Have you seen the new provincial tourism commercials? They’re lovely and colourful and do a great job at highlighting our assets and hiding the ugly bigotry that’s alive and well here in Newfoundland and Labrador. I guess “prejudice” and “old boy’s club” were not key benefits on the creative brief. That’s what you get for all dem dolla bills.
But have no fear, citizens of earth. We can always count on the people of this fine province to shine a big fat national spotlight on our backwoods hillbilly bullshit for free.
Bigots are everywhere, no doubt, not just here. But I don’t live everywhere. I live here, and so do my children, and so will my grandchildren most likely. So here is where I’m concerned. Here is where I got a problem.
I was listening to CBC radio on my drive home from work last week, and they aired a call from a man who was giving his opinion on the recent news story about a local jeweler who had placed an anti-gay marriage sign in his store window. It read: Man + Woman = Marriage God’s Way, Genesis 2:24.
He went on for several minutes of my life that I will never get back but, in a nutshell, he said that he supported the business owner’s right to put a sign in his window because everyone is entitled to their opinion and free speech and blah blah blah word word word and “the gay crowd” need to just suck it up. THE GAY CROWD. He said it several times and with such contempt, he may as well have been calling them shit-eating zombie fuckers.
After his call was aired (and then another one by a lady who thinks we should leave the homosexuals alone because God will be their judge), the radio host’s voice chimed in to politely say, “Thanks for your opinions.” Yes, thanks for the gonorrhea too, buddy. Much appreciated.
Then this week, my newsfeed was inundated with the glorious goings-on in Spaniard’s Bay where a woman exposed the sexist culture at the local volunteer fire station where she is the lone female firefighter (and most qualified, by the way), and half the department quit and we hope nobody’s frying chips on the stove in Spaniard’s Bay tonight, and missus gets called a “conniving witch” who’s out for the chief’s job, and half the town assemble in protest to show support for “their men” who have been so horribly wronged by these allegations of sexual harassment. CBC broke the story and it quickly made national headlines. Yes, right now when the rest of the country thinks of Newfoundland and Labrador, they’re not thinking of the beautiful scenery featured in our tourism commercials. They’re thinking of a fireman filling another fireman’s hat with jizz. Excellent. Very majestic. The papers deliver just the facts, of course: she alleges this, he says that, they all claim this and that and everything else. Journalism.
Ahem. You know what? I’m not a journalist and this is my blog and I can say whatever the fuck I want and not even my mom can stop me though she’ll probably try, so guess what? WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT. IN. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK.
FUCK THAT GUY ON THE RADIO. Fuck thanking him for his “opinions.” He was an ignorant prick. In the tone of his voice, thinly THINLY veiled in polite words so CBC would actually be able to air the thing, I discerned stupidity, arrogance, and contempt. If he was willing to say this on the radio, what does he say in real life? What does he REALLY think of my gay friends? (Two of whom are getting married tonight, by the way. Congrats, Amy and Katie!) And what, oh dear baby jesus in the garden, is he teaching his children and his grandchildren? I’ll take a pass on those play dates, thank you very much. FUCK THAT GUY. Also, fuck that jewelry store owner. I don’t want my kids seeing your fucking sign, you Old Testament twit.
And you know what else? To anyone in Spaniard’s Bay or any damn place who thinks you gotta be “one of the boys” to work among them: FUCK YOU. How about we all step out of the time warp and be “one of the humans.” And if you’re teaching your kids, directly or indirectly, that women need to just shut their mouths and know their place, SHAME ON YOU. It’s one thing to be an asshole yourself. It’s quite another to teach that assholery to your kids and deny them the chance to be someone better. Sounds like child abuse to me.
