Andrew Flynn Canadian Press
International hackers have targeted Shane MacDougall, invading his Web site and forcing him to back it up on a second server. Why? Because MacDougall is an anti- monarchist with an axe to grind and a rather unusual challenge to make.
MacDougall's modest proposal is a grudge match of constitutional proportions. He wants to take on Queen Elizabeth in a kickboxing match -- or, if she prefers, a math contest -- to decide the fate of the throne's dominion over Canada.
"She can choose the type of match and the location of the bout," MacDougall declares on the site. "She has until July 1, 2002, to face me in this competition. If, after that time, she has not accepted my challenge, Canadians can infer that she has forfeited the match, and I will be the effective new monarch of Canada." The outcome of either contest would be by no means a sure thing. MacDougall admits to having a weak ankle and sub- par math skills, which would make for a fair fight with the 75- year- old monarch.
The site -- www.kickboxthequeen.com -- is certainly satirical, but MacDougall is serious about his opposition to the rule of royalty in Canada. "The whole monarchy thing has been in my craw since I was knee- high to a grasshopper," he said in an interview from New York City. "In a democracy, your ultimate head of state is unelected?
We're ruled by a family of extremely dubious moral character? Because it's God's will?"
There is some irony in the fact that MacDougall, a 34 year old computer security consultant, stand- up comic and writer, is an expatriate Canadian who now makes his home in New York. But he is also an avowedly patriotic Canadian intent on making the point that the monarchy is a useless anachronism that needs to be done away with. He cites the royals' checkered family history, calling the lineage "one of murderers, adulterers, thieves, religious intolerance and inbreeders."
Feedback (which MacDougall invites and posts on the site along with his own rebuttal) has been swift and furious. Aside from the denial- of- service attacks that briefly shut the site down, he has had rancorous e- mails and even death threats. "Humour is a great motivator," he says.
"People come to the site but they never leave without saying something -- either 'I love your site' or 'I hope you die.' "