Ah, the off-beat story! All the better with content that is also sensational or humorous. Good fodder for readers and water cooler conversations. That must explain why many papers in Canada carried a recent item about a new beer called “The Shawinigan Handshake”.
The story makes light of an incident in 1996 when Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien put…something, let’s postulate it was a choke hold….on anti-poverty protester Bill Clennett. No one got a very good view of the incident (which took place in a crowd amid noisy demonstration) but you can see most of it for yourself in this news video.
The beer’s maker is quite excited about the marketing potential, and indeed, the limited run quickly sold out. Jean Chrétien seems quite amused. As one might expect, the man on the receiving end, Bill Clennett, is appalled.
I blogged earlier about a charity boxing match that generated interest across Canada. There were other fights on the card that same night. Journalist turned academic Declan Hill was a participant. He wrote an interesting essay about the experience, sub-headed by the Ottawa Citizen as a “debate about the nature of Canadian identity and our historic reputation as fighters”.
Having brought the topic up, now I’m faced with a couple of choices: follow the high-minded tendency to take violence very seriously, condemn it as barbaric and hope for the day when evolutionary enlightenment leaves that primitive stage far behind.
Or I can lighten up and say life’s messy, often crude, it takes all types to make a world…just roll with it.
I must be becoming more and more Canadian myself. Because (even though I don’t personally like beer!) I find myself wanting to compromise and include both views.
Violence …bad! Beer…good! Humor…essential!