NDP leadership race #132

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Mucker

Hoodeet wrote:

candidates is fine.  Personal attacks on other Babblers are not.

On the subject of "oppressive, homophobic language," I was a bit disturbed by the following passage from a recent Maclean's article on Mulcair:

Maclean's wrote:

Mulcair was first elected to public office in 1994 as a Liberal member of Quebec’s national assembly. Journalist Vincent Marissal recalls first encountering Mulcair a year or so later, during a friendly game of hockey, Liberals against press gallery scribes. Marissal was skating in front of his own net, sans puck, when Mulcair knocked him to the ice. “I thought he was going to throw down his gloves,” Marissal says. Instead, Mulcair hissed at the prostrate columnist: “Stop complaining, you big sissy, and get back on your skates.”

(Source: http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/03/16/thomas-mulcair-is-mr-angry/#.T2NqYN7j...)

Isn't using the term "sissy" rather offensive and insensitive?  Personally, I'd like to have a leader who refrains from that kind of language.

Hoodeet (JW)

I'm not one to tolerate homophobic, racist or sexist language, but in a hockey game, where testosterone rules and primitive behaviour is rampant, it's kind of silly, or at least unrealistic, IMO to expect players to think before they insult an opponent, and "sissy" is pretty tame compared to some other nasty words he could have uttered.  It would be another thing to yell it out loud or to use that language in conversation or in political debate.   :)

In my experience, the word "sissy" has literally zero connection to anyone's gender or sexual orientation.  It means "wimp".  Obviously we can debate the meaning and basis of every insult until the cows come home, which just goes to underscore the stupidity of eliminating context from every interpersonal exchange.

flight from kamakura

libby won't be pushed out of the party, no matter who's leader.  in the near impossible event that the ndp goes full new labour, even there we had examples of radical mps who were perfectly at home in the party - think george galloway before he went nuts with the saddam thing (and i don't think we'll see libby on state teevee in syria singing assad's praises).  and that's IF mulcair takes the party to the "center", which he won't.  people, the reason that these guys are kicking up this whole issue is that they want their campaigns to win.  it's that simple.  IF mulcair becomes leader, a year from now, i guarantee that we'll all be looking back on this realizing that it was all overblown.

and as for libby leaving caucus voluntarily to pursue an opportunity in bc, where would she run?  seems the ndp there already has all the potentially libby-friendly seats locked down.

DSloth

Hoodeet wrote:

I'm not one to tolerate homophobic, racist or sexist language, but in a hockey game, where testosterone rules and primitive behaviour is rampant, it's kind of silly, or at least unrealistic, IMO to expect players to think before they insult an opponent, and "sissy" is pretty tame compared to some other nasty words he could have uttered.  It would be another thing to yell it out loud or to use that language in conversation or in political debate.   :)

It's also a 17-year old second hand recollection of a comment that was probably originally in french. This is the very defintion of reaching for straws.

JeffWells

20 years ago Mulcair used the word "sissy" in a hockey game? Really, we're discussing this?

I've evolved some in 20 years. I can believe Mulcair has, too.

 

KenS

Unionist wrote:

Mulcair, the hockey-buff homophobe?

Outed at last!!! And just in time for the Convention!

Like.

1springgarden

DSloth wrote:

Hoodeet wrote:

I'm not one to tolerate homophobic, racist or sexist language, but in a hockey game, where testosterone rules and primitive behaviour is rampant, it's kind of silly, or at least unrealistic, IMO to expect players to think before they insult an opponent, and "sissy" is pretty tame compared to some other nasty words he could have uttered.  It would be another thing to yell it out loud or to use that language in conversation or in political debate.   :)

It's also a 17-year old second hand recollection of a comment that was probably originally in french. This is the very defintion of reaching for straws.

