I don’t know about you but I would really like to be pandered to. By politicians, I mean. I’d like to be told sweet lies, offered meaningless trinkets or outright gifts of cash, told how important I am, indulged in flights of fantasy, thought of as right when everyone with half a brain about some subject or another is called wrong or, even better, silly elitists.
I mean, I’m a white guy. A white, middle-aged guy at that. Oh, I know I’ve got some strikes against me when it comes to living up to the mantle of responsibility white, middle-aged guys are supposed to live up to. I spend about as much time in an average year watching and talking about sports as I do solving the riddle of cold fusion. I spent enough years in university to qualify for membership to the Elite Club, though, like most clubs, I’ve avoided actual membership. And somewhere along the pathway to adulthood I was hung with the worst kind of baggage, the kind that forces me to see the bigger picture, to measure things in terms of social good as opposed to simply what’s in it for me.
Still, I feel gypped.
Yeah, there was that GST thing earlier in the stealth tenure of Little Stevie Hapless. I was pretty excited about having a point knocked off the GST, even more excited when he shaved another point off a year later. I was especially tickled that so many elite economists got their knickers in a knot over that wildly populist plan, calling it irresponsible and even foolhardy. Being such a wonkish intellectual himself, I really thought Stevie’s inner economist would cave to more reasoned arguments, but in the end, he roared through like one of those NASCAR drivers white, middle-aged guys are supposed to be so enthralled with and lowered the GST… for the Little People. Admittedly I was mildly disappointed when I used the opportunity to make a big purchase — a gallon of milk instead of two litres — and discovered there wasn’t any GST on milk. Oh well. It was the thought that counts.
That’s the great thing about pandering. It’s all sizzle, no steak. I have to admit, I don’t know exactly how to express that metaphor in vegetarian terms. But then, I might be accused of pandering if I figured it out.
And as much as I want to be pandered to, I don’t want to be accused of pandering. You may be amused, shocked even to discover pander has more or less the exact same meaning as pimp, at least historically, meaning back in the distant past when words actually had meanings. I guess that makes people who are successfully pandered to Johns.