February 7, 2004

lighten up - a Canadian fiasco

One of the things I like about Don Cherry is his ability to create a political correctness schmozzle that highlights some of the extremities of Canadian 'niceness." It makes for great comedy, sort of like Peter Sellers in The Party or Being There where the protagonist creates chaos without even being aware of it.

What did Mr. Cherry do? Between periods of a hockey game, on national television, he went on a rant about visors in hockey (something he often does) and claimed they were mainly used by Europeans and French players, whom he called "French guys," implying something not so good about Quebec and other French Canadian players.

From the reaction you would think he was the raging mouthpiece of the KKK.

Cherry is, for Canadians, a trickster character. As we blithely go about being correct about everything to an almost embarrassing degree, Mr. Cherry still refuses to censor himself and says what he thinks, whether he's right or wrong, and voicing what are often the sentiments of an older generation of Canadians (and sometimes not so old). Some equate him to a kind of right wing blatherer but I personaly don't see anything terribly political about him. He doesn't strike me as either right or left but as someone who is frustrated by politicized bureaucracy and dumb-ass policies.

He's often the voice of the knee-jerk response as opposed to the usually sanitized and treacly opinions we hear from other quarters. This doesn't mean his opinions are right. Quite often he is not. It simply means they are expressed and often represent what a number of others are feeling too, others who feel their voice is largely silenced by Canadian political propriety.

The latest mess has created some wonderfully Stepford Wives comments like, "The government will not tolerate statements that create dissonance in our society and disrespect for others, " from Jean Augustine, the Liberal government's junior minister for multiculturalism. (Now there's an Orwellian title with a fitting quote to match.)

From the leader of the federal NDP, Jack Layton, comes the comment, "I'm in shock." Really now, if you'll forgive the syllogistic flim-flam here, if you're Canadian you are surely aware of hockey and if you know hockey you must know Don Cherry and if you know Don Cherry, how the hell can you be shocked by what he says? That's his schtick, Jack. You've got to wonder how Canadian our Canadian NDP leader is if he can make a statement like that with a straight face.

Finally, from the mother corporation itself, "CBC Television categorically rejects and denounces the personal opinions Mr. Cherry expressed during the segment. Comments such as those expressed during the show cannot be repeated and will not be tolerated." That's from Harold Redekopp, executive vice-president of CBC Television. That's the voice of outraged bureaucracy. Why can't that Cherry fellow be a nice gray cipher like the rest of us?

Is it any wonder the CBC is so dreadfully dull? I use to love and champion them but there is no getting around the fact it has become largely a waste of air waves (not to mention the money). I don't mind my taxes going to a public network. I do, however, object to paying the salaries of idiots.

No comments: