Who is this guy? ….a big ’0′…..

by Michael Schultz on August 25, 2015

Here’s the dude who swore at reporters this week and protected Duffy and

Harper in the ongoing bozo-like saga of $90,000 gone wrong.

This footage is brutal – the guy really ‘loses it’ – he vehemently supports

his conservative cronies. We would never have seen behaviour from conser-

natives like this in the days before the Alliance and Reform Party – this guy

is a true blue right of right rightist. It shows you how easy it is to snap and lose

it….another reason I am skeptical that the conservative party represents me as

a Canadian.


F – - K Harper

by Michael Schultz on August 20, 2015

A fellow named Rob Wells from Edmonton was pulled over in Leduc for bearing a bold pink sign on the inside back window of his car that says “F – - K Harper”.

He’s fed up with the PM and wants to voice his displeasure. In a recent CBC interview he chats about the incident:


Mr. Wells was pulled over by police in Alberta and fined $543.00 for distracting drivers with his ‘profane’ sign. Wells tells the interviewer that he is upset with Harper’s tactics and wants to speak out. He’s also concerned that he is being charged for profanity.

He’ll fight the fine and vows to keep the sign in his car to protest and make his ‘voice’ heard. Wells says lots of drivers gave him a thumbs up and a few showed displeasure with a flip of the bird.

It is a little unusual and maybe something you’d see from a younger person….so “nut bar”? – maybe…..sure he has 3 pens in his shirt pocket. Perhaps this is another case of impending ‘police state’ in the lean to the right of fear and fright.

Good for Mr. Wells in attracting attention. Canadians are too complacent and tolerant of their leaders and the political system. It may not be the best way to voice displeasure but it certainly has attracted attention……and it’s all over the media. Of course there’s always election day when Canadians can really say “F – -K Harper.”

The Courage to Face Dissenters

by Michael Schultz on August 12, 2015

Federal elections are forthcoming in both Canada and the United States in the near future.

The Globe and Mail’s Lawrence Martin suggested in yesterday’s paper that ‘we need Jon Stewart to set Canada straight’. That might be particularly true during election time. He says this to say that he might have fun lampooning Canada. Maybe we just need a person like Stewart.


Lawrence took a particular shot at the Canadian Conservative party. Apparently a headline on IPolitics tells us that”Participants at Conservative events must agree to gag order.” Attendees to a Harper campaign event must a) be invited and b) cleared by the party. Scary.

Mr. Lawrence offers this bit of wisdom for us to reflect upon:

“We used to be able to just line up at the door of a rally ( I remember a big one I attended in Hamilton in the 70s – as part of a poli-sci university course – just attended it) , pass through security, and get in to heckle or cheer.”

Entering politics meant having the courage to face dissenters. Lawrence goes on to tell us that we are experiencing “the shrinking of liberties”. I thought liberty of the individual was a major plank of the conservative platform?

At the same time, folk and children’s singer Raffi has come out with his own little ditty – he wants “his Canada back” – so do I. This message isn’t for the kids…..it’s about the kids. Thanks Raffi!

I like his message – “the more we vote together”, a little tribute to “The More We Get Together”.

Or as Kinky Friedman defines “politics”…..’poli’….means more than one…..’tics’ are bloodsucking parasites. Thanks for keeping it real Kinky.


Jon Stewart’s Final Hurrah…..(Heckle)

by Michael Schultz on August 7, 2015

I liked today’s editorial in The Globe and Mail…..a story that is probably running universally in the news about Jon Stewart and his final appearance on The Daily Show.

In Chapter 3 of my book HECKLE I reference the implications of bullshit as it related to speaking out. The Globe’s editorial:

“Jon Stewart was not the first person to have noticed that a lot of television news is bullshit”…..but he and the show’s writers did notice that “they could not only milk the world’s endless supply of b.s. for laughs -they could also put the laughs to serious purpose…”

Stewart is first and foremost a comedian and a humorist. Mocking the news has become big business because people do not want to tolerate the ludicrous and ridiculous state of the nation and the world. I wish this approach had been around in the 1950s and 1960s when I was growing up.

Stewart is the consummate heckler. Here is expounding on ….well, b.s.:


Being in the Game

by Michael Schultz on July 20, 2015

We attended the Pan Am tennis last week in Toronto. It was about 8 hours of great entertainment – actually there were a few gaps and breaks and darting to other courts, grabbing a bite to eat etc.

Former Ontario Liberal Premier David Peterson is the chair of the games. I remember seeing him at the airport with his daughter in 1997 as our international credit high school program was getting ready to jet to Oxford for July. I was teaching business at this fine institution….Peterson’s daughter was not in my class.

He provides us with his take on success and naysayers. His message? “The only way not to be criticized is not to do anything. You play in a hockey league, you might be criticized. You write a book, people might hate it. You run for office, you might not win.I have done lots of things that weren’t great, but that’s not going to stop me from taking risks and trying new things……”

Sound advice. Peterson suggests people “like to set themselves up as the official opposition.” Finally he gives us this tidbit, ” ….the world does not belong to the critics and it’s a funny thing how they disappear when you achieve success. Either that or they pretend they were with you the whole time.”

