Coach’s Theatre

The role of the fool is an ancient one. While in more recent years the title has come to mean someone acting unwisely or in a silly manner, it used to refer to the court jester or a member of an aristocratic house charged with both amusing and criticizing their master or mistress. Perhaps this function of the past is best described by a single anecdote (or likely more accurately, legend): At a time when speaking out of turn was punishable by all manners of awfulness, Queen Elizabeth is said to have once chastised a fool for not being harsh enough in his denigrations of her.

Yes, one imagines that Jeffrey Ross would have done especially well in the Elizabethan era. However, the fool was more than merely an insult comic. While it may be exaggerated in modern retellings, the fool was able to speak the harsh truth at a time when no one else could. While their speech was protected by decree, they still had to tread carefully between critical amusement and snide comments that would result in whippings.

In the Sixteenth Century, distinctions were made between “natural” fools – those who were quite literally insane – and “licensed” fools – those who played the part for the sake of privileged employment. I am not sure which would better describe Canadian hockey icon Don Cherry, but I am certain that, in the most classical sense of the word, he is a fool.

Beyond the motley costumes comprised of outlandish colors and unpleasant designs, Cherry is quite like the most famous fool of all: The Fool from Shakespeare’s King Lear. Both clowns hold their audience in suspense in an unusual way. We are never aware of exactly how much of their act is an act. At times, they seem to be playing the part of the raving lunatic, and then suddenly, their lunacy seems genuine.

In Cherry’s case, this is best seen in how effortlessly he transitions from the role of Nationalistic Canadian on his country’s premier cultural television broadcast – Hockey Night In Canada – into xenophobic bigot. One minute, he’s providing insight in his customary bullish and abrupt manner, the next he’s spouting off about the dirty play of European and French Canadian hockey players hiding behind their visors, or else, criticizing Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke for building a roster without players from Ontario.

It’s all quite a good show, assuming that’s what it is. A performance is easy to dismiss, but the senile ranting of a racist from a public television platform is something that’s best not viewed at all, and if you must, at least through fingers over eyes.

Much like Goneril and Regan’s amazement that their father, King Lear, keeps the fool around to torment all of them, we are left to wonder why Canadians in general, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation specifically, would allow Cherry such an enormous outlet for his vocalized insanity. An unfamiliar idiom is one thing, senescent hate speech is quite another.

There is one glaring difference between Lear’s Fool and Cherry. While the Shakespearean character has the good sense to leave the stage as the kingdom over which he lays his scorn begins to crumble, never appearing again after Act Three, the hockey commentator can’t stay out of the public eye despite his sport doing all that it can to deteriorate right in front of its audience.

Less than a week after talking about the function of his Twitter feed with the Globe And Mail’s James Mirtle – wherein Cherry revealed that he telephones a Hockey Night In Canada producer to dictate his tweets – the former National League Coach expressed the following through social media to his 90,000 followers:

Usually I don’t read the news, just the sports but I happened to pick up the paper and read the front part the other day. First, there was a photo fo a jogger kicking and destroying Canadian flag and gives a woman the finger. Then it continues, my buddy the mayor getting sued, Oliva Chow next mayor, man slits wife’s throat, kills her. Vandal desecrates monument war memorial, photo of a guy who sexually assaults women, vet is robbed of his war medals, guy shot and killed in 48th murder, other buddy Chief Blair ripped in column… What happened to Toronto the good? Remember we couldn’t get liquor on Sunday’s? Poor us. What should we call Toronto now? All this crime and people want the Police budget cut. Go figure.

The first ten words of his rant are a perfect example of Cherry enacting his condescending shtick. It’s as if he’s saying, “I’m just a regular guy, as proud of my ignorance to things that don’t involve sports as you.” Of course this is later revealed to be false when the television personality uses his last sentence to reveal knowledge over proposed plans to flat-line Toronto’s municipal police budget. The only more disingenuous moment of the rant is when he hearkens back to yesteryear while spouting off about a mayor and his likely competition in the next election, ignoring one of the main adages of the time for which he apparently feels so much nostalgia: In order to remain friends, don’t discuss religion or politics.

