The Critique of the Covid Briefing Bingo

New year new Covid Briefing Bingo nomenclature convention, kittens!

We’ve run through all the good Paul Naschy movies, and many of the worst of Bela Lugosi, but I decided we needed to up our game. It’s 2021. No more laurel-resting! No more B movie titles! No indeedy. We’re moving on up and out and on and now we are going to be ripping off the greatest works of philosophy for our titles!

Today’s inaugural New! Improved! Covid! Briefing! Bingo! Title! comes to us from the immortal Immanuel Kant, whose The Critique of Pure Reason is one of the foundational texts of Western philosophy (although it strenuously denies having anything to do with that skeevy Ayn Rand, Libertarianism, or Jordan Peterson, and polygraph testing proves this to be true).

Allow me to introduce you:

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) is the central figure in modern philosophy. He synthesized early modern rationalism and empiricism, set the terms for much of nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy, and continues to exercise a significant influence today in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, and other fields. The fundamental idea of Kant’s “critical philosophy” – especially in his three Critiques: the Critique of Pure Reason (1781, 1787), the Critique of Practical Reason (1788), and the Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790) – is human autonomy. He argues that the human understanding is the source of the general laws of nature that structure all our experience; and that human reason gives itself the moral law, which is our basis for belief in God, freedom, and immortality. Therefore, scientific knowledge, morality, and religious belief are mutually consistent and secure because they all rest on the same foundation of human autonomy, which is also the final end of nature according to the teleological worldview of reflecting judgment that Kant introduces to unify the theoretical and practical parts of his philosophical system.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

If that’s too much for you, maybe this will help.

Thought for a second about calling it “The Covid Briefing Bingo of Pure Reason” and rejected it, as the NDP and Tories would just claim I was stanning for the Libruls, and a strident anarchist such as myself cannot allow such smears on my character to stand unchallenged.


And I ain’t got time to be challenging that shit, you know? I’ve got blankets to arm knit, blog posts to compose, links to spam, and reams and reams of pointless government paperwork to sort out in order to restore my CRA benefits. /rant

Shockingly, the pet-sitting market has yet to revive. I KNOW!!! Just as shocked as you are over here. There goes my future of making millions while lolling about on sofas that cost more than my car. Assuming I can afford a car someday, that is. Meanwhile I’m over here applying to be a grocery store cashier just so I can save money on actual food and avoid going “poverty vegan.” Ah, but enough about me. Let’s talk about PM Zoolander.

Swear to god, by now The Roommate literally thinks the prime minister’s name is “Zoolander.” I know I’ve made that joke before, but I’ll only stop when it stops being true.

Today, kittens, we have a brand new briefing card for you! Yes! 2021 is already looking up when it features a sexy new Covid Briefing Bingo card, and absolutely free to download! And this one features an entire column of “Every Step of the Way” (must be completed in a single briefing. Protip: use pencil!) We’re too good to you, kittens, really we are. Enjoy!

And here is our first Year End Roundup interview with Rosie Barton of CBC, and she is not in Any Mood to be pulling punches, more power to her. We’ve got at least two more of these interviews to provide material, although one strongly suspects (at least, if one is this one) that Monday will see Trudeau give an “I didn’t go on a tropical vacation during the lockdown but look at all these Tories who did” Covidian-themed briefing. Anyhoodle, see you Sunday and Monday regardless. I dunno who these people at FactPointVideo are, but they are VERY useful to lazy covid bloggers such as myself. They’ve archived all the interviews when the various networks didn’t even put them on YouTube at all.

On December 20, 2020, CBC News Network airs a multipart interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The interview was conducted by host Rosie Barton outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa and recorded on December 17, 2020. Amongst the topics covered are: WE ethics controversy; prorogation of Parliament to stop House of Commons’ probes into the WE scandal; Finance Bill Morneau’s departure from government; government spending; a national child care program; federal-provincial relations during the COVID-19 pandemic; the government’s Global Pandemic Network failure; late closure of the borders against COVID; Trudeau’s ethical blindspot; Trudeau’s conflict of interest; the Two Michaels and China-Canada relations; Canada-US relations; whether Justin had COVID; vaccines; whether Trudeau will call a 2021 election in the midst of the pandemic.

