Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hey, Cranbrook Legion, Why is Killing People Funny?

The Royal Canadian Legion in Cranbrook B.C.  has apologized for an appalling joke it had in its August newsletter.
For those not wishing to follow the links the joke concerned itself with the killing of First Nations persons.
Two men are out hunting. A First Nations man runs by and is shot by one hunter. The shooter assures his companion, who is from out of province, that's it's legal to do that where they are.
Later, the visiting hunter takes out some beer. A First Nations man comes by, grabs a beer, and runs. The visiting hunter shoots him.
He's arrested. He protests that it's legal. The RCMP advises him that it is not legal to use bait.

The Legion members did not seem to get why there was a complaint. The point was made that one person complained thus making it sound like somebody's just got thin skin.
This belief is perpetuated by a quote from that Legion's president who suggested that some people can't take a joke.
Just so we're clear: Killing is wrong.

Hmm, let's take that joke and swap out the ethnicities, okay?
How about white men in the southern US as our hunters, and black men as the targets? And just to make it even more fun and keep with the stereotype in the original joke, let's call the bait watermelon.
Still a knee-slapper, Cranbrook Legion folk?

Legion members fought in several wars so that we could have our freedom, including the freedom to say pretty much what we want when we want to.
Cool. I am grateful for it.

We have a right to find funny what we find funny.
Cool. I'm grateful for that, too.

Did the Cranbrook Legion members who put in the joke, okayed the joke, and read the joke think it was okay?
It would seem so.

But what I really want to know, Cranbrook Legion members, is why, when so many of you fought in at least one war where the leaders of an ethnic group set about exterminating another ethnic group that they considered less than human, would you laugh at a joke that does the same thing?


messymimi said...

Those who say something like this, then try to excuse it with, "It was just a joke," are wrong. It isn't funny, it's mean spirited. Practical jokes rub me the wrong way for the same reason.

Leah J. Utas said...

Me, too, Messymimi. It's not about humour, it's about power.

Reb said...

That is an appalling joke. It is made all the more so that it was in a Legion publication. You made many good points Leah.

Leah J. Utas said...

Yes, Reb. That it was Legion -approved bothered me no end. Thanks.

Hilary said...

One would hope for a reaction like "We don't know how that got in there.. we apologize profusely." One would hope.. not in Canada. It's so disheartening.