Your seasonal anti-social-media message: Have a V**y Me**y Christmas!

Pierre Trudeau: What? Fuddle-Duddle? Below: Justin Trudeau; Pat Martin.


O Sir, we quarrel in print…

I blame Twitter, one of the first examples of genuinely anti-social media online, for the recent decline in the already debased state of public discourse in Canada.

Leastways, Twitter certainly makes it easy to slam off a reproof valiant to treat the right-wing trolls who inhabit the back alleys of the Internet with the respect that they so profoundly deserve. And if their tender feelings are hurt? Well, so much the better! Or so it always f**ls at the time.

Back in the day, it seemed like it was only the pimply faced agents of the Tory Rage Machine who used the on-line comments sections of what’s left of the daily press to threaten and abuse the many, many people to whose views they took violent exception. Inevitably, they hid behind a long list of pseudonyms, usually tinged with the fake patriotism of the Harper Cons. (By the way, if you’re a Harper Con named Johnny Can**k who disagrees with my a**essment, you can just shut the h**k up!)

Their strategy is well understood, thanks in part to their own famous Craigslist ad: to “make up facts,” and use “sarcasm and personal insults” to “score points” and “stir outrage.”

It was inevitable, naturally, that some of those who were among the principal victims of this sort of thing would begin to use the Internet – and especially the convenient 140-character format of Twitter – to respond in kind. Actually, with only 140 characters available, responding in kind is about all you can do!

Everyone of us, I am sure, has a r***t-w**g sh**t-t**l relative or the equivalent who has the power to get us really, really t**ked off – usually at a family dinner – safe in the knowledge that our cooler-headed spouses, parents or siblings will restrain us before we have the opportunity to say or do what’s really called for.

Unfortunately, Twitter seems to have given us the opportunity to respond as we deem appropriate, short of actual fisticuffs (which can be hard when you’re in a different city, for example) without the hand of a more-responsible or better-tempered loved one to restrain us. In other words, intemperately and with only a minimum of thought.

Perhaps if we lived in an era where all of our retorts weren’t restricted to 140 characters, we’d be less restrained in our enthusiasm for quaint f**r-letter Anglo-Saxonisms that seem to sum up neo-C*n policies and opinions so efficiently and accurately.

The problem, or maybe it is an advantage (it certainly seems to be the cause of a certain amount of relief), is that a lot of us who are not operatives of the Tory Rage Machine tend to fire off these ripostes under our own names. This, no doubt, carries a risk that some of our comments could come back to bite our backward-facing extremities if we decide to stand for deacon of our local congregation or chair of the local chapter of D**ks Unlimited.

On this general topic, my late mother oft advised me, if I’d ever dashed off an angry letter (this was back in the days of s***l-mail) to let it cool on the kitchen table over night. If I still wanted to send it in the morning, fine, go ahead. Chances were, she thought, I’d reconsider. Nowadays, of course, we all just hit “S*ND.”

So it was inevitable that a lot of us would be mildly shocked, but at the same time grimly satisfied, when NDP MP Pat Martin, exasperated at the arbitrary and undemocratic jackb**t strategies adopted by the Harper C***********s, Tweeted his displeasure in such blunt terms.

From there, I suspect, we will all move along briskly and cathartically – with no great service to the cause of intelligent public discourse, and not just in anti-social media, but a certain degree of satisfaction notwithstanding.

Most of us, for example, have resorted to the use of strong words in the face of outrageous provocation, which may be why so many of us were not particularly offended when Liberal MP Justin Trudeau assigned an unparliamentary label to Environmental Degradation Minister Peter Kent.

It is a sign of the times, methinks, that while Mr. Trudeau’s late father felt the need to explain away his response in the face of Tory provocation in the same venue (it was merely “fuddle-duddle,” he suggested) the son quite freely owned up to what he’d said and apologized.

I’m sure there were a lot of us who thought that, notwithstanding his apology, Mr. Trudeau’s comment was a pretty apt a**e**ment of Mr. Kent’s efforts, if not Mr. K**t himself, and, by the way, also that Mr. Trudeau’s beard and moustache looked quite chic and directional, no matter what the great minds of the media had to say about them.

Alas, I suspect this sort of thing is bound to continue on all sides, which is not necessarily for the good. You know: “bickering,” voter suppression, typical Conservative election t**tics and all that.

That’s why I’d like to propose a compromise. We on the left should agree to give up all profanity in our Tw**ts if the Harper Cons and their supporters will agree to stop making up facts, and using personal insults to score points and stir up controversy.

And if they won’t, well, I guess they can just … get lost! For the rest of you, Merry [EXPLETIVE DELETED] Christmas, and for Mr. Trudeau in particular, Happy [EXPLETIVE DELETED] Birthday!

This post also appears on Ra**le.ca.

11 Comments on "Your seasonal anti-social-media message: Have a V**y Me**y Christmas!"

  1. Alex P says:

    Perhaps I was a bit too fast suggesting the Twitter hash tags #HARPEREATSBABIES and #HarperisValien.

    But those shenanigans in Irwin Cotler's riding made me lose all control. And smug self-satisfaction is addictive.

