Lord Tubby. I heard him speak at a reading last night.
Speaking of him only as a historian, he is clearly an intelligent and knowledgeable man, with a great ability to grasp the big picture and think thematically, but I have a problem with his basic approach, which is purposive and prescriptive.
There is, he says, a "common thread" to Canadian history, that there is this idea of Canada that goes through the whole of Canadian history and is guiding us to this great state. And I fundamentally disagree with that teleological approach. I think it's total nonsense. Happy accidents are no less accidents. There is no guiding hand behind events. It'd be nice and comforting to think so, but no.
Black produces this magnificent castle on a shitty foundation. It really is well-reasoned and presented, but there is a basic problem with his entire project, rendering it all useless.
He wrote the book, he said, because no-one has written a proper history of Canada in the last 25 years (which may or may not be true, I don't know). He wrote it because none of the others accounted for that "common thread" to Canadian history. That is definitely true, because no-one believes in that approach anymore. It's the same reason why no-one writes textbooks on Phlogiston or Phrenology. We've moved on.
He also seemed to suggest that victory in war reflected the justness of their cause. Sorry, no, I'm afraid it's much more crass than that -- one side produces more than the other, and wears the other one out. The end. It did, however, produce a nice needle-scratch moment, where I questioned if I heard a grown man seriously just say that.
As for the man personally, he's old. Prison's aged him. He wears expensive clothes, but has old man tastes and ability to dress. Mom was in charge of his coat (I wanted her to slip in her number, just to piss Barbara off), and helped him into it at the end. He complimented her on her "great concierge service". I only threw up in my mouth a little bit. (Certainly, I know what Dad would have had to say about that, and I'm sure some Nazi collaborator analogies would have come into play.)
The MC consistently referred to him as Lord Black, and was quite the sycophant -- but, admittedly, he's a charmer. You don't become as successful in business as he without charm, and an already-rich father. Lord Tubby thanked the volunteers, and I in return thanked him for coming out, and was ignored. Oh well. I slept easily regardless.
He has a mighty hump. It's the surest sign of malevolence.