This past week, 21-year-old Jean Wharf (pictured above) was thrown off of a Greater Vancouver skytrain, allegedly for wearing a “Fuck Yoga” button on her bag. When the skytrain police asked her to remove the offending button, she refused and was told she could not get back on the train. People everywhere are in an uproar, including Vancouver’s Arts and Culture magazine The George Straight, claiming that this is a terrible violation of the right to free speech and is an example of heinous and unfair censorship.
The Straight reports:
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has taken up her cause and filed a complaint with the office of the police complaint …
… commissioner, arguing the button is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It’s being widely reported as an incident of censorship, though some news outlets doing so can’t even bring themselves to print the F-word.
Well, thank God the B.C. Civil Liberties Association is busying itself with an important cause. And how dare those pussy newspapers not print the “F-word.” The Straight, you see, is hip and cool because its banner picture has not one, not two, but THREE uses of the F-Word. My stars, how progressive.
Naturally, the Straight calls for us all to take up arms against this terrible oppression and wear “Fuck Yoga” buttons on buses and trains until this Civil Rights outrage comes to an end.
As the head of the BCCLA puts it:
Wearing a button doesn’t break the law. Transit’s approach opens it to ridicule. What about books that contain the F word that people read on the bus? What about clothing or shopping bags from FCUK? What about people who say the F word while talking in a normal speaking voice to a friend on the bus or SkyTrain?
First of all, FCUK, as clever a little ackronym as it is, isn’t the dreaded F-word, so that argument opens itself to ridicule. Secondly, everyone seems to be missing the point. This girl wasn’t kicked off of the Skytrain for wearing a Fuck Yoga button. She was kicked off of the skytrain for — wait for it — fare evasion. When she was pulled off the train for not having a ticket to ride, the police officer issued her a ticket and told her she could reboard if she took off the pin (she, of course, told him to “Fuck off.” At least she’s consistent). But he could have thrown her off for the fare evasion itself — or, you know, the verbal assault. This isn’t about censorship, it’s about theft.
But let’s get to the real issue at heart. Why does Ms. Wharf so despise yoga? In her own words:
I wear it because so many people are doing yoga, but very few of them know why,” Wharf told The Sun in an interview. Yoga has been so industrialized that people have forgotten its purpose as a beautiful, ancient meditative practice.
First of all, unless machines are now doing yoga for people, you mean commercialized, not industrialized. Second of all: who cares? This is the thing everybody hates about the punk/hipster “movement” in general: it’s a group of self-indulgent, lazy people who complain about everything because they have no real cause. Wharf hates people who do yoga? I hate people like Wharf who are every bit as much a part of a commercialized community as the purse-dog-carrying, water-bottle-clutching, expensive-yoga-pants-buying women she is bitterly fighting for the right to protest against. And honestly, you want to talk censorship? At least be grateful we don’t live in Arkansas.
Perhaps I sound riled up, but frankly there is so much going on in the world that protecting this girl’s right to wear an offensive button with an empty, pointless and selfish meaning is such a waste. The BCCLA needs to find better things to do with its time.
What’s your take? Should she have been asked to take off the button? Is this a censorship issue?