Thursday, May 19, 2011

Don Cherry's Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Politics: It's a Beauty

"Scholars" waste time whining about Don Cherry

Frankly, Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry's fashion sense alone is worthy of an academic study.

But University of Western Ontario professors John Nader and Robert Maciel have made Cherry the subject of an academic study on a different topic: Cherry's impact on Canadia nationalism.

“For Cherry, Canadian nationalism rests on an unquestioning support for the military, support of traditional institutions and a view of hockey that highlights the physical nature of the game,” Nader and Maciel complain in their study.

“This guy has a huge viewing public and, even if it’s only a small segment of society that actually takes what he says to heart, it’s a significant audience that he reaches with this particular view of Canadian nationalism, which doesn’t take into account multicultural society or women,” they complain.

Of course, there's no credence whatsoever to these claims. Nearly any of them.

Clearly, Nader and Maciel have declined to watch Hockey Night in Canada at any point during the Winter Olympics, or the Women's World Championship of Hockey, when Canada's female hockey players take centre stage. He's clearly never heard him sing their praises.

Nor have Nader and Maciel considered the multicultural nature of Canadian hockey itself. Even considering just Canadian players, the NHL alone is comprised of the descendents of countries from around the world, and not just Europe.

Consider former member of the Team Canada Junior team Ryan O'Marra, born in Japan. Consider Nazem Kadri, bor to Lebanese parents. Consider the growing number of black players in the NHL: Jarome Iginla, Mike Grier, Joel Ward, Shawn Belle, Wayne Simmonds, and countless more.

Cherry's criticisms of French-Canadian and European players have softened over the years, particularly as they have begun to play the physical game Cherry favours with greater zest. (More importantly, Cherry promotes safe phsyical play. A salient detail the paper's authors chose to ignore.)

Nader's and Maciel's complaints take on a truly comical context when one considers the pure minutiae they're complaining about.

“Cherry uses the word ‘troops’ a total of 12 times during the season. This is in addition to his use of the word ‘soldiers’ six times and ‘battle’ four times. Cherry also mentions ‘war’ four times during this season,” they write.

That's a total of 26 mentions in a 26-week season.

In other words, Cherry uses a word that refers to soldiers, or to the war, an average of once a week. And apparently this is some kind of tragedy, outrage, or at least "cause for concern". Amazing.

This is apparently what "doctoral candidates" in Political Science have been wasting their time on, and are now planning to waste the time of a national Political Science conference.

A more appropriate study of Canadian political culture might examine how Canada's rivalry with the Soviet Union shaped Canadian nationalism. For the record, Canada won.

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