Opinion

It’s a crying shame people still use that old moan

Alistair Taylor is editor of the Campbell River Mirror. - Mirror Photo
Alistair Taylor is editor of the Campbell River Mirror.
— image credit: Mirror Photo

It’s one of the most annoying things you hear at political rallies and meetings.

“Shaaaaaame!”

Delivered with a drop in pitch and a waver thrown in for good measure, it’s meant to depict outrage at the utter lack of morals displayed by the opponents, whomever they may be. Usually, the government.

It’s also one of the most insincere pieces of political theatrics you’ll ever hear. I mean who really moans “Shaaaaaaame!” whenever they come across something that disgusts them?

You sound like a demented ghost lamenting his soul being cheated out of a ticket to the afterlife. Remember the old summer camp joke about the ghostly voice in the woods moaning “Come out! Come oooouuuutttt!” I’m hoping I don’t need to go further to prompt your memory.

My dad had his own repertoire of vocalizations depicting disappointment with my various actions as a teenager but he would at least never moan “Shaaaaaame!” whenever he discovered I’d put the milk jug back in the fridge with like a millimetre of cow juice lining the bottom of the container.

But fail to fund enough outhouses in provincial parks and opposition party constituency members will howl “Shaaaaame!” with righteous indignation in support of a speaker exposing the outrage.

It’s so hokey.

“Shaaaaame!” you’re saying right now.

“Shaaaaame!” How dare I criticize a time-honoured political theatric? Well, I dare.

“Shaaaaaa...” Shut up!

It’s only said by the converted if not outright paid-in-full members of the constituency meeting at play. So you know they’re not really feeling ashamed of the government at this outrage.

You never see it at a real rally by real people concerned about real issues: spousal assault; whale hunting; neighbourhood crime. That’s because they’re not there for show, they’re there for action. Not that political activists are never sincere, in fact, most of them strongly believe in the cause they are working for. And good for them. But don’t cheapen your cause by using an annoying cheer. Save it for the soccer game.

Now, it would be amusing in some circumstances. Just think of city councillors using it every time they heard something they didn’t like.

“Shaaaaame!”

How annoying would that be?

Or in court. Don’t like the sentence just handed down?

“Shaaaaame!”

You’d have the sheriff’s hands gripping your collar and your belt, swinging you back and forth and launching you through the courtroom doors.

Maybe it’s what we should do metaphorically with this old time political tradition.

I don’t have a problem with making the speaker or his target feel shame. I’m all for it if it’s warranted. Just don’t moan “Shaaaaaame!”

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