I agree.  Much worse has been said by Babblers on this very thread (hi joshSurprisedSealed ).  Given the context, this one's a stretch.

algomafalcon

flight from kamakura wrote:

libby won't be pushed out of the party, no matter who's leader.  in the near impossible event that the ndp goes full new labour, even there we had examples of radical mps who were perfectly at home in the party - think george galloway before he went nuts with the saddam thing (and i don't think we'll see libby on state teevee in syria singing assad's praises).  and that's IF mulcair takes the party to the "center", which he won't.  people, the reason that these guys are kicking up this whole issue is that they want their campaigns to win.  it's that simple.  IF mulcair becomes leader, a year from now, i guarantee that we'll all be looking back on this realizing that it was all overblown.

and as for libby leaving caucus voluntarily to pursue an opportunity in bc, where would she run?  seems the ndp there already has all the potentially libby-friendly seats locked down.

 

As I said, the ONLY candidates who will be in a position to ask an MP to step down to make room for the leader to run in a byelection is Brian Topp (and Martin Singh if he actually has any chance), who don't have seats in the House of Commons. It would make sense that they would want to find a safe seat for Brian, should he be elected leader, since Brian has never run for elected office. And certainly, Libby Davies has one of the "safest" NDP seats in the country, plus she is a very prominent Brian Topp supporter, so maybe she will be asked to step down as a favor to Brian, in the event he gets elected.

Of course, he could just as easily make the same request from someone like Paul Dewar, who has one of the most conveniently located ridings in the country for a leader.

 

flight from kamakura

oh, and as for "sissy" (which mulcair would have said in french), in quebec, that could be anything from "tapette" (which is the homophobic term) to cocotte (female diminuative of the cock) to poule mouillée (a no-effort or a coward) to chou or cheri (intimate diminuatives used for children or loved ones that, when used on the pitch, are meant to infantilize the opponent).  there are all sorts of things he could have said, and in the context of a hockey game, the only bad one "tapette" would probably never have come up.  among adults, i've only heard that when people are close to fist-fights outside of bars and that.

ETA: yeah, this is such a stupid conversation.  people are just desperate to prove that mulcair isn't "one of us".  might have to force myself to take a few days off here.

flight from kamakura

as yeah, saw that as a "libby would leave if mulcair..." comment.  hm, on that note, i think that evicting dewar would be very unpopular in the caucus, much more so than putting libby aside.  plus topp has already promised to run in quebec, so i'll stick with my original guess that probably the best fit for him (ie. where he could be reasonably sure to be elected) is still jeanne-le ber, conveniently adjacent to the former riding of another somewhat quebec party leader, paul martin.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I am commenting not on the anecdote, but the clamour of a few Mulcair supporters to defend his right to use a homophobic slur because it will a) get the NDP elected or b) because the context is okay. I have ceased caring about whether or not Mulcair, or any NDP candidate will be good for Canada. Moderating 200+ NDP leadership threads have taken care of that. The repeated insinuations that I somehow have a horse in this race are laughable.

Basically I think TheArchitect got it right in post # 46. Excellent post.

Sean in Ottawa

Quote:
Hoodeet wrote:

On the subject of "oppressive, homophobic language," I was a bit disturbed by the following passage from a recent Maclean's article on Mulcair:

Maclean's wrote:

Mulcair was first elected to public office in 1994 as a Liberal member of Quebec’s national assembly. Journalist Vincent Marissal recalls first encountering Mulcair a year or so later, during a friendly game of hockey, Liberals against press gallery scribes. Marissal was skating in front of his own net, sans puck, when Mulcair knocked him to the ice. “I thought he was going to throw down his gloves,” Marissal says. Instead, Mulcair hissed at the prostrate columnist: “Stop complaining, you big sissy, and get back on your skates.”

(Source: http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/03/16/thomas-mulcair-is-mr-angry/#.T2NqYN7j...)

Isn't using the term "sissy" rather offensive and insensitive?  Personally, I'd like to have a leader who refrains from that kind of language.

