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The Bare Truth

by Stephen Lautens


October 17, 2003

One of the disadvantages of skimming the newspaper quickly is that sometimes I get the story wrong from the headline. When I go back and read it carefully, the story is usually no where near as funny or unusual as I originally thought.

For example, I’ve been following the story about the Quebec Justice Minister whose 21 year old daughter was discovered to be working as a stripper in a number of la belle Province’s finer wiggle establishments. The story itself is actually a little dull. The daughter is only moderately pretty, and except for the fact that she is the daughter of Quebec’s current Justice Minister it wouldn’t be news at all. She’s not in any trouble, and reporters and politicians are trying to make the lame leap from Quebec’s strip clubs being controlled by biker clubs to the Justice Minister being in charge of chasing them down.

What I found a lot more interesting was the headline I read in one of the papers that said something like: "Stripper Daughter Defends Politician Father." Of course when you read it, the story was about her saying her father had no connection to what she did for a living, he is a good man, etc. Of course because I read it quickly, for a moment I thought it was going to be something quite different. Here is the story I had already concocted in my head about the stripper giving her press conference …

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming to my press conference. I have called it today to come to the defence of my father, the Quebec Minister of Justice.

"As you know, for a short while I have pursued a career as a nude dancer. I consider it a public service, especially since Immigration Canada has listed my profession as a needed skill in this country. I’d hate to think that we have to rely on foreigners to shake their money makers when there are acres of perfectly good Canadian skin doing nothing. As for me, I have done my part by proudly waving my tassels for drunken American businessmen at 3 AM closing time.

"Every family has its disappointments though. There are those black sheep we do not speak about around the dinner table. There are those who have chosen a lifestyle that is not socially acceptable, and my family is no exception. I am now of course talking about my father, the Quebec Minister of Justice.

"No one likes to admit that they have a politician in the family. All I can say is that in spite of the fact that he is a successful Quebec politician, my family still loves him, and I ask that you not judge him too harshly. My father did not have the same advantages growing up that many of the rest of you did. Early on we saw he was desperate for approval, and found no consensus too broad or compromise too great to get it. Every four years he felt compelled to go door to door asking strangers to validate his lifestyle, even to the point of handing out signs and buttons at bus stops with his name on them.

"No one wakes up one day and decides to become a politician. More often than not it’s just something that people fall into. When society allows them to fall between the cracks, that’s when they go looking for love in all the wrong places - riding associations, leadership conventions and even the Premier’s office. There they find people who use them but do not judge them.

"The rest of us, all we can do is love them while we hate what they have become, and hope that someday after losing a few elections, they will return to our families and find a job that is more socially acceptable. In the meantime, I ask that you not judge my father too harshly."

See? I like my version of the story better.

© Stephen Lautens 2003

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