Tasteless, Or Tasty
By Bart Vogelzang

Just before the 2011 Pride Parade was to take place in Vancouver BC Canada, a professor, Shinder Purewal, at a local facility of higher learning tweeted something that has caused a lot of consternation and questioning. Like many an earthquake, the initial shaking is not as damaging as the resulting tsunami. What did he say that was so shocking? According to
CBC News: “A recent tweet sent out by a Kwantlen University professor saying the Vancouver Pride Parade is "vulgar" and "should be banned" is drawing a backlash online.”

They go on to quote him with, "This is not aimed at people of same-sex orientation. It's not homophobic," he said. "It's simply if they want to have a pride parade it should be a cultured phenomenon. It should not be sexuality on display. It should not be vulgar." According to the report, Purewal said he would not want his children to see half-naked people walking down the street.
The comments on this story run the gamut from condemning the parade to condemning Purewal, and everything in between. They do raise an interesting question though; just exactly what is vulgarity, what is tasteless? It is very obvious that everyone has a different opinion on this, and just as obvious that some want to enforce their opinions on others.
I’m not going to jump on any bandwagon calling Purewal a homophobe, as some have done, since that is not the real issue. The real issue isn’t even that he’s brought a personal preference into the limelight of public opinion. The real issue is that he said it “should be banned”. That is the crux of the issue. As long as there is no law being broken, and nobody is forced to go to the parade, and pretty nearly everyone going to see it knows that there will be scantily clad people in the parade, there is absolutely no reason to even suggest banning it.
Purewal gets the benefit of my doubt about his homophobia, but it would be interesting to know if he’s just as adamant about banning religious trappings in parades, which do offend lots of people who are either a different religion or non-religious, or about banning commercial floats which offend many who are trying to reduce our consumerism to more acceptable levels, or banning corporate clowns which attempt to entice children into eating foods that are not nearly as healthy as a home-cooked meal, not to mention the abhorrent displays of public deceit by means of the so-called ‘child friendly’ Santa parade.
Let’s be careful about what is banned, shall we? Is a joyous celebration of our pride in who we are, from the body inwards to our psyches, such a terrible thing? Is the viewing of the human body so horrible? Of course not. If it were, all those ads on TV and in newspapers and magazine would be banned as well. The Pride Parade, rather than being tasteless, is a very tasty treat of freedom and joy, something we all need more of in today’s world.