Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On Sun Talk for May 22, 2012.

Sun News talkers from last night! Hooray!

Daily Brief

David Akin devoted the bulk of the show to fawning over the royals (a term I have trouble applying to Chuck Windsor, let alone Cammy). Now, it's clearly not fair to just jump on Akin for this, as most of the newscasts in the country -- I watch the majority every night, 'member -- did the same thing. So, read this as a general point about the news media's response to the royal visit.

I don't get it.

Okay, when the Queen shows up, I sort of get it. Liz 2 is the bloody Queen, after all. (Points if you get that reference.) And there's lots of pomp and pageantry, which appeals to a certain sort of personality -- not mine, but to each his own. That's all fine. But Charles is, not to put too fine a point on it, a goober. He's a son of privilege who's never done much with his life -- don't wave that charitable stuff in front of me; my money has always been that his mother made him do it -- and sincerely believes that we are all entitled to share in his brilliance.

Except, he's not actually very bright, and he really has no sympathy for ordinary people. Likely because he's never been one.

The whole royal family really does rub me the wrong way, though. They're an obvious anachronism; if we kept them around as museum pieces, I could understand it, maybe, but we actually deploy them as part of our political system and they get treated as symbols of something-or-other, never-quite-clear-what.

As said, I don't get it. These people are deeply uninteresting and incredibly overprivileged. We should grow up and abolish the institution already.

The Arena

Yap, yap, scary Moozlems, yap. Honestly, the man is obsessed.

Coren also spent a certain amount of time on Jenna Talackova, the transgendered Miss Universe Canada contestant. The first segment he devoted was utterly ridiculous. David Menzies -- who should really do his segments in motley -- dressed up in drag and affected a ludicrous falsetto, while "reporting" on the pageant. No, really. And Coren told us that we should "have a sense of humour" about it.

Keep in mind that this is the same guy who flips out whenever anyone is even slightly derisive of Christianity.

The second segment, surprisingly more serious, was an interview with Margaret Somerville. Yes, that Margaret Somerville, the ethicist who doesn't undestand ethics. She actually surprised me this time, which is rare -- I can usually predict what she's going to say before she says it. But, she made two arguments that were unexpected.

First, she actually explained the sex/gender distinction to Coren. He didn't understand it, but that's Michael Coren for you. Somerville got it mostly right, though. She did psychologize it -- she said that sex is biological, gender is how you feel -- but she correctly noted that gender is a socially-constructed set of expected behaviours and appearances.

Second, she didn't play the biological supremacy card that she usually plays. See her arguments about abortion or same-sex marriage for examples; basically, Somerville has a foolish habit of taking whatever current human biology delivers as inerrant moral truth. Calling it Thomistic is an insult to Aquinas; Aquinas' views on natural law are much more sophisticated. This idea is just dumb.

However, she didn't say that biology trumps when it comes to transgendered people. She actually acknowledged that there is something to the notion of being born one sex, but wanting to be the other gender. (Yes, that's an inartless way of putting the point, but I'm not trying to be too technical.) Coren blew right by this, but I was actually amazed to see Somerville demonstrate some understanding of a complex issue.


So much for understanding complexity. Where to begin? I still can't find the name of Adler's temporary replacement. He said something about formerly being opinion editor at the Ottawa Sun, if memory serves. That help anyone?

Anyway. We open with a rant that is less unhinged than Adler's usual opening monologue, but still appallingly stupid. And hypocritical. The punchline was that people who have suffered tragedies have more right to their opinion regarding that tragedy than the rest of us, a point that was then applied to the Vincent Li case and the Lockerbie Bomber.

It is, of course, specious nonsense; but what's staggering is how hypocritical it is. After all, Suzanne Laplante-Edward, mother of Anne-Marie Edward, who was murdered by Marc Lépine in 1989, supports the long-gun registry. Shouldn't we defer to her opinion, then? (No, clearly, but this nut can't consistently say that.) And, to make matters worse, the guest he brought on to discuss the issue was not the victim of tragedy -- Rodney Stafford, Tori Stafford's father, has been on the program, as has Doreen Graichen, Tori's grandmother, so either could've been asked -- but a Sun journalist.

Incidentally, lots of interviews on these shows are with Sun journalists. It's extremely incestuous.

News Breaks

I forget the exact name of the segment, but there are periodic interruptions throughout the evening -- usually during The Arena and Byline by Krista Erickson, informing us of three "top stories" of the day. Last night, she threw a minor shitfit over Omar Khadr, consistently referring to him as a "CONVICTED TERRORIST". Seriously, what is with these people and their blind trust in the justice system?

Selective blind trust, I should say. When it comes to corporations getting sued or people pressing for their Charter rights to be respected, they hate the whole thing. When it comes to somebody being convicted of a criminal charge, even if the charge is bogus or the process corrupt, they slavishly endorse it. As in the case of Khadr; also in the case of Michael Rafferty. Not that Rafferty is likely to be innocent, but the calls for Rafferty to be executed were fundamentally repugnant. Death penalty policies, regardless of the ethics of the death penalty, always kill innocent people. But, the Sun News crew apparently believes that the criminal justice system is inerrant. Hence, the support for reinstituting the death penalty; hence, the blunt declarations that Khadr, as a CONVICTED TERRORIST, should be persona non grata to return to his home country.

That's Canada, if you're not sure. He was born in Toronto. Sun Newsies -- I need a name for them -- don't seem to remember that.


Ah, Brian Lilley, the git to end all gits. I sort of like seeing his show, if only because it means I'm almost done with trying to peer through this warped window to the world I know.

Lilley is obsessed with manliness lately. How conservatives are real macho he-man -- unless you criticize them, in which case they whine and cry like the best -- and liberal intellectuals are wimpy and pathetic. I'm not entirely sure how often Lilley goes around wrestling alligators or roping cattle, but I'm sure they're his favourite hobbies. Or else he'd be a staggering hypocrite, and that just can't be.

In any event, Lilley's manly man show featured lots of people sitting around and talking about stuff, which is, after all, the manliest, least intellectual endeavour imaginable, and complained about the CBC. Which is apparently what real men do.

Okay, I'll stop in just a minute, but this is actually quite funny. Sun News likes to bash the CBC regularly, usually referring to them as the "state broadcaster". Which, if true, would mean that they were the voice of the Conservative government. You heard it here first, folks: Sun News is opposed to the views of the Conservative government.

The latest target -- targets, really, as Rick Mercer popped up briefly -- was George Stroumboulopoulos (there's a reason people call him "Strombo"; I can never remember where to put all the "o"s and "u"s), who had the temerity to point out that the CBC sort of, kinda, maybe unites the country in a way that Sun News doesn't, couldn't, and never will. Then there was a lot of malarkey about wasted money at the CBC -- basically, the CBC has a budget and actually spends it, therefore it is wasted -- but I couldn't help wondering: is Lilley's problem jealousy, in that Strombo's ratings are significantly higher than Lilley's standard ~10K per show? or is it that Strombo is significantly more manly than him?

I mean, compare the two (Strombo's on the left, if you're not sure):

To my eye, Strombo looks pretty confident in himself, while Lilley looks like he's trying way too hard. Now that's a man: someone who worries about whether everybody else likes him.

That's it for today. Enjoy tomorrow's insight into madness.

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