Source: THE GLOBE AND MAIL, L2, July 20, 2015

Here he is about 1/2 a year ago talking about it:


by Michael Schultz on July 19, 2015


I recently came across this June 2015 production by an Ottawa composer named Tony Turner.

It’s well done as a protest against the Harper conservatives.

With an election this October here in Canada we can expect to see even more protest and heckling of the leaders and the parties.


Fallout from the Players…

by Michael Schultz on July 14, 2015


I remember reading a local news piece in a Naples, Florida some time back  about a third base coach high school baseball coach who was killed by a line drive to the heart. A few years ago, the NHL put up big nets at the end of all arenas to protect spectators. At golf tournaments, fans get whacked by errant golf balls. Sport and danger seems to go together. Clearly, if fans can unleash torrents of heckles and boos, players have their own energy.

So it is that a class-action lawsuit has been filed against Major League Baseball for doing too little to protect fans from fast moving balls and splintered bats. This got me interested because I’m taking my grandson to see the Yankees against the Jays in August , and we’re sitting on the third baseline.

Fans just aren’t wearing protective equipment nor do they necessarily have the skill to catch a line drive. After all, some spectators are sitting closer to the action than the distance of batter to pitcher (60 feet). Some recent attempts in baseball have been nets to cover the player’s dugout and even helmets worn by third base coaches. MLB will likely claim that it doesn’t have the responsibility or duty  to protect spectators. The lawsuit will claim that parks should reduce the risk of injury for both fans and players.

Here’s the result of one of those splintered bats – Brett Lawrie from the A’s in Boston this season:

Bats are one thing, what about balls. This one is from Pittsburgh. The ball hits the netting but she was too close to it:

Here’s what it looks like on the golf course:


There’s plenty more gore on YouTube…..

Will we see more protective measures for fans at sporting events? Perhaps. In the meantime, it’s worth keeping your eye on the game and taking all the precautions. Perhaps in the future we’ll see fewer entertainment distractions put on by the home team (contests, events,music etc.). Like your teacher said, “pay attention”.


Heckling the Hoople

by Michael Schultz on July 8, 2015

Sometimes great stories about heckling arrive in old books. I am breezing through a book called Diary of a Rock ‘N’ Roll Star by Ian Hunter. Hunter was the lead singer for Mott the Hoople. I’ve covered him before. He went through Toronto just over a year ago with a whole new collection of fine tunes. I did a story on subduing some beer-laden fans.

This book is a simple log of his tour in America in the early 1970s. Stories of hotels, airports, other musical acts and even a visit to the Martin plant in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

The Mott had just launched into a version of Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane. Ian Hunter takes it from here ( Page 58, Independent Music Press)

” …I had to silence the hecklers … We must have been two-thirds of the way through when the music suddenly stopped. I was at the front without guitar, singing with a mike. What the fuck was happening?….Mick shouted something about a bottle hitting his guitar. I jumped off the stage. …Instinct led me to pointing fingers and a guy ran from his seat hurriedly collecting his coat. I screamed at him, ‘Who was it?’ and he pointed the guy out before running for cover. The bloke sat back in his seat. Search spots swooped over the now standing crowd and he looked squarely at me as I swore at him. I knew it was him so I let him have it – right between the eyes. The crowd erupted and Mick started the beat again.”

The trials and tribulations of being a rock star….Hunter even rips his pants climbing back on stage.

Here’s one from a 1973 tour – and a tune they milked…..All the Young Dudes, written by David Bowie.


Gun Control

by Michael Schultz on July 6, 2015

Here’s a Australian comedian named Jim Jeffries who puts both a rational and passionate spin on gun control in the U.S. I like his opinion that maybe the right to bear arms  in colonial times made sense – but not so much today.

It is from a show of his called Bare (2014)….available on Netflix:

I would say Jeffries is a ‘straight shooter’.


Heckle On Jennicet Gutierrez

by Michael Schultz on June 29, 2015

Last week I picked up on a piece from the Huffington Post by Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics Holly R. Scott. It was a thoughtful piece that covered some Obama heckling with reference to transgender rights.

The first clip shows Obama responding to Jennicet Gutierrez’s heckling moment in the White House. What is most striking is the number of cell phones focused on the podium.

The individual was ushered out because they did not comply with the order by the President to be quiet.

Here’s more of a look at Biden and Obama at the podium handling the whole affair….he uses the ‘when you’re in my house…’ logic to try to curtail the outspoken person:

The President defies the interruption and the ‘rowdy’ nature of the crowd. He is extremely patient but Gutierrez is persistent. An interesting heckling moment indeed. The crowd comes to his support ultimately. As a former classroom teacher – I wish it had been this easy to remove a student who wasn’t behaving in class.

