Defending David Suzuki – or Dan Gardner (of the Ottawa Citizen) is an Asshat

May 2, 2007

Now, for legal purposes, let me be clear: It is my subjective opinion that Dan Gardner of the Ottawa Citizen is an asshat. I do not make this claim as objective truth, but as personal opinion.

Why do I believe this? Let me show you.

In today’s Ottawa Citizen (May 2nd 2007), Dan Gardner wrote a small editorial piece comparing David Suzuki to “Grampa Simpson.” Basically the thrust of the article is that David Suzuki is turning into a crotchety old man.

Despite (apparently) deeply respecting Suzuki, Dan spends his 750 some odd words talking about how David Suzuki uses tricky alarmist techniques to blow this whole ‘environmental issue’ out of proportion.

I sincerely hope Dan lives long enough to die of some pollution related illness, or at the least has a child that is horribly affected by this ‘little’ environment issue.

What prompted this strange ‘discussion’ on Suzuki? Well this week Canadian Minister of the Environment John Baird released a report suggesting that in trying to meet Kyoto Accord standards, Canada would be plunged into a terrible recession. Baird’s report was supported by several top economists, so obviously it must be the only accurate take on the issue.

Dan’s issue with Suzuki is that, in response to this report, Suzuki suggested that the first thing we needed to do was stop listening to ‘the economists.’ Why is this an issue? Well, as Dan gleefully notes, in the past Suzuki has quoted famous economists about the potential economic costs of our fucking dismal environmental policies.

So, Dan’s point, David Suzuki is apparently flip-flopping on the whole ‘listening to economists’ issue.

But Dan doesn’t stop there, he goes on to portray Suzuki as a tired old man who can’t see anything positive in the world.

Dan, in my opinion, is not only a fucking idiot, he is abusing his journalistic license.

The story here should be that David Suzuki, a renowned advocate for the environment, disagrees with that Canada ‘can’t afford’ to meet its Kyoto commitments. Instead, we get an off-ed piece calling Suzuki a crotchety old man.

The environment is a complicated issue to be sure, but this kind of complete ignoring of the ever more imminent dangers is really getting tired.

Just yesterday scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colarado’s National SNow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) released their findings noting that Artic Ice was melting at rates up to five times that which computers models had previously predicted. That is to say, these researchers have found that computer models outlining timelines of the impact of global warming are too conservative, and the impacts appear to be up to 30 years ahead of predicted timelines. (source)

So, is David Suzuki getting tired of giving the same message? Ab-so-fucking-lutely!

Quite frankly, I don’t blame him.

David Suzuki was more than likely trying to alert people to the importance of the environment when all that existed of Dan Gardner was a stiffy in his pappy’s pants. (How’s that for crotchety-old-man talk Dan?)

So, if you’re listening Dr. Suzuki, please know that some of us (the not stupid ones) have heard some of your messages over the decades.

Its an uphill battle, and people in North America really aren’t going to wake up until something truly devastating happens (like a crazy tsunami in Thai-land, but to white people).

Until such a catastrophe, those of us who can try to promote whatever change we can.
Meanwhile, people like Dan Gardner make weak references to out of date pop-culture characters, instead of using their privileged position as journalists to try to help spread the word about a need for change.

Well done Dan, you certainly made an impact on me.

I officially will not purchase any paper you write for, and I will encourage others to do the same.


42 Responses to “Defending David Suzuki – or Dan Gardner (of the Ottawa Citizen) is an Asshat”

  1. I hate David Suzuki more than any other activist.
    He engages in bad science, media manipulation, and has cultivated a trusted reputation that continually abuses by hand picking fact and studies to suit his personal agenda.

    While I agree that Global warming is reality, it’s shysters like Suzuki that discredit legitimate climatologist/biologist/botanist who are trying to make a rigorous imperical study of the situation. Suzuki is a Biased, alarmist, self centered, manipulative douche bag that needs the smugness pummeled out him by a gang of tree spiked loggers.

  2. *note: the above was not satire or humor. That is how I actually feel about Suzuki. He is just this side of being my arch nemesis.

