Wednesday, February 24, 2016

If Social Justice Warriors actually went to war

   Every generation is a product of its time, from the genuinely hard-done-by kids who grew up in the 1930s Depression era and were rewarded for their hardscrabble existence by being shipped off to war in the 1940s, to the pampered, entitled millennials of today. That said, I have no doubt the youth of today would respond to similar challenges with the same courage and determination of their forebears - and maybe just a dash of their own 21st century hypersensitive campus culture. 


To: All ranks
From: Supreme Allied Command
Date: June 30, 1944 (D-Day plus 24)

It has come to our attention that since arriving in enemy-occupied territory, some of you have experienced difficulty in making the admittedly jarring transition from the relative comforts of your training bases in the United Kingdom to the soul-shattering horrors of daily life in an active war zone. While circumstances are such that a certain amount of trauma - up to and including sudden, violent death - is inevitable, your superior officers recognize that they are duty-bound to minimize the physical and psychological hardships of constant exposure to deadly combat. To that end, the Allied Expeditionary Force has undertaken several initiatives aimed at ensuring that all troops are exposed to the absolute minimum of terror and carnage, to wit:

SAFE SPACES: also known as foxholes, these rudimentary shelters are designed to provide a modicum of safety and relief from hostile fire on the field of battle. Pinpoint artillery barrages and lethally accurate sniper fire can be insensitive and hurtful, so dig deep and stay close to your safe space at all times. Remember, the enemy does not have your best interests at heart because of cultural differences that help make up the global mosaic that is so vibrant and wonderful when nations and peoples are not trying to wipe each other from the face of the earth. 

TRIGGER WARNINGS: these verbal red flags are meant to advise troops of the imminent risk of death or mutilation so that you can get to your safe space before being torn limb from limb. The standard trigger warning for all units is "Incoming!", although "Get your fucking head down!" and "Put out that fucking cigarette!" are also commonplace, especially in units with battle-tested sergeant-majors who've beaten the odds by staying alive for more than one week. If you don't hear a trigger warning, it means you're already dead. 

OFFICER PRIVILEGE: Officer privilege comes in many forms, from superior meals and sleeping quarters to ordering lower ranks to almost certain death from the relative safety of a fortified command post. Officer privilege has existed for as long as there have been armies, and remains a leading cause of resentment and other emotional distress in the enlisted ranks, to which we - the officers - say "Too fucking bad."

For further information, please contact:

Social Justice Command
Allied Expeditionary Force
Some liberated whorehouse in Normandy

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Grow up, Cam

   One of the best tests of a person's character is how they react in adverse circumstances. It's a test Cam Newton failed miserably in the immediate aftermath of Super Bowl 50.
   Newton was all smiles and confidence heading into the game, and why wouldn't he be?  Twenty-four hours removed from being named the NFL's Most Valuable Player for quarterbacking pro football's most potent offence to a league-best record, Newton and the Carolina Panthers were sitting pretty as 5-and-a-half point favorites over Denver.  Not one to shun the limelight in good times, Newton lapped up the accolades and strutted his considerable style in the Super Bowl run-up - even wearing gold cleats with "MVP" emblazoned on them during the pre-game warmup.  That might have been the last straw for karma, which grabbed Newton by the throat at kickoff and didn't let go until the final gun sounded on an utterly humiliating 24-10 loss on the biggest stage in professional sports.