Hoodeet (JW)

I'm not one to tolerate homophobic, racist or sexist language, but in a hockey game, where testosterone rules and primitive behaviour is rampant, it's kind of silly, or at least unrealistic, IMO to expect players to think before they insult an opponent, and "sissy" is pretty tame compared to some other nasty words he could have uttered.  It would be another thing to yell it out loud or to use that language in conversation or in political debate.   :)

There are many babblers here who have stated that they support Mulcair either as a first or second choice. The statement was that Mulcair supporters would use homophobic and misogynist slurs if the context was right. This is saying something about Mulcair supporters on this Board. It was quite a generalization and offensive since Babblers don't normally like to be thought of as homophobic misogynists. How does that nice zinger fit within Babble policy? A swipe like that against all the supporters of a candidate normally would result in at least a warning if not a suspension or banning but somehow we are to accept that it is ok because it is a moderator.

Brachina

I believe Mulcair has attended Gay Pride in Montreal many times. He's voted many times for gay positive legistlation and he has even mention leaving the commonwealth over gay rights. If anyone thinks Mulcair is a homophobe they need to give thier head a shake.

Brachina

I believe Mulcair has attended Gay Pride in Montreal many times. He's voted many times for gay positive legistlation and he has even mention leaving the commonwealth over gay rights. If anyone thinks Mulcair is a homophobe they need to give thier head a shake.

Mucker

Catchfire wrote:

I am commenting not on the anecdote, but the clamour of a few Mulcair supporters to defend his right to use a homophobic slur because it will a) get the NDP elected or b) because the context is okay. I have ceased caring about whether or not Mulcair, or any NDP candidate will be good for Canada. Moderating 200+ NDP leadership threads have taken care of that. The repeated insinuations that I somehow have a horse in this race are laughable.

Basically I think TheArchitect got it right in post # 46. Excellent post.

The entire premise of your position necessitates that: 1) the context in which the comments were made be removed from the discussion; and 2) the word "sissy" be considered homophobic.  The first is assinine since context is as key to communication (if not more so) as voice inflection / tone.  And the second is an extreme stretch.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

You may feel the need to debate whether "sissy" is homphobic, but babble does not.

Mucker

Catchfire wrote:

You may feel the need to debate whether "sissy" is homphobic, but babble does not.

Your double-speak is mind-boggling.

Sean in Ottawa

Catchfire wrote:

I am commenting not on the anecdote, but the clamour of a few Mulcair supporters to defend his right to use a homophobic slur because it will a) get the NDP elected or b) because the context is okay. I have ceased caring about whether or not Mulcair, or any NDP candidate will be good for Canada. Moderating 200+ NDP leadership threads have taken care of that. The repeated insinuations that I somehow have a horse in this race are laughable.

Basically I think TheArchitect got it right in post # 46. Excellent post.

Cross-posted with you.

Guess I should be grateful now that you have downgraded the insult to a few Mulcair supporters.

I don't care if you have a horse in the race or not. It just would be nice if you would follow the policy you are enforcing a bit more closely. Saying an insulting comment about the supporters of a candidate here is out of line -- even if you are a mod. Funny you miss that. To limit it to "a few" after the fact improves it just slightly. Would have thought an apology to the people you insulted might have been reasonable, but oh well.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Thanks for your comment, Sean and welcome back.

Sdm, what do you make of the comments about ribs? I don't think a homophobic comment is acceptable in any context, including, maybe even most importantly in traditionally macho arenas like sports. I am not talking about Mulcair's comment, I am talking about the clamouring defence of that comment which lacked utterly any anti-oppression analysis. It's depressing to see Canada's left wing party talk like this--especially from supporters of the frontrunner.

socialdemocrati...

I don't think anyone defended homophobia.

More people -- Mulcair supporters and otherwise -- just had doubts that a second-hand account of something that happened 20 years ago during a hockey game (!) in another language was accurate. Let alone relevant to whether Mulcair would be a suitable leader.

