Bloody bothersome principles

Playwright/actor/irritant Rob Salerno

Two weeks ago, I supported the play “Homegrown,” because the Prime Minister was knocking it, without even having seen it. I hadn’t seen it either, but hey, whatever. It’s the principle, damn it. Artists get to say stuff! I saw it in the the Charter, or possibly on Wikipedia.

A week ago, I watched Homegrown, and then panned it. Hah! In your face, playwright I previously defended! I’m fickle like that. And anyway, there were no love scenes, not even like the one in Midnight Express. But mostly it was the principle of honest reporting. That’s a real thing, right?

Now here comes another play. What the hell, how many of these things are there? Anyway, it’s called – I wince to write this – FUCKING STEPHEN HARPER: How I Sexually Assaulted the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada and Saved Democracy.

I’m sure the playwright, Rob Salerno, is delighted that the title alone disturbs me mightily. I don’t even like to see the F-bomb in print, and sexual assault is not, in my opinion, funny stuff. You piss me off, Rob Salerno. Don’t make me defend you!

Don’t bother clicking on Rob Salerno’s Twitter feed. He gleefully jokes about himself having sex with straight men as a cure for homophobia. He treats rape as the subject of humour. He’s not the kind of guy you’d like.

He’s definitely not the kind of guy I like. And not because he’s gay. I really like gay guys, honest. I mean, look at my Judas Priest review! But my point is that I’d really rather not defend this play at all, on principle or otherwise.

It’s bloody bothersome.

But there is a principle, and I guess I’ve got to go here: Principle of sauce-for-the-goose-is-sauce-for-the-gander. Doesn’t what goes for Homegrown, go for FSH? (I’m going to call it that from now on because the title is offensive. FSH is SFW.)

Doesn’t a self-aggrandizing potty-mouthed playwright taking rude sexual pot-shots at the PM deserve the same treatment as a naive, publicity-seeking playwright obsessed with a convicted terrorist?

In a word, um, yeah, I guess, damn it.

Freedom of artistic expression is constrained in Canada by our hate speech laws, but Salerno’s odious, puerile title probably doesn’t meet that standard. As my lawyer said the other day, “I wouldn’t take that case.” He didn’t say that about the play, by the way, but you’ll never know what he did say it about. Principle of client privilege.

Still, it’s pretty sick stuff. Really, it’s gross and rude and infantile to laugh about sexually assaulting the Prime Minister, or anyone else.

Maybe the play’s funny; lots of media, and not just of the knee-jerk lefty variety, say it is. The CBC Manitoba (ha ha ha! see what I did there?) gave it 4 stars, apparently. But as an ordinary civilian, I can tell you I’d never go see it, because it bugs me. I have that choice. It’s a matter of principle. In your face, rude guy I heard about on Twitter!

Then again, I’m sitting in a blogger’s chair. (Bloggers have chairs; reporters have hats.) So on principle I’d have to see the damn play, because I wrote about it. I think that’s the principle of journalistic journalism, or something.

Thankfully it came to Toronto ages ago and I was clued out, so… whatever.

Principles are funny things. You have to defend them even when it bothers you to do it. Like when someone who’s guilty of a heinous crime gets a state-sponsored lawyer and the right not to be pilloried in the public square. Principle of fair trial.

Or like when the son of a former Prime Minister who had to go to court over issues arising from taking money in brown envelopes from a liver-spotted German nut-bar after suing the government about something has twins and we all rejoice. Principle of babies.

I think guys like Rob Salerno push our buttons on purpose. Probably. Just guessing here.

Personally, I think showing so much disrespect for our Prime Minister and so little respect for real victims of sexual assault is utterly classless, and not funny either.

“Knock knock, who’s there? Rape. Rape who? Rape the Prime Minster of Canada.” See, it’s not funny.

But I guess I have to be grateful to live in a country where the boundaries are that wide, because I also like to make fun of the Prime Minister when I think he deserves it. Or even just when I feel like it, actually.

And that’s a principle I’m bound to defend, even when it’s not to my taste or to my advantage. Even if it means I have to go see another lame play.

Bloody bothersome principles…

2 comments on “Bloody bothersome principles

  1. Actually, he is very like-able and some of the most influential people push buttons on purpose. He also starts off his show saying that he in no way condones rape or makes light of real rape victims.

  2. He’s surprisingly thin skinned for a guy who jokes about sexually assaulting other people.

    Doing that, by the way de facto makes light of real rape victims and denying it doesn’t make it otherwise.

    But I defended him anyway. I’m nice like that.

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