Billowing White Sheets

XXXL tees and aspiring Conservative insurrection.

Billowing White Sheets

If there is a moment in Canadian skateboarding history that to this day defines how skateboarders around the world see us, it’s the early aughts. When a stiff breeze shot coast-to-coast, inflating everyone’s clothes—as if we stood upon a transcontinental subway vent—from a casually baggy ‘90s L or XL to XXXL Gildan tees and jeans that swallowed any pair of éS Accels that dared to be seen by the tired eye of the VX1000.

A whole generation of (mostly white) kids inspired by the hip hop culture and fashion that inspired skateboarders in the United States. Except our take was a clumsy, awkward pastiche. Like we’d peeked over the shoulder of a classmate, but when we tried to make the answer seem like our own, we didn’t have the words. So we just made the t-shirts bigger. A hollow exaggeration of a thing we admired and wanted to be ours, which is how Canada interprets and regurgitates most of America’s culture.

We excel at these lazy renditions. Flubbing a word here, adding a word there, and calling it a day. Family Feud Canada? Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5th Grader? Wipeout Québec? Jesus, no one asked for that. This phenomenon applies to our politics, too. Where no one with a solid grip on reality asked for this:

The Conservative Party of Canada, the Official Opposition, unsubtly wielding the language of a “rigged” election in the same week the United States suffered a violent insurrection at its nation’s Capitol that left five people dead. This, following weeks of baseless conspiracy theories and provocations from their own president, claiming that the election had been rigged against him.

A shameful, obvious play to court this country’s far-right, a roiling online sea of QAnon believers, and rapidly growing white supremacist movement. The Conservative comms teams’ eyes must have lit up at the mindless servility displayed by the thousands who descended upon Washington for a complete and obvious lie. Cloddishly lifting this rhetoric right from Trump’s now defunct Twitter account, and likely workshopping this bit on Parler after being called out online.

Of course, this association for the Conservatives is not new or surprising—but it’s incredibly concerning. If they continue down this road or ever manage to have a federal leader who’s more than a mumbling ice-cream scoop full of Spam, their incitement might be more effective. Although, does a competent Conservative figurehead even matter? Trudeau is naturally abhorrent enough to elicit disgust and distrust on his true merits. A continued deluge of misinformation will usher the gullible down a path they’re itching to believe is there.

The Prime Minister has already been the target of an attempted assassination by a QAnon adherent. We have violent Trump apologists gathering in support of a soiled, defeated, self-appointed god-king from a land they don’t reside. To brush this aside would be a mistake. Untold numbers have already feasted on this rotten rhetoric, let its maggots chew through reason, and are hungry for more. We are not immune. Remember: people willingly watched Wipeout Québec.

We’ve seen the damage that letting misinformation proliferate will do to a democracy—even the self-proclaimed “greatest democracy on earth.” Yet we still rip them off. But unlike Canadian skateboarder’s fits of the ‘00s, the billowing white sheets the Conservatives are handing out have a hood, and are made from the very fabric this country was and refuses to reckon with. For the vile groups who push this message, they’ve always been a perfect fit.