Sean in Ottawa

Sorry, Mucker but Sissy is not the kind of language that would be acceptable from someone who wants to lead the NDP. I really hope that he never said that and won't excuse it if he did. However, I am not prepared to convict him on a rumour coming out of a 17-year old translation but I want to be clear that it would not be acceptable in a hockey game or not if this word were used.

algomafalcon

flight from kamakura wrote:

as yeah, saw that as a "libby would leave if mulcair..." comment.  hm, on that note, i think that evicting dewar would be very unpopular in the caucus, much more so than putting libby aside.  plus topp has already promised to run in quebec, so i'll stick with my original guess that probably the best fit for him (ie. where he could be reasonably sure to be elected) is still jeanne-le ber, conveniently adjacent to the former riding of another somewhat quebec party leader, paul martin.

I know Brian has stated he would run in Quebec, but he might be a bit cautious if support is wavering for the NDP in Quebec. (We know those are very "shallow roots"). I agree it wouldn't look very good if he asked Paul Dewar to step aside, unless he had a REALLY GREAT position to offer in exchange.

I have read that people are speculating that Brian might run in an Ontario riding (because they are "safer" ridings). If that happens, I am guessing it would most likely be a Toronto, Hamilton or Windsor seat. I can't see him running in a northern Ontario riding. 

 

Mucker

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Sorry, Mucker but Sissy is not the kind of language that would be acceptable from someone who wants to lead the NDP. I really hope that he never said that and won't excuse it if he did. However, I am not prepared to convict him on a rumour coming out of a 17-year old translation but I want to be clear that it would not be acceptable in a hockey game or not if this word were used.

The word "sissy" is so tame and benign that it's use today would be cause for the public humiliation of the insulter.  Again, I'll reiterate what I said before when the issue was brought to bare in an attempt to sewer Mulcair: these are the occasions that we bring truth to the NDP stereotype.  We can not live so far outside the mainstream on every single aspect of human life if we expect to get people living within that mainstream to support our party.

One hockey player calling another hockey player what amounts to "wimp" is definitely something that the mainstream would have absoltuely zero problem with, and our insistance that acts like this be deemed deplorable makes us look like fools...or dare I say it...[wimps].

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

If you can't call another hockey player a woman to insult him, what can you call him? Think of the (male, heterosexual) children!

flight from kamakura

everywhere seems sort of dicey, to be honest.  though, i think if he decides not to run in quebec (and not here, specifically) and if we take dewar's riding off the board (he's very popular there and i don't think it would be well-received in the riding if dewar were ushered out), i think probably the only riding that makes sense (bc is too far) is davenport.  the beaches riding is just too ripe for an upset that could well end topp's leadership before it begins in earnest.

to me, quebec is the only place where it makes sense.  despite how badly the ndp is doing right now, i don't see the leader losing a natural demographic riding.  plus a leadership by-election would be hard for the new bq leader to decline without appearing weak.  he's already ruled out asking one of his mps to step down (out of rightful fear of losing another seat to the ndp) and he'll not likely present against topp in a riding like jeanne-le ber or lasalle.  rosemont, for sure, but not somewhere that naturally favors the dippers.

Mucker

Catchfire wrote:

If you can't call another hockey player a woman to insult him, what can you call him? Think of the (male, heterosexual) children!

I'm hard-pressed to agree with your assertion that women are sissies.  I can buy the argument that there are biological and socially driven differences between the sexes, but I don't think that should permit you to suggest that all women are wimps.

socialdemocrati...

Catchfire:

I didn't personally pick up on a mysoginistic code in eating ribs. In my social circle, ribs aren't a food that's associated with any particular gender or sexual preference. I read it the same way as I read some of the other comments mocking the significance of this "revelation". With some non-Mulcair people joining in the discussion, the comments aren't pro-Mulcair or pro-Homophobia, and more just shaking our heads at the sorry state of what passes for important issues during this leadership race.

