Saturday, June 23, 2007

Christie Blatchford on Pride Week

Little could top Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford's infamous "names like Mohamed" piece on the Toronto Seventeen, otherwise known as the Little Gang that Couldn't, but she came pretty close today.

The racist underpinnings of the first column were long ago dissected by others. But
Blatchford, it seems, is a veritable Pandora's box of intolerances. Check out the homophobia and ethnocentrism that imbue this morning's article, one ostensibly about the recent "Support our Troops" brouhaha in Toronto that ended peacefully with Mayor David Miller's unconditional surrender.

Blatchford begins with a lengthy enumeration of organizations and groups whose special days and months are celebrated in Toronto under the motto (which she calls "self-conscious and smug") "Diversity our Strength." It's a staggering array, to be sure, of groups and causes. But special note is taken of Pride Week:

...and of course, Semaine de la fierté gaie, or as we anglophone bastards know it, Gay Pride Week...Just this week Mayor David Miller was raising the rainbow flag down at City Hall and talking about fabulousness.

You can just see her lip curl, can't you? (Not to mention the odd backhanded swipe at francophones: where on earth did that come from?) Every rag-tag and bobtail group gets recognition, she says--but not Canadian soldiers.

One can trace the ensuing binary. Our troops were dissed by a decision, hastily rescinded after three more deaths in Afghanistan, to remove "Support Our Troops" decals on city fire trucks and ambulances. Some controversy about the mission appeared to be behind it all. And the Left "wants it all ways on Afghanistan." We are guilty of "duplicity," she avers, because we oppose the mission but support our fellow Canadians sent over there by pressing to bring them home, preferably alive. Her notion of support is to ignore the mission entirely ("Canadian soldiers merely go where their government sends them") and offer unwavering, blind loyalty. Kind of reminds me of Country Joe:

And it's one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it's five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we're all gonna die.

Blatchford segues into a tale of personal risk-taking: she placed a "Support Our Troops" bumper-sticker on her car, triumphing at last over her anxiety that, living in a "solid NDP neighborhood" as she does, her vehicle might be vandalized. But this is how she concludes:

It's the first, and only, bumper sticker I have ever had on a car, and it, or another just like it, will stay there until the last Canadian soldier is home from Afghanistan.

But hey, happy Pride Week.

Blatchford's conservatism has evidently hardened considerably since the palmy days of 1997, when she could actually express public outrage at homophobia ("I am offended by those who are offended by gay men, naked or otherwise.") Now we have an article that works inexorably towards its concluding, bluntly-posed contrast: big, brave troops versus mincing pansies. Of course, she would never use language like that, so she hints and alludes instead; because, in Toronto, with all that self-conscious, smug support of diversity, anything more direct might be a bad career move. Never mind: her admirers have long since mastered the code.

And in other news, Afghan civilian casualties are soaring.

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