This week in hyperbole -

This week in hyperbole


If the first casualty of war is truth, then it seems the second casualty of Quebec’s student skirmish, after so many plate glass windows, is the blessing of understatement. (Un)fortunately for us on the sidelines, the ability to overstate what, exactly, the three-month-long strike represents. Here are two particularly pungent examples from the past week.

Exhibit one, from the left: Referring to this week’s smoke bomb attacks on four Montreal Metro stations, paralysing the system for some 300,000 users, writer François Avard said, “I don’t see these as terrorist acts, but almost like humanitarian action!” Avard—who, it must be said, created the wickedly funny Les Bougons—went on to chastise the Quebec population for “sitting in their cars and bitching without doing anything.”

Exhibit deux, from the right: “Wearing a red square in the Metro this morning is like wearing a burqa in a plane after September 11,” tweeted Éric Duhaime, a right-y commentator. “It makes all passengers around nervous.” (H/T Clique Du Plateau.)

So: the students are freedom fighters. No, they’re terrorists. God forbid they’re just students on strike.

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This week in hyperbole

  1. Is mr. Duhaime considered a legitimate political commentator for “the right”? Does he have a tendency to legitimize anti-muslim sentiment with prejudiced jabs like the ones above? Do others on “his side” denounce him for it or is this considered thoughtful reflection on matters in the Quebec political scene?

  2. “Students on strike” is an oxymoron. You could call them demonstrators, or perhaps protestors. But to be on strike implies you are providing a service which you are choosing to withhold.

    When it comes to the smokebombs, I don’t think I’d go so far as to call them terrorists. But I would call them criminals, since it’s clearly illegal behaviour.