On a left-wing site, we should be able to assume good faith, and resolve any ambiguity in someone's comments to believe that they're not homophobic/racist/sexist/etc. If we're genuinely concerned about these kinds of toxic beliefs, we should be able to discuss them using a restorative justice model, and minimize the use of statist models of censorship and punishment. Only if someone stubbornly clings to a toxic belief should moderators resort to more harsh warnings and "time outs".

Of course, that's just my opinion on moderator policy. I'm sure they're not paying you enough that you can actually engage, or encourage that engagement among the community. And it's certainly faster, easier, and cheaper to just hand out warnings and suspensions.

socialdemocrati...

... that being said, I just crossposted with Mucker, and he's chosen to keep digging.

Mucker

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

... that being said, I just crossposted with Mucker, and he's chosen to keep digging.

And, if not "digging", how would you describe the post quoted in my last?

Wilf Day

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

I'd like to see the NDP tent grow. If someone like Libby Davies would feel the need to leave the tent, that's a step in the wrong direction.

Not necessarily. Dawn Black left the House to run provincially when we might have won. If Libby can't resist the challenge of being part of a BC government, who could blame her? Even if Topp won?

flight from kamakura wrote:

I don't think there's a single person on this board who isn't very clear on who they support.

Undeclared, and will remain so.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Mucker, do you know that sissy is a diminuitive of sister? You are, in fact, calling a man a woman if you call him a sissy. The implication being, of course, that women are weaker (which is why it's an insult). I thought that was commonly understood. If it's not, perhaps that explains some of the confusion.

@sdm: I agree that the rib comment was not gendered. However, it was meant to render toothless and irrelevant an established homophobic and misogynist slur. As if calling someone an oppressive name were the same as some other pointless complaint, like eating meat (which itself is offensive to vegetarians and vegans on this site, but whatever. Clearly this is futile ground).

I don't think the anecdote is pointless, but I also don't think it means Mulcair is homophobe. I don't think he is. I think it does support the ongoing characterization that he is an aggressive, at times bullying, individual with colleagues and peers. But I wasn't commenting on that. I was commenting on how easily and quickly some Mulcair supporters supported his use of it, alleged or not.

ETA. Cross posted with Michelle.

socialdemocrati...

I'd consider it an accurate history of the word sissy, which isn't really acceptable around here. Relatively better than "girly man", or some more horrible words in history. But ignorance can only be a legitimate defense for so long.

 

Michelle

Huh.  I had no idea that "sissy" came from "sister".  Learn something new every day.

Mucker

Catchfire wrote:

Mucker, do you know that sissy is a diminuitive of sister? You are, in fact, calling a man a woman if you call him a sissy. The implication being, of course, that women are weaker (which is why it's an insult). I thought that was commonly understood. If it's not, perhaps that explains some of the confusion.

Except my entire point is this: reaching this conclusion requires that you completely remove all context from the discussion.  As Michelle has just quite eloquently illustrated, one person's definition of "sissy" can differ substantially from another's.  I think you're stretching if you want to suggest that "sissy" is homophobic in the venacular, everyday usage of the word.  It just so happens that your current definition is more damning to Mulcair, and for that reason more convenient.

Quote:
@sdm: I agree that the rib comment was not gendered. However, it was meant to render toothless and irrelevant an established homophobic and misogynist slur.

This debate clearly calls into question just how "established".

JeffWells

algomafalcon wrote:

I have read that people are speculating that Brian might run in an Ontario riding (because they are "safer" ridings). If that happens, I am guessing it would most likely be a Toronto, Hamilton or Windsor seat. I can't see him running in a northern Ontario riding. 

