Hate Speech and Evisceration

Dear Matthew,

Sorry for the delay – since taking on the Backyard Hens Pilot Project at the Albion Hills Community Farm I am on the go from 5:00 am until sunset when I put them to bed. But a lot of fun. You should do a story on this project – official opening on Saturday June 2, from noon to 3:00 with the Bolton Scouts.

Haven’t been able to get to Council lately so I am not aware of what they have been throwing at the fan. As to my writings, they are satirical but certainly don’t fit the definition of hate speech:

“Hate speech is speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.[1][2] The law of some countries describes hate speech as speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display that incites violence or prejudicial action against a protected group or individual on the basis of their membership of the group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected group, or individual on the basis of their membership of the group.”

And yes, I love to expose hypocrisy in journalism and politics in my blog. You should reread Jonathon Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” – sometimes eviscerating satire is the only way to wake people up to what is happening around them. Yes, I am a member in good standing with the Canadian Association of Journalists. Tim Forster, researching for his wife Regional Councillor Barb Shaugnessy, incorrectly reported to her that I was not a member, and she unfortunately libeled me in a rather nasty blog.

Speaking of which, here is what one of the good citizens I satirized in a limerick (after she attempted to smear the Mayor and two respected Regional Councillors) wrote back to me:

“Good morning skid shit crease Eat a shit sandwhich and die You are a piece of garbage Im not going to even read your junk You will not have that satisfaction People already think your a fucking asshole amd you lool like an idiot.”

Now, while it is definitely uneducated potty mouth speech worthy of a Sunlight soaping, it is not hate speech. But much nastier than anything I have ever written. Matthew, I intend to ensure that any blogger who lies or misleads or spreads false rumour and innuendo is exposed and publicly shamed. And the same goes for any journalist who attempts to create a crisis where there is none, or who acts as a loudspeaker for the Trumps of this world,

As to evisceration, Merriam Webster defines it as: “to deprive of vital content or force.” Yeah, I’m definitely not into the animal butchering alternate meaning.

I am sick and tired of media spin that makes incompetent politicians and special interest citizens look like community spokespeople. So yes, I will with pen and keyboard eviscerate anyone who lies, misleads, and smears the hardworking employees and politicians and citizens of this Town.

Now, I have to get back to volunteering at the Community Farm, but I hope this helps.

Skid

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A Tale of Two Camps

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

So begins Charles Dickens’ classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities. And so begins the next four years of reign in Ontario and Caledon. Will heads roll like in the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror, or will cooler heads prevail? The superlatives of comparison made me wonder about something closer to home.

If you live in Canada, you are well aware that June 6, 2018 is Tim Horton’s Camp Day. Choosing the right Camp for your children is a very important process for parents. Choosing the camp that you are in is also very important for adults. You get known by the company you keep. Let us reflect on a modern “Tale of Two Camps” and decide which one we want our children to attend.

Both camps share the opposite shorelines of a beautiful central Ontario lake. They both have adequate cabins for the campers and traditional lodges for meals and camp singsongs and an identical selection of activities for children to enjoy. However, for whatever reason, the personalities of the campers who go to these camps is very different.

Camp A is filled with campers who are happy, positive, empathetic and intelligent. They work together to solve problems, sing through rainy day weather, and help out without being asked. They are highly skilled in all of the activities, hardly ever missing a target in archery, and rarely tip a canoe. If they do tip over, they rescue the canoe quickly and never blame their paddling partners. They write thoughtful letters to their families every week, share their tuck shop treats, and always speak respectfully to their peers and counsellors.

Camp B, on the other hand, is filled with what my dear departed Mom used to call Negative Nellies. For whatever reason, the campers are always looking for the worst in other people and bring out the worst in each other. They have potty mouths, insult other campers, and put down just about every good idea the camp counsellors develop.

They complain about everything, rarely help the camp accomplish anything positive unless it makes them look good, and constantly grandstand for attention. If their canoe tips, they always blame their paddling partners. They never thank their families for giving them the opportunity to go to this beautiful camp and they rarely speak respectfully to their peers and counsellors.

You, very caring parent, have a choice of sending your child to Camp A or Camp B. Choose wisely.

And have a Happy Camp Day on June 6, 2018.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

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News Reports, Editorials, Essays, etcetera : the many faces of journalism

reprinted from January 7, 2018

The recent attention devoted the author Michael Wolff’s exposé “Fire and Fury” has sparked a debate on the “truthiness” of his journalism.

