Saturday, December 8, 2007

My Friend, the Shape-Shifting Reptilian

No one mentioned it. No one, that I could tell, even looked at it. Yet it was there, in plain view of all the guests, at least five feet by seven feet, hanging inexplicably, insouciantly, on the wall of the great man's living room: a gigantic oil portrait of Adolf Hitler. And I wondered if the master of the house, when speaking, in tribute to his piece had dropped the common metaphor of "the elephant in the room" in favor of "the führer in the room". For certainly, the Hitler portrait had the same effect as the metaphorical elephant: everyone noticed it, everyone felt awkward about it, and everyone acted as if it did not exist.

The brooding visage of the führer stared out at a selection of Canada's elite: famous columnists, newspaper publishers, multi-millionaires, opinion-makers, etc. I had been invited to the party by Ezra Levant, publisher of the now defunct "Western Standard" magazine, a libertarian-conservative organ based in Calgary, Alberta. Ezra and I had met while doing television commentary for Global TV during Canada's last federal election, and kept in occasional email contact since. When I'd emailed him a few weeks earlier (in September of '06), he'd mentioned that Lord Conrad Black, international media baron, would be hosting a reception for columnist and author Mark Steyn (whose book "America Alone" had just come out) at his mansion in Toronto, though the event itself would be sponsored by the "Western Standard" magazine. And never loathe to pass up an opportunity for adventure, I accepted.

I surveyed the whole bizarre scene for a few more moments. I finally decided to take the plunge and mention the führer to someone. And since I only really knew Ezra - that meant Ezra.

"Ezra", I whispered. "Why is there a portrait of Hitler in here?"

Ezra whispered, without looking at me, "I don't know". And just as soon, someone new had approached Ezra, introduced himself, Ezra had smiled broadly and extended his hand, and they'd begun chatting. Ezra, shall we say, gave every impression of wanting to abide by "the code of silence" himself. Everyone did.

That left no one else to ask but Lord Black himself, who I'd only just been introduced to. I thought about it for a moment, but a sort of shyness overcame me. He was constantly surrounded by people, for one thing: to ask would require shoving my way in and then asking about what no one was supposed to even acknowledge, right in front of everyone - doing so would have changed the whole mood of the party - a party at which I already felt sort of out of place. (Scenes from Peter Sellers's "The Party" kept flashing through my mind...). Besides, I already felt pretty certain that the only possible thing Lord Black could say was, "we thought it was a wonderful piece of art". That is, the only answer I could imagine was sort of a non-answer which wouldn't really satisfy my curiosity anyway.

Of course, there was one other person I could have asked. Theoretically, anyway. Like some looping ghost, Lady Black - bone thin, pale, and dressed in black - would occasionally appear at the far side of the room, slip noiselessly through the crowds, making eye contact with no one, seemingly noticing no one, and then disappear again out the room exit opposite. A few minutes later, I'd see her again over on the far side of the room...and she would glide silently through the room again, and out. Needless to say, something about her demeanor made it clear she would have no interest in - well, even acknowledging my existence, let alone discussing the portrait.

Having resigned myself to not getting any answers that night, and standing there marveling at the fact that I was standing there marvelling at the fact I was standing there marvelling that I was actually there, another thought flitted through my mind: Conrad Black is a shape-shifting reptilian from outer space. I had long harbored a secret fascination with lunatic British conspiracy theorist David Icke, who claims - evidently in sincerity - amongst many other things, to have uncovered evidence that the world's ruling elite (not only Lord Black but Queen Elizabeth, George Bush Sr. and Jr., the Pope, etc.), are not actually human. According to Icke, they are reptiles from a different galaxy. Why don't they look like reptiles? That's easy, replies Icke: they have developed the ability to spontaneously change themselves - "shape shift" - into humans so as to cloak their true natures.

I approached Ezra again. "How do you think it would go over if I made a joke during my performance about how cool it was to finally meet a real shape-shifting reptilian?".

Ezra nearly spat out the white wine he was sipping. "Uh - not well", he said. "No one would know what you were talking about - except for Lord Black, and I doubt he'd find that particularly funny".

For a moment I wanted to raise my eyebrow and say suspiciously, "Why? Because...he really IS a shape-shifting reptilian from outer space?" But I could tell this was a serious occasion for Ezra - he was the publisher of the magazine sponsoring the whole do. And no doubt he was anxious to avoid any possibility of upsetting his host, or the guest of honor himself.

