SunNews on How to “Be a Man”

by | June 23, 2011
filed under Feminism

Since SunNews (“the Fox News of the North”) launched a few months ago, I hadn’t seen many video clips from it.

But it turns out I was missing a huge opportunity for entertainment and after seeing some of the amazingly and almost hilariously bad sexist clips that have come out of SunNews, I thought it only right that I take them apart here.

Tragically, SunNews won’t let people embed their videos, so I will have to refer you to the video on their website here. And if you’re not going to watch the video you’ll have to have a bit of imagination as I go through some of the most interesting parts. Consider this the more nerdy, less funny, and political version of MST3K.

Theo Caldwell

The scene is a SunNews soundstage and Theo Caldwell is sitting behind his desk wearing a grey suit and red tie. He’s holding something that my roommate and I could only guess is a clicker for his prompter, and he’s about to give his thoughts on Father’s Day and manliness.

I wasn’t familiar with Caldwell before this video, and all I can say is he looks like what you’d get if you took a young Scott Hamilton and turned him into Young Conservative whose speaking rhythm calls to mind a young William Shatner as Captain Kirk (apologies to both Hamilton and Shatner).

He begins: “Now that Father’s Day is upon us, now seems like as good a time as any for a stern lecture.” Caldwell starts by saying he’s not going to talk about women because, to quote George Costanza, “I know less about women than probably anything else in the world,” but he goes on to say that much about “being a man” has to do with how men treat women.

“Guys of my generation have been taught, since birth, that it’s okay to say one sex is better than another, so long as you’re saying women are better than men.”

(Other than sitcoms featuring smart women with dumb guys, I have no clue where he’s getting this from. Most feminists wouldn’t actually argue women’s innate superiority, and those who do certainly aren’t monopolizing our media or government.)

So anyway, he objects to the perceived elevation of women’s status, but then he says his first lesson for men is to suck it up because: “Things are what they are.” (He’s kind of all over the place).

One thing men need to accept is car insurance rates that discriminate against men. “I’d humbly state that statistics will say what the market will bear,” he contends, arguing that women aren’t actually better drivers, but that our society wouldn’t stand for insurance that discriminated the other way.

(Discriminatory car insurance isn’t fair, but he’s wrong about the reason for it. As women know, our society stands for pricing that discriminates against women in drycleaning, haircuts, beauty products, and health insurance, so I don’t think we’d start a revolution over car insurance.

…Anyway, you know what solves discriminatory car insurance pricing? Nationalizing your auto insurance! The provinces in BC with the lowest rates, which are based on driving record, not gender or age, are the ones with public car insurance. What do you say, SunNews?).

Part of the reason he questions the idea that women are better drivers is that: “I’ve had enough girlfriends crashing cars into stationary objects including trees that haven’t moved for 100 years, that I begin to wonder about these impervious statistics.”

(FYI, trees never move. And how many girlfriends plowing cars into trees is enough? If it’s more than two, ever think that might just be your type?)

He’s starting to sound a bit bitter and passive-aggressive by this point, but I’m pretty sure that’s because that acceptance thing is a process.

Next he calls out men who curse out women drivers, saying that’s not the behaviour of a “real man” because women “almost certainly wouldn’t respond like another man would”. That is, they’re not going to get out of the car and beat you up.

(This isn’t a license to curse out women, but womanhood doesn’t equal an inability to stand up for yourself.)

Then it’s on to catcallers. “You’re an idiot,” Caldwell says, “Show me one marriage that started that way.”

(Show me one catcaller who thought he was going to end up married to the woman he was harassing).

“Ask yourself, would you have yelled that thing had she had a man with her?” – Shatner-esque pause – “Didn’t think so.”

The best part of Caldwell’s video is his defence of SunNews journalist Krista Erickson, whom he says is the recipient of vile sexist hate mail.

(I disagree with the majority of Erickson’s work but she shouldn’t be subject to sexist slurs. But then he suggests that the men who write hateful things about her should save their breath for guys like him and Ezra Levant, who I guess can take it better, being men, because they’re…tougher?).

“I will tell you this program believes firmly in the civilizing effect women have on men,” Caldwell continues, citing male politicians who’ve fallen into scandal “when separated from their wives for the space of a weekend.”

(It’s not widely known but upon marriage, women begin to emit a special electro-magnetic field that prevents men from getting drunk and sleeping around. Wait, who’s perpetuating the stereotype that women are better again?)

Caldwell closes with “If” by Kipling, who’s liked by everyone except what he calls “crazy people”.

(And people who are a little sketched out by the colonialist aspects.)

To sum up, being a “real man” has many meanings, and respecting women doesn’t mean treating them like they need your protection.

I’d encourage you to watch the actual video to gain a full appreciation of Caldwell’s bizarre use of slang (including interwebz, telly, and wicked).


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