Written by Bill Marchant
The Canadian Journal has recently reviewed Ending Bigly, Eh? The Many Fates of Justin Trudeau, and I, as editor of the volume, would like to respond.
The Canadian Journal editors lament the fact that most of the stories do not offer a positive vision of a Canadian future, some are quite vulgar and one even borders on blasphemy. I know that the editors of The Canadian Journal share many of my own opinions on what Canada means, its purpose in the world, its history, and what its eventual fate may be, so I was obviously disheartened when I read that they found Ending Bigly, Eh to be largely nihilistic and ignorant of Canada.
I have some quibbles with a few of the points that they make. The scene that they take issue with in Seven Needles by Jay Black was necessary in order to tell the story that Jay wanted to tell. Without That Scene (Spoilers!), the audience would be dangerously close to sympathizing with Nancy, essentially a former mental patient who thinks a B horror movie sequel from the 80s is telling her to kill a world leader. That Scene, though certainly distasteful, forces the reader away from her "side," and back to the reality that this person is insane. That Scene is not simply there for "shock value," but to shock the reader that they could ever have been on her side.
The alleged "ignorance" in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Diaspora by stained hanes is likewise necessary for the story that hanes wanted to tell. The author-insert of the story is admittedly ignorant of Canada, so everything he says, or relays, about it should be taken with a grain of salt. He speaks with several people who should know more, but each of them has their own agenda. Take the following passage, for example: "There is nothing in common between [the Provinces]. Absolutely nothing. This cannot ever be discussed back home. 'Home.'" Where the Editors see ignorance, I see sour grapes from a man who was forcibly removed from his homeland. "I don't mind that I was kicked out, I didn't like it there anyway and it's about to fall apart!" Just as Leacock's Sunshine Sketches is a look at a town somewhat rose-tinted by fond memory, so too hanes' Sunshine Sketches is a look at a country tainted by bitter memory. The bitterness is not hanes', but that of the characters
There are a number of other minor points I disagree with, such as the fact that I find many of the stories quite humourous. However, as I reflected on their words as a whole, I realized that we were talking at cross purposes. The purpose of Ending Bigly, Eh? Is to showcase the possible fates of Justin Trudeau. Many of these fates will necessarily be dark, brutal, and dripping with nihilism, because that is the most dramatic end for the walking costume currently inhabiting Sussex. What my friends, the Editors of The Canadian Journal wanted was Ending Bigly, Eh? The Many Fates of Canada. Unfortunately, the interesting and compelling fates for Canada largely involve relatively mundane fates for Trudeau, as can be seen in the two stories that the Editors of The Canadian Journal enjoyed, The New Guy by Horace, and the Epilogue by myself. Ending Bigly, Eh? Is not about Canada, in the same way that Ending Bigly was not about America. It is a backdrop for the fates of the main actor, Justin Trudeau.
I will conclude by saying that a thoughtful, reflective, and in-depth book about "The Many Fates of Canada" absolutely should be written, and that if no one else does, I very well may. But in the meantime, we have Ending Bigly, Eh? The Many Fates of Justin Trudeau: an irreverent, sometimes horrifying, and in many places silly look at what will happen to the man, the actor, the mask, Justin Trudeau.
Ending Bigly, Eh: The Many Fates of Justin Trudeau can be found here