This brings to another point of comparison between the two fools. Just as Cherry rages against the imaginary enemies to what he supposes Canadian culture to be, it is the Fool in King Lear whose fear of the resulting turmoil chastises his master for bringing about change to the structure of his kingdom.

The entire paragraph of tweets from Cherry, when we format it for this structure, is completely nonsensical, but the content is perfectly manicured to match the way that we generally assume how people in a small town speak to one another. It’s full of references to important people that he knows, and then a yearning for a simpler and more wholesome time from the past that probably never really existed. It’s manipulation.

It’s almost impossible to believe that something so well-crafted could be so stupid, but this, in essence, is Don Cherry. He’s a witless, Friday The 13th version of Lear’s Fool who will not go away or remain out of sight for the final acts of the play, even as everything crashes down around him. Canadians, tolerant even of intolerance, seem stuck in the role of enablers, keeping him in his position of honor as though forced to participate in a play that they did not write. It’s a cruel form of theatre: An uncontrollable wind storm that centers around the national buffoon. It’s perhaps more than reminiscent of another part of Shakespeare’s tragedy.


The Tragedy Of King Lear. [Google Books]
Cherry Half-Right On Visors. [CBC Sports]
Don Cherry Goes Off On Leafs General Manager. [CBC Sports]
A Q&A With Grapes. [CBC Sports]
Don Cherry’s Twitter Feed. [Twitter]

Comments (49)

  1. Wow. It took some balls to write that. I’m going to slow clap your brilliant post while taking cover under this table here.

    • Balls? I don’t know about that at all. While the analogy is certainly interesting and no less amusing, attacking Don Cherry as a tired, old, bigot, racist or xenophobe has been done to death the last few years.

      Kind of disappointed Dustin would waste his time with the subject to be honest. Surely there has to be something far more relevant out there to skewer.

      • Agreed. The comparison was born out of not wanting to do the typical, hey look, he’s a xenophobe. As long as he still has credence as a personality in Canada, I’d hardly consider it a waste of time though pointing out the flaws that are being celebrated.

  2. well written Parkes, and now for …..Gregg Zaun?

  3. Anyone else waiting for Cherry to tweet “Fuck off, Parkes”?

  4. Parkes, I think you’re missing the point of Don Cherry being on television. I love watching Cherry because he speaks his mind, presents generally good points, and doesn’t give a shit what other people say about him. He’s still just an opinionated talking head. Not everything he says should be followed like the law. When I saw his rant about Burke and not having any players from Ontario, I thought “Wow, that’s a really interesting point. Maybe there’s actually something to it, seeing as Cherry was able to provide countless examples supporting his idea.”

    If you don’t like some of the stuff he says, no problem. I wouldn’t expect you to, just as I don’t. But that shouldn’t mean everything he says is stupid, insane, hate speech. I like the comparison to the fool in Lear, but don’t forget, the fool was arguably the smartest character in the play.

    • This is the thing: It’s not a matter of not liking what he says, what he’s saying is xenophobic and offensive. No where do I suggest that everything he says is insane hate speech. This is the point of the comparison that I’m making between him and the Fool.

      • “…what he’s saying is xenophobic and offensive. No where do I suggest that everything he says is insane hate speech”. I’m sorry, but those two statements seem to contradict themselves a bit….

        If Cherry says “I believe teams with European players will be less successful in the playoffs because I have seen countless examples of European players who don’t play the tough, physical style of play that is instrumental to a team’s playoff success”, how is that hate speech? Isn’t that like saying “I believe Don Cherry is a racist because I have seen countless examples of him saying things that may be seen as questionable in their political correctness”?

        Everything Cherry says, he backs up with somewhat reasonable explanations, and (sorry for using a cliché) he tells it like it is, whether people like it or not. I mean, if he’s as racist and offensive as you suggest, why is he employed by the CBC (who presumably care about public relations at least a little bit)?

