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Monday, July 21, 2008

WS Radio: Guy Earle


Listen live (QuickTime), Mondays, 4 - 6 p.m. EST

"Political Animals"--the flagship radio show of Western Standard radio--is a weekly political talk show on 88.1 WBGUFM hosted by Jay Lafayette, Peter Jaworski, and Terrence Watson.

On today's "Political Animals," Terrence, Jay and I will interview Guy Earle, the Toronto-based comic at the heart of yet another laughable Canadian Human Rights Commission investigation. Here's Guy explaining his predicament (with foul language) which you can watch:

Political Animals is on every Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, broadcast out of 88.1 FM in the Bowling Green, Ohio area, and on www.wbgufm.com worldwide. To listen to a direct stream, click here (QuickTime). To participate in the discussion, you can call 888-7-WBGUFM, or send us an email at politicalanimals-at-wbgufm-dot-com.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 21, 2008 in WS Radio | Permalink


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You do realize that marijuana was legalized in the 1950s by Diefenbaker Justice Minister Buffy Ste. Marie, don't you?

And that the Libertarian federal government of Sir Emerson Lake Palmer spent, from 1962-66, *422%* more per capita in real dollars than the current CPC government?

(Hey, if these bozos are going to talk nonsense, then right back at them.)

Posted by: Mocker | 2008-07-21 7:18:31 PM

Mocker: You started out with a respectable, but torn apart arguement on another thread with Matthew. Now, you've embarrassed yourself. Why don't you go back to the other thread and make a valid point that can withstand scrutiny?

Posted by: Principled | 2008-07-21 9:12:46 PM

I'm glad you said that, Principled. Because I was scratching my head trying to figure out what his comment had to do with our interview with Guy Earle.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-07-21 9:19:12 PM

After yammering away about human rights bodies for a year or so, you might think you folks would manage to keep them straight. Apparently, that's too much to ask.
I'll say this slowly.
- Earle is a not being investigated by anyone - and certainly not by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
- A complaint that he verbally abused two lesbians at a restauarant at which he was performing - and thereby discrmininated against them in the provision of a service -- is being heard by the B.C. Human Rights Tribuanal, which does not investigate anybody or anything. Rather, it hears complaints at which the parties -- complainant and respondent -- may appear on their own behalf or hire counsel.
Once you get your facts straight, you can take your shots. Until then, it's a little premature to opine that the procedure is "laugable".

Posted by: truewest | 2008-07-21 9:35:33 PM

Whether or not we get the jargon straight makes no difference to the fact that this is totally laughable. And it is totally laughable.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-07-21 10:49:36 PM

Sad to see truecolours is back with his nit-picking attack on fundamental freedoms.

If the lesbians were offended, they should have complained to the management. If the management refused to do anything about it that would satisfy them, they should have taken their custom elsewhere.

That's what mature people do in a grown-up country. Dialing 1-800-WAAAAAA to complaint to the nearest bureaucracy is what babies and fundamentalist extremists do for attention.

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-07-21 11:41:51 PM

It's it telling that you dismiss your inability to properly identify either the body hearing the complaint or the procedure underway as "jargon" and "nitpicking". But then a cavalier disregard for the truth and a wilful ignorance of the law and process has really been the hallmark of the self-identified free-speechers all along. From Levant's laughable claim to have spent $100,000 on legal fees to the Libel Five's eagerness to embrace the "expert" evidence of a neo-Nazi, the mantra has been "facts are stupid things".
As for 1-800-WAAAAA, it's rather amusing to hear such a complaint from Grant Brown, who has abandoned his brief legal career to become den-mother to the bad-dad pity party.

Posted by: truewest | 2008-07-22 9:32:41 AM

For someone who chastizes others over "getting their facts right," truecolours sure is cavalier with the facts herself. (This from someone who earlier argued that slicing a man's penis with a knife in a fit of jealousy isn't properly charged as sexual assault! Wow! I mean, WOW!)

Ezra is facing 3 libel actions, 3 complaints to "human rights" commissions, and 12 complaints to the Alberta Law Society. That's 18 separate actions to respond to, over things he has said. It isn't difficult to believe his claim that his legal bills are reaching $100,000 after 3 years of this concerted attempt to muzzle him.

And let me just point out to truecolours that there is a huge difference between crying to a governmental body over questionably hurt feelings, and arguing against sexist laws and the sexist applications of the laws that sees children routinely taken away from their fathers and fathers away from their children -- among other kafkaesque injustices.

If truecolours were a denizen of the American south a generation ago, she would probably have more sympathy for the hurt feelings of white women who were subject to "reckless eyeballing" than to the lynching of black teens for that offence. (Not because truecolours, in her present incarnation, is racist, but because she is so easily influenced by the politically correct nonsense of her social milieu that she would have been a racist cracker if she had been raised in that ideology.)

