Friday, November 4, 2011

Past Deadline: The Semantics of Nuttiness

I think there’s something in the water at the CBC.

In the last couple of weeks, there seems to have been an epidemic of blurting and rudeness leading to two commentators becoming news items.

First is Don Cherry. I know. It’s a shock. (Caution: sarcasm!) I have to admit, I am not a Don Cherry follower. This is largely because he hurts my eyes. And my ears. Oh, and I don’t watch a lot of hockey (I know – I am a freak).

Nevertheless, his recent bungling during his Coach’s Corner segment transcended the world of sports and made news, so I couldn’t help but notice. The incident involved comments he made about three hockey players who were previously “enforcers” – or fighters.

It took me a while to figure out what exactly was going on, but I came to understand he was accusing certain former fighters of no longer condoning fighting. He called them names.

The accused players denied it, and the scandal grew because Cherry’s first attempt at an apology focused on the fact he used the word “pukes,” not that he made incorrect statements.

Meanwhile, I was having a hard time trying to understand why anyone would be mad that people weren’t condoning fighting (see above: don’t watch much hockey), especially in an era when there is much more awareness of the long-term negative effects of concussions.

I think part of the problem is that I never got a Rock ’Em Sock ’Em video for Christmas. You know – Don Cherry’s popular video series, complete with hits and fights. Ahem.

I am now returning to my ambivalence towards Don Cherry. Besides, he has since issued a new-and-possibly-improved apology (depending on what the lawyers think).

Since I am totally on a roll for making comments about things that I am probably taking out of context, I next draw our attention to a show I never watch, but that has been making a significant blip in social media circles.

Someone sent me a clip from The Lang & O’Leary Exchange. Hosted by Amanda Lang and Kevin O’Leary, the show is intended to “take you inside the world of business with thought-provoking coverage and insights that draw on [the hosts’] own deep experience and expertise.”

Sounds intelligent enough.

The show draws some big names in the business world. On Oct. 6, the guest was Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist/writer Chris Hedges, who appeared in order to talk about the Occupy Wall Street movement.

There has been a lot of chatter about this huge and growing call for change, which some say lacks leadership and has not done much to provide an effective message and solutions.

O’Leary made this point, too, running down the protesters and the movement. Hedges, who is not one of the organizers, disagreed and suggested the protesters know exactly what they want, which is “to reverse the corporate coup that’s taken place in the United States, that’s rendered the citizenry impotent.”

O’Leary countered with: “Listen, don’t take this the wrong way, but you sound like a left-wing nut bar.”

Ha! But don’t take it the wrong way because “nut bar” is totally a term of endearment. (Sarcasm alert.) I love it.

Everyone knows when someone says “don’t take this the wrong way,” there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to either

a) Take it the wrong way or

b) Be insulted.

Hedges said he doesn’t usually appear on shows that “descend to character assassination” then compared the CBC to Fox News. And when he reminded O’Leary that he had just called him a “nut case,” O’Leary corrected him and said he called him a “nut bar.”

Nice. You want to be perfectly clear on that point. There’s a HUGE difference between a nut case and a nut bar. (Sarcasm! Again!)

In the end, the seemingly less-hostile co-host, Lang, thanked Hedges for appearing on the show. Hedges whipped out his earpiece and growled, “It will be the last time.”


Maybe I don’t get out much, but I found the whole thing to be:

a) Really surprising for the CBC.

b) Very funny in a disturbing way.

I wonder if someone spiked the coffee at the CBC with grumpy pills. Hopefully there is an antidote before more nut bar/nut case-ish blurting takes place.

Published in The Perth Courier, Oct. 20/11

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