It should have been Toronto Danforth. I know it's hindsight now, but it wasn't that long ago that it seemed simply good foresight. It would have demonstrated Topp's committment to electoral politics and, so long as he won, removed from the table the legitimate concern about leadership from outside the House. Of course it would have been challenging to contend both, but the effort would have rebounded to Topp's credit. I also believe the voters of T-D would have understood that his attention would be divided, and would have been more inclined to vote for a possible Leader of the Opposition than just an MP. And he could have still kept his committment to run in Quebec by promising to do so in 2015.

Poor judgement. Spectacularly poor, IMO.

socialdemocrati...

I don't know. Trying to run a local campaign AND a national campaign at the same time could have guaranteed that Topp loses both. The Liberal candidate in Toronto-Danforth already likes to make enough Vegas jokes, and I don't want to add fuel to the fire by running a candidate who isn't even campaigning there.

1springgarden

Catchfire wrote:

You may feel the need to debate whether "sissy" is homphobic, but babble does not.

I for one value Babble being anti-oppression when it comes to language and conduct on here.  Often, due to either our own ignorance or in some cases relative priviledge, we fail to recognize when words are used to oppress particular individuals or groups of people.  I acknowledge that use of the word "sissy" is oppressive and I thank Catchfire for standing up and insisting that Babblers recognize it as such.

algomafalcon

Wilf Day wrote:

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

I'd like to see the NDP tent grow. If someone like Libby Davies would feel the need to leave the tent, that's a step in the wrong direction.

Not necessarily. Dawn Black left the House to run provincially when we might have won. If Libby can't resist the challenge of being part of a BC government, who could blame her? Even if Topp won?

The commute from Ottawa to BC is a factor which I've heard is very wearing on some MPs. I think that was part of the decision when Dawn went from federal back to provincial politics. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Libby decided to move to provincial politics, as right now, the NDP has very good prospects of being elected into government in the next election. I suspect Libby Davies would get a cabinet post.

I'm pretty sure if she did make that decision, there would be a lot of people scrambling to get the nomination in Vancouver East, as it is such a strong NDP riding.

Michelle

I've never thought of the word "sissy" being a derogatory term to mean feminine or gay.  I always thought of "sissy" as meaning someone, male or female, who whines or cries over very little, or who tattles over little things.  Not necessarily a female attribute at all.  Heck, look at soccer players.  (Oooooh!  yes, she went there!  catchfire's coming after her now!)  ;)

Anyhow, I'm open to the idea that sissy could be considered sexist or homphobic, I guess.  But if the standard that candidates have to meet now is whether they have used a mildly or even moderately offensive or oppressive term in the past two or three decades, then I think that's going to narrow the field to pretty much nobody. 

Trying to make hay against Mulcair with this is seriously reaching if you ask me.

socialdemocrati...

Re: sissy.

It's obviously one of the more borderline insults. I remember in my teens making a comment to a Francophone about Pepsi, and they pointed out "you know that's an insult in Quebec, don't you?" Actually, I really didn't know. (They were also fucking with me.)

The point isn't that it's completely benign. The point is that 20 years ago, third-party account, hockey game, in a different language... who knows if he even said it? Was it more like "wimp"? Or more like "little girl"?

... and I realize I'm now doing exactly what I didn't want to do, which is giving this issue any more attention than it deserves. These kinds of rumors and ancient anecdotes don't belong in a discussion in the first place.

 

TheArchitect

Catchfire wrote:

@sdm: I agree that the rib comment was not gendered. However, it was meant to render toothless and irrelevant an established homophobic and misogynist slur. As if calling someone an oppressive name were the same as some other pointless complaint, like eating meat (which itself is offensive to vegetarians and vegans on this site, but whatever. Clearly this is futile ground).

I don't think the anecdote is pointless, but I also don't think it means Mulcair is homophobe. I don't think he is. I think it does support the ongoing characterization that he is an aggressive, at times bullying, individual with colleagues and peers. But I wasn't commenting on that. I was commenting on how easily and quickly some Mulcair supporters supported his use of it, alleged or not.

ETA. Cross posted with Michelle.

