Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yokels with pitchforks (2)

One particularly obnoxious commenter at Jay Currie's redoubt has accused me of using code in a recent post of mine: "yokels with pitchforks," he avers, means "Westerners."

Not so.

One counter-example? Lowell Green and his dittoheads, right here in Ottawa. An even better counter-example? Toronto, the centre of the universe, Toronto the sophisticated, Toronto the liberal, appears set to elect arch-yokel Rob Ford as its next mayor.

The Right may find itself in a bit of a bind over this one. How can it continue to slag Toronto when the place will likely soon be run by a mouth-breather like Ford? The man is everything the pitchfork crowd loves--sufficiently nyekulturny, in fact, to satisfy the most discerning bumpkin.

I, bigoted against Westerners? Utter nonsense. Tommy Douglas was a Westerner, as were the working-class heroes of the Winnipeg General Strike. The On to Ottawa Trek was a western protest movement. The CCF got its start out there. All the Western provinces but Alberta have had NDP governments. So this false grievance-mongering by the commenter--about whom I shall have more to say anon--is fairly wide of the mark.

But anti-intellectual, boorish knuckle-draggers? That's a different story. They do not, however, form a "community" by themselves. They are ubiquitous and toxic. Every place and time has had 'em, unfortunately: heretic-hunters, illiterates, idiot-proud know-nothings, flat-earthers, xenophobes, homophobes, anybody-o-phobes. The duty of all citizens is to rise up and counter
this tide of brutishness with firmness and vision: to be intolerant, in a word, of intolerance.

This is not, by the way, another call to arms in the so-called "culture wars." As is the case with a battle of wits, a culture war is not a war at all when one side is virtually unarmed. Instead, it is a call for reason and good judgement. And in this post, gentle Westerners, I am talking to the good people of Toronto--even if some of you, for whatever reason, "think this post's about you."

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