FRASER INSTITUTE FAIRY TALES (2001)
a recent full-page editorial in the Vancouver Sun, a writer
from the Fraser Institute soberly proposes "to end
welfare," and "reinstitute poorhouses and homes for unwed
At first I thought someone had monkeywrenched the Sun’s
editorial department with a faxed prank. Yet it turns out
that the contributor, "policy analyst" Fred McMahon, is
indeed with the Fraser Institute. I was puzzled. Had the
right-wing think-tank listed so far starboard it was now
endorsing Ebenezer Scrooge's legendary rejection of social
welfare, using his very own words? Then, in a flash, it
came to me: The Fraser Institute is having is on! It’s a
satire of organization’s own far-right viewpoint, it’s
gotta be. I mean, how else could such an august body sign
on to a howler like McMahon’s "social programs perpetuate
So here’s my theory: in an effort to win over a disaffected
post-boomer audience, the Brazen Institute is being hip and
ironic -- and they are doing it with sly allusions to
perennial childhood favourites like Dicken's A Christmas
Carol. This can mean only one thing: jobs for humourists.
If that's the case, then by God, I want a piece of the
action, scribbling out belly-laugh bumpf for everyone’s
fave neo-con nuthouse.
So here's my adaptations of the endings of other childrens’
favourites, revised to reflect the world-view of the Fraser
Red Riding hood. The wolf
— a Tom Vu fan who acquired Granny’s cottage as "distressed
property" — sits propped up in bed disguised as Granny, as
Little Red Riding Hood enters the room.
"Goodness, what big eyes you have," she says in surprise.
"All the better to see you with," says the wolf.
"What a big mouth you have," the little girl murmurs in a
"The better to eat you with!" growls the wolf, and jumping
out of bed, swallows Little Red Riding Hood in one gulp —
thus saving the taxpayer approximately $475,000.00 in
future education and medical expenses.
Princess and the Pea. At last,
the royal court knew that she was a real princess because
she had felt the pea right through the twenty mattresses
and the twenty eider-down beds.
Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.
So the prince took her for his wife, but discovered
sensitivity can have a downside. Free to spend her days
reading in bed, the princess devoured the works of three
evil witches (Maude Barlowe, Linda McQuaig, and Naomi
Klein), who inflamed her mind with all manner of
touchy-feely, bleeding-heart nonsense. "I think the
monarchy is a relic from the Feudal era," she babbled at
the prince, while he sat at his desk working on product
placement deals for the royal parade route. "On top of
that, branding public events with corporate sponsorship is
a thinly-veiled attempt to colonize young minds with the
consumer mindset." The prince sighed. "Why don't you just
shut the hell up and get dinner?" he replied. Exquisitely
sensitive, the princess burst into tears — and chastened by
her foolishness, never uttered another nanny-state nostrum
and the Three Bears. Horrified
by what they considered to be a home invasion, Mama and
Papa Bear set out to charge Goldilocks with breaking and
entering, and sue her for psychological distress. Too late!
The porridge-noshing blonde had already informed the
authorities of an illegal squat in the woods, occupied by
grizzlies. Snipers from Animal Control subsequently took
out Mama, Papa, and Baby Bear with high-powered rifles.
Within a month, Goldilocks had dashed off a manuscript
detailing her spiritual journey in the forest, and soon
found herself in the middle of a bidding war between Random
House and Doubleday, with Miramax films optioning her tale
for a cool 100 K. The invisible hand of the market had won
prince Conrad Black slowly slid the Gucci slipper onto
princess Barbara Amiel's foot, and lo and behold, it fit.
"I hate the underclass," she said dreamily, awakened from
her long sleep in Maclean’s magazine. "I too," he replied,
"and if I cannot profitably mold public opinion in this
kingdom to my satisfaction, it behooves me to seek out a
title in England's House of Lords. Even at the price of my
citizenship here." Barbara swooned as she looked into his
cold, steel-gray eyes. "We really are the elite, aren't
we?" she said, running a hand through his Grecian Formulaic
And everyone earning over 350K lived happily ever after.