I actually interpreted the rib comment as gender/sexuality-related.  In certain regions of North America, at least (I actually associate this more with parts of the United States then with Canada), ribs would be a food that might be associated with traditional heterosexual masculinity—perhaps in contrast with those "latte leftists" who probably prefer tofu and arugula.  (Remember that in the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign, Republicans attacked Barack Obama for eating arugula.)

I certainly don't think that Mulcair is homophobic.  To suggest that he is, as far as I can tell, would be absurd.  I found the quote interesting not because it suggests that Mulcair hates women or gays but because it suggests that he sometimes may speak in a manner which suggests a certain insensitivity toward others.

I frankly can't imagine Jack Layton ever calling anyone a "sissy."

flight from kamakura

if the leadership contest timetable had worked out differently, topp would have been a candidate in danforth, for sure, he said as much.  the shame now is that topp, after having invested so much in raising his national profile, is likely to lose the leadership contest and then end up on the pundit periphery until 2015.  it would have been really nice to have seen him in the house after a failed leadership bid, taking on tough files as a prominent critic, that's what danforth could have been.  that said, a pundit topp would be a lot better than the singularly irritating ian capstick.

Ippurigakko

dictionary:

sissy

1846, "sister," extended form of sis (q.v.). Meaning "effeminate man" is recorded from 1887; the adj. in this sense is from 1891. Sissy bar is recorded from 1969.

adjective
noun
1. an effeminate boy or man.

2. a timid or cowardly person.

3. a little girl.

Origin:
1840–50, Americanism  in sense “sister”; 1885–90, Americanism for def. 1; sis  + y 2

Mucker

TheArchitect wrote:

Catchfire wrote:

@sdm: I agree that the rib comment was not gendered. However, it was meant to render toothless and irrelevant an established homophobic and misogynist slur. As if calling someone an oppressive name were the same as some other pointless complaint, like eating meat (which itself is offensive to vegetarians and vegans on this site, but whatever. Clearly this is futile ground).

I don't think the anecdote is pointless, but I also don't think it means Mulcair is homophobe. I don't think he is. I think it does support the ongoing characterization that he is an aggressive, at times bullying, individual with colleagues and peers. But I wasn't commenting on that. I was commenting on how easily and quickly some Mulcair supporters supported his use of it, alleged or not.

ETA. Cross posted with Michelle.

I actually interpreted the rib comment as gender/sexuality-related.  In certain regions of North America, at least (I actually associate this more with parts of the United States then with Canada), ribs would be a food that might be associated with traditional heterosexual masculinity—perhaps in contrast with those "latte leftists" who probably prefer tofu and arugula.  (Remember that in the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign, Republicans attacked Barack Obama for eating arugula.)

I certainly don't think that Mulcair is homophobic.  To suggest that he is, as far as I can tell, would be absurd.  I found the quote interesting not because it suggests that Mulcair hates women or gays but because it suggests that he sometimes may speak in a manner which suggests a certain insensitivity toward others.

I frankly can't imagine Jack Layton ever calling anyone a "sissy."

Again, remaining entirely neutral on whether rib is or is not gender/sexually-related, TheArchitect's comments here underscore yet again the importance of context and perspective.

Ippurigakko wrote:

dictionary:

sissy

1846, "sister," extended form of sis (q.v.). Meaning "effeminate man" is recorded from 1887; the adj. in this sense is from 1891. Sissy bar is recorded from 1969.

adjective
noun
1. an effeminate boy or man.

2. a timid or cowardly person.

3. a little girl.

Origin:
1840–50, Americanism  in sense “sister”; 1885–90, Americanism for def. 1; sis  + y 2

...establishing that "sissy" can be an oppressive, mysoginist, horrifically offensive insult, or it can mean "wimp".

Unionist

TheArchitect wrote:

I frankly can't imagine Jack Layton ever calling anyone a "sissy."

