“Last week, I discovered that the nature of things can be extremely unpleasant when you challenge the wisdom of the arrogant.I was attending a reception when suddenly the host of CBC TVs The Nature Of Things was in my face.”I want to talk to you!” a red-faced and agitated David Suzuki said, finger pointing at my chest.”You have no right to demonize me!” he yelled, causing people around us to back away.”
No, that’s not Suzuki yelling at a Sun News Network reporter but hollering instead at the Adrian Dix-supporting, left-leaning columnist for 24 Hours and The Tyee Bill Tieleman. (I quite like Bill’s commentary and reporting, BTW, and he’s generous enough with his time to share some of that with me often on my Sun News Network show Battleground). Some might have received the apparently incorrect impression that the experience of my colleague Jessica Hume from earlier this week was unique to her because she’s a Sun Media reporter and Sun Media employs Ezra Levant and Ezra is, to say the least, no fan of Suzuki.
But no, it’s not just us apparently. Read Bill’s account, from 2009, mind you – “How I Demonized David Suzuki” right down to the end where Suzuki swears at him.
But it’s not just us journalists who sometimes suffer Suzuki’s ire. Sometimes it’s his fans, too.
Here’s fan Jenn Carson, in a letter to the editor in the Moncton Times Transcript published on Nov. 24, 2010, talking about her experience trying to — gasp! — ask Suzuki a question:
David Suzuki disappointing
To The Editor:
On Saturday, Nov. 20 I went to see David Suzuki speak in Moncton at the Green Home Builder’s Show. I was hoping to ask him during the question period that normally follows these types of talks for advice on how to help me promote environmentalism to my group of largely apathetic students at Hampton High School, where I am the librarian.
Unfortunately, there was no question period. Directly following Dr. Suzuki’s speech, where he emphatically urged the audience to form strong interpersonal connections with their neighbours, family and local ecology, there was a book signing. I waited until the line was gone before I approached. I did not purchase any books, since I either have them at home, or have read them through our public library service. There was only one other man at the table, talking about a Prius, and he stopped and said he should go since I was waiting. Dr. Suzuki said it was alright since there was “no one there.”
I assumed since he was 75, perhaps his eyesight was poor and he did not see me. When the man left, I approached Dr. Suzuki.
He looked up and said, “book?” I said I didn’t have one but I wanted to ask him a question. He said, “I don’t have time for that,” and waved me away like a king dismissing a commoner.
There was absolutely no one else around the table except the security guards.
Then he shouted out, “Books! Books!” and continued waving me out of the way. There was no sign indicating no questions were allowed.
Only minutes before he had been espousing the value of slowing down and making time for each other and he didn’t even have the decency to say, “I’m sorry, I’m tired . . . or I’m not allowed to answer questions . . .”
Instead here I was, an educator and great promoter of his books, looking for help with the generation he claimed was most important, but because I was not spending money (other than the $45 I spent to hear him lecture), I was waved off.
I used to be proud to call Dr. Suzuki one of my heroes, and now I can see that he is a hypocrite.
I am in no way turned off the environmental causes I have always believed in, simply disappointed to have to tell my students, once again, that celebrity and integrity seem to be mutually exclusive.