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ᗴvelyn

"User Interview: Shaz"

Shaz walks down to the center of the stage as A$AP Rocky's song "M's" plays in the background. The crowd cheers as he calmly sits in a cushioned seat beside the moderator Freeus who timidly prepares for hosting her first candidate forum.

Before we get this interview started, I heard it was your birthday today (May 17th) how old are you now?

I’m 20 years old, entering what I would like to think of as my “serious 20s”

Only 20 years old? Are you even eligible to run for this office?

Actually, one becomes eligible for any elected office in Canada at 18

Wow that’s rather young. So “serious 20s” huh? While running for office seems like one serious step in your life, are there other reasons you’ve titled this time of your life in such a way?

There are a number of childish habits I plan to give up, e.g. skateboarding, vandalism, petty theft

Well entering into politics that isn’t the worst list of habits I’ve ever heard from a candidate or elected official. While you’re trying to give up these habits, are there any others you’re looking to acquire?

I suppose I’ll be trying to do more adulty things in a general sense; paying bills, flossing, worrying - I may even buy a flat iron.

The cheeky producer plays Mike Jones' "Flossin'" breaking up the tension of a rather stale and awkward exchange between the two, their similarly straight-forward personalities not making for great prime-time TV banter.

An audience member, offended by the candidate's remarks yells Canadian stereotypes ranging from Drake to Moose, Mooses, Meese...


Don’t you think you’re kind of stereotyping adulthood with these goals? Do we really want an elected official who sees those over 20 as just robots who pay bills and use flat irons?

I think we need elected officials who will take a realistic view of the world, including the adult world.

So you’re very pragmatic then. Why don’t you tell the viewers at home a little more about your political philosophy?

I consider myself a One Nation conservative, in the tradition of Disraeli and Lord Salisbury.

Do you think you’ll be able to sell this brand of conservatism to a country with a fairly strong Liberal base? How do you believe this system is inherently better?

It’s true that most Canadians have something of an aversion to the word “conservative”, but if they are won over it will be by a philosophy which explicitly recognizes the duties of the rich to the poor, and which prioritizes stability over rigid ideology. The Canadian welfare state is unsustainable, and conservatives alone are willing to recognize this.

That’s certainly a different message from what most of the electorate is used to, let’s make this more concrete by seeing your position on several poignant issues:

What’s your favorite brand of Maple Syrup?


The crowd, already in a light slumber finally wakes up, hearing a question of interest to them. Answering wrong in this arena could cause a serious Canadian candidate their entire election.

I’d have to say the maple syrup made from the sap of my family’s trees - it has a distinctive, somewhat nutty flavour.

To this answer most in the crowd nod in agreement having experienced the splendid taste of homemade maple syrup in the past, their tongues watering...however, at corporate offices around the nation several maple syrup CEO's are screaming into phones removing their support and financing from Shaz' campaign.

Wow your family has their own trees? And how does one make maple syrup, have you ever been a part of the process? Enlighten an American please.

Step one: drill a hole in the tree then insert a spile to drain off the sap into a waiting bucket. This is a lengthy project as it’s usually a slow drip.

Step two: having collected the sap, boil it down until it’s reduced to about 1/11th of its original volume.

Then you have maple syrup.

Can you send me some? What do you mostly use maple syrup in? Are you much of a cook?

Of course I can send you some. I generally put it on pancakes, waffles or the like, but it can also be used to sweeten various puddings. I like to think I’m a good cook, but honestly I really just follow recipes, and they usually turn out well.

Typical conservative, good with authority and rules. Speaking about culinary arts, is there a specific Canadian dish you like in particular? Do you eat the poutine ;)? The voters are very concerned that you’re not just politically traditional but culturally as well.

Of course, I love poutine, as long as it’s made properly with cheese curds rather than the barbarous grated cheese variant which one occasionally encounters outside Quebec.

Whereabouts in Canada are you from then?

I’m from London, in southwestern Ontario, a very generic city of about 400,000 which is so perfectly average that it’s often used to test-drive consumer products.

That’s very fascinating, have you ever had products ahead of time or used a product that ultimately failed in the Ontario market?