        • It supposes that the capabilities of individuals are based on ethnic origin. I don’t know how you get more racist than that.

          • Not necessarily… supposes there is a correlation between the ethnic origin of a player and their capabilities. In all likelihood, that correlation is based on the style of play (and resulting skills gained) in that country, which is where the player learned the game…

            If I say “Many Latin American MLB players have lower walk rates because they learned the game in an environment where a hit is better than a walk, and therefore they are free swingers”, that’s being racist?

            Also, I like how you casually ignored 75% of my response, and picked out the one thing I said that may not have been expressed properly. Come on Parkes, you’re better than that.

          • Can’t help it Dustin if you are as fucked up as your article!!!!

          • I don’t even know if I ultimately agree with Cherry, but might as well defend him enough to the point where his arguments are clear. From what I can tell, all of his arguments basically deal with hockey culture – style of play, how youth are trained and encouraged, what is favoured or disfavoured, etc. All of the big, grand sociological arguments about the productive and constitutive power of strong socio-cultural norms still stand here – we produce the type of players that we want, to our benefit or harm, and other regions with distinctly different hockey cultures produce different players. Don Cherry likes a certain type of hockey culture and the players it produces. Regions that Don Cherry dislikes produce, in his eyes, a type of player he dislikes.

            I think it’s fair to criticize him for being empirically wrong on any of those arguments: maybe there’s a whole bunch of really physical Swedes? maybe a more possession-based European style is the best way to ultimately build winning teams? maybe life is too complex to draw broad observations about distinct hockey cultures? And it seems very fair to criticize for the kind of stereotyping that arguments based around culture can spawn – focusing so much on how 75% of players from x might play like y blinds you to the 25% of players who play like z, and makes you assume they all play like y (an unfair negative label you attach to the ones who play like z, in this case). But identifying different hockey cultures and styles with specific regions and drawing conclusions from that isn’t the same as drawing the type of conclusions based on inborn, inherent characteristics that would be much more odious.

            Culture is ultimately malleable.The WHL could plausibly and conceivably be playing a less physical, possession-based style in 25 years, depending on any number of factors including institutionalized training and youth development and the strong push-and-pull of normative expectations about how a player behaves, and the Don Cherry of that time (let’s assume cyborg technology to both extend his life and make him a superhuman man-machine) would presumably (and hopefully, if he’s logically consistent) have problems with Western Canadian players then too.

            So plenty there, but just throwing racist and xenophobe labels at Cherry both misidentifies the roots of his arguments – hockey culture matters and is the primary determining factor over all others, some hockey cultures are more preferable than others, hockey cultures and the styles and players they produce can be coherently defined by region – and doesn’t really deal with the strong culturalist argument about hockey styles in the first place.

        • Saying Toronto the Good was a good place is an incredibly racist statement. Back then, Irish Catholics were considered ethnic and undesirable. Orangemen and Catholics pummeling each other every July 12th…

          Thankfully, most people don’t know what an Orangeman is anymore. Cherry is a racist, old fool. He does not tell it “like it is”, only how he would like it to be.

    • And he certainly does “give a shit about what people say about him.” Much of his segment is taken up with responding to people criticizing him. If he didn’t care, why respond?

      It’s like saying ‘”I don’t read the news” and then giving a somewhat informed opinion on recent council matters

  5. Still prefer @DonCherryParody

  6. You’re a moron. Cherry is a legend. He’s the only guy in the game who isn’t afraid to tell the truth.

  7. Glad to see Parkes is back on his way to getting his GED. Way to go, buddy!

  8. From a purely hockey perspective, I’ve admired Don for 3 decades.

    Still do. From a purely hockey perspective.

    I really wish he’d stick to hockey, but, well… Voltaire and all that.

    Song: Dear Coach’s Corner
    Band: Propagandhi

  9. Who would prefer Dustin be replaced with Don – I know for a fact I would read more Score articles if this wanker was gone.

