Monday, January 7, 2013



So now the great royal party is over as 2012 disappears in the rear view mirror and 2013 is so upon us, most of us are now dating our cheques correctly. (Despite what computer geeks tell us, you can't pay all bills on the Internet.)
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee was an incredible success, from the great pageantry and good will  on the Thames to the giddy heights that the Queen enjoys in popularity polls. Any discussion about whether we should have British royalty as the supposed head of our country has been washed away in the last decades of her reign. Even Prince Philip doesn't seem quite so bumptious. Anti-royalists are content to hold their fire until the Queen is gone.
One way Canada celebrated was the awarding of a medal in her honour. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. And how Canadians reacted when they were awarded one, or celebrities and dubious scofflaws got them, says a lot.
The pop sensation, Justin Bieber, got one from the PM, partially as pay, I guess, for half-time at the Grey Cup. And some people didn't like that. There were tarnished recipients like the two women who keep attacking abortion clinics. And a lot more people didn't like that.
Ordinarily you could count me with the opposition, but since I got the Queen's Jubilee Medal too, I think it is a petty meaness to criticize fellow recipients. I have always believed that how a person receives an honour or an award says a lot about the person. Effusive "I don't deserve this" turns me off as much as the swaggering egotist who says it's about time.
But let's forget about tolerance when we survey one of the more irritating recipients, Allan Fotheringham, who is great as both a writer and a self-promoter. Foth got one via Art Eggleton, the senator and former Toronto mayor, and then preened about it in the Sun and Macleans, both publications for which he once laboured and pissed off his colleagues.
Foth even played games in public. He sat smirking in the middle of a reception after a Donner lecture with this and the previous royal medal pinned to his suit. A vanilla ice cream suit. Under a light. Working to be the centre of attention even though as one of the veteran stars of  Canada media, it really isn't necessary.
I saw Eggs at a dinner and chastised him for being the conduit for getting an award for a professional anti-royalist. After all, Foth is the guy who would make sure he was close to the Queen at a garden party and then rush to his terminal to let readers know that not only had he partied with the Queen (a huge crowd was also in attendance) he didn't much like her being Queen of Canada. Eggs reacted to me as if it had all been a huge joke, but then maybe I'm judging incorrectly for the first time after 44 years of knowing him.
Foth got his at a presentation ceremony, and wrote about it.  Peter Worthington, who got his in the mail, didn't write about it until Foth pranced into his sights and then did his normal delicious ironical doubletake on Foth talking about all the royal functions he had been at even as he scorned the whole business.
As Worthington pointed out, he also had been at many royal parties but didn't specialize in saying so just to shoot them down. I agreed with that as a writer who has also been at a lot of royal functions and only written about them a comparative few times. (I must confess, however, to have written several times about giving the Queen a tip on a longshot in the Queen's Plate (it ran last) and a few times about what the Duke told me (after deleting the racier language.)
The media are never shy about puffing up their stars when they get such an honour. And that's the way it should be. So the Toronto Sun was delighted in print when Chris Blizzard received the Jubilee award. Chris has long been a knowledgeable political columnist and Sun stalwart, so she certainly deserved it, not only for her many years of journalism but also for all her volunteer work, particularly in the Anglican church. I was tempted to write that she got it as one of the most ardent fans of the Brit TV series Coronation Street that I know, but I knew Chris would scorn me for an inept attempt at humour.
A lot of these medals were handed out. And whenever I got cynical about the number, I would get more heart-warming proof that receiving an honour in the Queen's name is always appreciated.
An e-mail would come from Joy Garrick in Kingston that Dave got one for all the decades of volunteer work in Toronto. Or at our annual New Year's Eve dinner Paul Corey proudly announced that his wife Mary got one for her Sick Kids research.  Bob Bundy told me over a fine lunch at the Hunt Club that he and wife Trudy and their daughter had all got the medal for charity work.
Good for all the recipients, although I'm not sure about the singer or the abortion zealots or Dr. Foth. Now I'm looking forward to what happens on the 70th. 

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