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-07-22 10:14:02 AM

I always appreciate editorial corrections, and pointing out technical errors. But I don't appreciate missing the forest for the trees, and insults, when they're misplaced.

Truewest, don't be a jerk. It's not necessary. You could have pointed out that, technically, Guy is facing a "complaint" not an "investigation" (although I didn't mean "investigation" in the technical legal sense, but in the ordinary sense. The Alberta HRT *is* "investigating" whether or not Guy broke the provincial equivalent of the federal HRC Section 13 prohibition against discrimination in the provision of a service), since I did not mean to mislead anyone or otherwise confuse the issue.

My main point is that this case is a problem. That a comic would be taken before any tribunal, commission, legal entity of whatever sort, for saying what Guy said (or even what Michael Richards said) is "laughable."

I'm sorry you don't see it that way, truewest.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-07-22 10:57:19 AM

This situation has been going on for more than a year, plenty of time for people who are serious about the issue to sort out who does what. Briefly, in most administrative schemes, commissions investigate and tribunals hold hearings. Those are two distinct processes, differenct in important ways. To conflate them sows confusion.
In B.C., where the Earle case is being heard, there is no commission and thus no investigation and, consequently, no screening of complaints. Instead, all complaints are set for hearing and it falls to the defendant to bring an application to dismiss. These applications make up 30-40 percent of the tribunal's decisions.
In the Earle case, Earle and the restaurant made applications to dismiss. (Neither they nor the complainant were represented by counsel) However, there were conflicting accounts about what took place and, the tribunal concluded, "It is not possible without the benefit of a member hearing their evidence, to determine what actually happened that evening or following it."
Is it possible that what happened went beyond the usual and accepted heckler/comic exchange? I don't know. And neither do you. You've heard one side of the story.
If Ezra is fighting all those fights on all those fronts (most of which he opened himself) then perhaps he might have burned through $100,000 in legal fees. Problem is that he made the $100,000 claim a good long time ago, right about the time he kicked off his HRC jihad by dragging a camera crew into an interview - sorry, "interrogation" -- about the Danish cartoons complaint.
A dozen law society complaints, huh? Impressive (and well deserved). Guess that's the thing about being a lawyer; you don't get to piss on legal institutions from a great height without consequences. But then I don't need to explain that you, do I?

Posted by: truewest | 2008-07-22 11:58:31 PM

I'm with you Truewest. Most reactions to the Guy Earle story have been something like this: "Those militant, crazy lesbians at it again with their human rights complaints! What did they expect when they heckled? Those bitches are trying to stifle free speech, the left-wingers are a bunch of fascists blah, blah, blah...."

We are quick to condemn the girls and only see Guy's side of the story.

Remember that he did go their table twice after the show and he did break their sunglasses. What else he did, we do not know. But isn't it POSSIBLE that there is more to the story than a comedy/heckler exchange? Why can't we wait for the other side of the story to come out before we pass judgement.

I have personally experienced the vicious behavior of Guy Earle. No, I am not an ex-girlfriend. I didn't even know him all that well. But if I were a betting woman, I would bet that Guy behaved worse than he claimed he did. Before this incident even happened, I wondered if Guy would ever get in trouble because of his anger issues. And so he did. I can relate to those girls. And I think, although I do not know, that he did more than tell a couple of lesbian jokes.

Guilty or not of a human rights violation, I believe that Guy needs to grow up. He is not a champion of free speech. He tried to pass the responsibility to the owner of the club. He see's this case as an opportunity for self-promotion.

Well, promoted he was. The sad thing is that at the end of this whole thing he will have to face his failings and shortcomings as a comedian.

Posted by: Mantaray | 2008-07-23 9:46:39 AM


OK, let's say we don't know if anything Guy did to the lesbians was criminal in nature. But if he did something criminal, why wasn't he charged for it? If the lesbians have a REAL complaint against Guy, have them address it in a REAL court. The only point anyone is really pressing on this blog and elsewhere is that HR commissions aren't the proper venue to deal with these kinds of incidents, no matter what happened. They are grossly over-stepping their jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, we DO know that the lesbians assaulted Guy by throwing drinks in his face not once, but twice. Why were they not charged? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Last weekend, IndyCar driver Danica Patrick got into yet another dust-up with yet another driver. She seems to have serious anger-management problems. Only this time the other driver was also a woman, who simply threw a towel in her face (twice) and told her to bugger off (several times). If a man had done that, IndyCar would not have posted the video clip on their website as a publicity stunt; they would have demanded that the male driver apologize to Patrick. Even the woman driver, Milka Duno, acknowledged this when she said: "She [Patrick] can push the guys because they cannot do anything to her, but she cannot push me."

When we have eliminated sexist double standards from society, which allow women to assault men with impugnity but punish men just for trash-talking women, maybe you can get your knickers in a twist over what Guy might or might not have said. Meanwhile, your priorities are more than a tad skewed.