  3. Wormwood, you have left me no choice but respond with only weapon at my disposal: a profoundly unfair and journalistically irresponsible attack on the subject at hand.

    Ready yourself for: AJ Valliant Arbitrarily ranks: The biggest douchebags alive; David Suzuki.

  4. w0rmwood Says:

    Wow, I clearly disagree.

    If it ever came to a fist fight between you and David Suzuki, I’d try to stay non-partisan, but if Suzuki was down i might be sorely tempted to toss a broken bottle (note how i would pick a recycled object as a weapon) into the ring.

  5. w0rmwood Says:

    I’d love to see some hard evidence supporting this idea that Suzuki espouses ‘bad science.’

    I think Suzuki basically dumbs down the issues, because his attempts to explain them in their fully nuanced glory has met with bewildered stares and apathy.

    The bottom line is that we are annihilating our environment, and the capitalist credo of ‘growth for growth’s sake’ (also the ideology of a cancer cell) is pushing us ever further down a path of self destruction.

    Sure humanity will likely survive in whatever shit-hole it digs for itself, but is the mere fact we will survive really reason enough to choose to live in a shit-hole?

  6. w0rmwood Says:

    PS – If you fought David Suzuki, Spiderman would totally be on Suzuki’s side. So you should maybe stop and question any action that gets you on you’re hero’s bad side.

  7. David Suzuki ritually smothered the nine year old son of logger so that his Bob Ross’esque Japanofro/Beard combo would remain lush and thick. He love trees more than people, and his ego more than trees. Every word out of his mouth has this self righteous sanctimonious burr that lodges itself under my skin, and makes me want to destroy the earth out spite.

    At least 30% of my litter, waste, and co2 production is direct response to the antipathy that holier than thou environmentalists evoke. I would almost rather see this world a scorched and blackened husk than sit through a “I told you so…even if the facts didn’t fully support what I was saying at the time” lecture.

  8. Nothing set off Peter Parkers Spidey Sense like vainglorious Smarm. He would have crushed Suzuki’s skull with a rock to keep his own brain from exploding.

  9. max Says:

    I hate it when mommy and daddy fight.

  10. w0rmwood Says:

    “He would have crushed Suzuki’s skull with a rock”

    You say that, but deep down you know he would be shaking his head at your brazen irrational hatred. Uncle Ben would also be very dissapointed in you.

    “I hate it when mommy and daddy fight.”

    I’d reassure you with the knowledge that Mr. Valiant and I are sure to kiss, make up, and have some great post ideological-verbal-jihad sex…

    …but somehow I’m not sure that image would make you feel any better.

    Walking in on my parents in their latex nun and plumber costumes sure didn’t set my 5 year old mind at ease.

  11. There are no Yes men, or weak minded chumps at Beats Entropy. I would be deeply disappointed if we agreed on everything, or had any hesitance at entering into full fledge idealogical Jihad at the drop of a hat. There is far too much love respect amongst the crew for it to produce the slightest amount of personal acrimony.

    ps. Wormwood shoplifts things he doesn’t even need.

  12. “but deep down you know he would be shaking his head at your brazen irrational hatred”

    We talking clone Spiderman, or regular Spiderman.

    “Uncle Ben would also be very dissapointed in you.”

    That’s the kind of thinking that got Uncle Ben shot in the face.

  13. max Says:

    “Mr. Valiant and I are sure to kiss, make up, and have some great post ideological-verbal-jihad sex…”

    Oh jeez. Like Brokeback Mountain did not traumatize me enough.

    “Wormwood shoplifts things he doesn’t even need.”

    Say, Wormwood, want to go to M.A.C. cosmetics with me? I will buy you a soda and tell you you have pretty eyes.

  14. w0rmwood Says:

    “Say, Wormwood, want to go to M.A.C. cosmetics with me? I will buy you a soda and tell you you have pretty eyes.”

    My intellect says “No, no, no!”

    But my heart, and compliment loving ego, says “Yes, yes, yes!”

  15. w0rmwood Says:

    ps – I do in fact have pretty eyes..

    pps – I damn well do ‘need’ that eyeliner I pocketed. It takes like five years off my image, and that shit costs a fortune!

