Mike LaPointe

We Got Him

* This article is entirely fictional. If I were you, I wouldn't quote it.


'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the White House, George Bush ran the halls screaming, naked and teary.

"What is it?" asked Laura.

"We got him!" he shouted.

"Got who?"

"Him!" he whined.

"Osama?" she leapt, hoping her husband would affirm her hopes; that the one responsible for September 11th was finally in their custody.

"No, no. That other one! The guy with the torture and the big bombs. Kaboom!" he yelled, throwing his hands into the air like a mushroom cloud.

"You mean Kim Jong Il, then," she said, soothingly.

"Who?" he replied, scratching his head.

"The ruthless leader of North Korea. The one who starves his people under totalitarian rule, hates America with a vicious passion, and has no qualms about using nuclear weapons to back his agenda."

"Oh, that guy. Uh, no! Not him, Laura, don't be stupid. Do you think we're going to attack a nation that could actually beat us? Come on now, woman, get with it. I mean the guy with the fake weapons."

"Well then it's either G.I. Joe or Saddam Hussein you're speaking of," Laura said.

"Sam! Saddam! Whatever. Yeah, that's the one. Speaking of G.I. Joe� where is mine?"

"Over here honey," she said, holding up a ripped, All-American soldier figurine.

"Awesome!" he leapt in to bed and seized the toy from her, "Anyway," he explained while playing, "we never did catch that Osama guy. He's a tricky one. But, on the bright side, we did level his country looking for him."

"I'm very proud, hun."

"As for the South Korean --"

"North," she corrected.

"Right, North. We can't get him. Jeez, the man has a million guys in his army. We'd still win, but we'd get trounced! Then how good would this country look? Besides, North Korea doesn't have any of that gooey stuff that Dick likes. Olive oil, or whatever. Dick says we should stay outta North Korea. He said they have a big dog that'll bite you if you go in there."

"How frightening!"

"I know! But, it's about time we caught that Saddam dude. He was becoming a pain. Him and all his huge weapons."

"Now, George, to be fair, you haven't found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

"Yeah, but so long as we keep pretending there are some there, there is always a big chunk of people willing to believe it. You know what I call those people, Laura?"

"Consumers? Taxpayers? Americans?"

"No, no, and double no. I call them Voters! I'm so happy that we found him, just when people were starting to lose faith in America's ability to find these guys. The Ace of Spades! I particularly like that catchphrase. That's almost as good as 'regime change.'"

"You know, George, I was reading an alternative media source the other day�"

"You did what?!"

"Well I was curious to see --"

"There will be no dissention in this house, Laura, I mean that. Alternative media is wholly unpatriotic. It's like� it's like� witchcraft! Oooh, that's a good one, hold on�" George leaned over to his bedside table and scrawled "WHICHKRAFT" on a pad of paper. "Remind me to send that to the fellas at FOX News will ya, honey? Speaking of which, did you send them that 'Thank You' present I asked?"

"Yes, although I don't know why I did�"

"I just get a little soft for them 'round this time of year. After all, it's around the anniversary of when they gave me the election."

"Oh, I see. Yes, that was awful nice of them, you know� To announce that you had won the election before the polls were closed to dissuade Democratic voters from going to the polls at all. A very kind gesture."

"Yeah, man! Anyway, I just hope Saddam leaks something about some big weapons, otherwise I'm licked at this next election. All it'll take is one humungous bomb for the people to have to say 'Yeah, yeah, Ol' George was right.' Gee, I want them to say that�"

"I wouldn't worry about it, George."

"Why not?"

"Well, if next November rolls around and you still haven't found any weapons of mass destruction, you can just get some buddies to make something up for you."

"Won't I get in trouble for lying?"

"Not if you say you lied to protect patriotic, God-fearing Americans from an attack by a suicidal, jihad-declaring, turban-wearing, woman-oppressing, child-stealing, Muslim fundamentalist!"

"Child-stealing?" George asked, puzzled.

"I threw that in there, just for show. Can't hurt."

"I like that!" He then wrote "CHYLD STEELEEN" on his notepad. "Golly gee, Laura, you're so smart. No wonder you have all those book programs."

"What can I say?" she said blushing, "I read good."

"Aww� this is the best Christmas ever!" George said, bear-hugging his wife.

