A Stern Lecture on Correctness

By Manji, Irshad | Herizons, Fall 1997 | Go to article overview

A Stern Lecture on Correctness


Manji, Irshad, Herizons


Howard Stern can blow it out of his gas-passing, brain-replacing butthole. I'm not referring to the shock jock's routine attacks on people different than him, which don't offend me as much as disappoint me by being so unendowed with cleverness.

Rather, I'm referring to his rants that political correctness rages in boring, over-regulated Canada. Howie honey, lick my legal briefs. Then kiss my hyperactive constitution.

Stern formally intorduced himself to a Canadian audience this summer, when radio stations in Montreal and Toronto picked up his New York-based spewfest. Since then, rival radio show hosts in Canada, resentful that they can't say what he can, fearful that they'll lose market share as a result, have been crying that the CRTC should loosen its grip on our airwaves.

Put bluntly, the federal regulator should grant loudmouths the very thing they oppose for "poofs," "crips," "towelheads" and "chinks": special privileges.

But these soldiers of free expression, these knights in whining armour, are waging a phantom battle. Just how politically correct can Canadians be when Swastika remains the name of a 90-year-old town in northern Ontario?

To be sure, the motive behind keeping this name seems admirable: to stop Nazi adherents from completing their appropriation of an ancient religious emblem meaning good luck and well-being.

"These things," argues one defender of Swastika, Ont., "should count more than the villainy of the Third Reich." But they don't.

And they won't, precisely because Canadians aren't politically correct hordes. If we were, wouldn't the town of Swastika have already spearheaded a national campaign to restore the historic significance of this sacred symbol?

Wouldn't the CBC have gone nuts covering it?

Do you remember either of these happening during the recent 50th anniversary commemorations of V-E Day?

And how correct are Canadians when we let our politicians continue using the phrase, 'New World Order'? Philosopher John Ralston Saul traces it to the "Moral World Order," an early 20th-century concept "that was anti-Semitic, anti-Roman Catholic, for the purity of blood as well as good organization, and it was the origin of Nazism..."

Can Canadians be terminally correct when none of us is screaming to expunge "best man" from our nuptual lexicon? …

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