Yesterday the Toronto Star had a troubling quote by colourful hockey pundit Don Cherry. Cherry has recently drawn attention for endorsing right-wing political candidates Julian Fantino (federal byelection) and Rob Ford (Toronto Mayor. There’s been some rumbling that it’s inappropriate for Cherry, a paid CBC on-air personality on  Hockey Night In Canada,  to endorse candidates. I say phooey: Don can endorse who he wants. If he backs dickheads, that’s on his rep, not CBC’s.

Where I have a problem is with something Cherry said that went above and beyond the call of douchey. Specifically, this:

“I’m happy — it seems things are shifting around a bit to the right, with Julian Fantino getting elected, and Rob.”

And this:

“People are sick of the elites and artsy people running the show. It’s time for some lunch pail, blue-collar people.”

The story with the quote is here.


I don’t have much to say about an idiotic “elites” comment made by an elite national TV star about a couple of elite politicians. Cherry’s entire career as an NHL commentator is built around the celebration of elite athletes. Here’s a secret: People, including Don Cherry, tend to admire elites.

A sports celebrity complaining about the imagined oppression of some fantasy, imagined “elite” is just stupid. But that’s not the reason I’m furious with Captain Fashion.

As for “artsy people running things”? First off, what’s Cherry talking about? What “artsy people” are “running” what? “Artsy” people rarely get to run anything. And so what if they did? “Artsy” people tend to be smart, open-minded, kind and hard-working. In my experience with “artsy” people, which unlike Don Cherry’s is vast, they have proven generous, funny and interesting. What they haven’t been is a bunch of trash-talking egomaniac dipshits like Cherry’s friend Rob Ford or megalomaniac fascists who disparage the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms like Cherry’s friend Julian Fantino.

Fantino and Ford are not nice people. Nor are they thinking people–they seem motivated by the chance to have authority and status rather than by the desire to genuinely help. Critics warned that Ford would do a lot of damage to Toronto; in his first week in office he’s sabotaging an eight-billion dollar rapid transit project. If those are the kind of people Cherry admires, then there’s something wrong with Don Cherry. But we’re all imperfect, we’re all capable of admiring rotten people. He could’ve had a grudging pass on his bad taste in friends.

But trashing “artsy” people? What the fuck? Lots of artsy people are fans of Don Cherry. I’m a fan of Don Cherry’s.

Don Cherry apparently has a delusional concept of musicians, filmmakers,visual artists, dancers, poets, actors and authors. He also clearly has some hostility to them. Well Don, that’s a problem. Canada’s full of “artsy” people who make this country a more interesting and lively place, who entertain us, who ask tough questions about the world we live in, who call on us all to learn and think and dream.

Apparently Don Cherry thinks that’s worthless.

Don, I’m a hockey fan and I’ve usually enjoyed your program. But I’m also an “artsy” guy (by temperment) and a “lefty” guy (by reasoning).

Don, you just told me to fuck off.

You told a lot of people I care about to fuck off yesterday.

Fuck off, Don Cherry.