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-07-23 11:25:13 AM

Ok Grant I will try not to get my knickers in a twist. I have a little more insight into exactly what kind of behavior Guy could exhibit. Guy DID go to their table after the show, not once but TWICE. What did he say then? What did he do? Is it possible that the women were defending themselves? Who knows! But the judge said that both parties have completely different versions of what went on. The fact that he was mc-ing (and not just being a comedian) could amount to discrimination in the provision of service. Something like an owner of a restaurant denying drinks to a minority person etc.

I think that the automatic blaming of the two women without hearing their side speaks to the undercurrent of homophobia that exists in our society. And THAT, not the validity of human rights commissions, is my issue. You have your priorities, I have mine.

Posted by: Mantaray | 2008-07-23 12:21:41 PM

Oh, and you might want to write an article on the historical and current oppression of men in today's society. Not the isolated cases-but just all the overwhelming evidence of the terrible sexism directed at men today and how women reap in all the goodies.

Thanks Grant-I would love to read THAT article.

Posted by: Mantaray | 2008-07-23 12:34:57 PM


You didn't absorb or respond to a single thing I said, you just repeated your initial diatribe.

BTW, there are no "judges" in the HR process, only bureaucrats of various qualifications. The parties undoubtedly do have different versions of what happened, but (to repeat) if Guy committed a criminal offence(e.g. uttering threats), then the HR commission has no jurisdiction.

If the complaint is that Guy discriminated in the provision of comedy to the lesbians, then it is a ridiculous complaint that the HR should not entertain, either -- regardless of what the lesbians' version of his comedy routine was.

All I'm "blaming" the lesbians for is (a) using the government tools that are available to them to bully and harass comics; and (b) throwing drinks in a man's face, twice.

"Oh, and you might want to write an article on the historical and current oppression of men in today's society. Not the isolated cases-but just all the overwhelming evidence of the terrible sexism directed at men today and how women reap in all the goodies.Thanks Grant-I would love to read THAT article."

The best I can do is advise you to start with my opinion piece called "The Curious Case of Country C," and then work your way through all of my other columns and discussion threads on this site.

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-07-23 3:01:42 PM

Well Grant you were right about the Judge thing. I thought I read somewhere that Heather McNaughton is a judge. Still, she has an extensive legal background.

These girls obviously felt that they were discriminated against in the provision of service. Not by what Guy said in a comedy routine per se. Part of how you discriminate is by what you SAY. Speech does have devastating consequences to groups of people and individuals in those groups. The women felt personally humiliated by Guy because of how he attacked them and used their sexual orientation as a basis for his attack. Kind of like how if your boss was to badger you to sleep with him-it would be grounds for sexual harassment.

I read that the girls originally wanted an apology and a replacement of sunglasses. They didn't get it. So they pursued it further. Like it or not the BCHRT decided they had grounds to hear the complaint.

I think Human Rights tribunals are a good thing. They provide protection for those not part of the dominant culture. They provide a bit of balance. I don't blame the girls one bit for complaining. Whether they have a case against Guy for being discriminated against in the provision of service I don't know.

Call me naive but I just don't think the BCHRT is going to go after someone for telling a lesbian joke. It's not as though all the comedians in Vancouver were like Bob Hope up until Guy Earle.

Posted by: Mantaray | 2008-07-24 6:07:15 AM

And do you believe that groups of people who have historically and currently been discrimated against deserve protection against discrimination?
Aren't their rights just as important as the right to free speech? How would you balance the two rights? I believe that we have the right to live in a tolerant society and a right to free speech. The Guy Earle case is trivial in the grand scheme of things, but still, it reflects society's discriminatory attitudes. And discriminatory attitudes DO become institutionalized.

I am a social work student and I am interested in all these questions.

Posted by: Mantaray | 2008-07-24 6:20:56 AM


1(a). People are entitled to their bad attitudes, in a free society. "Let she who is perfect cast the first stone."

1(b). People are entitled to walk away from others with attitudes they don't like, in a free society. That's what mature people do.

2. Having a bad attitude isn't the same as "discrimination." "Discrimination" isn't a catch-all offence for anything you don't happen to like.

3. There is no evidence that Guy Earle has a bad attitude toward lesbians in general. He was dissing this particular pair, because they were dissing him on stage, and because they assaulted him.

4. You can't change a bad attitude by banning it, anyway. The best response to bad speech is good speech.

5. If you are a student of social work who is concerned about discrimination, there are many, many more issues that should be of overwhelmingly greater concern to you than your vindictiveness toward Guy Earle.

I wish you would do what I suggested previously, and actually read my earlier columns and posts. You might discover that the group facing the most pervasive and damaging discimination in Canada today are maales: men, specifically in domestic disputes and custody cases, and boys in education. Knowing what I know about schools of social work, this massive discrimination against men and boys isn't even on the radar screen in your education. You should be complainting to your local HR chapter about THAT discrimination in the provision of government services....

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-07-24 10:49:29 AM

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