By Jason Menard
May 2, 2007 — We get it. Many of us hate Celine. But can we get some perspective on life. After all, as much as you may dislike her music, there’s no way in the world she should be listed as Canada ‘s worst person.
Sure, maybe the thought makes you giggle. But let’s get a grip.
A recent interview with the president of Canada’s National Historical Society, which publishes a history review called The Beaver and is the source of this Worst Canadian poll, indicated that Celine is amongst the candidates along with former Toronto Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard and serial killer Paul Bernardo.
Heady company that shows many of us aren’t thinking with our heads.
OK, Maple Leaf fans are prone to hyperbole — the natural by-product of overinflating their expectations before the NHL season starts and having them overwhelmingly shattered when another playoff season goes down in flames. So one can forgive them for living in their own little world, unable to see the bigger picture.
But, and I can’t believe I’m going to defend her here, what has poor Celine done to be lumped in with vicious scourges on our society like Paul Bernardo? There’s having fun and then there’s being cruel.
Sure, some of you may find Celine’s warbling cruel to your ears, but you can always turn it off. Personally, I like French Celine, can’t stand English Celine. Yes, when she comes on the screen, I sit with my wife and enjoy mocking her (Dion, not my wife) just as much as the next person, but I certainly don’t harbour any ill will towards her.
After all, what is Celine guilty of? Beating her chest maniacally during a song? Trying to channel Elvis in her embarrassing collection of poses she engages in? To the best of my knowledge, Celine is guilty of nothing more than having bad taste and having the money to indulge in her excesses ‘ no more than the aforementioned King of Rock and Roll did with his Jungle Room and fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
There’s a French word that doesn’t translate well into English, but sums up Celine perfectly –kitaine. It’s more than tacky, it’s not quite White Trash, but it’s a combination of things all rolled up into one leopard-print package. The Las Vegas wedding being carried in by manservants? Kitaine. The twisted rock faces she makes while singing? Kitaine. But since when has being tacky been grounds for hatred?
Is it because our fair Celine flew the coop south of the border to make her riches? Well, she’s not the first and certainly won’t be the last — and there’s hardly the same venom for Avril Lavigne and Neil Young as there is for Dion. We only validate our artists after they make it big south of the border anyways, so who’s to blame her for chasing the dollar signs while being able to stay with her child? Not me.
Is it because she’s prone to overindulgent ballads? Is our anger towards Celine nothing more than the grumpy effect that we have once the saccharine levels retreat from our bodies after hearing the latest sweeping melodramatic song over the airwaves? Is it nothing more than a result of us coming down from a sugar high?
Most likely, it’s a combination of all. She’s an easy target, who — Mr. Magoo-like — seems to stumble blissfully unaware of the trail of fromage she’s leaving in her wake. We love to tear down our stars ‘ especially those who seem to revel in being able to indulge their fantasies to such a great degree.
Yes, there are many reasons to dislike Celine. But I’ve yet to find one reason to hate her. And there’s certainly no reason to lump her in with company like Paul Bernardo.
The Beaver contest is looking for those who have had the most malign influence on The Great White North. Other than her aural assault — which is easily avoidable — Celine’s pretty much been a benign influence on this country. Now, for some she’s a benign tumour, for others she’s a shining star.
But in no way, shape, or form should she — or any other entertainer or athlete — be considered for this list. They’re entertainers, but you don’t have to be entertained by them. And just as much as this list is entertainment, there comes a time when being too frivolous is just as bad as taking things too seriously.
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