No one will ever accuse Stephen Harper, our current Prime Minister, of being an intellectual. Come to think of it, you'd have to go as far back as Pierre Elliott Trudeau before you can find a Prime Minister guilty of that sin!
In an effort to expand the cultural horizons of the Honorable Overlord of the Conservative Party and Master of the Cold Stare, one of Canada's better known authors is sending the PM a book every second week for the rest of his shaky mandate. Yann Martel, author of The Life of Pi, maintains he is not trying to "educated" the PM, only to make suggestions for a way to fill moments of "stillness" and maybe bring him some, much needed, cultural awareness.
And Martel is tracking his project at What Is Stephen Harper Reading: the book title, his accompanying letter explaining the reason for the choice and - maybe - Mr. Harper's response. Though it has been over a week since the first book was sent and not a word of thanks from the recipient as yet. Mind you he is a busy man and normally doesn't pay too much attention to those tramps and vagabonds that people the Canadian Arts Scene anyway.
I have to admit that Martel's rationale for sending Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych had me make a detour on the way home tonight to my local bookstore. Let's hope it generates the same curiosity in our PM. Though I won't be counting on it.
You may notice that I didn't include a link to the Wikpedia entry for Mr. Harper. They indicate that the entry is written as an advertisment. Since he's already getting the Canadian tax payer to foot the bill for his election-campaign-designed-as-government-policy ads, I'll be damned if I'll give him advertising time on my blog.