|Phoney 'Hottentot' fools
John Ralston Saul scammed at diplomatic reception
By Scott Upchuk, with files from Ariana Huffington, Washington editor of the liberal weekly, Latest Goofs of President Bush
Mahmood, dressed as a Watutsi Warrior from Uganda, laughs as he demonstrates
how he tapped The Governor General's Consort on the shoulder at a diplomatic
reception in Ottawa. Photo: Nouvelles du Monde.
OTTAWA (NP) A sleazy Quebec City tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch is causing a diplomatic uproar in Ottawa. In the latest development in the ever-widening scandal, the Queen has demanded that Mme. Adrienne Clarkson, Canada's Governor General, place her husband, John Ralston Saul under a gag order.
The tabloid, Nouvelles du Monde, claims that one of its reporters, Mazhwe Mahmood, dressed as a Hottentot Spear Carrier, had crashed an Official Ottawa reception hosted by Her Excellency, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, OC, PC, CD. The official reception, held on Friday in Rideau Hall, was in honour of twenty-seven francophone African Nations who are to attend as guest observers (Ottawa pays the tab) at next week's Summit of the Americas in Quebec City.
According to the tabloid, Mr. Mahood had smeared himself with boot-black, then, dressed in the regalia of a Hottentot Warrior from Uganda, complete with shield and spear, had "without difficulty" managed to slip into the reception and mingle with the guests. There, he says he headed straight for the Governor General's Consort, John Ralston Saul, and tapped him on the shoulder with the tip of his spear. His Excellency, who had been exchanging small talk with General Tse Tse Obuki of Uganda, turned towards the fake warrior and immediately began speaking rapidly in flawless Parisian French.
The fake warrior-reporter, although long a resident of Quebec City, could follow only part of what His Excellency was saying not only because Mr. Saul used big French words but also made so many obscure intellectual allusions to Voltaire, that the reporter lost the gist. Fortunately, at least for du Monde, the sleazy tabloid had secreted a tape recorder in Mr. Mahmood's egret-feathered head-dress and the entire exchange was later translated into joual by du Monde staff.
'Chretien a jackass' and 'Prince Charles has B.O.' — GG's Consort
Nouvelles devoted next day's edition entirely to the G.G's remarks under screaming headlines, which in English translate roughly as: 'Blabber Lips Saul socks it to the Prince of Wales' and 'G.G. says Chretien is a jackass'.
The inside pages had several stories about wild 'orgies' at Rideau Hall, some featuring not only Her Excellency herself, but also involving Herb Gray, the Deputy Prime Minister. Mr Saul allegedly told the reporter (his mike, that is) that a drunken Mr. Gray had led a wild 'congo line' of equally tipsy Cabinet members out of the grounds of Rideau Hall, down Sussex Drive, around the War Memorial several times then up Laurier Ave. where everyone splashed naked into the reflecting pool in front of the Parliament Buildings.
Most papers would not print all of du Monde's sensational stories. The Ottawa Citizen in a front-page editorial, denounced, in particular, the 'congo line' story. "It is highly unlikely as there is no reflecting pool in front of the Parliament Buildings," it huffed. Other papers, especially The Toronto Star, commented on other inaccuracies, especially the reference to Mr. Chretien being a 'jackass'. "The word 'jackass' in French does not translate at all into English," the Star noted. "This and other inaccuracies bring into question the veracity of other stories being sensationalized by du Monde."
Whatever the truth of du Monde's allegations, the Ottawa Press Corps, jaded beyond measure by the never-ending stories about 'Shawinigate', are slowly beginning to pick up on The Honourable, His Excellency, Mr. Paul's alleged expressions of lese-majesty. These expressions, if true, are startling indiscretions from one who was just recently married to Her Excellency, Mme Adrienne Clarkson, who is the Sovereign's representative in Canada.
Contrary to what many believe, Canada's Head of State is not Jean Chretien. That honour resides with the Governor General as she most properly pointed out when she took up the appointment. In any event, The Notional Pest will continue to monitor this developing story — one that could have the most severe repercussions.
Scott Upchuk, Notional Pest