Dr. Dawg

The media mobbing of Julie Payette: Chapter 2

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poppy.jpgSomething must really be done about tall poppies, uppity women and scientists who speak their mind. Especially when they’re all rolled into one.

So the White Male Tribe of “pundits” have been having another go at Governor General Julie Payette, after retreating in abashed confusion after an earlier failed pitchfork and torches episode. They’ve been yammering for days now, here and here and here and here and here and here, etc., etc., ad nauseam. A couple of women weighed in too, one well past her best-before date, another trying maybe a little too hard to make it in the man’s world of legacy media commentary.

As of this writing, Conrad Black has not graced us with his recondite lexicon, but that shoe may still drop. There’s no statute of limitations for these periodic episodes of biliousness—in this case, equal parts concern-trolling, head-patting sexism, and faux-outrage. Black, however, should he deign to stoop, would seal this orgy of self-gratulation idoneously.

Mobbing, according to prominent journalist Jon Kay, is unacceptable on social media—but not, it seems, by the legacy media. And his strictures do not appear to apply to himself.

A large part of this waste of space, ink and pixels may be inevitable, what might be expected when scribblers confront a person who sits atop a veritable mountain of achievement. Could there be just a soup├žon of envy in the mix? Payette is, as I noted in my earlier piece, an electrical engineer, an astronaut, a qualified commercial pilot, a musician who sang with the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra Chamber Choir, fluent in six languages, possessor of 27 honorary doctorates, and an Officer of the Order of Canada. Not one member of the pundit class is a patch on that.

The latest shouty little tantrum was over a scientist talking science to other scientists. There was nothing remotely partisan about her remarks, nor did she utter a word about government policy. Her neutrality on such matters remains intact, even if Justin Trudeau undermined her to some extent with his unhelpful white-knightery. Payette did take a poke at quack medicine, astrology, climate warming deniers, and Guy in the Sky folktales. None of that is the stuff of Parliamentary debates. None of it is “political” in the GG-must-be-neutral sense. But taking the wider view, I can think of few comments, however anodyne, that could escape censure from some aggrieved soul somewhere.

So, in the end,one of the mobbers may have been right after all when he Tweeted that “Gord Downie would have made a damn good Governor General.” I agree, even if he didn’t mean it that way. Downie would be ideal, and bound to offend no one: quintessentially Canadian, popular—and dead.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on November 9, 2017 12:13 PM.

The reconciliation hoax was the previous entry in this blog.

Everybody expects the Spanish Inquisition is the next entry in this blog.

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