David J. Climenhaga, responding to National Post columnist Christie Blatchford’s now-infamous cranky, contrarian reaction to Canada’s outpouring of love and admiration for Socialist cur Taliban Jack Layton (HISSSSSSS!):
[T]he offending column is far from the worst piece Blatchford has written, and it makes a good point that many of us who loved and respected Layton can surely agree with, or at least concede contains some truth. Its other arguments would better be dismissed with a shrug than with obscenity and imprecation.
I bothered to read this piece only because I came across some of the angry reaction on social media sites. I turned to it with a sick feeling, because I expected from the lead-up to read something truly disgusting, like the odious efforts of Calgary Sun city editor Dave Naylor. I finished it and concluded we should all take a deep breath.
The chief knock against Blatchford’s effort seems to be that she called Layton a thoroughly political creature, and assailed his moving deathbed letter to Canadians with such uncharacteristically big words as “sophistry” and “vainglorious.”
Well, OK, the latter part of this opinion is graceless, even cheesy — exactly as we have come to expect of almost any Postmedia columnist. But really, so what? It does not seem appropriate to me to respond to this kind of drivel by calling its author a “heartless cow,” or worse, or wishing on her the same horrible fate that befell Layton.
Moreover, I think most of us can agree that Blatchford’s silly allegation of sophistry and vainglory is merely a typical response, and possibly a heartfelt one, by a Tory sympathizer who must have fretted deeply about the implications of Layton’s successful appeal to the better angels of our Canadian nature. Even our dour prime minister seems to have been improved by Layton’s sunny vision, which in some circles might be seen as evidence of miraculous powers!
While making some valid points regarding Tory anxiety over Layton’s significant posthumous power, Climenhaga misses the mark: it isn’t Blatch’s petty attack on Layton that most rankles, at least to me. Rather, it’s her arrogant, contemptuous attempt to police the natural reactions of ordinary Canadians to the passing of someone they loved and respected. As far as Blatch is concerned, the massive, spontaneous public display of emotion and affection from coast to coast (including QC — thanks Jack!) is unseemly and worthy of ridicule, another pop-cult spectacle of collective (HISSSSS!) hysteria a la Princess Di.
Now, people tend to get rather prickly when told they are grieving in an inappropriate fashion — hence the vast, vocal outcry. However, I highly doubt anyone at PostMedia is crying. One could argue that all the attention afforded to Blatch, overwhelmingly negative though it may be, = mission accomplished.
Trolling is, after all, an art.
Regardless, I’m sure le bon Jack could not care less if his final words caused Canada’s fav crotchety wingnut Agony Aunt to throw a public shit-fit. As Climenhaga rightly notes, in this Layton too could claim the mission accomplished mantle with as much, if not more, legitimacy as she (and if the stale mother-son YYZ vaudeville act of Babs and Johnny Kay doesn’t provoke a hearty chortle of righteous satisfaction from beyond this mortal coil, well, I guess I just don’t know Jack).
Don’t get me wrong — yours truly frequently disagreed with Jack Layton over the years. A lot. But, like a vast multitude of my fellow Canuckistanians (including apostate NDP icon Judy Rebick, another longtime Layton foe on the left), I ultimately found myself overcome with a sense that we had lost a statesman, truly a Great Canadian (caps and all).
Ottawa must have been reading the same tea leaves, hence the state funeral offer.
Still, the next time a Champagne Socialist from Danforth dares to die an insanely popular, highly revered public figure, everyone first make sure to check in with Christie Blatchford and co. for instructions on proper grieving etiquette.
Oh, and none of that peace and love hippie-dippy sidewalk chalk bullshit — politics is for cynics and sociopaths goddammit.
Image: Jackman Chiu, Flickr
In the end, we should have known it was fanciful, even selfish, to expect Jack Layton to make it back to Parliament in the Fall.
The man who, weeks ago, stood before a stunned nation to announce he was stepping aside (temporarily, it was insisted) to once again battle cancer, gaunt and wholly drained of the vigour that defined his upbeat, energetic campaign style, was not the same one who, just one short month prior, had almost single-handedly carried the NDP to its best electoral finish in party history.
