Friday, September 18, 2009

GRIEF INC. : THE MOURNING INDUSTRY


The Canadian public never seems to tire of the annual Dec. 6 tribute to the 1989 Montreal Polytechnique shooting massacre of 14 women. Indeed, the power of the mourning industry burgeons with every anniversary: The theme of violence against women dominates the media: new physical memorials are constructed, additional programs decrying domestic violence against women are entrenched in school curricula, masses of white ribbons are distributed; more stringent gun control is more strenuously urged. The cumulative effect of all this is to link all Canadian men to a global conspiracy against women of jihadist proportions.


Public tributes to the fallen can bring out the best or the worst in Canadian national character. We see the best in the real Remembrance Day ceremonies (about WWII), bringing forth national pride and cultural confidence, reminding us of a time when real heroism was considered a quality deserving of public recognition. But now, November 11 is perhaps the only day of the year when feminist ideologues refrain from overt misandry. We see the worst on December 6th, a day when truly the unethical motion of denouncing an entire gender for an individual’s behaviour is given free reign, and we all acknowledge that something like that would be inacceptable in the case of race or religion.


Commemorative ceremonies, as an edifying rite, should unify rather than divide the nation. Mourning for national tragedies usually aim at strengthen the collective resolve, not demoralize. Unifying is the key word here. We should not tolerate nor fund grief rituals that nurture conspiracy theories and phobias. Tributes that become a propaganda mill for scapegoating half the population should not be tolerated. It is high time we turn our attention and public funds to worthier commemorative projects.

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