Over the past two weeks a bunch of the pandemic lock down restrictions got lifted in Ottawa, which meant a resumption of training in the Reserves. This has been a huge relief as I have been slowly losing my mind sitting around the house, but it does also mean a frantic scramble to make up for lost time. Right now I’m instructing on two different courses, and as one of these comes to an end I’m expecting to be a supporting instructor on another. Essentially, we’re racing to finish our weekend training in time for the summer, when the full time training begins.
On top of this, my mother had to go in for surgery last week, adding a bunch of family issues to the mix. She’s doing fine, but she’s an older woman and there’s no such thing as routine surgery at her age, so it’s been an added stress in life.
It might not be immediately obvious, but writing up the last four parts of the Deconstruction was a pretty exhausting. In case you’re wondering, the section of Uprising I covered in Part 59-The Fighting Begins came to a grand total of 840 words, and from that I produced four posts for this blog and probably could have kept going. When I first scrawled out my notes for this part, I mentioned to a friend that this was kind of a ‘Loaves & Fishes’ kind of miracle, where not even nine hundred words managed to furnish a month’s worth of posts coming to over ten thousand words.
Kind of a miracle of suck.
There’s a part of me that wonders if I’m going overboard with this level of nit-picking. Kind of like using a sledge hammer as a fly swatter. I worry that I’m harping on every last little detail, to the point where I’m in danger of falling into my own navel.
Or maybe it’s like dissecting one of those Shakespeare soliloquies. The ones that pretty much define the play that they’re in, where everyone in the theatre will lean forward to see how the speech will be handled this time. It seems kind of pretentious to dedicate this many words to such a relatively small part of the overall novel, but I feel like there’s no getting around the fact that there’s a lot to talk about in this tiny section. I think that’s because, as terrible a novel as Uprising may be, there’s still something authentic within its pages.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not saying that there’s something good in this novel, but something authentic. It lays out something real and personal from the author. It’s insultingly wrong, but it’s still real in its wrongness, if that makes any sense.
This is a scene where an army of Warriors (wearing camouflage and native costumes) just roars into the centre of a major city. They build barricades in a matter of seconds then scatter the helpless, bleating population with a few shots fired into the air. And not only do the people flee so madly that they actually injure themselves, but the cops blindly drive onto the scene and get shot up and overpowered.
This is fucked.
This is not how guerrilla wars work, and reading anything more in-depth than a Wikipedia article will tell you that. But I can’t help but feel that, while this scene is high order bullshit, it’s still something that’s believed bullshit. People worried about a First Nations militant movement in real life actually seem to think that this is something that could happen out of the blue one day.
Maybe even Douglas Bland believes this.
As I’ve said before in this blog, an Indigenous uprising in Canada is very much something that could happen in Canada. There have been localized demonstrations, crises and standoffs at least a couple of times each decade for the last thirty+ years. A speculative novel about a modern-day Oka Crisis – assuming it was handled respectfully – could be a worthwhile piece of work. A pan-Canadian rebellion is theoretically possible, but at this point a lot more legwork is going to have to be done.
It’s like watching Death Wish 3 where the ‘crime-ridden inner city‘ is portrayed as a literal war zone where gang members walk around in public, unafraid of the police despite having obvious tattoos on their foreheads. At first you’re howling with laughter. I mean, I thought ‘The Warriors‘ was blatant… But then you start to realize…there’s no punch line. The whole movie’s playing it straight.
Seriously! It’s not even like the original Death Wish movie where there’s the hidden subtext of Charles Bronson never actually finds the crooks that murdered his wife. These guys were apparently supposed to be real gang members rampaging through a real New York. And the cops…the NYPD no less…were utterly helpless to stop them.
Suddenly, halfway through laughing, you start to get this creeping dread: Do the film makers actually believe this shit is real?
Or worse yet, maybe the film makers knew better, but understood that the audience would believe it. Like, maybe there’s a significant percentage of the theatre going crowd in suburban Midwest America who honestly think that the movie accurately depicts urban crime. Or worse still, maybe there’s a part of the audience who wants to believe…
Some days, I feel like I should just laugh at a book like Uprising and walk away. But somebody wrote the damn thing. Other people are reading it. The tropes and the stereotypes we’re seeing here aren’t unique. They show up in all kinds of other garbage throughout books, TV, and movies. And just like with Death Wish 3, there’s probably some Uprising readers who think the only solution involves a machine gun and lots of ammo. Or maybe they want to think that way.
So yeah, it’s a ridiculous work. But it ain’t nothing.
***All images in this post are from Cannon Group’s Death Wish 3 (1985). Images taken from imdb.com.***
 I didn’t even mention the fact that the part of Montreal that the NPA is invading is on an island, making it even harder to infiltrate.
 Or, more realistically, a continent-wide rebellion. The Akwesasne Mohawks aren’t the only Indigenous nation that extends cross-border.
 That’s one of those things most people (including me) don’t notice when they first see the original Death Wish movie. People say it’s about a man getting revenge over the murder of his wife, but it’s not. He never actually finds the guys who killed her and instead just shoots a bunch of random muggers and weirdos throughout the movie.
 And this is taking us down a dark path that’s definitely worth investigating, but not here.