by

June 22, 2010

by

June 22, 2010

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Dan Francis on Leacock

I'm surprised and a little disappointed to see Francis blaming someone in 1919 for not agreeing with what's in his head in 2013. This is bad intellectual method any way you slice it.

Brian Fawcett more than 1 year ago

The author limits the

The author limits the definition of an extraordinary person to those who advance social justice. But there is an endless variety of deeds, qualities, accidents of circumstance, etc., that can make someone extraordinary. In the first place, a person does not have to be "good" in order to be extraordinary. The sheer depth of Hitler's evil makes him extraordinary, never mind the impact he had on the 20th century. And, as someone pointed out above, a person can be an extraordinary writer, painter, scientist, etc., without having socially progressive views. By the author's definition, Shakespeare is extraordinary only to the extent that he "espoused a more progressive point of view" than his contemporaries. This is indeed an unusual and narrow way to define an "extraordinary person."

Also, Leacock is accused of racism and misogyny, but as we are not given any evidence to support this, we have only Francis's word to go by. Some quotes that demonstrate his alleged racism, etc (these are heavy charges) are needed, so that the reader can decide for him/herself.

Anonymous more than 3 years ago

All very interesting, but

All very interesting, but who, in Canada's 1919, were these public intellectuals who went on the record as not agreeing with Leacock's disapproval of non-white immigration and disparagement of aboriginal culture? (i.e. easy to say, hard to demonstrate...)

Anonymous more than 3 years ago

Leacock's "contemporary"

Leacock's "contemporary" views might have been a little more understandable had he not been an immigrant himself.
With similar irony, I remember standing on a Toronto subway platform when two men started taunting a Pakistani in security guard uniform on the other side: "Why don't you go back where you came from?" they roared in the broadest possible Scottish accents.

Nigel Spencer more than 3 years ago

Well said. And true. And so

Well said. And true. And so Canadian. You make a worthwhile point and then counter it with a polite, "Insightful piece,..." comment. Go Canada!

Anonymous more than 3 years ago

I enjoyed this article and

I enjoyed this article and find it well-written for the most part.

I just have an issue with the last third where the author talks about the problem with judging Leacock by current standards--and then proceeds to do exactly that.

The author implicitly defines "extraordinary Canadian" as one who was a progressive in their own time. While I agree with this abstractly, I don't think it necessarily entails that the person be socially liberal. I find Leacock's humour to be not only ahead of its time, but timeless. To me, that, and the international attention he brought to Can Lit, makes him extraordinary.

So what if I, or the author, don't agree with his stance on immigration or women's rights? Of course his views on these matters informed his writing to an extent, but it doesn't change the fact that he was a rare talent. To judge his legacy by our version of right totally misses the point: he was an extraordinary humourist, even if he got too comfortable.

Insightful piece, though. Good to see him being discussed at all.

Anonymous more than 3 years ago

Well put.

You're absolutely

Well put.

You're absolutely right about judging him. There were men/women of higher standards and he only proved how low his character was when he wrote and supported the status quo. They were his paycheck and he liked money more than morals.

Extraordinary Canadians are the poor schmoes who commute everyday to their work cell, perform as required, and return home to sleep and start again.

I used to have a higher regard for Leacock's humor. Now I suspect it was as much his personal low opinion of the common man disguised as satire.

rickthepoetwarrior more than 3 years ago

Well put.

You're absolutely

Well put.

You're absolutely right about judging him. There were men/women of higher standards and he only proved how low his character was when he wrote and supported the status quo. They were his paycheck and he liked money more than morals.

Extraordinary Canadians are the poor schmoes who commute everyday to their work cell, perform as required, and return home to sleep and start again.

I used to have a higher regard for Leacock's humor. Now I suspect it was as much his personal low opinion of the common man disguised as satire.

rickthepoetwarrior more than 3 years ago

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