"Here's to a New Year, a new term, and a new America," she said with a wink. And with that the George's laid their heads down to sleep. All was well in the big, white house.

Mike LaPointe is a Canadian high school student living in Ontario. In addition to being a published newspaper columnist, he is the editor of the online culture source Fuzed Magazine. You can email him at mike@fuzedmag.com


The overwhelming sensation that I am becoming a statistic is finally setting in. I naively assumed that simply dressing differently and writing articles would solidify my individuality, but as I approach what older people commonly refer to as "the best years of my life" it is becoming frighteningly evident that I am a barcode, not a human being. In our modern world, hell-bent on complete and total simplification, it is becoming passé to live a simple life, substituted instead for thousands of intricacies that amount not to improvement, but assimilation. To everyone in the world excluding those around me, I am a statistic. I am one of 31 million Canadians, I am one of McDonald's "billions and billions served" and now, most recently, I am amongst the one in ten Canadian families that has undergone a divorce.

The specifics of my parent's separation are unimportant. What I find most fascinating is that, for the first time, I have become the object of my own ignorance. I frequently scoff at those cancer-ridden smokers who declare sincerely that they "never thought it would happen to me." I've never smoked a cigarette in my entire life, but in regards to a divorce I never really did think it would happen to me. After all, my parents were together for 20 years, married for every single day of my life. As I walked down the street in my childhood, bombarded with billboards telling me what to buy, unknowingly becoming the very first generation raised on globalization, the family unit was one thing I could always count on, but now that has fallen apart.

My utter casualness about the situation has been surprising. In one respect I feel obligated to hug everyone and sob until my eyes can take no more as though I were a character in "Kramer vs. Kramer," but I haven't, and honestly don't feel like it. I don't feel sorry for myself or any member of my family. Now completely disjointed from that dependant unit as I live on my own at school, my thoughts have been with no one. It's as though I'm watching the entire scene in one of those horrible Meryl Streep films. I am 16-years-old now, and I really don't need that unit any longer. But what is sincerely disturbing is the level of divorce in both Canada and particularly the United States.

One million children have experienced new divorces each year since 1997 with no end in sight. And these are not apathetic teens like me, these are dependant children. There is a higher percentage of households with children and only one parent, than households with children and two married parents. Children of such a young age need significant guidance, especially now, as targeted markets are increasingly going after younger and younger age groups. One parent, no matter what is said by those exceptions, cannot do the job of two. We can't have Erin Brockovich in every household, and this disintegration of the marriage is making it increasingly hard for kids to find the guidance they need in this insanely complicated world. This frightening trend is perpetuated as well, as it was found that children from a divorced family were 50% more likely to divorce themselves.

It disgusted me that politicians and voters all over the world were accusing same-sex marriages of "destroying the family unit." My question is: how can you break something that's already wrecked? More than half of first homosexual marriages don't result in divorce. You know why? Because we haven't given them the right to express their equally valid love with a marriage certificate. Because politicians still, after decades of a segregated church and state, don't have the guts to allow gays to marry. George W. Bush, in all his unrivalled wisdom, declared that he believes marriage is between a woman and a man, but how is the marriage institution still sacred when 9% of America's population is divorced and 50% of first marriages end in divorce?

My parents are divorced now. I am part of that menacing statistic that essentially dooms love from the very beginning. I would have been much more worried five years ago, still dependant on the unparalleled strength and solidarity that my parents represented together. If parents are supposed to be the role models of children, then all they need to express is love. Homosexuals can do this as well as any heterosexual, perhaps even better, as I find it unlikely that they would fight so hard for marriage and then desecrate it like we have. In Canada, where I've lived all of my life, 46% of the children living in poverty are from single-parent homes. This is the quintessential modern statistic to me. The fact that we allow so many foolish parents to leave their children's futures behind, but as a majority cannot tolerate the bonding of two caring, same-sex individuals. This modern world has some learning to do.

Mike LaPointe is a Canadian high school student living in Port Hope, Ontario. In addition to being a published newspaper columnist, he is the editor of the online culture source Fuzed Magazine. You can email him at mike@fuzedmag.com

Canadian divorce statistics: http://www.divorcemag.com/statistics/statsCAN.shtml
Canadian population statistics: http://www.statcan.ca/english/Pgdb/demo02.htm
American divorce statistics: http://www.divorcemag.com/statistics/statsUS.shtml

The Radio

Christina's medical affliction.

