Rex Murphy recently unleashed a hilarious tirade against Margaret Atwood’s gender politics-fuelled crusade against the word “sons” in “O Canada” that I myself could hardly better.
However, Rex buried the lede (actually, he muttered it), one I believe deserves our most concentrated focus. If anyone finds themselves nodding in agreement with Ms. Atwood as she so compassionately battles supposed chauvinism, and didn’t already know this, I would like to make perfectly clear what Mr. Murphy nearly passed over:
Margaret Atwood has a new book out.
Right away, the entire righteous edifice crumbles. “What a coincidence,” Ms. Atwood would have us think, “that she would be thrust into the spotlight on the safest of controversies at the exact same time as she is promoting a new book!
If I were more cynical, I could be convinced that the whole thing were orchestrated precisely to generate publicity for herself.”
Leave aside that if they want equality women (and men on their behalf, why not!) should, union-like, threaten job action unless they are paid the exact same amount and can avail of the same job opportunities as their male counterparts. That right there would have the long-term effect of making all remaining inferiority disappear.
And if by chance that were not enough, government could pressure all workplaces to fine-tune their sexual harassment policies such that they are neither over- nor under-enforced (since over-enforcement breeds nothing but resentment, which undermines their purpose, and the deleterious effects of under-enforcement is self-evident).
Tweaking the supposed gender-bias of an anthem regularly mouthed dispassionately while we scroll down through email on our iPhones will do nothing to correct the very real effects of actual gender inequality and the inferiority complex it can generate.
Ask yourself: how likely is it that a woman growing up in today’s Canada will hear “sons” in the national anthem and think, “I am outrageously excluded from the concerns of Canadian society”?
Almost everything else about Canada would dissuade her before she even had time to think it.
As Mr. Murphy says, Ms. Atwood knows this.
But she and her publicity team are deliberately targeting the most intelligent and compassionate among us toward a cynical and entirely selfish end.
Yet, her point is not entirely invalid, even if I myself do not quite see the gravity of it.
So let’s make a deal: once Canadians have satisfactorily addressed the other issues I have raised, and then quite a few outstanding issues in other arenas entirely, we can then turn our attention to editing the lyrical content of our oppressive national anthem.
But I’m not going to be snowjobbed and furrow my brow over a manufactured issue raised by an opportunistic national icon at the expense of actual, more pressing problems.