  16. engtech Says:

    Happy birthday, wormwood.

    By all accounts (via bookstore managers who had to deal with him at signings) David Suzuki is an arrogant asshole. I agree with his message, but I think trying to defend him as a person is a waste of time.

  17. max Says:

    Yay! Wear something with big pockets Pretty Eye Guy.

  18. max Says:

    It is Wormwood’s birthday?

  19. engtech Says:

    Also, Dan Gardner has done some good stuff in the past like his article on Losing the War on Drugs.

  20. w0rmwood Says:

    Ya, that other Dan Gardner piece was actually pretty strong.

    The thing that absolutely enrages me about the piece he wrote on Suzuki isn’t that he bashes Suzuki. For all I know Suzuki is the child eating monster that Valliant hopes he is…

    What really bothers me is that Suzuki’s personality is somehow more news worthy than his attempts (however they are couched) to challenge the Canadian Government’s latest claim that Kyoto is too expensive.

    The article should have been a balanced accounting of the facts, instead of an editorial on Suzuki’s issues.

    Unless the man is coming to dinner, I couldn’t give two shits about what kind of person Suzuki is. The bottom line for me is that he has been consistently trying to raise awareness about the environment for my entire life.

    Why his ‘crotchetiness’ is somehow more relevant to journalists than the environmental issues he is fighting about, I cannot fathom.

  21. thekenji Says:

    AJ, I have to say I disagree with you as well.

    As much as I actually don’t care that much about Suzuki and that I’ve heard he’s a bit of an asshole and, as far as I care, you could hate him for that all you want- your reaction is totally irresponsible.

    To actually pollute more because of spite? I think this is where your so-called libertarianism goes way too far. You’re simply too intelligent to not know how interconnected everything is. Maybe your pride would rather scorch the Earth than allow a few annoying activists to blab on (not to mention the multitude of annoying people on the other end of the scale)- and perhaps you feel that that is beautiful in its own right- I myself can’t abide by that and think it’s, well, a bit childish. You don’t expect me to just sit on the sidelines and watch you say and do this, do you?

    (To be honest though- you don’t even drive and you don’t own an extravagant amount of things so I don’t actually have much of a problem with your environmental record. But well, it was a BE battle royale and I felt left out.)

  22. thekenji Says:

    I actually think Suzuki IS a scaremonger and a bit too zealous for my taste… but I think the notion that he singlehandedly discredits the environmental movement is silly. Same with Michael Moore.

    Sure they might dumb-down their messages and end up adopting some bad habits and bad science to pursue their socially manipulative goals… but there are actually a plethora of scientists and researchers with good science constantly telling to the world about what is going on environmentally, and well, they are simply never heard. No one in the mainstream listens to them. There needs to be spokespeople who translate. And some use extreme means, and some are moderate. The point is, every movement needs a diversity of advocates to reach the massive diversity of people out there.

    Look at the sheer number of bad spokespeople who use bad science to further a multitude of other goals- They are just as worthy, or more worthy even, of the same discreditation. But I actually think that since there’s such an enourmous number of them, we’ve just become numb to the idiocy. The environmental movement is easy to pick out. It’s relatively young, and the science itself is very young. It implicates everyone and their creature comforts, so it’s actually very easy to raise their ire against them. To me personally, it’s actually too easy. I’d rather spend my energy on other things rather than hating an annoying activist who is actually pursuing a movement I support.

  23. “To actually pollute more because of spite? I think this is where your so-called libertarianism goes way too far. You’re simply too intelligent to not know how interconnected everything is”

    The polluting increase to spite Suzuki was a more glib statement than anything. Realistically I pollute/consume at the level I do [1] out of laziness, self entitlement, and a general indifference to plight of people I don’t know. To people close to me I am an extraordinarily good person…the farther out you go the more I skew toward being a sociopathic jackass. I’m comfortable with this.