This was someone who, if not at Death’s door, was certainly on its footpath.
But before Jack the Fighter became Jack the Martyr, he was Le Bon Jack, the man who, in the words of CP’s John Ward, “slew the Bloc Quebecois and saw the long-dominant Liberal party reduced to a battered hulk” while simultaneously bringing his once-terminal, perpetually-marginalized democratic socialist party into the national mainstream (and, in the process, welcomed Quebec back to the Federal scene after nearly two full decades in the political wilderness). As James Laxer rightly notes, “When [Layton became NDP leader, he took a party that had seen better days and led it to become a force that can win the next election. His breakthrough in Quebec is historic, a transformative event in Canada’s political history. "
Over the next several days we're going to be buffeted by many heartfelt tributes to Layton and his legacy. Conversely, we'll no doubt witness insincere remembrances from those who, quite frankly, despised the man and his pragmatically progressive politics, but cynically know it bodes well to avoid speaking ill of the revered dead. We're also going to see an increasingly histrionic debate over what to do about iterim leader Nycole Turmel, the party's newly-minted Quebec rump, and its overall future.
And though Dippers and progressives deserve time to grieve (and Layton is indeed worthy of memorializing) we mustn't shy away from these contentious issues, lest the momentum that propelled the NDP to historic gains is further halted as the party tries to reorient itself in anticipation of the post-Layton era.
Just to help kick off the frenzy of posthumous speculation re: What Happens Next, here's a brief excerpt from Warren Kinsella's latest Sun Maida [sic] column:
For [Jack Layton's] NDP – because it was his NDP – sad and bad times lay ahead. There is no possibility, none, that they can ever expect to maintain what they achieved with Jack Layton Nor can the party’s blasé dismissal of a union with the Liberals be allowed to remain unchallenged. Our democracy will suffer if the Harper government is not facing an effective Opposition. All of us – Stephen Harper included – need the NDP and the Liberals to consider the gravity of the moment, and abandon their pride and hubris. Now, more than ever, progressives need to come together for the good of Canadian democracy.
Whatever your feelings on uniting the Canadian left (and let it be clear, I lean towards Kinsella’s position that only a strong, united centre-left opposition can ever hope to topple the Harpercons), one thing is undeniable: Jack Layton quite literally died to get the NDP — and the Canadian progressive centre-left — to this point; now it’s up to progressive activists, regardless of party affiliation, to continue the fight that ultimately took his life.
Update: And as if anticipating renewed calls to reopen the unification debate following his passing, here’s Layton, from his already-legendary final letter:
There will be those who will try to persuade [NDP members] to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.
So, at least we know what Jack wanted (which doesn’t necessarily make it right, but…).
Something kinda like this:
So, let’s do it.
Layton photo: mattjiggins, flickr
Sidewalk photo: Paul Dewar, Yfrog
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.
