You say what now, honourable Senator representing Rigaud?


TSN’s Michael Landsberg laughs through the pain.

Conflict-of-interest-free Canadian Senator Jacques Demers tells the kind of joke my dad makes when he’s four Cuba Libres into some family wedding. That is to say, off-colour, cringe-inducing and completely harmless. A few differences: my dad isn’t a senator (yet); Demers was presumably sober, and; he did it on live television. Let the smarmy outrage start… now.

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You say what now, honourable Senator representing Rigaud?

  1. Just go have a look at the comments under the last two Steyn columns here at MacLean's, if you want to see full-throated bigotry.

    • Or you could just read Steyn's columns.

      • How dare you censor Mark Steyn with your subtle iinnuendo?


  2. Irony alert. The program's name is Off the Record.

  3. I don't believe he made that joke up. He must have read it somewhere.

  4. Man, that's funny. Its funny on the face of it, and its even funnier the context. Its especially funny to see commenters falling over themselves to mock the voices of outrage coming from ummm… hmmm. chirp. chirp.

  5. I don't know about the rest of the world, although I suspect it's the same in other communities, but that is very Jewish Montreal humour. It's either right or wrong, meaningless or meaningful, harmless or harmful, for everyone*. Outrage, schmoutrage. The only thing people are outraged about is Hamrlik & the Habs giving games away.

    * Given the context and the interlocutors (two happy acquaintances so comfortable with each other they don't care about the camera), I think it's almost completely meaningless & harmless. But while no biggie, being coherent with my views on language, wrong, all the same. But as said, Demers is no righter nor wronger than Jews who tell the same jokes.

    • Well said. I mean, it's not like the guy is a separatist or something, so who cares, eh?

      • Hey Olivier, I just thought to check now. Funny line. But if a separatist was friendly with Landsberg and made the same joke, I'd have exactly the same response: "Wrong, all the same. But given the context, no biggie." As stated directly above. It's not about separatist or not, it's about bigoted or not, and how abuse of language can contribute to bigotry, wittingly or unwittingly.

        There are bigoted federalists. And tolerant separatists. But for obvious reasons, a goodly proportion of those with exclusionary views are drawn towards a political movement whose raison d'être is self-exclusion from Canada – it's just a natural fit. The most notorious polling on this was right after the last referendum when I think SOM & CROP (there were two, maybe Léger too?) asked if only French Canadians should have the right to vote in referendums, and 20ish% agreed. Broken down, these 20% were something like 99% pure laine separatists. Those polls were one of the reasons, along with Parizeau, etc., that separatists like Venne & G. Bouchard intensified their efforts to proselytise for open nationalism, so they might achieve separation with honour. At least that's what G. told me.

        • As far as name dropping goes, when adressing a suspected crypto-separatist that is, Gérard is always a winner, so there, +1 for you too.

          For the funniness (?) of the line, looking at it now, It's too long, should have written: "Well said. I mean, it's not like the guy is a separatist or something." More dry, but at the same time less personal with regards to the person I was replying to. I mean, the goal was to cack a joke, see?

          That being said, and I understand it's a tad off-topic, but I'm surprised Gérard Bouchard told somebody his reflexions on open nationalism were about doing the thing with hounour. Always tought it was about rethinking the "nation" as political elites and people in general see it in a way that was more in phase with the actual reality of Québec as a society and hence allowing for a project that was susceptible of actually gathering a broader support amongst the Québec population in all its diversity.

          Silly me.

  6. It's a harmless joke. The fact that people get outraged about this is absurd.

    Jewish people have big noses, Blacks have bug lips, Chinese have slanty eyes, white people can't dance and white men can't jump, whatever… bring on the outrage.

    • Look everybody, it's trying to be funny.

    • White people have *no* lips.

    • The absurdity lies in you myopic views and understanding of race, genetics, etc…

      On blacks… Just about the only objective physical descriptor one can use for all blacks is skin colour, ie. they are shades darker than Caucasians (the shades themselves are quite varying). Many, many black people have thinner lips than myself (I am white) and/or Mick Jagger.

      On ‘'Chinese''… Honestly, your description of their eyes is in poor taste. However, it is not inaccurate to observe, in the general Asian population, less rounded features around the eyes (of varying degrees) than you would find amongst the Caucasian population.

      On ‘'whites''… The current female world record holder in high jump is Stefka Kostadinova of Bulgaria. Amongst the top 10 male high jumpers, only 2 are black. In long jump, a black American has the world record for the guys, and a Ukrainian owns it for the women. In triple jump, a (white) Englishman for the guys, and for the ladies, another Ukraine.
      Although I would certainly be out jumped by many black people, I am of firm conviction that I could out jump some (including the heavier ones, etc…). That being said, I am plain horrible at dancing, this is true. However, the whole world dances (in one way or another).

      And finally, In 2010, being Jewish is hardly a racial definition. Judaism is a religion and, perhaps in certain regions, a culture. In fact, the better part of all European ancestry is derived (in a more direct sense) from the same genetic make-up as Jews. Also, in a most historical context, the ''racial'' Jew is the same person as the ''racial' Arab (ie. Semite).

      Get it right…

      • Are you serious? You're too funny. Are you Steve Urkel?

  7. One of the signs that somebody is your friend is that you can make fun of them and they won't punch you in the face. This is as true for ethnic groups as it is for people. When we feign outrage over harmless jokes we create a world where people stick to their own out of a fear of offending others. If you want to foster cross-cultural understanding, pretending that differences don't exist is stupid. Among groups where benign ethnic jokes are officially sanctioned (eg. down in the states, Americans like to make Canadian jokes, and are not offended when I respond) they are a good icebreaker, and somewhat endearing. They probably have the long-run effect of reducing the belief in untrue stereotypes, incidentally, because they help people get to know each other.

  8. No issues here – moving on….

  9. My husband was asked if he was jewish. The store owners were and thought he looked jewish BECAUSE OF HIS NOSE. Laughs all around when he confirmed that he was Scottish! My goodness. People are pathetic these days.

    These two are long-time family friends. Demers spends passover with Landsberg's family. This was nothing and to make anything out of it just shows that where there is no news, it'll be created in order to feed the 24 hour news monster.

    Just pathetic!!!

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