Mark your “Christmas decorations” and “Seasonal Porchscaping” and “At Rideau Cottage/Hall” and “Outdoors” and “Facial Hair” and “Outerwear” squares right off the top. Oh yes, and “Scarf” too.

Was it really the toughest year of his political life, Rosie? Basically all he had to do was coax through the policies he’s always believed in, rather than re-examine his core political beliefs and question the entire system. Not that wrangling the NDP and Tories is easy, but In! These! Unprecedented! Times! nobody wants to be “that guy who voted against supporting Canadians” so it has been much easier than it otherwise would have been. The Tories are already shitting in their own nests so hard by flying to every Covid hotspot in the world as long as it had both caddies and warm weather.

Meanwhile, back in Ottawa:

Now, if you want to ask “Where’s Sophie?” well, that’s a fair question.

And yep, mark your “Two Michaels” square. I’m gonna say you can mark the “Mask” square too even if it’s just in a montage. Because if montages are wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Apparently there have been 83 Covid briefings from Rideau Cottage this year (really, CBC? Or just 83 federal Covid briefings?) but there haven’t been anywhere NEAR that many bingo blog posts, even though it may seem like there have been a couple of million of them. And given the exorbitant rates I charge for these, you’d think I could be more regular. Since those Soros Antifa cheques started bouncing, I’ve had to be creative.

“Addresses reporter by first name” square is in play now. It would be weird if it wasn’t. Seriously, if it were all “Mister Prime Minister” and “Ms. Barton” it would be too 19th Century, wouldn’t it? Not that we’re not fond of a good Victorian aesthetic, but politically it was…no bueno. Other than getting rid of slavery and child labour, that is. Except in China. China is still in about 1340 AD in many ways. Yeah, I’m gonna get shit for that. Come at me, bro.

Kant argue with that

The Global Public Health Intelligence Network, which I just now learned exists, apparently moved away from flagging pandemics in recent years, which makes me wonder what, exactly, its job is.

The Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), developed by Health Canada in collaboration with WHO, is a secure Internet-based multilingual early-warning tool that continuously searches global media sources such as news wires and web sites to identify information about disease outbreaks and other events of potential international public health concern. GPHIN is one of the most important sources of informal information related to outbreaks. More than 60% of the initial outbreak reports come from unofficial informal sources, including sources other than the electronic media, which require verification.


Barton says they were actively critical of flagging SARS and H1N1 early on, and they’re now under review, which they damn well should be. She asks if they’d been doing their job properly, would we have had a better warning of Covid-19, and Trudeau bunts, saying he doesn’t know that we would have. So, what does it exist for, then? And at what cost, if its single purpose is not being executed and even an attempt to execute it would probably have no effect? If, as Trudeau says, we get enough intelligence without it, why is it still there?

Again, taxes are a fee for service deal, and if we’re paying fees and getting essentially no service out of an agency, why keep it? This isn’t a scholarly organization, adding to human knowledge in some esoteric way. It’s a pandemic tracker which appears not to track pandemics anymore, and even the Prime Minister is calling it irrelevant to its core mission.

Oh yeah, mark your “Gesticulates” square and “Gloves” on the newest Eighth Generation square. Mine look exactly the same but I doubt he gets his in the Ladies Section at Giant Tiger. I mean, not ruling anything out here, and we’ve all had to tighten our belts since the Global Financial Crisis, but if the Prime Minister has been reduced to shopping at domestic discount department stores, we really need to start cutting back on agencies that fail to execute their core missions. You feel me?

Interlude to air out the house from the methane buildup resulting from The Roommate’s consumption of half of my pizza. I’d light a scented candle but this place would blow like Hiroshima.

We love Kant Because Reason(s)!

Minute 2 (and I’ve been working on this for two hours now) mark your PPE square.