  10. coming at this from an explicit political phil. perspective, which I’m much more qualified to talk about than any sport (unfortunately) – the major problem here is Parkes’ lack of political imagination and maturity that leads him to the same kind of close-mindedness that, ironically, is probably shared by a certain big-f Fool. Nothing that Cherry said is particularly outside of the realms of plausible, legitimate political opinion, and nothing he “tweeted” marks him off as symbolically beyond any pale or beclowning enough to be worthy of a lengthy, artistic post noting his supposed uniquely manipulative idiocy.

    Generic TorSun Reader Opinion be Generic TorSun Reader Opinion. I don’t really like it that much personally, and Cherry has a unique platform, but I don’t see anything there that’s so “witless,” “manipulative,” “disingenuous,” “nonsensical,” etc. Old dudes like to harken back to stronger, smaller forms of more meaningful community with less crime, stronger social norms about acceptable behavior, etc. It’s ok, they’re allowed too. There’s enough localist, traditionalist philosophers, with declinist, anti-modern or anti-cosmopolitan narratives and critiques, who are willing to gussy it up in much fancier, more palatable terms than Cherry. There’s really nothing from Cherry’s feed that is so outrageous and beyond the realm of plausible, legitimate political opinions, to the point where they’re worthy of the snide outrage here. That it is apparently worthy says more about the author’s constricted political world, where he’s unable to imagine other people legitimately believing different things without ulterior motives or general stupidity, than it does anything about Cherry.

    (and why assume bad faith – manipulation, disingenuous, etc – on the part of Cherry? why not just assume he actually thinks like this? what’s gained by assuming those nefarious motives for doing anything?)

    • This is the best comment I have ever read on the entire internet.

      • Further – and this is not a knock on Parkes – I’d be pleasantly surprised if he responds. He likes to re-tweet the “fuck of parkes your a moran” replies but I rarely see him engage in articulate debate, let alone concede a viewpoint that differs from his own.

      • I think you need to read more of the internet.

    • Congratulations on the purchase of your Roget’s Thesaurus. As well-versed as you’ve become at using it, I hardly think it makes you the decider of what is or isn’t worthy of being a topic of my whimsy.

      In my judgement, Cherry’s tweets have more in common with a ranting lunatic stream of consciousness beat writer than a functioning human, let alone one given the media platform that he receives. It has nothing to do with his his political preference for Rob Ford over Olivia Chow. Your comment leads me to believe that you’re unfamiliar with commentary and blogging. It’s the purpose of these pieces to form an opinion, and then defend it. It would be stupid to believe that there isn’t another perspective. For instance, another raving lunatic expressing themselves in a stream of consciousness manner would find nothing wrong with the fashion in which Cherry delivers his own opinion.

      I assume bad faith because I find it difficult to believe that anyone would appear and act the way that Cherry does in real life. If you can’t extend your imagination past taking his shtick at face value, I’d suggest that you’re being naive, or else going out of your way to express a contrary opinion.

      There’s a forest in this piece that you’re not seeing through the trees.

      • because thesaurus-based ad hominem snipes totally make you rise above the level of the common troll you spend entire podcasts excoriating (is that word too pretentious?)…what caught my attention wasn’t so much that Don Cherry’s tweets weren’t worthy of attention in my omniscient internet judgement and that you dared despoil the internets by writing about them, but why and how you found some aspects of them worthy enough to write about.

        major new argument: your critique was focused mostly on Cherry’s supposedly bizarre communication style and not on the substance of the communications themselves. I don’t know how much I buy that – why take shots at Cherry’s “yearning for a simpler and more wholesome time from the past that probably never really existed”? – but whatever, I’ll take you on your word for now about your intentions but note as a caveat that an implicit, and occasionally explicit, critique of Cherry’s substance that I found oddly placed, unfair, and tone-deaf lurks in the OP.

        Even then, I have a hard time finding anything so out of the ordinary in Cherry’s communication so as to deserve all of your varied epithets. Methodologically, most twitter conversations from even the most erudite and witty tweeters would look strange when put together in a paragraph – a kind of frenetic, gasping explosion of words. That’s just inherent in the medium. He’s not exactly overly literate and is crude enough, but so are Pat Martin’s tweets.

