On the depths an asshole can go to

So I just posted about the idiotic comments made by CBC News “commentator” Kevin O’Leary, and the viral fallout that’s lead to a petition for him to be fired, when – last night – there’s a segment on The Lang and O’Leary Exchange where they refer to the comments and the fallout (start around the 37:15 mark).

Presumably the new segment was supposed to be about “clarifying” the previous statements, possibly even apologizing for sounding like a total dick. Did it work?


The sum total of the mea culpa is about 16 words “clarifying” that O’Leary doesn’t think poverty or income inequality are fantastic. After that, he launches into a tirade about how successful capitalism has been for… brace yourself… reducing income inequality and poverty. Presumably that is what he thought was fantastic about the Oxfam report that the 85 richest people in the world have as much money as the poorest 3½ billion. I know that makes no logical sense at all, but perhaps it will be clearer if you look at it from his perspective – just stick your head up your ass to see.

And that, folks, was the intelligent part of the clarification. Because from there on out, Amanda Lang doggedly tries to find some way to rationalize O’Leary’s comments and position to make them sound somewhat less ignorant and offensive – all while O’Leary shits over her efforts.

First she tries to excuse O’Leary’s perspective as merely an instance of the mistake made by people on a certain part of the spectrum, who feel that acknowledging the existence of poverty is anti-capitalist. It’s rather stunning to watch her contort and writhe and shed all journalistic integrity to lick at the shoes of capitalist fanatics, and assuage the horrible injuries done to their sensitive self-images by those who’ve noticed that they’re complete assholes.

But then she’s forced to admit that the Oxfam report says straight up that the problem is capitalism. It is the rich who are the problem, and who are making the problem worse. The rest of the conversation is just back and forth between O’Leary’s fantasies and Lang’s corrections. There’s O’Leary pleading: “Let the rich keep their money! They help everyone by paying more taxes!” Then there’s Lang pointing out the rich don’t pay taxes, or they pay far, far less. Not that it helps, because O’Leary continues pontificating capitalism regardless of the facts.

I know it’s all theatre, but I’d like to believe that some of Lang’s performance is real, because her frustration at the end sure starts to look real. After pointing out how useless most of the super-rich are – such as the Sultan of Brunei, Russian oligarchs, and the Duke of Westminster – she says:

Here is the part where I say to you and every fringe member of the tea party: the fact that I see inequity, that I can read this Oxfam report and say there’s something wrong, and that we as thoughtful human beings in democratic nations can actually work to improve the system, doesn’t make me anti-capitalist, anti-market, anti-rich, anti-anything. It just means we can do better than we’re doing, and to deny that actually just puts you offside permanently.

And when O’Leary “rebuts” by childishly saying that he hopes Lang’s son becomes one of the super-rich (I dunno, because maybe that would teach her some kind of lesson, somehow?):

I hope so too, but I hope he lives in a world where that doesn’t make him a jerk.

So, O’Leary’s “apology” for his ignorant and offensive comments worked out pretty much as well as one might expect.

And if that weren’t enough to demonstrate the man’s complete lack of self-awareness, and his complete contempt for those concerned about the damage done by comments as ignorant and offensive as his, wouldn’t you know it…

This morning, anchor Heather Hiscox is doing a piece about the fact that Royal family may be in a bad way financially – “down to their last million” – and… for some reason… it occurs to her to get O’Leary’s input on this. Sure enough, she gets O’Leary on video in his limo going to the airport for one of his rambling, uninspired rants. And what does O’Leary do?

He plugs his fucking book.

Yes, seriously. Hiscox puts him on the air to comment on something that he knows nothing about (at least not beyond what anyone else who’s not a fucking moron would know at that point: the Queen’s people mismanaged their finances and spent more than they earned, and that’s bad, duh), and O’Leary uses the Crown corporation news network to advertise his new book. Canadians, we just got punked – we just paid for that asshole to advertise his shit.

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On the depths an asshole can go to by Indi in the Wired is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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