It’s been three months since Western University ethics professor Julie Ponesse’s video went viral. It seems she’s become celebrated in those circles that associate vaccines and vaccine mandates with political repression. Fair play to her, I say; political repression will always be a matter of opinion, since politics is always a matter of opinion. My opinion is different from hers.
It’s unfortunate, though, that her stand has put her in some pretty bad company. Last month an event was held at Canada Christian College in Whitby, featuring Dr. Ponesse and hosted by John Stossel. Most likely you know who John Stossel is; he’s one of those celebrity TV journalists who like to dramatize themselves getting to the bottom of matters of great significance. But he’s not the bad company I have in mind; that would be Ezra Levant, founder of Rebel News and generally one of the nastiest, most toxic little trolls you’ll find in right-wing media.
I don’t have much to say, actually, about Ezra Levant other than that. He’s one of that crop of new-media figures, Alex Jones being the role model, who make their living through monetized grievance and weaponized bad faith. It’s hard for me to understand why anyone would want to share a stage with this guy; but apparently there the two of them were, Ponesse and Levant, nattering away at each other and at the audience while Stossel’s benign visage beamed at them from the venue’s giant screen.
Other than that, a pretty cursory web search turned up a YouTube video (which I haven’t watched) from a couple of weeks ago, and that’s about it as far as Julie Ponesse’s current status. There’s nothing to indicate whether her situation has been resolved, so I presume she’s still on paid leave from Western while they decide what to do with her. Right now, the most likely outcome seems to be she’ll remain steadfast in wanting to have her cake and eat it too, i.e. complete freedom of movement combined with complete absence of responsibility, and her university will end up having to let her go for real. There’s enough sympathy out there for the martyr narrative that I fully expect she’ll be able to step more or less immediately into another professorship, at some institution or other more congenial to the solipsistic brand of ethics she apparently champions.