September 20, 2011
I hated guys like Bill Whatcott when I was pro-choice, and I hate them more now that I’m not.
For whatever reason, I don’t play nicely with picketers on either side of anything (photographic proof!); maybe my pregnant mother was traumatized by a pile of sticks. I do know that any measly reduction in abortions since Roe v. Wade is attributable to things such as ultrasound and the movie Knocked Up—everything except the amateur Grand Guignol theatrics of anti-abortion picketers, whose homeliness hasn’t declined in the 30 years since George Carlin uttered his career’s sole perceptive observation:
Have you noticed that most of the women who are against abortion are women you wouldn’t want to fuck in the first place?
Bill Whatcott is arguably Canada’s most famous pro-life sign-bearer, but when he stands before the Supreme Court next month, it’ll be on account of his other bête noire: homosexuality.
Besides picket signs, Whatcott gets his message out through flyers—hundreds of thousands of them, he figures—that he shoves into mailboxes nationwide. They feature statistics about gay mortality rates and photos of anal warts. One flyer was simply a photocopy of an ad from a local gay publication: “searching for boys/men.…Your age…not so relevant.”
Whatcott has been charged repeatedly with fictional-sounding offenses such as “stunting,” “obscene theatrics,” and the Star Trekkian “violation of the bubble zone”—that invisible barrier around abortion clinics designed to keep protesters off surrounding (public) sidewalks.
(One grandmother, Linda Gibbons, has spent almost as many years behind bars for violating this “temporary injunction” [which dates back to 1994] than Canada’s most hated woman, Karla Homolka, did for murdering at least three teenaged girls, including her sister.)
But it’s those flyers that get Whatcott into the most trouble. Steve Camp of the Edmonton “hate crimes unit” called Whatcott’s flyers “offensive” and “an affront on the basic tenets of our society, which is about multiculturalism, tolerance and peaceful co-existence.” (That robotic parroting of Trudeaupian goodspeak really is how our cops talk now when they aren’t busily arresting all the wrong people.)
Whatcott’s flyers were so “offensive” that a Human Rights Tribunal fined him $17,500 for reprinting the men-seeking-boys ad. He appealed and won. But the HRT appealed the appeal, hastening next month’s Supreme Court date.
Just in time comes a new documentary with the unfortunate title Freedom of What?cott, a dead-simple, well-balanced film about his 15-year, one-man Christian crusade. Made by “the Moon Brothers,” the flick has an Errol-Morris-on-a-budget look and feel. Unlike the vast majority of so-called “independent films” made north of the 49th parallel, this one was made without government funding.
Daily updates with TM’s latest