I remember a poster that was often found glued to telephone poles in Ottawa in the early 1980s. The bill was absolutely covered edge-to-edge with squint-inducing 8-point text, and it was slapped up all over town by a local band of hyper-dedicated Maoists called the “Communist Party of Canada( Marxist-Leninist)”. It was always an unpunctuated and breathless 2000-word diatribe against all those who would dare to question either the glorious chairmanship of Enver Hoxha, the leader-for-life of the Marxist-Leninist People’s Republic of Albania, or the leadership of Haridal Bains, the Canadian leader of the CPCML. Something of the flavour of their leader-loyalty can be seen here.
At the foot of each poster was always this phrase:
DEATH TO ALL WHO OPPOSE MARXIST-LENINISM IN ALBANIA –- DEATH!!
Nobody took those posters seriously for even a split-second, but somehow their threat-laden and adjective-dense text made for hypnotic reading as you waited on a bus or watched for a friend who was going to meet you in those pre-cell phone days when a handy street corner was often the way we linked up.
For decades those old CPC (M-L) posters were probably the only example I could have brought to mind of the word ‘death’ raising a chuckle. The word was merely part of a facile slogan shouted by a small and cherishably obscure sect of blowhards spilling out from the U of O student ghetto, acting all revolutionary with a staple gun and a pot of glue – a scene made for smart-ass undergraduate irony.
That was before I saw this. Thanks to this video, I’ve updated my association between the word “death” and humour. In this news piece (featuring my brother, with a bit of me thrown in to the mix) a young MS researcher speaks of a “big, but small risk” of dying due to the Zamboni CCSVI procedure. I have to admit my wife and l laughed out loud at the way this warning came out.
Apparently, one person has died around of the time of getting the CCSVI surgery. Of course, if true, that is not funny at all. But apparently that allegation– weighed against the fact that hundreds of people around the word die of MS-related causes each month — is supposed to make everyone who is thinking of trying to get cured (those treacherous ingrates, as the tone of the MS establishment usually implies) think again. Like the death threat of the CPCML, it comes across like bluster of a group that is at the end of their tether, logic-wise, and has decided to resort to naked fear to win the day.
Still, I think it’s a great bit from CBC’s The National, deftly weaving together a story from various elements and leaving this viewer, at least, eager to find out what happens next to those two old guys.