However, the book was never intended as a factual news report; Wolff clarifies in his opening that the novel is his perception and synthesis of the interviews and events that took place during his “blue badge” days at the White House. Therefore, readers should be expecting something closer to a lengthy editorial essay, a style of journalism that permits writers to communicate the truth as they interpret it.

In journalism, there is a great deal of difference between a news report (inform) and an editorial (inform and persuade) and political satire essay (inform, persuade, and entertain). Editorials are essentially short essays meant to influence public opinion, promote critical thinking, and sometimes cause people to take action on an issue. In essence, an editorial is an opinionated news story.

Fire and Fury, is simply a novel-length essay written from Wolff’s personal point of view. It contains learned arguments, observations of daily life in the White House, recollections of events and interviews, and reflections of the author. Some may argue that it is a political manifesto largely spewed from the mouth of a now apologetic Steve Bannon. It is not however, and has never claimed to be, a factual news report.

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The Colour Purple

There is a rumour in Caledon that stores are running out of purple paint. This would be unusual if it were not for the upcoming Ontario elections. Certain candidates, not wishing to be associated with the orange, green and red of the left of centre, or the new blue of the far right of centre, have chosen the colour purple as their compromise.

So what exactly does the colour purple symbolize? Traditionally purple is associated with royalty. luxury, power and ambition. A light lilac purple evokes an aura of feminine energy and mystery whereas deep purple indicates gloom, sadness and frustration. If you have too little purple you get powerlessness, negativity and apathy. But if you get too much purple you are surrounded by irritability, impatience, moodiness and arrogance. Clearly, purple is a colour that evokes many subliminal responses in people and can deliver a mixed and confusing message.

However, when used by political candidates, the message is clear. We, the comfortable electorate, will have no real idea on which side of the fence or the political spectrum he or she stands. Their purple is a perplexing conundrum and lacks clarity and transparency. It is a purple wool being pulled down over our eyes.

To make it absolutely clear how insidious this subliminal advertising is, consider these definitions from Jennifer Bourn writing for the Bourn Creative in January 2011: “The term ‘purple prose’ is used in reference to large exaggerations, lies, and highly imaginative writings. The expression ‘purple speech’ is used to describe profanity and bad language. The saying ‘purple haze’ refers to confusion or euphoria which may be drug-induced.”

During this upcoming election cycle, if you see candidates advertising in purple you should be aware of the subliminal advertising involved. Consider that Hank’s wife Marie in the hit series Breaking Bad always wore the colour purple, a misleading attempt to delude herself and others into thinking she was royalty. When they write brochures in “purple prose” and speak in “purple speech” they may be in a “purple haze” and want you to be just as confused when you vote.

I haven’t seen anything purple on the lawns or roadsides yet as this provincial election heats up, but there is a municipal election coming, so keep up your guard. We don’t need any purple reign in Caledon. Long live the red, orange, green and Bill Davis blue.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

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Caledon Enterprise: worth repeating

In the Thursday May 24, 2018 issue of the Caledon Enterprise, columnist and globally respected journalist Hap Parnaby penned a commentary that reminded me of Churchill’s warnings to Chamberlain and England. Hap’s historical observations are closer to home here in Ontario, and the coming storm may not have global consequences, but the chaos in our backyards could be locally catastrophic.

The article is titled: “Countdown to the June 7 provincial election” and begins with the excerpt “There is nothing in the resume of Douglas Robert Ford that suggests he has the makings of an Ontario premier.” I urge you all to read it, and read it again before you head to the polls on June 7. We have been watching the comi-tragedy reality show south of our borders playing out for the past year, and I hope that we don’t get the Canadian made spin-off in Ontario.

Twitter contributor Picard@Picard_M_Maker summed it up this way yesterday: “Doug Ford is like the cruelty of Mike Harris, the sleaziness of Patrick Brown, the incompetence of Tom Hudak, the corruption of Stephen Harper, and the bigotry and populism of Donald Trump.” All rolled into one. Now, we may not agree with all of  Picard’s choices, but if all of those perspectives are accurate that would make Mr. Ford a very scary package.

I generally voted Progressive Conservative provincially and Liberal federally That changed provincially in the ‘90s when Mike Harris’s Common Stench Revolution flooded Ontario like an overflowing sewer. That stench lingers to this day. If you scratch and sniff Doug Ford’s lack of written policy papers, you’ll very quickly  get that acrid scent of pig manure being spread on the Ontario landscape, But if our province has gone “nose blind”, we’re going to need a really big can of Febreze. The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

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