  2. Filostrato says:

    I have to thank the Harper regime and its various and numerous courtiers, sycophants and other hangers-on for causing me to express aloud things I had only thought before. Thomas Paine said, "These are the times that try men's souls." My soul has been tried and my vocabulary has not been found wanting. It doesn't make me very proud, though.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Mr. Climenhaga and to the readers and posters who sincerely hope that the Con party self-destructs before the country does.

    The rest can listen to Harper's Chrismas message which will no doubt lift their spirits. You'll forgive me if I avoided it like the plague.

  3. susanonthesoapbox.com says:

    Brilliant! Oops, pardon me, I meant Bri**iant!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Academics are not helping matters at all by not strongly critcizing Harperites when they trot out misinformation and made up facts.

  5. Carlos Beca says:

    Filostrato do not feel bad about your vocabulary. I am way ahead of you and I could without any problem get a pie in the face of one of their bullies. I heard this morning on the CBC 'House' program our great Stockwell Day saying that the prime minister is aware that the majority of Canadians gave him the mandate……. – they will keep saying this until they really believe it – 39% is a mandate!! My goodness in 1984 Mulroney had 50% of the vote and then 43% in 1988 and these guys with 39% behave as if the earth was actually 7 thousand years old – ooops I am getting there SEEE.

  6. David J. Climenhaga says:

    This morning I wrote in this blog about the lamentable state of political discourse in this country from all sides of the political spectrum. Yesterday and today the far-right blogoshpere has been aTweet with praise for Ezra Levant's closing remark, directed at a vice-president of the Chiquita banana company, during a broadcast of his Sun TV show that was posted to Youtube.com on Dec. 22.

    The comment, in Spanish, comes right at the end of the clip of Mr. Levant's remarks, which can be viewed on line at http://bit.ly/tPJgcC – I will leave it to readers to provide their own translation of the Spanish.

    Mr. Levant is entitled to his views about Chiquita bananas, of course. However, the tone of his discourse, in my view, goes beyond what is appropriate for Canadian television.

    I think it is particularly revealing that Sun TV, which broadcast Mr. Levant's commentary, is our prime minister's favoured TV station, and is on a perpetual campaign against the CBC, a network that I have never heard broadcast this kind of sentiment or expression. One can only imagine what the Spanish-speaking world will make of us here in Alberta because of this kind of thing.

    The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's Television Broadcasting Regulations prohibit obscene or profane language, but do not define the terms. If my translation is correct, and I sincerely hope it is not, this would seem to me to be an appropriate case for investigation by the CRTC.

  7. Carlos Beca says:

    David I have not heard it yet but I would not be surprised at all that it is insulting. Mr. O'Leary did the same thing when interviewing Chris Edges and so this is just for us to get used to what is the new normal. The CBC is the next on the block because Conservatives hate it and will destroy it. Furthemore the CBC is the only radio station left that can make people think and that is something Conservatives do not want in this country. Copying the US is their number one reason for existence because like I said in a previous post they are now a cult not a party. One just has to go to Mr. Harper's past speeches to understand what is to come. In the meantime the progressives in this country are as bad and cannot even get together to battle this epidemic of stupidity. They all want power and whatever is left of democracy in this country will soon be gone. The arrogant way Conservatives are displaying more and more everyday will just become what we witness in the US which is pathetic.

    Reading what Mr. Levant writes is the best medicine to throw up.

  8. Filostrato says:

    I last heard Ezra Levant speak a few years ago when the Western Review had just packed up due to lack of interest but Levant was still keeping an online version going to act as his personal soapbox. He was doing an interview with Steve Pakin on TVOntario's The Agenda. He seemed more than slightly manic at the time. I expected him to blow a blood vessel at any moment. More that a little alarming…

    I believe he has only gone from bad to worse since then, if reports of his exploits are to be believed.

    You know, his ranting reminded me eerily of Ralph Klein's in his later years. At the time, Mr. Klein's profound illness was not generally known but his behaviour was bizarre for someone in a responsible position in public life.

    My elementary-to-intermediate grasp of Spanish would probably allow me to understand what Mr. Levant said. From comments on the broadcast, I have a pretty good idea of the phrase he used. Its use was ignorant and inappropriate at any time, on a public broadcast, doubly so.

    Is the man in the final stages of a meltdown?

  9. Carlos Beca says:

    Filostrato Mr. Levant has had a meltdown many years ago, except that his audience is past the stage of any possible recovery so he does very well indeed. He is definitely in the same mindset has Newt Gingrich and friends. Some of them can see Russia from Anchorage, others believe the Earth is 7 thousand years old, others believe that abortion should not be available even when the woman has been raped and, others that a firewall around Alberta is necessary to avoid infection from the rest of Canada, others that the Palestinian people is an invented people ….. and I better stop before someone needs emergency brain treatment. :)

  10. Anonymous says:

    Are neo-cons in the final stages of meltdown? Have some sympathy.

    Their view that markets are self-regulating and provide wealth for all, if governments just get out of the way has been shown to be non-sense.

    Their view that a benign god has created humanity exclusively in an otherwise empty universe seems about to go out the window with the discovery of literally thousands of near-earth like planets, and to top it off the religious extremists in Israel and elsewhere are proposing to segregate the women.

    Every aspect of their cult has been demonstrated false. That is why they are now so dangerous and are resorting to bullying, lying, and acting outside the rule of law.

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