    This is all compounded by mild nihilist streak and understanding that while we can make the Earth relatively uninhabitable to people…we really can’t harm the Earth in long term geological sense. We can change it…but the biosphere is lot more adaptable than the major life forms that inhabit it. We keep pushing and I’m sure we will all get wiped out by some super plauge or massive sudden climate change…which I see as a reasonably just outcome.

    It’s not that I don’t have an understand the impact of civilization on Earth, it’s that I not really cheering for either side…and only mildly interested in seeing how the fight will turn out.

    [1] Meaning I don’t go out of my way to harm the planet (and am actually quite fond of large trees and Tigers), but I see Global warming as something that will massively increase Canada arable land and freshwater supply.

  24. “You don’t expect me to just sit on the sidelines and watch you say and do this, do you?”

    Not at all.
    I realize my stance is mildly antisocial, inflammatory, and wholly self involved. If I’m going to put that out into the world I best be ready to face whatever contempt and negative censure it evokes.

    “I actually think Suzuki IS a scaremonger and a bit too zealous for my taste… but I think the notion that he singlehandedly discredits the environmental movement is silly.”

    My specific issue with Suzuki is the near Canonization he has received from the Canadian media and government. I see him as this smug prophet that gathered acclaim through sketchy means, yet he was voted in the top ten greatest Canadian ever. I take immense pride in country, so it irritates me to have that tool be such a esteemed representative of it.

    “I’d rather spend my energy on other things rather than hating an annoying activist who is actually pursuing a movement I support.”

    It’s not like I’m holding rallies and smashing shop windows here. When his name comes up I toss out a few invectives and make my position known. Life time he has occupied maybe 6-8 hours of my time…less than I spent when forced to watch his crappy show in school. Seems a reasonable expenditure.

  25. max Says:

    [psst, happy birthday Wormwood]

  26. engtech Says:

    I could of swear I’ve heard at least a 30 minute anti-Suzuki rant out of you before AJ, on more than one occasion.

    Although maybe that was the motorcycle.

  27. engtech Says:

    At to put a picture around where I stand in this issue, at the moment I’m pissed because I want to walk to the store to buy some cheese but the three mp3 players in the house are all out of charge.

    *is part of the problem*

  28. w0rmwood Says:

    [psst, thanks max]

  29. Dr. Knowitall Says:

    I simply don’t understand how you can hate David Suzuki, regardless of his personality, when there is an entire book of people in higher positions of authority who commit far worse atrocities and have beyond a shadow of a doubt lied with every breath they hold. Need I remind everyone of the Bush Administration, in particular, Dick Cheney, who has lined his pockets with the blood sweat and tears of the Iraqi people? I understand that Suzuki is in a different class because he’s an “activist”, but that, for me is beyond the point. I think it’s more of an issue of picking your battles, and David Suzuki, as far as I can tell, is not even on the radar of people worth my time to hate.

  30. NotMike Says:

    I’m absolutely certain there’s enough room in A.J.’s heart to hate all of them with an inappropriate amount of vigor and conviction.

  31. Jive Says:

    I’m so very sick of people in power claiming that protecting the environment will hurt the economy. It’s so short sighted it’s sad. It’s like saying I should stop eating because if I do I’ll have a more healthy bank account at the end of the week. Sure in two weeks I’ll be dead but that’s later and our society is all about getting more shiny objects right now. If you take a slightly less myopic view it’s clear that there is great economic benefit to not breaking the one and only machine that cleans our air, provides our water and grows our food. I’m always amazed that people can knowingly sell out every living thing that will have to live on this planet after us for the sake of a payoff now. I don’t know if they are just good at lying to themselves or if they are just morally bankrupt. It all comes back to the same old cliche:

    Only when the last tree has died, when the last fish has been caught, when the last river has been poisoned, only then will you understand that money cannot be eaten.

  32. engtech Says:

    Obviously, the solution is to create edible money.