   The subsequent one-man sulkfest was probably the most sullen display since Bill Belichick's next-level brooding after the New York Giants ended New England's bid for a perfect season in Super Bowl 42.  No one expected Newton to come bouncing into the media room sprinkling bon mots like fairy dust, but between his body language and shallow, monosyllabic answers to relevant questions, he made Leonard Cohen look Charo on a three-night molly bender.
   Not everyone thought Newton was out of line for refusing to engage the media in a meaningful way.  There was the predictable race-baiting from the usual social justice warrior suspects claiming Newton was being hated on only because he's black - although that doesn't explain the thoroughly derisive welcome lily white New England quarterback Tom Brady received when past Super Bowl MVPs were introduced before the game - and there are those who say their only expectations from athletes are on the field of play.  Be that as it may, the overwhelming majority of football fans undoubtedly wanted to know what the league MVP had to say after totally shitting the bed in the Super Bowl, and whether or not Newton or anyone else likes it, he has a professional obligation to accommodate them.  Media relations are part of the job description, and Newton was thoroughly and inexcusably unprofessional in the way he handled those obligations.   
   Newton doubled down two days after the Super Bowl, refusing to apologize and trotting out the shopworn "show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser" excuse for behaving like a petulant child.  No one likes to lose, but show me a gracious loser and I'll show you a man ready for the next level of success. Newton clearly learned nothing from a valuable experience.  As long as his attitude remains unchanged, he is unworthy of being called a champion.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Legitimizing the new anti-Semitism

      It's been fully a week since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a Holocaust Remembrance Day statement absent of any specific mention of Jewish suffering in the Holocaust, and the only mainstream media mention of the breathtakingly glaring omission was in the conservative-minded Toronto Sun.
   I posted about Trudeau's whitewashing of Jews from the Holocaust on my Facebook page, and was met with a chorus of "What makes the Jews so special?" and "Jews don't have a monopoly on suffering".  The kind of anti-Semitic tripe that used to be spoken privately in whispers is now stated openly and boldly, and the cue is coming from the highest office in the land.
   No one is denying there were other victims, but the overriding agenda of the Holocaust was the extermination of European Jewry.  The industrial scale killing factories built specifically to facilitate the genocide of the Jews also proved to be convenient for dispensing with Soviet prisoners of war, political opponents, gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled and other "undesirables", but the Jews were always at the front of the line at the gas chambers, and their total destruction was the Nazis' priority.  The Holocaust was also the culmination of centuries of Jewish persecution, and became a defining moment in the rich and tragic history of Judaism and a catalyst for the creation of modern day Israel.  It only requires a rudimentary knowledge of history to understand what makes the Jews unique in the context of the Holocaust, and how failing to acknowledge their central place in it is at best woefully ignorant and at worst a deliberate and sinister sop to anti-Jewish interests.  Either - or both - could be true in the case of a Prime Minister lacking in intellectual credentials and with a history of openly pandering to fundamentalist Islam, including normalizing Canadian relations with Iran, which makes state policy of denying the Holocaust and openly clamoring for the destruction of Israel.
   The most disturbing and disappointing element of Trudeau's blunder isn't the free pass he's getting from the mainstream media.  They've been in his pocket all along.  What's unsettling is the dearth of strong reaction from the Jewish community itself.  Among the few Jewish organizations that commented publicly, the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs said it accepted the explanation from the Prime Minister's office that Trudeau's statement was a first draft issued in error, which ranks right up there with the-sun-was-in-my-eyes and my-dog-ate-my-homework as credible excuse-making.  The notion that the PMO would inadvertently release a public statement about something as profound and sensitive as the Holocaust is as ludicrous and insulting as the suggestion that Trudeau "forgot" to mention the Jews.  Meanwhile, the statement remains unchanged on the government's website several days after the "correction".
   Maybe the deafening silence from the Jewish community has something to do with a Jewish tradition for keeping disagreements within the family, or maybe it's a reflection of widespread Jewish support for Trudeau in the bigger political picture.  Either way, I never thought I'd see the day when the 6 million would be thrown under the bus for the sake of social peace and/or political expediency.  That it's happening within the lifetime of some Holocaust survivors and at a time when anti-Semitism is enjoying a resurgence unprecedented since the end of World War Two should be troubling to anyone who's taken the time to learn the lessons of history.

Note to all readers: feedback is encouraged and welcome, but please demonstrate the courage of your convictions by signing your name to them.  There is no credibility in anonymity.