Fuck you, radio caller guy – not because I’m concerned for my gay friends and family. We don’t need to defend them anymore because it’s 2016 and there’s nothing to defend and never was. They are strong and would crush your caveman ass with their laughter. What concerns me is that you bastards still exist in the same world as my kids. My son is almost seven years old and still learning about life, and straight or gay or ponysexual whatever the fuck that is I don’t even care, he’s still trying to make sense of the world. And by some horrible stroke of bad and terrible luck, he might come across the likes of you and be exposed to your brand of epic crap. Imagine if he had heard you on the radio, he might have thought, “IT’S ON THE RADIO SO IT MUST BE TRUE. AND THE NICE NEWS GUY SAID ‘THANKS,’ SO IT MUST BE RIGHT.” Mind you, if he had been in the car, I would have slammed the radio off so hard I would have tuned in Tokyo for real. Or maybe I would have left the radio on and used it as an opportunity to teach Max about horrible people like Hitler, and you. We would have a nice long chat and look up the word “bigot” in the dictionary. I think my son is smart enough to resist your hateful poppycock, but even if one ounce of it trickles into his mind, if one speck of his love and understanding and humanity is replaced with arrogance and hatred, someone will pay. I WILL NOT HAVE IT.
And fuck you in Spaniard’s Bay too, BECAUSE MY KIDS ARE HERE AND RIGHT NOW THAT’S NOT FAR ENOUGH AWAY FROM YOU. And I’ll be damned if I let one single droplet of your bullshit spill onto them. The news coverage of the rally showed children holding signs that said “support our men” and I had to check the calendar to see which year it was, and check the mirror to see if I was sporting a beehive, and I was almost disappointed to realize it was 2016 and my hair was on trend because it meant YOU PEOPLE ACTUALLY EXIST. What scares me most is what the kids are gathering from all this. THEY’RE KIDS. Their brains aren’t fully developed yet. Even if you folks in Spaniard’s Bay were right about everything (FYI you’re not, everything out of your mouths has only helped confirm Seymour’s claims), your kids are learning to NEVER TRUST A WOMAN WHO SPEAKS UP. And what’s worse, your daughters are learning to NEVER SPEAK UP AGAINST THE MEN and NEVER REPORT SEXUAL HARASSMENT because NOBODY WILL BELIEVE YOU. Imagine how many times a child has overheard the word “bitch” or “whore” or worse in reference to Brenda Seymour this week. I’m sure that won’t breed any misogyny at all. You should erect a new statue in the town square of a fireman holding his big giant hose, with water splashing into the faces of the tiny womenfolk. That should draw some support.
Are the residents of Spaniard’s Bay bad people? Absolutely not. I probably know a few of them. And, being a bayman myself, with a baygirl t-shirt and a thick Bonavista Bay accent, I’m in tune with outport life. I respect it. Not all baymen are backwoods hillbillies. It’s important to know that. Rumour has it there was a rally in the town today to show support for Brenda Seymour and, more importantly, calling for community-wide education on sexual harassment. I hope the country of Spain hears this so they change their minds on wanting their name back and stop pretending they were never here.
Are the male firefighters there bad guys? Not at all. I’m willing to bet they’re all generally good fellows. What they are guilty of, though, is living in the dark ages, when you could make comments in the workplace like “I jerked in your hat,” and you didn’t have to DO SOMETHING (besides laugh) when a dude played a porn video as part of your team’s training, and you didn’t have to take ambitious women seriously because nobody else ever did and nobody cares. But, see, ignorance is no excuse for treating people like shit. Just because you don’t KNOW you’re behaving badly doesn’t mean you aren’t, and it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. So now they must make amends out there in Spaniard’s Bay. You know, by getting schooled on what sexual harassment actually is, and how a toxic work environment can be created by the best of people when they just don’t understand shit, and how we need women in positions of leadership because HELLO, it’s 2016. And please please PLEASE, don’t forget to teach the children. As soon as possible too, to get the poison out. Perhaps if we had all been taught this stuff early, none of this would be happening. And maybe, once they all see the light, they can apologize to Brenda Seymour. Maybe even thank her, as I do, on behalf of all our daughters and sons. Thank her for bravely pushing this all too common bullshit out into the light, clearing the path for education and change and bearing the backlash herself, so my little girl can grow up and be anything she wants to be including the god damn FIRE CHIEF, and my son can grow up and never find himself in this kind of hot water.
Ahhhh, it’s great to be a blogger.
And I thought I was pissed off about the price of vegetables.