There's already been a fair bit written about the "freeping" of a recent poll by "The Beaver," asking Canadians who they thought was the worst Canadian -- both Red Tory and Stageleft weigh in on the infantile tendency of Canada's jackass-o-sphere to want to turn to shit everything they touch. But there's more here than meets the eye.
As many (including your humble scribe) have pointed out, it is eye-rollingly obvious that you can't freep an online poll, make a mess of the results, then turn around and use those very results as if they have any significance. You know, like Blogging Tory and creepy fetus fetishist SUZANNE does in Stageleft's comments section:
What…we’re not allowed to vote? We’re not allowed to campaign for our choices?
Freeping doesn’t necessarily involve cheating, as it has been said elsewhere. Forwarding the contest on to acquaintances and suggesting they vote for Trudeau is not cheating. Blogging about the contest and asking that people vote for my choice is not cheating.
I’m proud because we got our guy to be chosen number one, and it shatters the myth that Trudeau was universally loved and no one really questions his beliefs. In the mind of the media, he embodies the quintessential Canadian, but many people disagree with that, and I’m glad we got that point across.
I’m also proud that Henry Morgentaler made it to number 3. I really wasn’t expecting him to poll that high.
Holy fuck. What kind of colossal moron do you have to be to have written that? In particular, appreciate the breathtaking dumbassitude in this passage:
I’m proud because we got our guy to be chosen number one, and it shatters the myth that Trudeau was universally loved and no one really questions his beliefs.
In other words, in the space of a single sentence, SUZANNE admits to having fucked up the results of that poll, then uses that as proof that Trudeau wasn't popular. I'm not sure there's even a word in the English language to describe that kind of idiocy, but that's not why we're here.
SUZANNE claims that all that freeping wasn't "cheating" and, in fact, she's right. If you offer your readers an online poll, and you don't put proper safeguards in place to make it moron-proof, well, you get what you deserve. But what SUZANNE doesn't appreciate (aside from anything resembling logical thought) is that there are times when freeping is appropriate, and times when it's not.
Every year, Major League Baseball has an All-Star game, and part of the selection process involves the fans voting their brains out to get their chosen player into the game. Not surprisingly, this generates massive campaigns in each city, where viewers work mightily to stuff those online ballot boxes to make sure their favourite player is selected. Sure, it's pretty much freeping but, in this case, there's a reason -- you're trying to affect the selection of the team, which means that there is at least some benefit to you.
The same can be said for that crappy TV show "Canadian Idol," where the whole point is to convince viewers to vote for you. And, once again, that's part of the process -- there's nothing subtle or surreptitious about it. But what about that "Beaver" poll?
Quite simply, there's no obvious benefit to freeping such a poll. There are no prizes at stake, no team membership on the line, no recording contract waiting at the end. What that poll represented was an attempt to learn what Canadians thought, nothing more. So to have freeped that poll is the equivalent of online, drive-by vandalism -- those freepers got nothing out of making a mess of that poll, other than a perverse satisfaction in having destroyed someone else's time and effort to learn something about Canada. But it doesn't end there.
If you truly wanted to distort the results of a poll like that and be able to use those distorted results to make an argument for something, there's one thing that's kind of essential -- you can't brag about it afterwards. Really, do I have to explain that? Said freeping really loses all its value when you strut around afterwards, crowing about how proud you are of it. But even that isn't the best part.
Given how pointless that whole SUZANNE-inspired, online vandalism was, one has to ask -- what was it that was lost here? And the answer is obvious -- what was lost was a chance to learn who Canadians thought was a truly bad person. And it's not at all clear why Canada's conservatives wouldn't be interested in knowing that as well, but in trashing that poll, they clearly threw away the opportunity to learn something. And that, I think, is what distinguishes Canada's conservatives from normal people:
They're not only ignorant, but they're proud of it. Given the chance to actually learn something about Canada, they prefer to just trash that opportunity. In short, they actually prefer their contrived, fictional world to the real one. Quite simply, they're stupid, they're proud of it, and they'll crow about that to anyone who'll listen.
Where I come from, that pretty much defines the word "pathetic."