- RT @NeedlesOnNews: We're trying to get #ldnont mayor Joe Fontana on the program to talk about the reported shutdown at Kellogg's. Your call… 14 minutes ago
- RT @AM980News: THIS JUST IN: Kellogg's plant in #ldnont will close at the end of 2014, more than 500 jobs lost. #onpoli #cdnpoli 14 minutes ago
- RT @markspowart17 Kelloggs #ldnont emp file in for meeting. Worker: "1st time in his 13yrs this done" @themetrolondon http://t.co/HkkdvJgOkK 15 minutes ago
- RT @christoplack: First the Heinz plant in Leamington and now it's perhaps Kellogg's in #ldnont. The announcement of closures before #xmas … 15 minutes ago
- (Last tweet h/t @reason) 16 minutes ago
- "18 current or former LA County Sheriff's Dept officials have been indicted in 5 separate criminal cases" latimes.com/local/lanow/la… 16 minutes ago
- RT @michaelshapcott: Why Canada needs nat'l Aboriginal housing plan: Mtl’s Aboriginal homeless shelters full #cdnpol cbc.ca/news/canada/mo… 24 minutes ago
- RT @dandrezner: IT BEGINS.... RT @NorwayUN: #UN has launched its first unarmed drone in eastern #DRC Congo http://t.co/55JJO8BEiK 31 minutes ago
- "...Canada plays a very robust role in intelligence-gathering around the world in a way that has won respect from its American equivalents." 1 hour ago
- "Cda is involved w/ the [#NSA] in clandestine surveillance activities in “approximately 20 high-priority countries."" cbc.ca/news/politics/… 1 hour ago
- @JKennethY @AM980News Onward and upward. 1 hour ago
- @JKennethY @AM980News Hard to be optimistic with such ominous optics. 1 hour ago
- MT @AM980News: Kellogg's employees in #LdnOnt nervous as company calls mandatory all-staff, off-site meeting at 9am am980.ca/2013/12/10/kel… 1 hour ago
- RT @ewnreporter: #Mandela More embarrassing than the booing and singing during speeches, are the glaringly empty orange seats. Who wouldn't… 1 hour ago
- RT @SmithInAfrica: South African journalist: "It started late, the stadium isn't full and our president was booed. It's an embarrassment fo… 1 hour ago
- RT @olireports: Here's *that* handshake between Obama & Castro - video here bitly.com/1d6clr3 #MandelaMemorial http://t.co/ohjtUHKlua 1 hour ago
- RT @CP24: UPDATE: All members of Canadian delegation make it inside stadium for Mandela ceremony. cp24.com/news/all-membe… 1 hour ago
- The $13.6 billion Harpercon assault on Canada's social safety net thestar.com/news/canada/20… #cdnpoli 2 hours ago
- RT @TimesLIVE: Zuma loudly booed at #MandelaMemorial bit.ly/18RmRpi 2 hours ago
- RT @cnnjill: @CNN #Mandelamemorial: Former President George W. #Bush gives #Obama a standing ovation for speech. 2 hours ago
- Monday Metal: Satan – Life Sentence
- Cinerama – ‘I Wake Up Screaming’ (AUDIO)
- Fucking Up Young (Aging Hipster Rewind)
- Around the Internets: Monday Jump-Off
- More Collateral Damage From USia’s Wars
- Abdul Haji: Hero. Muslim. BAMF.
- So Who Are They Assigning Down The Hall Anyway?
- A strange and bitter crop, indeed.
- Monday Metal: Atheist – Unquestionable Presence
- What Was Justin Trudeau Smoking When He Decided To Embrace Marijuana Legaliza — Oh, Never Mind.
- The Atomic Road To Damascus (With a Detour Through Goldsboro)
- Hilzoy Speak, You Listen
- Privilege In A Nutshell (Or, There You Go Again, Richard Dawkins)
- Stand ALL Yr Groundz (UPDATED)
- Harpercons to Small Live Music Venue Owners: Drop Dead
- Poll: Obama, Iran face selling job on nuclear pact (Susan Page/USA Today) December 10, 2013
- Obama, Cuban President Raul Castro Shake Hands at Nelson Mandela Memorial (ABC News) December 10, 2013
- How to Keep Workers Unemployed (Wall Street Journal) December 10, 2013
- Netflix to Premiere Mitt Romney Doc 'Mitt' (Tatiana Siegel/Hollywood Reporter) December 10, 2013
- 'A public safety disaster': Obamacare could force THOUSANDS of volunteer fire departments to close (David Martosko/Daily Mail) December 10, 2013
- How Democrats Plan to Cut Food Stamps Without Enraging Their Base (Meredith Shiner/The World's Greatest ...) December 10, 2013
- Ex-Clinton Aide Expected to Join Obama (Jackie Calmes/New York Times) December 10, 2013
