Many of my early posts were commentaries on wider society and popular culture annoyances which drove me nuts. Though I had some focus areas, everything from Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil controversies, to Gene Simmon’s latest ban from Canadian radio (always after saying something stupid about suicide victims after the lastest overdose) would elicit a response from me. For a while, it seemed that there was not enough free time in a week to keep up with all the nonsense.
But eventually, I became much less interested in the trivial. As is very visible in the number of pieces that I have published in the last few years. One would think that POTUS #45 would be worthy of weeks worth of material in one single day. On one hand, yes. But on the other hand, everyone else has it covered. For a play by play, you need look no further than Twitter or any news outlet.
This particularity of what I cover had only increased when I started doing more focused long forms. And my attention span for this stuff is even thinner on account of me being in the process of writing a manuscript. All this, plus working 30 to 40 hours a week, doesn’t leave much time for nonsense.
This is why this deviation of the norm (and use of my valuable time) is surprising, even for me. Why has an issue centred at the crossroads of 3 different areas that I don’t normally care about (Hockey, popular culture and The Social) garnered so much of my attention? Why do I give a shit?
Annoying people have that effect on me. Particularly annoying hypocrites.
First off, let’s consider Jessica Allen. More so, what exactly she had the balls to say on national tv that got the masses knickers tied up into such a knot.
This nicely ties together the whole clusterfuck that brought this to my attention in the first place. It started with Don Cherries’ last stupid comment on the Rogers platform. Actually, I suppose those are both 1 and 2. Then there was the reaction to this interview.
First off, the obvious. Sure, how people spend their money is their business. But there is nothing here that I haven’t been saying for years. There is nothing here that other people haven’t been saying for years. Canadian hockey fans are akin to American evangelical zealots. Hockey culture in this country is toxically masculine and, overall, fucking annoying.
Since I am here anyway, I may as well do a clusterfuck play by play. Starting with #1.
You people . . .
First off, I was rather amused to find no less than 2 of the so-called sacred plastic poppies left discarded in dirty puddles around the city 2 days ago. Reminded me of my internal struggle to dot this I when I was a child. Poppies gradually come into the picture after Halloween is done. Then there is the start line for when every single Canadian TV personality (from pop culture personality to news anchor) has one. As though it’s a law.
But after . . . I never knew when was when. How long are you supposed to keep wearing this thing? And when you are done with it, what do you do with it? People buy new ones every year, yet do they throw out a sacred symbol of 3 days ago?
I am a natural-born Canadian citizen. I don’t wear a poppy. I haven’t for years. And in that same timeframe, I’ve seen Canadians that prioritize the symbol only grow more ridiculous. My longtime observation has been non-existent religious entities getting more respect than war hero’s just going by business hours. Here in Manitoba anyway, nothing is open on most holidays, but November 11th remembrance ends at 1pm. And people line up to get in the door.
Then there are the political implications of post-2016. As foreigners get even more skilled at using social media to manipulate the electorate of the western world, we see the whole of the world shifting ever more to the right. Authoritarianism and fascism are starting to make a comeback.
But as this all unfolds before our eyes, the seeming reversal of history, of course, the biggest story of the day is the neglected use of symbols. Whether it’s bigoted idiots calling out You people not wearing them, or getting pissy over people now wearing them in general.
Poppies are not the reason. Poppies are the symbolism to the reason.
You CAN have poppies and fascism, hand in hand. However, when you get to that point, you have missed the boat. And all that you thought you were defending, was for nothing.
Before all of this, I really had no opinion of Donald Cherry.
Well, that isn’t entirely true. He proved himself a moron back in 2012 when he came out against science in terms of his Cold FX endorsement.
Aside from that though, the man was never on my radar. Not surprising, since the man occupied a completely different cultural space than I.
He was not without controversy, even before. How much harm this inflicted depends on whom you ask, but the man had overall been shown no boundaries. Until Rogers finally decided that enough was enough. So goes the so-called Canadian tradition that is Coaches Corner. Retired in disgrace. Much like half of its duo.
Of course, the disgrace part is disputed by long-time Cherry fans (and hockey fans alike). Like many other aspects of the world today, this is seen as yet another instance of oversensitivity poking its nose into the rest of culture. Rogers shouldn’t have cowered to those SJW bullies pushing their weight around. Poor Don Cherry.
