When freedom triggers

When freedom triggers

Who knew a hoodie could be so controversial. When journalist Glen McGregor tweeteda picture of a “Freedom” hoodie at the outlets, I put my tongue firmly in my cheek and retweeted with: “In case you were wondering who to boycott next.” 

That’s when they went bonkers. Them, you know.

I have, as I type this first draft, tens of thousands of reactions to that simple tweet. I’m sure by the time I’m done editing it, the number will have doubled. They’re like the abusive ex who can’t stop calling to ask why anyone would leave such a wonderful man you ugly cow. Except this time it feels like the same six guys with a turbo version of Tweetdeck erupting from many different accounts. 

Anyway, nothing quite like a social media shitstorm to light up your week. I’m not complaining, au contraire. Being targeted by the mob of irrational and under-informed rage-typists gives me a wonderful opportunity to highlight what we need to deal with so we can get somewhere better, and quick. Because this is most unrewarding and people have their teeth on edge. 

Not me, though. I’m pretty relaxed. Maybe that comes from spending so much time in a ring. I know a worthy opponent when I see one. These twits? Not even good for shadow boxing. 

Still, a few points deserve making. 


I was active in libertarian circles back when Maxime Bernier was nobody except the brother of a guy I briefly dated. Now he seems to be a nobody again but I’m pretty sure it’s not my fault. I would ask Pierre Poilievre but I’m busy. 

In law school my jam was constitutional and human rights. I studied freedom from all its academic and literary angles. I read most of Ayn Rand, for fuck’s sake. 

I’ve seen, from my front-row seat, the libertarian movement take a nasty tumble after 9/11, mostly because it took a stance on security that was entirely too laissez-faire for the mood at the time. Many people, myself included, left in disgust. 

Over time that movement became mostly a bunch of meanies who have now, thanks to the inability of centre-right politicians to hold anyone’s attention, taken over conservative parties, pushing aside leaders (so-called) who proved unable to defend reasonable small-c conservative principles. The place was wide open for radicals screaming freeeeeeedom as they rampaged through institutions. 

Liberty under law is a beautiful thing. Unrestrained freedom is dangerous in the hands of untutored illiterates. Like the people who occupied Ottawa for weeks on end last winter. They fucked up that concept and not just a little. They also ruined the flag for many people. (Same is happening in the United States, by the way.) The angry extreme right is poisoning symbols and concepts that should belong to everyone. 

As a comical aside, I could point out how bizarre it is to be the target of so much hatred for suggesting people have the right to spend their own money where they want. But it might be cruel to mention that so I won’t. 

Supporting veterans

Roughly half the replies I got were the same question about why I hate veterans and front-line workers, which is so inane it’s threatening to make my computer melt. 

Here’s how you support front-line folks (including nurses and teachers): You use taxes to pay them decent living wages and to fund, fully, a health and support plan for those who are wounded or killed in the line of duty so they or their families aren’t left destitute. I want those programs so generously funded that a grieving family member never has to fight with veterans affairs for basic support ever again. 

Relying on hoodie sales is not a support plan. It’s a clever ploy by skilled marketers to siphon money out of the pockets of the highly gullible. It’s working well; I expect my tweet will singlehandedly cause the company to smash its Q4 sales target.

Photo interlude. I wonder if they know what “Q4” stands for. However I’m pretty sure decency isn’t part of their vocabulary.

I understand the company has been selling merch with flags and freedom since well before the occupation. I also know UA was founded by a Trump supporter. I don’t own any of their clothing but if I’m not mistaken some of my kids do. You don’t always have to shop by politics, but you can. That’s up to each one of us. It’s that thing, freedom. 

[I know, you’re right; I said I wouldn’t mention it.] 

I don’t know what UA thinks about this hoodie now that the flag and the word freedom mean something else — at least in Ottawa. I’ve asked the company if they wanted to comment, and whether they were considering making changes to their Freedom line in light of how those symbols are perceived now in Canada’s capital city. Here is their answer:

"For over a decade, our UA Freedom line has allowed us to partner with organizations working toward a stronger, safer, and more inclusive Freedom for all communities. These organizations strive to unite, strengthen, and protect the communities around them by supporting and empowering frontline workers, first responders, active-duty military, veterans, and the families of the fallen." 

I toyed with the idea of following up with a question on how they like the reaction of their supporters, but I thought maybe that wouldn’t be fair. Meanwhile, here’s some casual racism.

The sex, the insults, the sex and then the pronouns

You know what? Extreme right-wingers really don’t like pronouns. They also don’t like journalists. And they fucking hate “woke” people, not that they could offer a concise definition of same if their crypto wallet depended on it. Woke journalists with pronouns are, ergo, the absolute worst. That seems to be their argument. Also they appear obsessed with it.

I mean, that’s fine. If that’s the best they can do, that’s the best they can do. You can only ask people to try their hardest, right? Still, that obsession with the pronouns can’t be healthy. 

Neither is the rapey vibe I get from some of the replies, like this one:

It’s odd, to put it mildly, since I’m pretty sure, as the owner of a uterus who’s had sex on at least a few occasions, that it typically stays out of play. I mean, I like to think of myself as pretty open-minded in the bedroom (and elsewhere), but I don’t think I ever considered that particular erogenous zone. Maybe I’m missing something? 

In any case, if you’re open to new relationships and angling near those murky waters, please note that these, er, prospects aren’t much more likely to respect you as a person than they are to respect a stranger on the internet. 

The replies keep coming at the same pace; my estimate was right. It’s now double what it was when I started writing this piece. 

I hope you’re not too jealous of my newfound celebrity.