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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Why is giving offence such a sin?

The well-known Liberal apologist and political “hit man,” Warren Kinsella, several days ago made a tasteless joke—which many are interpreting as an ethnic slur: that Chinese Canadians eat cat meat and serve it in Chinese restaurants. Many in the Chinese-Canadian community and elsewhere took offence, and the story has spread to Canadian newspapers, television and radio talk shows and the Internet, both in Canada and apparently in China itself.

As tasteless as his remark might have been, I can’t help feeling that the reaction has been over the top. Silly stereotyping is just that: silly. But is it such a social sin that Mr. Kinsella should be categorized as a racist? When it comes to stereotyping are we all so innocent that we can so cheerfully cast stones?

Political correctness in language in Canada has gone beyond the bounds of sanity. Giving verbal offence seems now to be tantamount to physical assault and battery, and I for one consider this ludicrous.

So Mr. Kinsella made a bad joke. So what—grimace and move on. Grow up and get over it. Get a life. Get offended and outraged at something that really matters, if you must.

Even now that he has ap0logized publically, some refuse to let it go. Of course, Mr. Kinsella is well known for his Tory-bashing and many on the political right feel they have a score to settle with him. That’s fine, but I wish they’d drop the pretence of being so offended by his words. Some of the offence must be genuine I suppose, but much of it is mock outrage to score points against a political adversary.

I have no particular sympathy for Mr. Kinsella—he has given his share of un-deserved offence, but, to the extent that the reaction to his words advances the cause of political correctness, I find the whole thing tiresome in the extreme.smleaf

11 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. that Chinese Canadians eat cat meat and serve it in Chinese restaurants

    That is not what Kinsella said...get your facts straight.

  2. I never quoted Mr. Kinsella, Devo. What I wrote was “… which many are interpreting as an ethnic slur: that Chinese Canadians eat cat meat and serve it in Chinese restaurants.” I was writing about how I have seen his remarks interpreted, not what he actually said.

  3. Yes the reaction might be overblown but watching a Liberal big wig humbled and slagged by his own PC weapon of choice is somewhat entertaining to say the least.

  4. Kinsella has made a career out of slurring the politically-incorrect. Looks good to see him on the receiving end, for a change.

  5. Kinsella is a pompous ass, it looks marvelous on him.

  6. Eventually the left-wing will realize that issues of politically correct insanity , and out of control HRC "thought policies" can cut both ways ... but for the left , many of whom have a negative learning curve , that may take a while.

    Kinsella deserves all the flak that he is getting.

  7. TangoJuliette sez:

    He bad mouthed a small business. A small business run, one would assume, by an ethnic family, non-white, non-caucasian. Probably a Mom'n'Pop operation. Negative publicity is bad enough. False negative publicity is far worse.

    The economic devastation can be deadly, when this BS of WK's hits the 'net. Bad. Very bad. For the people involved. For the business the people have been building up, for decades. The possible negative impact on a personal level, demonstrates an alarming degree of insensitivity, and a level of thoughtless unawareness that is most cutting, at the very least.

    A Lawyer, a Human rights activist, etc., etc., our hero should probably want to consider practising a little more self-control of the tongue. Especially if said tongue has, in the past, lashed out vehemently at others who have been known to have put their mouths in gear before having ensured that their brains were fully engaged.

    A harmless goofy comment, probably comin' from some "wild and crazy guy, just goofin' around," right?

    Perhaps, not quite. Perhaps not quite so harmless.

    "Small boys throw rocks at frogs in sport. Some of the frogs die in earnest."

    As I try to give proper credit, I'm guessing that this attributable to Aeschylus perhaps?



  8. It is just deserts. Hopefully this thing will have a "snowball down-a-hill" affect.

    I am not for the thought police either, I am of the school of "tell em ta screw off!" and move on, but this is great seeing it happen to Kinsella.

  9. Giving offence isn't the sin that Kinsella is being lambasted for - it is the hypocrisy of attacking others and then doing an equal or worse thing himself. Mind you, slandering the restaurant ought to cost him financially as well.

  10. The opposition didn't lay off Minister Diane Finley for her comments - which they allege insulted Canadian workers - saying the government didn't want to "make it lucrative" to stay at home, in relation to EI benefits.

    Sure, Kinsella isn't in Cabinet - or working for the government (at the moment) for that matter. But he does claim to speak on behalf of the all-inclusive-and-ever-tolerant Liberal party and its leader.

  11. i offend people every day. i find it is liberating and refereshing. i don't give a rats ass what people think of me or my opinions.