I'm outraged by this stupidity, not only the use of the term 'pansification' by CBC Hockey Night commentator Mike Milbury and recycled by fellow commentator Don Cherry, but also the CBC's limp response to justified complaints about it.
Milbury coined the expression to describe how the NHL would be lessened should the league heed calls to ban fighting. He has used "pansification" at least twice on Hockey Night this season, in November and again in January. His colleague, Don Cherry, has also made reference to it.
This macho, "asshole-ification" (a new term I've now coined) of CBC broadcasts is really crappy. "Pansification" is straight male code. It's an attempt to degrade or attack any move to clean up violence in hockey by making it seem "gay," inferior or less than manly to do so. And no one wants to be "kind of gay", I'm sure Milbury, Cherry and other macho dudes think.
There's no doubt that many straight men, especially the kind who watch Hockey Night on a regular basis, continue to be homophobic. We still breed them that way, sad to say. I see examples of it every day. It's okay for those queers to be gay way over there out of sight and mind, but not we real men, so the thinking goes.
But even worse is the CBC's pathetic response to a complaint from Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere, or EGALE.
"The point is, it was no way intended to be a reflection on or offensive to gay people," CBC spokesman Jeff Keay said. "I think the colloquial use of the term was something they didn't associate with gay people. The way the language evolves over time, 20 or 30 years ago it would have been seen, reasonably enough, as a direct slur against gay people...But I think with usage now, I'm not sure the association is so immediate."
Give me a break! So if a CBC reporter used the term "niggerization" to describe how crime is going up in a certain neighbourhood, would that be acceptable too because the "colloquial use" of the term "nigger" has evolved in the past 20 or 30 years?
So Keay argues that "pansification" doesn't refer to gay men; it must only refer to less manly, weak men or a somehow watered-down masculinity, men who don't know how to fight and are somehow inferior to real men like Milbury or Cherry? Just like gay men, right? What planet are you on, Keay?
Violence in hockey should be a crime, not unregulated hyper-machismo gone wild. And Milbury and Cherry are homophobes for using this kind of language, and the CBC is complicit for letting it happen.
At least one hockey blogger is of sane mind on this.
I hope the CBC's "asshole-ification" dissipates soon.
Don Cherry is sounding very contrite this morning. Good on him.
*************UPDATE # 2 - FEB 1 2009
Thanks to Matt Hayday for the link to this Globe letter from CBC's Scott Moore. The use of the word 'pansification' is no more...