To the editor,
On Dec. 31, the final day of the last decade, Pope Francis was filmed slapping the hand of a lady who reached out to hold his hand during a meet-and-greet-the-faithful ritual in the Vatican. Maybe Papa Francisco figured he’d done enough meeting and greeting, but his slap brought global headlines that he acted like an angry old white man towards the lady of southeast Asian descent. There was an apology forthcoming the next day, with the Pontiff no doubt reminded by the directors of the Vatican bank – conveniently named the Institute for the Works of Religion – that even he cannot get away with biting (or slapping) the hand that feeds you.
That terminology of ‘angry old white man’ has entered the letters pages quite frequently in recent times. Many moons ago, a buddy figured my personality deserved a triple-A rating – he’d nailed my proudly politically incorrect persona as an “antagonistic anarchistic agnostic.” All these decades later I’m now called an angry old white man by more than one social justice warrior because my opinion is not exactly in line with theirs. There’s no middle ground, apparently, it’s their way or the highway, even if their name-calling is ageist, racist and sexist, but who cares about that?
So now I find myself compared with the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion followers, as an angry old white man. William Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest that misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows, but it feels more than strange to be sharing a bed with the Bishop Of Rome; the Roaring Twenties version 2.0 is off to a great start.
Bernie Smith, Parksville
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