Politics, Progress and John Cleese

I’ve been fairly silent over the past two weeks since the election of President God-Emperor Donald J. Trump in the country that was once able to lie to itself about being the center of the free world. I’m pretty sure I fell into a catatonic stupor akin to someone who sees a real ghost (which I have, incidentally) and a preview of the diabetic coma I’m sure to wind up in due to the amount of honey I put in my tea. Occasionally I came out of this stupor to try to distract myself from the actual reality I find myself in, or offer condolences and encouragement to my American peers, since there really isn’t anything else that I can do to affect change south of the 49th parallel. For I am a resident of Canada, which according to most news media is one of the last bastions of true liberal democracy left in the world (because apparently the media isn’t aware of our ongoing mistreatment of First Nations communities, suffered their own catatonic stupor during the ten years when Stephen Harper was in charge, and missed the multiple thousands of people who signed a petition against letting Syrian refugees cross our border).

But I digress. Sorry if that seemed a little more cavalier and biting than usual. I’ve been reading John Cleese’s autobiography, So, Anyway, which chronicles his life from childhood to the advent of Monty Python, and reflects his sharp and witty style of poking fun at anything he sees as ridiculous.

I’ve always been a fan of Cleese’s work and his candor, and so I’m not surprised that we seem to think along the same lines with regard to just how bizarre the world is. More importantly, though, I can see parallels with his early creative career and my own (don’t worry, I’m not falling into that trap of thinking I actually “know” this famous person whose work I’m reading). Things like stage fright, which isn’t just when you’re about to perform, but also when you’re levelling up and beginning to network with more successful people. Or the funny way that opportunities seem to throw themselves at you out of the blue (and all at once) and that you need to take that opportunity because there might not be another one. But most importantly, the importance of taking your work seriously but not too seriously, since at the end of the day creative business should be fun.

So while a tiny part of me watches with anxiety as we inch ever closer to January 20, my focus is still the same: keep creating, work hard, be good to the people around me, and raise awareness about the issues I considered important. Most importantly, though, is the point my Can*Con compatriot Evan May already made on his blog: creative people just need to create. Particularly speculative fiction writers, who I like to think attempt to show the best of humanity and the best of the future, and help us all imagine a world where we’ve survived the reign of the likes of Trump.

In the meantime, here’s something fun to put your mind at ease for a few minutes, courtesy of Mr. Cleese and the rest of the Python crew:

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