Monday, August 10, 2009

Find Your Own Damned Pony

Canadian opinion journalism is almost universally terrible.

No, sorry, it is. There are exceptions, but by and large they're buried under a feculant mound of blowhards, faux-populists, "political strategists" who do little more than copy ancient American talking points, and Christie Blatchfords.

There's a reason I rarely bother quoting them. For all that I castigate whatzisname—and justifiably so, considering his apparent adoration of British libel law of all things—at least he's vaguely engaging, and counts himself among their bloggers, who are actually a fair bit more interesting. (James Curran's brand of somewhat disillusioned Liberalism come to mind. As does Jen Smith. Or Calgrit, but that's obvious.)

But man, sometimes you read something from an opinion journalist that just blows your head off:

[I]n certain quarters of the progressive media, commentators are bruiting over the possibility of Fascism in America. One thing about the Yankee left — no matter how hard they dig there is never a pony hiding under their particular pile of shit. Eight months after electing the most progressive candidate to even think about the White House since George McGovern, suddenly Fascism is on the march. And the Republicans are just discombobulated enough to provide fuel for the phony fire.
You be a bit confused. See, nobody who had actually read Sara Robinson's magisterial article on fascism would say this. They'd know that she was drawing on impeccable sources, made logical analogies, and had been published on a site that is absolutely authoritative on the subject among American liberals and progressives. If it's on Orcinus, you can take it seriously.

Even if it weren't on Orcinus, you could also look at how it was posted on the website of the Campaign for America's Future. Which makes sense, as she's a Fellow there. Yet here's Mr. Bell, citing "certain quarters" and linking to Truthout, in a brazen and obvious attempt to paint Ms. Robinson as a nutter.

Perhaps he might be justified if he could point to anything in the substance of the post. But he didn't. He didn't quote Robinson, as I did him. He didn't summarize Robinson. He didn't rebut Robinson, because rebuttal requires that you demonstrate the vaguest familiarity with the subject.

In fact, Douglas Bell has given us absolutely no reason to believe he read word ONE of what Robinson wrote.

You may ask "why on earth wouldn't he?" You may ask "why on earth would he pull such a dishonest ploy"? You may ask "why on earth would he spend the rest of the article taking shots at Americans that care about their politics, instead of babbling about 'silly seasons'"?

You may ask "why on earth would he possibly think he could get away with this?"


Canadian opinion journalism is almost universally terrible.

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