  33. Mike Says:

    Harrow! Yeah I agree the David had gone a little wonky. I mean how do you go from being probably the best known canadian scientists to crazy doomsday guy. Sure we all know that the dooms day is coming but you gotta chill out a little when brining attention to it or you just get ignored.
    People are looking at his character because that’s what he’s become. Part of his activism credentials is that it’s David Suzuki telling you the world is coming to an end, not just some yahoo. Thought if he continues down the road of my earlier point it’ll be David Suzuki yahoo yelling.
    The whole reason of protecting the economy is for the sheer magnitude of the changes we have to make in order to safe guard the environment. Just building in the end cost of goods would increase their price something like ten fold. There’s just no way that people are going to swallow that. So yeah, I’m saddened that more wasn’t done in our environmental plan but at least somethings are being done. And we can push for the government to build on these beginning steps.

  34. kevin zona Says:

    I am doing a research project on David Suzuki, i have been reading up on his accomplishments, media, and… criticism, i think that you guys have to stop judging the man, he is not a saint, or a sinner. Fact is he is(unlike most) TRYING to make people aware of problems with the fear emotion. People don’t react to things when they don’t affect them, i mean look at the Genocide in Rwanda. Yes he takes things out of proportions, maybe its not his right, but if it gets people to recycle, ride public transit, or just simply putting a brick in your toilet he has improved the world. If you don’t believe in global warming, good for you, but don’t insult a man wiser than you, it is very rude.

  35. w0rmwood Says:

    Hi Kevin,

    glad to see this little tirade caught your attention – dated though it now is.

    My only concern is that your comments seem to suggest that you didn’t actually read the original piece, but only the heated debate that occurred in the comments.

    The piece was itself a reaction to a – in my opinion – poorly written article that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen. So the post, as well as comments on both sides of the equation, need to be understood in that context.

  36. Interesting article, i have bookmarked your site for future referrence :)

  37. Werner Says:

    My opinion is not just that Suzuki is a stereotyped”leftist” but that he buys into this straw man image hook line and sinker. You may not believe this but there ARE left wing people who don’t want the government to micromanage everyone’s life, ban firearms, let social workers steal kids and so on. (Maybe this has something to do with the domination of radical thinking by the academic left.) This habit of thought is beginning to change. PERHAPS it is not that Mr. Suzuki doesn’t say some things which are true he has just been on television for too long. An educated man associates with authoritarian nuts and what are the results. Excuses for the Olympics yet.

  38. citizen citizen Says:

    Gardner literally wrote the book on attacking whistle-blowers – you can buy it on his website.

    Gardner now turns his guns on his favourite target “alarmism” in regards to the announcement that immigration will reduce the white percentage of Canada.

    If anything can be said about Gardner, it is that he is the champion of sedating the populace, so that his masters can go about their business without pesky citizens getting worked up and interfering. In Gardner’s world, public awareness isn’t a virtue.

    Perhaps he’s found that it helps his career.

  39. Former Fan Says:

    Suzuki is a total asshole in person, particularly to his fans. This man is rude, arrogant, and horribly nasty to others. While his ideas are still bang-on, I regret that I used to admire him. What a jerk.

  40. Taminator Says:

    I have to agree with “former fan.” I too have been a life long fan of David Suzuki’s. I am guessing that “former fan” just came from a recent book signing event, the same as I did, and had a moment of personal exchange with the man in a very friendly manner…at which point former fan was greatly disappointed when David brushed them off and walked off. Then watched him do this to a couple of more fans. Yes, he seems to me to be quite a rude little shit…however…

    I agree too that his message is what is important, and despite our strong want to pollute in spite of his shit personality…(trust me I wanna!) we need to look at the fact that he has done great things…and just leave it at that. I do think that if his legacy is sooo important to him, then he should polish up on his social graces because he will lose a lot of soldiers in his fight.

    Lesson learned: Don’t idolize people that we only have a media picture of…take their ideas and outcomes for what they are (brilliant or not) and try not to imagine how perfect they are as people. Total wake up call for me!

  41. Leno Says:

    I also met Suzuki in person and had a bad experience. He ridiculed me, brushed me off and embarrassed me in front of other people. Broke my heart!!! He’s very nasty to his followers.

    So much for my youthful idealism. He’s all just pie-in-the-sky anyway.

  42. Anonymous Says:

    David Suzuki should have been shot and pissed on a long time ago!

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