By Daniel Thwaites
Calling parliamentarians 'market-women' unfortunately degrades a great institution. What I'm saying is, market is a serious ting. So don't bring it down to that level. My granny was a market-woman and she was a decent smaddy. Whereas Parliament? Sometimes you have to wonder. A better comparison would be to fisherwomen, but since 'fish' is such a highly charged term, only fisherman or 'fisher-ooman' can cross it.
It appears that Lloyd B. Smith misapplied the Standing Orders; J.C. Hutchinson took up debate on the fishing industry; and Warmington had just another day at the office. The way I see it, J.C. is just taking his job as agriculture and fisheries spokesman very seriously, raising the issue of fish in the country. If you give a man fish, you feed him for one day; but if you teach him to fish ... . Wait deh!? What is the country coming to?
The problem is, they dropped parliamentary language because Lloyd B. dropped the gavel when J.C. dropped word. Others then dropped their two cents into the debate and Parliament dropped its standards. Everything dropped. All that's left is for the deputy speaker to drop his trousers to get their attention. Ahhhmmm ... what? He did that already?
One curiosity is Lloyd B.'s transformation into participant of parliamentary quarrels he used to eloquently decry as a fellow opinionator. I love that narrow but everlastingly deep gulf between pontificating about, and doing, something. Still, Lloyd B. is trying to cross it! My suspicion is he'd now read over his old columns and be a tad more charitable. Experience is a harsh teacher! That's why ol'-time people say, "When fish come from river bottom ... ." Oh, Jeez! You know what? Done wid dis fish argument.
Anyway, this ridiculous quarrel did go over the line. It started because the yellow (gold) on some JIS printed material was too orangey for J.C. And you know what? If it was orange, that's unacceptable, and the perpetrator should be hunted down and put to death by the sword immediately
But remember the concern that some legislators were boozing too hard? Now there may be proof, or Wray & Nephew Overproof. As noted in 'Colour Vision Impairment and Alcohol Consumption', published by scientific journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology:
"In all age categories, the prevalence of dyschromatopsia [colour blindness] increased with alcohol intake. Moreover, all the heavy drinkers presented a certain degree of dyschromatopsia, whether or not they were undergoing treatment for alcoholism in a detoxification centre."
Thing is, I was also having trouble discerning the true colour. Maybe we all need to go easier on the hot sauce.
There are consolations. There wasn't actual fistfighting, as happened two months ago in Ukraine's parliament. Check it on YouTube. It's hilarious. And check out the brawls in Nigeria, South Korea, Taiwan and Bolivia. These are fun to watch, even without knowing what they're fighting about. It's like overhearing a snippet of the neighbour's quarrel and all you know is that some bad crap is going on, probably because Mrs X figured out Mr XXX's email password again.
There's evidence that martial arts are part of the curriculum in South Korea, as even the legislators can get off some good moves. If our parliamentarians could manage flying kicks, I imagine they'd be soaring all over the place. In some cases, you might call that an actual 'flying fish'.
Look, The Gleaner's editorial, 'A very sorry episode' (July 6, 2012), had the pitch-perfect attitude and tone: disappointment, but not shock and disbelief. It, therefore, avoided the censorious preachy commentary that almost inevitably follows every tussle in the legislature. I swear some humourless freaks just await their chance to mount the soapbox.
Who really thinks that a four-way mash-up between Smith, Hutchinson, Pryce and Warmington is poisoning the minds of children? If children are mature enough to watch the news and make sense of it, they can decipher a nonsense quarrel. Not to mention that news of Warmington pointing in the marshal's face will likely precede news of a beheading or quadruple murder. I think they can manage the pointing. Why not an atoning charity face-off between the ex-soldier marshal and prize-fighter Warmy? It's even odds between two warriors.
I actually watched the news with my kids and they didn't seem permanently damaged. Undoubtedly, that's assisted by TVJ's Sharpe and Samuels' expert serenity while reporting the day's mayhem. The analysis? My 11-year-old observed one legislator's aggressive spasms and said, "That guy is CRAZY!" LOL. Out of the mouths of babes.
Daniel Thwaites is a partner of Thwaites, Lundgren & D'Arcy in Westchester and Bronx counties in New York. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.