Oooh, she’s asking why it took so long to close the border to the US. I’ve been asking that for decades. I mean, have you MET those people? And she points out that the vast majority of COVID-19 cases came from the US and Europe, either on Americans and Europeans or on Canadians who’d picked it up from Americans and Europeans. Trudeau responds that you cannot and do not close the border to Canadians coming home. Which, fair, but could we give them a Silkwood shower at least? I bet that would de-incentivize some of these Alberta politicians from jaunting down to Coral Beach or wherever at the drop of a long weekend.

Oh, HERE we go. Mark your “WE scandal rises from the dead to terrorize/bore Canadians to death once again” square.

“Do you have an ethical blind spot? How does this keep happening to you?” Oh, a hit! A veritable hit! Nice going, Rosie! And the short answer is, yes. Justin Trudeau has Privilege Goggles. He could really use a Special Advisor for the Proletariat to take him aside and go “So, Justin, has it occurred to you that maybe accepting that pearl-white alicorn from OPEC might not be the greatest idea, even if they sent a representative to every one of your birthday parties since you were a baby?” Which, you know, they probably did. Trudeaulandia is a very elevated plateau indeed, even if from his perspective they’re just “old pals.”

Okay, back from a slight interruption walking The Roommate’s dog, because he is both flatulent and lazy. The Roommate. The dog is just flatulent. Where were we?

There you go, mark your “Got your back” square on the Eighth Generation card. I doubt we’ll ever get the “Got your nose” square, but you just never know these days. It’s 2021. Anything could happen.

I love Barton. She’s all like, “Sure that’s great, but that has nothing to do with the topic.” Trudeau is gonna have to drop the Genial Canadian Coach act and answer those questions directly if he wants to get through this in one piece.

“EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!” Mark it, kittens. Only one and we’re a third of the way through, so I doubt we’ll get a whole column, but you never know.

“You do understand that your inability to see this as a problem, because that’s what you’re telling me, that you couldn’t see this as a problem, which to me is surprising, frankly, that that resulted in kids not being able to use that volunteer grant? Do you get that?” This is like a doctor checking on a patient to gauge how dissociated they are before prescribing anti-psychotics. Privilege Goggles are real.

When Trudeau outlines how he fessed up and took responsibility, he switched at a certain point from “I” to “We”. Did you notice that? I wonder if he understands how that doesn’t actually help him in response to this particular question.

Now Barton is point-blank asking him if he has someone helping him see where the potential problems are. Hey, I’m looking for a job and calling out the Oligarchy is basically What I Do. That I’m currently doing it for “The Exposure” or “To Staunch The Endless Flow of Life Force Into The Void During Lockdown Rather Than Strangling My Roommate For Shits and Giggles” is entirely beside the point. Will Work For Retweets.

Thoughts without content? We call that the Tory platform.

Mark your “Can see your breath” square, because the WE thing has got him somewhat heated.

OOoh, very interesting slip there about “next year’s electio- POTENTIAL election next year”. We see you, Trudeau. We’d think less of you if you were too stupid to seize on the opportunity, in fact.

There’s your “Shades the Tories” square, mark it. “The Opposition will and can focus on whatever they wanted. We stayed focused on Canadians.” There is a degree of drama teacher performativeness here that is usually absent from the briefings and the media Q&A. This interview features bits which have likely been rehearsed until they got stale.

“My responsibility as a government” is very “l’état, c’est moi,” non? I may be over-interpreting this, after al these years of being trained to pad things out for word count. The Blogosphere, it is a voracious mistress. “Got your backs” again! That’s two. Maybe I should have done a column of “Got your backs”.

“But [people] are also cynical when they see politicians do things that become self-serving.” God damn, she is not letting up! Nonetheless (or perhaps because of that) Trudeau gives her “Twinkleface” so mark that square. Mild twinkleface, but twinkleface nonetheless.

Will you look at that sentence structure, kittens? A thing, it is, of beauty and a joy forever if I do say so myself, and I must, because nobody else is over here blogging this shit at 3am.

