Red eye kerfuffle

Greg Gutfeld hosts a late-night program called Red Eye. This program airs at 3 a.m. on Fox. I’d never even heard of it until this week. This changed because of something he and some others on the program said about the Canadian military. According to the CBC:

In a five-minute segment broadcast March 17, Gutfeld mocked the Canadian Forces, noting Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie’s recent comment that the military may need a year to recover after Canada’s mission in Afghanistan ends in 2011.

“Meaning, the Canadian military wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white Capri pants,” Gutfeld said.

“I didn’t even know they were in the war,” panellist and comedian Doug Benson added. “I thought that’s where you go if you don’t want to fight. Go chill in Canada.”

The panellists continued by joking about soldiers needing a break for “manicures and pedicures,” how Canada should be invaded and poked fun at the RCMP.

At first blush, I wasn’t pleased. The more I read however, the less upset I became.

First, consider the source. Do they have any idea what they’re talking about? Are they worth listening to? If you answer “no,” then what they say is clearly not worth your notice. Further, if you do get upset and raise a fuss, you give them validity. Do you really want to do that?

Second, they’re entitled to say what they want. Everyone in the West upholds freedom of speech as an indicator of how enlightened we really are. The thing is, people seem to forget all about it when someone uses this freedom to say something they don’t like. Looking at the comments posted in response to the CBC story, there appears to be a feeling that Gutfeld should be forced to apologize, or that he should be forced to take his show to Kandahar. The common thread is that he should be forced to make amends or show respect.

Think about it. He exercises a right. Granted in an unpopular way, but it’s still a right. And for that, he should be forced, against his will, to show a respect that no one has any right to compel. This is how enlightened we are?

I don’t like what he said. Not one bit. But I recognize his right to say it and I will not suggest he not be allowed to speak his piece simply because I don’t like it.

I have a hard time believing that Gutfeld is really as ignorant as he appears because I know people who ‘play to the audience’ like this. Perhaps I’m mistaken about him, but it really doesn’t matter. If I’m disappointed or upset with anyone, it’s with the Canadians who are in a tizzy about this. Topping the list is Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who contacted Fox asking for an apology. Two days ago Gutfeld issued the apology, no doubt at Fox’s insistence. Are we so pathetic that we need to hear a hollow apology so we can sleep at night?

It appears that we are.

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2 Comments

  1. Jessica
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 08:44 | Permalink

    I heard a clip of the apology on the radio, and it wasn’t even a little bit sincere. It was sarcastic and condescending. I can’t believe how much attention everyone is paying to a show no one knows about and a guy no one has heard of! Move on, people, move on. Nothing to see here.

  2. Dee
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 17:14 | Permalink

    I agree with you about the commentator’s right to freedom of expression, but the respondents have as much right to exercise their freedom by vociferously replying and requesting apologies. There should be no mechanism by which he is actually forced to apologize — it should remain his choice as to whether he wants to respond to the calls for an apology. That way, everyone’s freedom of speech is respected.

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