05 March 2010

Speaking of Pamela Wallin

Speaking of Success: Collected Wisdom, Insights and
Pamela Wallin
Toronto: Key Porter, 2001

The dark days of prorogation may have ended, but don't expect to see Pamela Wallin on the Hill today; the senator will be preparing for tomorrow's event with Sarah Palin. When announced last month, eyebrows were raised. Why would Wallin agree to host an evening for the disgraced and disgraceful former governor of Alaska? After all, Palin is considered something of a joke – albeit a dangerous one – by most of us living south and east of her state. More to the point, an overwhelming majority of Canadians don't like this woman. What is going on here?

There's little to read into Saturday's event. Pamela Wallin's gabfest with Sarah Palin represents nothing more than another few inches in her long, slow drift across the political spectrum, beginning with the New Left Waffle group in the early 'seventies. Give Wallin enough time and she'll become the Nationalist Party's first senator.

Those who say that appearing onstage with Palin is a bad move are reminded that Wallin has never demonstrated political savvy – after all, she's never had to. Sure, she's a senator, but the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? quizmistress never once ran for public office. Her greatest political move – inadvertent, surely – was that 1988 interview she had with John Turner. You know, the one in which she went on and on about suggestions of "a drinking problem", "long lunch hours", "a wrong decision", "a bad decision", "a drinking problem" and "drinking". Oh, and then there was that thing about his drinking. Several months later, Turner lost the federal election. He was replaced by rival Jean Chrétien, who subsequently named Wallin Canada's New York Consul General.

Observations? A rant? All serves as an introduction to this failed attempt at cracking the very lucrative self-help market. A "national bestseller" claims publisher Key Porter. Don't you believe it; Speaking of Success never shared the lists with John Gray, Richard Carlson and Dr Phil.

And do not be fooled by the cover. The wisdom, insights and reflections are not Wallin's, rather they come from those she's interviewed. Henry Kissinger is quoted, as are Nana Mouskouri, Jack Klugman, Linda Evans, Phil Collins and Ed McMahon. "Words are one thing. Actions are another", offers deep-thinker Sarah Ferguson.

Not that Wallin has no role in the book. She introduces each life-changing, ground-breaking theme – "Doing Your Homework", "Embracing Change", "Learning from Experience" – then provides bridges between quotes: "Neil Peart talked to me about the importance of keeping an open mind as time marches on:... Martha Stewart, a control freak after my own heart, made a similar point:... But that will be easier said than done, as author Ann-Marie MacDonald explained:..."

"I can only hope you've enjoyed your flight with the eagles", Wallin concludes, addressing the earthbound reader.

What words of wisdom will soaring eagle Sarah Palin offer, I wonder? What insight and reflections might she provide? To what heights will she take her audience? How much carrion will she consume? Seems that at some point there will be a Q & A session tomorrow night. Would that I could be there; I'd ask Senator Wallin about the presence of the Stars and Stripes in her homepage banner... and why it trumps our own flag.

Object and Access: A squarish book, 263 pages in length, it was published in hardcover and paperback. Unread copies of the first edition are listed online for one dollar. A common book in our public libraries.

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  1. Ben, I have to tell you, if Harper loses the Canadian election this year, you will feel amazing. On that happy night in 2007, when right-wing Australian scumbag PM John Howard lost not only the election but his OWN SEAT, it was a glorious feeling. We had friends around, and a very expensive bottle of black bubbly we'd been saving up, and life was beautiful. No matter that the Labor government that replaced him has been a bit ineffectual and weak-kneed--at least they're not actively, unashamedly evil and corrupt.

    Not to get all political or anything.

  2. My view exactly re Wallin/book/etc Ben! Thanks!

    Re JRSM's comment: Thank you for sharing. I'm putting wine away tonight. I pray it doesn't have long enough waiting to age properly!

  3. Yes, indeed, thanks for the words of encouragement. Just one question: However did you manage to squirrel that bubbly away? With Howard as PM I'd have been hitting the bottle on a daily basis.