"Okay. I'll keep it normal", I said. Ezra looked very relieved. Just then, the spectral figure of Lady Black passed through us again...just as she had eight minutes before, and eight minutes before that: no eye contact, no word, nothing. Lord Black was still surrounded by people. Sometime tonight I'll have to chat with him, I thought. Just then, Ezra glanced at me inquiringly and tapped his watch. I nodded back, and made my way over to the corner near the fireplace, where I'd propped my guitar against the wall. It was time to play.

(To be continued...).

14 comments: said...

I like your writing style.

Those people sound a bit on the peculiar side. . .

I would like to read more about this fascinating reptiles theory hahaha

Mrs. Unoriginal said...

I knew it!

The portrait is the soul. "heil"

(Choosing the lesser reflex)

Tal said...

Just look up "David Icke" on Wikipedia...

Guinevere said...

Maybe the guy and his wife are just waiting for someone to have the balls to ask about the Hitler picture, so they can pass on their fortune to someone who doesn't have a herd mentality. You missed out on a goldmine, Tal!

Melissah said...

Sounds like X-files. only they are in a room secretly plotting Universal domination.

Dr. Who was about Reptile aliens taking over London, too.

ok, I said it this time. I actually think it sounds absurd but am cautious because the viwers really like fantasy, for some reason.

Anonymous said...

"Tin Man" wasalso about the importance of shape shifting, stumbled across that idea randomly.

At first this evolution seemed relatively harmless. Icke began to flirt seriously with New Age theories, and then began to act on them. He dressed in turquoise, and began to call himself the "son of godhead". But by the time his book "The Robot's Rebellion" was printed in 1994, his trajectory had begun to take quite a different course. In 1996, the British magazine "Left Green Perspectives" wrote that this book "indicated a convergence of New Age thinking with Nazi philosophy. Casting aside his pat concerns about the environment, Icke enthusiastically embraced the classic Nazi conspiracy theory, alleging that the world is controlled by a secret cadre of "The Elite." He openly endorsed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Tsarist anti-Semitic forgery that informed Hitler's notion of a global Jewish conspiracy."

when are we going to get the whole story?

Tal said...
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Tal said...
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Tal said...

Hi anonymous

Yes - the whole structure of the reptilian conspiracy theory is identical to the Jewish conspiracy theory. No wonder, since - like all such conspiracy theories - they are both figments of a human imagination constrained by the physical realities of the human brain.

You'll get the second part next probably within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, you can spend your time emailing all your friends and telling them to start reading my blog :P

Dude said...

Don’t know about the whole ‘shape shifting reptilian’ idea…although it is a fine premise for a story. I am sure that there are many who secretly admire Hitler. Two words that, by the way, should never be used in the same sentence. The Govenator is one that comes to mind easily. Perhaps Connie is just more flagrantly overt about his reverence of the Furher. It should be noted that like all wars- Corporate America faired extremely well financially from the extermination of 6 million (give or take a few million) Jews. It might also be noted that those who have invested in Ford, GM, Dupont, Texaco, IBM, unwittingly have shared in the spoils of what was indeed beyond an atrocity. Perhaps ‘Lord Black’ has a conscience and therefore needs a large-scale portrait of Hitler to remind him of past mistakes. But I think the likelihood of him being a shape-shifting reptilian from outer space is more likely. I wonder if you had to resist the urge to goose step your way up to the stage.

Rich McCue said...

Very weird. You'd think that Black could keep his admiration for Hitler at the back of one of his numerous closets.

I don't recall anything overtly positive about Hitler in the FDR biography he wrote. In any case a very strange thing for a man to do who is concerned about his public image.

Tal said...

Hi Rich

The chance of any British Jew (Lady Black [Barbara Amiel] is a Jewish Londoner) feeling any admiration of Hitler whatsoever is, according to my calculations, metaphysical zero. And I think the chances are nearly as low for Black himself.

My guess is that they liked it for the shock value, or convinced themselves it was "great art", that it "really captured the larger-than-life evil of the man" or something. Who knows?

Anonymous said...

"They're creepy and they're spooky, altogether Ooky, Lord Black's family.
Their house, a Nazi Museum, when people come to see 'em, they really are a scream, Lord Black's family"

Eric A. Smith said...


You've got one Hell of a voice, and I've long been a fan of both you and your pops (the first concert I ever went to was BTO when I was 11).

Great to stumble across your blog. Most amusing indeed.