Of course not. He was a saint. We shall never see his like again.

mtm

Rabble has jumped the shark.  I can't believe half a thread was taken up by something midly offensive to a small subsection of the general population, possibly uttered, in another language almost two-decades ago in a hockey game.

"Don't be a sissy" is something my mom would say to me when I was being a whiny child.  I'll be sure to tell her what a horrible person she is/was next time I see her.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

This will be my last contribution to the drift.

Clearly, I was mistaken with what I thought was a general understanding on what sissy means. So perhaps I shouldn't have pressed it as hard as I did. However, sometimes when I'm drunk or high and full of life I like to imagine babble as a place where the typical hierarchical and macho posturing doesn't or needn't exist, and so even if we don't know the misogynist etymological root of "sissy," we can at least agree that it's not the kind of dynamic we would want to defend in this space. Words like "wimp" and "crybaby" and "loser" which connote a very specific meaning after you've just checked an opposing hockey player to the ice. I wouldn't want to defend that dynamic in any situation, and in a perfect world, it wouldn't be defended on babble either.

NorthReport

We do need some humour around here - thanks Unionist for that. Laughing

Sean in Ottawa

If Mulcair is such a jerk why would we have to go so far back to get something he said through translation (accurate or not) to attack him with?

I am not condoning the word and have said it is unacceptable. But it is also unacceptable to even think of questioning a candidate based on 17-year old hear-say in translation. And would Mulcair make that comment today? Well I guess not or we wouldn't be reaching back 17 years for that one would we? You don't have to mount some defence for a stupid comment from that many years ago to say it really has no currency today. I think that's the point.

That said, ongoing concerns about Mulcair's personality/passion/manner persist. He has been asked the question many times and I think has made it clear that this is something he is working on-- at least to the extent that he can acknowledge the question. It is one of the things many of his supporters have considered before concluding -- on balance -- that he remains the best choice. It is also the reason others have chosen not to support him. Dredging up a 17-year-old comment does not help make a strong case against him, however.

On the issue of Topp not running in T-D, I cannot fault him for this. He did not want to be labelled a candidate from Ontario while trumpeting his Québec credentials and I see that point. Getting a seat seems to me to be the least of his problems if he becomes leader.

 

mtm

with the professionals providing such great role models to our youth in moments such as this below, unfortunately I think the field of play will be the last place you can expect to see such a thing for the forseeable future.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0itC0wx6vg

 

FYI 99% of my hockey-viewing social circle, most of whom vote, thought this was the most hilarious thing they've ever seen.

Mucker

Catchfire wrote:

This will be my last contribution to the drift.

Clearly, I was mistaken with what I thought was a general understanding on what sissy means. So perhaps I shouldn't have pressed it as hard as I did. However, sometimes when I'm drunk or high and full of life I like to imagine babble as a place where the typical hierarchical and macho posturing doesn't or needn't exist, and so even if we don't know the misogynist etymological root of "sissy," we can at least agree that it's not the kind of dynamic we would want to defend in this space. Words like "wimp" and "crybaby" and "loser" which connote a very specific meaning after you've just checked an opposing hockey player to the ice. I wouldn't want to defend that dynamic in any situation, and in a perfect world, it wouldn't be defended on babble either.

I'll conclude as well, with this:

Anything said with the specific intention of demeaning another on the basis of their sex, sexuality, or position on the gender continuum is completely deplorable in any context (hockey rink or otherwise).  And I think that since intention is so hard to pin down, we need to approach these discussions with an open mind and assume that if someone really wanted to insult another on those aforementioned deplorable grounds, they would choose a word with a less ambiguous meaning.

My aggressive reaction to the suggestion that Mulcair may have been calling his opponent something more sinister than a wimp is no doubt a product of the recent attacks against him.  My initial knee-jerk essentially amounted to "What? The Broadbent thing failed, so now we're stretching 20 year old quotes into homophobia?"  There may have been a milder intention there as well, and for that reason I apologize.

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