Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen

You know, I don't envy politicians and those in public life. Besides the countless rubber chicken dinners and having to deal with the unwashed media hordes (particularly those CBC hippies) staying within the ever shifting bounds of acceptable political discourse is becoming increasingly challenging.

Well, not really. It's only difficult if you're trying to follow Conservative rules of morality. Although really, those rules could be summed-up as: If we do it, its cool; but if you do it, cue the violins.

Take the events of recent weeks. Allegations of sexism have dominated the headlines. Peter McKay called ex-girlfriend Belinda Stronach a dog in the House of Commons and because he got dumped a few years ago and is still bitter they weren't 2getha4eva. Then, Conservative pundit Norman Spector jumped into the fray to defend McKay, calling Stronach a bitch.

It was made clear to us though by the Conservative apologists that neither of these incidents constituted sexism. Just regular political discourse, Conservative style, nothing to see here, they said.

I wonder if the folks at a group of Canadian environmental groups had these recent events in mind when they aimed this broadside at Rona Ambrose, our disappointing environment minister, in a daily newsletter issued at a UN environmental conference happening now in Kenya.

"The convention has seen some outstanding presidents and some ordinary ones. Canada's Rona Ambrose was neither,'' Canadian environmental groups wrote in the newsletter.

"She might have the best hair of any (conference of parties) president, but she will be remembered as the worst COP president in the history of the climate convention.''

"Since assuming the presidency, Rona found time away from her hairdresser to show up for about 24 hours in Bonn in May this year,'' the newsletter says.

"But not enough for the pre-COP 12 meeting in Geneva or the G8+5 meeting in Mexico, where she just sent staff to meet with the many ministers. We were however impressed with the hair. Good hair, some might say even exceptional hair.''

Frankly, I think these comments are rather stupid. First of all, I really don't think Rona's hair is all that. Maybe top 5 in the House of Commons, if she's lucky. And there's enough to find fault with vis a vis Rona's sorry performance in her portfolio without bringing her hair into it.

Now, given the Conservative responses to the dog and bitch incidents, you'd probably expect them to blow this off and not jump to the sexism barricades. After all, using their previous logic, this isn't sexism. After all, male politicians have hair, don't they? Don't they like their hair to look good too? Many male politicians obsessed over their hair and had to have it just so…Pierre Pettigrew, I'm looking at you!

Consistency be dammed though, Belinda may be a traitor but Rona is still one of ours, so it it's sexism. To the barricades!

Anyway, if you're following at home, here's how I score it:

: Pathetic, but not sexist

: Pathetic and sexist

: Pathetic and sexist
Conservatives: Wildly inconsistent

It's intent that's the determining factor, as well as common usage. Sure, some male politicians obsess about their hair too but they're not mocked for it. Can you see such a comment being made about Stephane Dion, for example? Of course not. Maybe his hair practices while environment minister should be a topic for Denise's next blog interview.

Really, though, until Conservative apologists back-away from their support of McKay and Spector any feigned outrage over this hair thing is just hollow, and pathetic.

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Olaf said...


Who's outraged? I could really give a damn. I mean, vanity was the object of attack here it seems, which you pointed out could cut both ways (men have hair... at least temporarily).

A similar type of insult could have been applied if someone questioned Peter MacKay's attendence at international summits by saying "He was probably working out/playing rubgy/etc." or something like that (in fairness, I don't think too many Conservative politicians seem to care much about their looks - Art Hanger isn't even trying anymore!)

I'd be interested to see if Rona tries to turn this around for political gain the way Belinda (and Jack, and Bill, and everyone) did following the Doggygate imbroglio.

The Rat said...

Jeff, as a blogger and journalist don't you think you might link a few of those "outraged conservatives"? Frankly, I don't give my own ass about that kinda stuff. Rona's a big girl (not a fat joke, honest) an so is Belinda, or at least it would be nice if she acted like one.