Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blatchford's Column

The Naylor tweet, incidentally, is degrees worse that Blatchford's now infamous column, which in comparison seems merely stupid and insensitive. Her argument, as I read it, is that Mr. Layton's final  letter to Canadians was a political rather than personal document, and this therefore cheapens the occasion of his death.

But of course Mr Layton was a politician and, contrary to common belief, this is not a character flaw. For some, at least, it is a job. And in reality the letter shows Jack Layton fulfilling his duties as leader of the nation's official opposition right up to the very  end. Faced with his own eminent death, Layton systematically considered how news of it would play out in various corners of the public space, and tried his best to craft words that would send events in a slightly more positive direction. Hence his remarks specifically directed to other cancer patients,  to Quebecers, to fellow party members, and so forth. 

And of course the result is a political document, with all the flaws such things are heir to.  How could it not be?  The man didn't write it for kicks.  He was working at the time.

16 comments:

Jymn Parrett said...

I think claims that this is solely about the letter to be ludicrous. Good writers - and Blatchford is a good writer - write between the lines. She knew what she was doing. It's there in black and white. Mostly white. Her column was an instantaneous (the column must have been drafted before Jack's demise) shot across the bow. The Conservative press will not tolerate any outpouring of affection for someone from the left, flowery language aside. By singling out the letter, Blatchford is able to include words like 'vainglorious' and 'sophistry' to say what she really thinks about Layton.

Majid Ali said...

Please help me for Chrsit sake

Peter said...

Chill out, Jymn, there has been widespread, genuine respect and affection expressed for Layton from a wide swath of con politicans, media and even bloggers, but that hardly means they are going to sign on to everything he said or stood for. Blatchford's offence was she was like the sort of jerk who interrupts a funeral service to point out the deceased wasn't really as honourable and loving as the minister claims, and then boasts about his honesty in the face of everybody else's "hypocrisy". Dan Gardner's three word response to Kay's defence of her ("time and place") says it all.

For the rest of the week, how about you stop looking under rocks and we'll acknowledge his inspiration and many accomplishments and together we'll honour a great, beloved Canadian?

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

If her column was written in five or six more days there wouldn't have been a problem, and a lot more people would have agreed with it. Emotions though are a fickle bunch.

Shiner said...

If her column was written in five or six more days there wouldn't have been a problem, and a lot more people would have agreed with it.

I can't even get behind that. He was the leader of the official opposition, how on earth could he have failed to say something to his supporters and caucus? What on earth is controversial about this letter? I just don't get it.

Holly Stick said...

Strobel has a nasty one. Some of his hysterical commenters have completely gone tea party.

http://www.torontosun.com/2011/08/23/layton-lauding-becomes-surreal

TheIronist said...

There are the Blatchfords and Naylors of the world, then there are people who know how to comport themselves with class and grace. The writer of this blog is one of the latter.

This is one NDP supporter who appreciates how you've handled Jack's death on your blog.

liberal supporter said...

They're angry, because they think that if it was Harper there would be dancing in the streets. Then they gleefully reproduce anonymous tweets wishing it was Harper instead, so they can do the usual sneering about the left's bad manners and pretend they are somehow being threatened only for saying "what needs to be said".

Then they realize there wouldn't be dancing in the streets if it was Harper, because rest of Canadians are just too respectful for that. They become livid at realizing the outpouring of condolence would be so much less they would have to get all the party faithful out in a vain attempt to convince us of the adulation for their guy that they will never see, even if it was a situation like this.

So naturally they are acting true to form. They mostly sound like Sarah Palin, all put out that they aren't on the front page for a few days.

Holly Stick said...

Yeah, there's Harper prancing around in the Arctic, and nobody cares.

I don't agree that Naylor's tweet is that much worse than Blatchford's column, because what she wrote required sustained malice on her part; and I'm not sure, does an editor have to pass such a column before it's printed?

bigcitylib said...

Holly,

With the chaotic state at PostMedia? Maybe not. "Slap it up there" seems the working motto

R. G. Harvie said...

The Naylor tweet exhibits the complete lack of appreciation and respect that many have for eachother in this country for those with whom we disagree.

And while I tend to agree with Blatchford's column in principal, it is, again, an example of both fear and anger at work in politics, at the expense of class and grace.

There will be a time to consider the import and effect of Jack's final letter, and of his tenure as leader of the NDP.

Now is not that time.

Now is to, hopefully, just take a few days of non-partisan appreciation for Mr. Layton's long effort to create what HE saw as the ideal society.

Of course, writers such as Tim Naumetz from the Hill Times, and NDP MP Pat Martin suggesting that Jack Layton was as significant as Martin Luther King Jr., essentially reach out to invite debate on such a point.

But - unlike Naylor and Blatchford, I think the time to discuss Jack's legacy is not today - other than to appreciate the abiding respect he showed for the democratic process in working tirelessly for an ideology which was not likely to ever put his party in power, but which he toiled to promote nonetheless.

sharonapple88 said...

An odd defense of Blatchford's column is that it was a natural response to Layton's letter. He struck out, so they had to strike back. It would be nice if they were fighting someone who could potentially fight back....

Holly Stick said...

Good letter in the Calgary Herald:

"...After rereading Jack's letter, I'd love to know which of the issues he asks us to commit to, your paper disagrees with..."

http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/Universal+values/5310824/story.html

Richard said...

The issue isn't that Layton wrote (or co-wrote) a partisan final letter. The issue is that the NDP is trying to exploit it as some sort of inviolable, holy text that is beyond critique. Jack Layton was a good politician with some good and bad ideas, but the shameless use of his death by his political party, and their suggestion that they should be immune to criticism of the political agenda they are trying to push and their use of Layton's corpse to promote it is offensive to me. I'm sure people wil be offended by my take on it, but suggesting that we must all remain reverential during the NDP's ghoulish expolitation of Layton's death is a cheap ploy and I'm not falling for it.

Holly Stick said...

Richard wants to make it all about the victimization of Richard.

Richard said...

I'm not sure where you're getting that from, Holly. Thou dost project, perhaps?

This is a simple a matter as calling the NDP and some of its supporters on exploitation and BS.