“That’s what Newfoundlanders are like” – Margaret Wente, one-time visitor to Newfoundland and self-proclaimed authority on the entire population.
A decade after calling a province’s entire population a bunch of mooching welfare losers, a columnist at the Globe and Mail decided to finally visit the place she dismissed without having ever been there. Now she’s decided to publish an apology, 11 years too late, as if her sudden approval of our culture was all we needed to carry on with life.
Imagine if a food or music critic wrote a scathing review of a meal or album without tasting or hearing it. Yet somehow this woman was comfortable summarizing Newfoundlanders without knowing the place or much of anything about it.
When asked why she didn’t bother visiting the place, or reading up on its economic and cultural history before publishing her thoughts on an entire population, she dodged the question with the grace of a petrified cat thrown into an icebath. Luckily for her, her self-awareness is in equal proportion to her worth as a journalist, so she felt she came out on top.
The Globe clearly only employs her to fill the country with the kind of kneejerk rage that gets their paper read. She’s akin to a troll The Globe hoisted up from the depths of the comment sections, just to shock people and get reaction.
Also, her newfound stance on Newfoundlanders as actually being okay confirms she’s quite out of touch with both reality and trend. “Suddenly Newfoundland is hot,” she says, after hearing some journalists rave about the restaurant scene here now, or some celebrities rave about Fogo. But have a look at our tourism stats, Wente my dear, and you’re embarrassingly late to the bandwagon of visiting Newfoundland.
The true height of ignorance is to be more ignorant than those you denounce. So here’s the deal, Wente: “Newfoundlanders” are both hicks and heavenly souls, we’re equally bright-minded and dull-witted. Why? Because there are hundreds of thousands of us, each as different from each other as are Canadians. It’s nothing short of racist to try and paint us all with the same brush.
Some of us have “hands like horns” from hauling our livelihood from the sea, others have never laid eyes on a cod. Some of us do milk the government teat like a leach and laugh about it, while others are too busy cracking the genetic code at MUN’s Medical School and saving the lives of people with rare genetic disorders. You cannot box us in and speak broadly of us in pre- or post-vacation columns.
So let me be among the “Newfs” shattering your illusion of us. I do not risk my life daily at sea, nor do I own a boat. I was indeed born friendly as hell, but only to those who deserve it, so I’ll prove it by breaking conventional stereotype and saying I think you’re ignorant to speak about an entire province as being one way or another, be it dumb and entitled, or charming and resourceful.
“Newfoundlanders, I have learned, never forget.” – Margaret Wente, surprised people got mad about her profiling an entire province.