It's always a struggle for me when I read something hideous, from a columnist that I despise, because my first reaction is to disseminate it. Why is that a problem? Well, we live in a society where people say the grossest things to get attention, because any kind of publicity or recognition is better than being obscure. Barbara and Jonathan Kay, Rosie DiManno, and Christie Blatchford are just a few names that come to mind when I think of shitty journalism. These people have great jobs, at media outlets with a broad audience, and are not held accountable for what they write -- not the quality of writing, the lack of research, or the reprehensible nature of their opinion. It seems best to quietly laugh at what they write and move on, not draw a lot of attention to it, and hope that they will soon retire. Once in awhile, though, a "journalist" writes something so absurd and contemptible that to let it fly under the radar would be criminal. Such is Christie Blatchford's latest "opinion": Toronto, City of Sissies.
"The bull terrier and I were on a long forced march on the toney part of Yonge Street, in Rosedale.
There were a couple of boys, maybe 10 years old, maybe 12, walking ahead of me. Coming towards them was another small knot of boys about the same age.
The two groups met, and immediately began hugging each another, one at a time. The trustees and ding-dongs at the Toronto District School Board would have been ecstatic; I was mortified and appalled."
The first thing I thought of when I read this article: this bitch is white. This bitch is SO white. Some of us come from cultures where hugging and kissing -- even amongst the MEN-- is common. Men and boys, hugging their relatives and their friends, without even thinking about the consequences! Amazing! These same men and boys work hard, are macho men, get into fights, stand up for themselves and others, and generally perpetuate other (often damaging) stereotypes of masculinity. So Christie Blatchford has her white panties in a knot that she saw white boys hugging one another? Rich, white boys in Rosedale? I'm sorry, Ms. Blatchford, TORONTO men need to be toughened up? Have you ever been outside of Rosedale? Besides the time spent in your car driving to and from the other affluent parts of Toronto? It is absolutely unacceptable and embarrassing that such a generalized and flippant statement could be made, and then paid for, about such a diverse city where there is SO much violence. I wonder if Christie Blatchford walks her bull terrier in North York at night? Or in ANY park? Is she glad when she reads stories about groups of young men swarming and mugging people? Or raping girls, taping it on their cell phones, then passing it out at school? Is that the kind of group behaviour that she would prefer to hugging? So that she can tuck herself in at the end of the day, safe in the knowledge that all is as it should be?
"But holy smokes, I am wearying of the male as delicate creature. I am wearying of men who are so frequently in touch with their feminine side they, not to mention me, have lost sight of the masculine one. I’m just plain sick of hugs, giving and getting, from just about anyone, but particularly man-to-man hugs."
Who is sick of hugs?! What kind of demented lunatic is "sick" of hugs? If you don't like being hugged that's your own business, but you cannot take a stance against other people hugging. You especially can't say that you "particularly" hate man-to-man hugs. It's truly baffling that in this world there are people who would rather see people fight then hug. Does Blatchford have children? During holidays and family gatherings if her male relatives hug does she spit on them and leave the event?
The silly thing about Blatchford's article isn't even her aversion to hugging, it's that she tries to make her argument about bullying. She argues that bullying is best dealt with by people who witness the bullying occur, then attack the bully. To be perfectly honest, I think sometimes a bully needs to be beat down -- but bullying is a symptom of a much bigger problem that doesn't have one solution and it has absolutely nothing to do with hugging. By judging the boys on the street, by calling men and boys who hug sissies and "feys" who speak with too much "Sss", Blatchford is being a big fucking bully. Bullying isn't just regular behaviour, it's abusive behaviour that is usually prompted by some kind of difference - even if that difference is just being weaker than someone else. Proscribing and policing behaviour is bullying and the problem with bullying is that it isn't always about inflicting physical damage. How do you deal with a bully who just tries to force you to act a certain way, by degrading you and treating you with derision?
Not only is it extremely tacky to be taking a stance basically for bullying right now, but it's also transparent. What does a group of boys hugging one another have to do with Rob and Doug Ford? Seriously? It has nothing at all to do with politics, except that this conservative old lady is so obsessed with them that she thinks about them when she sees little boys on the street. How weird is that? Blatchford is so blindly pro-Ford that I'm surprised her disgusting articles about the Shafia trial haven't included some kind of tribute to them, in all of their "too big, too pink, too football-y" glory. It's as though she's just taken trending topics and thrown them into one article: The Ford Brothers, UFC, The Toronto School Board, and bullying. The desperation is so obvious and sad.
Blatchford finishes her 'article' by writing:
"I know men have feelings too. I just don’t need to know much more than that. On any list of The 25 Things Every Man And Boy Should Know How To Do, hugging is not one of them. Killing bugs is. Whacking bullies is. Kissing is. Farting on cue is. Making the sound of a train in a tunnel is. Shooting a puck is. Hugging is not.
Feel free to give this to your male children. You’re entirely welcome."
Men should know how to kill, kiss, fart, make the sound of a train, hit other men, and play hockey? What man is really as stereotypical as that? Women are the only ones who have the luxury of exploring emotions, or free to have any kind of personality and depth? Who actually thinks this describes the ideal man? The healthy man? Blatchford tries to pre-empt any attempt to label her a homophobe by saying that "like all women" and as a "downtowner" she loves the gays! She doesn't hate gays, she just hates seeing men display healthy amounts of physical affection towards one another and feels it is her mission to point out how wrong it is.
She asks the readers to give her article to their male children, because she obviously thinks it is appropriate to shame children and ask them to act a certain way to make her feel more comfortable while walking her pure bred dog in the rich part of town. I think that people should probably give this article to their male children, to teach them what bigotry looks like, and to encourage them to hug if they want despite crazy people like Blatchford.