At three o’clock in the morning, in a dimly lit Fox News studio, host Greg Gutfeld was yacking around with his fellow-panelists and would-be comedians.
By some happenstance Gutfeld had come across testimony that a Canadian Afghan General had given to the Canadian Senate to the effect that by 2011 his Canadian troops would need a year to recover from their Afghan deployment because of the wear and tear on their equipment and personnel.
Gutfeld suggested to the panel that apparently the Canadian military “wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint some landscapes and run on the beach in gorgeous white capri pants.” Another panelist said he had no idea Canadians were in Afghanistan. Another said this would be a good time for the Americans to invade Canada.
The only thing these comments seemed to have in common was they weren’t very funny.
Nevertheless all hell broke loose. The Canadian government, in the person of Defense Minister Peter McKay, demanded that Fox apologize. In Washington, the State Department issued a statement expressing gratitude for the Canadian presence in Afghanistan.
Canadian bloggers went nuts, most of them excoriating Fox. Kabu said, “The very fact that the program aired so late at night is indicative of the cowardly acts that Fox News continues to perform. Shame on you Rupert Murdoch, Shame.”
Marcel B. wrote: “If it were not for 5,000 Canadian soldiers sacrificed at Dieppe, the U.S. would have taken a terrible toll on D-Day.”
Bowing to an avalanche of criticism, Fox said they were sorry and Gutfeld apologized, sort of: “My apologies to the Canadian military, they could at least beat the Belgians.”
But, hold on here, Whoa.
Does this lame humour deserve to become an international incident?
Is it not kosher to poke fun, lame though it is, at the Canadian military? (When you get right down to it, what the Canadian military, like any other military does –is kill other people – on the face of it absurd. Comedians stock in trade is holding the absurd up to the light. Should the military be exempt?)
Or does blogger Sage have it about right? “Have a sense of humour, it’s not a serious news show. It’s like Rick Mercer’s Talking to Americans. Get a grip anyone who make a big deal of this. Lighten up Canadians.”
Should the Canadian military be a taboo subject for comedians? (Remember what Eisenhower said about “the military-industrial” complex.)
Or should we get a grip and lighten up?
What do you think?