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February 14, 2004

Triumph Strikes Again

I wanted to write a post on how America is confidently swimming against the worldwide cultural and political tides compared to what I've observed in the rest of the world, but when I read about Conan O'Briens skit involving Triumph the Insult Dog I scrapped all that I had written and thought that this episode would suffice to make my point.

The Canadians have their panties twisted into a knot because of a skit on Conan's show. A dog puppet insulted the Quebecois and the PC illuminati are indignant.

For a sample of Triumph in action see this very funny skewering of Star Wars Fans. (WMV FILE)

Tim Blair has an informative post on this. Here's a story from the Canadian National Post. Here's a story from the Globe and Mail.

The story portrays a Political Correctness attitude that has become a cancer on society. The article also notes the controversy surrounding comments made by a hockey commentator.

Mr. Cherry has been under fire for his comments on a Jan. 24 segment of Coach's Corner, in which he said that hockey players such as the "Europeans and French guys" were "turning into sucks" for wearing visors on their helmets to protect their eyes.

His remarks drew the ire of Canada's official languages commissioner, who said her office will investigate. And officials at CBC's Hockey Night in Canada have said they will delay Mr. Cherry's future broadcasts by seven seconds so they can catch any further comments before they hit the airwaves.

What does an official language commissioner have to do with this case, and what are they even doing meddling in culture? What is the necessity of having a seven second delay? Does every opinion have to pass the mental pablum test? Can nothing be controversial? Are people so sensitive that they'll have conniptions upon hearing anything that hints of criticism? Most telling is this response from one of the cultural guardians who seems out of touch with, what I hope are, the people who are growing ever more disillusioned with PC thought policing.

Globe and Mail Review editor Elizabeth Renzetti was in the audience for the taping of the O'Brien show and said the segment received a disturbing amount of applause from the young audience.

"It left me with a real sour taste in my mouth. It seemed over the top; it seemed cruel, because a couple of the people didn't speak English and he mocked them mercilessly," Ms. Renzetti said. "It was like they had no idea that this is a bilingual country."

We get regular PC folly reports from university campuses. We get media PC filtering. In the case of this episode from Canada, we're getting a look into how far things can go when the elites become so disconnected from reality. Most disturbing to me is that this leftist march towards sensitivity seems to be the trend in many parts of the world. Beware when parody and ribald humor are a threat to national identity and culture.

I can't help but feel that American resilience immunizes the country against the need to go with the international consensus, and thus enacting policies and inculcating attitudes that stem from feelings of inferiority or a need to not appear insensitive. Whatever happened to the concept that cultures should define themselves from their strengths and uniqueness, rather than in comparison to the Americans? Whatever happened to the concept of pursuing a national interest, rather than defining the national interest as stopping America's influence? Whatever happened to critical introspection and being able to laugh at one's country?

In some ways I'm troubled by the blue and red divide in the US, but when I compare the US political and cultural dynamic to the homogenization I see growing in much of the world, I've come to believe that the right-left battle in the US is healthy for the culture. More of the world could benefit from domestic ideological schisms.

Posted by TangoMan at 12:04 PM