- President lands in South Africa (Josh Gerstein/Politico) December 10, 2013
- Union organizer shouts down protesters as they block private Google shuttle (sfbg.com) December 10, 2013
- U.S. exits GM stake, taxpayers lose $10.5 billion (Tom Krisher/NBCNews) December 10, 2013
- Creekside: Spysplaining December 10, 2013
- Montreal Simon: Is Stephen Harper Working for the Americans? December 10, 2013
- Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper's South Africa Trip Starts Badly December 10, 2013
- The Regina Mom: Demand an Apology from Senator Dagenais December 10, 2013
- The Disaffected Lib : Al Sharpton Makes America Wear their Mandela History December 9, 2013
- Not So Liberal? Violence Against Transgender Women in the Bay Area s.e. smith
- Hard Science Fiction Makes a Comeback in Fox’s Almost Human Emily Manuel
- Israel’s Prawer Plan Brings A Second Nakba for Palestinian Bedouin Feature Writer
- Gravity and the 21st Century Hollywood Universe Feature Writer
- Fighting U.S. Imperialism With… Sexism and Racism? Mastodon’s Thanksgiving Shirt Causes Controversy Feature Writer
- Northern Reflections: Not A Banner Year December 10, 2013 Owen Gray
- mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: The purpose of life: a quote December 10, 2013 Mark A. Rayner
- 350 or bust: For Our Children: Stand Up, Speak Out December 10, 2013 Christine
- The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Converting principles to other people’s money #nlpoli December 10, 2013 Edward Hollett
- Parchment in the Fire: Austerity and Human Rights December 10, 2013 geofftkennedy
- Montreal Simon: Is Stephen Harper Working for the Americans? December 10, 2013 Simon
- THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: A Concept for Giving Back to Caregivers December 10, 2013 Donna Thomson
- Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s South Africa Trip Starts Badly December 10, 2013 Simon
- ParliamANT Hill: RCMP step up video surveillants of ParliamAnt Hill December 10, 2013 Jim Sadlemyer
- Northern Insight: Blogs, bloggers and blogging December 10, 2013 Norman Farrell
- CONtempt™: it's the Harper CONservative party brand. December 7, 2013 email@example.com (deBeauxOs)
- R U able to buy RU486 in Canada? Why not?* December 4, 2013 firstname.lastname@example.org (fern hill)
- A peace exhibition that highlights warmongers and some peace activism... November 30, 2013 email@example.com (deBeauxOs)
- Coming soon: CON revisionist history, with a dump of tarsands on the side. November 25, 2013 firstname.lastname@example.org (deBeauxOs)
- Time to Roast #PeterPeeper November 23, 2013 email@example.com (fern hill)
- ‘Sovereign’ Fail: Man Indicted in Cincinatti for Stealing Houses December 9, 2013 Bill Morlin
- Peter LaBarbera Spreads Anti-LGBT Propaganda at Jamaican Conference December 9, 2013 Heidi Beirich
- Hate Group Ties Become Issue for Tony Perkins in Possible Run for Congress December 6, 2013 Josh Glasstetter
- David Duke Tossed Out of Another European Country December 6, 2013 Heidi Beirich
- Craig Cobb Sent to North Dakota State Hospital for Mental Evaluation December 5, 2013 Ryan Lenz
- Global: International Human Rights Day Statement December 10, 2013
- Iraq: Time to consign old Iraqi labour laws to the dustbin of history December 10, 2013
- Korea (South): Thousands of railway workers stripped from their posts following strike December 10, 2013
- Korea (South): Railway union workers stage indefinite walkout December 9, 2013
- Canada: Tory laws to ban the very mention of union strikes delivers a blow to free speech December 9, 2013
- U.S. President Obama Shakes Hands With Cuban President Castro At Mandela's Memorial Service (Video) December 10, 2013 War News Updates Editor
- Syrian Rebel Forces Suffer A Significant Defeat North Of Damascus December 10, 2013 War News Updates Editor
- Afghanistan Has Until February To Sign The U.S. - Afghan Security Agreement December 10, 2013 War News Updates Editor
- Lead FBI Benghazi Investigator Has Yet To Be Called To testify Before Congress December 10, 2013 War News Updates Editor