Ms. Cashman takes us through the event and I enjoyed the fact that she did resolve that the event constituted heckling. Many others still think of heckling as a deviant act….and it can be…..but clearly, she supports the person trying to get her message across to the President.

Here’s what Cashman had to say:

I awoke to news this morning of Jennicet Gutiérrez’s interruption of President Obama’s remarks at the White House reception to celebrate Pride month.

My first thought, because I’m a word nerd, was: is “heckler” the right word? 

I guess I tend to associate ‘heckler’ with stand-up comedians, or, rather, with those who interrupt their acts. So, like any word nerd worth her/his/their salt, I went to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to try to find the word’s definition and to an etymological dictionary to learn its origin. 

This is what I found:

The third definition for heckle, the verb from which the noun heckler is derived, in the OED is “To catechize severely, with a view to discover the weak points of the person interrogated. Long applied in Scotland to the public questioning of parliamentary candidates.” The Online Etymology Dictionary explains that the verb heckle (early 14th c.) originates from a noun heckle (circa 1300), which was a comb used to tease out flax or hemp fibers. Heckler, then, became in the mid-15th century, one who uses a heckle. By extension, it was applied in the 19th century to one who treats politicians roughly, as the person who used a heckle treated the hemp or flax fibers, according to this association described by David McKie in The Guardian:

The leap across to the secondary meaning — to interrupt political speakers with awkward or embarrassing questions — was made in Scotland, and specifically perhaps in Dundee, a famously radical town where the hecklers who combed the flax had established a reputation as the most radical and stroppy element in the workforce.
By 1800, according to an account by Graham Ogilvy in Billy Kay’s anthology The Dundee Book, they were already operating as a powerful trade union. To some extent, a local employer noted in 1809, they controlled the trade, dictating wages, conditions and bonuses (mostly taking the form of drink), all enforced by combination and strike.
The heckling shop, said another observer, was frequently the arena of violent harangue and ferocious debate. One heckler would be given the task of reading out the day’s news while the others worked. What they did when they moved from factory floor to public meeting had a second relevance. “Heckling” then was a method of firing off questions designed to tease or comb out truths that politicians might wish to conceal or avoid.

(Full disclosure, I got that article in The Guardian via a citation in Wikipedia’s entry on heckler.)

So, heckler is precisely the right word, and it has a wonderful labor connection to boot. None of this, of course, gets to the question of whether what Jennicet Gutiérrez did was right or wrong. I firmly believe the following, in no particular order:
• It is imperative to speak truth to power in order to change a status quo (e.g. the detention, incarceration and abuse of LGBTQ migrants), 
• To heckle the President of the United States at the White House as an undocumented trans woman is incredibly courageous,
• The White House belongs to the people of this country, most of whom are or come from a history of migration, not to any one President or administration,
• Just as FDR is reported to have told organizer A. Phillip Randolph “I agree with everything you have said. Now, make me do it.” when he spoke to him about the conditions of Black and working people in the U.S., so has President Obama told progressives to do the same (“Now the Work of Movements Begins”), so it is dishonest to criticize people for doing so,
• To attempt to sully the image of someone (e.g. an activist, a victim of police brutality, a woman who is raped or assaulted) and engage in ad hominem attacks in order to distract from the very real problem or issue at hand is dishonest, irresponsible and intellectually weak,
• The celebration of Pride was originally a political statement, and it should continue to allow for political statement, even alongside its wildly consumerist and bacchanal elements (read almost anything about the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the Christopher Street Liberation Day march in 1970, even this short blog piece from Contagious Queer, if you’re really pressed for time),
• It is shameful and embarrassing when people who have acquired a position of power thanks to the activism of others (or even their own past activism) choose to criticize others who use the same tactics to fight for their rights or very existence. Where would any of us but the most privileged be if everyone who managed to open a door of opportunity, shut it behind themselves so that no one else could pass though? (I know there is a great quote about this out there that I can’t think of right now),
• Anyone from the queer community who believes there is a correct “time and place” for protest should remember or learn about ACTUP and the strategies people used to call attention to the life-and-death issue of the HIV/AIDS (maybe start with the ACTUP Oral History Project).

In other words, I firmly believe that “well behaved women seldom make history” should not be a cute bumper sticker or t-shirt slogan quaintly describing a past reality that is no longer true today; it is just as relevant today as it was in the Early American Puritan setting it originally described (see “We’re No Angels”), and acting up (even behaving ‘badly’ according to some) in order to try to bring attention to an issue that is literally life-and-death for members of the LGBTQ community who are detained, incarcerated and subjected in inhumanely abusive conditions is all right with me. 

I, for one, am thankful for and proud of Jennicet Gutiérrez, the Trans Queer Liberation Movement, and others who are speaking out and refusing to let queer people who are unauthorized migrants in this country be treated as less than deserving of our support. 

So, to return to my original question, heckler is the right word. But so is hero. Heckle on, Jennicet Gutiérrez, HECKLE ON!