’s always trolling Canada for laughs. That always works!

And so we got “D’Oh Canada,” an episode that really didn’t need to be made, or talked about, except for the fact that it features a “joke” where Ralph Wiggum decides he’s a “Newfie”, and then knocks the head off a stuffed baby seal and proceeds to kick it around. The Canadian media, which is as awful and transparently fake as yours (except your media reports on issues of consequence sometimes, and mine reports on…..this), duly investigated whether The Simpsons went TOO FAR.

Norm MacDonald: Controlled Chaos

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 27: the Holy Fool Personified

So, now the truth has come out. Canadians are a people without “story”.

But then again: That’s what happens when, for so long, the thing that holds Canadians together was “not American.” And that’s why it’s so important that a “story” for Canadians is created out of the disparate building blocks that make up this series.

Now, the fact that Canadian have no “stories” could be tragic, or it could be magic, as the wonderful case of Norm MacDonald shows.

Story Wars: Canadians and the Star Trek vs. Star Wars Battle

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 26: The Trouble of “Story”

Vulcan, Alberta, Canada. Population: 1,917, as per the latest Canadian census (2016). Home to the Tourism and Trek Station and the annual “Vul-Con” Convention.

No, the town was not named after Spock’s home planet, but Vulcan is a pretty clear indicator of Canada’s Trek obsession. The debate may rage elsewhere, but in Canada there is a definite consensus (as there is with so many things): Trek leaves Wars in the space dust.

William Shatner: To Boldy Goof

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 25: Faking It Until He Made It

For some, the word “goof” is associated with a dim-witted but lovable Disney character. For Canadians, “goof” is the ultimate insult, on par with being called a child molester. Walk into a bar in Canada and call someone a goof and you will get your ass kicked.

A “goof” may be completely harmless and well-meaning. The goof wants to be liked. But something is… off about him. His behaviour isn’t quite normal. It’s persistently annoying. He’s the opposite of the level-headed Canadian exemplar.

People notice and target the goof. Women won’t touch the goof. If you see him, cross the street. His actions can’t go unpunished. And he’s got to reassert his place in the social order by fighting.

Sometimes, however, the goof gets the last laugh. They want to call me a goof? I’ll show them just how goofy I can be

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get William Shatner.

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