Since I changed schools I've been subjected to the very worst of music. From the very lowest common denominator hip hop can muster, to the pop-reggae that seems to be taking the world by glossy, predictable storm. Pop-punk also seems to be a major player in this carnival of the untalented; bands like Good Charlotte and Sum 41 have swept up that audience trying to make the transition from *N Sync to the Sex Pistols, but just don't find Johnny Rotten attractive enough to sustain interest.

And, as always, the straight-forward, perpetual, ruthless machine that is bubblegum pop rolls on, faltered only by Christina Aguilera's seemingly medical affliction that inhibits her ability to stay clothed, and the consequent backlash mothers have as their daughters buy her albums (after all, in their opinion, monkey see, monkey do). As different as these bands are in terms of their sound, they all have two things in common: they are forcing their audiences to sacrifice the integrity of their music consumption, and they are on the rise.

For years, the music industry has been trying to capitalize on the new trends as quickly and as thoroughly as clothing businesses attempt to exploit the underground fads that shape the new wave of hipsters, and, for the most part, both have been succeeding. American Eagle snatches up those trucker hats that can be purchased from Value Village for 70 cents, smacks a fake-vintage logo on the front and sells them for 50 dollars. The music industry goes a little bit further on this same concept, as they can not only discover the trends and over-saturate the market with them, but they can actually invent the trends themselves if nothing hip is available at the time.

good charlotte
Deep songs about girls, bullies, jocks, acne, and football.

Take a band like the aforementioned Good Charlotte, for instance, a band marketed by the music industry as being "punk rock" all the way to the bone, a band so undeniably sympathetic to the teenage condition that they hate the "establishment" and rebel against "the man" every moment possible, while poignantly singling out what it is to truly be a teenager: girls, bullies, jocks, acne, and football. Well, it's a nice dream, and one that is easily marketed to an impressionable audience such as the main Good Charlotte fan base: 12-year-old girls who don't know a whole lot about music, think the band members are cute, and don't read a newspaper.

The truth of the matter is this same band who is apparently rebelling against the fierce, oppressive establishment are performing at the MTV Video Awards, the exact establishment that suffocated the punk rock movement, and indeed a great deal of rock 'n roll during its inaugural season. The audience doesn't seem to see this, because MTV markets itself as being the couriers of new music greatness, and because Good Charlotte prostitute their names to the cause, they are given the juicy little kickback of being marketed by stations like MTV (or MuchMusic here in Canada) as being "the next big thing." This wouldn't be such a harmful system if these bands were honest and the music weren't so, well, awful. There is no substance to the music, and bands should be aiming for integrity, not just money. Music is an outlet for social change and personal growth. It can be the ultimate expression of independence, defiance, upheaval, and the voice of revolution, but instead these bands sing simple, catchy pop tunes, waving the flag of defiance to add a little zest for those audience members looking to be different but not that different, and they get rich off of the sacrifice of artistic integrity. Each time this cycle repeats itself we are losing a chunk of music itself, as it's getting hard to trust bands that come from major labels.

The radio has been plagued by these bands for years, and the influence of the record labels' push of hyped artists is always identifiable. But what is becoming a harsh reality is the conglomeration of all the stations. As companies like ClearChannel sweep up stations all across the continent, what we're finding is that radio outlets are taking fewer and fewer chances, aiming instead for the sure pleasers. The rap stations play the same core of artists, nothing underground, the rock stations play Creed, Nickelback and the other five hundred similar-sounding groups, and as for alternative stations: they don't exist. College radio and pirate radio, like independent labels on the executive side of the industry, are the fleeting hope of music fans all across the world. These artists are engraining themselves in one sound and, with the assistance of the crack marketing team at their label, are having wild success in the business of stagnation. They're on the rise with literally no end in sight, as it's becoming increasingly difficult -- if not impossible -- to give corporations like ClearChannel a run for their money. They've got the market cornered, the audience against the ropes, and they're kicking around the future of music simply because they can.

Mike LaPointe is a Canadian high school student living in Port Hope, Ontario. In addition to being a published newspaper columnist, he is the editor of the online culture source Fuzed Magazine. You can email him at mike@fuzedmag.com
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