As this week has started, it’s been interesting to watch some in the Conservative movement on social media as they react to what has happened over the past week. Between the events in Washington and the appropriate actions taken by some social media companies removing certain accounts from their services, it’s been interesting to see how that side of the political spectrum has reacted. Some have appeared to be more upset and concerned about losing followers on social media or pointing the fingers at others rather than dealing with the fact that an insurrection happened at the US Capitol from far-right groups or dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s all been a bit much, something that I personally wasn’t going to comment on. But then something happened this afternoon that pushed me to write, something that left me bemused, bewildered and stupefied. It all came from one Canadian politician trying to get a political opponent in a “gotcha moment” and yeah, that went as well as you thought it might have given the person involved:
Look, I admit that I did a double take at the use of the word “defenestration” because really, who says that these days? I even looked it up before I took to writing because it’s not a word that’s a part of my everyday vocabulary. But as someone who studied languages in university, I knew that some words could have multiple meanings. I didn’t need to go to university to learn that, as I learned that in elementary school too. And in elementary school I learned how to use a lovely book that can tell us what certain words mean. You know, a dictionary. Thankfully in this Google-fied internet age we can look at those without pulling out those massive tombs of information, and here is what I found when looking for a definition of said word:
Yeah, this all adds up, doesn’t it? Folks, I know I’ve said here many times who the Conservatives in our Parliament love to tweak, torque and overplay their hands when it comes to their over-the-top language. That was a hallmark of the Andrew Scheer leadership, facts be damned as long as you can act indignant enough. Yet this is embarrassingly bad, even for Scheer or whoever is staffing his Twitter account. Like this is amateurishly bad. As Supriya Dwivedi pointed out on Twitter with this, it makes sense “that the guy who picked a fight with Teen Vogue and Paw Patrol doesn’t know what defenestration means or that Gerry (Butts) left the PMO two years ago”.
I can laugh at this because it’s just that bad, but seriously this is just bad political work. Andrew Scheer is going to be ridiculed even further for at least a few days because someone didn’t take 30 seconds out of their day to pull out their phone and Google “defenestration” to read the full definition. Having done that would have saved him this well-earned embarrassment. And if he did know that this word had two means, one which was used correctly in the context of that email without violent connotation or malice attached to it, and still decided to go ahead with this crap, then that’s just political malpractice of the worst kind. If he actually did that, then he deserves that much more ridicule and scorn and I hope that people don’t spare him it.
It’s alright if everyone doesn’t understand what that word meant, or that it had two definitions. It’s alright if we’re all not walking dictionaries and need to look these things up. There is nothing wrong with having a bigger or smaller vocabulary, so this is no judgement of that at all. What upsets me about this story and this situation is that Andrew Scheer tried to make other people believe that something nefarious and wrong was happening here, playing on people’s vocabulary levels or at the very least, their distaste of this political figure or that one. That’s crap politics, it’s childish and it’s exactly the kind of thing that led to Andrew Scheer becoming a failed leader of his party. Also, it’s the kind of thing that the party was supposedly repudiating when they defenestrated him, electing someone who ran on supposedly doing things differently. This stunt by Scheer surely didn’t help that cause, and reminded everyone what they didn’t like about the Scheer years. At least it gave the rest of us an exasperated chuckle at his expense, which is as sure as sign as any about how failed a gambit this way.