Sunday, June 13, 2010

Davey Johnston, Mulroney, and Love Story

A strange twist on the Mulroney story: because David Johnston, President of the University of Waterloo, was asked by Prime Minister Harper to draw up terms of reference for the Oliphant inquiry into Mulroney's sleazy business practices, and those terms of reference precluded answers on what Canadians most want to know about Mulroney, Johnston may now go from front-runner for Governor General, to also ran.

Johnston held various positions during the Mulroney years, none of which he mentions on his official bio any more. He presumably feels some loyalty to Mulroney. Did he deliberately circumscribe the investigation into Mulroney's doings in a way that would supposedly save Mulroney further embarrassment, if not actual legal trouble? Who knows?

But there's a further funny note. Al Gore's defenders will say he didn't actually lie about the extent to which the main characters in the novel Love Story were based on himself and Tipper. He said Oliver, the male lead, was based partly on himself and partly on Tommy Lee Jones. Author Erich Segal has agreed. (Gore, Jones, and Segal were all friends at Harvard--Gore and Jones roommates, Segal a junior prof). He also mentioned an article in his home-town newspaper that somewhat exaggerated the extent to which Al and Tipper were both models for the novel. Did Gore ever correct this exaggeration? Did he mention the Tennessean article strategically, hoping it would be repeated? Again who knows? I tend to believe Gore stops just short of being a pathological liar as well as a fool.

David Johnston, by comparison, is the real thing in more ways than one. Love Story mentions the captain of the Harvard hockey team, a Canadian named Davey. That was Johnston, who won a hockey scholarship to Harvard from his home town of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario--and went on to great things from there.

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