I think that perhaps one of the pod people from Don Siegel’s 1956 The Invasion of the Body Snatchers has replaced Sun Media’s Lorne Gunter. That is the only way I can make sense out of his November 12th column, arguing that Sportsnet was right to fire Don Cherry.
“As much as it pains me to say”, Gunter wrote, “I think Sportsnet was right to dump the long-time namesake of Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada.” Nota bene, Gunter did not say “had the right to” but “was right to.” Gunter is not merely defending Sportsnet’s right as an employer to terminate their contract with Cherry but their actual decision to do so.
This is the opposite of my own position, articulated here, and therefore obviously misguided, dunderheaded and just plain wrong.
How does Gunter or his pod person doppelganger justify this expression of mental flatulence?
By saying that this time Cherry “went too far.”
How did he do that?
By excoriating “’you people’ – meaning immigrants – for not wearing poppies to honour Canada’s veterans on Remembrance Day.”
Gunter went on to talk at length about the distinction between what Cherry said to Joe Warmington in his post-firing interview on Monday, i.e., that everyone in Canada should wear a poppy and what he said on Saturday night. Yes, the two statements are very different, and yes, saying that everyone should wear a poppy would have been a lot less controversial than singling out immigrants for criticism. Just because the latter is more controversial, however, does not necessarily make it wrong, much less an offense worthy of losing one’s position.
Gunter maintains that by identifying the group he was talking about as immigrants Cherry was “criticizing them for their national origin.” This is palpable nonsense. Cherry may have been criticizing immigrants, but he was not criticizing immigrants qua immigrants, id est, for being immigrants. He was criticizing them for not wearing poppies. This negates what Gunter then had to say about the words “you people.”
But “you people” is a lumping term. It lumps together all people with a specific characteristic and blames them equally, whether or not as individuals they deserve a particular accusation.
That is pure drivel. In hermeneutics – the discipline of Scriptural interpretation – class, we were taught to distinguish between exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis is when you take your interpretation from out of the text of Scripture itself. Eisegesis is when you read your interpretation into a text. That is exactly what Gunter is doing here. “You people” in the context of Cherry’s Saturday night harangue, clearly does not mean “all immigrants” but only the ones who don’t wear poppies.
In my last remarks on this matter I made reference to the 2000 comedy by the Farrelly Brothers, Me, Myself and Irene. In the introductory scenes to that movie, Jim Carrey’s character, Rhode Island state trooper Charley Baileygates has just married his first wife and brought her home. As he prepares to tip the limousine driver, portrayed by Tony Cox, he asks if “you people” take cheques. By “you people” he obviously means the limo company, but Cox’s character takes it to mean “black people” and gets combative. Baileygates’ wife intervenes – on behalf of the limo driver – and excoriates her new husband for his racist talk, and when he denies having said anything racist, the driver switches gears and re-interprets “you people” as a reference to his diminutive stature.
What Peter and Bobby Farrelly saw as a hilarious joke nineteen years ago, has become the sad, sober reality of the present day.
Having disposed of the ridiculous assertion that the words “you people” turned Cherry’s remarks into a swipe at all immigrants regardless of their personal behaviour, the question becomes one of whether or not it was justifiable to specify them as a group in addressing the problem of neglect of poppies on Remembrance Day. Gunter’s colleague Tarek Fatah, who similarly reads volumes into Cherry’s words, but disagreed with Gunter’s conclusion that the firing was justified, answered this question in his column.
If there was any doubt about Cherry’s assertion, it was removed the next evening by Mississauga-based-Pakistani-Canadian broadcaster Tahir Gora. He tweeted: “I attended 2 events Nov 10th evening organized by two diaspora groups in which I couldn’t find a single person wearing poppy – I can’t name those diaspora groups otherwise I would be called a ‘racist’ by politically correct media and politicians. But Don Cherry makes a point.
Fatah then went on to describe his own observations on Monday, in downtown Toronto, of how few people were wearing poppies.
Cherry did not say that immigrants were the only ones not wearing poppies nor did he say that all immigrants were not wearing poppies. It would seem, however, that neglect of the poppy is a problem in certain immigrant communities, and this more than justifies Grapes’ mention of them in his commentary.
Unless, of course, we believe that immigrants are a sacred class, above criticism and reproach. This appears to be Justin Trudeau’s belief, but I never took Lorne Gunter to be in Captain Airhead’s camp before.
While I have disagreed with things that Gunter has written several times in the past, those disagreements were all of the type that naturally occur between an old-fashioned Tory and a neo-conservative. He is a republican, I am a royalist and a monarchist. He thinks of the heritage of Western civilization in the modern terms of classical liberalism, whereas I would emphasize more our heritage from classical antiquity and Christendom. He is an enthusiastic supporter of capitalism and the free market, I merely dislike these things less than I loathe socialism. It is very rare, however, that I have disagreed with him on matters pertaining to the politically correct suppression of words and ideas that offend and the crusade of the woke to destroy the lives and careers of all who disagree with him. Indeed, this is the first such instance of which I can think.
Which is why I am leaning towards the hypothesis that he has been replaced by a space alien look alike. What other theory could possibly explain his having become someone who thinks like a woke social justice warrior overnight?
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