My thoughts on Don Cherry - opinion # 1,232,186 
Seriously, does everyone in this country - at least everyone with the access to print, radio, internet, or TV have to have an opinion on Don Cherry's visor rant?

Some of the more off-beat opinions come from the non-sporting side of the media.

Mark Steyn:

Thus, Dyane Adam, the Official Languages Commissar, has taken it upon herself to launch a Federal investigation of Mr Cherry. It would not, at first glance, seem to fall within her remit. Don Cherry was not speaking French. Nor was "Coach's Corner" in breach of any Federal bilingualism regulations. And the fellows he was allegedly insulting included speakers of Swedes, Czechs, Norwegians, etc, none of which is an Official Language of Canada. But hey, why let that stop you? Dr Adam has about as much authority to investigate "Hockey Night In Canada" as she has to investigate the latest gazillion-dollar patronage boondoggle in Quebec. But, if she has to choose, we know which one is less unhelpful to the Liberal Party and more in tune with the general philosophical bent of the one-party state.

And, of course, the dozy media are happy to support her sense of priorities. If 'hurtfulness' is the issue, what about, say, the Americans? Rick Mercer has his own CBC show dedicated to the mockery of Americans. Hath not an American unvisored eyes? If you prick him, does he not bleed? Apparently not. A year ago, the robust pro-US rant that got Don Cherry into his last round of trouble was provoked by a Montreal crowd booing The Star-Spangled Banner before the start of the game. Many Americans were 'hurt' by that, but they don't count. Nor would it be 'hurtful' if one were to make generalizations about the English. Yanks and Brits are expected to grin and bear it. It's the more sensitive identity groups than are in need of the metaphorical protective visors of government regulation and media disapproval. Which sort of proves Cherry's point, if not for hockey then for the wider world.

(read it all)

Andrew Coyne:

OF COURSE, just because it's true doesn't mean it needs to be said: not every truth has to be blurted out loud, let alone on national television. And mere fact, robbed of context, can still be misleading or inflammatory. It was "true" that a disproportionate number of ethnic minorities in the 1995 Quebec referendum voted "No." And so, in a sense Jacques Parizeau was right to complain in his infamous referendum-night speech that the separatists lost "because" of the ethnic vote.

(...... )

Because he cannot see Quebec society except as one divided on linguistic and, yes, racial lines. Whether it was a calculated attempt to inflame those divisions, or merely the bubbling up of his subconscious in the bitterness of defeat, it was hugely revealing. Such a simple-minded analysis, on such a charged topic, at such a time, would have been scandalous coming from an academic or journalist. From the premier of the province, it was an outrage.

Back to Cherry. He has a right to his point of view on visors, and it's a legitimate subject of debate whether they reduce or increase injuries. It is even, I suppose, legitimate to debate whether those who wear visors are cowardly. But why not leave it at that? What purpose is served by injecting ethnicity into it?

(read it all)

So the CBC is going to put Cherry on a 7 second delay - what happens when they want to use it - and if he goes on for a minute? - I guess they'll flip to Dyane Adams - or maybe the Canadian Tire couple?

Oh yeah, my opinion. It is that Ron Maclean should have stood up and played his part of the Abbott and Costello show a little more and stated that Mr. So-and-so actually was coaching Mr. This-and-that when he first decided to wear a visor and therefore what you said is stereotypical and shallow. Isn't that what makes Coach's Corner entertaining - Maclean playing CBC/Status-quo and Don Cherry the guy in the bar or your 'this is the way it is' Uncle.

Let's get a little perspective - as Steyn wrote:

On the January 24th show, the question arose of whether the NHL should make protective visors mandatory, and Cherry remarked:

"Most of the guys that wear them are Europeans and French guys."

That's it. That's all that happened. Ron didn't end the session by ripping off Don's bespoke tailoring and exposing his right breast. No Cherry nipple was glimpsed on the CBC.

We Canadians like to make fun of the Americans for their obsession over Janet's nipple but up here we need 2 months of therapy when Cherry says "French guys".

Speaking of obsessions - did you read Warren Kinsella's latest rant about Americans? He says, in an article talking about a man crying at the Super Bowl:

Up on the full-resolution, high-definition video displays, country star Toby Keith, who had been part of the pre-game show, with Willie Nelson, was growling his hit song, "American Soldier."

In the video, a U.S. serviceman drives past a cemetery full of dead soldiers, while Keith sings:

I will always do my duty, no matter what the price,
I've counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice,
Oh, and I don't want to die for you,
But if dyin's asked of me,
I'll bear that cross with an honour,
'Cause freedom don't come free.
You can bet that I stand ready when the wolf growls at the door,
Hey, I'm solid, hey I'm steady, hey I'm true down to the core,
And I'm an American soldier, an American.

A group of Canadians present for the game, and located just behind the weeping man, stand in stunned silence. They look around. The man (a Pats fan, go figure) isn't the only one with tears rolling down his cheeks. A lot of other people are crying, too, swaying back and forth.

I turn to a friend from Quebec and whisper: "Welcome to George Bush's America. Please check your senses at the door as you enter."

Maybe the group of Canadians were stunned by the presence of senses.

On his website, Kinsella said: "I was feeling a tad nationalist when I wrote it, as you shall see."
Coyne responded to Kinsella's shallow drivel:

By "nationalist," I take it you mean "smug, condescending, and splenetically anti-American." For God's sake, they're at war! The weeping wussie on whom you poured your silent contempt may just possibly have a brother serving in Iraq. They've got tens of thousands of kids fighting and dying overseas, and hundreds of thousands more who remember what that's like, and millions more who know somebody in that situation, or know their families, and worry for their sake. They had 3000 people incinerated in the middle of their biggest city on a workday morning, and are in a desperate and probably losing race against time to prevent the same or worse from happening again. If anything like that ever happened to us, I suspect we'd produce our own Toby Keiths.

Or maybe not. In a country that considers it impolite to object to its own dismemberment -- a subject on which you and I are agreed -- perhaps we would just lie down and take it.

Final thought. For disgusting displays of nationalist bombast, which ranks higher on the gag-me-with-a-spoon-o-meter -- Toby Keith, with his purple odes to freedom and duty, or the Joe Canada rant, a chippy, defensive whine about the horrors of being misunderstood by your neighbours

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