A Week of Stupendous Stupidities

By Lyn Cockburn
Edmonton Sun (Canada)
July 18, 2008

It's been a good week for stupid. First, the New Yorker, that august magazine which some people buy maybe once a year - for the articles, of course - came out with a supposedly satirical cover.

Now all over the Internet, it shows Michelle and Barack Obama as the First Couple of Terrorism standing in the Oval Office. He's clad in Muslim garb, she in an Afro and combat boots, brandishing an AK-47.

They're doing a fist bump and in the background, the American flag is burning cheerily in the fireplace. On the wall hangs a picture of Osama bin Laden - whose name, of course, is eerily close to Obama's.

Nowhere on the cover is there any mention that this witty cartoon is meant to point a humorous finger at the 12% or so of Americans who believe Obama was raised in a Muslim home in Toronto, attended a radical madrassa in Afghanistan and is now a jihadist Muslim who went to one of those training camps in Pakistan.

The cartoon's title, "The Politics of Fear," appears inside the mag, not on the cover.

Crass is the most positive word that can be used about this cartoon which some Republicans want to put on T-shirts.

Next, Bishop Anthony Fisher, the youngest bish in Australia, couldn't wait to exercise his right to perpetrate idiocy once the Pope announced he is likely to apologize (the latest word is that Benedict may not actually use the word "apologize") to those Australians whom Catholic priests have sexually abused.

Get over it, was the bishop's message as he admonished people to stop "dwelling crankily" on sexual abuse.

He made these remarks as he was being questioned by the press about Melbourne priest Kevin O'Donnell who repeatedly raped two little girls some years ago. One of the two, who were sisters, committed suicide earlier this year.


Sexual abuse may be shoved under the carpet by those who'd rather not deal with it, but the victims always know it is there. It is a horrific criminal act which must never be trivialized.

Insensitive and cruel are the most polite words that can be applied to Bishop Fisher's remarks.

And to make sure Canada is represented in the field of stupid this week, Luc Archambault and other sovereigntists in Quebec announced their opposition to Paul McCartney singing at a concert this Sunday to celebrate Quebec City's 400th anniversary.

Archambault, painter and sculptor, is irate about McCartney's "English-language music" which "can't help but bring back painful memories of our conquest."

And in a tip of the cap to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham on Sept. 13, 1759, Sir Paul thought to bring yet another culture into the mix when he told Luc and his buds to "smoke the pipes of peace." Oy.

It is not yet known if Celine Dion will be asked to sing My Heart Will Go On from Le Titanic in French at her Aug. 22 concert.

Petty is the best that can be said about this tempest in a theiere.

And so, much as I uphold the concept of free speech, this week would have been a good one to try out a temporary ban on stupid. Especially since there's still a couple of days left.


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