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BRIAN JONES: Hurray for all us brown people

Hockey stick and puck.
- Contributed

Wow Canada. You people definitively showed the fascistic underside of social media.

Reminders arise almost daily that in ostensibly free and democratic Canada, freedom of speech is about as strong as a string of overcooked spaghetti — with apologies to the Italian side of my ancestry.

Speaking of which, you people cook pasta all wrong. You overcook it.

I’ll let you in on an ethnic secret Italian mothers pass along to their sons and daughters, so Italian-Canadians and Italian-Americans can enjoy the fine cuisine of the Old Country, even if they are a couple of generations and a few thousand miles removed from their beloved Boot: turn off the heat.

A minute before the eight or 10 or 12 minutes are up, turn off the burner. This allows the pasta to slowly reach perfection, without becoming overcooked, which is how too many of you people seem to like it. Try it. You can thank me later. I’ll pass your message on to Mama.

But I digress. I had intended to discuss whether I would be offended and demand the firing of an ignorant, obnoxious hockey commentator if he said on national TV, “All those wop players are ruining hockey.”

Really? How? Which ones? Is all that pasta preventing them from back-checking?

It could start an interesting, if pointless, discussion. But fire him? Nah. Go ahead and be ignorant and obnoxious, even racist. Somebody has to be, just to prove it is allowed in a free country.

Of course, in the real world, if you offend me, I can and must demand that you be fired.

You can’t refer to ethnicity. It is our strength, but if you talk about it in any way that is “divisive” or “hurtful,” never mind the 10-minute misconduct — you’re fired.

This is especially so if I am one of you people who insist on using phrases such as “racialized Canadians,” “visible minorities” or “people of colour.” Please, have the courage to just say “brown people.” It is concise, accurate and factual. It is only judgmental or derogatory if you make it so.

Freedom of speech has become so softened, it is now a firing offence to be “divisive” or “hurtful.”

“These wop guys, let me tell ya, these wop guys, ya drop the gloves with ’em and they extend an olive branch.”

Fired! You can’t refer to ethnicity. It is our strength, but if you talk about it in any way that is “divisive” or “hurtful,” never mind the 10-minute misconduct — you’re fired.

Fired on Remembrance Day for something he said. Ponder the irony.

It would have been more just to be turfed for historical ignorance. The poppy, despite what many people believe it symbolizes, was not meant to “support” the military or its personnel.

It was not intended as a “thank you” to soldiers, or even as a coat-lapel statement that the wearer “remembers” their sacrifice. (“Remembers” is nonsensical. “Recognizes” would be the correct word, in terms of syntax.)

The original intent of the poppy was to vow that never again would we let old men send millions of young men to a futile and pointless death.

You people who insist on twisting its meaning should stop, no matter where you’re from or how long you’ve been here or how much you get (got) paid to be a loudmouthed blowhard.

• • •

Here is a more worthy hockey story. My Uncle Mario died earlier this month, at age 97. He played hockey until he was 90.

Some years ago, one of The Telegram sports guys laughed in the newsroom and said there was a hockey tournament for players in their 80s, and The Canadian Press wrote a story about the oldest participant.

I walked over to his computer. “Hey!” I said. “That’s my Uncle Mario!”

Uncle Mario was good. He started playing senior hockey when he was 15. He organized Sunday morning hockey for his familia and friends at Shouldice Arena in Calgary, and my brothers and cousins and I marvelled weekly that, in his 50s, he could still almost match us.

For years, Uncle Mario played in the annual Charles Schulz-sponsored tournament in California. Schulz, the creator of the comic strip “Peanuts,” loved hockey. Upon becoming rich, he built an arena and hosted the “Snoopy Tournament.”

Most years, a team in Boston phoned Uncle Mario in Calgary to ask him to play with them again at the Snoopy Tournament. The guy had talent.

And class — there was no swearing at Sunday morning hockey.

The cover of his funeral program featured hockey sticks and skates. As per his request, people wore hockey jerseys to his funeral.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at


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