All the way to Minute Ten before he says “Vaccines” and still no sign of “App”. I’d have lost a bet.

If my CRB money had come in and I had disposable income to bet, that is. I may have mentioned that?

And there’s “Feels Parents’ Pain” so mark that one, with an easy question about whether or not he was worried about the kids when their mother was diagnosed with COVID and isolating. And he says he’ll “be there with bells on,” which I thought only grandparents said anymore, when it’s time for him to get the vaccine, which will be “whenever healthy adults in their 40’s” get it. In other words, he won’t jump the line like American politicians. Is that “Shades the United States” I think it is, kittens. Mark it.

Barton asks him to commit to NOT calling an election until all the Canadians who want the vaccine have gotten it. Trudeau smiles and points out that in a minority government, it’s not necessarily in his hands. And thinks to himself “and they may be just stupid enough to give it to me,” and they may at that, kittens. They may at that. And there’s very definitely a “shades the Tories” implicit in the longer answer, so mark it if you had been holding out before.

And there’s “Building Back Better” which we haven’t had in AGES. And mark your “Freeland present or mentioned” because she’s in the clip they cut to. It was inevitable that she’d be here somewhere.

On a more superficial note, have I mentioned that ticket pockets in menswear annoy me? Well, and now that it occurs to me, maybe I’ll start consciously sneering at them more obviously, as we are in a pandemic and the implication that you do regular travel is simply gauche.

Continuing with the superficiality, I am simply in awe that neither of these people has had to blow their nose once throughout this entire interview. I’ve had a runny nose since September, basically; given hay fever, furnace dust, colds, the general Ottawa climate, and all other factors, there’s only about a six week window in the year when my nose doesn’t run, and so I am consumed with envy.

Everybody’s a critic

[long section of discussion of NeoLiberal fiscal policy, eg how childcare is an economic investment, not merely a social one; no squares except the two participating in the interview. Yes, cheap shot, but I wouldn’t have forgiven myself if I hadn’t taken it]

Barton gives you your “Second Wave” square. And Trudeau suavely “Pushes responsibility to the provinces” when he refuses to blame either government (in)action or individual choice for the uneven spread of the pandemic. Also mark “Rapid tests”. And Barton gives you your “App” square at last. And Trudeau gives you “Refers to the number of times Parliament meets” because although he’s talking about premiers, it’s the same thing in this particular case and also Parliament got back to a regular schedule anyway. So mark it.

“Every step of the way” I think that’s three. We’re getting close to completing an entire column of “Every step of the way”. And now another discussion of neoliberal policy, ie federation vs unitarian states, which is democracy vs fascism in decaf form. Trudeau says he doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it “Canada is Canada” which is basically “Who We Are” so mark that square.

And that question about the Two Michaels (mark that square) gets you another “Every Step of the Way” so while it’s a very serious question, I have to point out the very trivial fact that we are now one square away from an entire column.

Trudeau always talks about “the last five years” of government actions. Guess how long he’s been in office? And he’s good at not blurting out tissues of national security in front of journalists, which is a talent one likes to see in Prime Ministers, unless one happens to be, say, a journalist. Ahem.

Interesting, the CBC gave a full clip to Jagmeet Singh giving a fiery BLM speech. Can’t imagine them doing that for O’Toole, not that he ever would. He’s probably in some “Blue Lives Matter” chat on WhatsApp giving them the thumb’s up every time they arrest someone BIPOC.

Ooh, as Barton says “The Trump presidency is almost over. It took up a lot of space and time for you and for your government,” you can mark your “Strenuous head nod” from Trudeau which, yeah. We feel that. And mark your “Refuses to use Trump’s name”. He calls him “a challenging situation”. You could say that, indeed.

Mark your “Refers to the season” and “Christmas specifically mentioned,” and “Spring is coming” and that’s a wrap, y’all.

Meanwhile, in Alberta:

Meanwhile, in the US:

And, just because I’m feeling homesick for Vancouver again, even that black mold-infested co-op on the Downtown Eastside:

If you’ve nothing nice to say about anyone, come sit by me.

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