Thursday, December 07, 2006

Infamy Vs. Tragedy

Think about history for a second. Think about big events from years gone by.

Finish this quote from CBC Radio's The Current, Wed, Dec. 6, 2006 (link to podcast):

This is a day of infamy. It was on this day X years ago that...

If you guessed "the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan," you'd be wrong. No, that iconic event in world history is sidelined, and the famous commentary from President Franklin Roosevelt is ripped from its context to describe another event.

To continue the quote:

...a man carrying several weapons walked into Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique. In one lecture hall he separated the men and the women, and shot the women. He kept going, and all fourteen women were killed.

This was seventeen years ago.

No question, what happened in Montreal was a tragedy, and indeed the day carries horrible memories for the survivors and those who lost loved ones. By no means do I oppose marking this anniversary.

But I must object to the misuse of FDR's famous "infamy" quote in this context. There must be a distinction held between the offenses of a single crazed individual and the offenses of a massive, crazed military. Historically and sociologically, there is no comparison.

Really, I think this was just a cheap trick by The Current's writers to tap into the proximity of the anniversaries, and that's very amateurish in my opinion.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, but must be on topic. Spam, hateful/obscene remarks, and shameless self-promotion will be unceremoniously deleted. Well, OK, I might put on a little ceremony when I delete them.