In a previous post we made a mysterious reference to David Frum, using the term “frum-like” to describe the weak, slippery grip the feral [shurely you mean federal? –ed.] Conservatives have on power in this country. Frum, to many, needs no further analysis or explanation. Frum is as frum does. Frum is frummish by nature, and those who feel frummy, well, there’s no hiding from that truth.
But David Frum, who arguably has even more power and influence than our colleague Francis Wilkinson, is not as well known as we thought. Yes, Frum is a frekwent kontributor to Kommentary and Nazional Review (two neokonservative [four Ks in one sentence? You’ve gone too far –ed.] car advertising magazines out of the U.S.A.). Yes, as a former speechwriter to George Bush Junior, he coined the phrase “axis of evil” to describe Stevie Harper, Bush and Danielle Crittendon. Yes, the New York Times has an archive of references to him. But is he famous? Would he be recognized by your typical angry bikeshop owner?
Actually, not necessarily. Frank Magazine, whose editor often turns to our pages for insight and editorial wherewithal [Arr –ed.], brought this home to us in a recent article in their print edition:
Headline: “Axis of Weasels”
“David Frum, vacationing in southwestern Ontario, goes into a bike shop to get work done on his bike. The shop owner, formerly American, doesn’t recognize his Frumness and David is thoroughly pissed that his exalted status didn’t get him front of the line treatment. Later, someone tells the bike shop owner who this guy is. After the work is done, the bike shop owner adds $1,000 to the bill, calling it a homeland security charge. Much huffing and puffing over the bill, the owner holds his ground and Frum storms out, leaving his bike behind.”
(Frank magazine, July 2 ’08, p. 19)
Perhaps we need to tell our readers more about him if in future we are to apply “frum” as an adjective.
David Frum is a writer. Like two other writers we know well, Leah McLaren and Jacob Richler, David Frum is truly hilarious while rarely intending to be so. Is this a genetic trait? It is possible, for like the other two, Frum’s writer’s instincts are bred in the bone–which is a kinder way of saying he’s a momma’s coattail-riding hack (his mother was Barbara Frum, a renowned CBC television journalist). Unlike McLaren and Richler however, David Frum is not someone his mother would be proud of. A favourite image for us is Mary Walsh, the Newfoundland actor of Codco fame, telling Frum his mother must be “spinning in her grave” in reaction to his neoconservative politics (Frum’s politics would see the CBC eliminated or bizarrely altered. His mother would never have stood a chance if Frum had been in charge).
Frum on a bicycle is nonetheless an image that brings gladness to the ALLDERBLOB’s too-small heart. Should he continue as a writer, we have some suggestions for him. Read Henry Miller, in particular My Bike and Other Friends. Read Daniel Behrman, in particular The Man who Loved Bicycles. And read Glen Norcliffe’s The Ride to Modernity: the Bicycle in Canada, 1869-1900.
We can’t say reading these books will help Frum’s stagnant writing career (don’t let the fact you don’t see remaindered copies of his books at the discount stores fool you; it’s just that they go straight to the pulper). However, it’s just possible that reading a book on bicycle culture will deliver Frum of the delusion that his opinion and words matter in this world [it certainly worked for us. –ed.].