People can still be offended!
In this world where verbal volleys dominate the public discourse, it is surprising and somewhat heartening that people can still be offended by a bad “joke.” A case in point is Glengarry-Prescott-Russell Liberal candidate Pierre Leroux who was forced to remove a “Get to know me” video because people were upset because it poked fun at Vanier. The cartoon depicts the east-end Ottawa neighbourhood as being a crime-ridden hell hole.
Mr. Leroux says he and his family moved from Vanier to Embrun in 2010 after their house got broken into twice. “Anybody who grew up in Vanier and has a sense of humour will laugh about it,” he said, when he initially tried to defend the video. Any type of publicity is good, right? Clang! Wrong! Response on “social” media was rapid and vociferous. Vanier is a wonderful place; the crime rate has plunged; the video is unfair, etc., etc.
“It has come to my attention, that some persons have misconstrued a portion of my video as an attack on the residents of Vanier. Nothing could be further from the truth. I take full responsibility for the video – which has now been taken down,” Mr. Leroux wrote.
The video’s short run shows that even today, there are still some lines that cannot be crossed.
Thanks to absolutely awesome technology that permits you to share everything with the entire world, you have the ability to spew anything you want and retain the right to take personal offence whenever anyone spews back. In our totally wired society, we are at the same time constantly reminded that people are so sensitive.
The Liberal Party of Canada’s Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry riding association recently expressed disappointment with Mario Leclerc’s explanation for withdrawing his bid to represent the Liberals in the next federal election.
Mr. Leclerc recently said he was upset because he sensed that the riding association was not ecstatic when he was switching from the NDP to seek the Liberal nod. He cited association president Claude Poirier’s refusal to shake his hand when they attended a function in Cornwall. Mr. Poirier later said he didn’t know Mr. Leclerc was there, among the 300 other attendees. This is politics. There is no room in politics for hurt feelings. The bigger the stage, the bigger the insults. For example, Premier Kathleen Wynne has compared Conservative leader Doug Ford to Mike Harris and Donald Trump!
How low can some people go? Haven’t Mr. Harris and President Trump been insulted enough?
Of course, the Premier’s shot is tame considering how low public “discussions” usually descend. One candidate offers a different perspective. In Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, Sabile Trimm is running for the Libertarian Party, which is all about freedom and personal responsibility. “I believe that everyone’s a Libertarian. Some people just don’t know it yet,” remarks the Alfred farmer. “You want to live on your own terms, just so long as you don’t harm anyone. You take responsibility for your actions and expect others to do the same.”
She goes on to say, “I used to vote for a party on the Left because I thought it was the nice thing to do. Now I realize that the nice thing to do is to leave everyone alone.”
It is against the nature of humans to butt out. However, there are some time-proven idioms that remain useful even today. Engage the brain before you engage the tongue. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. And when you throw dirt, you lose ground.