- World's Biggest Investor BlackRock Is Not Optimistic For Global Markets In 2014 December 10, 2013 War News Updates Editor
- War News for Tuesday, December 10, 2013 December 10, 2013 firstname.lastname@example.org (whisker)
- War News for Monday, December 09, 2013 December 9, 2013 email@example.com (whisker)
- News of the Day for Sunday, December 8, 2013 December 8, 2013 firstname.lastname@example.org (Cervantes)
- War News for Saturday, December 07, 2013 December 7, 2013 email@example.com (whisker)
- War News for friday, December 06, 2013 December 6, 2013 firstname.lastname@example.org (whisker)
- War News for Thursday, December 05, 2013 December 5, 2013 email@example.com (whisker)
- War News for Wednesday, December 04, 2013 December 4, 2013 firstname.lastname@example.org (whisker)
- War News for Tuesday, December 03, 2013 December 3, 2013 email@example.com (whisker)
- War News for Monday, December 02, 2013 December 2, 2013 firstname.lastname@example.org (whisker)
- News of the Day for Sunday, December 1, 2013 December 1, 2013 email@example.com (Cervantes)
- After Shanghai Disappears Under a Blanket of Smog, State Media Touts It as a “Defensive Advantage” December 10, 2013 Jeff
- Is Kim Jong-Un Headed For China? December 10, 2013 Zachary
- INS Vikramaditya and the Aircraft Carrier Debate December 10, 2013 James
- Cambodia to Lift Ban on International Adoptions December 10, 2013 Jeff
- John Kerry to Visit Vietnam and the Philippines This Week December 10, 2013 Zachary
- Chinese Coal Use to Hit 4.8 Billion Metric Tons Annually by 2020 December 10, 2013 James
- People Smugglers Feel the Pinch December 10, 2013 James
- Aussie Scientists May Have Solved the Global Water Shortage Crisis December 10, 2013 Jeff
- India Wins Big With Global Trade Deal December 10, 2013 Ankit
- Singapore’s Little India Riot: Was Alcohol to Blame? December 10, 2013 Jeff
- An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
- Egypt Media Roundup (December 9) December 9, 2013 Jadaliyya Egypt Editors
- Drug Trafficking in Northwest Africa: The Moroccan Gateway December 9, 2013 Abdelkader Abderrahmane
- Maghreb Media Roundup (December 9) December 9, 2013 Maghreb Page Editors
- Israel Wins in Mexico December 9, 2013 Luz Gómez
- The Whispers of WhatsApp: Beyond Facebook and Twitter in the Middle East December 9, 2013 Jared McCormick
- Beirut Art Center's Exposure 2013 December 9, 2013 Medrar TV مدرار تي في
- Jadaliyya Monthly Edition (November 2013) December 8, 2013 Jadaliyya Editors
- Outlawing The January 25 Revolution (VIDEO) December 7, 2013 Mosireen
- Augmented Airspace: A Project by Dia Hamed and Lot Amoros December 6, 2013 Medrar TV مدرار تي في
- القراءة المبكرة December 5, 2013 Osama Esber أسامة إسبر
- Japan's designated secrets bill - the sound of the jackboots December 10, 2013 Saul Takahashi
- Due diligence for women's human rights: transgressing conventional lines December 10, 2013 Yakin Erturk and Jennifer Allsopp
- Human rights, social justice, and US exceptionalism December 10, 2013 Meredith Tax and Cathy Albisa
- Backlash: The unintended consequences of western human rights intervention December 10, 2013 Rochelle Terman
- From the war on terror to austerity: a lost decade for women and human rights December 10, 2013 Heather McRobie
- Why the UN needs our support this Human Rights Day December 10, 2013 Hayley Richardson
- Turkey’s human rights groups in a funding squeeze December 10, 2013 Murat Çelikkan
- Resources - Get information on what’s happening to your local NHS December 10, 2013 OurNHS
- Piracy: navigating the dark side of globalisation December 9, 2013 Paul Brannigan
- What does #occupySU mean in the context of contemporary Bulgaria? December 9, 2013 Raya Raeva, Borislav Gizdavkov and Nikolay Nikolov
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- February 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- May 2011
- February 2011
- December 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- March 2007
- February 2007
- January 2007
- December 2006
- November 2006