Stupid things said this week. Heros, zeros and cheaters.







There is a point in everyone’s childhood where, butter knife in one hand and eyeballs locked on a nearby electrical socket, you gauge your options.

For most of us, you drop the butter knife and walk away, deciding that pangs of curiosity hurt less than jolts of electricity.  For a small minority, however, the need to run a current through their body is simply too overwhelming.

And, amid a week of grief and despair on just every level, there were knives in sockets left and right.

One charred columnist hazily walked into a wall, in writing “Cpl. Nathan Cirillo an accidental hero,” a breathless attempt to become the most pernicious no-name columnist in the country.

In it, Hamilton Spectator columnist Andrew Dreschel goes to great lengths to make a point that nobody asked him to make, arguing “Cirillo’s death was tragic and senseless, but in no way was it heroic” going so far as to ask, apparently rhetorically, “would the emotional outpouring have been as strong if Cirillo hadn’t been so photogenic?”

You might feel a twinge of agreement with Dreschel, thinking to yourself: well, Cirillo didn’t really do anything heroic

But then your brain stops you, and you think: this guy was a Canadian Forces member, standing on guard, following an ISIS edict that Canadian believers should kill Canadian Forces members, and he was standing with an unarmed rifle just below the steps of Parliament.

There is heroism in that.  And even if there weren’t, the usefulness in publicly bleating otherwise feels utterly pugnacious and unnecessary.  This coming from a proud contrarian.

At the risk of getting philosophical, heroism is an illogical construct anyway.  Most ‘heroes’ operate either out of self-interest, outright stupidity, or blind duty.  But we still celebrate them as heroes because, as a society, we affixed special importance to their work.

Hey, Western society is an illogical patriotic construct.  You figured out.  Here’s a goddamn stuffed panda bear.

So, irrespective of the ink-stained wretches hellbent on looking more clever than everyone else — Cirillo was a hero.

Also jolted by their own need to talk this week was Green Party Elizabeth May, who insisted on wandering out of the trenches to insist that general creep and noted teddybear enthusiast Jian Ghomeshi’s sex life “is none of our beeswax,” before ultimately running so far away from her own comments that her abandoned opinion was just a speck on the horizon.

Jian Ghomeshi, in case you live under a rock without cellphone reception, is accused of assaulting — sexually and/or physically — eight or more women.  (And, apparently, that he showed his head-in-the-sand CBC bosses videos of bondage to get them on his side.)

Generally speaking, when you can count assaults by the half-dozen, and you’re a federal politician, it’s good practise to say as little as possible — aside, perhaps, ‘he should arrested’— as infrequently as possible.

To May’s credit, her initial comments came when the allegations against Ghomeshi were limited to three anonymous allegations, and as Ghomeshi’s well-crafted defence was to say that those women were just baby-crazed ultra-feminists on their period, or something.

But, in actuality, those women appear to be credible survivors of a predator, and whose fear of coming forward was not only understandable but — in the absence of a coalition of them, coming together at once — wise.

Fact is, there was a brewing defence of Ghomeshi after the first three accusations — coupled with a harassment campaign from his most fervent supporters — that was quickly quelled as more women bravely stepped forward, no doubt heartened by the bravery of each other and disgusted at the rush to assume that ‘innocent before proven guilty’ meant ‘ignore the crazy bitches.’

But while May was smart enough to concede the point and step back, erstwhile Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps took a running start, butter knife in each hand, and dove for that socket.

Copps dragged out the old flogged corpses of “due process” and “trial by media” to insinuate that allegations have no weight unless they’ve been proven in court.

That prospect, of course, is utterly absurd — the state is not allowed to convict someone without due process but the public, of course, can believe someone to be guilty of a crime based on their analysis of the evidence as they please.  The media may do the same, although with significantly more prudence and carefulness.

That’s not to say that you can’t defend Ghomeshi’s innocence, but Copps’ Twitter musing of “Do you really believe someone should be fired based on unproven allegations?” is so bonkers, it’s tough to square that she used to help run this country.

Especially when you contrast it with the opposite end of the spectrum, where “Independent” Conservative Dean Del Mastro was convicted of over-contributing and over-spending during his 2008 electoral campaign, then failing to report or cop to it.

Del Mastro, hair on end and butter knife in hand, told the CBC, not an hour after he was convicted on three counts, “the decision is not final.”

In fact, Dean, it is.

He will, of course, be filing an appeal.  But until then, he’s guilty, guilty, guilty.

And, see, Sheila?  It’s a case where we all believed he was guilty, and he was!


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