Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Steyn on Don Cherry

Mark Steyn is on fire today, discussing the latest CBC/Canadian Media (is that redundant?) boondoggle [NOTE: For those of you reading who are not Canadians, Don Cherry is a Canadian Hockey Icon, not because of his play, but because of his broadcasting - and his wild suits]:

If "hurtfulness" is the issue, what about, say, the Americans? Rick Mercer has his own CBC show dedicated to the mockery of Americans. Hath not an American unvisored eyes? If you prick him, does he not bleed? Apparently not. A year ago, the robust pro-US "rant" that got Don Cherry into his last round of trouble was provoked by a Montreal crowd booing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the start of the game. Many Americans were "hurt" by that, but they don't count. Nor would it be "hurtful" if one were to make generalizations about the English. Yanks and Brits are expected to grin and bear it. It's the more sensitive 'identity groups' than are in need of the metaphorical protective visors of government regulation and media disapproval. Which sort of proves Cherry's point, if not for hockey then for the wider world.


A society that loses its sense of proportion is a society in trouble. A society that loses its sense of proportion only with selected biases is seriously unbalanced. Don Cherry is a performer and like all performers he has an act. It is hugely successful. It depends in part on his cheerful openness about the fact that he sees the world as "us" and "them" - us is English Canada, them is the "French guys". That's "hurtful" and "racist" and unacceptable. But, if you live in Quebec, you take it for granted that the assumption underlying almost all francophone media commentary on anything is that it's us and them - there's Quebec, and then there's the ROC. That's perfectably acceptable: it's just a reflection of Quebec's unique cultural identity. Being an anglophone of insufficiently exotic ethnicity, Don Cherry is not supposed to have a cultural identity.
For the non-Canadian contingent, Don Cherry's offense was to utter the following on a live CBC broadcast:
Most of the guys that wear [visors] are Europeans and French guys.
Hmmm...what to cover? Don Cherry's 12 verbal units, or Paul Martin's 250 million monetary units? Which do you think is more important to the future of Canada?
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