St. Thomas University journalism professor Jan Wong ignited an online furor today with a column in the Chronicle Herald. Read it for yourself here: http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1163516-wong-big-foot-gives-lesson-in-manners-on-fredericton-flight
Wong paints a grim portrait of her recent agonies while flying from Montreal to Fredericton. Worried that her meringue puffs and armrest space will be threatened by the lumbering, drunk Maritimer in the seat beside her, Wong, with a mere glance, convinces the flight attendant to stop serving alcohol. With that, it seems, she saves herself, her meringues and perhaps the entire flight from the antics of the drunken brute beside her.
Except, of course, when the flight ends, our lumbering drunk redeems himself by letting Wong exit the plane first. And thus we learn an important lesson about Maritimers from Professor Wong. Within our gruff, poorly spoken, inebriated exteriors, we have hearts of gold. We may be drunks, forced to travel elsewhere for work, but we can be polite drunks, if there is someone with the moral certitude of Wong to guide our behaviour. In fact, as Professor Wong concludes, in our simple, childlike way, we Maritimers can be more polite than the grownups in suits who populate the airports of Upper Canada.
Online reaction to the column was swift with Tweets labelling the column as “lazy”, “insulting” and “garbage.”
What do you think of Wong’s column? Are some Maritimers too sensitive to this kind of simplistic stereotyping? Or should people expect more from a veteran journalist like Wong?