Sour Grapes

I didn’t say much when he was helping to promote Julian Fantino in a recent Toronto area by-election, but I think Don Cherry has gone a little too far this time. I’ve never been much of a fan of his ridiculous rants, and there’s maybe only one time out of ten that I agree with his convoluted ideas, but Cherry’s recent branching out into the political arena demonstrates both a succinct lack of good sense from the politicians who prop him up on stage to speak, and what can only be charitably attributed to Cherry’s decline into dementia with advancing age.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Cherry went on a protracted rant about “left-wing kooks” and “pinkos.” While his rants related to hockey have earned him a dubious spot on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, it’s perhaps easier to disregard his lunacy when the topic is hockey. When he starts dabbling in the political arena, his stunning lack of tact and intellectual capacity become glaring. Anyone hitching their cart to that particular ass should be held suspect as well, something Mayor Ford should consider.

I don’t know how I feel about celebrities getting involved in causes and political matters. I think generally it is alright, and in some cases commedable, that celebrities use their fame and fortune to support and advance social causes. I don’t think that this extends to political spokesmanship, however. Maybe some people see an ambiguous line between the two, but it really isn’t that ambiguous.

Frankly, being a celebrity doesn’t make you a qualified expert on anything but the process of being a celebrity. Being a spokesperson means you are attaching your reputation to the selling of a product or commodity. The product or commodity can be anything from a trinket to a cause to a person, but behind your name you are placing your reputation as a spokesperson behind that commodity and suggesting other people support it as well. It’s assumed that you must be knowledgeable or some sort of authority on the subject that the commodity falls into. In most cases, particularly politics, celebrities are anything but.

Maybe Bono is an expert on world hunger and poverty because of research and study he has done on his own. Maybe Pam Anderson can support PETA because she is well read and informed on issues related to cruelty against animals. In neither case is the cause at hand the primary profession or occupation of the spokesperson, but that’s okay. You can be a fair representation of an expert in the field, or close enough to being one, to be able to credibly put your name behind the cause.

But, politics spans too many issues and causes. Really, the only people who are in a position to be spokespeople for politicians are people who have studied and covered politics as a profession, such as news people or politicians themselves. The fact that maybe you agree with a politician on a particular stance doesn’t mean you are a credible spokesperson for that politician, it just means you can support and speak for their position on that particular topic.

To put your reputation behind something that you don’t have adequate knowledge and experience in simply because you know your fame and popularity will lead people wherever you want them to be led is crass and damaging. Of <.em people hang on the every word and whim of their favorite celebrities; they’re lemmings, after all, and lazy ones at that. The path of least resistance is to do whatever someone else tells you you should do, and if someone globally recognized and popular in the media is the one saying it, obviously it must be the right thing. Right?


Like assholes, everyone has an opinion. Yes, that actually means that assholes have opinions as well. Opinions aren’t statements of fact, divine gospel or authoritative proclamations. The value of the opinion can be measured in the degree of knowledge the opinionated have of the subject matter. If they have none, the opinion istelf is suspect. At the end of the day you are an asshole with a weak opinion, you’re just an asshole.

Mr. Cherry…

First there was the use of automated phone calls to Toronto residents with a recording of Don Cherry promoting Julian Fantino for election. Fantino is a retired police chief and commisioner known for a variety of scandals throughout his career, including illegal wiretapping, police misconduct and overly aggressive attitudes towards public protestors. The controversy extends to corruption scandals such as police taking bribes and beating and robbing drug dealers, which Fantino generally tried to handle quietly out of the public view and without external investigation.

Sounds like a great guy, Mr. Cherry.

Fantino won his race in the election. It’s tragic enough that a guy who demonstrated disdain for public opinion and expression throughout his career is now charged with representing the public, but if you compound this with the possibility that people voted for him because of the geriatric ravings of an ex hockey coach, it becomes downright pathetic.

Then, at the invite of Mayor Rob Ford, Don Cherry stood up and and went on a rant in support of Ford for the assembled crowd. Claiming that he was wearing one of his nauseatingly retina searing pink suits in honour of “all the pinkos out there who ride bicycles and everything,” Cherry went on to say that those who oppose Ford “scrape the bottom of the barrel.” “Rob’s honest, he’s truthful, he’s like Julian Fantino,” he said. “What you see is what you get. He’s no phoney.”

Well, except that Fantino tries to keep people in the dark about th things that might embarass him or those under him. Maybe that’s the exception to the honesty. Maybe that’s the only way in which he’s phoney. That’s not very big, is it?

Don Cherry is not a credible spokesperson for anything but hockey, and even then I would argue that his attitudes and opinions are outdated and irrelevant in the current era of the sport. People more often than not listen to Don Cherry or talk of him for the “wow, did you hear what Cherry had to say last night” spectacle that his outlandish drivel generally prompts, rather than for the accuracy and worth of his position. Hell, what am I doing right now, but saying “wow, did you hear what that wrinkled idiot Cherry said?” There is absolutely no reason to believe that Don Cherry knows politics, Julian Fantino or Rob Ford well enough to know if they are good leaders and respectable politicians. His opinion is wholly his own, and not informed by any amount of expertise in the subject or knowledge of the profession.

Those with a cupfull of intelligence already know this. For that reason alone, Mayor Ford trotting Don Cherry out as a vocal and public supporter of his position is ridiculous. Does any politiccian with half a wit want to publicly display and endorse the support they get from someone who speaks boldly and loudly out of their ass in an incredibly embarassing manner? Calling people pinkos and left-wing kooks? This is what Rob Ford wants to endorse as representative of his position?

The tax-payer funded CBC says that nothing Don Cherry is doing conflicts with his six-figure contract with Hockey Night in Canada because he is speaking as a private individual and not as a representative of the CBC or HNIC. Fine, maybe that’s true. But, they have to start realizing that his deeper and deeper forays into political activism will begin to politicize his presence on HNIC regardless of whether he outright talks politics on the show. Besids that fact, Cherry is losing relevance even in the hockey world with his old-time “Slapshot!” hockey mentality venerating the dirty, violent part of the sport that is increasingly controversial. He’s becoming the demented old man that people like to laugh at during family dinners because they say stupid, innappropriate things that are funny but often in poor taste. Nobody takes him all that seriously, most of the time, and with each passing year his opinion becomes less and less considered. The anchor holding Cherry’s segment in place is Ron Maclean, and even he seems astounded by the lunacy of the fashion-challenged geriatric he’s saddled with on air. The doddering old idiot needs to retire.

Like him, hate him, or like to hate him, Don Cherry needs to stick to something he can at least argue he knows something about.

Everyone has an asshole, and everyone has an opinion.

In Don Cherry’s case, they come in a single package.

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1 comment so far

[…] part out yet? I know I hide it well. I wrote about Cherry’s idiotic foray into politics back here, but my distaste for the jerk goes back a lot further. I think that people generally regarded […]

Don Cherry Needs to Go |
October 11th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

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