Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Windmill Tilting in Canada Where There Aren't Any Real Windmills

Don Quixote Prophesies the Birth and Death of the HRC Industry in Canada (sorta maybe)

The Bishop De Angelis (Ontario HRC) and Stephen Boissoin (Ontario HRC) cases are perfect examples of what is wrong in the Human Rights industry in this country. Call it much ado over nothing.

You know, Don Quixote had a windmill to tilt at, at least. He didn't have to use his own investigators to go out and build one from scratch, so he could hop onto Rocinante and joust with it.

But methinks that maybe there is more to the Don Quixote/HRC mental link than just one little verbal jab. Let's see.

Don Quixote - farce, lots of play on words, quick wit, and humour. HRCs - definitely got the farce part down. They play with words, rather than on them. Wit yes, but quick does not come to mind, more likely half, dim, nit. Humour, not in the occurrence like in Don Quixote, but in the retelling, but then it's more a theater of the absurd. Still, there is some comparative there.

OK, let's see if The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha as written by Miguel de Cervantes in Spain in 1605 might possibly have been a prophetic work written about the Canadian Human Rights Commissions. Since the author took great poetic licence in his marvellous work, I shall give myself similar liberty as well. For a source of unparalleled wisdom, I have selected an article in Wikipedia about the book as a jumping off point here.

First of all, the story of Don Quixote is the story of a man who "has become obsessed with books of chivalry, and believes their every word to be true, despite the fact that many of the events in them are clearly impossible." As we know, he then sets out in his delusion on quests for adventure. Along the way he "tilts at windmills" in one case, that aren't really the evil giants that he thinks them to be. His episodes of misadventure are ridiculous in his misinterpretation of reality.

Let's stop for a moment to catch our breath. Pop quiz. Does this remind you, gentle reader of any person or persons, or government institutions who shall remain nameless, but who work on behalf of the Human Rights juggernaut in our country, and its provinces? If so, how many names come to mind?

The big difference of course is that the misadventures at the HRCs are happening to real people, and the people on the horses leading the charge are also real people, thinking they are doing a good job ridding the country of some form of malice, but not unlike Quixote really.

Of course, there is another comparison of which I was not aware, and that is some of the wit of Cervantes in his naming of the never seen Dulcinea, which means an allusion to illusion, and of the Don's horse Rocinante, which means reversal.

Methinks that the name Dulcinea might make a good nick name for first female HRC leader that gets the sack, since it seems that more than one of them appears fond of alluding to illusion, though currently they are living in a state of delusion of grandeur. And, of course for the second HRC sackee, we can reserve the nick name Rocinante, for the reversal of fortune that has come.

As I have read many case decisions from the HRCs of this once but no longer so fair land, I have become familiar with their literary attributes and so thought a comparison to those self same attributes from Quixote to be appropriate. Sort of farce meets farce. May the farce be with you.

The writer of the Wikipedia piece begins with the title of the book, and starts with the word "ingenious", reminding us that it means inventive, and is a hint of what is to come in the novel. It makes me wonder if maybe the Case Decisions I have read should be prefaced with "The Ingenious Case of such and so" since they too seem most inventive, a kind word. Ezra Levant is a little more blunt and colourful in his description, but inventive it is.

Don Quixote is a farce, but in its farce as it works towards conclusion, the eyes of Quixote are opened and he sees that what he thought was chivalry was silliness. In the end, he dies in his melancholy. Well, the eye opening part is not likely to happen for our leaders of HRCs. It is more likely to be a "Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya" experience that wakes them up, as the fickle finger of fate turns the dial of history away from them some day in the future. After all this is real life, not a fairy story.

The book left us with a couple of phrases and words that are part of our lexicon which are relevant to discussions about our beloved HRCs.

One such word is "quixotism". Of course, we don't use that one every day, but in talking about our HRCs we sure could. It means: "engaging in foolish impracticality in pursuit of ideals ; especially those ideals manifested by rash, lofty and romantic ideas; or extravagantly chivalrous action. It also serves to describe an idealism without regard to practicality." Except for the chivalrous action bit, and the romantic ideas, it fits the HRCs to a "t". Idealism without practicality kind of fits, as does foolish impracticality.

The poet John Cleveland had already put this word to use in 1644 in his book "The Character of a London Diurnall". In it he wrote: "The Quixotes of this Age fight with the Wind-mills of their owne Heads." Boy, does that sound familiar. Reminds me particularly of the Ontario HRC need to get call outs on all transit companies in Ontario so the few blind people who occasionally ride can hear every stop on every bus in Ontario, whether they are there or not. That phrase hits the nail right on the windmill of my mind.

As an aside. I hadn't known what a diurnall was. It's not a 2 holer in a men's room, as I might have guessed, but a daily newspaper in the old days.

Quixote also left us with "tilting at windmills" as an idiom which means attacking imaginary enemies, or fighting unwinnable or futile battles. Of course, the question is all about time and space. One might have thought that Ezra Levant was tilting at windmills a couple of years ago, and Stephen Boissoin as well. Today, it seems that if they can afford to stay the course, and the truth is allowed to see the light of day, that the real windmill tilters will be exposed. One can only hope.

In the end, Don Quixote regains his sanity and renounces his attempts at chivalry for the ridiculousness that they were. Seeing the truth though, he slips into a serious melancholy that eats away at him. He eventually dies a broken man.

Here is what I predict will happen with our HRCs and their leadership and followership, as the winds of politics shift. If I am correct, the tides will change, and the politicians who are now in power, will claim outrage at the misconduct that they have effectively condoned with blind eye for so many years. They will sack all those who drank the Kool Aid, as though they were the problem, not just the symptom, maybe get a Royal Commission or two or an Inquiry or three.

The politicians will claim that their predecessors did it, and we fixed it. What good boys and girls we are. With impunity, they will destroy the careers of the HRC czars and czarinas, who may or may not land on their feet in some other party sinecure, depending on their party affiliation.

When might this happen? Not soon enough, but hopefully before too much more damage is done.

What's stopping it from happening? Too few voices in the wilderness crying out about the injustice, and too many victims silenced by settlement secrecy contracts. We need more voices dear reader. When the critical mass gets too big to ignore, something will be done.

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