Naturally. Every attempt at evening out the playing field in a distorted landscape is going to elicit this reaction. Equality means someone is going to lose power and privilege, and few are willing to part with longheld power and privilege quietly.
And then there is the freedom of expression angle. Another clusterfuck within a clusterfuck.
1.) Not wearing a poppy is a freedom of expression that was fought for. Remember that next time you start running your mouth off about what was fought for.
2.) Don Cherry has freedom of expression.
3.) Rogers has the freedom of saying “You’re OUT!” when it comes to his place on their platform
That is all there is to it. Tradition, freedom of speech, SJW’s . . . none of it matters. He toed the line too far, and it finally caught up with him.
Worry not, fans. We do live in the age of the podcast, after all. I would be VERY surprised if Don Cherry doesn’t make a comeback VIA a podcast or youtube channel sometime next year (likely in time for NHL season 2020). Your beloved segment isn’t going to disappear . . . just move to a new medium.
This shouldn’t be a worry since Hockey Night In Canada is run on a cable channel, to begin with (most cable subscribers also have broadband). I am inclined to highlight unfairness in that (hockey ONLY on cable?!), but I’m sure this point has already been raised.
Jessica Allen’s Controversy
Compared to what Cherry has in his past backlog of commentary, what Jessica had to say was tame. For many people existing outside of the hockey bubble, this is hardly controversial at all. The audience reaction alone was noteworthy. Of course, anyone in that audience is of a more like mind than not. However, the point still stands.
Someone finally had the balls to call out Canadian Hockey culture on a national media platform. And as expected, the bubble completely lost its shit.
First off, the hypocrisy.
“Rogers should not have fired Cherry!” one day. Then “Bell (CTV) should fire Jessica Allen!” the next. Is it too much to expect consistency from you bandwagon jumpers?
Think before you post. I’ve been saying it for years.
And then there is this.
First of all, the fact that a Humboldt family can dangle interview privileges in the face of a news organization (how Trumpian, might I add) is asinine. Why do I care whether or not you want to be interviewed? Why should ANYONE care?
Being front and center to a mass casualty situation is one thing. Though I was more annoyed with the fact that the media descended on the town like a vulture onto a carcass, the fact that the town welcomed it was their choice. However, this screams milking the situation for all one can get.
The bus accident was a tragedy. But it only became what it became because of who was on board.
They were not the only victims of that very intersection, or even of bad semi driver training. They just happened to be from one of the most beloved groups in this country (hockey players!).
This would not be still in the cultural white noise if the semi had struck Greyhound bus. And few of us would know about this AT ALL if it had struck a smaller vehicle. It was and is a traffic accident.
Though the overall reaction to this was generally useless limelight toward Humboldt AND racism directed at the driver, not everyone let their emotions get the better of them. Some focused on truck driver training, which was found to be lacking pretty much everywhere aside from Ontario. Another area of focus was seatbelts in buses (should they be added?).
Whilst the jury is out on whether or not seatbelts will help in the case of busses or (in particular) school buses, many provinces have stepped up their training requirements. Alberta recently backpedalled somewhat on their original post-crash requirements, but not without getting an earful from Humboldt families.
Which is in fact, a good thing. If the publicity ends up being the driver of much-needed improvement, then so be it. It won’t bring back who was lost, but their legacies are not in vain.
Moving on from THAT and back to Jessica Allen, do I think she should apologize?
I don’t know if CTV released this (or if someone crafted it for their benefit), but this pretty much sums it up.
On one side, you have this crowd:
And on the other side, you have anyone with a functioning brain.
Of course, the ears of the so-called silent majority (as noted in the post-millennial article above) perk up when they hear racism and bigotry they perceive is directed at them. How DARE someone talks about White boys and their culture of sports and meanness. How DARE Jessica!
All the while, every divisive thing that Don Cherry every said. . . that’s just the way he is. Every division that he ever sowed, excusable. All the toxicity that he has ever introduced into the fandom of the sport that Canada loves . . . what toxicity?
Double standards . . . did I just find another one?
An old guy with the privilege of longevity in the public eye is allowed to say whatever he wants without having to show remorse, but a young women must be fired for stating what amounts to an obvious but painful truth. Seems legit.
Jessica need not have apologized. CTV made the right decision (for once, Bell doesn’t disappoint me. Unlike HERE). And I hope not to ever feel the need to write about any of this trivial nonsense ever again.