Mercer has new book, says he’s ‘less in­ter­ested in pol­i­tics’ th­ese days

Ex-po­lit­i­cal junkie is con­sid­er­ing a re­turn to writ­ing plays, scripts

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so­cial me­dia user who turned to Twit­ter for help in writ­ing an essay on The Hand­maid’s Tale has re­ceived in­valu­able in­sight — from none other than au­thor Mar­garet At­wood her­self.

A Twit­ter user iden­ti­fied on­line as Mom­chil Gavrilov tweeted at the Can­lit gi­ant early Thurs­day morn­ing with the plea:

“My crazy English teacher is mak­ing us write es­says on #TheHand­maid­sTale where we are sup­posed to an­swer why @Mar­garetAt­wood put the theme of power and con­trol in the book,” they wrote from an ac­count with the han­dle @GavrilovMom­chil.

“We do not have telepa­thy with @Mar­garetAt­wood so I guess twit­ter is a close sec­ond... Helpppp!!!??”

At­wood re­sponded hours later from her ver­i­fied ac­count with a quick les­son on the ma­jor themes of her 1985 dystopian novel, set in a world in which women are prop­erty of the state.

“Be­cause it’s in the world,” At­wood says in a tweet posted at about 5 a.m. Thurs­day.

“It’s not just women who are con­trolled in the book. It’s ev­ery­one ex­cept those at the top. Gilead is a theo­cratic to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism, not sim­ply a men-have-power women-do-not world. Lower-sta­tus men are told when and who (to) marry, eg.”

The de­tailed re­sponse de­lighted on­line on­look­ers, Mar­garet At­wood re­sponded within hours to a so­cial me­dia user with a quick les­son on the ma­jor themes of her 1985 novel The Hand­maid’s Tale. MARY ALTAFFER/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

who had retweeted the ex­change more than 800 times and gave it al­most 4,500 “likes” the same day.

At least one other lit­er­a­ture fan ap­plauded the ini­tia­tive.

“I used to teach high school. I’d have to­tally given points for proven com­mu­ni­ca­tion

with the au­thor. This is not to say that ev­ery­one should bother poor @Mar­garetAt­wood with all of their ques­tions. Oh, dear,” tweeted Jess Fara­day, with the han­dle @jess­fara­day. At­wood is a pro­lific Twit­ter user. More at thes­tar.com/books Po­lit­i­cal satirist Rick Mercer has a new book and “a bunch” of pro­jects in the works, but a run for of­fice doesn’t seem likely.

“I’m less in­ter­ested in pol­i­tics now than I ever have been in my en­tire life,” the St. John’s na­tive, who lives in Toronto, said in an in­ter­view for the newly pub­lished book Rick Mercer Fi­nal Re­port.

“I used to think about it, but I think if you’re an arm­chair ex­pert in base­ball or hockey, you al­ways think, ‘Well, what if they called me up and asked me to be the gen­eral man­ager?’ ”

The Cana­dian co­me­dian was of­ten asked about his po­lit­i­cal as­pi­ra­tions through­out his ca­reer on the weekly CBC satir­i­cal news se­ries Rick Mercer Re­port, which ended its 15-sea­son run last April af­ter he de­cided it was sim­ply the right time.

Now that the self-de­scribed po­lit­i­cal junkie has the time to de­vote to such con­sid­er­a­tions, it seems his mind is on other things than what’s de­fined him for so many years.

“For the first time in my life, I don’t have an im­me­di­ate plan,” said Mercer, who co-cre­ated and was pre­vi­ously a res­i­dent per­former on CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Min­utes.

“Now I can con­sider do­ing things that I couldn’t have con­sid­ered be­fore.

“Just the other day I said, ‘Maybe I’ll write a play again.’ It’s been 25 years since I said that out loud, so who knows.”

Or maybe that 2014 script he helped work on for a po­ten­tial re­make of Norman Jewi­son’s The Rus­sians Are Com­ing, the Rus­sians Are Com­ing,

“NOW I CAN CON­SIDER DO­ING THINGS THAT I COULDN’T HAVE CON­SID­ERED BE­FORE.”

Rick Mercer

which never came to fruition, will resur­face.

The script is among the rev­e­la­tions in

which in­cludes com­i­cal and touch­ing es­says on his life and ca­reer, as well as a slew of the sig­na­ture rants he de­liv­ered from a graf­fiti-dec­o­rated al­ley on his CBC show.

“I’ve had my hand in many, many, many (scripts) over the years. That one didn’t get pro­duced, un­for­tu­nately,” said Mercer, who writes in the book about his friend­ship with Jewi­son.

“But I didn’t care. Head­ing into it, I knew it was prob­a­bly a long shot. But as I men­tion in the book, I would have done any­thing to hang out with Norman Jewi­son.”

Rick Mercer Read more at thes­tar.com/books

Fi­nal

Re­port,

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