        If the method is the problem – Cherry is like a ” ranting lunatic stream of consciousness beat writer” – then either twitter is the core issue and you should be turning your guns on it, because everyone sounds like that on twitter at times, or my original post is mostly correct and Cherry’s tweets stand out enough to be the topic of a fairly lengthy, entertaining, and well-done literary analogy because of their content. In which case, my original criticism that the OP shows a lack of the basic political maturity that’s used in imagining that others (even Don Cherry!) can legitimately have differing opinions even if expressed crudely, without being called a lunatic, still stand.

        I’m not sure what about Cherry’s tweets stands out enough to be deemed ranting lunacy (I remain unconvinced that it was how he did it/the method and style) and worth all the writing unless you have a difficult time with the idea that there’s room for different political ideas and styles. These might even include the idea that Toronto is figuratively sinking into a sea of decline because of, I don’t know, Francophone hockey players and Olivia Chow, deserving a place in a broad and inclusive public sphere that doesn’t spend its time policing the bounds of legitimate political expression. the OP is a long and excellently literary mirror of the type of “Dem libtards in the Annex r a bunch of pinkos!!11′ Don Cherryism that you’d probably want to avoid sinking into. Both spend their time overly focused on the idea that other people who disagree with them actually exist and, the nerve of it all, express themselves. Which is why most of the OP isn’t spent actually refuting anything Cherry says but treating it as so illegitimate on the face of it that it doesn’t deserve that kind of treatment, so move on to the mud-slinging.

    • You don’t see how saying “I don’t read the news” and then listing news items is disingenuous? Nor harkening back to a bygone racist era is problematic?

      What happened to Toronto the Good? Immigration and growing racial/ethnic tolerance, that’s what. He’s not-so subtlely equating murder and hyped-up social unrest with immigration; if we were all white like in the good ol’ days (Toronto the Good), life would be better.

      Fuck him, his opinions, and anyone who thinks they are legitimate/plausible.

      • I think that’s a much more fair and substantive critique than anything Parkes had – first, I don’t read as Cherry as disingenuous, just quasi-senile and not very intelligent? thus his reliance on “regular dude” tropes like that – I don’t see any compelling reason to read malice and bad faith into any of it, just the kind of rhetorical tics that, again, are pretty much just generic TorSun reader opinion stuff. Which can be perfectly racist or xenophobic, and even disingenuous and malicious, but I don’t really see anything about these specific tweets to automatically read that into them.

        second – Toronto the Good, etc. I think my original point was that any number of things based around this general line of thinking, that Cherry presumably believes in, CAN perfectly well be racist and xenophobic, but can also just a generic and fairly harmless localist/traditionalist conservative critique of and lament about large, anonymous, cosmopolitan cities. The line of thinking goes that civil communities are stronger, healthier, and more meaningful when they’re based around smaller municipal units that are less anonymous in a callous “big-city” way, that have stronger public moral and cultural norms about expected “civil” behavior, and that modern TO has lost any number of these positive qualities in its transformation and, as a consequence, has rising crime, the degradation of strong public morals to the point that war memorials are vandalized, etc.

        I don’t necessarily agree with any of that (I’m a good cosmopolitan, globalist libertarian), but there’s enough of a genuine philosophical tradition there that Cherry is (unintentionally) fitting himself in that I feel comfortable with an Occam’s Razor reading of Cherry as representing only the generic views along these lines that he actually says and not any deeper racial malice. I think my original points against Parkes were mostly then that there was nothing really noteworthy or so deserving of the all the Sturm-und-drang here in either Cherry’s methods or substance. The answer for me, then, is that Cherry actually daring to voice some of these fairly generic, and acceptable enough (even if you disagree with them on the particulars!), conservative critiques of TO municipal politics is seen as beyond a pale of accepted behavior because actually having those views (and expressing them on twitter, of all places!) and not being their most erudite exponent is itself reason enough for a big, epithet-ridden Fool analogy. In which case, there’s more of a problem with the constricted realm of legitimate, allowable opinions in Parkes’ public sphere than there is with anything Cherry said.


