Thursday, February 12, 2009

That Shaidle appearance

Yes, she's a frightful bigot. She's everything that my friends are saying she is, and they've got the quotations to prove it. But I'm finding myself conflicted on the flash campaign to get Kathy Shaidle off TVO tonight.

It's not that I'm buying into the Speech Warrior™ shtick. That's largely a bogus campaign to get social-conservative and anti-immigration agendas into the public arena without troublesome obstacles. But I can't help wondering if, on this occasion, we're setting ourselves up.

I'd have less difficulty with this effort if Shaidle were being asked for her views about Muslims, or the Chinese who (according to her) are constantly spitting, leaving cases of rotten vegetables in the streets, and ingesting illegal substances, or the Arabs, or...well, visit Warren Kinsella's site for a more substantial bill of indictment. Staggeringly awful, and utterly lacking in wit or intelligence.


She's being asked for a religious take on the current "atheism on buses" campaign. Kathy kind of abandoned her orthodox Catholicism awhile ago, because it was getting in the way of her nuptials, but TVO seems not to have kept up, inviting her old "Relapsed Catholic" persona onto the show. So we have a possibly post-relapsed Catholic and certified Speech Warrior™ asked to comment on the struggle to place atheist messages on a public transit system.

Lots of neat cultural intersections there. But overall this is a wee bit like asking Ernst Zündel to comment on global warming or the relevance of stamp collecting, isn't it? It reminds me, in fact, of the Monty Python skit in which Karl Marx, Mao, Lenin and Che Guevara take part in a quiz show where they are asked a series of questions about soccer. There's just so much waiting in the wings, never to be called on stage, that we are mesmerized.

Admit it--isn't there
possibly some good theatre in all this? Today's Kathy channelling the culture-vulture Kathy that was? The sweating, edge-of-the-seat tension--will she find a way to drag Muslims into the discussion? How will the by-now-forewarned host keep things on track?

Convince me. Maybe I'm just being contrarian. As a taxpayer I don't want to subsidize bigots. But what if the bigots are made to talk about stamp collecting? Atheist advertising? Crocodiles?

It just might prove to be a genuine pulse-pounding pleasure to watch such people writhe in their restraints. For surely Hell is being forced to discuss everything except what matters most to you.

UPDATE: Good grief. I was almost embarrassed for her. She missed an opening to do the anti-Muslim thing, but she called Obama a "Marxist professor." Robert Buckman repeated the phrase, with a classic Brit combination of incredulity and scorn, and at that point people on the panel simply stopped taking her seriously. A bit of flotsam she was, on a sea of serious thought.

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