We did get Tim Horton’s dark roast coffee before anyone else - in Canada that’s a pretty big deal

The crowd cheers at hearing hockey player Tim Horton's name mentioned, it's akin to mentioning Reagan at a GOP convention, a necessary namedrop.

Would you say you know Ontario pretty well?

The inhabited parts, yes. Most of Ontario is a trackless wilderness, but I’ve been to most if not all of its cities and large towns, seen its most picturesque sites.

That’s great, I’ll take your word for it...just kidding. It’s time to play Ontario Rapid Round. What’s the bird of Ontario?

I have no idea. Maybe the osprey?

A native from Ontario faints at Shaz' incorrect answer.

Osprey is Nova Scotia’s bird, the common loon is Ontario, that should be easy to remember: common loon for an average city. What’s the provincial colors of Ontario?

Let’s say green and something else?

Half a point awarded! It’s green and gold. Last one, what’s the gem of Ontario?

That same irritating producer of the show blares out Llanne La Havas song "Green and Gold" causing quite a disruption as everybody twitches, fighting the urge to dance.

This one I should know - is it amethyst?

Correct! Why is it “something you should know” does amethyst have some significance to you?

Well, there was a brief period where I was quite interested in gems generally. Glad to see I haven’t forgotten everything I once knew.

Gems are really fascinating, are there any other ‘obscure’ interests you have or had?

I’ve had a lot at various times: heraldry, vexillology, whittling, coin collecting.

The crowd begins to be lulled back into their sleep....

Vexillology? I should have asked you about the Ontario flag instead. Wow whittling and coin collecting, do you have any pieces you are particularly proud of or any special coins?

I never really whittled anything very interesting. I have a Thai baht which I think is pretty cool, as well as coins from Switzerland, Guatemala, pre-home rule India, etc.

Dope, I once had a collection of Roman coins but I gave it to a history professor of mine. Speaking about professors, what are you currently studying?

I’m specializing in “financial economics” which is an interdisciplinary programme, including some econ (obviously), accounting, finance and math. My electives have been in history, philosophy, and political science.

If your campaign proves unsuccessful this year, what do you plan on pursuing as a career? Any professional goals going into the second decade of your life?

Well, I’m part owner of a political commentary website, and I’m planning to launch a lawn care business in the coming weeks, so I won’t have any trouble keeping busy.

A recent controversy came up during your campaign, your use of a “Rap Genius” could you explain what you do on this website?

The Religious Conservatives Shaz has largely appealed to lean in, nervous at what his answer could be. Supporting a user of Rap Genius could be very tricky...

Well, first off, I meme a lot. I really honed my meme skills to a fine edge during my time on Rap Genius, and for that alone I’m very grateful to the site. Then I suppose I make the odd editor, and occasionally even annotate or transcribe. I’m looking forward to working on some of T.I.’s upcoming album - one of my greatest moments on the site was his annotating a song I scribed.

For those listening in and aren’t familiar with the language of the internet, can you show an example of a “meme” you’ve made?

Bravo, bravo, that may have been the best answer any politician has ever given. Well with that we’re just about ready to conclude this candidate forum, but I do have a few audience questions.

A mister Nappy has asked, if you had a pet rhino, what would you name it?


Definitely Bismack, after Biyombo the god

Tyrant asked, what is your avatar on Genius and what does it represent?

Currently it’s a gif of staff member streetlights

Audience Member B4 asked, do the buttons keep the shirt together or does the shirt keep the buttons together?

Buttons and shirt are codependent

Another unnamed person asked, if you could rob any store in the world and not get caught, what item would you steal?

Probably a Louis Vuitton bag or something similarly frivolous

The crowd, largely made up of stereotypically wealthy conservatives stands up and cheers at Shaz' classiness, the roaring round of applause consuming the air for quite a few minutes.

My, my Shaz. If the rest of your campaign goes as well as this candidate forum did, I have no doubt you will be elected as Canada's next Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario.

Freeus shakes Shaz' hand nervously, attempting to hurry off stage while confetti flies in the auditorium. A hoard of people rush to greet Shaz afterward. Businessmen hurriedly write checks for thousands of Canadian Dollars, women attempt to hug him while in their maple leaf pasties, and users from Genius are blocked by security as "M's" fades in the background.

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