  12. Attacking grapes is so played. I love his hockey takes and usually notice when people don’t like what he says they just say he’s this or that and not have a good reason why they disagree with his hockey take. So fuck off Parkes I disagree with his social issue takes sometimes but I still love the guy.

  13. Blah blah blah.

    It’s not racist that Canadian and especially Ontarian culture produces more and better hockey players. Nothing he says commits him to the view that this is a racial and not cultural product. Is it controversial to say better rugby players come from New Zealand than from Canada?

    He does take it too far but, for goodness sake, grow some thicker skin and stop calling for this and that person to be censored.

  14. I fail to see how he is a racist. He’s a strong Canadian nationalist that I for one enjoy seeing on television. I feel like alot of the time he reciprocates alot of the audiences views, even if many of them are from a dying age of hockey. It’s a fact that great hockey players come from Canada and that French players do tend to play a softer version.

    • Are French players Canadian? Or do you mean French-Canadians? Just a slip of the tongue, we all “know” what you mean.

      Trading in generalities and not identifying a person’s individual worth because of a prejudiced view of their race’s generally accepted personality traits is racist. People can be racist without realizing because racism is so deeply ingrained in our culture.

      Saying one hockey player is better than another because of where they are born is just stupid. It’s about their talent, not where their mother happened to be located on their first birthday.

    • “i fail to see how he is a racist” Too many share your view; that’s the problem.

  15. What the fuck was that article about. No hockey on TV but you spout eloquent (it was well written) about THE polarizing TV figure of Canadian hockey????

    Methinks an agenda as well crafted as Cherry’s is afoot….

    I like Cherry for his accurate knowledge of the game. This other shit he’s involved in… so what?

    This should’ve been written for Macleans Magazine not a sports website, because the true subject matter is truly political.

    Peace out.

    • By that token, why is Cherry talking about things he admittedly doesn’t know anything about.

      Attacking stupid ideas is the duty of every citizen.

  16. Excellent article Dustin! I am a little biased since King Lear is my favourite play. However, you made some great points and comparisons. Many of the negative comments about your article are either from people who will defend Cherry no matter what idiotic things come out of his mouth or trolls. Pay no heed.
    I enjoy listening to Cherry’s opinion as long as he ONLY talks about hockey and our troops. As soon as he travels outside those two topics, he begins to sound like an uneducated, ignorant and (it pains me to say) senile fool. His defenders love to say “he tells it like it is.” In truth, he tells it like his uneducated mind comprehends it to be. A little reading would probably remedy that. Freedom of Speech is one of our most sacred rights, so he should not be censored. However, your critics should realize those same rights leave him and his opinions open to scrutiny.
    Your article eloquently and intelligently criticizes a man who seems to get a free pass to say any divisive and racist thing because of his connection to our National Sport. Dustin, please keep “telling it like it is.” Great Job!

    • Why are you listening to Cherry when he talks about something other than hockey? His job is to talk about hockey. If you’re an electrician, am I going to ask you a question about biology?

      Nobody here is arguing that what Cherry says shouldn’t be scrutinized, just that it shouldn’t be scrutinized unfairly due to bias, or assumptions.

      • “bias, or assumptions”. I see. Calling a bigot on his bigotry is unfair because I’m biased.

        Cherry wasn’t asked about the non-hockey related stuff he talked about; as always he offered his opinion unbidden. You say you like it when Cherry speaks his mind; I don’t. His mind is a landfill.

        Saying Cherry’s opinions are stupid and racist is accurate because they are. We all pay his salary, therefore it’s worth discussing whether we should be putting up with this nonsense.

