National fuckin’ hero

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If you’re reading this, it means you were willing and able to surmount the terribly indiscreet cuss word in the headline.

Given that information – and given that we’re a student newspaper at a university, meaning you’re probably over 18 – it’s fair to assume that you’ve been exposed to the cuss word in question, both in your personal life and in popular culture. It’s also pretty likely that you yourself have used the word, and not just in private, either. Every job I’ve worked at, from fast food to print media, has been a workplace environment that lends itself to the occasional, well-deployed F-bomb, if only to vent a little.

And, now that Pat Martin (MP for Winnipeg Centre) has gone and done it in the open, it doesn’t make sense to deny it anymore: we swear, and we swear for legitimate reasons.

Martin barely even swore on his Twitter page last week – two instances of “fuck” and one of “bullshit” hardly counts as a blue streak – yet, for a brief time, it seemed like his sorta-foul mouth could potentially cost him.

Happily, it didn’t.

The Conservative government didn’t help itself by sending Saskatchewan MP Tom Lukiwski onto CBC’s Power and Politics to gripe about Martin’s lack of decorum. Three years ago, the Honourable Member for Lumsden-Lake Centre was caught in a scandal after videotape surfaced in which he talked about “homosexual faggots with dirt under their fingernails.” Even given the age of tape in question, complaints about the fuck-word from a dude who explained on camera how gay people are disease vectors ring hollow.

But the Conservatives also blew it by letting themselves get backed into a corner. Harper’s Tories are famously capable of controlling the narrative and brushing off criticism. Not this time. It beggars belief, but they’re actually losing the spin battle against a guy who responded to a critique of his tweets with, hilariously, “Fuck you.”

Martin exploded in response to the Conservative’s use of time allocation procedures to rush seven bills, including the national budget, through the House. In his own words, he was upset about being unable to do his job. Instead of lingering on Martin’s choice of words, however, conversation has focused on whether the Conservatives’ use of the procedures has been appropriate.

Against seemingly all odds, Martin’s outburst was actually successful – people didn’t fret about his use of the word “bullshit,” but have instead tried to figure out if it was accurate. In refusing to apologize, Martin isn’t looking stupid or crass. He’s looking victorious.

By cussing about his job and refusing to pretend that it was a lapse for him despite it being common practice for most of us, Martin is a national hero. The best we can hope for is that this situation proves Canadian society is finally ready to get over its need to bust out the smelling salts whenever a politician swears and instead focus on, well, actually discussing the issues at hand. Instead of getting hung up on politeness, we can get hung up on whether people in power are doing their jobs.

And that’s fuckin’ awesome.

John Cameron
Editor-in-Chief

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