Here's a fun piece of historical trivia for you: since 2001, what race has won the most Nobel Peace Prizes?
If you guessed "Democrats," you'd be close, but the correct answer is "non-humans." Of the last dozen Peace Prizes awarded, a grand total of five have been granted to institutions rather than people, be they investment banks, UN subcommittees, or, as of Friday, the European Union.
Funky, eh? But don't think this trend of handing peace prizes to things without hands has gone unnoticed by our pals in the Canadian press! They have so many opinions on the matter you'd almost think we were talking about a vice presidential debate or something.
Seriously, the EU? That basket-case? What an "uninspiring choice," bemoans Friday's Ottawa Citizen. "Sure," they write, words dripping with Ottawanian sarcasm "there might be a neo-fascist movement on the rise in Greece. But hey, Germany hasn't invaded Poland recently."
Yeah, agrees the Globe and Mail board, aside from the "riots, mass unemployment, the rise of political extremism and the continued threat of the generalized impoverishment of the continent," Europe's practically a utopia! And just FYI, Nobel jerks, the only reason the Euros aren't actively invading each another is because their peace is "safeguarded in large part by the U.S. and Canadian militaries." But sure, enjoy your no-Hitlers prize.
And as long as we're talking about Canada, adds Kelly McParland in the National Post, where's our prize? Like, we've "never started a war with anyone." What more do you want?
Many of our nation's columnists see this EU nod as merely the latest piece of evidence that those blond-haired jokers over in Sweden, or Legoland, or wherever, are horribly incompetent at picking the world's greatest peacemaker, an honour almost everyone agrees jumped the shark sometime around season 73.
Well, incompetent and flat-out bad, clarifies Brian Lee Crowley at the Calgary Herald. Lest we forget they gave it to Barack Obama in 2009 -- a man who is almost certainly approving a covert assassination as we speak.
Bah, you guys are so cynical, responds the Globe's Elizabeth Renzetti. "Go change your underwear if you need to," but I happen to think there's nothing funny about celebrating the successes of a "legal framework that allows 500 million people to live together in quite amazing harmony" -- a task far more difficult than those Coke commercials would have you believe.
Totally, concurs the Toronto Star editorial board, "whatever its flaws the EU embodies values that have been a powerful force for good," namely "idealism, political engagement and concern for the common good." In other words, the very stuff peace awards were created to recognize in the first place.
And right you are, Toronto Star editorial board! For all its terribleness the Nobel Peace Prize does indeed stand alone in our weary world as one of the few international honours still dedicated to the celebration of global harmony and international brotherhood.
We should really give it some kinda award.
Speaking of the Nobel Peace Prize, you know who's probably not gonna win a Nobel Peace Prize? Pastor Terry Jones, that's who! (What can I say, some of my transitions are more elegant than others).
We may remember Terry as that sour-faced, moustachioed gentleman who preaches what I think we can all agree is quite clearly not God's one true faith out of some Florida swamp, occasionally setting fire to Korans in the process. Basically, he's a wonderful illustration of what we all learned in kindergarten: ugly people are horrible.
Anyway, Pastor Terry wanted to come to Canada this weekend and spread some cheer but got turned away at the border thanks to Canada's well-known zero-tolerance policy towards people who called themselves "doctor" in Germany without earning it. The whole incident sparked yet another epic debate in the Canadian press regarding the appropriate limits on freedom of speech, a topic I notice tends to revolve around Islam an awful lot these days (just sayin).
Good ol' Ezra "Let's-All-Publish-Cartoons-of-Muhammad" Levant is of course a firm partisan of the "Terry shoulda been let in" crowd, calling his denial of entry an obviously "political decision." Sure, the not-so-good doc may be a hateful crank, but "silencing a man does not end his hate -- it likely causes it to grow."
What does stop hate, however, notes Mark Mercer in the Citizen, is honest debate -- and oh, look, that's just what Terry was coming to Canada to do! So not only did the Canadian border jerks deny Captain Uggo his right to express his views, they also denied more enlightened Canucks the right to "tell him off" in response.
Woah, sorry, I didn't realize the Canadian press was full of Terry Jones "cheerleaders" snarks Lorrie Goldstein in the Toronto Sun. Guess I must've missed the day when society agreed that literally setting other people's ideas on fire represented the height of democratic discourse. And BTW, we "didn't murder or throw Jones in prison," incidentally. He's still free to send Canadian Muslims a barrage of harassing tweets if he so desires.
So clearly there's no consensus on this whole "free speech" thing. Maybe cruel hate-mongers are worth defending, maybe not.
And really, who cares. It's all just a distraction from the far more critical issue of cracking down on foreign tourists who once pretended to be doctors in Germany.
I mean, let's not lose sight of the man's real crimes.