        Like that recent edition of Maclean’s university rankings which questioned whether Canadian schools were “too Asian”. Cuz, you know, Asians work too hard, that’s just the way they are. Not saying hard work is bad, just that you should work the right amount. Asians too much, Blacks too little, whites just right, like the middle bowl of porridge. No analysis on how the global work environment is getting more competitive and we all need more education/training to get ahead, just a bunch of anecdotal evidence saying Asians are taking the fun out of university. It “sounds” or “feels” right saying these things, cuz they’re like generally true. Everybody “knows” these things.

        Fuck that.

        • You consider Cherry a racist, and then don’t think it’s biased of you to discredit his opinions because he’s a racist? Ok, well I think you’re an idiot, therefore everything you say, no matter how reasonable it may seem, is idiotic. But I swear I’m not biased.

          And last time I checked, there’s nothing wrong with giving your opinion on a matter, even if nobody asks you about it. Nobody is forced to listen to what Cherry says, if you don’t like his opinion on politics, don’t listen!

          And by the way, you’re the one making the assumptions about a university being “too Asian”. Did Maclean’s say “too Asian” is bad because they work harder than everyone else? No, you said that. But you’re right, let’s just make assumptions about everything everyone says, so it seems like their racist. As I explained above, did you ever consider that Cherry makes statements about Europeans/French-Canadians based on the style of play that players growing up in those areas learned?? Or do you think that hockey in the QMJHL and hockey in the WHL is the exact same? Oops, my bad, I must be racist for suggesting that.

        • First – “Cherry wasn’t asked about the non-hockey related stuff he talked about; as always he offered his opinion unbidden” Is Don Cherry not allowed on twitter? are people you dislike when they speak just generally not allowed to communicate? what kind of standard are you applying where it’s some kind of great faux pas to “offer your opinion unbidden”…on twitter, of all place?!

          Second, on your racist Macleans example (and this is all so off-topic, but you brought it up) – did you actually read that article? rly? or just jump to a zillion fallacious conclusions from the title? One of the major points of the article, if you deigned lay your gentle eyes on it, was that there was also pervasive anti-Asian discrimination in the universities because of their academic predominance that goes far beyond their proportion of the population, to the point where Asian-Americans are purposely under-represented in some U.S. schools with AA programs despite them being the type of visible minority those programs are designed for. Lo, racist Macleans strikes again! (were you incensed by the QC corruption issue too?) Which has something to do with Don Cherry!

          what part of the following article says “Macleans wants less Asian people in universities and thinks its bad that there are so many”? At worst, they’re quoting some non-Asian students who whine and moan about how having to compete with kids from a cultural background of insane work-ethic and striving ruins the fun of partying in universities by raising the expected standards of student behavior. and poor babies?

          • I finally found the connection to make Macleans’ article relevant to Cherry – both Cherry and some of the authors that Macleans summarizes or cites make broad culture-based arguments about human behavior.

            Cherry makes those arguments about hockey cultures, noting that identifiably different regions have identifiably different hockey cultures (style of play, emphasis on physicality or puck skills when training the ythz, what each culture’s Don Cherry thunders against or praises, etc) and those cultural differences help explain why a player from region x has certain characteristics that are more praiseworthy than a player from a different region with a different cultural hockey upbringing and cultural traits/styles of play.

            Macleans: identifiable ethnic groups, based around having a common regional place of origin, have identifiably different cultural norms about work, homework, school, etc (Kumon for some, playing Call of Duty for hours afterschool for others). This creates all kinds of issues for universities, with these students with a specific cultural background being heavily overrepresented in a meritocratic system – whether you’re a silly whiner about how university should be fun and not all just be workworkwork, or whether you’re a US college administrator trying to make sure your AA program doesn’t just hoover up a bunch of overachieving Asian students.

            irony?: none of these arguments are implicitly racial or based around inborn, inherent traits in individuals – Western Canadian players aren’t inherently more physical and hard-working/less likely to dive, Asian students aren’t inherently born with an insane work ethic, both are made that way by the prevailing culture that produced them. The Asian Western Canadian hockey player is presumably both extraordinarily hard-working and physical on the ice. These arguments are only made remotely racial when a lazy analyst uses these cultural shorthands to imply that a person of x background is always and forever going to be like y.

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