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POULSEN: Hide under your bed kids; it’s dangerous out there

Image Credit: Contributed
May 28, 2015 - 8:06 AM

LANGUAGE ADVISORY

Politicians in Vernon have ended fireworks on Canada Day this year. It’s because of “liability” concerns, say local leaders.

Mayor and council: My little pansies, don’t you understand what your timidity and fearfulness is teaching our kids?

What can be said about a society where “risk assessment” is treated as a legitimate profession, rather than the nemesis of progress, innovation, creativity – and, yes, the enemy of just having the fun of watching fireworks on our national holiday?

Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund, wringing his hands like he’s trying to make fire, says there could be a fire danger. The fire department has always been on the scene and there has never been a fire, or any other problem whatsoever.

But wait, there could be! Call the city’s risk assessor!

Nothing special ever happens in life without risk. Not once in the history of the world.

Recently, a risk assessor cast his accusatory little eyes at my column about a new licenced medical marijuana grow in the Okanagan. David Hyde, a “certified threat and risk assessor,” blogged that the article disclosed too much information and we should be careful of “loose lips.”

He suggested that marijuana grow applicants should “avoid controversial public discourse.”

I texted to ask him why he thought suppression of information to the public on such important public policy should be avoided.

Maybe he thought a reply was too risky because I haven’t heard back.

Many people have begun to notice that this obsession with risk management is defining the way children are being raised.

Lenore Skenazy is a leading challenger of today’s cuddly movement.

She wrote Free-Range Kids and became the television host of the Bubble Wrap Kids. Says Skenazy: “You don't remember the times your dad held your handle bars. You remember the day he let go. These are childhood's magic words: ‘I did it myself!’”

The Active Healthy Kids Canada 2013 report found that 58-per-cent of surveyed parents walked to school as kids, but only 28-per-cent of their children walk to school today.

Nowhere does this parental overbearing express itself as in kids’ sports.

Some constant coaches, ever hovering and interfering, are robbing kids of the opportunity to organize their own games and work out their differences by themselves, skills which are many times more important than whatever game is being played.

As kids, my buddies and I played softball in the alley. If you hit it in Mr. Rapp’s garden, it was an automatic out because old man Rapp was likely to keep the ball. If the ball hit the phone wires, it was still in play. First base was the corner of Mrs. Zigas’s garage.

Thanks to pansy power, no kid today will have to suffer through anything like that.

My line of work has also been inflicted with this compulsive caution. This clampdown on risk is led by journalism school teachers and the textbooks they never question.

A quick example: Have you noticed how often some reporters use the word “alleged?”

Reporter: “The alleged victim was allegedly attacked by the alleged attacker over an alleged home invasion. It’s alleged that this alleged home invasion allegedly took place on a street in town we can’t name because it’s going to be before the courts.”

On Monday, the National Post and CBC (and many others) reported that actor Robert De Niro told a hopeful graduating class of arts students:
“Graduates, you made it. And you’re f--ked.”

F--ked? That’s beyond silly. The impact of De Niro’s choice of expression was the whole point in running the story at all.

Here’s how it should work:

On Monday, Infonews.ca managing editor Marshall Jones allowed court testimony to be quoted in an exchange between a cop charged with assaulting a patron at Rose’s Pub.
Both used the words “fuck off” to each other and to give obvious texture to the story, Infonews.ca quoted the exchange completely and correctly. (Global Okanagan TV made the word go beep . . . beep, like the Roadrunner).

There was a “language advisory” noted above the Infonews report but I don’t recall a managing editor having the jam to allow that before. Good for him.

Is everyone still okay?

— Poulsen can be contacted at poulsenc30@hotmail.com

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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