Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Norm tells the hoes all the time, 'Bitch get in my car.'

A little revised Fiddy for you, there.

For some strange reason, I'm still following colonial politics from over here in the heart of the British Empire. I believe what we heard the other day from columnist and media personality Norman Spector -- he called MP Belinda Stronach "a bitch" on the radio -- was simply his career as a pundit jumping the shark or, as we say in the blogosphere, posting the cat. Here's his exact quote: "I think she's a bitch. It's as simple as that. And I think that 90 percent of men would probably say she's a bitch for the way she's broken up [retired hockey player] Tie Domi's home and the way she dumped Peter MacKay. She is a bitch."

First of all, I am a man and I don't think Belinda is a bitch and I'm kind of irritated that Norm purports to speak on my behalf. Maybe 90% of skeezy old dudes who worked for Mulroney think she's a bitch, but I consider her a somewhat overexposed MP who hasn't done anything to particularly impress me yet, but who hasn't done anything nearly as objectionable as a couple dozen Liberal MPs I could name.

I never get what the deal is with all the hate spewed at Stronach. Other MPs have switched parties before and been attacked in the media, sure. But she got reelected under her new party's banner, so that's kind of a dead issue -- clearly, her constituents have sanctioned her move.

Likewise, other children of rich men have jumped into politics with a giant sense of entitlement... and they've become Prime Minister to the cheers of pundits everywhere! (And later, when their total lack of skill at anything but gaining power has become apparent, jeers.) So why does Stronach get all this abuse for being rich and wanting power?

Spector has -- and I should thank him for this -- opened my eyes to why some people rag on her all the time. And it really is sexism, pure and simple. Spector, who I thought was a political pundit, outlines entirely personal reasons for why Stronach is a bitch. I don't tend to take morality lessons seriously when they come from a guy who used to work for Imperial Tobacco, but does Spector really think every person who has dumped someone in an awkward manner, or hung out with a married person of the opposite sex is a bitch? Or is it just Stronach? Or is it just women? Since about 50% - 80% of married men have had actual affairs according to the last stats I saw, I'm betting that some of the 90% of men who apparently agree with Spector are big ol' hypocrites.

Don't believe that Spector is sexist? (I'm looking at you, Coyne.) I agree that calling someone a bitch is not necessarily sexist, but in this case Spector's comments clearly are. First of all, he turns it into a sex thing by claiming that the vast majority of men think Stronach is a bitch. He's not saying "I, an individual, think that Stronach, an individual, is a bitch." He's saying that men think women who do these specific things in their sex lives are bitches. Earlier in the show, he said that the Mackay's "dog" joke has been covered so much because "half the press gallery now are women. And women find this very offensive. You and I [he's talking to a male radio host] might have a different word for a dog - at least I would have a different word for a dog to describe her and what she's done with the Domi family and how she handled Peter Mackay." Spector says: Women think like this, while men think like this... He's a big old sexist.

I do think it's tremendously disconcerting that members of the media (like Mr. Spector) are now going after MPs for their personal lives, and I wonder what has suddenly happened to change the Canadian rules. I mean, a married man who has gay affairs on the side can lead a party and never be questioned about his personal life in the press (except by Jan Wong), but the attractive, rich Belinda ends up on the front page with a big "?" every time her platonic friend Bill Clinton comes to town.

Really, I suppose Peter Mackay is to blame for all this. He was the first to break the silence and tell the media that he was dating Stronach -- and his and her personal lives moved out of the gossipy Ottawa notebook columns and became a part of public debate. Whether it was calculated or not, he used the break-up to show the world how sensitive he is and boost his political career. Then, with his "dog" comment in the house, he brought his personal life into the public sphere again. But it's Stronach, who only answers questions about her personal life when she's forced to react, who is derided as the "bitch"...

So, now, agreeing that Spector is ridiculous and out of line, I hate having to end this post by defending him. It is not at all appropriate for MPs to call upon media organizations to fire journalists for their opinions. I was somewhat irked when Jean Charest and Stephen Harper criticized Jan Wong over her Dawson College column, but I don't think they actually called on her to be fired. We have a little thing called freedom of speech in Canada, and MPs are welcome to join in on any debate, but calling on journalists to be fired for controversial comments as an MP is not cool... That is entirely up to Spector's employers to decide.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

agreed. a minor addition: spector also absolved tie domi of any fault in his divorce..as if the evil b stronach snatched him out of a happy marriage. he's basically a men's rights activist.

josh

Anonymous said...

I feel so out of it. I had no idea B was doing Tie Domi. Teaches me to not keep up with the news in Canada. I was too busy ranting about the stupid Gazette continually spelling Parc with a "k."

And who is the gay guy with the beard? Layton? Harper? (HARPER?!)

Men take it really personal when their loves dis their politics. Don't ask me how I know. I know a lot of men who would take a woman back for cheating on them before they would if she screwed with them politically.

-wkh

Anonymous said...

A good analysis.

I think it should also be noted that the press gallery is about 35% female, despite what Norman says. Also, it's not women deciding what stories to run in the papers, on the Tv and or the radio... that domain is still predominately male.

Bill Tieleman said...

Good piece Kelly - which I can particularly relate to as I was on air with Norman Spector on CKNW AM 980s Bill Good Show when he made the outrageous remarks!

I immediately objected and continue to - see my 24 hours column coming up Tuesday November 7 at: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/Columnists/NewsViewsAttitude/

Or my own blog comments on it at:

http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/2006/10/norman-spector-b-word-and-me-on-cknw.html

Regards - Bill Tieleman

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